Actions Speak Louder Than Words – SBC kicks out gay friendly church

437384421_0e216c1a1eLove Loud: Actions Speak Louder Than Words is the Southern Baptist Convention’s theme this year.

I find the theme ironic in light of their recent decision to expel Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas from the SBC due to the fact that Broadway (in their opinion) did not put enough effort into opposing homosexuality.

Back in 2007 Broadway Baptist was preparing to celebrate its 125th birthday and part of that celebration was to include a church pictorial directory that would include yearbook style photos of its members and families.  A problem arose when some gay couples (I think it was three gay couples) asked to have their pictures included.  It quickly became a divisive struggle as the church began to disagree as to whether allowing the gay couples’ photos to appear in the directory would be an endorsement of homosexuality.  After much debate and a vote, it was decided that no family photos would be used – instead group photos would be taken and published in the directory.  The issue led to a lot of conflict within the church and eventually to a motion before the SBC to disassociate from Broadway.

There was no evidence that the church endorsed or affirmed homosexuality but the SBC eventually decided that there was a lack of active opposition (like asking gay persons to resign from their volunteer positions and offering some sort of restorative ministry for gays) and voted to oust Broadway Baptist after a 127 year relationship with them.

I remember when I first heard about the directory issue at Broadway – I was disappointed that it was an issue, after all, they weren’t worried about including pictures of gossips, gluttons, adulterers, thieves, liars, drug users, unwed mothers, divorced people or even straight people who didn’t think homosexual relationships were sinful – they were only concerned about including pictures of gay couples, and I was disappointed that they ended up with the “no family photos” decision.  I thought it was a poor attempt in demonstrating the love of Jesus.  But now that they have been ousted by the SBC I feel a little better about their “small step for gaykind”.  I still think it is sort of lame that Christians can shock the world so easily by displaying a little tolerance – I really think we should be shocking the world with an extravagant and generous love – but I think the attention this church has received over this issue is going to help in the long run.  So, as sad as I am that there are still so many who think God’s mission is to keep openly gay people from serving in the Kingdom of God and from being recognized members of the body of Christ, I am hopeful because of those who are slowly standing up against that kind of mindset and I am thankful that Broadway Baptist did not take formal congregational action to condemn homosexuality (as some conservatives wanted to see happen).  Click here to read “Disfellowship and Dismay”, an excellent column from the interim pastor of Broadway Baptist.

No matter what the SBC says – I think their actions are loud and clear!

10 thoughts on “Actions Speak Louder Than Words – SBC kicks out gay friendly church

  1. Not important

    Well, I checked back. I see that I have stepped into a hornets nest of people who have personal interests in this issue. I completely disagree with you about scripture. I think it is pretty clear, after much study of my own, over the course of about seven years of theological training. I’m sure that holds little credibility for you. I have not enough time to go through it all myself, but would like to point you to a book that has much to say on this issue from a scientific as well as moral, ethical, and scriptural standpoint. It has a lot of good information on other issues as well. I certainly will not be back this time. There is no sense in arguing, it accomplishes nothing for the kingdom.

    Ethics for a Brave New World by John and Paul Fienberg
    http://www.amazon.com/Ethics-Brave-World-John-Feinberg/product-reviews/0891077367/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?ie=UTF8&coliid=&showViewpoints=1&colid=&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      You are right – there is no sense in going back and forth on this. I will check out the book you recommend. If you are interested I could also recommend some things I have read that I have found helpful. I was disappointed that your only response was to restate your position and offer material to back your position up. I don’t understand the mindset that could read my response to you and not care about the pain and abuse that my son and many other sincere followers of Christ have had to endure. When people begin to care more about “people who have personal interests in this issue” then some progress may be able to be made to heal the divide that is between the church and LGBT

      Reply
  2. Existential Punk

    Grace,

    What you said was so honest and i really appreciate your advocacy for our community. You were NOT too harsh and i did not find you losing your cool. You confronted hypocrisy beautifully. Thank G-D for allies like yourself. i LOVE YOU!

    EP/Adele

    Reply
  3. Jules

    “But the line must be drawn somewhere. Allowing any of these groups of people, if we are aware of their continual lifestyle of sin, have roles where they teach or show authority over others conveys the message that we affirm those lifestyles. Letting these same people serve in other ways (i.e. mowing the lawn or what not) is another discussion.”

    this is so hypocritical. by this standard NO ONE should be in “leadership”. Which I think is bogus in churches anyway. this is why this business model of church we have in churches is wrong in the first place. at any rate, if we all let people into our secret parts of our life NO ONE is fit for leadership. it is at the core of the problem with churches. I speak this as a preacher’s kid, I speak this as someone who served as a youth minister (and other various leadership roles in church) and someone who is gay. seriously, the church needs to go back to the bible and really match it up to the modern church. if they are honest, they would be horrified! and if they aren’t they are in denial.

    peace!

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Jules – You said it all so much better than me and with fewer words! Sorry I lost my cool in the last response to “Not Important”. I am just so weary of people disenfranchising, rejecting, tolerating, judging LGBT people. I am so weary of the double standard, the hypocrisy, the self righteousness, the unfounded certainty. I am mad that I believed what they told me for so long and that they are convincing some other poor soul that they are right in the way they are dealing with this. I am tired of the wounds that they inflict, of the shame that they instill and that they do it all in the name of Christ. Sometimes I think I will never again write a post that has anything to do with LGBT because it is so painful and maddening to deal with the aftermath and then I remember that I have to confront this injustice – I have to.

      Reply
  4. Not important

    Well, I’m just passing through, a visitor from a strange land. I probably won’t be back but felt the need to comment on this.

    First, I am all about an extravagant, self-sacrificial love that shocks the world into taking notice and wondering what makes us tick. I’m sure after I finish my comment you might question that, but oh well.

    Without having been involved with this case and only going on what you have said here, there are a couple of things that I notice.

    First, having active homosexuals attend your church is one thing. Yes, let them come in. Let’s love on them, invite them to hang out, and be apart of our congregation all the while making it clear that we do not condone their lifestyle. While we are at it, let’s also invite “gossips, gluttons, adulterers, thieves, liars, drug users, unwed mothers, divorced people or even straight people who didn’t think homosexual relationships were sinful” into our congregation and do the same to them.

    But the line must be drawn somewhere. Allowing any of these groups of people, if we are aware of their continual lifestyle of sin, have roles where they teach or show authority over others conveys the message that we affirm those lifestyles. Letting these same people serve in other ways (i.e. mowing the lawn or what not) is another discussion.

    Let us also be clear that struggling with something and giving into that struggle and letting it consume you and continuing in a lifestyle of sin are completely different.

    My struggle with pornography was just like this, but I would bet you would have problems with me surfing those types of sites on the projector in the youth room openly demonstrating my sin to the youth of your church thus implying it is ok.

    If the church leadership knows people in their congregation that are “gossips, gluttons, adulterers, thieves, liars, or drug users*” who are actively involved in these lifestyles but they do nothing to correct them and try to get them involved in restorative ministries, then we have failed those individuals. (I point you to 1 Corinthians 5**) After all, the gospel is the good news that we do not have to be slaves to our sin and we CAN be restored to a relationship with Christ.

    But in this I hope and think we agree. Our primary role is to love everyone as we love ourselves.

    *The issues of unwed mothers and divorcees are a slightly different deal. These people still need restorative ministries because these situations cause pain and hurt and possible shame. People believing something unscriptural need to have scripture taught to them and need to be shown how to study scripture for themselves, but ultimately they have to be willing to accept truth.

    **In case somebody reads this who is unaware of historical context. The expulsion would actually have been a method of restoration. I know, it seems much harsher on the surface that it actually was. In this time, for him to even be a part of the church in Corinth means that he had probably severed ties with many of the non-Christians there. This was typical. By ousting the sinner, the goal was to make him contemplative. Without friends outside the church and his friends inside the church not fellowshipping with him, he would see the social and relational (both physical and spiritual) severity of his sins, repent, and be restored to fellowship with the Corinth church.

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Dear Not Important – You give us lots to talk about but I don’t see how that will be possible since you say you probably won’t be back. Still I feel compelled to address your comments.

      You and I are sort of like two ships passing in the night because we see this issue from very different perspectives. You see LGBT as being clearly sinful – I come from the perspective that after a LOT of study of scripture and other sources, prayer and conversation (a lot of it with LGBT people who are followers of Jesus Christ – not just with hetero Christians) I don’t find enough evidence to come to the conclusion that it is sinful and therefore I feel that proclaiming it sinful is an unjust act (I feel the burden of proof lies with those who want to call it sinful). Could I be wrong? Sure I could – so could you although you don’t seem willing to entertain that idea – but without good evidence I feel it would be more displeasing to God for me to oppress a whole group of people without seeing enough evidence for myself (and I am referring to evidence in scripture and creation).

      But let’s say that for the sake of argument it is sinful – the way that divorce and being married more than once is sinful, according to scripture (if your ex is still alive). Would you say that being in a loving, committed, same sex relationship is a worse sin than getting divorced and marrying someone else? Should the person who divorced and remarried while his ex-wife is still living (and probably the custodial parent of his children) can be in a leadership position but not a person who is in a loving, committed, same sex relationship? It sounds like you would not even approve of a person who was dating someone of the same sex but not having sex. (speck? plank?) BTW – I don’t think that divorce and remarriage is a disqualifier – just think that if people think scripture says same sex relationships are sinful then they have to take scripture straight forward about divorce and remarriage if they want to be credible.

      Maybe we should get into the question of whether it is sinful to watch an R rated movie – or maybe it is okay if there is no nudity, just violence or language – or maybe we should consider if it is sinful to own a big house and a new car when you gave less than one percent to your church or to help the needy last year. Are these sins? If so, are they sins that disqualify people? Is there a list of sins that disqualify people? Does your church do a background check or a credit check on people before they sing a solo or teach an adult SS class?

      My point is that even if a church believes that same sex relationships are sinful the truth is that they aren’t going through any sort of vetting process to make sure that active sinners aren’t in positions of volunteer leadership (I want to clarify that because the church we are talking about was not talking about ordaining LGBT ppl even though I don’t have a problem with that). If they did I guarantee you they wouldn’t have enough people to serve their church AND I am pretty sure they would waste all their time trying to decide what was acceptable sin (instead of actually doing the work of Christ).

      The problem is that people like you equate a loving, monogamous same sex relationship with pornography. Heck, you probably think LGBT and pedophilia are somehow connected! aaaarrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

      I know I am not being gracious today about this but I am so sick of the attitude that you “know for sure” and that it is “one” of the few sins that should keep someone out of service. I am sick of the uncharitable attitude! My son who is gay loves Jesus and grew up loving the church but he struggles to remain interested in attending church as he sees friends of his who are gay that aren’t allowed to work at the welcome center – THE WELCOME CENTER FOR CHRIST’S SAKE – on a Sunday morning handing out brochures and directing people to the restroom because they date someone of the same sex but they are still virgins while his straight friends at church can be off screwing their opposite sex going steady partner on Saturday night and then be singing a solo during Sunday morning worship or giving a personal testimony in their Sunday School class about a mission trip they went on AND working at the welcome center (oh – and they may even be a little hung over from having a few too many). It’s sickening to me!!!!! Again, not that I think they should be disqualified – I am just exposing the hypocricy and double standard that is in every church that disqualifies LGBT people from being a whole, equal participating member of their community!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Who do I think God is going to judge harsher????? My son who is dating someone of the same sex and being treated like a second class citizen by a bunch of Christians or you people who are so high and mighty that you can’t see the forest for the trees.

      BTW – I am requesting that no one – NO ONE – talk to me about this issue until you know someone who is in a same sex relationship personally and intimately and are in a great friendship/relationship with them for a significant amount of time. I don’t mean someone that you just know casually or professionally – I mean someone that you have a real relationship with – they know who you are – your weaknesses, your worries, your flaws, your sins, your dreams, your desires, your strengths, your heart and you know theirs. This cannot be a relationship that is one sided (you know them but they don’t know you) or that has an agenda (you are going to convert them to your beliefs). This is a friendship for the sake of being friends. If you don’t have that I don’t really care about your opionion!

      Reply
  5. gracerules Post author

    Adele – Thanks and you’re welcome. I know what you mean about waking up and smelling the coffee – I think a lot of people are waking up but I think there are more who will remain congested until they pass from this earth.

    Reply
  6. queermergent

    Liz, FINALLY catching up on my Google Reader!

    i LOVED when you said this: ‘I was disappointed that it was an issue, after all, they weren’t worried about including pictures of gossips, gluttons, adulterers, thieves, liars, drug users, unwed mothers, divorced people or even straight people who didn’t think homosexual relationships were sinful – they were only concerned about including pictures of gay couples, and I was disappointed that they ended up with the “no family photos” decision.’ SO TRUE! We Christians are such hypocrites aren’t we?!

    YOU are also so spot on when you said, ‘I really think we should be shocking the world with an extravagant and generous love ‘ When are Christians who are so intolerant and ungenerous going to wake up and smell the coffee on this one?

    Again, THANK YOU for your love and support!

    Adele

    Reply

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