Grace Emerges

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Need a New Reformation

Read this article from theOOZE (re-posted in entirety) on why the church needs a New Reformation.

We Need a New Reformation (by Chuck Queen)

I had not thought much about the wave of Tea Party members elected to Congress until the recent debate over the deficit and the debt ceiling. What I particularly observed was, what seemed to me, a complete lack of concern for or obligation to the most vulnerable in our country—the poor and marginalized.

Jesus, of course, defined his mission and ministry with particular focus on the most vulnerable. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . to bring good news to the poor . . . to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18–19)
I suspect that a number of Christians must have voted for them to get them elected. So my question is: What sort of Christianity supports an agenda that neglects the disadvantaged?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Three Parables

by Brad D.

Please enjoy these three modern-day parables...

The Church is Closed, Please Come Back Later
Dear God, could you come back later? The church is closed right now. We heard someone knocking. Then someone shouted through the door something we didn't quite hear, so he said it louder. We think it was you. But we really couldn't understand what you were saying. After that we heard something being explained slowly and more clearly. Surely that wasn't you, God. What he said made no sense to us. Then you said it even more clearly.  Then we knew it must be someone else, but we definitely didn't agree with it, and we have all the facts written down right here in the Bible.

"You must have the wrong address," we said. 

Then the voice said, "No really, its me. Can you please let me in?". 

"Oh God, I'm so sorry we didn't recognize your voice. But we're really busy right now. Can you come back later?"  Its been quiet for a while so I guess you left. I hope we can get ready for when you come back. We've got a ton of work to do.

"Hey guys. I think he's coming back soon. Is there any way we can get this place cleaned up?  And by the way where did those 10 gold coins go that we were supposed to invest to get a good return out of it. Can someone go dig them up? God's gonna want those back."

Wait, someone else is knocking. Its a bunch of weird people. They seem to be dirty and hurt, some are bleeding. They're a total mess. They want in! 

"Hey guys, the church is closed. Can you come back later? Were trying to get ready for God right now."

Calling the World, Please Help

Please help! The church needs you. Please come and bring the truth to us. Please come and help to evangelize the church. 

  • Calling people with differences. We have forgotten what you are like, its been so long since we knew anyone like you.
  • Calling all economists and financial wizards. We need some advice on how to invest our wealth. Currently its earning no return and we need to move it to something worthwhile.
  • Calling all scientists. We got confused and mixed up science and fashion. We thought if we just waited a while the old ideas would become popular again. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened and science keeps moving along without us. Can you help bring some rational balance please?
  • Calling all philosophers and thinkers. Every week in our communities we talk about the most profound topics of our existence and purpose. But somewhere we stopped thinking and considering new ideas. We just keep telling each other the same facts. We could use good healthy debate and hear some complex ideas we don't fully understand. Can you give us some of that?
  • Calling all creative humanitarians.  Can you help us find out how to really help the poor, exploited, and sick?  We have all this money here, and I don't know but maybe millions of volunteer hours, if you need them.  Could you help us figure out how to do some good work with this?
I can't promise that we'll let you in the door. If we don't then at least you tried. Just shake the dust off your shoes and try a different door, church or town. We need you so badly but we don't know it or want to admit it, but I beg you have a heart and come and help us! 

Paul the Talking Head
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to tonight's stage. Today, we have the apostle Paul on the stage.  Not exactly LIVE but the next best thing.  We found this video segment with the early church manuscripts and today we're going to show it! The Holy Spirit, anticipating our technology, willed that this video would be found on a USB thumb drive and now we're going to show it (of course, someone posted it on YouTube). Anyway, the Holy Spirit warned Paul before he made this recording that it would be used for about 50,000 years so he was prepared to be as politically correct as possible in a way that could transcend all those years. The Holy Spirit also reminded him that he would be interpreted Verbatim as though he were talking to future generations, using timeless quips and unalterable principles that would work in any time and culture.

So, here goes. He's about to speak. It's amazing. What will he say?

He says: "Jesus is the real thing. I saw him myself, and when I did the scales fell off of my eyes, metaphorically at first, literally later (just want to be clear about that)! I saw truth and power.  Boy was I wrong and messed up before.  He loves us. 

Okay, good night and good luck!"

What? That's it? Where's my transcendental truth?

Oh, by the way, he says: "the Holy Spirit warned me you would take me literally and Verbatim no matter what your time and culture. Don't know why you would do that. Doesn't make any sense to me but if that's how you feel about it I won't say anything else so I won't be misunderstood. If you have questions, just ask the Holy Spirit. Fortunately he'll still be alive and present with you in whatever day you are watching this."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Fat Almost 40 Rant

by Jenny D.

OK, I'm just going to say it and there is no apology coming with it.

When are we going to stop judging people based on the size they are?

I just saw the new book Maggie goes on a Diet targeting girls as young as six, to send out the message if you lose weight you will be popular and everyone will know you by name??? Oh and you'll be better at soccer...


I developed anorexia at 12 yrs old trying not to look like my biological mother, for the next 17 years I drove myself and everyone around me crazy with worry and my rigid behavior all in the effort to not look exactly like I do right now!

What did I gain in those 17 years of starvation? Metabolic syndrome, heart issues and guess what I sitll look just like her.

When are we going to stop judging, when do we stop encouraging our children to take on unhealthy expectations about their own and others weight.

I don't eat any more than my thin friends and I exercise. Believe what you want about weight but some of us don't pig out. and we look the way we do.

I don't want to lose weight for anyone but me and who would want it more for me than me? And if I'm really honest (as Brad, my amazing husband has said many times brutally, even dreadfully honest.)

I still ignore hunger and I still down deep want that tiny waist but I have to ask why?

Do I want it for me? Do I want it so everyone will think I'm pretty or have it all togehter, do I want it for one of you reading this right now? If your reading this at all? Maybe I want it because that's what the world shouts in my face every day. If your thin your in.???

Can you really look at the world around us, back at generation after generation , and believe that we are all supposed to look the same? My biological family pretty much resemble each other and pretty much every person I've met here on earth resemble those who came before them.

I'm not supporting blaming everything on genes or saying lets all binge because we can't do anything anyway (so don't get on your high horse and send me messages about how I should eat or not)  but I am saying this.

Enough is enough! How many more girls and women (boys too) have to die from eating disorders before we stop making it ok to judge people based simply on size.

When do we just love people because of the beauty they are just for being who they are.
I'm tired and so I am done trying to be that perfect size. I've waisted enough time. I will continue my quest to be healthy but I am so done with trying to fit some mold I was never made to fit.

So love me? Then really love me and never ask me to be something I'm not.

Since I'm having this rant let me also say I'm sorry for scaring the people who love me and making you crazy when I've gotten into the times where I went so far down that road that even I couldn't stand to be around me. Let me say thank you to those who have stood by and supported and loved me through it too because love is what brought me out of darkness.

Maybe wisdom comes with age, maybe self acceptance does too but I would love to see a world where we really teach it to our kids the way it really should be taught. That we love and not judge from the start.

We are all created in God's image and He said that "it's very good" (Genesis)

If I am good enough for God nothing else matters. No one under the sun is perfect no matter how how hard we try to make it look that way on the outside.

Rant finished

Jenny D.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self & Society

Another book plug, this time for a book from Jay Bakker.  Some info copied below.  Another fan of Grace!  Love it.  There is truly a revolution taking place.  Jump in and catch the wave ....

Also check out Jay's church:


Praise for FALL TO GRACE:

Jay is right: a revolution is taking place. And it's a revolution of grace, affecting our view of God, our view of ourselves, and our view of neighbor, stranger, enemy, and outcast. As I read this honest and challenging book, I kept thinking, "Sign me up for the revolution!" ( Brian McLaren, speaker, activist and author of A New Kind of Christianity )

"With Fall to Grace, Jay Bakker has written just the book that Christians on both sides of our tragically polarized faith need to read. Relying on both his own personal experience and a thoughtful and theological reading of the New Testament, he reminds us of the very core of the gospel. And, in so doing, he challenges me to reconsider the Apostle Paul, the biblical writer with whom I most often wrestle. This book deserves a wide readership." (Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier and the theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis )

Product Description

If anyone ever had a reason to leave the Christian faith, Jay Bakker did.

At the age of only 11 his parents' global PTL ministry was engulfed by scandal and undermined by Christian backbiting -all of which played out in the 24-hour news media.

Disillusioned, Bakker turned to drugs and alcohol and left his childhood beliefs behind. But along the way, an interesting thing happened: Bakker came to understand, through his personal challenges and suffering (as well as the help of some friends), what God's grace was really all about.

In this book Bakker explores the true nature of grace--what it means for everyday living and the hot-button issues of our day. With disarming humility, poignant observations, and spot-on theology, Bakker both challenges Christians to reassess their understanding of salvation and encourages non-believers to see Jesus with fresh eyes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Misfits: Who Are You Including?"

I am re-posting below some of the reviews for this book, Misfits: Who Are You Including?, by John O'Keefe.  The reviews alone are worth reading!  Many other people are trying to say the same thing as I am about Acceptance. -- Brad

Misfits: Who Are You Including?

John O'Keefe 

'NO PUNCHES PULLED! This book is utterly compelling! It's a must read for all misfits of any description. It's a shell shocking treasure that offers much well needed encouragement to all who do not fit in, whatever the reason. On top of this it's a mightily kick-ass challenge to any ecclesiastical hierarchs or clerically ambitious who have let respectability blind them to the fact that their Lord was not respectable - he was (like so many of us) just another misfit. If you are comfortable with the way the Church is, then be prepared to be disturbed. On the other hand if you have been disturbed by modern Churchianity, then be prepared to be comforted and even inspired to gather back into your arms the baby you once threw out with the Church's dirty bath water. I honestly believe that this book will become a Christian best seller for, not only is it such a necessary theme, it's written in such a punchy and yet non-preachy way. It literally reaches out and grabs the attention, holding onto it until the end. Not to be overlooked!!'
Mark Townsend
Author of The Gospel of Falling Down

"The church in the 21st century is becoming irrelevant to the lives of many whom she would serve. This fact is well known among many in church leadership; even if it is seldom acknowledged publicly 

Often, the response to this decline is to circle the wagons around doctrine, theology, or ideology in an attempt to weather the storms of change and decline. In "Misfits"; John O'Keefe proposes a radically different approach:   Throw open the doors. Welcome all to their rightful place at God's table and allow a beautifully messy and truly authentic community to take shape. For to follow that outcast and misfit Jesus, we should truly embrace other misfits and welcome them into beloved community, as He did. "The Church needs to understand that we are all, or all should be, misfits and that our Churches need to be filled with misfits seeking to know and understand the divine in their lives."
The church might just find that the soul she saves is her own."
Roger McClellan,

"John O'Keefe is one of the original 'Outlaw Preachers.' He was an 'Outlaw' before being an 'Outlaw' was cool. So he's been on this journey for a while, and his journey has informed his passion for seeing the Church be open and welcoming to all. In his new book, he's provoking us all to ask some hard questions about how our churches/faith communities operate. I'm grateful for his voice and for his rebel call to inclusion."
Steve Knight

I love John's heart. He has two passions:  The church and those she fails to see at present. Hopefully this book will be one more helpful nudge to wake us from our slumber even as it serves to give the misfit in us all a reason to belong. 
Chad Holtz

"I have read many books that attempt to teach societal transformation. They give advice like pray, schedule a meeting, and pray that people come to the meeting. While that may be all well and good, this book is not like those books. Through personal experience narrative, John artfully invites you into the lives of those who dare not darken the door of a church building.

Instead of simply giving you hope that you can, indeed, make a marked difference in the lives of those outside the church walls, John provides practical, real-world, advice on how to embrace your 'other'.

This is a must read for all practitioners of our faith who take seriously Jesus' command to go into the world."
Brandon Mouserco-pastor, Ink Church
Moderator, Outlaw Preachers

When I walk into 'christian' bookstores I tend to stroll through the aisles and mentally categorize what I see ... almost as if in a grocery store.  Baby Food - okay, that's necessary for awhile. Candy and Snacks - hmmm ... tasty, okay on a limited basis, but of no real nutritional value. Frozen and Pre-Planned Meals - you know, the 12-steps to this and the 40 Days of that. Perhaps they make things a little more convenient, but they fall short on numerous counts.

Misfits would fall into the Health and Natural foods aisle. 

Reading Misfits brought back many memories and stirred up strong emotions. I have been involved with countercultural ministry over 25 years. I could put different names to the stories John shares throughout the book and the stories of rejection and exclusion would be the same. Hell, I could add my name to a number of those stories.

The first two emotions I encountered while reading Misfits were a profound sadness and anger. "I can't believe this crap is still happening! I thought we would have progressed much further than this by now!"

As I continued reading I ran across a single sentence that began to stir my spirit:  "We have gotten so used to thinking exclusion we have lost the ability to think inclusion."

I believe John has stumbled upon something very significant. It's as if exclusion is buried so deep within us that it has almost become part of our DNA, our subconscious modus operandi. No wonder we struggle against inclusion - even when trying to embrace it!

We are in need of a deep, internal change ... a 'born from above' experience, if you will, where God's expansive love and inclusion drives out our fear-based exclusivity. Perhaps this is part of the "new creation" promised by Scripture. May Mother Spirit birth such in all our hearts.

I believe the message within Misfits is something that the Spirit is speaking to the Church today ... Lord, give us ears to hear. Amen.
Pastor Nar Martinez
Spiritual Director / Spiritual Father with the Outlaw Preacher

In a time when church people continue to draw lines defining "who's in" and "who's out", O'Keefe gives us an impassioned plea to drop our differences, to end our judgmental exclusivity, and work with God to open our hearts wider--to be as inclusive as Christ's sacrifice, which was, after all, meant for everyone.
-Caleb J Seeling
Founder of
Senior editor for 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paul Clears the Air: More on Women

Hello, it's Paul again.

Thanks for inviting me back on the stage.  Since my last visit I've gotten lots of letters about how we should treat women in the church and in Christian families.  The questions all have the flavor of finding the boundary or limit on womens' roles, authority and rights.  Questions like, "What kind of leadership positions should we let women have in the church?", and "How do women and men share the authority in family decision-making?"

So, I guess I was a bit too brief last time.  I said it already, but I can answer these questions in more detail.

Look, these types of questions, if men ask them, makes us men look like bullies on the playground.  "Do we have to let her play?".  "AAAaaah, no, do we have to let the girls have a turn?"  Radical freedom means that we erase the glass ceiling and get this thing right!  As we know by now, men don't have any special powers, extra intelligence, stronger leadership potential, or closer relationship with God than women.  They are physiologically different, and emotionally different, in ways that can be explored and described in countless science studies, but these differences are now recognized as valuable for women to have when leading along-side men.  We'll have to be deliberate, much like affirmative action, to bring up the numbers of women in leadership.  We'll have to overcompensate a bit in welcoming them to the upper ranks and important jobs, to help make up the existing gap.

I've been to lots of churches, and though I know there are some out there, I've never been to one where the women were in charge, equally with the men.  Men, it's time to let the women have the important jobs, too.  Make every effort to extend the offer of equality and radical freedom.  Quit being the bullies on the playground!  

And in families!?!?  Do the same.  Christian women that I've met are unsure of their place in the family.  Society asks so much, but rewards so little!  The church just adds more expectations on top of this and pushes women to get less respect and recognition for it, so that they can give the honor to their husbands.  Christians, I have to tell you this: this makes unhealthy marriages!  Today we understand honor to mean liberty and respect.  Democracy in decision making.  Each bringing to the relationship and the home our best talents to make it the best possible environment for the marriage to succeed and kids to grow up in.  Husbands, don't be bullies unless you want your marriage to be fragile shell of what it should be!  Don't treat your wife like your dog or like that older kid treated you on the playground!

Okay hope that's clear.  If not I'll use a bull-horn next time!  Have a good one!  Honor those women!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paul on the Stage: About Women

Big picture. Let's look at the message to women in the New Testament. Take the apostle Paul as a case study, again the big picture, the over-arching message.  What was it?.  

First, let's explore from a time projection view where words were intended to transcend time and culture and be understood literally today. What Paul said to women then, is what he would stand up in church today and say. Verbatim. In fact let's consider Paul to be on a televised recording, recorded 2000 years ago and played back today. By the way, did he know we were going to use this recording for the next 100,000 years (just throwing this number out there) and apply it Verbatim?  Did he plan his words to apply to 5,000 future generations?

Secondly let's look at a more realistic Paul, were he to appear on stage today. Let's determine what he would say, if his words were relative to the culture and time of his day, and he were to try to translate his concepts into words we could understand. If Paul was not really thinking about us, not fully aware of our time, when he wrote before, this is probably the more accurate way to hear him than the Verbatim version. We're after fidelity here. We don't want to get the wrong idea about what he's trying to say.

Women in Need.  Source...
Okay the stage is set. What's Paul going to say to women today? First, let's go to Paul the talking head. He' right here on this computer screen...  He says that women are allowed in church! Wow that's cool. They are not really allowed to talk openly but there they are singing and worshiping with thir families. In fact the men are to be kind and respectful to them. They are to work on their marriages (both the men, and the women). Way cool since women were kind of like property back then. Women are to still respect their husbands and honor them as the head of household rather than as equals in the house.  "This authority is a minor point, though," he says; "the men are to be kind and to treat the women like fellow children of God. Let's keep some semblance of the societal order or the family will fall apart and women will be completely disgraced in society." Wow, this Paul guy is a genious. Too bad he wasn't aware that we needed him to speak a little more PC because we need that Verbatim interpretation

Project Renewal..  Source...
Okay now the real Paul is on the stage, trying to best phrase his message (like any good preacher) so that we can really get it.  Not just the letter of the law meaning but the real point that should continue to apply when the fabric of our experience changes.  What?  He's saying something about radical freedom. Something about leading our society in how to love and respect one another. He says that in spite of all our effort the world is still having problems affording women the respect they need and deserve. They are powerless in many situations. They can be discarded by men so easily, left there hanging with the kids. But they can't get the good jobs or good pay. They suffer so much more from poverty and exploitation, but don't have a voice to complain. The church is to radically lead the way and teach the world how to fix this.  Paul says, "Look, let me explain it clearly.  When women walk in that door of the church from the streets of their town or village, should their freedom and honor increase, or decrease, or be about neutral?  If increase, how much should it change?  Church, it should be a radical, night and day difference increase!  When women walk in that door, they should be FREE.  They should be honored and cared for.  They should have an equal voice.  Let's show the world how to do it!  If the world still perpetuates injustice, then let's fight it!.  Good night and Amen!"

"By the way, is that me on the screen?   Wow, I was looking goood back then.  I started my mission for women's rights back then and I'm still struggling to be heard!  Do I need to shout?"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Kind of Neo?

The parallels between the Matrix and religion are irresistible. See my article on theOOZE:
theOOZE: What Kind of Neo?

Article reproduced below:

I love the Matrix movies, and the idea that we humans live in an imagined world, a deception, while the real world is something very different.

Three of the main elements in these movies are the Matrix, the human city Zion, and the liberator Neo.
  • The Matrix is a system built by machines, where humans are plugged in and provide a source of power for the system. Meanwhile, they sleep blissfully unaware of their status while their minds place them in a virtual world much like today’s bustling cities. 
  • Zion is a city for humans who have been freed from the Matrix. They go there to live in real, raw, society after they are freed by taking a red pill while asleep in the Matrix. 
  • Neo is a man that is freed by other liberated humans, and then spends his life freeing others.
With me so far?

The Humanist Neo
The parallels between the Matrix and religion are irresistible. Atheists no doubt think that us Christians are living in such an imagined world by believing in God’s existence and claiming his interaction in our lives. The Matrix is faith itself. The real world is the mind freed from the bondage of faith. Zion is this Earth which is home to humans and is a fragile intersection of chance, chaos, and the power of human ingenuity. In Zion, “self” is god. Society is the kingdom of this god. Neo is the one proclaiming the power of reason. In our own power we can usher in a brighter future, making our kingdom progressively more perfect.

The Christian Neo
Christians have traditionally taken the completely opposite view. To Christians, the deception, the Matrix, is the present physical world, which entices people to forget about God and gratify themselves. The world, in fact the universe, is a doomed, transient reality in which we must survive for a short time as a test of our true allegiance to God.

For the Christian, Zion is our spiritual home, which we can glimpse today through the Holy Spirit, but which comes to full realization when we die and go to heaven.

Neo is the one proclaiming the power of salvation to free people from their doomed physical lives to spiritually-focused lives where they must live to please God and prepare for judgment. In heaven, we will show God how we lived, hoping to pass his tests of faith, ideals, allegiance, or achievements. As we continue to walk through this doomed world we try to free others by offering the red pill of salvation which opens peoples’ eyes to the spiritual reality that was around them all the time. Then, they can “unplug” from fueling the physical world’s systems of control and live as spiritual beings, longing for their future home.

The New Neo
I cannot agree with either position. I believe in and love God, and cannot live my life to build a godless kingdom. On the other hand, I cannot abandon my fellow humans and live to avoid eternal judgment with my focus on heaven. A New kind of Neo has arrived on the scene, to help us see the Matrix that is right under our noses.

What if the Matrix is a kingdom of faith built by man, where believers feed a system that somehow meets their human needs to belong, to divide, and to exclude? They worship God as they see fit, confident in their declarations, insistent in their paths, proud in their ideals. They believe that their kingdom is God’s home, and that they are his exclusive agents, as they are the only ones that know how to please him. God is theirs!

Believers love the true God but they don’t see the truth: that their efforts to please and worship God actually feed a system of their own design. Each faction of believers has its intricately designed system that they have built to capture God as their own. As with the Tower of Babel, they believe they can find God through spiritual ambition.
But God cannot be captured! The real Zion is something quite different. Zion is the true kingdom of the true God. In God’s kingdom, he has complete authority, and can chose to love his children as he has decided. Zion is a place of transformation, of becoming, and of the unpredictable, where dirty, hungry and needy becomes pure, free and content.

Zion is a place described in the Bible:
  • Isaiah described the liberation of captives in a future kingdom of God.
  • John the Baptist called people to stop, change everything and prepare for the kingdom of God which was about to appear.
  • In the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught of a kingdom of peace-lovers and truth-seekers that would not accept the letter-of-the-law as sufficient to describe the grace and love they should show one another.
  • In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught of a kingdom coming to Earth where God’s will was done, and his provision to his children was complete.
  • In his letters to the churches, Paul taught of rich grace, bestowed willfully by God on his children, but which could not be connected to any standards of human behavior or ideals.
  • In his letters, John completes the concept of Love by declaring that anyone who Loves is of God, because God is Love.
  • Finally, James claims that true worship is living to care for widows and orphans.

The true kingdom cannot be controlled, owned or tamed by man. It belongs to God. He persists in visiting this place where we live, which he has created, filling it with his goodness. He does this while maintaining the complete freedom of all people to accept or reject him. He does this while remaining un-surprised and un-thwarted by man’s reactions. He moves. He breathes. Good is released into this world. Evil is resisted.

The new Neo believes in an untamed God. He is liberated from the human kingdom, and is free to join God in bringing his kingdom to this Earth. He partners with God for the cause of good. He abhors and resists sin, which is the evil that people do to each other, by fighting injustice starting in his own heart. He opens his eyes to pain, need and longing in his fellow humans. He opens his arms to others that don’t share his ideals. He lives compassion. He offers God’s goodness to others. He reveals God to others, showing them the true kingdom which is emerging before their eyes.

Which kind of Neo is more like Jesus? Which kind of Neo was Jesus when he came to the Earth? Did he come to build kingdoms of man, or did he come to liberate captives from kingdoms such as these? Didn’t Jesus come to bring us to the real Zion, the kingdom of God on Earth? He is calling us to embrace the truth. When we find the truth, we can help liberate others.

Any Other Word?

Any other word.

I challenge anyone to support either a theology or logical rationale for the rejection of LGBT people by the church.  Consider the following arguments for rejecting gay people.  Would the rationale make sense if we used any other word besides “gay”?

This article was also featured on theOOZE at:

Rationale #1: Being gay is a sin.  The Bible says it’s wrong.  Therefore, a gay person cannot be a Christian.
Replace gay with:
  • unkind, judgmental, selfish, greedy, hateful, jealous, lustful 
  • drug-addicted or alcoholic 
  • elitist, over-ambitious, self-absorbed, egotistical 
  • <fill in your top 10 sins here> 
  • human!
Replace gay with any other word and the rationale doesn’t hold up.  Can you think of any other word where this argument makes sense?  If you say that sinners cannot be Christians, then there are no Christians.

Rationale #2: Being gay is a choice.  Therefore, a gay person cannot be a Christian. 
Again, replace gay or “a gay person” with:
  • Republican, Democrat 
  • Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, monk, hermit 
  • pro-choice, pro-life 
  • homeless, jobless, hungry
  • in debt, debt-free 
  • an engineer, a doctor, a masseuse, a travel agent 
  • a prostitute, a loan shark, a bank robber, an axe-murderer
The only words that make any sense in this sentence would be “non-Christian” or something similar that implies the person is not a Christian (e.g., Muslim, atheist, etc.).  A person that chooses not to be a Christian, is NOT a Christian.  That’s it! 

You can define “being a Christian” in various ways (having faith in Jesus and the Bible, being accepted by God, liking Christian traditions, whatever) and there’s no other choice you could make that would disqualify you from being a Christian.  We believe that a person makes a choice for faith, and that its a free gift from God, right?  Certainly an “axe-murderer” would most likely not agree with Christian ideals but we could have a long, heated theological debate about whether the axe-murderer could be accepted by God in the end if he tried to be an axe-murdering Christian.  Probably the axe-murderer would get a better deal from Christians than the gay person in most circles!  Not sure about the pro-choice person -- I suppose that could be a close tie with being gay.

Rationale #3:  Gay people are just born that way.  Therefore, a gay person cannot be a Christian. 
Replace gay with:
  • blond-haired, brown-haired, brown-eyed, blue-eyed 
  • short, tall, fat, skinny 
  • white, black, Hispanic, <fill in your ethnicity or nationality here> 
  • physically handicapped, mentally handicapped, mentally ill, child with a birth defect or disease 
  • introverted, extroverted, <fill in your personality traits here> 
  • smart, dumb, <fill in your intelligence level here!> 
  • upper-class, lower-class, <fill in your economic status here!> 
  • male, female, human !
The argument about whether gay people are born gay or choose a life-style of homosexuality is irrelevant to faith or being a Christian.  If only certain classes of people can be Christians, then being Christian is not a choice at all! 

How about this one:

Rationale #4:  I don’t like gay people.  Therefore, a gay person cannot be a Christian. 
You get the point.  Doesn’t work with that word or any other word either.  But it’s probably the most honest statement of all.

I have heard these arguments all my life, and blindly accepted them.  But do we ever stop to question whether the argument itself makes any sense?  What’s the sense in arguing something when the logic is flawed to begin with.  In that type of argument, we will always lose!  

It’s like when my 8-year old boy argues with me as to why he should be able to eat candy for breakfast.  He’s convinced, but his logic is laughable!  I would be embarrassed to support an irrational point that everyone else can see as laughable.  It makes Christians look ignorant!  Can’t we hear our own words and tell when they don’t make sense?

In the end it just doesn't matter if we like it, or agree with it, or think its a sin or a life-style -- the rationale of rejection just doesn't work.  It's better to just call it hate.

So, once again, I challenge anyone to find a rationale for rejecting LGBT people.  Can you think of anything that doesn’t fall apart if you replace “gay” with any other word?  

If you can’t think of one, then maybe an apology would be a better choice.  We have hated gay people long enough, and they don’t deserve it.  What’s worse: being hateful, or being gay?  If they can't be Christians, then maybe we’re not Christians, either.

Bradley D. 

Related Posts:
Hello Evangelicals!

Dear Pastor, Please Invite the Gay
A Letter to the Unaccepted
Forward Progress 4: The Good News of Grace

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is this a cool church or what?

Check out Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis...

Facebook page

A Holistic Missional Christian Community in Minneapolis

Solomon’s Porch is a Holistic Missional Christian Community that meets in a building located at 100 West 46th Street in Minneapolis Minnesota.
Solomon’s Porch is a community seeking to live the dreams and love of God in the way of Jesus as a benefit and blessing to the world. As part of this effort, we maintain a meeting space in South Minneapolis but we are very aware that our community exists wherever the people of Solomon’s Porch find themselves.
The people of our community are from varied backgrounds and hold a wide-range of perspectives, and all are welcome.
We welcome you to join us in person at any of our gatherings, meals or conversations. We know that entering into an active and engaged community can be difficult for some people and want to extend our invitation for your to be part of our community.
This church is a church of people, not an event created by the leaders. We hope and desire to help you make your dreams come to life. So if you have a ministry idea, a community idea, a worship idea, please share it.
Please know that Solomon’s Porch welcomes you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Narrative-Historical Theology

A really useful article about how to interpret the Bible. I wish more Christians would embrace this and realize that a more open mind leads to real truth, not to watered-down truth. The "easy" interpretation that doesn't require any work or thinking is not going to lead to any new insight into spiritual things.

Towards a useful narrative-historical theology
"On this blog and in the books I have written in the last few years I have argued for an evangelical self-understanding that expresses its fidelity to scripture by means of what I think is most usefully classified as a narrative-historical hermeneutic. What I mean by this is that the theological content of the Bible, and of the New Testament in particular, in its various forms, is primarily meaningful—and sometimes only meaningful—in the context of the unfolding but circumscribed story of a people that claimed to be heirs of the promises made to Abraham.The theological content of the Bible, therefore, is not a body of free-floating abstract truth that means the same now as it meant then. Even at its most generalized it represents, in the first place, a dynamic engagement with history and is subject to the contingencies and constraints of history. "