By Clappstar (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Clappstar (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Eugene Peterson has changed his view of the LGBT community

Eugene Peterson is renowned worldwide for The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. As an authoritative figure in the church, his opinion on the current issues in the church matters. These hot-button issues include same-sex relationships and marriage.

In his translation of the Bible, Peterson did not mention the words homosexuality or homosexuals, which made his stance on the issue unclear. However, when asked about it in an interview, Peterson acknowledged that he now supports same-sex relationships and marriages. In fact, Peterson said if a gay couple asked to him to officiate their marriage, he would do so. According to him, being gay does not make members of the same-sex community any less Christian.

However, Peterson revealed he had not always been as open to the idea of same-sex marriage as he is today. He explained that in the past, he had not encountered anyone who was attracted to a member of the same sex. Having not met any openly gay couple, he did not understand them. Over the years, however, Petersen realized the same-sex community was wider than he thought. As he moved around on his evangelical missions, he encountered churches where members were in openly same-sex relationships. He saw that members of those churches did not discriminate against those in the LGBT community. He even came to know some Christians in same-sex relationships who “…seem to have as good a spiritual life” as he does. Peterson believes that debate over.

Seeing gays in other churches and seeing them accepted is not what spurred Peterson to change his mind, however. That happened when he witnessed same-sex relationships in his own Presbyterian congregation. He gave an anecdote of the first time one of his church’s members came out; “There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, ‘I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.’ ”

Peterson recounts being surprised, the other congregants took the announcement in stride. The young man was not discriminated. Since then, Peterson has accepted gays and wouldn’t mind endorsing them.

Peterson thinks the church’s inclusion of gays is a big change and for the better. According to him, Christians should make an effort to accept gays into their churches because simply put; they are all Christians. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ Christian. 

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