DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

What’s Happening at ESPN?

Written by: on May 27, 2014

Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Brittney Grinner and Robbie Rogers – athletes who “came out” in the most difficult environment, professional sports; football, basketball and soccer respectively.  The conversation has begun in one of the last bastions of heterosexual life – ESPN.  But the church can even become a more hostile environment.

America is becoming more and more polarized in politics and also in religion.  We don’t take time to listen to the other side because we’re too busy preaching our point of view.  I long for the days when the evangelical umbrella was larger and encompassed many differing viewpoints while adhering to a common dogma.

Dave Thompson in Over Coffee attempts to bring us back to a time in which we could agree to disagree and back to a time of respect and common courtesy – valuing the opinions of others.

As this book paralleled parts of my thesis work, I felt a quick interview was essential.  Here are some excerpts of my skype call with Dave.

Dave’s story is similar to many others who have grown up in a conservative Christian environment, struggled with a God who condemned him to hell, wandered for years, and finally come back to faith but with a different perspective on the Bible.

Relating to my own reality, he helped me understand family relations and the behavior that is exemplified by many gays.  His research has shown that as gays “come out,” they are emerging for the first time, living life as they truly are.  Since this wasn’t possible during their childhood, many experience life as if it were new and fresh – like a kid in Jr. High – wanting to experience all of the stupid things of life, allowing for little consequences.

Families need to consider them new siblings or children.  These aren’t the persons who were raised by a parent, but, it’s rather like adopting a grown son or daughter.

He follows Andrew Marin’s lead in trying to develop a new conversation, one in which each side is open to talk, disagree and come to joint conclusions that God needs to be present in the life of a gay person – and the church can help.  I did feel that his arguments in the book were simple, but his reasoning was that conservative pastors won’t read books that argue the point Biblical, but they will read this small “conversation.”

Over Coffee is a great first read for a pastor or leader who finds themselves confronted by the questions of “what to do” upon discovering gays who want to become involved in the life of the church or in ministry.  Perhaps that’s all it takes in the North West or more secular areas of America.  But more explanation, discussion and biblical exegesis is needed when these same questions arise in the Bible Belt and more conservative areas.

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Phil Smart

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