the Real Healing Begin
A Call to Dialogue by the Bridges-Across Steering Committee
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Mitzi Henderson, keynote address to the 1994 Conference of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG):
"Genuine sharing about issues that we are jointly concerned about can build bridges across seemingly unbridgeable chasms. If we listen carefully to those who disagree with us, as we are asking them to listen to us, we may find ... we can find new avenues of understanding... we must continue to share our humanity with those with whom we disagree, and invite them to do the same."Because Mitzi Henderson’s speech was on the World Wide Web, an email conversation began, which led to a working group, then a website, then listserve lists, and now web forums. Participants include gays and lesbians, both gay and straight pro-gay activists, and men and women who, like SteveC, are leaders in Christian reorientation ministries.
Steve's presentation to the 1996 Canadian InterVarsity Leadership Conference in St Catherines, Ontario, Canada:
"In the debate about homosexuality there is a great divide. On one side are people who believe homosexual behaviour is not sinful. On the other are people like myself, who have a deep personal conviction that scripture tells us this is not the Creator’ intention for our sexuality.The spokespersons for Bridges-Across are Steve Schalchlin and Tom Cole. Schalchlin, an openly gay man, is the composer/lyricist of The Last Session. Cole, director of Reconciliation Ministries of Michigan, an affiliate of Exodus International, appears with his wife and children in a TV commercial which supports the possibility of change from gay to heterosexual.
"After I left the little Baptist bubble of East Texas and ventured forth as a gay person, I noticed two things:"Bridges-Across (B-A) is a revolution in dialogue. We come into the conversation with our positions on homosexuality already assumed. We accept the difference and then ask ourselves, ‘Now what?’"
Bridges of Respect by Mitzi Henderson http://www.critpath.org/pflag-talk/bridges.html
Develop a website which is a demilitarized zone in the culture war. Add email lists and web forums to establish relationships and enable honest discussion without invective. Develop trust between those who are out and proud and same-sex-attracted men and women who have chosen to live heterosexual or celibate lives. Find ways to work together to reduce bigotry and discrimination against same gender attracted people while respecting religious differences. And then, as the common ground and the possibilities begin to be understood, communicate the vision far and wide.