The Not So Relevant Christian

I stumbled over into the Relevant Christian blog. As I scrolled through I came across a post on Jay Bakker and his involvement with Soulforce, whose mission is to “cut off homophobia at its source — religious bigotry.”

I’ll leave it to you to read what the author wrote, but needless to say I think the “Relevant Christian” blog is grossly misnamed. Here are my comments on his post (along with his reply).

STEVE C says:
I thought the title of this blog was “Relevant Christian”!??

Nope… just another “ignorant one”!

JIMMY says:
Thank you Steve…I needed a good laugh this morning.

Tell me…where am I wrong in what I said? Whay (sic) does what I said make me ‘ignorant’?

I am willing to listen.

STEVE C says:
I would have said “stupid” instead of ignorant, but I didn’t want to appear rude. However, why quibble over semantics.

So where were you wrong?

1) Jay didn’t say that everyone will be saved. I don’t know, maybe that’s what he believes, but you certainly can’t conclude that from this interview.

You completely take a quote out of context from the interview you cite and conclude that Jay Bakker believes certain things theologically. Re-read the interview. What Jay did say when asked about his church was this: “We’re a church just trying to show people how to love Christ. We open the doors of the church and welcome people in. Just loving people as Christ and being inclusive rather than exclusive.”

Then later this: “there are a lot of people who don’t want you to include everybody. They think that you’re either opening the door too wide or you’re condoning sin and that can be a struggle. But we feel convicted to do what we do. It’s what God’s called us to do–love people where they’re at [in life].”

From what I read, Jay seems to be saying that HIS church isn’t wanting to be exclusionary. They made this decision based on their belief that it fulfills a mission they have which is loving people where they are.

2) Where else were you wrong? You write: “Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their acceptance of the ‘alternative lifestyle’.” That’s a theologically inaccurate interpretation. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah certainly speaks to homosexual gang rape but not to an “alternative lifestyle” as you suggest. Actually I find Lot’s actions even more troubling in the story (offering his own daughters to the rapists who came to the door). This act of Lot seems to even suggest that the rapists weren’t interested in sex with men for the pleasure of sex, but were more interested in power and perversion of any sort. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for many reasons that had nothing to do with the “homosexual lifestyle”.

3) You make this statement: “I have no problem with the idea that we are supposed to love all people…even those who choose to be gay or lesbian…”

In typical condescending fashion you suggest that those who are gay and lesbian are making a “choice”. This extremely simplifies the matter. You make it seem like someone chooses their sexuality like a pair of shoes or what they are having for dinner. If things were only that simple. But for irrelevant and ignorant Christians like yourself it is that simple.

4) And finally, you state: “where I start to have issue with the whole Soulforce connection is that it appears to be advocating their chosen lifestyle.”

Wow!! Where to begin. Soulforce’s mission statement is “to cut off homophobia at its source — religious bigotry.” The same type of bigotry you are espousing here. I know you don’t think you are bigoted but you are…and you just don’t get it. But Jay Bakker does… read his comments next to your own and see who might actually be considered relevant as opposed to oppressive and judgmental.

“The more I love God and follow Christ, the more I want to love other people like God accepted and loved me. God has changed me, but I don’t place that same expectation on other people. I allow God to be God in people’s lives…. “Christians aren’t God. Religious people aren’t God. God loves you, just where you’re at… just the way you are, no matter what you’ve done. God loves you whether you love him or not and there’s nothing you can do about it. As far as the negative and judgmental stuff goes, realize that Jesus has a crappy fan club. Just don’t give up!”

A Pastor’s Confession

So you come to church on a Sunday morning.

It is time for the message and the pastor stands up and says,

“Good morning. Today is going to be a little different. I don’t have a message or sermon prepared, but I thought maybe I could just talk to you about some things that have been troubling me.

For the last two or three years, I have begin to doubt many of the things I once believed. It’s not been so hard to hide these things from you. Since most of the messages I preach have to do with how to be a better friend, or how to serve others, or how to have a stronger marriage, or how to deal with difficulties… it’s actually been pretty easy to avoid some of the things that trouble me most.

I stand up here each and every week and feel very inadequate to be your pastor. I love you as my friends and my community, but I have found myself doubting almost everything that we have written in our church’s statement of beliefs. And I have been afraid of saying this because being a pastor is all I have ever known. It’s what I love to do. And even if I don’t believe some of these things, I want to believe them. But wanting to believe doesn’t help me to actually believe. However, my desire for knowing the truth remains the same.

I am still the same man I was yesterday… well, except for one thing. I am finally being honest about some of the things going on in my head and heart. I certainly understand that you may not want me to be your pastor any longer. But what I am hoping is that I can stick around and we can discover these truths together.”

What do you do??

What should the church do??

Ego Unchecked

I have heard and read from enough people that attended David Trotter’s church who agree mostly with what I have written in my previous post. Trotter, it seems especially the past two years, was an ego unchecked. Apparently from what I have gathered he was:

1. Focused more on the church and less on his family.
2. Concerned more about being liked than doing the right thing.
3. Defensive and hostile towards criticism (constructive or otherwise) from those within his church and without.

This is from an email from someone close to the situation that wishes to remain anonymous:

David wasn’t always like the man he is now. It seems that over the past 2 years things changed. His priorities were not on what God wanted to do, but on his desire to be liked. He seemed to stop caring about people and placed more emphasis on how slick the Sunday morning presentations were.