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.

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.

Guest Post – Vote No on Amendment One – Here’s Why! | NC Amendment One Truth

Great article on why you should vote AGAINST amendment One on May 8th… even if you are against Same Sex Marriage.

The pertinent observation is that Amendment One is not about marriage.  Perhaps the greatest lie of this election season, which we all know is full of lies and half-truths, is that it is.  If the legislators giving us Amendment One had wanted to write a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, they could have done so in simple language.  I’ll even suggest some language here: “Marriages between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.”  Incidentally, North Carolina already has a law that says just that, enacted in 1995.  Clearly, if our legislators believe that a majority of us want a law banning gay marriage, they know how to write one.  And yet, that is not what they’ve written in this instance.  Instead, Amendment One, before voters on May 8th, says: “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

via Guest Post – Vote No on Amendment One – Here’s Why! | NC Amendment One Truth.

Associated Baptist Press – Southeastern Seminary rallies support for gay-marriage ban

Associated Baptist Press - Southeastern Seminary rallies support for gay-marriage ban

 I’m sorry, but I can’t let this little gem slide.  This article isn’t surprising at all, but the logic present is just ludicrous.  Here is a clip from the article…

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Another panelist at the seminary forum, Mark Creech of the North Carolina Christian Action League, said proponents of gay marriage are trying to have it both ways by arguing the gay marriage ban “imposes a religious bias into the law” while recruiting liberal clergy to their cause.

“There are, unfortunately, a number of churches, small as they may be, that erroneously support same-sex marriage,” Creech said. “So if we are to hold to a strict separation of church and state, then churches who argue for same-sex marriage shouldn’t be a part of this dialogue, either.”

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Mr. Creech, the pastors and churches joining the fight against this amendment are NOT trying to impose laws based on their holy books onto all citizens.  That is what you are trying to do. They ARE speaking out to let conservatives and Christians alike know that there are people of faith that oppose Amendment One.  I’ll add, that there are those who are opposed to gay marriage are opposed to this legislation.  SMH.

Associated Baptist Press – Southeastern Seminary rallies support for gay-marriage ban.

Dr. Mohler, who exactly holds to an inflexible ideology?

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church.  I have a lot to be thankful for in my experiences as a kid in the youth group, a leader in the college ministries, a youth pastor, a church planter and a worship leader.  I know the SBC and one thing I always struggled with was the lack of flexibility in the attitudes and opinions of the core leadership and constituency.  In Dr. Mohler’s latest article, he dives into the current debate on ministries that practice “reparative therapy” as was highlighted in the practice of Michelle Bachman’s husband.  I nearly choked on my food when I read Dr. Mohler talk about other groups being inflexible.  Really?

Virtually all of the secular professions that deal with sexual orientation are stalwartly opposed to reparative therapy, or to any attempt to change one’s pattern of sexual attraction. Indeed, these groups hold to an inflexible ideology that insists that there is absolutely nothing wrong with homosexuality. These groups include, for example, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, among many others.

I’m sorry Dr. Mohler.  I’ve lived and worked in the ranks of the SBC for a large portion of my adult life.  You saying that other groups are inflexible on an issue is most definitely like the pot calling the kettle black.  I sat in Sunday School classes, small groups, church committees, church staffs, and denominational meetings that set the standard on inflexibility when it comes to Christians struggling with sexual identity.  There is NO other option preached by the SBC and many other denominations, so I thank God that there are groups that have an inflexible view that can attempt to balance the ones espoused by Dr. Mohler.

I’m sure I’ll do some posts exploring many of these issues in the future.  I just couldn’t let that comment go without saying something.