Sunday, September 04, 2011

Damn you, Jay Bakker...

So, in July I wrote a post in support of my friend Jules & her lgbtq challenge to emergent church leaders. I encourage you to go back and read that. In the days that followed, there was a lot of back and forth on various sites that made me weary and brought out my cynicism.

Cue mid-August, and Jay Bakker decides to ask the twitterverse a question: #areyougayaffirming

For those not versed in twitter-speak, that is a hashtag asking: Are you gay affirming? His question was posed to congregations & Christian leaders to get the to answer definitively. I, as is my nature, filtered his encouragement/challenge through the lense of my most recent experiences, and below is the twitter conversations that took place with friends (I left out the response tweets, but I think you can get the gist):

“I was part of a church that insisted all churches must be truly racially diverse, yet used the ‘adam & steve’ line… (1 of 3)”

“I would ask those insisting everyone be LGBTQ inclusive immediately if their local gatherings display true racial diversity… (2 of 3)”

“And then I would ask us all to have a little patience with & grace towards each other as we seek to grow… (3 of 3)”

“YES – I fully affirm my LGTBQ friends & their faith, but I will not be bullied into making that my cornerstone. LOVE & GRACE fill that spot.”

“After reading several posts on what allies do wrong I was intimidated to just be a vocal friend.”

“Too many rules & regs. I speak up, gently & firmly. It’s not about me, right? I don’t need a # to say, yay me, I’m affirming.”

“I’m an introvert. Conflict makes me physically ill. I’d rather just continue using my voice, calmly & consistently.”

“I’m just offering another perspective for those who choose not to jump on every challenge bandwagon.”

This morning at church I was telling a friend, who leads a ministry called The One, Inc., about a tweet I had seen recently from Jay about leaving the 99 to find the one, and that I had yesterday watched one of Jay's speaking engagements from several years ago, and what he had said about leaders being able to leave the 99 to go after that hurting person that needs them. Next weekend our little congregation is observing a Feast of the Reclaimed, sharing stories of renewal in our lives & celebrating baptisms. Next Sunday we also are starting our children's ministry classes back up and today, as I was cleaning carpets in preparation, I decided the kids should have a party as well - and we should read together the Luke 15 parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep & the lost son, stories of people reclaiming things that are valuable to them. I emailed a couple people & threw that idea out there.

Later in the day, as I was cleaning my own house, I noticed Revolution Church NYC had posted today's sermon, and thought that would be a nice accompaniment to the task at hand. After all, the whole reason I'm cleaning today is because next weekend I will be super busy with a weekend that includes not only the Feast of the Reclaimed, but the annual fall conference at Open Door Community Church, of which Jay is the speaker. (Additionally, some of my Outlaw Preacher friends from Memphis will be in town for the conference & we will get the opportunity to see Brian McLaren at another church in town... busy, busy, busy.)

Turns out, the sermon was about Leaving the 99. Turns out, it was damn challenging. Turns out, I'm eating my tweets. Damn you Jay Bakker... (now, go listen.)

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