One of the people I hold in high regard is Tony Campolo. Tony is one of those guys in the Christian world that everyone has an opinion on. Same favor him and others don’t. He is a lightening rod of sorts and he speaks to issues that others ignore within the church.
Tony, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern College in suburban Philadelphia, is one reason that I pursued Sociology as a second major in college. As a high school student, after reading one of his books, I sat down and wrote Tony a letter about how his book had impacted me. About a month later I received a hand written note from Tony, encouraging me in the pursuit of my young faith. He has always been accessible, honest, and never been afraid to speak his mind. I think if I could score an interview with Tony Campolo it would be the highlight of my SCP career (of course talking to NinjaNun and Jeff on the last podcast would be a close second).
Several years ago, while reading an article in the now defunct magazine “The Other Side” dealing with homosexuality and the church, I ran across a piece written by Tony’s wife, Peggy. It caused me to reconsider and begin to alter my views on the subject away from my deeply ingrained understandings. Her and Tony differ on their views of homosexuality, yet each of them offer such a fresh perspective on the issue that every person needs to hear, especially those that call themselves Christian believers.
Tony’s view of homosexual activity isn’t unlike that of many Biblical conservatives, stating that he believes that the Bible forbids all homosexual activity. Yet, he does not support attempts by the church to “change” gays into “going straight”, but he advises gay people to live celibate lives. He is also very discouraged with the way the church is handling this issue by choosing to often ignore it.
Peggy’s view is much different. She supports monogamous, same-sex relationships and thinks that the church should recognize marriages for gays and lesbians. Peggy is also discouraged and saddened by the church’s handling of this issue and calls for a different approach moving forward.
Tony and Peggy spoke at a meeting hosted by The Shepherd Initiative an organization encouraging the church to address this issue. It is highly informative, entertaining and enlightening with each one taking turns in speaking and sharing their viewpoints.
I broke it apart into two downloads to share with you. In my opinion, these two fine people are at the fore-front of this issue in the way the church should address it, regardless whose viewpoint you feel is the more “correct” one (or maybe you disagree with both). After listening, please feel free to comment, but I want you to limit your comments away from which viewpoint you think is right and why. Please feel free to share what you liked, what motivated you, what challenged you and what caused you to see things from a slightly different angle.