Houston and Homosexuality in a world of Sound Bites and Tribalism

Brian Houston
Photo Courtesy: Christian Post

I’m not a huge fan of Brian Houston (if you want to know why, ask me about the sermon on Matthew 21 where he encouraged listeners to ‘loose the donkey’ in their life). And I’m not a huge fan of Hillsong, a movement that has welcomed and endorsed people who are “widely recognised as false teachers and deniers of key doctrine”.

Yet over the weekend, I noticed a number of people (including some of my friends) getting very worked up about comments Brian Houston made on the topic of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. You can read a transcript of his comments, a couple of the subsequent reports, and a clarification issued by Hillsong. You can also listen to the audio of the press conference here. Continue reading

Is God Homophobic? (Spoiler Alert: No, he’s not)

An edited version of a talk delivered on campus at the University of Canterbury in August 2014

I thought I’d begin this article with a worship song – not a worship song about God, the kind that some of us are used to singing at church on Sundays. This is a worship song about something different: sex.

If you pay attention to the content of a lot of music today, it becomes obvious: we are taught to worship sex. And it’s not just music; it’s also TV, movies, and other forms of pop culture. Sex is depicted as an ultimate goal, something to chase after and live for. Not having sex makes you a loser, but having (great) sex makes you a winner. Pursuing sex, at the expense of other things, is a worthy goal. Continue reading

The Top Ten of 2013

Top TenIt’s that time when, apparently, bloggers post ‘best-of’ lists from the year that’s past. So here we go. These are the top ten most viewed posts from Every Thought Captive in 2013.

10. A Breaking Bad Idea: I took some heat (some of it justified) for this rumination on whether or not Christians should watch shows like Breaking Bad. I’m glad it raised questions for people.

9. Depression and the Christian: A collection of resources for people dealing with (or helping those dealing with) this massive issue. Continue reading

When Prime Ministers Attack: Faith under (friendly) fire

What can we learn from the Australian Prime Minister throwing his own faith under the bus to win political points?

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.51.11 PMIn case you haven’t already heard, the Australian election campaign took an interesting turn this week when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on Q & A (a current affairs interview program in Australia) and was asked a question about ‘same-sex marriage’. Rudd went into full flight, launching a passionate defence of the change of heart that has seen him become a vocal proponent of what he calls ‘marriage equality’.

Continue reading

Religious freedom and grace to the vulnerable

Closing doorsOver the weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald posted this article about a bid to overturn NSW laws “allowing private schools to expel students simply because they are gay”.

You can read the article for yourself, but one of the key points it raised was the threat to freedom of religion and ethos for the schools in question. It’s a real issue – one to which I’m extremely sympathetic, and one that requires serious, ongoing thought in countries like New Zealand and Australia.

However, that’s not the only thing that caught my attention. As I read the article, I wondered: Why would any Christian school turn away a student solely because of that student’s sexuality? Continue reading

“Same-sex Marriage”: What I would have said

As I watched last night’s parliamentary debate, I started pondering what I would say if I were an MP with a chance to address the nation on this historic night. Sam Seaborn or Toby Zeigler I am not, but here’s what I came up with

RingsMr Speaker, as we meet tonight in this chamber, hundreds of thousands of people around the nation are watching and anticipating not just our decision, but our discussion. And so I’d like to address my comments to some of those who are watching tonight. Specifically, I’d like to directly address the members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities for whom tonight is so important. Indirectly, I’m also addressing the countless New Zealanders who share your hope that this bill will pass.

I must begin by saying that I oppose this bill, even though the horse has bolted and, clearly, this bill will pass. Why? Why oppose a bill that many have claimed is all about human rights, freedom and equality? Am I scared? Am I a homophobe, or a bigot? Am I just a bluff old traditionalist? Let me explain where I stand. Continue reading