Come out of the closet, Secretly Progressive Pastors!

For we Christians who know that being gay is no sin, and that an actual living female is more valuable than a zygote, these are very dark days indeed.

Do you know who I blame for what happened in the Hobby Lobby case—and for the abominations already happening in its aftermath (see Post-Hobby Lobby, Religious Orgs Want Exemption From LGBT Hiring Order and Supreme Court Broadens Hobby Lobby Ruling to All Forms of Birth Control)? Not the right-wing, spotlight-chasing, money-crazed, power-mad Christians who employ the Bible as a weapon against LGBT people, women, and all people who lack the money and power they’re after.

Nah. Such Christians, like cockroaches and bad breath, have always been with us. Those poor souls aren’t really the problem. An enemy you can see coming rarely is.

The real detriments to the progress of true Christianity are all of the Christian pastors and “leaders” out there who, in their heart of hearts, are progressive, but who never ever say anything controversial until they are absolutely certain that doing so is safe for them.

The Secretly Progressive Pastor (SPP) doesn’t want to offend the wealthy people in his congregation. He doesn’t want his church elders to complain about him. What he does want is for a Christian literary agent to bring his book to a Christian book publisher. He wants a Christian magazine to publish his article. He wants a Christian radio or TV show to have him on as a guest. He wants to be invited to speak at other Christian churches, at Christian colleges, at Christian conventions, at Christian meetings, events, festivals.

Like anyone else, he wants to be a player. At the very least he wants to keep what he has. So the SPP does the safe thing: he plays the soft middle ground between saying anything real, and only, if artfully (for that art is his stock in trade) pretending to.

Sure, the SPP will slide to the left—and then claim to have been waiting there all along. But he’ll only move left after the money and power are already there–and never any further left than either has already gone.

What I wish the SPPs would trust is that if they would only come out of the closet, they would have all of the money and power they want. They’d be fine. I myself hear from enough SPP’s to be confident that if half the pastors in this country publicly took the positions they privately hold, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas wouldn’t have had the nerve to pervert justice in a way they and all judges like them now feel increasingly empowered to.

If you are a Secretly Progressive Pastor, now is the time for you to step forward and become the person you know God is waiting for you to be. Now is the time for you to let your mouth speak the words of your heart.

Now is the time for you to lead.

We need you, friend.

Gay people need you. Women need you. Poor people need you.

Jesus Christ needs you.

 

That said: Secretly Gay-Affirming Christians: You Are Not Alone.


I’m the author of:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Jlumpkin

    I agree and have been saying this out loud for quite some time. I also believe that progressive thinking Christians that don’t speak out are part of the problem. My son is gay, and I am bold in my advocacy. With that have come consequences, but it is so necessary for Christian allies to call out the crazy right wing talking heads. Instead, my progressive friends send me private messages saying “Way to go, Julie! Not all of us think that way!” My response is often to tell them to let others know…publicly! We need straight Christian allies to be vocal in support of our LGBT friends and family, women, and those less fortunate. To be silent is perceived as aligning with the extreme right.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Are you familiar with this project?:
      http://notalllikethat.org/

      • Jlumpkin

        I love the NALT project! I’m sure many progressive Christians don’t feel compelled to speak out until it becomes personal. The conflict is too great. I can only say that speaking up and living what you believe is hard if it goes against what others say you are supposed to believe, but it is so empowering and freeing. Thanks for your work, John.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Julie,
      I’ve had more than one friend lose their church jobs being an ally to people like me. I know that speaking out often carries a heavy cost. I just want to tell you I’m so grateful to you. Thank you for standing in solidarity with people like me. You are a leader and have cleared the way for others to follow.
      -David

      • Jlumpkin

        Thank you, David. Hugs to you!

    • usingmyvoice

      Right there with you, Jlumpkin.

  • Gretta Vosper

    The trouble with your premise, John, and with the premise of NALT, is that the god called God by progressive Christians is also the god called God by fundamentalist Christians. And the god called Allah by progressive Muslims is the same god called Allah by the fundamentalist Muslims. God/Allah, known to be one and the same by those who celebrate an “Abrahamic faith group”, is a fickle god who can and will be used by any voice that wants to wield divine power.
    Progressive Christians do not believe in a theistic god called God despite their protestations to the contrary. They, I’m generalizing here, believe in a concept of love intertwined with justice that has evolved over many centuries and which they ground in a few select biblical stories.
    Still, despite it being a concept and not a being, progressive Christians insist on calling it God which leads to all sorts of problems. There are benefits of doing so, however. They manage both to protect themselves from being labeled the a-theists they truly are, and to protect those who believe in a theistic god called God from having to extrapolate the implications of that belief. Those implications, forgive me for being blunt, support the Hobby Lobby more than they do progressive Christian ethics.
    What we really need is for progressive Christians to acknowledge that the Bible is not The Authoritative Word of God for All Time (TAWOGFAT) and so cannot be used to promote ANY moral teaching of any sort. Only when we begin to state that loudly and clearly will we have any hope of undermining the brutal intertwining of biblical moralists with political powers.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      How are you sure what other people believe? Are you capable of peering inside their brains and seeing what’s in there? Are you insightful to determinine their state of mind, what they believe and why? Does it really bother you that much that people see God from a different set of lenses?

      Is it really a problem for people to believe that the God of the Christians is also the God of the Hindu, the Muslim, the Sikh, the Jew, that God is not defined by our very human religious endeavors? Is it a problem to use the Bible as a wonderful tool with amazing insight, fascinating stories, tales of humanity that reach across the eons to have relevance for today?

      Progressives are not going to throw out The Bible, simply because we do not adhere to that (TAWOGFAT). That would be silly.

      • Mike Barnhart

        But progressives do throw out the parts they dislike, yes? Not an attacking or baiting question, but an honest one.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          So do traditionalists. EVERYONE picks and chooses which parts of the Bible they are going to adhere to, which they feel apply to someone other than themselves, which no longer applies to anyone, and which part they are going to carefully “forget” to read. To deny that they do, means a bit of dishonesty is going on.

          • Mike Barnhart

            I agree.

          • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

            Mike, I don’t know if you are still allowed to comment, but perhaps you will receive a notice of this reply.

            I have annotated allegro63′s comment and have chosen to use your name to represent a class of religionist thinker, that in my opinion, impedes the process of enlightenment. Both for the individual, and for community.

            Just thought you should be aware of what was said.

          • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

            Reading scripture with the intention of cultivating inspiration is an art.

            Through inspiration we gain an increasingly accurate perception of the Divine Oneness that is God.

            We pick and choose differently each time we sit down to contemplate. The art of it, is in our openness to being guided by innate Truth. The hidden hand of God.

            Rule mongers like Mike Barnhart are speed bumps on the way to heaven. We will just have to sail over them on the wings of Grace.

            Perhaps in our passing by, they may be dislodged, at least briefly, from their entrenchment
            .
            Possibly even getting over the foolish rule, that God cannot be known.

        • Andy

          “Throw out” isn’t a phrase I’d use to describe my personal interpretation. I prefer to contextualize and act accordingly. I question if everything applies to me.

          For example, Leviticus says not to do a lot of things that people today do. Contextually, they might have made sense for the chosen tribe, in a time where it was a lot easier for people to accidentally harm or kill themselves in many ways we today rarely do (e.g. food poisoning). But now we have refrigerators.

          The problem, in a nutshell, is that not all the writings that the bible comprises indicate their audience. Some people decided arbitrarily that these 66 particular pieces of writing were gospel and others aren’t, and from that a lot of people have seen fit to suggest that everything ever admonished or demanded by any of the writings should apply to all people for all time, and in my humble opinion there’s no reason to think that should be the case.

        • Justin

          Well, so do conservatives. They just do hermeneutical gymnastics to make the text say what they want it to. Then they claim it was the writer’s original intent. Many times this is in spite of the fact that many other conservatives disagree on the same text. Just as an example, typically, conservative evangelicals explain away the rich young ruler story, the eye of the needle concept, and most of Jesus’ teachings concerning wealth and poverty by saying – “Oh, it’s difficult for a rich person to enter heaven, but you know, with God, anything is possible! That’s all that Jesus is saying! We can still be filthy rich and enter heaven!” I think this is a clear distortion of Jesus’ statements and what he says about the poor, the rich, and what we are to do with possessions. Yet conservatives will still affirm the Bible is inerrant and authoritative, while they skirt aside the messages they don’t like. This is done so that later, they can maintain inerrancy and the ability to use the Bible as a bludgeoning tool against those they disagree with. Now, sometimes progressives do the same thing, but that biblical ventriliquism tends to happen only with progressives that are committed to inerrancy.

          I think it is more honest to directly disagree or openly struggle with the text when you find a problematic passage. Especially if there are multiple interpretations. Only fundamentalists are perfectly certain that their own interpretations are 100% correct. And even if the Bible were inerrant, there would be no way to be certain that *our* interpretation is. For me, the central figure to weigh scripture against is the person and message of Jesus. By my lights, only God is inerrant, and saying otherwise strikes me as potentially idolatrous.

          • Andy

            I love this. Thank you, Justin.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Yep, I agree with much of what you said. I believe the Bible is inerrant, but that our interpretation of it is not…so we can be wrong in how we interpret it. The Bible is inerrant because it is from God, who is inerrant…but since man tends to color what he reads with his own personal views, we can so easily get something out if it that God never intended.

          • Justin

            I see where you’re coming from. I can respect that position. For me, a functionally inerrantist mindset is tone deaf to mysteries and ambiguities in the Bible. An inerrantist usually believes God communicates clearly and perfectly through the Bible (or at least the original manuscripts, but again that is theoretically inerrancy, which is a different animal). They want the plain meaning of the text. In some situations we can arrive at a consensus about that – but not all. So this sets up some pretty crazy expectations for texts written over hundreds of years by different authors in a completely alien world to the 21st Century. Still, the inerrantists must explain everything so they can apply it to their lives. Which leads to all manner of ingenious “solutions.” Consider 1 Corinthians 15:29, the verse with a throwaway line about baptism of the dead. What is going on there? (This is a trick question, see below.)

            Of course, before the question is even finished, a functional inerrantist will first assure you that there is one right answer, and then rush for THE true solution. I have to say, I’ve looked into this verse quite a bit, and I haven’t heard a completely satisfactory explanation, from conservatives, from progressives, from scholars, from *anybody.* And because I hold to an incarnational model of Scripture. . . I’m okay with that. There’s lots of interesting speculations I can consider, without the pressing need to *arrive* at “the final, true solution.” I can rest easy with the uncertainties. Because I don’t think the Bible was meant to function that way, as a unified question-and-answer book. Even a po-faced, know-it-all absolutist like John MacArthur is grasping at straws with verses like 1 Cor. 15:29. But they almost always *have* to affirm a final answer, because to them, the Bible *must* be sufficient and answer all spiritual questions we have.

            For me, it’s a bit like watching an amazing, deeply moving film, and having a highly opinionated commentator sitting right beside you, explaining the one and only true meaning of each scene. They just can’t experience the Bible for itself. It’s very unfair to Scripture, and frankly, it is sometimes downright sacrilegious – I’m thinking of things like Sean Hyman’s “Biblical” Money Code. Ugh.

    • Matt

      Throwing out the baby with the bath water is a common error of humans when we encounter ambiguity. One doesn’t have to be an atheist to believe in a God that is present and relevant to people in some way or another, and act accordingly. (In fact, that would be by definition not an atheist) People have found many ways to define God over the centuries with and without a religious framework. I’m more concerned with the result of those beliefs.

    • Jeff Preuss

      Huh. i believe in God. Not as a concept, but as a being. But, I do not accept the Bible as TAWOGFAT because, in my opinion, that places the Scripture on par with the being itself, and He is SO MUCH MORE than that. The Scripture gives us the insight and the story, but especially consdering its multiple iterations throughout the years, I don’t think it can effectively be used as an absolute rulebook or what have you.

      It’s our window into the Word of God, but the book as a whole is NOT His Word – it’s mens’ words aboutHis word.

      I can sorta see where you’re coming from, in (I think) the atheist ideal of a general humanist goodness to which we all strive, but it simply isn’t an atheistic belief to me; it’s a belief in the Lord.

    • Mike Barnhart

      One problem so many people have is thinking that the current interpretation of the Bible must be the correct one. As we progress as a species, we learn more and more about the world in which we live. As we do, we sometimes find out that what we thought was true about our world and universe is completely wrong (for a LONG time people thought Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation was actually correct – now we know it is very wrong).

      When our interpretation of the Bible conflicts with something we learn to be true, we must face the fact that our interpretation of the Bible is in error. The Bible can be perfect even though we, as flawed beings, fail in our understanding of it.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        How can the Bible be perfect? Based on what criteria?

        • Mike Barnhart

          The same criteria used to say it is not perfect. :)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            perception…well except for some geometrical applications..which is math, which is way out of my realm of expertise

          • Mike Barnhart

            Yep, mostly faith based – since that is the crux of all religion. Much of the other issues are poetic in nature and should not be taken literally (such as the four corners of the Earth).

  • ChuckQueen101

    Thanks for this John. I just posted this on my Facebook page calling my CBF colleagues to express their voice against the CBF hiring and funding policy that is condemnatory toward our LGBTQ sisters and brothers.

  • Mike Barnhart

    The SCOTUS basically ruled that the government could easily provide Plan B itself instead of forcing religiously based, closely held, companies to provide it against their religious beliefs. I do not agree with the beliefs Hobby Lobby holds, but my agreement is irrelevant to their beliefs being valid religious beliefs.
    The basic litmus test for overriding the First Amendment is that the government has to show there is no better or easier way to accomplish its goal. In this case, it would be both better and easier of the government simply subsidized Plan B for everyone (not just those with insurance), so the need to override the First Amendment does not exist.

    I would have thought that people whose beliefs are not widely held (such as homosexuality not being a sin – whether it is one or not is irrelevant to the fact that most Christians believe homosexuality is a sin) would applaud ALL rulings where the government is stopped from overriding the First Amendment.

    • Jeff Preuss

      Any more, I’d consider it debatable whether most Christians actually consider homosexuality a sin. But, many of the ones who do might easily wave off those who don’t as…not Christians.

      • Mike Barnhart

        The reason I say most Christians consider homosexuality a sin is because most Christians never stop to think about, or question, the tenets they are taught.

        • Jeff Preuss

          I’d still question the most simply because I think the ones who ARE questioning don’t tend to shout they’re questioning at the top of their lungs, or else they’ll be attacked. I think the more vocal voices tend to be the ones bludgeoning through people right and left, wielding the inerrant Bible as their weapon.

          The questioning ones are usually on the sidelines, just…ministering to their fellow humans. And, as such, their voices aren’t heard as much, and I think there’s a somewhat misperception about their number.

          Whiiiiiich leads RIGHT back into what John’s saying about progressive-y folks needing to be more vocal!

          (Like my Mom always used to do, sending insanely well-written letters questioning the Southern Baptist Church’s position on women and gays, etc. She sent these letters to the Oklahoma Baptist Register while firmly in her position as a Baptist Church organist in the 80s. Can you tell that I learned to question things from my parents’ example?)

          • Mike Barnhart

            It is quite possible you are correct, but we can never really know for sure. Even surveys only hit a small percentage of people who are willing to reply.
            I take exception to John saying he knows The Truth about a religious viewpoint while decrying others for saying they know The Truth, though. He should stop using phrases such as “For we Christians who know…” and replace it with “For we Christians who believe…”. Unless John Shore personally visits with God, he cannot say he knows The Truth about a religious viewpoint that has support for both opposing views.

          • Jeff Preuss

            Certainly a valid concern. I think both sides of the hot issues of the moment tend to go with “we know” and “it’s a fact” more often than is accurate. I think some of that is a certainty of one’s position, and some of it is emotional response to a perceived threat from the other side.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Most Christians don’t believe homosexuality is a sin. 44% of Americans believed homosexuality was a sin, 43% believed it was not, and 13% were not sure two years ago. [http://www.christianpost.com/news/44-percent-of-americans-believe-homosexuality-is-a-sin-survey-says-74758/] The tide has only swelled since then.

      Fwiw, if I worked at Hobby Lobby, their corporate freedom of religion just trumped my personal freedom of religion. That’s not how the First Amendment works, and it’s already snowballing all over the appellate court. But you know that.

      • Mike Barnhart

        44% is more than 43%, so that makes it most. To show otherwise, you need to show something that supports what you are saying instead of something that supports what I am saying. :)

        You are wrong about religious freedom, though. You are still free to buy Plan B if you wish, you are just not free to force your employer to pay part of the cost of it. Please stop confusing a choice on your part with government force on the employer’s part.

        The SCOTUS understands the First Amendment far better than you or I, and if they say that is how it works then we both know that is how it works.

        Remember, this ONLY applies to Closely Held Corporations that are operated based on religious views. It would not apply to Koch Brothers privately held firm, since it has never been run based on religious views.

        • Matt

          No one forced any employer to pay for it before either. Health insurance is part of a benefit package that the employee earns. This is not the largesse of a benevolent baron to a beggar off the street.

          Freedom isn’t just about the letter of the law, either. If a law says that an action is a right and a freedom, but the practical application of that law (or another law) interferes with the exercise of that law, then that is not really freedom. You have to know you are free, you have to understand the extent and limitations of that freedom, and have the resources available to exercise that freedom.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Correct, and forcing an employer to violate their religious beliefs so that you (generic you, not personal you) can buy Plan B is not freedom. Now that both non-profit religious orgs and closely held for profit religious orgs are both opted out (since the government failed to show they could not provide Plan B easier on their own), maybe the government will step up to the plate and provide what they are currently trying to force others to provide. This would benefit EVERYONE, since those without insurance would also get it cheaply.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Again: an employer does not (should not) get religious beliefs. They are not a person, they are an entity. And while they are more than welcome to hire only family and friends who believe the same as they do, once they employ the public? They no longer get that (elitist, classist, discriminatory, often racist) excuse.

            FYI, there are, in theory, no longer “those without insurance.” The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to enroll if their (elitist, classist, discriminatory, often racist) employer doesn’t provide health insurance as required by law, they work for a small business, or they’re unemployed. Although I defy you to figure out what it covers and for how much. It’s… not up to speed yet.

          • Mike Barnhart

            The theory and reality on non-covered people do not match.
            I noticed that when someone disagrees with your view, you call them vile things. Your view is not the only one out there and it not really any better than anyone elses…

            You are wrong about employers. For a long time, non-profit religious employers have been protected from the government telling them to violate their religious beliefs (due to the first amendment). Now, for profit, closely held, religious employers are protected as well.

            The owners of a closely held, religiously based company, DOES get to keep his/her religious beliefs intact, except where there is a pressing government need that cannot be fulfilled in an easier or less intrusive way. In the case of Plan B, it is obvious to all that the government could subsidize Plan B and it would be less intrusive than forcing a closely held, religiously based company, from doing it.

            This is not nearly as wide sweeping as the fear mongers would have you believe.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Yes, liberals are VERY fond of questioning why nonprofit churches whose pastors make millions of dollars with mansions are tax- and rule-exempt. I’ve worked for non-religious nonprofits, and the hypocrisy is almost as bad. I wouldn’t use that as my fairness barometer.

            To my knowledge, I haven’t called you anything vile. I did note a lack of clarity on basic civics.

            I’ve used Plan B. I keep typing that not because I’m an exhibitionist or needy of approval but because I think people like me are more wide sweeping than you think. Most are just ashamed, and this ruling makes it worse. It’s not exactly what a woman brags about on her resume.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Not me, but those who own Hobby Lobby – people you do not even know.

            The reason why churches, etc., are not taxed is because it is the only thing keeping them out of directly being involved in politics. Since so many Catholics do whatever the Catholic Church tells them, we can use them as an example. What would happen if the Pope told all Catholics to vote for candidate A or be excommunicated? Millions of people would vote for that person due to the command…and the Church will lose its non-profit status. The loss of all status is what ensures they will not take such an action.
            It is a good thing, we need to keep it.

          • AtalantaBethulia
          • Terri

            Well, I say tax the hell out of those nasty churches, and tax that nasty Green family to the highest level since their so high and mighty 1% people who probably dumb enough to vote for Mittens. The only way churches get off without paying the taxes is actual proof that they are doing what the church is meant to do, providing for the sick, lame and those desperatly in need. I know of “pastors” who are claiming disablilty from the Government and taking wages from the church for working….fraud!

          • Matt

            (FWIW, Elizabeth–I am covered through the ACA, and could be its poster child thus far. My premiums are subsidized through my own taxes and the plan I have fully covered my immunizations for nursing school, which is almost unheard of. The cost would have cleaned me out otherwise.)

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            (FWIW, Matt, I am too. Because I didn’t work last year — income $0 — my monthly payments are $42, my copays are $15, and my meds are $5-$10. That will change drastically now that I’m back in the game, but I am so thankful it was in place when I needed the boost and will be for many others to come.)

          • Matt

            (I’m sorry you were unemployed! That sucks. I feel better now that I’ve had trouble finding work. We’ll see how things change when I finish this semester.)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            In the case of HL, their religious beliefs were never in danger. The only thing that changed was the AFA. HL willingly allowed the full range of contraceptives in their health plans before the contraceptive mandate was made a viable part of people’s health insurance. It was a pure and simple political and marketing ploy, as they knew they’d gain status and loyal customers as a result from this proceedings…from a single demographic.

            Their cry of religious persecution rings hollow, thanks to the fact that their investment portfolio also violates that false religious ideal, they crow so loudly about.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Now see, I do not believe that is the case with them. I think they are wrong in their believe (since ALL birth control pills thin the lining of the uterus as a way to prevent having a baby), but it is a widely held one.
            Do you have a link to their investment portfolio? I have not seen it.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Not the particulars, but this is one place that mentions the general stuff, AND that they invested in these pharmaceutical companies AFTER the lawsuits began.http://boingboing.net/2014/07/01/three-quarters-of-hobby-lobby.html

        • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

          How do you know Koch Brothers isn’t run based on religious views? Do you mean “Christian” religious views, or any/all religious views? Hobby Lobby sells arts and crafts, fabrics, etc. That has nothing to do with Christianity, so they are not “operated based on religious views.” I suppose you’d be fine under this ruling with a CHC that required its female employees to wear a hijab despite those employees’ own faith? Because under this, a corporation’s religion trumps a human being’s religion.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Their mission statement does not say anything about religious following, while Hobby Lobby’s does. It really is that simple.
            You are being stupid on purpose wrt the hijab. Did you even bother to actually read a synopsis of the SCOTUS ruling? If you did, you would know the reason why your hijab statement is ludicrous.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Back off on the prideful disdain there bud.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Call it like a see it – no pride needed or involved. The statement about the hijab was ridiculous and so far out there she might as well have mentioned small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            but those small furry creatures are so adorable!

          • Mike Barnhart

            They are, they really are! (did you get that I stole that portion from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, BBC edition?)
            EDIT: http://american-buddha.com/hitchhiker.314.htm

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I read the book, havent seen the tv version. I want to read Eoin Colfer’s installment, as his children books are so delightful

          • Mike Barnhart

            The modern movie is crap, but the BBC mini-series got it right. I never head of Eoin Colfer…now you are making me look up info!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Get and read Artimus Fowl. You’ll be hooked. Its young adult, but who cares? Fun reads are fun reads.

          • Mike Barnhart

            I have been looking for a new book series – thanks for the tip!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You’ll enjoy them. Smartly written, funny, with a fun cavalcade of characters, one of which evolves rather nicely.

          • Andy

            We just don’t use the word “cavalcade” enough.

          • Matt

            The Supernaturalist is a one-time novel by the same author that I read over and over as a teenager. Sometimes Colfer can be a little heavy-handed with his environmentalist views for my taste, but he is still one of my favorites.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          56% is more than 44%. Even if we didn’t include the undecideds — which we must, there’s a whole bunch we’re not absolutely certain of when it comes to God — you’re thinking of a plurality not a majority. And that’s our civics lesson for today!

          Yes, in the privileged world of the wealthy, educated, and predominantly white, we’ve always been able to buy abortions and various forms of birth control. Even when they weren’t legal. The problem comes with setting a precedent that those who can’t afford $50 for Plan B are less deserving of a choice their God may deem good and necessary. The government forces the employer to provide health insurance; that’s not supposed to mean pick and choose who can have sex or bear children.

          • Mike Barnhart

            The government’s plan was to make it so people who did not have insurance could not afford Plan B. Now, since they cannot force religiously based, closely held companies to pay for it, the government might very well actually pay for it for everyone.
            You are still confusing YOUR choice with that of the owners of a private, closely held company. You claim YOUR choice is important and their choice is meaningless. You need to understand that YOU can still choice, but you do not have the right to force them to follow YOUR choice.

            EDIT: I will concede that it is possible there is a majority who do not think homosexuality is a sin – but with the caveat that we can never really know since most people are never polled and most that are polled do not bother to answer any questions. Then you will have those who say what they think the questioner wants to hear…

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            No. I’m “confusing” the rights of employees to have the same choices I do in how they manage their health, their families, their LIVES, in a healthcare contract they pay into as well. It’s their money too. It’s not a charity.

            If Hobby Lobby isn’t allowed, legally, to ask an employee’s religion or marital status on the application form — and they’re not — why are they allowed to enforce decisions based on them once they’re hired?

          • Mike Barnhart

            They are not forcing their employees to not buy Plan B. The employees can buy Plan B, have abortions, visit prostitutes, smoke crack, anything they like…but the company is simply saying they should not pay for people to do any of those things.

            This means the employer is completely out of the decision making process with regards to any of those choices.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If employers actually paid for those things. like one’s prescriptions, then there would be validity to that argument. I have yet had any employer pay for any medication I have purchased. Not a single one. What I do get is a discount on those medications as part of my health coverage, but my employer isn’t paying the difference either, my insurance company is.

            All an employer does is…maybe, pay part of a health plan, that they have negotiated pricing with said insurance company. Some employers cover all the cost of premiums…only, and rarely, spouses and dependents. Some only negotiate premium pricing based on number of participants, plans available, and how cheap they can get a plan for. The employee then pays all that premium, as deductions from their paycheck.

            What usually happens though is that employers pay a small portion of the premium to make having insurance for employess a bit more affordable. Employers do not pay for co-pays, out of pocket expenses, prescription drugs. That the employee pays for, PLUS the cost of the premiums.

            So to say that employers pay for health insurance is not really all that true. Yes they write the check for the premiums which the employee is paying for, just like employees pay for their disability insurance premiums, uniform rental, taxes, etc. It all comes out of the employess’ paycheck.

            the only benefit employers get out of offering staff health insurance is on their bottom line. They get to write off any premium, or portion of a premium that they paid for themselves. They are not profiting or losing money otherwise.

          • Jeff Preuss

            Upvoted simply because now I know that 56 is more than 44, and I feel so much more better edumacated.

  • Mike Barnhart

    As an aside, one cannot KNOW that homosexuality is NOT a sin any more than one can know it IS a sin. Both are faith based beliefs. Removing the non-applicable portions of Law of Moses (unless you are Jewish, then it is applicable, but I am assuming most Christians are not Jewish, which is a good assumption), the only thing we have left is the discussion at the First Council of Jerusalem.

    The final decision on what Gentile believers should do, Peter said (in Acts 15):
    19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.

    What we are left with is wondering what is meant by “sexual immorality”. There are two schools of thought – and John Shore obviously falls into the latter of the two. The first is that since Peter was a Jew and was talking to other Jews, he meant Sexual Immorality in the sense that they all understood as applied to them and the culture in which they lived. This would mean homosexuality is to be avoided (since it is to be avoided by Jews according to the Law of Moses). The second is that since James was talking about Gentiles, he was talking about what Gentiles considered sexually immoral and therefor homosexuality is not a sin (since it was not considered sexually immoral at the time).

    There is absolutely, positively no way anyone can KNOW which one Peter meant. To claim otherwise is to claim to know Absolute Truth, something I have seen most people who follow Shore to say no one can know.

    • Bones

      I KNOW that Christians are more hung up on what a sin is than God is.

      • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

        Not really “what a sin is”, but what behavior is on THE LIST.

        Some remedial education on what “sin” is, would be a good thing.

        Starting with, what makes any attitude or action problematic?

        As you infer; “problematic” is not God’s problem. But rather, what makes it difficult for Me, to understand, the one thing that needs understanding?

        I and the Father are One.

        This replaces THE LIST, with a simple formula. Carried in the HEART.

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          brmckay,
          I totally agree with you (as usual).
          So often, talk of sin is weighed down by miscommunication. We often don’t mean the same thing when we say “sin”. Some people mean breaking some scripture-based holiness code. Others mean falling short of God’s ideal. Some people mean a posture of rebellion or selfishness. I personally like the definition: sin is that which separates us from God. It allows for personal, Spirit-led conviction.
          My best to you
          David

    • MikeHaas82

      Right. Now produce the preacher, priest or rabbi that ever got up on the Bima and said, “most of what I have to say to you today might be utter nonsense. Its based my own interpretation and accepted interpretation of our particular affiliation of what this paragraph in Leviticus means.”

      We have an innate sense of right and wrong. Unvarnished by religion, our sense of right and wrong should dictate that men and women should be treated with a particular respect, including who they choose to love and marry.

      That’s why we “know”. If one’s Judeo-Christian beliefs help one tune their internal compass, marvelous. As with an actual compass, make sure you’re not walking near magnetic outcrops. We have to be intelligent enough not to allow our tendency to bigotry and bias skew us.

  • http://www.sdecesare.com Stephen DeCesare

    Out of everything I found…this pretty much sums it up on what is believed in the Church: “Homosexual desires, however, are not in themselves sinful. People are subject to a wide variety of sinful desires over which they have little direct control, but these do not become sinful until a person acts upon them, either by acting out the desire or by encouraging the desire and deliberately engaging in fantasies about acting it out. People tempted by homosexual desires, like people tempted by improper heterosexual desires, are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some manner.” So basically, being homosexual is not a sin but once the person engages in homosexual sex, it is.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Hi Stephen,

      Your summation is really incomplete. There is a wide spectrum of what Christians believe regarding queer people.

      The position you identified is the “welcoming but not affirming” position. That’s one position out of at least seven.

      There are some congregations and individuals who believe that same sex sexual attractions are themselves a sinful lust. There are others who believe that homosexual orientation is not God’s ideal, but same sex relationships are the most moral life possible for some gay people. And there are still others – like me – who believe that covenent gay relationships should be encouraged and celebrated.

      • Mike Barnhart

        “There are others who believe that homosexual orientation is not God’s ideal, but same sex relationships are the most moral life possible for some gay people.”
        Now that is an interesting view, one I had not heard before.

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          It’s called the accomodation position and has been put forward by conservative theologians such as Lewis Smedes and Helmut Thielicke.

          • Mike Barnhart

            It fits in with many other things I have heard, so it has precedence. Divorce is widely knows to be allowed even thought it is not the ideal and polygamy is the same.
            I just never heard it applied to homosexuality before.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            I personally think it’s a load of crap. It still diminishes the humanity of people who are gay… but at least it does so in a way that causes less harm than most traditionalist positions.

        • Audrey Stamm

          I am sorta in this camp, having been raised Reformed.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      That’s only what’s believed in some of the church. What Today’s Evangelicals Are Telling Gay People.

  • Jenny

    Wish you could have expanded on one of your last lines…”We need you, brother.” I’m a female progressive pastor who appreciated the encouragement to speak up. as well.

    • Christina Edmiston

      Ditto. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Kind of an ironic last line, actually, in light of the article ;)

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      fixed.

      • Mike Barnhart

        John, can you remove your statement of “For we Christians who know…” and change it to “For we Christians who believe…”? Your current statement implies you have personally talked directly with God about it and know The Truth…and therefor all other views cannot possibly be correct.
        Since there is no way to KNOW if a religious view is The Truth or not, saying you DO know it smacks of hubris and goes against everything I think you stand for. In other words, it makes you eerily similar to those who KNOW homosexuality IS a sin.

        • Jlumpkin

          I can’t speak for John, but I KNOW that my son did not choose to be gay. So if he didn’t choose it, then God either made him flawed or he did not. People choose sin. They aren’t born in such a way that their presence is sinful by birth. I think that justifies anyone to say that they know it is not a sin.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Not true – theft is a sin yet there are kleptomaniacs. This is not saying that homosexuality is a sin, it is simply showing that being born a specific way does not mean the actions cease to be sinful (if they are sinful to start with).
            There are people who are only sexually attracted to young children – obviously they did not choose to be that way either…and it is wrong if they act on their desires.
            In both cases, I am not saying these things are the same, just showing that being born with a desire does not magically make acting on that desire no longer sinful.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Sexuality is essential for living into the creative intention for humanity. Theft is not. Shutting down one’s sexuality is harmful. It is not at all the same thing as managing one’s propensity to steal (or alcoholism, or pedaphilia, or any of the other nasty things people love to associate with homosexuality).

          • Mike Barnhart

            Pedophilia is sexual in nature. I am not saying it is the same as homosexuality (please everyone, stop purposefully taking offense), simply showing that being born a certain way does not magically make acting on the desires not a sin.
            The actions must be a sin to start with, and whether homosexuality is a sin or not is not clear (enough support on both sides to make valid cases). But if it is, then it does not matter if you are born that way. If it is not, then being born that way is irrelevant.

            You guys have to learn that examples do not mean things are 100% the same…it means there is a small piece that is the same – the piece under discussion.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Here’s the problem Mike, you are tyring to pathologize homosexuality. By suggesting that something essential, innate and immutable like sexual orientation is somehow comparable to a paraphilia like pedophilia, you intentially are equating homosexuality and psychological disorders. Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation nor is it a natural variation on human sexuality. There is no small piece that is the same.

            For all I know, you really do believe that people who are gay are just sick and twisted perverts.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Nope. What I am saying is that more than one sexual orientation is innate and immutable. Not just the orientations you like or agree with, but all of them.
            If it makes you feel better, heterosexuality is just like pedophilia in this regard. People do not choose to be heterosexual, they just are. People do not choose to be pedophiles, they just are. Why would anyone choose to be a pedophile and risk not just the scorn that comes with it, but the jail time and forever being branded? They would not, it is innate.
            What this shows is that someone who is a pedophile has just as much control over their sexual preferences as a heterosexual does, as a homosexual does. It does not magically mean the act of having sex with a young child is no longer sinful and wrong just because the person was born that way, any more than a heterosexual having sex outside of marriage magically stops being a sin just because the person was born that way.

            I equate heterosexuality, homosexuality, and pedophilia in this manner because they are all the same in this manner…the person is born that way and really does not have a choice in who they are attracted to.

            The big difference between the three is that only one of them causes harm to another person (yes, pedophilia) and therefor SHOULD be outlawed. But at the base level, they are all the same (in that you are born in the category you will be in – no choice to you).

            Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, people who change their preferences – but they are outliers by far.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            OK – You should just stop while you’re behind. Being primarily or exclusively attracted to men, women or both is what defines one’s sexual orientation. Pedophiles have a sexual orientation too. That is seperate and apart from their fantasies about pre-pubescent children.

            If you’re going to play in the sandbox, you should at least learn that a using a bucket is in no way the same thing as throwing sand in your playmate’s face.

          • Mike Barnhart

            Sigh – yes, stay perpetually offended. You are allowing your desire to be offended prevent you from seeing the point I was making.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I’m pretty sure I’ve banned you from the UC page before for this same kind of thing.

          • Terri

            He needs to disappear, never to be seen again; he’s not here to learn, he’s here to disrupt.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            I understand your point. I’ve heard it a thousand times. My offense is germane to your point.

            Humans are created to be in relationship. All major Christian sects agree on this point. Further, most agree that sexuality is a major way that we relate to one another – it’s not just about sex, it’s about the way humans relate to one another and possibly form relationships that are intimate.

            Saying that physically intimate relationships are only permissible for straight people is like saying that eating is only permissible for right-handed people. Jlumpkin’s point is that her son was born left handed and it is only right and proper for him to eat with his left hand the way God created him to rather than starve to death.

            Then you come along with your falicious comparisons. It’s like you’re saying “Just because people are born left handed doesn’t mean they’re permitted to eat…after all, people are born with heart problems.”

            What you’re failing to recognize is that you are making a catagorical error. Sexual orientation is nothing like – not even in any small way – kleptomania, pedophilia, or anything else that’s unrelated to sexual orientation. That’s why your comparisons are so offensive.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Exactly. Sexual orientation is really about relationships, mutual, harmonious, shared needs, looking out of others, relationships.

            The other is not, as any other person is unimportant, only the self, what they are going to get, what they can take, and the all important personal need.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The only part of pedophilia that is sexual in nature is the parts of the body affected. What it really is, is power, control and domination over someone a peophile can use to feed their need for power control and domination. As their victims are being raped, its not sex at all, but a horrible assault.

            Sex is consensual. If not agreed upon by all parties, then it is rape, assault, harmful, sin. illegal.

          • Mike Barnhart

            For some, I would agree…but there are those who are born that way and simply have a sexual desire and such towards children. And yes, it should remain illegal since it harms others.

          • Jlumpkin

            Who you are organically attracted to is not the same as having a need to commit a crime against someone. It’s really quite insulting that you clumped gay people into another group that commits crimes against others. This is why Christian allies need to speak up. I would imagine the majority of them would not align gay people with criminals like kleptomaniacs. I call BS on that comparison.

          • Mike Barnhart

            You are one of those people who want to be insulted. Did you even notice that I used tons of words to say exactly the opposite of what you decided you wanted to be offended by?
            You would be happier if you did not see offense where none is given.

          • Jlumpkin

            I don’t want to be insulted. That’s absurd. But it’s a game I’ve seen played over and over. When talking about LGBT issues, conveniently throw words like pedophile, kleptomaniac, etc into the ring, and follow it up with “but I’m not saying it’s the same.” Yes you are. You’re implying it to make a point, and it’s hateful. You’re smart enough to know that kleptomania and pedophilia are identified as disorders by the APA and neither are orientations. Look it up. You’re just good at your nasty little game.

          • Mike Barnhart

            No, you are choosing to be offended by taking something I did not claim and pretending I claimed it so you could be offended.
            You pretend I did not do the exact same thing with heterosexuals so that you can continue to fabricate a situation in which you can decide to be offended. Stop pretending things like that and stop being offended when no offense is given. You, and those who know you, will be happier that way.

          • Jlumpkin

            I’m pretty happy, as are those around me. Thanks for your concern.

          • MikeHaas82

            Y’all kicked this guy, right? Wow. Late to the party again.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Know and believe can mean the same thing. Its contextual.

          • Mike Barnhart

            In this context, it does not mean appear believe. Context speaks of it as The Truth – at least in how I read it. It would be best to not leave the interpretation of what is meant to others and instead use believe if that is what he really means. Remove ammunition, so to speak.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I read it as believe. So its contextual, which often based on perception

          • Mike Barnhart

            If he wanted to use the word believe, he would have used the word believe. He did not, but instead used the word know. If he did not mean know, he should not have used the word know.

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          I don’t care what it makes me seem like. Right is right, and I know what’s right.

          • Mike Barnhart

            So you are telling us you personally talk with God and He told you The Truth – which is how you KNOW something that is unknowable otherwise. Interesting…

          • Andy

            You are treading on thin ice.

          • Mike Barnhart

            I don’t care if it is thin ice. Right is right, and I know what’s right.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            That’s it.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Thanks for losing him, AB.

    • PanhandleDave

      John, thanks for taking such a strong stance. I do wish you could fix the rest of the references to “he” in the same way you changed “brother” to “friend” in the last sentence. Maybe alternating pronouns would work? I know you don’t mean to exclude all of the female pastors who think similarly… Much of this piece uses plural pronouns or some other way to be non-gender specific, but the paragraph (a strong one, I think) that says “he wants… he wants… he wants…” does seem ignore all of the women out there who are SPPs… I don’t think that “he wants….she wants…he wants…” would be to confusing.

      Thanks for the stance, though. Some of us not-so-Secret Progressive Parishioners appreciate what you do…

      • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

        Yes, I very intentionally did make that a “he” paragraph.

  • usingmyvoice

    John, apparently you overheard my conversation with a young pastor-friend last week! The timing of this is phenomenal; I’ve already begun speaking it to the pastors I know. I do not want a church whose minister’s primary goal is keeping the status quo. Your post was such a lovely confirmation of what’s been on my heart just recently. Yes, it’s TIME.

  • DC Rambler

    My first time reading your thoughts and definitely won’t be my last..I understand why some might be hesitant to go where they had been warned their whole lives to avoid under penalty of eternal death but I feel when they realize that the power of love, compassion and inclusion can conquer all fear and that serving all of humanity is our true calling. Peace

  • Jasper0123

    [atrocious comment deleted.]

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      There are people who keep cockroaches as pets and in some parts of the world they ate considered rather tasty. And who among us has not had bad breath?

      Still there are people in the faith who cause catastrophic harm. Are to keep silent on the damage they do? Are to play along when people in our faith insist their harmful behaviour is proper, despite the tears and heartache in the wake?

      I don’t think so. Part of love is protecting other a from harm, defending the defenseless, saying no to those that wosj to cause damage. Sometimes a bit of labeling is justified to.point out what is wrong.

      If that is a problem for you, then this forum is not a good fit

      • virginiacferguson

        my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
        . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
        just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

      • David Jahnke

        Are you defending this language allegro 63? Cockroaches and bad breath are to be exterminated and eliminated. This article is not just divisive, it is dangerous…

        • BarbaraR

          As allegro said, perhaps this forum isn’t a good fit if you are having a problem here.

          • David Jahnke

            [I'm a dick who can't shut up comment deleted]

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          yes, I am defending the language. Don’t like it,,,then here’s another phrase you won’t like….tough shit.

          There’s plenty of forums out there that are probably more to your taste. We do not need yet another phrase police recruit.

  • BrotherRog

    I say, come out boldly and overtly – not secretly!

    The “progressive” in progressive Christianity is an adjective that helps to distinguish this form of the faith as being one that emphasizes following Jesus’ Way of unconditional love, grace, and radical inclusion – as opposed to the
    more commonly known form of the faith that emphasizes judgmentalism,
    legalism, and excluivism. Until the more commonly known form of the
    faith sheds its emphasis, the adjective is needed. — Roger Wolsey, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity

  • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

    People who aren’t deranged, but live in fear of those who are, cause untold suffering. Just look at the Islamic world for an example, of what not standing up leads to.

    To all those who know better, but only teach the watered down version, shame on you. Time is short and the journey is long.

  • Lance Schmidt

    John – you are a subversive in the tradition of our Lord Jesus Christ. I deeply respect and admire who you are and what you are doing. Lately in my own spiritual journey I am being led by the Holy Spirit through my Bible readings and faith tradition to understand just how dangerous Christianity can be because of the threat it poses to the power structures and cultural wisdom of the day – both in the time of Jesus and in our modern age.

    I have fallen in love with Christianity and my relationship with God because of how it benefits me. I have wonderful, ecstatic religious experiences. I am filled with peace, joy and love; and my anxiety and blood pressure are lowered. I experience heights of glory from the quietness of my bedside devotions….

    …yet somehow I can’t help but feel that it’s all selfish and that I have missed the radical call to walk and talk with the homeless, the hungry, the drug addicted, the poor, the marginalized and inclusive of all….to take a stand that may distance me from the popular crowd as well as the Christian establishment. The Christian call is to death to the ego for a new, risen life in Christ that comes with no promise of prosperity or swaying, happy-clappy renditions of Kumbaya but rather in the example of our Lord comes at the greatest of price.

    Am I willing to take up the cross of Christ and follow His example? I don’t know….I really don’t know – so I keep searching and praying for strength, grace and courage to walk with Christ and not in His shadow.

  • mona

    Amen.

  • David Jahnke

    Truly graceless article– “Such Christians, like cockroaches and bad breath”?@! Who is the author referring to? Only a caricature and stereotype of those with a differing theology and politics. Does not everyone struggle with the pride, greed and authority that are at the root of “spotlight-chasing, money-crazed, power-mad…” So are we all “cockroaches”? (Remember that this was what the Tutsis were called in the Rwandan genocide.) This language is de-humanizing and dangerous. Condemnatory stereotypes of the “other” is never Christ-like. I know a lot of evangelical Christians who truly love and accept homosexuals despite believing it a sin; and most progressive Christians struggle with money and power as much as conservative ones do. All of them believe in loving God and neighbor and struggle to do so with the same humility and boldness; the same compassion and truth-telling that Jesus did. The blogger also mis-portrays moderate to left-leaning pastors who recognize that barraging their diverse congregations with one political perspective can drive people away from God and neighbor. Most pastors in such congregational contexts are more interested in being pastors to everyone in the church and feel no need to drive polemical wedges into the body of Christ. Inflammatory stereotypes and rash judgments do not lead to peace and progress.

    • BarbaraR

      Because we wouldn’t want to offend anyone, would we? Let’s just be nice and sweep the whole thing under the rug so that no one gets mad. God forbid that a pastor should come out boldly and forcefully against the prejudice and hatred practiced against LGBT people, especially that which is preached daily by pastors whose congregations eat up every word and believe the tripe of “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

      Are you fucking kidding me?

      It’s more than high time that Christian leaders who believe in gay rights to speak up loud and clear. “Differing theology and politics” that leads to discrimination, ignorance, and division is already a dangerous precedent firmly entrenched in America.

      “I know a lot of evangelical Christians who truly love and accept homosexuals despite believing it a sin.” No, they don’t. They may spout it to your face, but what they really want is to “pray the gay away.” They don’t really love gays as they are; they believe them to be embracing “the gay lifestyle” (whatever that is) and that if they’d just turn everything over to Jesus, they could be straight. There are plenty of people here that can tell you about the “love” they’ve experienced from such evangelicals, and it’s not pretty.

      “Barraging their diverse congregations with one political perspective can drive people away from God and neighbor” – but hey, it’s okay for anti-gay rhetoric be preached in churches as long as it doesn’t divide the congregation? You think this is just “political perspective”?

      Because keeping the congregation status quo is paramount. But read what non-Christians think.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2013/07/what-non-christians-want-christians-to-hear/

      • David Jahnke

        Well…my sister is an evangelical Christian who deeply loves her gay brother, his husband and their two children. Hateful anti-gay rhetoric is wrong as is hateful anti-evangelical rhetoric. I will not preach either. I personally know dozens of conservative Christians who care deeply about all God’s children and are not interested in condemning or sexually converting homosexuals…It is ugly judgmental stereotypes that our loving God opposes. And the de-humanizing language of this article is profoundly dangerous. What do we do with cockroaches and bad breath? Exterminate and eliminate them…This sort of language cannot be tolerated, just as the language of “God hates @#!*% ” cannot be.

        • BarbaraR

          You’re upset about this article because of “cockroaches and bad breath”? Seriously? You find this hateful?

          And while I don’t know these “dozens of conservative Christians,” I have a very hard time believing they all “care deeply about all God’s children and are not interested in condemning homosexuals.” That’s not my experience whatsoever with conservative evangelical Christians. If they care so much about gays, they should be standing front and center against the misused and misinterpreted “clobber passages” and standing up for LGBT rights.

          • David Jahnke

            Yes…there is much hatred in the article, along with clearly dehumanizing language. You are o.k. with such language? which, I repeat, was used in the Rwandan genocide…

          • David Jahnke

            Dehumanization seems to be a theme of Pastor Shore’s. I read this in another article…”you faux-sanctimonious wasp…
            Anyway, sorry again about your … unfortunate gene pool.”

          • BarbaraR

            Honey, we say a lot worse around here.

            Equating calling “right-wing, spotlight-chasing, money-crazed, power-mad Christians” cockroaches with Rwandan genocide is more than a little drama-queeny.

            I think you’ll probably be happier not reading any further if you get offended.

          • David Jahnke

            I did not equate the two. I pointed out how that dehumanizing language is dangerous, period…and gave an example.

            Offend, divide, exclude and/ or conquer seems to be the “Christian” approach here. Quite far from the God in Christ who is interested in reconciling all things and all peoples.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Let me tell you, some of the most hateful, horrible words I’ve personally ever heard spoken, have been from pastors. I grew up in cult, so I know what offend, divide, exclude and conquer really is like. What John is doing is nothing like it. Trust me on that.

            As we’ve already stated, this site does not exist to play nicey nice with everyone. Its not geared for just anyone, and quite often John throws away all the pretty wrapping and shows the ugly that is a part of Christianity. If you prefer pretty wrapping and words, and pretending that Christianity is all sweet and pretty ponies, then this is certainly not the place for you.

          • David Jahnke

            Two people in one day telling a fellow Christian that their community is not a place for him. Sounds ironically like the kind of exclusion that I thought progressive Christians were against. Where is Christian, or, for that matter, postmodern pluralistic civil dialog?

            Mocking a brother in Christ as “drama queeny” and interested in “sweet and pretty ponies” fits the bill…

          • BarbaraR

            Not every online community is for every person. I personally stay the hell away from right-wing evangelistic communities. Why go where I am not wanted and where I violently disagree with the people there? That’s trolling and looking to pick a fight.

            We have already outlined what this community is about. It sounds like you’re deeply uncomfortable here. We are not going to change the entire community because you’re unhappy. You aren’t the first mainstream/ ring-wing Christian to come here and complain that we aren’t doing things your way and you won’t be the last, I’m afraid.

            And yes, you’re being drama-queeny and interested in sweet and pretty ponies. I don’t know why you’re continuing to hang out here when this clearly is not a place you’ll fit in, unless you’re just here to bitch.

            I don’t know how to make it any clearer: this community isn’t a good fit for you. I really have other things to do tonight besides deal with this shit and if you persist in being butthurt, you’ll be asked to leave.

          • Guest

            [Pissy "I'm being oppressed" comment deleted]

          • Bones

            I was banned from a right wing Christian’s blog because he refused to have discussions about theology and the Bible.

            He just wanted to oppress gays.

          • David Jahnke

            My comment below was just censored as well Bones. Very odd and yes, hurtful, to be shut up and kicked out of a Christian blog site…

          • Bones

            There are plenty of sites where you can persecute gays though, where you will be welcome.

            eg
            .http://www.godhatesfags.com/

          • David Jahnke

            My brother, whom I love deeply, is gay; as is one my best friends; and two of my cousins. I have absolutely no interest in persecuting anyone. This is turning into bizarro-world.

          • BarbaraR

            Then why are you still here?

          • David Jahnke

            Because people keep responding…

          • BarbaraR

            Then you’ll be here all night and for years to come.

          • David Jahnke

            If I were welcome, I might… Peace be with you.

          • Andy

            “I’m not racist! I have black friends!”

          • BarbaraR

            *Snerk*

          • Bones

            “Let me tell you, some of the most hateful, horrible words I’ve personally ever heard spoken, have been from pastors. ”

            In love of course.

          • BarbaraR

            *SMH*

            Okay. for those of you who’ve just joined us, here’s a basic explanation.

            This is a safe space for people who have been burned, hurt, excluded, rejected, marginalized, and otherwise destroyed by Christianity as it is practiced by mainstream churches. We acknowledge what has been done in the name of Christ to people who’ve had more wretched, heart-rending, soul-destroying experiences than most people can imagine. There are straight, gay, bi, queer, trans, questioning, poly, lesbian, curious people here who are Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, angry, happy, transitioning and transgender people here who are finding a comfortable space to freely express their experiences.

            The appropriate language to describe the people who’ve done these shitty things isn’t “holding different theological and political views.” It’s cockroaches and bad breath. It’s hateful, domineering, power-hungry leeches. These are terms the people who have been hurt can latch onto. They’re accurate.

            It appears you would prefer everything to be sweetly phrased and pacifying to those who’ve done the destroying, just to “keep the peace.” I already said that this may not be the place for you, but you keep coming back anyway.

            We are adults here. If you can’t handle that, perhaps you can start your own blog and keep strict controls on what words people are allowed to use to describe the worst people in Christendom.

          • Bones

            I think telling people (supposedly fellow Christians) they are going to hell/face judgement/are apostates are dehumanising.

            In the past that would mean us being burned at the stake.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Oh, I think you know who the article is referring to. They are not caricatures or stereotypes, but living breathing people who seem to have made it their life purpose to spew vehemence, condemnation and hatred. If you look around the internet at all, it doesn’t take one long at all to find all sorts of video or audio examples of people saying the most hateful dishonest, disgusting thing and use the Bible or God as their excuse to say such horrible things.

      Cockroaches is not a bad analogy, because when confronted, they run and hide under the nearest bible verse. We converse with people like this on almost a daily basis, here on John’s blog plus the Unfundamentalist Christians one as well as other social media outlets,…and depending on where one lives, in real life.

      John calls things a bit crassly at times, because its frustrating as shit, to see over and over people who are treated like dirt, who’s pain is so evident, that it leaps off one’s computer monitor and right into your heart, because of what christians have done to family members, acquaintances and whole congregations. Sugar coating this stuff in pretty language is like trying to put vanilla frosting on a turd, so why do it?

    • Bones

      I’ve been told I’m going to hell in the last 2 weeks for not believing the 5 Fundamentals nor the Roman Catechism.


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