Friday, May 5, 2017

Rainbow Ready, Responding to the LGBTQ Culture with Grace and Truth, CMDS National Conference, 2017

Dr. Ted Fenske presented a remarkably complete and well rounded presentation of Christian physician interface with what I’ll call, Straight meets Queer.  I rudely came late but was truly impressed.The take home point was that to him homosexuality and all matters of gay culture were not a reflection of sexual brokenness in any special way but rather as part of a continuum of humaness and sin.  Christians hold that lifelong monogamous married loving sex and family are  biblical.  So Dr. Fenske pointed out that ‘Serial monogamy and promiscuity’ are no different as sin.  The Biblical bar is rather high. We are humans. There’s hope and grace.  The issue was that we as physicians are not there to judge and exclude but to include and  treat disease. He pointed out the high rates of suicide,  infectious disease, PTSD and violence in this community. I’d argue that much of this is simply the consequence of addiction.  He emphasized the need for physicians to treat the ill not judge them.  We have always done this. The idea that we ‘hate’ gays" is media driven narrative, a kind of fake news when it comes to Christian physicians.  We have always worked and served in the gay culture.  He reflected on our role in the Aids epidemic.  He went on to discuss the difficulties transexuals encountered.  Always he spoke with compassion and concern.
The Question and Answer period was really interesting.  Several Christian physicians worked in inner city clinics and spoke of their appreciation of the professional relationships and patients they had in the  gay culture. As someone who has been called heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transvestite, divorced, serial monogamist, promiscuous,  and worst of all a sinner.  I felt strangely at home with this group of humble clinicians who appeared so much holier than me, not that I felt any less a clinician or a doctor even though I know the closer I am to Jesus the better I am a healer.   I shared how I’d corrected one gay man who insisted  that doing drugs was  being gay.  It was just good medicine to refer him to a treatment centre run by a gay counsellor in long term recovery.  I might not struggle with lust  as much as I do with the  Hagen Daz,   but I didn’t feel the  judgement in the air that I feel sometimes among those who insist they are for diversity.  But only if one is diverse like them.  The doctors who spoke seemed as  aware of their own brokenness in different ways as I am ever aware of my own. I didn’t see scapegoating here.    The take home message I most enjoyed was the goal was holiness not heterosexuality. Make Jesus the issue.

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