New Podcast: A Kitchen Table Conversation with David Carver

Welcome to this second in a series of conversations between Christians with differing ideas about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the eyes of God and the church! (To hear the first conversation in this series & learn more about this project click here).

Dave Carver is a pastor in a local Presbyterian Church; we have been colleagues in ministry in Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for more than twenty years. Dave and I don’t always agree, but I’m delighted that he decided to participate in this conversation and share his journey and understanding of faith and LGBT inclusion.

A few highlights from our chat:

On his first General Assembly

What I remember for that is coming home from that General Assembly and making my report to the home Presbytery, and I made a very dismissive comment about the presence of the gay and lesbian caucus. I was trying to be funny, and one of the pastors that had been mentoring me pulled me aside and said, ‘How dare you speak of people in such dismissive terms.’ That was very helpful because I realized I had been filled with my own self-righteous indignation about the way the Presbyterian Church had been going…

On Scripture

I want to be, and I long to be, engaged by and instructed by scripture. And I view scripture as God’s authoritative and intrusive word into my life and into our life together. But I’m also aware of the fact that for almost every single area of our lives there is not a single scripture to which I point and I say, ‘Well this is the definitive truth about that.’ So I think that I am much more comfortable in the complexities of a gray world than I thought I would be, and I don’t have need for things to be black or white, yes or no.

On Jesus

It’s really hard for me to imagine lining up behind a Jesus whose first attribute is that he hates somebody.

20 Responses
  • Bill on December 8, 2013

    With all due respect, PLEASE stop with the
    “if I disagree with you, I must hate you” . Ask any parent that loves their child, they will tell you that they often disagreed with their child, but they never stopped loving them. Jesus himself tells us that scripture is correct and it cannot be altered. The Bible is the word of God, he made us, and we have to play by his rules not ours. You may remeber the Lord’s Prayer? His will be done, not ours…………..

  • Bill on December 8, 2013

    “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Rick Warren

  • Carol Holland on December 9, 2013

    As a lifetime Christian, I am familiar with reading the Bible as well as many
    commentaries. We all agree that there are things in the Bible that we can
    not accept because of the advance of knowledge of the earth and human
    character. This brings me to wondering just which things are important
    to live by. The best words — to me — in scripture are these: “God is love.”

    As a lesbian, I have learned the wonderful meaning of loving someone
    more than I love myself. I am fortunate not to be in a congregation where
    folks disagree with the acceptance of homosexual persons as equal church
    members. Thanks for making this exchange available to us all.

  • Janet Edwards on December 10, 2013

    Dear Carol and Bill,

    Carol, you are very welcome! I hope you found Dave’s perspective enlightening and thought-provoking. Living by conviction that God is love is something I trust we all can agree upon though we may differ on how to live that out.

    Bill, I agree with Rick Warren’s thought here completely. I do not equate disagreeing with fear or hate. If I did, I would not be such a zealot for conversation between those who disagree. When you contest against someone who you think judges you for hating others, you are not contesting with me.

    Dave Carver and I do not agree on the place of LGBT people in the Bible and I hope you see that he and I have considerable respect and affection for one another. As for you and me, both of us pray the Lord’s Prayer with deep sincerity. We do have different ideas of what God’s will is. That is grounds for good conversation in the family of Christ.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • Bill on December 10, 2013

    Hi Janet. It happened again…we agreed on something! Will miracles never cease…LOL

  • Bill on December 10, 2013

    Hi Carol.
    You said “We all agree that there are things in the Bible that we can not accept because of the advance of knowledge of the earth and human character.” I would disagree with that statement ( respectfully). The Bible is the same now as it has always been. The word of God. Jesus said that scripture is true and correct and cannot ever be changed. Its just that as time goes on and satan increases in our world, people believe the Bible less. Jesus told the world what his most important message was but many choose not to hear that message.When asked what his message was he ( Jesus) proclaimed “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

  • Janet Edwards on December 16, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    I delayed on responding to your link with the 5 claims of what Jesus would say to LGBT people and now you send another link.

    I can not comment, Bill. This is a place to dialogue with the ideas and convictions of the person writing, not some other person or publication. Please don’t speak to me and those who listen in here through others. This is a place to speak for yourself. I hope you will.

    Thank you for doing that. Peace be with you, Janet

  • Bill on December 17, 2013

    Hi Janet. Fair enough. What do you think of the courts saying that polygamy laws are unconstitutional? Is this a good thing or a bad thing from your ( or anyone reading this) Biblical view? How does it relate to the gay community?

  • Donna on December 17, 2013

    Hi Janet:

    Question for Dave: Stephen Covey says a person is truly understood when the other person can articulate back to them exactly where they stand. I’m curious about what you learned from the Gay/Straight Alliance student in the seminary exercise on Romans. How was Romans 1 presented differently than your traditional view?

    Thank you,


  • Dave on December 18, 2013

    Thank you for the question. I have to admit it’s been a looooong time since the seminary discussion! As I recall, my fellow student offered an interpretation of the Romans passage that reflected her understanding that the first-century world did not know anything about the intricacies of sexual orientation that are the subject of discussion in our era. The kinds of sexual practices condemned in Romans 1, in this view, would be those involving adult men and children. The student articulated a view that the real sin mentioned in Romans 1 was people acting against nature, i.e. acting against their created norm. She held that since some people were given a homosexual orientation at birth/conception, then it would be “unnatural” and therefore sinful for those people to participate in heterosexual relationships. I was unconvinced of the validity of that interpretation. That being said, what I learned was that mutually respectful dialogue was possible and helpful. I saw her trying to apply a hermeneutic that was consistent, and in her mind, faithful. It was a good model to see, even though I could not agree with her conclusions.

  • Donna on December 19, 2013

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for the answer. That is interesting to me because my understanding also rests on the concept of what is natural/unnatural, without having been taught such, and without any real study in the first-century norms of sexuality – except for a general perception that Rome was an oversexed society. Upon firsrt reading Romans 1:26-32, I was troubled because I thought, “well this IS a declaration of sin.” But then I read the chapter again for context and a fuller understanding, and to me, it talks about 1) a people who chose to worship idols – gods in human and animal form, and 2) that God gave them up to their own passion of worshipping the created rather than the Creator. The whole chapter is about forsaking the glory of God for the glory of passion, or, lust. Romans 1:26-32 then is about the sin of lust in terms of people going against their natural sexual orientation – to an audience in a city and country that worshipped Roman (formerly Greek) gods/goddesses and practiced pedophilia, sexual orgies, and so on.

    At the root of it, presuming you are heterosexual, what is natural for you in being in love and a lover to a woman, is not lust. And yet, you would know when you feel lust versus love, and inherently know the difference, as do we all.

    At the root of it for me, being lesbian, what is natural for me in being in love and a lover to a woman, is the same condition/circumstance as it is for you, and yet you consider what is natural for us both, lawful for you and a sin for me. That is to say, what is perfectly naturally for me is deemed to be lust.

    It defies logic, doesn’t it? And this is without any consideration of procreation whatsoever, as Paul doesn’t mention it either. And yet, if we listen to what Paul is saying, and I’m no proponent of Paul, he is saying 1) don’t forsake the glory of God for the passions of humanity, and 2) don’t go against your sexual nature to satisfy lustful desires, both of which hearken back to the first, seventh, and tenth commandments.

    So I guess an even harder question for you, Dave, is: In the context of the entire chapter, its audience and its location, how do you interpret Paul’s narrative and what causes you to reject the aforementioned interpretation of natural/unnatural?

    Thank you,


  • Dave on December 19, 2013

    You asked “how do you interpret Paul’s narrative and what causes you to reject the aforementioned interpretation of natural/unnatural?” I believe that I tried to answer in the overall conversation with Janet my operating framework for interpreting scripture (although I am not sure that I reference the Romans passage in the part of the podcast that survived the editing process.

    One of the blessings that Janet gave to me was at the end of our conversation when she said, “I let your words stand”. I do not pretend to have the last word on any matter of biblical interpretation, but I think that at this point I’ve had the chance to offer my views to the conversation that Janet has begun. I realize that if I wanted, I could start my own blog and engage all kinds of folks in this conversation. However, that’s not what I’ve chosen to do. From time to time, I sit down with a friend (as I did with Janet) and dedicate some time to that , or another issue. But this is not my blog, and a blog is not the format in which I would choose to carry on a discussion of this nature. So with all due respect, I would ask that you allow my conversation, as flawed as it may be, to stand for now. Perhaps we may meet at some time over coffee, or when the rhythm of life is different. But this is not my best mode of exchanging ideas. I feel like I am being drawn into defending some sort of turf, and I’m not interested in defending (or offending) now.
    Thank you,

  • Donna on December 19, 2013

    Hi Dave,

    Fair enough. Please know that I was seeking your logic, not an argument, and I hope I haven’t offended you. If so, I apologize.

    Best to you,


  • Dave on December 20, 2013

    Oh, Donna, no offense taken (nor intended). No apology needed. Thanks for hearing me.

  • Janet Edwards on December 20, 2013

    Dear Donna and Dave,

    Thank you both SO much for modeling such and honest and respectful exchange. You have given me a great gift in that.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • Donna on December 20, 2013

    Janet & Dave,

    No problem…perhaps someone will venture an answer on the traditional interpretation for these verses in the context of Romans chapter 1. I’m just not able to see it any other way and I’ve not been taught the traditional interpretation. And, of course, I’ll look it up, too 🙂 .



  • Why on December 26, 2013

    What if the Holy Spirit guides you in your comments to another area of someone else writing. You then comment on it or post it. What is wrong with that? Its all part of a dialogue in Bill’s defense, which should not be discarded.

    For when someone post scripture is that not the same?

    I can not comment, Bill. This is a place to dialogue with the ideas and convictions of the person writing, not some other person or publication. Please don’t speak to me and those who listen in here through others. This is a place to speak for yourself. I hope you will. –

    Questions Questions Questions……. Comments

  • why on December 27, 2013


    What if the position of homosexuals & heterosexuals

    were reversed?

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