Can We Talk?

communicationsprobsby Kristyn Komarnicki

In January, my friend John Backman and I will present a workshop at the 2014 Gay Christian Network conference on talking with people who disagree with us. John is an expert in the art of dialogue, the author of the book Why Can't We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart, and one of the original 12 participants at ESA's Oriented to Love dialogue.

I cherish every opportunity I get to hang out with folks of shared commitments and conflicting convictions, because I love what I learn at points of theological passion/friction, and that's what the Oriented to Love dialogue was all about. If that excites you, too, and you want to help bring together Christ-followers of different sexual/gender orientations and/or theological convictions to listen to and learn from each other, be sure to check out our dialogue guide, which is available for free download.

May I ask you to pray for John and me as we prepare, over the next two months, for the workshop we'll be leading? It's called "The Dangerous Adventure of Talking with 'Them'"—and the Heartspace that Keeps Us Safe." We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we look forward to connecting with folks from across the country, folks who love the Savior and want to grow in community with other Christians, but who want more from disagreement than division and heartache. They want the love, maturity, and unity that come from honest connection and grace, that come from learning to live in the family of God with open hearts, fearless forgiveness, and the knowledge that we are all together at the foot of the cross.

Thank you!

(Read a review of John Backman's, book Why Can't We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart, by Oriented to Love dialoguer Tim Otto.)

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3 Responses

  1. Mike Nacrelli says:

    Ron Sider wrote in Completely Pro-Life: "It requires considerable exegetical gymnastics to argue plausibly that [Rom. 1:26-27] does not exclude all homosexual practice." In other words, homosexuality isn't a biblically debatable issue, and it has never been considered such throughout 2000 years of Church history. I don't think it's either loving or intellectually honest to lend credence to false teachers who distort or deny the plain teaching of Scripture on this matter, leading others into sin and bringing condemnation on themselves. (Mt. 18:6-7)

    • Kristyn Komarnicki says:

      Thanks for your letter, but debating is precisely what we will NOT be doing at the Gay Christian Network conference. We will be coaching others–and ourselves at the same time–on how to listen to each other with love, on how to hear and love each other well. And that is something that I, and all of us here at ESA, are very committed to doing.

      Tell me, did Jesus "lend credence" to the Pharisees by eating in their homes? Or did he simply love them by doing so? He ate with them, received their hospitality, listened to and shared time with them–because he loved them. We are called to do the same. And I assure you, we are the most blessed when we do that.

      Phillip Yancey was invited to speak at this same conference a few years back, as was Tony Campolo. Please read Yancey's response to his critics, in which he reproduces the response of Gay Christian Network's founder Justin Lee. Whatever you may think about Justin Lee's theology (or sexual orientation), he is one of the kindest, wisest, and beautiful people I have ever met.

      • Mike Nacrelli says:


        My point is that Jesus certainly didn't shy away from correcting the Pharisees, and he did so out of love. Likewise, after saving the life of the woman caught in adultery, he told her to go and sin no more. I just don't believe he would ever agree to follow a dialogue guide that precludes confronting sin or false teaching.

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