by: Mark Currey
I pastor a small community in the heart of the Bible-Belt. The following email conversation occurred a couple of weeks ago. Given the conversation and the much deserved push-back from my friend, I read the following to the community I pastor a few Sundays ago…
I got this e-mail from a friend that I work with today. I know the friend that she is talking about. Read this and let
me know what you think. I'd like to give her your e-mail address if you say it is okay. Peace!
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“…do any of you guys know of a gay-friendly church in the central Arkansas area? A friend of mine wants to be baptized and she stepped out on faith, to ask my extremely Pentecostal father-in-law if he would do it, but he’s not comfortable with that. So, I’m trying to find somewhere she might feel valued and included. Would you let me know if you know of someplace that might be a good fit?”
sure... have her contact me.
our "church position" is somewhat nuanced - will explain when i have a little more time but, bottom line, everyone is welcome.
by Rev. Mark Sandlin
Yes sir, we grow 'em on trees in these parts. Yet another NC minister
has gone all “king of crazy town” when it comes to talking about homosexuality and the Bible. The idea that two people of the same sex could actually be in love seems to be some powerful mojo when it comes to NC ministers. It is like it sends them into a testosterone induced fervor that completely blinds them to the greatest hits of the Bible like, “thou shall not kill,” and “love thy neighbor.”
Oddly, there was a time when the same
kind of fervor blinded the same
kind of preachers here in the South and, because of it, a lot of people who were different from them ended up hanging from trees. Maybe it's not so odd. Maybe it's completely to be expected.
Yep, in certain Southern churches, gay is the new black. Realistically, it's not just Southern churches, but with North Carolina's recent passage of Amendment One and the viral YouTube video of the knock-the-gay-out-of-your-kid pastor
, it wouldn't be surprising to find a few arborists diligently searching the hillsides of the gorgeous North Carolina foothills for the mythical Tree of Homophobia (which, ironically, I hear has leaves the colors of the rainbow). Just looking at the news over the last several months, while it would seem that all states have ministers that preach exclusion (and even violence) toward our LGBT brothers and sisters, North Carolina does simply seem to be better at it. “We're #1! We're #1! We're #1!”
So, the latest in the parade of “a-minister-REALLY-said-THAT?” circus here in N.C. is Pastor Charles L. Worley (please note my restraint in guessing what the “L” is for... clearly not “love” - okay, my near restraint
). He believes, one assumes biblically, that “lesbians and queers” should be locked up inside an electrified fence until they die out. As I understand his argument, up until this point LGBT folk have been reproducing and creating little baby homosexuals and if all the “lesbians” are inside one fence and all the “queers” are inside another, well, they could no longer reproduce and hence - no more homosexual babies.
by Jack McDevitt
I want to go on record that I support a straight person’s right to equality.... but do they really have to kiss and hold hands and be all over each other night after night for millions to watch on a reality show?
Now I want all of you straights out there to know I support and love you but please keep it in PRIVATE okay? Showing affection in public really makes uptight miserable love-less prudes feel really UNCOMFORTABLE! Also, when you straights make an un-necessary show of your affections for all to see, there may be people who are normal but are struggling with having feelings for the opposite sex… and really do not understand yet that it is just as okay to be attracted to the opposite sex as it is to be like everyone else. My point is that these people may find that your hand holding or “sucking face” in public stirs up feelings they are not prepared to deal with.
Another aspect of open heterosexuality that I feel I must address with my friends who happen to be straight, is just in the form of a suggestion. While I and many open minded people I know, think that “straight is great” and that you should be free to be yourself, there is sometimes a tendency of a small minority of straights to act in extremes.
Everyone who is reading this knows the hyper-masculine firemen and policemen who find is necessary to march in parades and act all non-emotional and militaristic and focused, when everyone around them is having a party! Not only does this look ridiculous, but it holds up traffic and business all just to say “hey I’m straight”... ok big deal and whoopty-doo.
by Brad Duncan
Please invite the gay crowd to our church. Please invite the LGBT
people. Please do it soon, and with no reservation. Please love the gay crowd and welcome them. Don't make their sexuality an issue at all, or withhold acceptance from them, don't criticize or hold back your friendship. Don't talk to them about sin instead of grace. Just invite them.
Please don't delay or discuss it in committee. Time is running out.
Dear Pastor, do it for us, before our hearts grow cold and hard. Do it so that we can remember the dank stink that grows in our hearts from the seed of hate. Do it before we can't love anymore.
Do it before we start to think that sitting in judgment makes us good, makes us better, makes us receive salvation. Do it before we forget about grace altogether.
As long as we can love to hate a class of people for their lifestyle, we can believe that we are somehow saved by ours. Maybe we think we are saved by our straightness, our lack of accepting the gay crowd? Did we already
forget about the blood of Christ and about grace? Have we already turned stale? Do we think we're actually ON God's side by not inviting them? Or are we against him?
Dear Pastor, the gay crowd is not going to corrupt our children, or convince us to be promiscuous or unfaithful. The gay crowd is not going to make us love sin or the devil. The gay crowd is not going to make us love God
less. The gay crowd will not diminish our worship, or reduce ourappreciation for the Bible. The gay crowd is not contagious or repellent.
I'm still trying to sort out what happened in North Carolina yesterday. My head is spinning like a ballerina doing a fouette.
Hey look! I just lost 61% percent of my North Carolina readers. That simile was just a bit too “gay” for them. Oh, look I lost more because I used the word “simile” and they didn't want to have to “Google” it.
Did you hear that?! I sure did! It was a some of the North Carolinians who voted against Amendment One cheering me on. Hear it? “Yes!” “Ha! That's right.” “Bunch of backwoods, ignorant hicks!” “Preach it brother.”
And they think they have the moral high ground, really?
Hey look! It happened again! I just lost a bunch of North Carolinian holier-than-thou types. Meh. Who cares? It was getting stuffy in here anyway. Am I right? Who needs North Carolinians anyway?! Let's boycott the whole state! Yes!
I mean, sure, we'll all miss our Pepsi and Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Not to mention Krispy Kreme (Okay, we may have to have a doughnut exemption). And, sure, it will hit at the pockets of many of the very people who not only voted against
the amendment, but rallied against it, handed out fliers, staffed phone banks, and even worked outside voting facilities encouraging folks to vote against it. And, okay sure, some of them are also the gay couples upon which this senseless and mean-spirited amendment steps.
But we are doing it for their on good! Right? Um, I mean, “Right!” Sure we are. Just like the folks who voted for the law did it for their own good. Saving them from the fires of Hell. Right?
Hey look! I just lost a bunch of readers who were hoping to feel good about their “righteous anger.”
Wait! Come back. No really. I was just pretending to be "righteously mean"... I mean, ummm, "righteously angry" - to make a point! See? Just being silly!
Oh well. So, I guess it's just us now. Too bad really. Don't get me wrong, I like you. A lot. It's just that there's so much we could have talked about with all of them.
For example, we could have talked about how using God's name for your own purposes turns out to be against one of the 10 Commandments that they so badly wish to hang in the courts of justice. Yep. “Using God's name in vain” actually means using God's name to support something God doesn't support.
Guess what? Excluding people? Preventing the full recognition of love? God doesn't support that. So, when you use God's name to constitutionalize discrimination, you are using God's name in vain. Which means, after passing Amendment One for purportedly religious reasons, hanging the 10 Commandments in the courts of justice in North Carolina is now either the height of hypocrisy or irony. I'm not sure which. Maybe both.