New Podcast: Welcome to the Church’s Kitchen Table – A Conversation with Dave

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Jesus spoke of His followers as a family. He saw us as brothers and sisters and we certainly have our squabbles as all families do. What we seem to have lost, in my lifetime, is an ability in the church to call upon the healing powers of a family in order to remain the Body of Christ when we disagree. What a grievous witness to the world we have become in our divisiveness!

Healthy families do not agree on everything. Strong families maintain loving relationship, deep connection with one another. Families gather at the kitchen table—everyone—talking with honesty and respect about the things that are important to them. Everyone listens and learns from the others there, rising from the table with goodwill, not necessarily agreement.

This is the church family I yearn for and feel called by God to work toward.

So, welcome to what I call a Kitchen Table Conversation—the first of many, I hope.

I hope your mind and heart are touched by this podcast recording of a talk between my brother in Christ, Dave, and me. We’ve known one another for decades and had many, many “kitchen table” conversations about our different perspectives on the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the church and in God’s eyes.

As we speak together here, Dave and I are hoping that you will join us with your reflections. We hope that you will share your thoughts through comments here, building on what we share. We pray you will be blessed with insight and enjoy the respect you may not have experienced before from someone who disagrees with you.

To be honest, I am more an interviewer here that a conversationalist. My goal is to draw you into the dialogue with David by inviting him to share his story with us. I will join in by replying to your comments, of course.

I was certainly provoked by several of Dave’s comments, as I trust you will be.

To give you a sense of what David shares here–tweaking your interest a bit–I offer these short sections from the transcript of our conversation. May it inspire you to want to hear more!

His faith journey

I found my religious passion largely through Young Life, an evangelical youth organization. . . . . So my sister gave me a Bible that I could mark myself, and I think my conscious journey of faith, of growing closer to God through Jesus Christ, started there.

Wisdom for his daughter

If we don’t like what the Bible says but we believe the Bible says it, we can’t just decide that we’re not going to agree in that term and if she thinks that her fellowship is wrong about homosexuality being a sin, she needs to convince herself that the Bible supports her position.

Present reflection on Scripture

When we say “Love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10),” my eyes are opening to, I think, what Jesus and Paul meant by that. . . . . There’s still the ten commandments and there’s still “Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14),” and that speaks volumes to me about sexuality. But it’s the divorcing of sexuality from love that is the problem.

Present reflection upon his son, Joel

And I don’t know if Joel is gay or bisexual. I do know that Joel calls himself gay and Joel is the only one who has the right to give himself that label, and so I accept it on those terms.

On his own sexuality

And when I’m in touch with how much God loves me just as I am, my questions about my own sexuality all settle down. They don’t go away but they settle down.

Welcome to this kitchen table of the Christian family! May you be inspired to join in now and many times to come.

Download the full transcript of my Kitchen Table Conversation with Dave.

10 Responses
  • Donna on July 30, 2013

    Hi Janet and David –

    Janet, what a great format! Love it!

    One reactionary thought I had was to David’s pointing out that Romans was primarily about lustful actions as opposed to being an outright condemnation of homosexual behavior (as is often interpreted). Can you expand more on that? I understand what David means but others may not.

    Thank you,


  • Janet Edwards on July 31, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    Thanks for your question, Donna. David has asked me to chare this on his behalf:

    Thanks, Donna, for asking. I must admit, that the one section of the interview I felt like I over-reached was in my treatment of Romans 1. Here’s what I think I think:

    When I was young, I read Romans 1 and all I could see was that homosexuality was clearly condemned in the passage. It certainly gave me a strong reason to resist the feelings I had inside me in that regard. As I have read more divergent books on this passage, I have simply come to believe that there is more than one way to read it. If Paul was talking about homosexual acts in the context of worship, as some believe, that is clearly a very different thing than two persons of the same gender seeking a permanent exclusive commitment. If Paul was talking about someone who is heterosexually-oriented seeking out a homosexual experience, as some have argued, that would also be something very different than a monogamous gay relationship among two persons who find themselves solely same-sex attracted. So, while we may disagree about what Paul was condemning, what I want to hold onto comes to me from Jenell Paris Williams’ wonderful book (on InterVarsity Press, no less!) “The End of Sexual Identity,” is the idea that just because sex is heterosexual doesn’t make it righteous or healthy, and just because sexuality may be homosexual doesn’t necessarily make it unrighteous or unhealthy. If I seek heterosexual sex with a woman and have no concern or love for her, or if I am not married to her, or if it is not consensual, that would not be pleasing to God. Those same criteria would certainly apply to homosexual sexual acts. This is the larger context I was referring to when I kind of “jumped” to the idea that “it’s the separation of sex and love that’s the problem.”

    So, I’m not sure I have THE correct interpretation of Romans 1 by any means. And I know that homosexual expression outside of my marriage to Barbara would be deeply harmful to her and displeasing to my loving Creator. But if the church has been able to take a more enlightened and thoughtful view on some of the “face value” passages of Paul around the role of women in marriage, the church, and society, it shouldn’t be that difficult to allow for divergent readings of this text as well. And at this point in my journey, I would rather err on the side of grace and inclusion than on the side of judgment and exclusion. Even if I’m wrong, and homosexuality per se is not God’s design, I know that it is better to encourage gay monogamy and commitment and fidelity than to consign anyone who finds themselves “gay” to the kind of closeted and judged existence that was so common and accepted and even sometimes encouraged by the church only a few years ago.

  • Donna on August 2, 2013

    Thank you so much David! I wholeheartedly agree about the views on Paul. Thanks again…& best wishes on your continued journey!


  • Bill on August 12, 2013

    Hello David,

    What “IF” God in all his power was able to insure that the Bible your reading from said exactly what he means for it to say. No interpretation needed, just read the words and that is the meaning. What would your opinion of Romans 1 be then? ( if God could do that)….


  • Janet Edwards on August 14, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    May this find you well. David Brewton asked me to post this reply on his behalf. We both look forward to your reply.


    Of course, God could communicate very clearly through the words at face value in His Word, and in fact He does so consistently. God’s Word is a consistent witness to God’s love, character, faithfulness, action in history, justice, and mercy. There are many many things about which God’s Word is exceedingly clear, well summarized in the Apostle’s Creed. And more than that on which I am sure we would agree.

    But Godly Christian people through the ages have not always been able to agree on where the Bible is clear and where it isn’t. We must be careful not to claim more for the Scriptures than they claim for themselves. And there is danger on both sides: danger in assuming a rigid judgmental spirit in thinking that one’s reading of the Bible would require obedience to every Old Testament proscription, or worse, in imagining that our cultural manifestations of obedience to a principle were somehow universal; and there is danger in fearing to take any stand at all on moral issues for fear that the Scriptures are not clear on anything.

    I may be wrong in my reading of Romans 1. It may be as clear as countless faithful Christians have determined it to be, and as I sometimes still think it is. But our reading of this passage, or the scant number of passages that address homosexuality in the Scriptures couldn’t possibly rise to the level of a central tenet of the faith on which we must all agree, could it?

    Humbly yours,


  • Bill on August 22, 2013

    Thanks for your response David. I want to post more thoughts and questions but I’ve been busy lately. I did see this today, and wonder where it will all end.

  • Carol Holland on December 17, 2013

    Very interesting to read both sides of the discussion about the authenticity of
    every word of the Bible. Each side could point out “proof texts” to back up
    their thinking. But that kind of argument is truly tedious and usually does
    not convince anyone.

  • Bill on December 22, 2013

    Hi Carol
    Interesting comment. Most interesting to me though, is that so many declare to be believers in Christ, and will declare “if Jesus said it” I believe it. Then they ignore,twist,or disregard anything they dont like if it comes from Paul or whoever. But Jesus himself declared Scripture to be correct and unchanging. But that point seems to get lost…..a lot!

  • Janet Edwards on December 23, 2013

    Dear Carol and Bill,

    Thank you both for your comments.

    Carol, though I tend to agree with you, I find I have a bit of Charlie Brown in me–always expecting Lucy to hold that football until he kicks it–in my passion for dialogue with those who adamantly disagree with me. Each exchange is new, holding potential for both of us to see something we had not before.

    Bill, what struck me when I read your comment here is the fact that the Scripture Jesus was referring to was the Torah. Neither Paul nor his letters existed when Jesus taught. They became Scripture through a process of choices by the Christian community, inspired, we trust, by the Holy Spirit.

    The addition of the New Testament to Scripture was a monumental change to Scripture. I would say that the love of God is the fundamental message of Scripture and is unchanging. The complex reality of Scripture simply makes it impossible for me to say Scripture is “unchanging.”

    There is more that could be said. That is enough for further thought.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • Bill on December 24, 2013

    Hi Janet, Merry Xmas to you and yours….
    I would say you are half right when you said “the fact that the Scripture Jesus was referring to was the Torah. Neither Paul nor his letters existed when Jesus taught. They became Scripture through a process of choices by the Christian community, inspired, we trust, by the Holy Spirit.”.

    Jesus was, and is, and is to come. So Jesus the Son/God/Holy Spirit certainly knew what the final product of the written word would be ( The Holy Bible). And if the Bible is correct as I beleive it is, and scripture says it is,then Paul recieved his knowledge from Jesus as he said he did. Otherwise if the Bible isnt true and correct, how will we Christians ever agree and have unity that God desires? We can’t if the word is changing…right?
    The fact that the Christian community chose what scripture to include in the final product has nothing to do with its inerrantcy. “If” the Holy Spirit exists and I believe he does and so should every person who calls Jesus “Lord”. The Father,Son, and Holy Spirit cannot be at odds with each other. A House divided if you will.

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