How I Single-Handedly Made All Christians Want to Dance on a Gay Pride Float

I know what you’re thinking: John, do you get enough sleep? And I appreciate your concern. My wife also wonders if I get enough sleep. And if she’d quit kicking me in her sleep, I just might. But that’s really another story. (And I’m kidding. The girl sleeps like she’s dead.)

Wanna recap the week? Great! Let’s!

First, Roger McClellan, leader and guiding light of The Progressive Christian Alliance, alerted me to the fact that Sojourners had turned down a video ad from Believe Out Loud that promoted the acceptance of gays in church.

“I’ll go check it out, friend Roger!” says I. And I did. And I saw the video was great.

“How could Sojourners turn this down?,” I thought. “That’s crazy.” So then I write An Open Letter to Famous Progressive Christian Jim Wallis. Then I make some oatmeal for breakfast because oatmeal’s super-good for you and, more importantly, an outstanding vehicle for butter and brown sugar.

Then Dan Savage posts a blog entry featuring an pretty beefy (REAP THE BEEF!) excerpt from my Wallis letter.

Then the whole story of Sojourners turning down the “Welcome” video so heated up the Internet that I started roasting marshmallows off my computer screen. (Thanks in significant chunk to the most excellent Becky Garrison, who pointed The Revealer my way, and featured my stories in the story she wrote for Killing the Buddha, I sort of kept being part of that story.)

Then Jim Wallis was sort of basically forced to issue a defense for turning down the video.

I read that defense, rolled up the ol’ sleeves, realized I was wearing a short-sleeve shirt, focused, and wrote Mr. Wallis and His Big Gay Waffle (which was published by Huffington Post under the more studious title, “Jim Wallis and ‘Defending the Dignity and Civil Rights of Gays and Lesbians.”)

Then all Christians everywhere finally and forever realized that God cares no more about whether someone is gay or lesbian than he does what color their hair is.

And here we are!

A new day dawned!

A whole new world, I’m pretty sure.


Read Roger McClellan’s An Open Letter to Sojourners.

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  • Rebecca

    I’ve learned not to drink my coffee while reading you. It hurts my sinuses when the coffee shoots out.

  • Kris

    Rebecca, I just learned this today…about 1 minute ago.

  • I would like to promise everyone, everywhere, that I will not be seen dancing on any float while wearing a thong.

  • Neal

    So maybe while wearing a thong in dancing in the gay pride parade, we should be singing “A Whole New World” – yeah, the one from “Aladdin” … (Actually seems kind of appropriate!)

  • Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever?


  • Mindy

    What I love most about John is his humility.

    No, wait. . . . .

    Keep pushin’ ’em, John. We NEED that whole new world.

    I thought about you and your work last night, and actually got a glimpse of what this whole new world might look like. My daughter’s high school Drama Club had their annual “Theater for Social Justice” night. This year’s work focused on war and peace, and was beautifully done. They presented two short plays, then we all participated in a discussion on the complexities of war, peace and politics. SOOO much more depth than I ever found in high school civics or any other class! Anyway, the co-directors of the play happen to be a lesbian couple, two of the most brilliant, talented young women you will ever care to meet. And NO ONE at their school, not teachers or students, cares that they are gay. No one. These girls are very well respected, one a senior, one a junior. The senior has been accepted to several outstanding colleges and is heading to Bryn Mar on an academic scholarship. I was talking to the mom of the junior afterward, and she said her daughter is going through a class this summer at our Botanical Garden which will certify her to teach ecology in an elementary school her senior year – that will be her community involvement piece for graduation. They are involved, kind, lovely people.

    I watched the microcosm that is my kid’s school, and was so very proud. And wish so much that ALL LGBT kids could have the acceptance and opportunities these kids have.

    Like I said, keep pushing. You ARE changing the world.

  • If ANYONE starts getting up and making us sing “It’s a Small World” or any other kind of unity schmaltz, I’m going to barf. 🙂

    The truth of the matter is – no one cares. Young evangelicals (meaning those under 30) don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone’s sexual orientation. Stats show they are leaving the world of evangelicalism in droves. In fact, when I was at Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” opening night convo in NYC, the room was almost packed with young kids who you could sense were looking for a leader who would come out loud and proud — and not only say he was pro-gay rights but actually put LGBT folks and straight women into his leadership. Instead, he kept issuing paradoxes and platitudes as he didn’t want to “offend” his core evangelical base. Same with everyone else who is siding with Sojourners on this one – you cannot build social justice coalitions that do not include ALL who are marginalized. MLK was told not to rock the boat both in terms of civil rights and especially Vietnam – thank God he blew off that advice. .

    The next challenge is to work towards radical acceptance of the trans community. They are where gay rights were 30 years ago. If we mean LGBT rights, then it can’t mean – lesbian and gays only. Sorry for pushing the envelope but we got a ways to go here.

  • First, thank God I don’t drink coffee.

    Second… well played. Likely, the most fabulous play this week. Everyone must read, watch, and share the recap of this equality-minded fabulousness (It took me 20 mins, by the way, to go from start to finish… not too much of an investment in one’s humanity.) and then get out their dancing shoes. Certainly THIS will do the trick.

  • Troy

    Wait!! You mean God doesn’t like blondes best??

  • I’m picturing you in a superman costume with rainbow briefs and cape.

    I wonder one of your photoshop readers can get busy on that?

  • A’isha

    That’s so true! It tends to get on keyboards too.

  • Hi, Becky. It’s so funny—well, not hilarious funny–that you mention the trans community. We’ve done some positive work here on the blog about that–A Transgendered Person Asks, “Must I Reject Religion?” and a few other such posts, and—more to the point—I just last week finished doing a complete line editing of a book written by Lisa Salazar, a transsexual friend of the blog’s who did the graphic for ThruWay Christians (and who is also designing the covers of some e-books I’m putting together). So that whole issue has been so very much on my mind lately, since … well, since I just read an 80,000 word memoir about the struggle Lisa lived with before she finally claimed that she was, in fact, Lisa, and not Jim.

  • Until someone does, I have just the picture of me you’re talking about:

  • Michael

    You keep forgetting to mention how modest you are!

  • You are welcome for the tip, btw. (and I thought I was unforgettable)

  • OH MY GOSH! It was awesome Roger McClellan, founder and guiding light of The Progressive Christian Alliance, who turned me on to this story!

    It’s actually completely, maybe even medically scary that I forgot that—since he and I talked about it a lot via email (did we have time to do a group letter, with signatories; should we each do our own letter, etc.) and then talked about it together on the phone.

    Wow. I really do need to get more sleep.

    AND, earlier in the week, I linked to Roger’s own terrific Open Letter to Sojourners.

    What the heck? Did I get a lobotomy or something? Awful. Sorry, Roger. (People: Roger has become one of my great Internet friends. He’s been a champion of Christian inclusiveness for a long time now. And he’s been a terrific, constantly encouraging friend of ThruWay Christians. I encourage everyone to get to know PCA and Roger: he’s a good man doing good work. He should probably choose his associates a little more carefully, though. Apparently.)

    Actually, lemme go change the story …

  • Todd

    “The truth of the matter is – no one cares” I’ll speak for myself, thanks.

    I care, tremendously – AND about my trans friends (about a dozen, not just “the one token”). And I look to other countries for their experience with equality and the law to get a realistic take on “the process.” Yes, we have a long way to go. So do other countries. And 30 years seems to be realistic. So keep pushing the envelope – and I hope it’s Kevlar, because paper tears.

    ONE point of this especially intrigues me: the young evangelicals who “don’t care.” I’m not sure whether this is good news (because they’ll eventually out-live the bigots and extremists); or bad news (because they won’t care enough to vote AGAINST limiting LGBT rights).

  • Allen

    Missing from this post are your usual kudos to your sensitive, intelligent, compassionate readership, John. Single-handedly went viral, did you? It has in fact been a very well-done week of work, sir. I forward your original post to every one of my outraged-over-this clergy friends.

    Parades, though, are much less fun if there’s not a cheering crowd, so I propose we all take turns being on the float and cheering it from the sidewalk — that way we get a better idea of how big and diverse Christianity really is!

  • You have changed my world. I had never considered butter as a potential oatmeal topping before now. Thank you.

    Also, my dad is a retired Presbyterian ordained minister who is OUT. You can read about how he destroyed his church in the New York Times:

    Yes, I know. It’s terrible they had to pay their pastor a severance package. It’s nearly unheard of, right?

    Oh, wait, that’s not right. That’s totally the normal, ethical thing to do when you run someone out on the rails….

    Aside from the fact that this was a painful episode in my teen years, my family life – that I lost my childhood home on account of it – and forever changed my relationship to both my wounded mother and my newly freed father – that I never lived with my mom after this because she had to go work far, far away from where I was finishing high school, I am not only still a Christian but support homosexual marriage and complete acceptance of homosexual persons in any and all communities, especially churches, in every role we have in those communities (though, pro tip to people everywhere, ordination is not all that great, in this pastor’s kids opinion….lay ministry, huzzah!)

    So I am just saying, if I ,who got so completely screwed personally, emotionally and even at times spiritually by this issue (other christian leaders telling me to reject my dad, not see him, not speak to him), can find it in my heart to question the church’s status quo, come out the other side with my faith in tact and a relationship with both parents and the church….well, what’s it to anybody else who’s gay and who’s straight? What’s up with that?

  • Elizabeth Niederer

    Good heavens, you didn’t know about butter on oatmeal? What a deprived life you’ve had! 😉

    Hear hear, lay ministry is a very fine thing. I’ve held credentials and it didn’t do much for me.

  • Elizabeth Niederer

    Becky, I look forward to living long enough to see youngsters who are just as mystified about Christians’ brouhaha about sexual orientation and preference as we eventually became about Christian support of slavery.

  • Whoa. What an amazing testimony. Thank you, Karen.

  • Love it.

  • But only because I’m too modest to bring attention to how cripplingly modest I am …

  • Marcelo

    “How I Single-Handedly Made All Christians Want to Dance on a Gay Pride Float”

    So YOU’RE responsible for this sudden urge I have?! Damn you, Shore. And I just bought your book, too!

  • Not sure about thonging a don, John, but yep, I’m dancing, oh yes! Emma too, like you wouldn’t believe. “I’ve got to break free…” (Queen, if you didn’t know). Oh yes 🙂

  • Don Rappe

    It’s been a fun week, Humble John.

  • I keep getting made fun of for putting butter in my oatmeal! Now I know I’m not alone! Oh, and as fo the rest of the post: well done, man. Keep up the good work. I expect you’ll have the solution to starvation in third world countries by Wednesday and world peace by Friday afternoon, at the latest.

  • Kay

    Not if you use enough creamer. It buffers the acidity of the coffee. 🙂