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.