If you are reading this, it should mean that you have read our “I’m Sorry” statement either on our webpage, a billboard, a magazine ad, poster, or Facebook. The words of this statement are strong…and strong for a reason.
What do we hope to accomplish?
Our primary hope in publishing this statement is to offer the love, hope, and grace of Jesus through a new voice of Christianity. The statement came in response to the passage of Proposition 8, but our message is not just to the LGBT community and its supporters. We believe that God’s love and grace is for ALL people, regardless of race, creed, sexual identity, or life circumstances. Jesus meets us right where we are. “Christianity for ALL” is not a battle cry for a crusade, but it is a set of words around which a movement can rally to let ALL people everywhere know that God loves, cares, and accepts them just as they are.
We pray also that this statement will create dialogue. Many have said they believe the language will keep people from the table of discussion, but conversations are happening all over blogs, Facebook, email, and in coffee shops all across the country. In the midst of these conversations, we pray that God will let Truth be known in the hearts and minds of all of God’s people.
Why Make a Statement Like This?
With the passage of Proposition 8 in California banning gay marriage, the Church has successfully taken away the rights of a group human beings…the first time this has ever happened in the state of California. Yes, it was accomplished through the political system, but it was the conservative church that started the movement. While Missiongathering Christian Church is part of the Church (all churches in the world), the conservative churches who started, funded, and propelled Prop 8 do not speak for all
churches. Some Christians do not speak for ALL Christians. We as a church feel called to be a new voice of Christianity.
This “issue” has begun to create some division within the Church, but that conversation will always be there and will likely take decades to find resolution, if it ever does. Our concern is the ever-widening gap between the Church and the LGBT community and its supporters. With the campaigning and passage of Prop 8, that gap is widening at an even faster rate. Gay and lesbian men and women who may have been open to the message of Jesus, heterosexual people who support the LGBT community who may be seeking faith and spirituality now have seen the Church exclude a group of people based on their sexual identity in the name of God. Why would they want to have anything to do with a God like that? It’s not an “issue;” it’s people.
Why use such strong language?
As a leadership team, we spent a lot of time wrestling with the words to use in writing this statement. We realize that many will take offense to the wording, but strong words are needed in a time like this. As we look at the life and ministry of Jesus, we see repeatedly where He would use strong words to rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducees when they would use religion to exclude the outcasts from participating in the story of God: hypocrites, foolish, unmarked graves, white-washed tombs, brood of vipers. The most memorable, of course, being when Jesus turned over the tables of those selling animals and changing money in the temple courts who, by doing so, were barring many from participating in worship. Jesus responded with righteous anger.
We are not saying that all people who voted yes on Prop 8 are narrow-minded, judgmental, manipulative, or deceptive. Individuals are entitled to their convictions. When one’s convictions are acted upon someone else against his/her will, the act takes on a different quality. The word “actions” was used specifically because the act of voting yes on this measure was narrow-minded and judgmental. The actions of the proponents of Prop 8 were manipulative and deceptive in their use of misinformation, half-truths, hyperbole, and the gross exploitation of children and fear to advance their cause. These actions, done in the name of God, took away the rights and equality of thousands of California men and women.
May we all faithfully journey with Jesus in our passionate pursuit of God’s Kingdom here on earth…never stop seeking.
The Leadership of Missiongathering Christian Church
Rich McCullen Jay Selnick Alex Roller
Lead Pastor Creative Arts Pastor Pastor of Connection
& Worship Leader & Spiritual Formation
Our Hearts Are With You – Facebook Movement
*If you or your community would be interested in talking more with us about our journey in this area of social justice & theology or would like us to come work with you on this process, please feel free to contact us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back in touch with you.