Dear Non-LGBT-affirming Christians, please search your hearts

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I’ve just seen a news article showing the faces of those killed in the Pulse Night Club on Saturday night.

Have you seen it?

Face after face; beautiful, young, LGBT+ people, their eyes full of light and life.

Lives so precious, unique, fragile, sacred.

Each one reflecting the image of their Creator.

Each one a beloved son or daughter. Their loss is a gaping wound, a searing pain, an everlasting ache.


LGBT+ people around the world are feeling the impact of the Orlando shooting deeply. They are mourning the deaths of these people as if they were family, connected somehow by invisible but unbreakable strands.

This is because they know. 

They know what it’s like to be despised for who they are.

They have felt the hatred in the cold glances and suspicious stares.

They know how it feels to have disapproval and disgust pushed down upon them like a suffocating pillow.

They have felt the fear of physical attack.


Non-LGBT-affirming Christian, I know you know this. 

I know you are outraged by this shooting. I know you feel the anguish and pain of the friends and families and are praying for them.

But when you say that you “love the sinner, hate the sin”, or offer condolences with the qualification that you “don’t agree with homosexuality”, do you realise what you are doing?

You are preventing people from being fully alive.

In trying to save people from their sin, you are oppressing them.

You are marring the image of God.

Sexuality or gender is not something we can separate ourselves from. As human beings, it is a vital, intentional, beautiful part of who we are. And it comes in many, many glorious colours.


Non-LGBT-affirming Christian, can you be absolutely sure that your views are not shaped by a watered-down, far less extreme version of the same prejudice that murdered those fifty people?

Because the Bible teaches far more clearly on divorce and remarriage than it does on homosexuality.

If you accept one, what is stopping you from accepting the other?

I will freely admit, I am still prejudiced. When I see two men kissing, it makes me uncomfortable. This is because it is something I am not used to – I am naturally prejudiced against those who are fundamentally different to me in some way.

I am aware of my prejudice. It is an unsightly smudge on my worldview that I am in the process of scrubbing off.

Just because something makes me feel uncomfortable, doesn’t make it wrong. It makes it different.

We human beings are such wonderfully complex creatures, displaying such an array of colours and intricate patterns as to reflect the glory of the divine.

We are made to love one another, forging relationships and journeying onwards together in peace and joy, reflecting the sacred communal dance of the divine.

We were not made to be forced into boxes.

We were never meant to all be the same.


Non-LGBT-affirming Christian, I know you genuinely believe that being non-affirming is the most loving thing.

But I ask you please to spend some time thinking about the effect your views may be having on people. Maybe even people you know and see regularly.

Maybe you could take time to read some stories of Christians who have attempted to change their sexuality, like Vicky Beeching, Kevin Garcia or Justin Lee, or many others Google will happily share with you. These are the survivors, the lucky ones whose stories didn’t end in suicide.


In the wake of this horrifying tragedy, let us search our hearts and seek to make a better world, for all people.

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On Today Of All Days: A letter to LGBT+ people in the wake of the Orlando shootings

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On today of all days, there are some things I need you to know.

You are a remarkable, endlessly fascinating and astonishingly beautiful creation.

Every breath you take, every moment of your life is infinitely precious and you are loved more than you will ever know.

And you are entitled to fall in love with, kiss, hold hands with, marry, have babies with and grow old with whoever you like.


On today of all days, I want the many faces of prejudice to be shamed and ridiculed.

From violent hatred to “love the sinner, hate the sin”, or “I’m sorry for the victims and their families but still don’t agree with homosexuality”… 

I want every hateful word and every thinly veiled prejudice to be exposed and despised.

I want to fast-forward to the day when our descendants will look back on our ignorance in disbelief and disgust.


On today of all days, I am so sorry.

I am sorry that I have been part of a system that may have led you to believe that there is something wrong with you.

I am sorry if you have been made to feel guilty for being who you are.

I am sorry if my ignorance and inaction have directly or indirectly led to your suffering.


On today of all days, I want you to have a voice.

I want you to shout from the rooftops that you have as much right to life, love and happiness as anyone else. In many cases you are probably more deserving of it.

I want you to be fiercely proud of who you are.

I want you to never stop fighting for your rights and your freedom.


On today of all days, I promise to fight for you.

I promise that I will do the best I can to work for real, lasting change in our world.

I will fight on behalf of those who have already been lost to violent hatred or suicide.

And I will fight for those who right now are trapped, lonely, afraid, in danger, depressed or suicidal, so that they may be free to live and love as they were created to.

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A Deeper Magic: Love Demands No Punishment

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Atonement theories like Penal Substitution and Christus Victor are not exactly the most straightforward concepts to grasp. Many of you are probably still wondering why I’m making such a fuss.

So instead of wrestling with more complex Biblical analyses or adding more points to my argument, grab your fur coat and join me on a magical adventure into Narnia.

I’ll tell a REALLY brief version of the story, explaining the Christian symbolism as we go, to set us up for the important bit at the end.

(Even after hearing the story countless times, this realisation blew my mind a little bit.)


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis – The Story and the Symbolism

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy stumble across a wardrobe which takes them to the magical land of Narnia. They soon discover that Narnia is being ruled by an evil queen, the White Witch, who is keeping the land in a perpetual winter.

A bit like the idea that the world and everything in it is under the power of “sin” and needs rescuing.

It as been foretold that she will lose her power when four humans become kings and queens of Narnia, so as soon as she hears of the children’s presence in Narnia, she does all she can to capture them. The great lion Aslan, the rightful ruler of Narnia, has not been seen for many years but is now rumoured to be “on the move” again.

Aslan is the Jesus figure. (Stating the obvious I know, stay with me…)

Edmund meets the White Witch, who tempts him with enchanted Turkish Delight and tricks him into betraying his brother and sisters. But when he fails to bring them to her, she is furious and threatens to kill him. The other children go to find Aslan, who orders a rescue mission and brings Edmund back safely to his camp.

The White Witch comes to Aslan’s camp, claiming that according to “the deep magic from the dawn of time”, laws placed at the creation of Narnia by the “Emperor-beyond-the-Sea”,  a traitor in Narnia is her rightful kill.

The Emperor-beyond-the-Sea is the Creator, Father God figure. The “deep magic” is like the laws of divine justice and retribution that Christians talk about, when they say God has no choice but to punish sin – that He doesn’t want to but it’s just the way things are.

Aslan snarls, “Do not cite the Deep Magic to me, Witch. I was there when it was written.”

That has to be one of the coolest lines in any book ever.

Aslan secretly does a deal with the Witch where he offers his own life in Edmund’s place. That night Aslan sneaks off to the Stone Table where the Witch and her evil creatures humiliate, torture and kill him.

Aslan gives his life for Edmund, like Jesus giving his life for us on the cross…

The next day as Lucy and Susan are about to leave his dead body, the Stone Table cracks and Aslan miraculously comes back to life.

…and then rising from the dead on the third day.

And here’s the really interesting bit. 

When Lucy and Susan ask Aslan the meaning of what has happened, he explains:

“Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

So here’s the thing.

If C.S. Lewis had believed in the Penal Substitution theory of the atonement, there would have been no “deeper magic”, and it would have been the ‘Emperor-over-the-Sea’ demanding the sacrifice, not the White Witch.

The Emperor, Aslan’s father and the Creator of Narnia, would have been bound by the laws of retribution and vengeance – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – so would have had no choice but to kill either Edmund or Aslan, even though he loved them both.

But in this story it is the White Witch, the embodiment of evil, demanding the kill. She gets her kill but is tricked…

“Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know.”

So what is this deeper magic?

Love. Sacrificial, self-denying love. It is this that cracks the stone table and causes Death itself to start working backwards.

Love is more powerful than retribution.

Love demands no punishment.

Love is not bound by the law.

Love sets us free, no strings attached.

Love brings us life.

Love is the deepest and most powerful force in the universe.

Love is at the centre of Reality, and is the fundamental characteristic of the Divine.

And Penal Substitutionary Atonement, still the dominant interpretation of the meaning of Christianity, fiercely defended by many, would disagree.


This story fits with the ‘ransom’ theory of the atonement, and still contains the idea of God paying a price, substituting himself for us. The main difference between this and Penal Substitution is that it is not God who is being paid. This is a VERY significant distinction, not least because it repaints the character of God. This is closely related to the ‘Christus Victor’ theory – currently growing in popularity, which suggests that Jesus died to break the power of sin and death, and ultimately defeat it. They are still just theories attempting to explain an inexplicable mystery, but arguably far more healthy, reasonable and Biblically accurate theories than Penal Substitution, and much closer in meaning to what the first Christians would have understood.


Read my entire Atonement Series here.

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Photo by (C)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) (Own work (Own Picture)) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons