Like most places in the country it has been pouring rain here in Chicago for the last three days. I’ve tried to stay inside as much as I can and the good news is that I’ve actually gotten quite a bit of work done this weekend. I try very hard to take my ‘Sabbath’ every week but since my wife is in Atlanta for work I’m able to take this time to get a few more things done. That’s actually a good thing right about now because I have quite the week ahead of me in sunny Los Angeles from Tues-Friday.
I have a great group of friends and collegues in Southern California who just flat out want to do some great stuff. I love them to death and over the past three years I have been privledged to be a part of their lives and work. Since the gay marriage topic is first and foremost on many people’s minds in Cali (I’ll save that topic for another post), so then is the broader topic of homosexuality. And many in the Christian community don’t know what to do! But don’t fool yourself, because many in the gay community as well are very comfortable staying put on their own turf. If there’s one thing, among others, that I feel the Lord has put me here to do it’s to blow-up many traditional comfort zones regarding these two communities.
So me and my friends John Lewis (http://www.uywi.org/), Dr. Becky Kuhn (http://www.globallifeworks.org/), Eric Leocadio (http://www.ourcatalystcommunity.org/), Brad Fieldhouse (http://www.kingdomcauses.org/) and Dave Gibbons (one of Christianity Today’s Top Evangelicals under the age of 40 http://www.newsong.net/about/press/christianityToday_11-11-96.php) got together and started what we call, The Coalition – a group of bridge builders committed to seeing the broader Church engage in a productive and safe dialogue regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals within our community.
Our hope is to build a bridge between the conservative and inclusive churches, find common ground, and create a space of conversation that helps us to share Christ’s light and love for all people. It is our goal to elevate the conversation beyond the politics of our differences and into a place of common grace towards one another. The key is doing significant things for the Kingdom while still recognizing a difference in some theological belief. As we are all children of God, it’s time to start acting like it.
It’s going to be a three series event spanning the next three months to start off a new bridge building life for many in Southern California. This first event is a Pastor’s Roundtable for Conservative Christian pastors to be held by Newsong Church in Irvine, CA. We have about 50 pastors and churches involved (from both the conservative and gay sides!) right now, and it’s just a start to see what the Lord will be doing!
If you want to bring this to your city, just give me a holler and let’s start to truly make a systemic difference between the gay and conservative Christian communities. I had a meeting with some heavy hitters at Willow Creek the other day and, this might be cheesy but I don’t know of any other way to communicate what I want to say, so I’m just going to quote myself talking to them:
“At 24 years old when I started The Marin Foundation I would talk to people like yourself and speak of a vision, a dream; something the Lord birthed inside my Spirit that a larger, structural, systemic bridge can be build between the gay and evangelical communities. I got laughed out of churches, organizations, busnisses, everything – because no one thought it could ever happen. And who’s going to believe a 24 year old with nothing but a crazy idea? But three years later I can sit here and look at each of you in the eye and honestly say, it’s happening. And it’s happening all over the country. What no one thought possible the Lord deemed worthy and has risen many up to accomplish His vision. Believe with me and let’s do something impossible!”
And that is how I feel about The Coalition. It’s happening, and with the Lord on our side we can, and will see this dream come true. There’s no doubt about it!