When John Shore invites me to do something, I usually say Yes — even if that something involves leaving my comfort zone hidden behind words on a screen and figuring out how to make and post a video, which I’d avoided doing up until now.
So here’s the video I made for the NALT Christians Project:
And in case you’re not able to watch that video (or were too distracted by nose and chin to pick up on the words), here’s a transcript:
Hi, I’m Fred Clark. I write the Slacktivist blog for Patheos.com, and I’m one of those evangelical Christians — one of those born-again, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving evangelical Christians.
And I don’t believe that being gay is a sin.
Not everyone in my evangelical tribe agrees with that. It goes against some of our tribe’s boundaries.
Tribes are big on boundaries. We like to create them, and police them, and enforce them. And some of the evangelical tribal gatekeepers say that anyone who doesn’t condemn LGBT people is out of bounds, and no longer really an evangelical Christian.
But that’s just dumb. Condemning gay people isn’t what made me an evangelical Christian in the first place, so how could not condemning gay people mean I’ve suddenly stopped being one? I’m an evangelical Christian because Jesus loves me and declares me to be a beloved child of God. Not because I agreed to hate some other group of God’s beloved children, or to deny them their full equality in society and in the church.
The point is, it doesn’t matter what the tribal gatekeepers say about who is and isn’t “really” an evangelical Christian. Because we’re not all like that.
And not because we’ve abandoned our evangelical faith. We’re not all like that because of our evangelical faith — because of Jesus.
The more I learn about Jesus, the closer I grow to Jesus, the more I come to know Jesus, the more I’m compelled to love the people Jesus loves. And that means crossing boundaries, because Jesus didn’t give a withered fig about tribal boundaries. If you’re going to follow Jesus, you’re going to have to cross boundaries because that’s all the guy ever did.
Jesus knew all the religious rules. He knew all the clobber texts about clean and unclean, pure and impure, insider and outsider, us and them. He knew who the clobber texts told him he wasn’t allowed to love.
But then he went out and he loved all the people that the clobber texts told him he wasn’t supposed to love. And he loved all the people that the clobber texts told him he wasn’t allowed to love.
Jesus met the woman at the well and she was nervous, because she saw him as a religious leader and she knew that he knew all those clobber texts. And she knew the way religious leaders liked to use those clobber texts to hurt people like her.
But then she met Jesus. And she went away rejoicing because Jesus was not like that.
And that’s all that really matters. It’ doesn’t matter whether I’m like that. It doesn’t matter what I think, I’m just some guy who writes for the Internet. Who cares what I think?
What matters is that Jesus is not like that. Jesus isn’t at all like that.
And that’s good news. That’s the gospel. That’s the best news there is.