Come Let Us Wrestle Together–An Exciting NEW Project!

I am trilled to announce that Ihave begun to work on a new project. It is an attempt at a thoughtful dialogue between me and Warren Cole Smith, an Evangelical journalist and the editor of The Charlotte World. We are discussing and writing together about a variety of issues in hopes of modeling a conversation that is both frank and respectful.

We will appear together on the same stage to make our conversation public this coming December 6, 2008 at 7:00 PM in Asheville, NC in an event we are calling Come Let Us Wrestle Together. (Which I am aware sounds strangely homo-erotic.)

When two Christian men, one straight and one gay, get together, sparks are sure to fly.

But when both of them can intelligently articulate their positions and reasonably respond to the positions of the other, the sparks generate not just sound and fury, but warmth and light.

That’s exactly what happens when Peterson Toscano and Warren Smith get together.

Toscano, a Quaker from New England, is a gay performance artist, a blogger, and the co-founder of the organization Beyond Ex-Gay. Warren Smith is the editor of The Charlotte World, a newspaper that serves the Christian community. Together they are attempting to write a book together about the things that separate them.

Questions relating to sexuality are on the front pages of our major papers almost every day, but these tough questions are almost never answered. The gay activists talk to their base, and the Christian activists talk to their base. But they rarely talk to each other, and if they do neither side wants to go public with the results of those conversations.

Come Let Us Wrestle Together will take some of the most interesting and provocative issues of our day, take two people who are passionate and articulate about their respective sides in the debate, and bring them together in a format that gets well below the surface. Peterson and Warren will truly engage the issues because neither will let the other avoid them!

Come Let Us Wrestle Together
Saturday December 6, 2008 7pm
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
789 Merrimon Ave
Asheville NC 28804

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This post has 5 Comments

  1. Virginia on November 22, 2008 at 6:47 pm Reply

    I’m troubled by how the description implies that straight Christians don’t agree with gay Christians, that they don’t share positions, that the fundamental difference between groups who differ on various social issues is their own personal sexualities. It seems to reinforce the idea that this is the gays vs the straights, not the affirming vs the disaffirming or the left wing vs the right wing or the theological progressive vs the theological conservative (a frame which itself has problems, of course, since a lot of modern conservative religious thought is rather new and not at all conserving the traditions of christian theological inquiry). I guess there isn’t any ideal way to frame it, and this is certainly better than the more popular frame of “the Christians vs the gays,” but I’m worried about the reinforcing the idea that “two Christian men, one straight and one gay” are sure to have sparks fly.

    I do think this sounds like a very interesting project.

  2. Eric Leocadio on November 22, 2008 at 11:36 pm Reply

    Sounds like an exciting project Peterson! I’m doing a similar thing with Andy Marin, a straight evangelical from Chicago, except that our goal isn’t to present both sides but rather to elevate the conversation – catalyze empathy within the mainstream straight evangelical world to encourage a shift away from the Side X culture towards a culture of authenticity.

    I think both of our projects is key for an overall shift in Christian culture – helping people to get both beneath the surface and also above the fray. Both our approaches will contribute to building bridges within the broader church.

    Bless ya, my friend!
    Eric

  3. JoshH on November 23, 2008 at 12:33 am Reply

    Wow…
    “sparks are sure to fly…” *giggle*.

  4. p2son on November 25, 2008 at 6:36 pm Reply

    Eric, that sounds GREAT and fits in so well with the direction you have been going these past few years.

    Virginia, thanks for your thoughts. Of course you are correct, there are plenty of straight and gay Christian men, sadly far too few. What is posted above is ad copy designed to draw in an audience for something other than a debate, an actual dialogue between two folks who strongly disagree on certain issues, yet still feel committed to the conversation.

    I struggle with ad copy, marketing, PR. There is something dishonest about it sometime when one tries to catch someone’s attention, draw them in. Unfortunately many of the folks who would be drawn in by copy suggesting a warm and thoughtful discussion already are on-board. It’s the folks who are not yet on-board, who cannot see how two worlds can co-exist and affirm each other. This is true of LGBT and straight progressive liberals as well as Evangelical conservative not-yet affirming folks.

    JoshH, yes, you should be there and get flamed on too!

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