I completely missed this comment from Bryant Wright

Faith in America asks for apology from Southern Baptist head

Posted on May 3, 2012 by admin

SBC president compares gay affirming Americans to Nazis

Faith in America is calling upon Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, to apologize for incendiary speech that compared affirmation of gay and lesbian people to Nazi propaganda during World War II.

“It is really inconceivable that a person of such prominence within one of America’s largest Christian denominations could utter such a comparison,” said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America. “It is beyond shameful and it makes a mockery of the faith he professes.”

In a Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 sermon entitled “When Homosexual Behavior is a Big Issue”, Wright stated that anyone who believes same-sex sexual orientation is God-given or that sexual orientation can’t be changed is believing a “lie of the devil” that has been repeated so much that now a majority of the public believes it – saying that was a lesson learned from Nazi Germany.

In his sermon, Wright said it makes him “really shudder” at the thought of faith leaders who affirm the dignity of gay and lesbian people, saying they are teaching “what God says is evil is really good.” In addition, he makes the following statements:

“When man all of a sudden decides what God says is sin or evil is really good, that is blasphemous behavior. That is calling God a liar.”

via Faith in America asks for apology from Southern Baptist head | Faith in America.

Good Read: Anti-Gay Worship, Pastor Worley and the Limits of Religious Free Speech

Anti-Gay Worship, Pastor Worley and the Limits of Religious Free Speech

May 30, 2012 By Christian Piatt 5 Comments

Words have gravity, and in certain contexts, the words we choose and employ have more weight than in others. I’m definitely sensitive to that when I see the traffic numbers on my blog. It’s a public forum, and literally anyone can see what I’ve said.

The church pulpit is an equally heavy responsibility when it comes to the gravity of the words we choose. However, we sometimes become a little bit too comfortable in our familiar surroundings. Even if and when there is a camera present, it’s easy to lapse into the false sense that we’re speaking in confidence to close friends.

I saw such an example of this in a video from offered on the Huffington Post religion page, in which a small child offered a song in his church called “Ain’t No Homos Gonna Make it to Heaven,” which was met by a standing ovation by the adults in attendance.

via Anti-Gay Worship, Pastor Worley and the Limits of Religious Free Speech.

Disputatious Christians and Selective Outrage Make Me Wanna Go All R.E.M.

The selective outrage that I’m witnessing from the Christian community is making me want to go all “REM” today — as in lose my religion.  Not only does the mean bickering look ridiculous, it IS ridiculous.  I’m so weary of the fighting about EVERY.   little.   issue.

Andy Stanley used the word disputatious to describe Christians.  Perfect.  He also had a good definition in the sermon before “THE” sermon.  He said Christians had become defined to be “judgmental, homophobic moralists who think they are the only ones going to heaven”. No arguments from this soultwisted ragamuffin.

What makes me absolutely CRAZY is the way that very public Christian figures, especially my former Baptist brethren, seem to live in an alternate reality when it comes to the words that flow out of the mouths of pastors.  Backasswards much?  I have a unique perspective on this since I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church (SBC), went to a SBC seminary, worked for a SBC church and planted church with support from the SBC.  Let’s just say I know how the SBC does business, and it is a bit more GCB than any of them would like to admit.  It is interesting that GCB is the initials to the alternative name/tagline that Baptists recently adopted.  I’m just sayin…

I blogged last week about Pastor Sean Harris and his rant telling the congregation of Berea Baptist Church to “crack” the limp wrists of effeminate boys and “punch” them. He claimed in his “non-apology” and his “retraction…kinda” that he was speaking in hyperbole and his congregation knew what he meant.  THAT is precisely what scares me, because I think they did know exactly what he meant.  It was language that was very personal to my experience and I waited for some prominent voices to come to the rescue.  They never did.  Actually, the Christian Post came to Sean Harris’ DEFENSE in their painfully mis-titled article “LGBT Groups Attack NC Pastor Before Gay Marriage Vote”.

I also blogged about my experience at Buckhead Church and being blown away at Andy Stanley’s message.  His message sent a pretty clear message that he and Northpoint church were willing to live in the messy tension that surrounds homosexuality — that gay and Christian were not two mutually exclusive terms.  True to form, the evangelical community caught wind of his message and have circled like wolves.  Dr. Al Mohler seems to have started the whole thing with his blog post on mega-churches and liberalism.  Rick Warren jumped in the fray by saying Dr. Mohler should apologize for accusing all mega-churches of being liberal because one pastor “messed up”.

Excuse me Pastor Warren, could you please explain how Andy Stanley “messed up?”  Was it his kindness to LGBT people?  Was it the fact that he didn’t use the opportunity to reinforce the old evangelical standard of “hating the sin, hating loving the sinner?  Was it that he painted a picture of a messy and radical grace?

And what I really don’t get is how pastors like Rick Warren and leaders like Dr. Mohler can pounce on Andy Stanley like he is a piece of fresh red meat whilst IGNORING the crazy-speak coming from the mouths of Pastor Sean Harris and his ilk.  Listen to both messages.  From Andy you get a calm, rational and loving presentation.  You may not agree with everything, but there is no doubt that his words came from a place of love.  From Sean Harris you get a hate-filled rant about abusing gay-acting kids in the hopes of correcting them into the straight life.  And in his latest “clarification” with CNN, it is even more obvious that Pastor Harris meant every word he said.  I feel sorry for the kids in that church and fear for any kid that might be gay and sitting in the pews.  Just imagine what the “subtle” messages are in a church that has moments as blatant as the one the world witnessed at Berea?

It is weeks like this that make me ashamed to have been associated with Baptists and evangelicals.  I’ll only bang my head up against an immovable object for so long.  I’m stubborn, but not a complete idiot.  I think I have learned that you can’t teach an old, mean and rabid dog new tricks.  Especially the ones that have been raised to attack, bite and devour their young.

I only take solace in the fact that though they claim Christ, they DO NOT own Christ.  So for now, in the words of Michael Stipe, “that’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight… losing my religion.”  And that makes me sad.

Great Post from Scot McKnight – Andy Stanley, Right and Good

I have so much to do today.  I can’t take a ton of time out to watch as the furor over Andy Stanley continues to grow.  However, I did browse a bit and was pleasantly surprised to come across one of God’s gentle prophets.  Scot McKnight always has  thoughtful posts, and this one ranks up there.  Enjoy.

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Andy Stanley, Right and Good

May 7, 2012 By scotmcknight 45 Comments

There was a dustup late last week stirred up by Al Mohler, who accused Andy Stanley for soft-pedaling when it came to homosexuality, and then Mohler ramped up the rhetoric by wondering if megachurches were the new liberalism. Denny Burk chirped up some support for Mohler. Then Rick Warren got into the act and told Mohler he was libeling thousands of megachurch pastors in his comment about liberalism.

continue reading… Andy Stanley, Right and Good.

Thoughts on Amendment One from a Friend…

This was a post from a friend of mine.  She said I could post it on my blog.  Great thoughts and insights…

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If you don’t think gay marriage is “right” then don’t have one, or support a faith community that supports them. But NC, educate yourselves. This is not ABOUT gay marriage- but are we really so without critical thinking skills, so ignorant, that we in NC cannot see the following: it doesn’t make “gay” marriage legal. Personally, I wish it did, but IT DOES NOT. So people worried about “protecting” marriage (from whom, btw? Do we need some marriage threat level warning system against perceived marriage terrorists?) – stop listening to people who are using you for their own political agendas. Don’t harm women and children, period, and don’t pass laws that do so simply because you are opposed to the idea that a low doesn’t even impact. USE LOGIC.

I’m still on a soapbox, so I will also say this. This issue is extremely important to me, and I have taken the time to understand it. I have talked to ministers, phds in religion and ethics, constitutional law folks, and phds in criminal justice. Perhaps, every one of you should do the same.If you do however, talk to scholars. Scholars are trained to: a) tell you their biases up front, and b) design valid and reliable studies that explore questions. I spent YEARS learning how to do that. My marriage, though legal and performed by an ordained, very faith-oriented, family- oriented, and Godly minister for whom I have the utmost respect, is not recognized in the Church I attended. In fact, that church considers my (straight) marriage a sin. So let me put it to you this way. The language of this amendment, ” marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State”. Well, my Church interprets that as ONE marriage- divorce not allowed, and is a backer of this bill. So all of you supporting this because your minister says it’s a sin if you don’t- you better hope that you, or he, has never been divorced (and you better hope it is a he or YOU ARE WRONG in the eyes of some churches- who ARE IMPACTING POLITICAL DECISIONS. Because some Churches then think your (and definitely think that MY) legal, religious marriage, is not valid.

So riddle me this: Evangelical Protestant groups have compiled research on ministers. According to the FASICLD (Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development), “Eight hundred eight (808 or 77%) of the pastors we surveyed felt they did not have a good marriage. Three hundred ninety-nine (399 or 38%) of pastors said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process. Three hundred fifteen (315 or 30%) said they had either been in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.”

According to Zikmund, Lummis, and Chang (1998), in their analysis of divorce trends –” and “ever divorced” is a much better measure of divorce rate than “currently divorced” because remarriage obscures the true divorce rate — the Southern Baptist clergy had among the lowest ever-divorced rates (17% of the women, 4% of the men), and the American Baptists (19% women, 13% men) and Evan. Lutheran Church in America (19% women, 9% men) were about tied. The highest clergy divorce rate is found among the Unitarian Universalists (47% women, 44% men) with the other denominations in between”. (WHICH, as an aside, I wonder who these Southern Baptist female clergy are? Wait, Children’s Ministry and Music Ministry). According to religioustolerance.org:

– The normal lifestyle of American young adults is to live together for a period of time in a type of informal trial marriage. (CURRENTLY, Domestic Abuse is covered, under the new amendment, it might not be. WE DON’T KNOW)

-Couples enter into their first marriage at a older age than in the past.

– A growing percentage of committed couples have decided to live in a common-law relationship rather than get married. This is particularly true among some elderly who fear reduction in government support payments.

– When 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states were surveyed (The margin of error is ±2 percentage points). The survey found:

11% of the adult population is currently divorced.

25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.

Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.

SPECIFICALLY:

Religion % have been divorced

Jews 30%

Born-again Christians 27%

Other Christians 24%

Atheists, Agnostics 21%

My point (finally):

There is no evidence that religion has a protective influence on marriage. FOR ONCE, NC, look at what is really happening instead of how you wish it would be. That has never helped our state, but we have a long history of bigotry, hatred, racism, and sexism. Again, if you want to protect the family, then for goodness sake, work on your own. But you had better be really sure, that if you oppose this due to what your preacher/minister/priest has told you, that they live what they preach, and that one day vague poorly written laws don’t impact your freedom or rights.

via (2) If you don’t think….

Pastor Sean Harris Clarifies what he meant in his “beat the gay away” sermon.

I really just became aware of this, but it speaks for itself.  Listen to the entire sermon and you will get a fantastic picture of what gay kids face growing up  in the church.  While most pastors and congregations are not quite so “bold” in their proclamation against homosexuality, the undercurrent is the same.  The message that gay people receive could not be more clear.  What REALLY gets me is this half-assed, lame excuse for an apology.  While Dan Savage is NOT my favorite commentator, his apology for saying pansy assed and bullshit at least appeared to be sincere.  Pastor Sean Harris should be ashamed.  He took his apology as another opportunity to “punch” the gay community in the face and “crack their wrists”

Important Clarification to Sundays Sermon 4/29/2012Dear Berean Family,By now you may know that my words, from Sunday mornings sermon, about effeminate behavior in children are being completely taken out of context by those in the LGBT community. Nearly every article is misquoting me.Clearly, I would like to have been more careful with exactly what I said, but sometimes I say things without enough clarity. I trust you understood my intent in the context of my total preaching ministry. If you did not, I would be more than happy to meet with you privately to provide clarity. Just reply to this email. I provided clarity to the Fayetteville Observer today, but I cannot be sure they will accurately report my words. For the record, I want to ensure everyone that I do NOT believe physical force is capable of fixing effeminate behavior or homosexual behavior. Parents should not punch babies or children. Ultimately only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to deliver one from sexual immorality and behavior including effeminacy;

via Pastor Seans Blog.

Podcast for the Message that Blew Me Away at Buckhead Church

Here is a link to the podcast from my post on the message that blew me away at Buckhead Church. Take the time to listen to it… you won’t be sorry you did.  Trust.