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How to Live a Love-Charged Life From Former Atheist, Gay Activist

with

David Bennett

Headshot of David Bennett

Friends, Season 7 of the Heart of Dating Podcast is here and we are thrilled to be diving into some nuanced topics regarding faith, sexuality, and gender identity this season. As we engage in conversations surrounding the LGBTQ+ Community, we want to lead with humbled hearts, open ears, and a whole lot of love, curiosity, and compassion!

Today, we kick off this series by welcoming David Bennett to the show!

David comes all the way from Sydney, Australia where he studied journalism and then international relations. He moved to Oxford to pursue his studies in theology and train as an apologist from a skeptical, atheist background as an anti-Christian gay activist. David now holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in theology from Oxford, a master’s degree in theology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is now completing his doctorate (DPhil) in theology at Oxford. David is an author, passionate communicator and budding scholar who speaks and writes on a wide range of topics including theology, desire, beauty, ethics, and sexuality. He is frequently asked to appear and speak internationally in a variety of settings including churches, academic conferences, national radio and TV including VICE Australia, and on BBC platforms such as the BBC One Documentary, Young, Gay, Christian.

David has recently published his first book, A War of Loves which describes his own story from atheistic gay activism to becoming a follower of Jesus, in which he advocates for a positive moral vision of biblical sexuality and discipleship.

Today, Kait and David discuss how we, as Christians, can approach these topics surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in love and compassion and how we are all called to be disciples and live a love-charged life.

Could you share a little bit about your story?

  • David shares who he want from atheist gay activist to gay evangelist
  • He wanted to write his book “A War of Loves” in a way that’s digestible for people to relate to his story.
  • He grew up in a very conservative home and attended a Christian school growing up.
  • David talks about his journey of trying a multitude of different paths to try to find himself.
  • “Being gay isn’t essentially an ethical issue, it’s really a question of human suffering.”
  • He began to reject God and himself and he thought he had to reject what rejected him. With his knowledge of Christianity at the time, he thought God had rejected him.
  • He blamed Christianity on homophobia and thought he had to destroy it in order to feel free.

What does it look like to fully surrender yourself to God?

  • David talks about how he was full of pain and hurt in Christian culture and how he was directly affected by it.
  • He felt that Christians not only rejected him, but couldn’t understand him.
  • Even if people hated him, he felt God tell him “You are mine, and I will not let go of you”
  • He had to go through a lucrative moment of relationship with Christ before he could even begin to look at scripture.
  • It’s a tough thing to recognize that your desire doesn’t align with the created order.
  • He shares his journey of seeing the full picture of God and how his experience then became Him trusting the gospel
  • “It’s not bad news to be celibate, it’s a deep honor because you get to live like Jesus. We’ve got it all wrong.  We’ve put marriage and procreation at the center rather than what Jesus wore in the incarnation.”
  • David dives deep into Romans 1 and 2 and the context of why it was written the way it was.
  • Without Paul, we wouldn’t have gay rights….having the homosexual desire did not disqualify gay people from the church, but in these passages, they are welcomed in.

Could we break down what love really is?

“In scripture, love is defined by Jesus and His death on the cross.”
  • “Love is first defined in Christ, and when you start from there, you can apply that truth to culture.
  • Culture has an idolatry of sex and because of that, has perverted that vision and design of love.
  • David discusses the different types of love in the Greek.
  • Eros is a love for the truth, to be unified with someone or something else that makes you feel a sense of wholeness…. So in a sense, eros love has a lot to do with God.
  • Agape, which is a selfless love, is actually very connected to eros. Agape and eros are two sides of the same coin, and that’s where so many people get it wrong.
  • In the Protestant Reformation, eros and agape were separated as eros was associated with sex.

How is it possible to have a “love-charged” life without even having to date?

  • The early church was focused on living a “love-charged” life which really didn’t even have a whole lot to do with marriage.
  • “We can live these two vocations of love-charged marriage and singleness or celibacy and we can rest in them.”
  • David talks about how he hurts for his single, straight friends and how they feel incomplete.
  • He talks about the dangers of putting marriage on a pedestal and how that can keep you distracted from what God’s calling you to now.
  • “You can be present as you are in your reality and love people.”
  • Living a love-charged life is living a life of enjoying creation and keeping God at the center by loving others, regardless of your marital status or sexual orientation.

How should Christians respond to gay activism?

  • We should feel thrilled that people are simply being honest about their sexual orientation, and we have to start there.
  • We don’t necessarily have to agree where culture takes gay activism, however we do need to acknowledge the people and how they have faced being marginalized, how they face homophobia, historically and now.
  • Let’s face our history as the church and celebrate the joy that people are able to safely be honest about their sexuality and gender identities at this point in history.
  • “We’re going to love gay people with the truth. We’re not going to compromise the gospel, but we are going to love them and celebrate that liberation.”
  • Go and be with gay neighbors… and love them as you love yourself!
  • “Christians keep falling into a culture script instead of being more like Jesus and we have to defy that cultural script that we are supposed to hate gay people and see them as the enemy.”
  • “Before we go to the ethics, we have to recognize the suffering, and the difference and the difficulty of being gay.”
“Being gay is differently fallen, and differently a gift… it is both.”

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Find something that brings the other person joy and find questions about who they are and just be creative with your experiences.
  • Invite God into the space as you enjoy each other and create experiences for each other.

Headshot of David Bennett

David Bennett

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David comes all the way from Sydney, Australia where he studied journalism and then international relations. He moved to Oxford to pursue his studies in theology and train as an apologist from a skeptical, atheist background as an anti-Christian gay activist. David now holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in theology from Oxford, a master’s degree in theology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is now completing his doctorate (DPhil) in theology at Oxford. David is an author, passionate communicator and budding scholar who speaks and writes on a wide range of topics including theology, desire, beauty, ethics, and sexuality. He is frequently asked to appear and speak internationally in a variety of settings including churches, academic conferences, national radio and TV including VICE Australia, and on BBC platforms such as the BBC One Documentary, Young, Gay, Christian.

David has recently published his first book, A War of Loves which describes his own story from atheistic gay activism to becoming a follower of Jesus, in which he advocates for a positive moral vision of biblical sexuality and discipleship.

Website IconPodcast Mic IconInstagram IconFacebook IconLinkedIn IconTick Tok IconTwitter IconYoutube IconCustom Icon

Website IconPodcast Mic IconInstagram IconFacebook IconLinkedIn IconTick Tok IconTwitter IconYoutube IconCustom Icon

Website IconPodcast Mic IconInstagram IconFacebook IconLinkedIn IconTick Tok IconTwitter IconYoutube IconCustom Icon
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