Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Transcript of Jay Bakker on Gay Marriage

A friend asked for a transcript of Jay Bakker's stand for Gay Marriage.
(he wants to translate it into Portuguese. ...and the world continues to draw closer.)

Here it is:

I dream of God.


The dream, it’s the vision of community & change happening.

[applause & clapping]

I’ll tell you what. You are the temple of God. So in order for us to be able… we can live that dream because the dream is within us.

[applause… “Yes…” “Come on, Brother...” “That’s right!” “Oh yes…”]

And I love speaking here cuz you get a, “Oh yes… oh yes… " But uh, um…


And so often we don’t want a change in The Church. We don’t want to look at things differently. But we can, if we’re practicing things like justice and being gentle….

God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God.

[“Oh yes”]

Just recently I had a pastor tell me that he felt that God was against me, and that Jesus was against me. …He forgot the Holy Spirit, so that’s cool. I’m good with Him. [laughter] …and that my whole ministry was going to disintegrate & dissolve and be destroyed.

[“Mmm” “Wow” “Mmmm-umm” ]

Well, and… and the reason is is because I… I.. I came out in the church recently and said, “You know what? I don’t… I’m pro-gay marriage. I don’t believe that that’s a sin.”


…okay, that got dang quiet. Everybody’s like, “I ain’t sayin’ nothing now.”


I guess we’re not ready for this yet, are we?


It… it… it’s hard for me when people who’ve been through such persecution, a-and been judged against, all of the sudden, they don’t want freedom for anybody else.


We gotta start living it folks. That’s why it’s a narrow road. That’s why it gets quiet in a church where everybody was hootin’ and hollerin’ 5 minutes ago.

So maybe you’ll get mad and go home and yell… but maybe, eventually, you’ll get over it. And you’ll realize that you might not agree with me, but at least you’ll learn to love me.


Martin Luther King said, “It is not the words of your enemies that you will remember, but the silence of your friends.”

That’s why I [chokes up] can no longer be silent… cuz I love my friends.




This was uncomfortable to watch.

It's in my nature to want to get along with folks. I don't love rocking the boat. I don't want to call people out or make them uncomfortable.

BUT, it's part of moving things forward. A necessary step in breaking down bigotry.

And it appears to be a thankless job most of the time.


But then I think of the countless people who had to, and continue to (right at this minute), endure far worse than social awkwardness from the business end of the bigotry barrel.

It seems like a small sacrifice compared to Matthew Shepard (and his family), or any one of the recent gay-bullying suicides that've only recently gotten a spotlight in the media.

We need to take courage & speak up.

Real people are suffering untold misery.


So next time I'm faced with rocking the boat, in my head I'll hear:

Uncomfortable awkward? Or..

Uncomfortable suicidal?

Uncomfortable gay bashed?

Uncomfortable lost my job?

Uncomfortable threatened?

Uncomfortable kicked out of the military?

Uncomfortable gang-raped?


Speaking out against bigotry is not as offensive as bigotry itself.

(I'm just reminding myself....)


Friday, July 16, 2010

Atheist's Challenge: Christians, Show Your Support for LGBTQ Rights!


This is a post I prepared for Reconciling Ministries Blog. I wanted to get it up today since Rachel Held Evans posted a link to my Evolving in Monkey Town review.

If you're new- Hi! Leave a comment & share your thoughts.

"The Friendly Atheist" has some words for Christians who support LGBTQ equality- DO something, or you're part of the problem. Popular blogger & author, Hemant Mehta, issued his challenge in response to the internet buzz surrounding Christians who attended a Gay Pride Parade with the message: I'm Sorry!

Last month The Marin Foundation went to Chicago Pride to apologize for the harm done to LGBTQs by Christians. Their signs and shirts made an impact. One beautiful story describing the reconciliation unfolding between a marcher & an "apologist" made the rounds on facebook & the blogs, often soliciting the comment,"brought tears to my eyes."

While many saw this as an encouraging step, some people weren't buying it.

Mehta, in particular, was skeptical. His impression is that Christians are not supportive of The Gays; words are cheap, let's see action. Reactions in his comment section were all over the board. Some challenged his take on this, others agreed with him, & many added their unique perspective.

Last week, when Hawaii's Governor vetoed Civil Unions at the last minute, he used it as a springboard for this challenge:

"I want to see any Christian who finds this despicable to say so. Blog about it. Tell your Facebook friends. Tell your church members. Call out anyone who disagrees. If you don’t, you’re part of the problem."

He has a point.

Christians who are for The Gays but hide their support under a bushel, aren't really helping. They're maintaining the status quo. Which is harming people.

The crazy thing is, there is a lot of support out there for LGBTQs among Christians. We just (mostly) don't hear about it. Many speak up, but not enough.

If you are Christian and you are LGBTQ-affirming, I believe God has a plan for you. There are people who would like to be more supportive, but don't know how to square that desire with what they've been taught. There are hurting individuals who feel hated & abandoned by the "Church Family" that raised them. They need to hear from you. They WANT to hear from you.

Are they hearing from you?

(If not, your silence is speaking volumes.)

Take this opportunity. Accept The Friendly Atheist's Challenge!

Make your voice heard. Start a conversation. Involve your friends. Talk with your fellow church-goers & clergy. Reach out to your "virtual village" online. Repost support. Leave a comment here, there, everywhere.

Don't let your silence speak for you.

Tina Ciampa is a life-long UMCer who believes The Church will be one step closer to living out "on Earth as it is in Heaven" when it fully realizes the dignity and worth of all people. She relishes the irony that we will get there even faster thanks to the prodding of an atheist.
She blogs at www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com & would love to hear from you on facebook.

So, what are you doing? Is it hard to speak up on this issue in particular? What other issues come to mind? Do they share commonalities? If so, what? What can you do today? (feel free to post a link or share this!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Evolving in Monkey Town: The (real) Book Review



This is Rachel Held Evans' spiritual memoir. At the ripe old age of ...27.

But, as Indiana Jones put it, "Its not the years, Honey, it's the mileage."

And Rachel has covered some ground.

"Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned to Ask The Questions" is the sweeping account of Rachel's self-professed evolution from Apologetic All-Star to She Who Sees Value In The Questions.

Doubt has given legs to her journey.

Summingly it up succinctly: "...doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves." (p 219)

Psst.... We kind of need it.


Generally, amongst most of us church-goers, there's been a tacit understanding that when it comes to troubling questions, to doubt, we just don't talk about it. Not publicly, anyway.

However, when we fail to take seriously our questions & doubts, our journey is stunted. Instead of growing, we become ingrown. (which can express itself in some ugly ways)

The following quote is a veritable passport for exploring the uncharted territory that lies between a taught faith and one that's been road-tested; one that really belongs to you (or is it the other way around?) ~

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that serious doubt-
the kind that leads to despair- begins not when we start asking
God questions but when, out of fear, we stop. (p 226)

Fortunately, Rachel does forge ahead. She confronts her questions with courage & integrity, and strikes out on a spiritual adventure towards a more authentic faith.

Along the way, encounters with various people & places cause Rachel to question what she's been taught. It's not matching up with what she's experiencing. So like Jacob, who grabbed hold of that heavenly shade..... she wrestles. She doesn't let go. Something's gotta give, and when it does, it's that which she cleverly identifies as the "false fundamentals" of her faith.
Here's a gem:
...I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I'd known that my little systems-
my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals- were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I'd have known to question them, not him. (p 220)

And with that, she provides an important piece of framework for integrating faith & earnest questioning. With that, hers seems to become more of a living faith. A wild faith.

She traverses a lot of territory, covering curiosity, community, outsiders' perspectives on Christianity (the times when she found herself on the "outside" were especially poignant), the mindset of defending vs embodying faith, the multitude of worldviews, and more...
A lot more.
She asks if getting THE answer in a world of worldviews is possible, or even the point? Maybe there is more to it than that. It's a theme she touches on throughout the book, and she hits on some really. good. stuff.
As evidenced by my copious notes in the pic, this book is bulging with fodder for conversation! (perfect for book clubs & small groups)
Though her story is not unique, it is well told. Refreshingly honest & well put together, Evolving takes us along for the journey.

Knowing the answers is safe. Being willing to experiment outside of the lines is risky, but it seems to be part of the deal if you want to embody your faith in the real world. She does this. And, it's encouraging for others who are tentatively confronting their own boundary lines.
Evolving is a map of her journey. No doubt everyone's will look different, but it's helpful to know that others have passed this way. Its reassuring to happen across a blaze on the trail less travelled.
At the end of the day, this is why I felt less crazy. It's disconcerting to sit in a pew, surrounded by 100s of seemingly content people, and wonder, Is it just me who has a few questions here?
Seeing those questions in print, hearing her story brought a measure of courage and excellent company for the road!
Wonder what it might do for you?
PS: if you are looking for company, i recommend her blog. you'll find community in the comment section
PPS: as a reminder & full disclosure, i got a free copy for review as part of Rachel Held Evans' "Blog Tour."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Evolving in Monkey Town: The (interim) Book Report

So, my Book Review is late. Overdue. Yikes.

Over the 4th of July Weekend, I thought I'd get it done. I figured- Free time. No problem. Done and dusted.

And then I got a taste of what most of you people deal with- the noise & attention of children.

Holy cow. If it isn't Wii Mario craziness, it's "Tina.......... Are you done with your Book Report YET?!"

I kindly explain to Cousin #2 that it's actually only been 7 minutes since I told her I needed an hour, and for 4 of those minutes she's been hanging on my chair and playing with my phone and leaning WAY in when she talks to me and its really all a bit much for someone who prefers communicating over vast distances via the telephone that she just dropped. Again.

Meanwhile, Cousin #1 is taking matters into her own hands. She's gathered up a pencil and paper. She starts shooting questions. And, before I know it, she announces that my "Book Report" is finished. Now let's go do other stuff.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our Book Report~

Interview by Haleigh (12 yrs). Interjections by Lindsey-The-Close-Talker (9 yrs). Transcribed by me. At the suggestion of Alise.

Haleigh: What's the book about?

Me: -girl who's faith is changing.
-she thinks she knows the answers to everything.
-suddenly, she's not so sure.
-she starts asking ?s to people and herself
-it makes her change

Haleigh: Describe the Main Character.

Me: smart, tried to be like good [Christian].... (she ran off the page here)

Lindsey: Did you ever try smoking?

Me: yes. twice. it was gross. don't ever take up smok-

Lindsey & Haleigh: YOU SMOKED?! IT'S POISONOUS!

Me: yeah, i know! i only tried it. it's smelly and hot and disgusting. don't bother.

Lindsey: Have you ever gotten drunk?

Me: Book Report!

Haleigh: Did you like the book?

Me: yes

Haleigh: Do you recommend the book?

Me: yes

Haleigh: Did it change you?

Me: reinforced my perspective

Lindsey: Will you help me find Abbey(the cat)? I think she's hiding in the bathroom. OH, and we need a flashlight. She's behind the tub, I think.

Haleigh: Okay, book report's done. Thawuzeasy.

(book REVIEW to follow. stay tuned.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Evolving in Monkey Town, Part I: The Blog

A favorite blogger of mine, Rachel Held Evans, is having her 1st book released. Zondervan Publishing sent me a pre-release copy of her book for review as part of the Blog Tour.

I'm doing a 2-part review. This part will touch more on her blog. The 2nd part will be the straight-up book review.

This book made me feel less crazy.

....we'll get to that in a sec.

But first, some exposition ;)

A few years ago, I googled "homosexuality" and "Christian" and ran across this post~ "An Evangelical's Response to Homosexuality."

So that's how I found my way to Rachel Held Evans' blog, "Evolving in Monkey Town."

Here is why I stayed~

This was what I'd been waiting for- an evangelical who is asking outloud, "What if I'm wrong?"

Those 4 words = doorway to dialogue; connection.

Now to be fair, I have had extraordinary conversation after extraordinary conversation with people about "'The Gay' & Christianity," one on one. And, it is always a combo moving experience/relationship strengthener . (I keep expecting the worst out of people and they keep proving me wrong.)

Thanks to those interactions, I knew that people were open (often eager) to talk about this or any other "controversial issue." I just hadn't seen many everyday Christians posting about it on their own volition...yet.

"Out there," in the media and "mean interwebs," we hear a lot from the extremes.

Too much.

Meanwhile, beneath the fray, something else has been going on between the extremes ...in the middle. And when we talk with other Middle People, it gets interesting. We learn. We connect. Maybe not always, but often. And it is So. Worth it. ...because it's real.

And it's why Rachel scores so highly on connectability/relatability.

She is writing from the middle. She hasn't landed. She's mid-step. (read her book & you'll know what I mean by, This is her, as she leaps her way across the swamp.) She doesn't have the safety & security of typing, "...and here is where I landed."

She is in transition. Evolving.

And she's taking us along for the ride.

Looking at it from another angle, she does not fit squarely into any camp. She's venturing across lines..... in no mans' land. Which, it turns out, happens to be populated after all.

Chances are, this is where you come in.

Because if there's one thing I've heard time and again about Rachel's writing, it's "I could have written this! ...if I were more talented."

Friday, June 18, 2010

We carry on

Babs RARELY txts.

A chaplain at a busy hospital and mother of 2 grown kids, she only txts when she wants to ...which is just this side of never. She's aloof like that. (By the time a woman hits 50, she learns to guard her time & attention.)

I don't really know what possessed her to send me a txt recommending that I watch the video for "Welcome To the Black Parade," by My Chemical Romance. (again, this chaplain & mom is in her 50s, so... how is she listening to something that just reeks of goth/emo?)

Drawing out the suspense, I was stuck all week with a computer that refused to play video. So, the txt remained on my phone, as a reminder to check out that song... eventually.

In the meantime, another week passed. Another chuck out of another year.

And once again, I've found myself face to face with June 18th... the night everything changed.

It's been 13yrs since the accident. 13 yrs since things ended for Shelley. June 18th, 1997 is the moment that cuts my life into a "before" and "after."

I never know how to observe this day. Mostly, I just want something... a moment... that feels like I've honored her life, the toughness of going on after that, and something that provides a little boost of hope or sense of mission to propel me into the future.

And, today, I was at a loss.

Until I remembered that txt.

Which lead me to this.

On June 18th.

When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.

He said, "Son when you grow up,
would you be the savior of the broken,
the beaten and the damned?"
He said "Will you defeat them,
your demons, and all the non-believers,
the plans that they have made?"
"Because one day I'll leave you,
A phantom to lead you in the summer,
To join The Black Parade."

When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, "Son when you grow up,
would you be the savior of the broken,
the beaten and the damned?"

Sometimes I get the feeling she's watching over me.
And other times I feel like I should go.
And through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets.
And when you're gone we want you all to know.

We'll carry on,
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And in my heart I can't contain it
The anthem won't explain it.

A world that sends you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all.
So paint it black and take it back
Let's shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end we hear the call

To carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches

On and on we carry through the fears
Ooh oh ohhhh
Disappointed faces of your peers
Ooh oh ohhhh
Take a look at me cause I could not care at all

Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won't explain or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed, I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it's who we are
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
I! don't! care!

We'll carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches on

Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part (We'll carry on)

Do or die, you'll never make me (We'll carry on)
Because the world will never take my heart (We'll carry on)
Go and try, you'll never break me (We'll carry)
We want it all, we wanna play this part (We'll carry on)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

So-Called "Christians" Part I

A funny thing happened when Jennifer Knapp came out.

I was expecting the comments questioning her faith in light of her "I'm happily ensconced in a longterm relationship with a beautiful woman" announcement. Many drug out the air quotes to drive home their point. She wasn't REALLY a Christian. She was a so-called "Christian." And, by the way, so were all the other so-called Christians who didn't believe that she was going straight to Hell and taking most of Christendom & Country with her.

What kept throwing me were the comments that led-off with the "so-called Christian" quip followed by something like about these so-called fake Christians who spend their time judging gays rather than reflecting God's love.

I was getting a case of mental-whiplash.

"Wait, now.... which are the so-called Christians?" Pro-gay? Anti? Sin? Not a sin? Which sin? judging or homosexuality or being a meanie.... oye! My brain! My soul.

Something tells me, this can't be us Christians at our best.

Someone whispers, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Sounds like a plan.

Well, technically, it's a command. (John 13:34-35)

I spent a while pondering the strife and commenting frenzy. I'll post my conclusions (more like, where I took it from there) in Part II.

Meanwhile, please.... leave a comment! Did this stir anything up for you? How should brothers & sisters in Christ handle their differences of opinion on emotionally charged issues? Does it matter? What is at stake? How do you conduct yourself when you get worked up over an issue you feel strongly about?

Lastly, and mostly for my amusement, some random comments from articles on JK~

Face it Jennifer. If you believe you are a Christian, you profess to maintain certain moral standards. With your God-given gift and high profile comes a higher standard of moral and ethical responsibility ("...to whom much is given..."). These responsibilities do not include subverting the minds of your young loving and loyal fans with morally unacceptable creedences. I appreciate your honesty... I hope you appreciate ours.

Knapp can't honestly expect real christians to believe that she is ... both a christian and a lez ... the two are incompatible. As noted by another smartalecky commenter, "With God, all things are possible."

Jennifer Knapp has a tattoo also. That explains everything. God clearly says "don't put tattoos on your body" Knapp is no Christian. which i thought was a joke, but wasn't.

These comments are the WORST display of "Christianity" that I've ever seen...Christ said let the first one without sin cast the first stone. A lot of you are casting stones that should really be on the receiving end. (Some of you are even casting boulders... how are you that strong? Must be the holy spirit!)

I would like Jennifer Knapp's address so I can send her so-called christian cds back to her. OHHHhhhh! and the inanimate objects take a hit!

Let's stop talking about burning in hell and love each other. Godslion, you spelled absurd wrong.

The obligatory Hitler tie-in: I am sure that Hitler "felt" mass murder was the right thing to do.

Finally, a personal favorite: While it certainly does sound like Jennifer is a sweet and loving human being, it does not seem that God is her all in all.