Ordaining Trans*

For years, Phyllis Tickle has told of her small Anglican outpost in Memphis, a congregation populated by many queers, bi, gay, lesbian, and trans* folks. In that last category, when a congregant transitioned from primarily identifying as one gender to the other, the church would have a celebration liturgy at the bathroom — that’s because the person they were celebrating was switching from one bathroom to the other.

This week, Amy Butler, pastor-elect at Riverside Church in New York City, posted a “Liturgy for a New World,” which records an ordination service from her current church, Calvary Baptist in Washington, D.C. In fact, it was something of a re-ordination, since the pastor had been ordained some years ago and had served as a Baptist pastor around the world. But that was with a different name. Now, as Amy writes, the congregation was re-ordaining her, with her new name:

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Why There’s No “Third Way” on Gay Marriage

Rachel & Ratchet and Courtney & Tony are legally married on 11/11/13. Photo by Caroline Yang

Every week now, there’s news about gay marriage. Today it’s that Oregon is allowing same sex marriages. Last week it was the Religious Broadcasters Association forcing Multnomah Publishers to resign from the trade group.

It strikes close to home for many of us as well. I regularly hear from readers who wither A) are gay and can’t get married in their state, or B) have recently gotten married and are overjoyed. In my own personal case, last month I lost out on a potential six-figure grant from a church foundation exclusively because of my affirmation of marriage equality — someone connected to the foundation didn’t like my stance.

I’ve got a few friends to graciously and tenaciously hang on to the idea that a third way can be found on this issue, a middle ground between affirming gay marriage and condemning it. And I agree with them, to a point. I know many churches that are studying the issue — the church council is reading books and discussing it; the pastor is offering Wednesday night classes, etc. Those are practices of a middle ground, but that middle ground is necessarily temporary.

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There’s a Disturbance in the Evangelical Force (Hint: It’s the Gays)

First, Fred tells us that Steve Chalke’s fantastic and robust Oasis ministry has been kicked out of the UK evangelical alliance.

Now CT reports that longtime evangelical publisher Multnomah has been forced out of the National Religious Broadcasters Association because it allowed some of its employees to work on Matthew Vines’s book for sister publisher, Convergent.

That’s right, if you allow your employees to work on a book that doesn’t fit your ideology, you are no longer evangelical.

On the webcast (above) about Vines’s book earlier this week, I closed by saying that I don’t think it’s possible to find a reasonable “third way” in the gays-and-church debate. Here’s another example of why.

I’m begging those of you who are trying to make changes from the inside, quietly laboring away in evangelical organizations and ministries, to open your eyes to what’s really happening.

Can You Be Evangelical and Gay-Affirming?

I don’t think so — at least not yet — and I’ll try to make my case on a live webcast on Wednesday:

Join us by registering here.


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