The Church Beloved: A Manifesto of LGBTQ-Affirming Christians

lovesick

A new Church is coming, or rather with each passing day it is becoming; person by person being renovated.

Heart by heart it is waking up.

For a long time we have been shamed into silence, relegated to the periphery of the faith community, believing in quiet. But these days demand volume and today we raise our voices so that there can be no mistaking our intentions. 

We are unrepentantly, unwaveringly LGBTQ-affirming Christians.

We will continue to make the Church and this world a more open, loving, and safe place for the queer community and their families.

We believe the Church must be fully inclusive in both the pews and the pulpit or it is less in the image of God than it could and should be.

We believe that gender identity and sexual orientation have no bearing on a person’s moral worth or their standing in the eyes of God.

We believe we all are the beloved, as we are without alteration.

We believe that everyone is a reflection of the Divine, created good, made of what God is made of.

We believe Jesus calls us to love one another, not to tolerate one another; not to warmly embrace some and to hold others at a distance. 

We celebrate all life with equal ferocity. 

We’re not going to apologize for any of this and we’re not relenting.

We’re not stopping because our faith compels us, just as your faith compels you.

We too have read the Bible and gone to seminary and served in the Church and prayed fervently and listened intently for the voice of God, and all of these things have yielded our conclusions.

We will gladly tell you why we believe what we believe, but we’re not going to argue with you about the validity of our convictions because we don’t need to justify our path to you.

We’ve already walked our road.

We understand that because of what you believe, our position may cause fear and anger to rise up and boil over, and that you may feel the need to defend yourself. You may feel driven to attack us, sometimes violently, and we will try to respond not in kind, but in kindness.

We will do our best to reflect the Jesus we have come to know, by not questioning your humanity or your character or the legitimacy of your faith—but we also will continue to speak without censoring or softening, because that is how injustice is allowed to fester and reproduce.

You can say all manner of hateful, disparaging, insulting things, but that doesn’t matter because we believe in the inherent worth of all people and we believe that Scripture bears this out.

We no longer will tolerate a Church where any group of people are marginalized in the name of God and we will speak into that with sustained force.

To say it plainly: We’re here for the duration so shouting us down or shutting us off is not a viable option.

A Church without the LGBTQ community is simply no longer acceptable and we, Christians of all identities and orientations, stand together to speak in unison: 

Love is indeed winning and we are the loud and shimmering proof.

If this is bad news to you, we’re going to refer you to Jesus and let the two of you work it out. We don’t believe we can change you anyway. God does the changing.

In the meantime we’re going to keep living our faith convictions just as you live yours, and we’re going to love people as God personally calls us to.

This is how that “freedom in Christ” thing works.

We are the Church that is becoming what it was meant to be: fully, unapologetically inclusive.

We are the Church Beloved.

67 thoughts on “The Church Beloved: A Manifesto of LGBTQ-Affirming Christians

  1. I’m an atheist and a subscriber. It makes me happy to see someone of faith be so open and loving and articulate and KIND.

    You’ll never, ever, ever turn me into a believer, but I do believe this blog and your heart are doing a lot of good.

    Thanks, and big love.

    • Zoe B: You’re in luck! John P. teaches that one does not have to be a Believer to experience God’s rewards in Heaven. (‘everyone is Divine’, ‘everyone belongs to God’, ‘You needn’t change’.)

          • Also, that the best response to mildew in your house is to make a blood sacrifice to God.
            There are a lot of good moral teachings in the Bible, but there is also a lot of stuff that needs to be read critically.

        • And in Romans 2 it says that people who don’t know Jesus are still able to walk with Jesus. They follow the law naturally, an all loving God doesn’t place a name over the ethics and love of a person.

          • thank you for that response, can you give me a chapter & verse?
            I LOVE Jesus but I always struggled with that statement “Sorry, the Bible states clearly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.”
            I think, what that meant was to walk in His WAY is the only way to Heaven. I am sure a vast number of people walk that way without believing in God or Jesus, or even being aware of Him. How could God or Jesus deny those who do not know Him or even those who deny Him. If there is acceptance for murders, then why not doubters and non-believers. What makes that ‘sin’ so much greater than that of taking another’s life?

            • Indeed when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.
              They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
              Romans 2:14,15

              Does it matter when Jesus saves ? Is it necessary for us to declare Jesus before people or before him?

              • I would answer your question with a clarification question about your theology.

                Do you think an all loving, all knowing, all powerful, all merciful God cares about a name over the content of your character?

                Do you think that an all powerful, all loving God would limit salvation on a name?

                • Hey John-Marc O.

                  If you are asking me. If we are to have a relationship with God the Creator, God our father/ mother/ parent the all knowing , all powerful, all merciful then Jesus demonstrated how we can know God.

                  God’ s actual name has eluded us as a mystery. But we know as a matter of record the name of Jesus who we are told is our Lord and Saviour; who, it is written, sits at the right hand of God as our intercessor. Yet, even these things that have been written about God and Jesus; which challenge me / us all, we / I cannot claim an absolute understanding of what is written. Nor, if I pick apart the translations, the verses and definition of the words used to write about God will I be able to ever claim truth about God. How we treat people God has given to us , how we treat this world God has given to us is an indicator of our character, that goes for the believer and the unbeliever .

                  I realize I have a limited awareness and knowledge of these things. Therefore we / I should tread carefully with what we / I think about God. Because truth is a revelation, not a fact, that can be proven.

                  Therefore the character of a person and the quality of their heart in terms of goodness is evidence of God with them; even if they don’t know God’s name they know his goodness. And their goodness is a testament of God’s wisdom that God pays attention to our hearts and choices even if we are not aware of God, God is aware of us.

            • John 14:6 King James Version (KJV)

              6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

              • Stephen I am curious as to why you think this scripture is pertinent. It would be nice to know what you are trying to say

    • I’m just curious, and PLEASE don’t think I ask this with an agenda of trying to convert you, but when you say you’ll never be a “believer”, what is it you think you are supposed to “believe”? Because I am really starting to think atheists are sometimes closer to understanding Jesus and “following” him because they cannot believe in a “man in the sky” who controls everything. Jesus taught and demonstrated that humanity is the manifestation of “God”… that he was one with God AND we are one with him… which means we are all one. So when it comes to being a “believer”…who really believes this?

      • hi kelly, i know you were asking Zoe B the question… ‘what do you think it takes to become a Believer ?’ It doesn’t really matter how Atheists view it. [They could not be more disinterested.]

        However, Believers are concerned about what God says. It’s good to find scripture about what Jesus said about people that reject God . And when you find the scripture, because you believe in Jesus, you believe what He says. [And, that is the definition of a Believer.]

        There isn’t any bible scripture that says, ‘Jesus taught that Man is the manifestation of God and therefore we are all One.’

        Being made in His image, is not the same as being a manifestation. Jesus manifested in human form, but he manifested from a position of being God. We are not God. We are his Creation (very different position).

        [I have to say, that is my disagreement with John P’s teachings. ] He has adopted a different gospel, one that places doubt about the inerrant Word, & introduces a different definition of sin, (as he says, bible times people were ‘ignorant of today’s advances in psychology and morals.’)

        I think we are no better, nor worse, than those that lived in bible times. We’re Sinners that need saving.

        • I’d say we are better. At least in Western countries, we don’t stone people to death, we don’t allow slavery, we don’t execute disobedient children…

        • “There isn’t any bible scripture that says, ‘Jesus taught that Man is the manifestation of God and therefore we are all One.’ ” Indeed, Jesus did not explicitly say that. You’re correct.

          But what about God making mankind in His own image? And Jesus is the image of the unseen God, the ‘exact representation of His being’. And Christ died for all – all! ; we were ‘in Christ when He was crucified’ and the Bible also clearly says that we are ‘all one in Christ Jesus’. So, stringing these bits together into some sort of logical progression, is it not possible to make a Scriptural case for it?

      • * to Kelly
        I agree with the ending of your question/statement.
        WE ARE ONE, with each other, with nature, with the planet, with God/Jesus.
        I want to recommend an author for you.
        Charles Eisenstein – http://charleseisenstein.net/
        Would Love to know what you think, if you get a chance to read.
        His books are available online for free as well as for purchase. There are online audio for the books as well.

        I respectfully disagree with Paul.
        1st- Please do not shove all atheists into the same category. Just as there are thousands of variations of Christianity (public and personal), there are thousands of ‘takes’ on Atheism. Each individual has their INDIVIDUAL perspective. I know several Atheists and each has variety of (VALID) reasons for questioning the Status Quo of Organized Religion, and I share some of them. I know one Atheist who searched for evidence and information to support her doubt of God, only to find more information about Jesus (historical and Biblical) and has since become a Pastor. I know one, who only refers to himself as an atheist because there is no other ‘label’ (I have hatred for labels, they only divide & exclude) that he fits under. But he is always seeking an answer of some kind and that search had led him to some good places. I also know some who fit the category description that Paul showed. BUT NOT ALL DO.
        ~As a society WE HAVE GOT TO STOP making blankets statements as if ALL of those who share some characteristics, share them all.~

        2nd- I am sorry Paul, but to think that there ARE NO ERRORS in the BIBLE, (which was written by the hand of man) is exactly the kind of BLIND faith that causes more problems than it solves. God gave us the capacity to think and weigh information for discernment, it is a disservice to Him not to use heart & logic.
        Take a look around, there are no men/humans/women that do not include their filter to God and His Word. Several who get it all wrong and several who get chunks right and twist or ignore the others.
        (Not stating below as fact, just simplifying the language by excluding if’s and such).
        God divinely inspired the Bible – no doubt
        He inspired/compelled men to write it. – no doubt
        The Great All Knowing God would have no need for our version of language, therefore it stands to reason that God’s inspiration were either of pictures or words (that we could understand -at that time) or both. And as variable as our perspectives and perceptions can be, it stands to reason that man’s filter would still come into play with the Godly-inspired word, thus adjusting and skewing God’s original intention. In case you haven’t noticed, even the most Godly humans are prone to this.
        And I won’t even open the can of worms regarding hand-written copies and language translations, that have over the years diluted, concentrated and/or miscommunicated the Word of God. My family history, due to handwritten census and dialect/accent/language barriers for the interviewer/interviewee, has 3-4 versions of the same family name.
        So sorry Paul, but please use the discernment God has provided you. Not arguing against the Bible still being very relevant, but to blindly accept that every single perspective in it’s entirety that is contained in the pages of the Bible as all that there is, seems troubling to me.
        God is within every one of us, every living thing. Whether we believe or not.
        But ‘believing’ in him is like giving a hug back to the person who is hugging you. They still hug you, regardless of whether or not you hug them in return. But OH HOW BEAUTIFUL is the moment when the hugger and the huggee both participate in the hug.
        I could pick and choose all the parts from the Bible that illustrate this, but everything external of us is always up for debate/argument. The only belief that I hold to without a doubt, is my personal relationship with God/Jesus and all the moments, people, discoveries and epiphanies that He has stitched together to create this/my belief. I will not refute your beliefs, just question them. As doubt is the room in the flower pot for the roots of the faith to grow.

    • Ditto – I have a strong spirituality, and don’t follow a religion. I believe that ‘religion is for those who are afraid of hell, and spirituality is for those who have been there’ but I am profoundly moved and impressed by the blogs on this site. As the mother of a gay woman, and the grandmother of a wonderful little girl who has two fantastic Mums, I say the world needs people of all faiths, creeds and belief systems who think this way – than you.

  2. “We too have read the Bible and gone to seminary and served in the Church and prayed fervently and listened intently for the voice of God, and all of these things have yielded our conclusions.”

    THANK YOU. This is beautiful.

  3. John:
    Once again, another wonderful Post on a matter so dear to the hearts of so many Christian Gay and Lesbian and Transgender and Queer Community. But, as usual , you articulated it with so much love and grace. Thank you so very much for your HEART, it just exudes the love of our Jesus. I am so happy to share this post, as I have so many others.
    With love and gratitude.
    Bob.

  4. So-called christians use Leviticus to condemn homosexuality but have ignored other prohibitions in that book for centuries. Such cherry-picking of what to agree with and what to ignore is dishonest, especially when they claim every word of the Bible is directly from God. I called a long-time acquaintance on this and her answer was not to address the question but to ostracize me from her life. Just have to shake my head and chuckle.

      • You’re right, James….but many Christians believe that they still *are* under the Mosaic law. I think that’s probably what Dwayne is addressing with his comment. Or, at least, that some Christians pick and choose from both covenants as they see fit – which is what Dwayne is marking as dishonest.

  5. Pingback: The Church Beloved: A Manifesto of Becoming — john pavlovitz | Talmidimblogging

  6. To be truthful, I have wondered if sexuality really isn’t more of a spectrum than endpoints….This passage has always intrigued me (wanting to be careful of not reading too much into it) – David says the following, upon hearing of Jonthan the son of Saul’s death:

    “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful. Than the love of women. 2 Samuel 1:26

    David loved quite a few women…but he also loved Jonathan in a very deep way.

    I’ve been reading Ron Chernow’s fascinating biography of Alexander Hamilton, and there is some speculation that Hamilton and John Laurens may have had, if not what we would call a gay relationship, something very special, deep and tender – Hamilton never formed another relationship like the one he had with Laurens.

    I think many of us have been afraid of going beyond a certain point in relating to others of the same sex or different sex – and perhaps the LGBTQIX community is bringing an awareness of different possibilities in relating to one another…..

    ‘Laissez bon temps rouler!’ And now the condemnation from certain quarters will start (ha)

    • Yattwood, your comments always are pertinent and many move me. I have no way of reaching you other than through this comment section, but I’d like you to know that months ago I marked this day on my calendar as the day your husband died back in 2009. I had been touched by your post and wanted you to know that there are strangers out here who love and wish you well and are thinking of you on this sad anniversary.

      • Ah, Mary – thank you so much – I appreciate your kindness so much…..

        I saw a posting on Facebook this morning entitled ‘Say Their Name’ – about the importance of talking about and mentioning the names of loved ones who died…I would even extend that out to naming losses that have occurred – to speak about them.

        So, today, I will mention The Montana Farmer Boy, aka Byron Raymond Perkins – on this day, 29 June 2009, I watched him take his last breath, and I’ve missed him everyday

        And to all who have lost a loved one (human or animal), or have suffered loss – I wish blessings, peace and comfort!

        • yattwood, I want you to know that your words are often as much or more nourishment for my soul as John P. Blessings peace and comfort to you too.

  7. Interesting you should write this…I just read another post by another blogger “Reformed Nazarene” who wrote a similar article, but attacking the LGBT and the Church. It was so full of hatred. I grew up in the Nazarene faith, but left it as an adult for many of these very reasons. It breaks my heart to see the blindness and hatred of many people.

    Here’s the article link:

    https://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/a-storm-coming-the-church-of-the-nazarenes-steps-toward-embracing-homosexuality/

  8. Good one!! If enough people tell the truth as John P. has eventually most people will wake up.
    Keep spreading the truth about LGBTQI because what isn’t known is there are far more people in that category than anyone imagines.

  9. The thing I like about the John Pavlovitz post for today is how it tells the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals that LGBTQ people do not give a damn about what the fundies think about them or their religious beliefs.

    They are going to go ahead and worship God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in BOTH SPIRIT AND TRUTH because this is what they want to do and choose to do—with no fear whatsoever and no expectation of reward from God or anyone else. Their hearts feel called to do it—and they go do.

    But most of all, they are totally committed to doing something you rarely ever see fundies do. Having been beaten on, stomped on, and pissed at by the fundies and others, LGBTQ people know more than almost anyone how it is to be truly persecuted and oppressed—and as a result—they believe in what Jesus believed in. Love is not just something you have in your heart. LOVE is also something they DO for God and all 7.5 billion of their neighbors on planet Earth—not because someone says they are required to do it—but because their hearts want to DO it, need to DO it, and long to DO it—to be so radically loving and so radically unlike all those who have persecuted them.

    Their message is loud and clear:

    “We are going to worship God, follow Jesus, and love our neighbors as ourselves—and you CANNOT and SHALL NOT ever do anything to stop us. Our relationship with God is between US and GOD—so we do not need you mean-spirited fundies as a middle man.”

    • i think you (all of you really) would like a book by Charles Eisenstein
      The more beautiful world we all know is possible. He has many others, but this is my recommended starting place.
      Here is the link. He makes his books available for free online and also for purchase.
      http://charleseisenstein.net/
      would love to hear what you think if you do check it out

  10. Wow, what an absolute nut case. Kinda reminds me of Thomas Jefferson and his “revised” version of the scriptures. Let’s just remove anything pertaining to man’s sin, while we’re at it, for the sake of being “inclusive.” But this shouldn’t be a surprise, this dude is almost as pretty as Joel Osteen. Never trust pretty boy pastors.

      • Ha! nice one Charles but this person is Anonymous and could be anyone with any point of view. I have friends of all Christian persuasions including fundamental and conservative And I can vouch for them that they are caring. As well they are trying to think about these things thoughtfully…so I will not pigeon hole them. I have had bad experiences but some time has passed since those experiences and I am trying to work through a way to forgive and reconcile our differences rather than hold a grudge.

    • I don’t trust pretty boys.

      And your JP bashing reminds me of a hit and run and “I have your number- I’ll call you”.

      At least put some substance into your claim of condemnation. If I remember correctly, Jesus said “it’s finished”.

  11. I applaud you John. Coming from a non traditional background, I tend to keep most “Christians” at arms length. You, however, I would be happy to have as a friend. You have written the most beautiful and heart warming treatise on what I perceive should be a universal approach to all beings, by self professed Christians.

    Your deep loving nature shines through. Thank you.

    If you have not heard or read Tina Louise Spalding, I suggest you give her a look. I believe you might be very interested in what she’s sharing. It meshes beautifully with your message.

  12. With reference to the ideas of those who do not believe in Jesus doing God’s work, the brilliant story of Emeth in C. S. Lewis’s ‘The Last Battle’ is a good case in point, “But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me”.

  13. Martin Luthers 95 Theses was nailed to the door of All Saint Church. I love that your manifesto is themed with an old wooden door and a heart as the keyhole.

    Reading this gives me (real) hope, that someday (hopefully not far into the future) I’ll actually be able to hold my head up and not be embarrassed to identify as a Christian. Thank you John!

  14. Beautifully said and well written. Faith is personal and for those who believe and what they be.lieve should not be shut out of the church they attend. This idea of inclusiveness for both congregants and clergy is a natural and well thought out answer to what has been a verydisturbing issue. Power, money, control and prejudice fuel many of today’s churches. It makes attending uncomfortable.

  15. Maybe we should all start by reflecting on what love is; and repent of the times we have failed to love, neglected to love or justified our reasons for not loving someone. The church is very good at pointing out sin. The church is adept at doing good works and spreading the Gospel. Yet the church has failed to perfectly love it’s children and humanity. Love which should be the glue that keeps us together and helps the world

    Is love accusing, judging, correcting, arguing, mocking, rejecting, separating, ignoring, condemning, insulting, ruining each other, in the name of God? OR is love finding ways to give people confidence, pausing to consider what someone else is going through, extending grace to those who had a difficult time with life, giving people space to seek God, listening to the questions and thoughts of those who disagree, being kind with our words so that our words bless others rather than tear them down, inviting people to dinner who are different from us, making amends in places of offence, repairing the damage done by infighting, being thankful for our shared belief in God and Jesus and the gifts we bring, spending extra care on the parts of our lives that are wounded, is love patience, caring, respectful, gentle, sacrificial, redemptive, forgiving, reconciling?

    Is it loving to test each other? Is it loving to make life hard for others? is it loving to turn our backs to those we cannot stand to be around? is it loving to deny someone the necessities of life, assistance or hope? Is it loving to prevent others from asking questions or telling them you know better what the truth is about their heart, characteristics or experience with God?

    Or is it loving to stick with those you don’t understand, give them a chance extend a hand, seek no harm, be flexible with those who find life difficult, accept those who are different; believe what people say and trust what people think.

    So what is love and how can we do better to love all people including our brother and sisters of the faith? Perhaps we need to start with daily repentance because, none of us are yet made perfect in love.

    • If the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals will quit doing all of that bad stuff you listed to each other and to their 7.5 billion neighbors on planet Earth—and start doing all the different and varied JESUS LOVE things He commanded us to do, said we should do, and demonstrated by his own doing, I would be pleased to quit hammering the fundies with the criticism they so richly deserve. Buy you know what? My best bet says they are. almost without exception, personally incapable of changing all that mean-spirited stuff they do—and most of them would never even so much as try to do better.

      Fundie evangelists and many rank and file fundies are conceited bullies by both nature and training. Somebody has to stand up to them on-line—and just like General Patton believed—the best defense against a bully is a really, really, really good offense.

      • Charles,
        There is so much I would like to respond to in your comment. By the way, I don’t normally make a list of ‘bad stuff’ in order to point out ‘bad things’ that people do to each other. Because at the same time these ‘bad things’ can be wrong there is also a real need to ignore someone who is unrepentantly offensive, or insult something that is wrong, or make fun of ridiculous demands, or argue for the truth, or condemn evil, or judge between right and wrong, or separate out the good from the bad, or ruin the plans of someone who wishes to harm others. And I think you do a fantastic job of calling out hypocrites and bad theology.

        Charles I consider you a friend and I am not speaking directly at you but to myself first and foremost and to everyone as well. I stumble in these ways and have forced myself to recognize traits in myself that fail to love others well. There comes a time, especially in this environment of blogs and anonymous commenters that the sheer volume of negativity and reckless condemnations overwhelms the ability to decipher some benefit from it and mend the relationships between brothers and sisters of the faith. In order for all of us to grow and be nurtured we need space in between exhortations.

        Charles you said

        “My best bet says they are. almost without exception, personally incapable of changing all that mean-spirited stuff they do—and most of them would never even so much as try to do better.”

        This is where we cannot judge the heart. So, I don’t view people as unrepentant, I choose to see the best in people. If we do expect the best of people and hope hearts will change then we allow the opportunity for change to happen around us.

        • Sorry. I did not mean to say that they were unrepentant. I was saying that they are so brainwashed and habituated, like the average North Korean, that they as a group—no particular individual—that they are unlikely to behave differently. I do not deal in who repented and who did not or who is a real Christian and who is not a real Christian because that is not my place to say.

          I have said this before, but I guess it should be said again. I recognize the high percentage futility of trying to reason hardshell fundies out of being fundies. Instead, my goal is to encourage undecided people and fence sitters to go to Jesus—but stay away from the fundies—as far away as possible—in doing it. You do not have to be a fundie to go to Jesus. So go to Jesus and avoid becoming a member of a fundie church because being there will be like living death.

          In addition, I know that many young adult people who were raised in fundie churches want out but are may be afraid to leave. My message there is to go ahead and leave, keep Jesus close to your heart, and find a loving nonfundie church that is not going to grind your soul and spirit like a meat grinder grinds meat scraps.

          That is all.

          • Points well taken Charles, however I don’t see the correlation to what I initially wrote. You seem to have taken what I said personally and now we are having a discourse about how we should appraise fundamentalists. What is really bugging you?

  16. Charles, this is Susan. I admit, I’m a fence-sitter. I remarked to someone the other day that I am a conservative/progressive Christian. I align myself with Progressives because I’m a lesbian and I believe Christ invites me into his grace too. That I’m beautiful in His sight, as are all. I still cherish tradition; it provides me comfort. And I still want others to know that He is the way, just the best way. But I’m not going to knock folks in the head with a megaphone and tackle them on the street corner until they recite the prayer. This, I do Christianity better than you competitiveness is just irritating… And Jesus cautioned about such. Lighten up on Conservatives a bit will you? Been there, done that. There’s Truth to be had when the Spirit has utterance… Regardless of who He speaks through.

    • Anonymous. I cannot do that.

      1) My message is not “I am a better Christian than you.” I have never claimed that. I let the fundies do that—and want no part of it. I am not a better Christian than anybody. It may look like I am saying that when I go after a fundie—but that is not what I am saying or why I am saying it.

      2) Conservative today is defined far differently than the way it was when I was a child. Most people these days are not aware of that fact. My guess is that your conservatism is more like what it was when I was a child. The term “conservative” today has been redefined by religious and political extremists to be something way out on the edge and about to jump off a cliff (i.e., the reason George Will just left the Republican Party. I too am a mixture of progressive and conservative positions on various things.

  17. It’s my impression that he’s replying to the request for chapter and verse; it was requested by Bambi above. The odd structure of the way that comments and replies are displayed, sometimes makes it hard to follow who’s replying to whom! 🙂

  18. John, so loving your blog and your facebook page. May I implore you, when discussing LGBT etc issues to remember and include ‘I’ for Intersex? Though not all intersex people identify with the rainbow community, most will, because of their marginalization happily sit under that umbrella. I know it becomes something of an alphabet soup to include every one, but at the same time, please don’t forget this large sector of society, marginalized, ostracized, and all too often brutalized.
    Graham B Wills, Archivist, the Intersex Trust of Aotearoa New Zealand.
    With thanks.

  19. It took me fifteen years out in the ‘wilderness’ to be detoxed from being a Fundie, and that’s here in the UK. But yes, Jesus was the key, and he still is.

    What a shame Fundie churches can’t just have the charismatic gifting and the excellent worship, without all the trappings and baggage that go with them. I’m now in a Church of England church where the people have a faith that is, well, kind-of different from mine, but in essence still the same. Many of the people there haven’t seen the amazing things that I have seen, and yet their faith is quiet, practical and genuine. I love my church.

    • Tony, I can so relate to you. It took me about 19 years to detox from the ‘fundamentalist’ church I went to. It is considered a cultish church and has a support group who helps those leave. But I did not get support because even though I left I could not talk about anything for a long time. Because whatever I felt or thought caused me constant anxiety. I see similarities of cult like behaviour in mainstream churches as well.

      – charismatic leaders who have authority over congregations
      – church government ruling people’s lives
      – they know the truth others are blind
      – men have authority women don’t
      – the Bible is the only truth, everything else is false
      – the culture in the world is inspired by evil
      – emotions are not to be trusted
      – God is more angry with sin than loving towards sinners

      I could go on and on ….but what is equally confusing to me is those who rail against fundamentalism with as much wrath as those who are fundamentalists. We are all misguided humans and need respect. We need strong loving people to tell their stories to fundamentalist churches so that they will begin to return to God’s love. Repentance is what we need not more condemnation.

      When I left the church I was broken and anxious, my thoughts were scattered and warped. I was in need of rest, quiet, comfort, care, gentleness. I needed people around me who allowed me to think for myself and who encouraged me. I sought out those people and none of them were Christians they were good decent people outside of the church. I didn’t change my belief in God. But my belief in how God loves did change and I was able to heal.

      I think I am strong now but it took a long time. At this stage in my life I can distinguish between the good I shared with my brothers and sisters in the fundamentalist church I attended; who were generous to a fault, who truly believed in keeping the ten commandments (which is a simple version of the law of love) and who did the best they could with what they had, although misguided.

      The church is much bigger and more full than what we can truly imagine because the church also contains people we regard as our adversaries.

      • Kathy, thank you for that lovely response. Yep, I can identify with your journey, and I too am having to be careful not to rail against those with whom I shared so much of my life. In fact I would say that it was possibly my personality type that made me more susceptible to letting that sort of thing into my life in the first place: a regard for orderliness and rules; knowing where everything (and everyone) fitted; having it all cut and dried….except of course that real life just don’t work like that! You may be interested to read my testimony, in which I describe (and link to) much of this sort of thing – it’s here: http://tinyurl.com/juxqbdg

        The one thing I do, though, as a sort of ‘response’ to what I used to believe, is to write things in my blog that deconstruct all the misunderstandings I had about God and His Kingdom. I share my newly-constructed theology with the world. hoping that it will help those who have trodden a similar path to ours, and hopefully help them into freedom. A case in point is that I am currently working on a huge project on deconstructing popular theology on ‘hell’; something I used to believe in fervently, but now have a more tempered view on. (but it’s taking ages because I don’t like dwelling on the subject for too long!) No doubt my friends (and I do still have them!) in my old Church will be appalled….but it’s all ‘stuff that needs to be said’ (to plagiarise John’s subheader on this blog!)

        • Thanks Tony for the link, I will check it out. I like what I see so far. I am not so sure ‘fundamentalism’ or ‘conservatism’ or ‘evangelism’ is the root of the problem. Rather I think it is corruption.

          Any church- any person can be corrupted.

          But as for doctrine I think there are errors in our understanding and beliefs about God. No one can claim perfect understanding or truth. Not knowing everything is not the end of the world and shouldn’t separate us because if we have humility about ourselves and love for each other we can discuss everything with civility and with intelligence. I am grateful to you and others who share in this space it’s so wonderful to connect with people far and wide 🙂

  20. Pingback: The Church Beloved: A Manifesto Of LGBTQ-Affirming Christians -

  21. Hello John,

    But this article flies in the face of God’s Word. “First, what Scripture says on homosexual practice is not negotiable, and no amount of new books or videos or personal stories will change that.

    “No new textual, archaeological, sociological, anthropological, or philological discoveries have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently. Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Instead, people’s interaction with the LGBT community has caused them to understand the biblical text differently.”

    Simply stated, if not for the sexual revolution, no one would be reexamining what the Scriptures state about God’s intention for His creation.

    No one would be wondering if two men or two women could “marry” or if a husband could also be a wife.

    No one would be doubting that the Lord made men for women and women for men and that any deviation from that pattern was contrary to His design and intent.” ~ Dr. Michael Brown http://bit.ly/29gfhH2

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