MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Demonstrates How To Handle Tony Perkins On Television
1. Life. As I stepped outside this morning and inhaled the uncharacteristically crisp, fall-like air, it reminded me of the beauty and wonder of life.
2. Kids. My kids are so amazing. Watching them grow and develop continues to be such a joy.
3. Old Friends. The coming out process has shown me who my true friends were. Friends are friends through thick and thin.
4. New Friends. One of the most amazing things the move to Atlanta has done is show me my old personality didn’t die — it just went dorment for a while. I have really enjoyed meeting and developing friendships with some GREAT people.
5. Challenges. Challenges force growth. While this growth isn’t always pleasant, it is always a necessity to keep moving forward.
6. Renewed Focus. I remember in late 2010 teaching a middle school class a church and having a hard time remembering what I had spent hours preparing. My mind is clear and focused again.
7. Pain. Yes, I am thankful for the pain that brought me to the place of accepting that I am a gay man.
8. Purpose. While it isn’t “laser-like” in focus yet, I know part of my purpose is to help other guys like me avoid having to live in years of repression and fear.
9. Jesus. I probably should have had this one first, but I’ll leave it where it came up. I know that if what I beleived all my life is true — if the messages I preached to others about Christ is true — then he has not and will not let me go. His love is greater and stronger than I can imagine. I am beginning to internalize that Christian Fundamentalists don’t own him, and that feels GOOD.
10. Intellect. It is so nice to be able to question again. I lived for some many years in fear of asking the tough questions because of the answers that those tough questions might produce.
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.
I was wondering how long this would take. I kept twitter open more often than usual the past few weeks, fully expecting Northpoint and Andy Stanley to become a trending topic. I wrote about my experience at Buckhead Church here and here. Honestly, I can’t believe it has taken this long for the evangelical wolves to circle. It appears that Dr. Al Mohler was the first to fire…
A shot now reverberating around the evangelical world was fired by Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley in recent days. Preaching at North Point Community Church, in a sermon series known as “Christian,” Stanley preached a message titled “When Gracie Met Truthy” on April 15, 2012.
On a quick glance it appears that Rick Warren has tweeted Dr. Mohler asking for an apology for the title of the new article. I can’t do it right now, but I’ll have to spend some more time looking as the responses to this grown. The Christian Post has picked it up as well – read here and here. I already know the venomous responses form forum participants that will follow.
Just look at the title of this article…
“LGBT Groups Attack NC Pastor Before Gay Marriage Vote”
I’ve been over the the Christian Post several times because of Amendment One. I must say that I was really disappointed with what I saw, especially on the message boards. This title just makes it worse.
I’m just not sure how a Christian publication can defend someone that says these things and then tries to paint those that point it out as extreme. Just go back and listen to the sermon. It speaks for itself. Here is an excerpt from the article…
However, gay advocacy groups are still attempting to paint the influential pastor as a hateful person ahead of the imminent vote to decide the terms of traditional marriage in North Carolina.
There is no “painting” that needs to be done. He clearly articulates his position and then reinforces it with the pseudo apology and retraction.
This was a post from a friend of mine. She said I could post it on my blog. Great thoughts and insights…
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.
Religion % have been divorced
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.
Lawsy me… the official “not” apology this AM on the “beat the gay away” message has turned into a full “retraction” from Berean Baptist Church… kinda. But Once AGAIN – there is justification, contradiction and obfuscation. People ought to mosey over to the church website and listen to other messages. I’m guessing there is more stuff like this buried away.
I’m just curious… How can he say that he has “never suggested children of those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion.” (clear throat) Excuse me Pastor, did I not just hear you dedicate a good portion of your now infamous sermon to just that? I mean, if THAT message in THAT form wasn’t “psychological abuse” of any gay or lesbian kids in that church, I’m not sure what would be.
No, you are correct, you never said children should be squashed… just that homosexuality should be squashed. Oh, and I think you added a further descriptor of “like a cockroach” to make your argument crystal clear. Hmmm… I wonder what that does psychologically to a kid that might be grappling with their sexuality? You ONLY advocated they they be punched, cracked and mocked. You ONLY said that their sexuality needs to be stepped on so hard that the insides squirt out. And you did it all in the name of God.
No, gay marriage isn’t a threat to families Pastor. YOU ARE. You are adding to the Gospel. You are like a Judiazer. Never apologize for the Gospel — for the immense and immeasurable grace of a God that loves so deeply he would die for the world. But my goodness, don’t add to it!
As my friend John Shore said to another pastor who found himself letting the words of his heart from freely… “You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. ”
Pastor, your ass is in FULL bloom on this one… BRIGHT and SHINING for the world to see. Here is a sugesstion: When you offer an apology or a retraction, please leave it at that. And don’t give me this mess about bloggers “intentionally framing your words without the context of the entire sermon.”
Here is the context… you preached the message on “marriage sunday”. A deceptive political move by those in NC who are in favor of this amendment. YOU framed your words yourself. YOU used the pulpit for a political tool to scare members into voting or an amendment designed — not to protect heterosexual marriages — but to inflict damage on the homosexual community. It is a definitive stomp in the proverbial “squashing of the cockroach” you so eloquently pointed out in your message.
I see now you have an interview to further clarify your not-apology and your retraction…kinda. I’ll have to go and watch it… but I’m guessing it is more of the same. Oh… and you’ve received nothing but words of support from the congregation? Given the fact that they were laughing when you talked about cracking wrists and punching gay kids, that shouldn’t be surprising.