Breakout sessions are an opportunity to go more in-depth into a topic of special interest. As part of our online e3 conference, we are offering four opportunities to learn from scholars, ministers, parents, and LGBTQ+ Christians. These sessions will take place live at scheduled times:
Friday, Oct. 23
Session A: 10:15 - 11:30 am
Session B: 1:00 - 2:15 pm
Session C: 2:30 - 3:45 pm
Registration is required to participate in breakout sessions. Don't miss out!
Saturday, Oct. 24
Session D: 10:00 - 11:15 am
Exploring Scripture & Sexuality
Choosing to Affirm the Humanity of Others in Genesis 1-4
Dr. Charles Rix
We injure others when we deny their fundamental God-created humanity and uniqueness. In light of post-Holocaust (Shoah) reflection, we kill another person when we treat them according to "who we think they should be," or "who we wish they were," rather than according to "who they are." This presentation argues for the biblical ethic raised in Genesis 4 to "keep our brothers and sisters;" affirming life through choosing to affirm their humanity. Once awakening to the difference between good and evil in Genesis 3, humanity declared "good" in Genesis 1 must now learn to make "good" rather than "evil" choices. In the context of gender and sexuality, "Keeping" another means choosing to stand up for their humanity: their God-created goodness, dignity, value, and worth.
Behind the Looking Glass: Re-reading Romans Through a Hermeneutic of Love
Romans 1 is perhaps the crucial text for arguing against biblical “legitimacy” of queer Christian identity. Re-reading Romans through a hermeneutic of love challenges assumptions about Paul’s rhetorical intent for Romans 1, where he ignites familiar polemic against idol worshippers with homoerotic fire. Throughout the letter, Paul subtly deploys imagery and ideas from chapter 1 as a foil for convicting and transforming minds habituated to loving only sameness, culminating in a challenge that welcome and union must characterize those who consider themselves the people of God: difference lovingly, intentionally ingrafted. Romans 1 requires reading beyond surface reflection to discern how Christians are implicated and how implications of this re-reading result in renewal of mind, a renewed way of thinking about queer Christian identity.
Constructing a Christian Sexual Ethic: Is There Room for Same-Sex Relationships?
Is there anything new to say in the debate on same-sex relationships? The answer is yes! This workshop will examine the Bible and sexuality broadly before discussing tools for constructing a Christian sexual ethic, including how to apply Scripture to the question of same-sex relationships. We will explore what the biblical authors believed about sex in their historical-cultural context, methods of biblical interpretation, and how to construct an ethical framework.
Forming Families Among the People of God
Dr. Richard Wright
An important topic raised in conversations regarding the LGBTQ+ community and the church concerns what the Bible has to say about families. This session will call attention to some of the variety of family structures illustrated in the biblical texts, reflecting different times and cultural norms and values. Dr. Wright will also begin to unpack what the Bible says about families and whether the values discovered in these texts require a particular structure for them to be embodied.
Same-Sex Sexuality and Christian Faith - Surveying the Field
Dr. Vic McCracken
Christians today encounter wide-ranging, conflicting perspectives on the topic of sexual ethics and same-sex sexuality. Some Christians believe same-sex sexuality to be a sinful distortion of God's created order. Other Christians believe that same-sex relationships can manifest the fruits of God's spirit and should be affirmed by the Christian community. This session will orient participants to the larger conversation in Christian ethics pertaining to same-sex sexuality, attending to the primary biblical texts that factor into disagreements about Christian sexual ethics and the hermeneutical lenses that Christians employ to make sense of the biblical text.
Biblical interpretation: A Bigger Picture
Dr. Megan DeFranza
A more in-depth exploration of the biblical passages Dr. DeFranza presents in her Keynote along with principles for biblical interpretation in conversation with scientific advances. Dr. DeFranza shares how the complexity of human biological sex development both challenges and shines new light on biblical passages that can transform Christian conversations about sex, gender, and sexuality.
The Bible is Clear...Right?
Many Christians consider the biblical text to be the central and final authority in matters of faith and life. So what does the bible say (or NOT say) about sexuality, particularly LGBTQ+ sexuality? This session will explore and ask questions about some of the most commonly discussed biblical passages.
For Parents & Families of LGBTQ+ Folks
Learning to Love: Perspectives of a Pastor and Parent of a Same-Sex Attracted Child
How do you stay grounded in truth while showing love? Everyday, people close to us make decisions that create tension and an uncomfortableness. But because Jesus beautifully interferes with our understanding of how we live, you and I can make a better choice.
What I Wish I'd Known About My Transgender Child
Hear from four mothers who share their journeys of learning to parent their transgender children.
The Altrocks' Story: Raising a Gay Son While Preaching for a Conservative Church
Chris & Kendra Altrock
Surviving and thriving in the midst of stressors and pressures that attack families is never easy. This is all the more true when those challenges come from the church itself. Chris and Kendra will share the story of raising their son Jacob as he encountered and overcome homophobia in multiple forms while growing up in the South in a conservative church and in a Christian high school.
What Happens When the Preacher's Child Comes Out?
Four fathers share their experiences of serving in full-time ministry when a child came out as LGBTQ.
Discipleship for LGBTQ+ Christians
Is the Gospel Really All-Inclusive?
This session will cover the challenging theological tension that many in the LGBTQ community have struggled and wrestled with. Can someone who is LGBTQ be saved and still remain LGBTQ? Do we have to abandon our communities, our families, those we love, and our identities in order to pick up the mantle of faith and walk with God? What does the Word of God really say on this topic? These are the questions that will be addressed as we look at the scriptures through the lens of biblical hermeneutics. Those who wrestle with the scriptures and how this all works would benefit from this session.
Stay the Storm: Creating and Maintaining Peace
Participants should leave the session with the ability to create peace, even when stressed, confused, worried, or in despair, through prayer, Scripture, and verbal affirmation and proclamation.
Karen Keen & Sally Gary
For so many LGBTQ people, scripture has more often been used to condemn, heaping shame and justifying rejection from loved ones. Understandably, simply the thought of reading the Bible can trigger painful emotions now associated with those memories. In this session, Karen Keen and Sally Gary will help us experience the joy of reading scripture again, helping us to see that scripture is a source of life and renewal for the LGBTQ community.
Ministry to the LGBTQ+ Community
Grounded in Love: Spiritual Practices for Those Feeling Ungrounded
Covid-19. Racial injustice. Religious abuse. Family tensions. We’re living in stressful and anxious times. There is, however, a peace that can guard our hearts and minds (Phil. 4) and a love in which we can be rooted and grounded (Eph. 3) so that we can find stability and security. Chris Altrock will guide you in several spiritual exercises which will empower you to be grounded deeply in God’s love no matter what comes your way.
Hospitality as Witness
How could a theology of hospitality change our understanding of witness? How could it lead us to cultivate a trauma-informed and faithful presence? Hospitality invites us into solidarity with the suffering and marginalized, and leads us into a mutual relationship of compassion and generosity where we share in the struggle for dignity, worth, and empowerment, and together experience the fullness of life as God intends.
Student Ministers: Are you Equipped to Care for Your LGBTQ+ Students?
If you think you don’t have LGBTQ+ students in your youth group, think again. And if someone hasn’t come out to you yet, they will. Are you prepared to respond? Because your response will play a huge role in how that student perceives church, and ultimately how they view God. Learn from three student ministers who may not have all the answers, but who know how to love well.
Mirrors, Windows and Doors: Seeing and Connecting through Children’s Literature
Dr. Dana Kennamer
Rudine Simms Bishop (1990) describes books as mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors. They provide a way for us to see ourselves and others, and when the used well, can provide a door for us to connect with each other. A growing number of beautiful, high-quality children’s books are being published that include the LGBTQ community in powerfully inclusive ways. In this session participants will have the opportunity to explore some of these books and consider how they can be used to assist families and faith communities in the journey of Christian hospitality.
The Harms of Reparative Therapy
The focus of this session is to help parents, family members, and clergy recognize meaningful versus harmful forms of treatment for their LGBTQIA+ loved ones. During this session, attendees will hear a panel discussion with several Christian licensed professionals addressing the use and harm of Reparative Therapy and other Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE). The panelists will also offer alternatives to such therapies. A Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.
The Sometimes Forgotten T in LGBTQ: Being Hospitable To Transgender Folks
Dr. Chris Doran
While the LGBTQ community is already a minority in our society, transgender folks are minority of a minority. The session seeks to provide a pathway forward to discussing trans-related topics by employing the Christian virtue of hospitality in new, important ways. By being hospitable to our transgender sisters and brothers, we are not only called to stand in solidarity with them, but we are also called to sacrifice preconceived notions that prevent us from inviting trans individuals to God's table.
Amid a Global Pandemic, Is There Still Room for Churches to Talk About Sexuality?
Amid the global pandemic and the season of racial reckoning, it seems like the limited conversations churches were beginning to have about LGBTQ members and human sexuality have been pushed aside for another day. That doesn’t mean the issue has gone away, however. In fact, the pandemic and virtual church together have provided a new opportunity for those who identify in the LGBTQ community to “visit” churches and figure out where they’ll be welcome when church doors open again. Mark Wingfield brings together the intensive experience of one large church that had this discussion well before the pandemic with his observations as an editor on the front lines of faith conversations today.
From Shame to Acceptance - How One Conservative Christian came to Affirm LGBTQ+ People
Like so many others, Don grew up in the church and found himself realizing that he is gay. By sharing his story of ex-gay therapy, marriage, and coming out, he examines the problems of an unaffirming position. He will explore the difficulties associated with "ex-gay" testimonies, why debating about this topic isn’t helpful, and consider how our cultural lens influences the way we understand the Bible. Don will share resources that helped him come to an affirming position and facilitate discussions about how to take these resources and apply them in our individual context of service of home, church, small group, and more. We will also practice how to dialogue with others that disagree with us.