June is Pride month. You’ve probably already spotted the Pride rainbow appearing in various places, and many towns and cities will be hosting Pride events this month and over the summer.
As Christians, many of us aren’t sure what to think about Pride month. On the one hand, we want to love people well, stand up for human rights and stand against bad treatment of people made in the image of God. But on the other hand, we believe that God has given us good guidelines for sexuality and gender that contrast sharply with so much of what is celebrated in our culture. With both these sides in mind, many of us are left unsure what to think and how to respond.
We thought it might be helpful to bring together some of our resources that might be helpful if Pride month raises those sorts of questions for you.
Christian responses to Pride
Over the past couple of years, we’ve posted a few reflections on Pride.
In ‘How I Feel About Pride’, I write about the surprising answer I found myself giving when a friend asked me how I felt about LGBTQ+ pride.
Last year, a Tweet from Rebecca McLaughlin got me thinking again. She wrote:
What if the most countercultural thing that Christians can do in pride month is be humble?
Humility may not be the first response we think of when it comes to approaching Pride month as a Christian, but I think Rebecca’s tweet is a helpful provocation. I’ve reflected more on that idea in ‘Humility in Pride’.
Some of us will face very practical questions this month: are we going to wear a rainbow lanyard at work when encouraged to do so, for example? Ed has written a helpful piece explaining how different people in his church community have wrestled with that question and reached different conclusions, and why he thinks that’s ok.
Dealing with shame
Shame is often something that attaches to experiences of sexuality and gender. One of the big themes of LGBTQ+ Pride is tackling shame.
We’ve got two articles that directly engage with the topic of shame – ‘Gay Shame and Jesus’ by Greg Johnson and ‘How Can I Find Freedom from Shame?’ by Rob Wood. Both help us explore how the gospel is the true answer to shame. Both writers also discussed the topic when they featured in our Meet the Authors podcast series (Greg’s episode; Rob’s episode).
The Living Out team talk about shame in an episode of our Explore Question podcast series: ‘Will I Ever Feel at East With Myself and My Sexuality?’.
I’ve reviewed Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy by Matthew Todd, an exploration of the problem of gay shame by a secular author. In the review, I share why I found Todd’s book helpful and how I think we can give a Christian response to the reality of shame among the LGBTQ+ community.
Inclusivity is one of the prominent themes of Pride. What does inclusivity look like in a Christian vision?
Anne’s article ‘What Does it Mean to Be a Truly Inclusive Church?’ helpfully explores the concept of ‘inclusive church’ and what biblical inclusivity looks like.
As Christians, we want to be like Jesus. What can we learn from him about inclusivity and making the church a safe space? Here’s a blog that explores these questions: ‘Is My Church Safe for LGBT+ People?’.
We’ve also got our Church Audit which is a tool designed to help churches think about how biblically inclusive they are. And we used one of our recent podcast series to explore the points of the audit in more detail.
Some people choose Pride month as a time to come out – sharing about their experience of sexuality or gender.
If you are thinking of coming out or if someone comes out to you, this article has some advice you may find helpful: ‘Coming Out – Some Advice for Christians’.
I’ve also written a blog exploring how the aftermath of coming out is a bit like the experience of Goldilocks. You’ll have to go and read it to find out how!
Understanding identity and sexuality
The big themes of Pride are identity and sexuality.
The intersection of identity and sexuality is something I’ve explored in my book Finding Your Best Identity: A Short Christian Introduction to Identity, Sexuality and Gender. You can hear about that in this podcast episode.
The best introduction to a Christian understanding of sexuality is Ed’s article ‘What is Sexuality For?’, or the more substantial exploration of that question in his book Purposeful Sexuality. There’s also a podcast episode in which the Living Out team discuss the matter of what sexuality is about.
We hope you find these resources helpful as you think about Pride month. And of course – as always – you can find loads more resources on our website. Head to the Resources page to find what you’re looking for.