LGBTQ+ and the Bible: Interview with Pastor Sam Jones
I set out on this adventure as a personal development project. I knew that, at some point, I would approach the subject of how the Bible, and those who believe in it, see homosexuality.
Our local pridefest is this week, so I’m skipping a few daily reading posts to discuss the topic from a variety of angles. I’m not claiming to represent the entire LGBTQ+ community. These are my opinions and beliefs and I’m not going to pretend they apply to an entire group of people.
Today’s video (which will likely be the longest one I ever do) is an interview with Pastor Sam Jones of Faith Baptist Church in Hudson, Iowa. He and I have completely (and admittedly) different views on homosexuality and the role of a church in the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.
However, I thought it was really important to sit down and have this conversation. I learned about Pastor Sam through social media and, after a little background research, approached him to have and record this conversation. I was comfortable, based on my research, that he and I could have a civil conversation without our different viewpoints around this emotionally charged topic being a barrier.
I’m incredibly happy with the conversation. We actually talked for another 30 or 40 minutes after recording as well. I think it’s important to be able to sit down across from someone with differing ideas than you and talk with mutual respect. And that’s what we did.
Now I have a better understanding of where he’s coming from. I still disagree with it, but I can better understand it. And I hope he feels the same. I know he still disagrees with me, but I’d like to think he understands me and my viewpoints a little better.
Turn Anger into Understanding
When I first heard Pastor Sam sharing his views on social media, I was filled with anger. I was so upset that someone could feel the need to save our souls just because of who we’re attracted to or how we identify. I let my anger fester for a few days. And I didn’t like that feeling. So I reframed it.
Most of my anger came from not understanding how someone could still hold beliefs that I saw as old-school and intolerant. So I took that curiosity and I did something about it. I reached out to Pastor Sam for an interview, laying out that my views were different and that I wanted an open conversation, and he immediately said yes. No questions asked.
We both walked into the conversation knowing that we’d leave with the same convictions we walked in with. I knew I wasn’t going to convince him that homosexuality isn’t a sin (nor did I try), and he knew he wasn’t going to change my gay-ness (nor did he try).
I know the video is long, but I’d recommend taking the chance to watch it through. No matter which “side” you fall on, or how you feel about the topic, I think everyone can learn a little something from watching. I mean, I’m biased; it’s my content, after all. But I know what the conversation did for me, and I hope watching can help others.
Clarification on Gender
There is one thing I want to clarify from the discussion. We skimmed right over it and moved onto other topics and during the interview didn’t feel like the right time to circle back (I mean, come on, it’s already 40 minutes).
Pastor Sam discussed gender identity as being fixed when we were talking about whether homosexuality is a choice. This is another point we disagree on, but again, the conversation just naturally moved along to another topic. I believe “sex” refers to the biological factors like reproductive parts, hormones, and all the other science stuff. However, I think “gender” refers to how you identify. And I believe gender is a spectrum and not limited to just male and female. It’s not that black and white.
Again, a point we disagree on, but I needed to clarify my standpoint there.
While I’m on the topic of gender, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of exposure to the transgender world. I’m learning and continuing to get involved in all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, but I am aware of how my approach to this topic focuses on sexual orientation as opposed to gender identity. It’s what I know.
Share Your Thoughts
As always, if there are sources I should read that will help me explore this topic, please share. It’s a monster of an issue and hard to sift through what’s out there.
I’m excited to see the conversation around this topic. However, no hateful, derogatory, offensive, or otherwise aggressive comments will be accepted. Be nice. You can share your thoughts in the comments below, or, as always, you can send me a private message. This is an emotionally charged topic and many of you will want to keep your thoughts off a public platform.
You can read and listen to more of Pastor Sam’s viewpoints at The Shining Light Ministries.