damage (and) control.

mjkimpan  —  April 1, 2014 — 135 Comments

damagecontrol2

i’m still reeling from last week.

my inboxes have been flooded, my text messages continuous and my face to face conversations with members of both the LGBT and conservative communities have been seemingly endless – and emotionally charged.

one friend said he was saddened by the fact that his (gay) community has been marginalized yet again and treated as not only ‘Other’ but unworthy – another friend used the term ‘useless’ after acknowledging he is a gay christian.

I know you don’t think my money is useless, especially if you’re one of my charities of choice. It’s just me that’s useless. If only I were a gossip, a glutton, a cheater, an alcoholic, a thief, lustful, full of anger, slothful, full of pride and vain, I’d be fit for some type of service. But no, I am useless because I am gay. That is the defining issue. That is where we draw the line. Because of people like me you are willing to let kids starve, and worse. And then we can’t figure out why the world is so turned off by Christians. We can make what we profess to be so amazing, very unattractive.

another friend wrote on my facebook wall ::

Speaking for myself–and at least for the time being–I have lost all interest in engaging the evangelical tradition, even though I still believe the Good News is worth sharing. I am not sure how I will go about disowning almost 40 years of my affiliation there, but after last week I see no place for me in it now nor for the foreseeable future.

yet another wrote here this on his blog ::

I no longer hold the hope of reconciliation. It has been suffocated under the mass of hate-filled words. If I believe in Jesus, I must believe God can resurrect this hope in me; but I know that it has died and I fear it will never return.

Right now, I feel very far away from the cross and from God. That saddens me deeply. I desperately want to find my way back, but I’m at a loss. I’m bewildered and disoriented.

The future of my faith has something to do with being able to see Jesus in the faces of those who wish me harm. I have to find a way to love my enemies. If I’m unable to do that, I don’t think I’d be able to call myself a Christian anymore.

Which would make evangelicals very happy.

and that’s where this comes in ::

two posts in particular do a great job of speaking to the damage done last week to any cultural credibility and relevance evangelicals had left in an increasingly progressive culture- one, from my friend zack hunt, is featured on Red Letter Christians this morning. read it.

he talks about jesus and drinking and wineskins and said,

Broadly speaking, the problem with evangelicalism is that it has become a culture unto itself with central values and concerns that are not actually central to the gospel, despite claims to the contrary. These central commitments are not to the way of Jesus, but to a fetishized list of beliefs.

rachel held evans added her two cents by asking some important and provocative questions ::

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

i suspect the damage done by the broader evangelical response to world vision last week will be soon seen as a last-ditch-effort attempt by an increasingly fringe group of people to exercise control through extortion – using money, power and influence (some might even suggest ‘religious and financial manipulation’ or self-serving efforts at maintaining control).  but for now, the damage has been done.

as i said in a previous post, using the lives of starving children as pawns in your political chess match isn’t something jesus wants you to do. it turns out even those who don’t claim to know him know this – and are therefore forced to either believe that they’ve got jesus all wrong and his church really doesn’t want ‘their kind’, or to believe that these who profess to speak on God’s behalf are playing the same role as the religious leaders of jesus’ day.

their words to the religious elite in our own culture echo the words of christ’s in his own ::

‘you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.’ – john 8:44

i also suspect no amount of attempted ‘damage control’ can bring back credibility in these spaces… at least not for some time.

regardless of how we choose to identify and label ourselves (evangelical or otherwise) how will we – as people who claim to follow christ – respond?

what do you think?

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    SEPARATING “CHURCH” AND “GAY COMMUNITY”

    Please stop rhetorically separating “Church” from “gay community.” The Church has always had gay people and has always been lead by droves and droves of people from the gay community. We ARE the Church.

    And the next time I hear your ANYONE use the phrase “same-sex attracted” person, I’m going to reach for my pistol. Granted, it will be the Joker’s pistol from the first Batman movie that fires a red flag imprinted with the word “Bang!” but a firearm nonetheless it shall be.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    LOVE IS AN ORIENTATION REVISED COMMENT POLICY

    WE WILL IMMEDIATELY DELETE ALL SUBSTANTIVE AND EFFECTIVE CRITIQUES OF OUR ORGANIZATION.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    ON THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM

    On the Source of the Problem
    (or you know where you can put the bridge)

    The issue is not God…
    The issue is not us…
    The issue is you.

    God is incapable of wronging us.
    And there’s nothing wrong with us.
    So…
    There IS something wrong with you.
    And for anyone, that’s a difficult thing
    To have to acknowledge.

    It is nothing we have done, or not done.
    It is all you,
    And only you.

    And so has it always been.
    Yet…
    You can stop hurting us
    Any time you wish too.
    You have always had that power.
    We have already forgiven you, many times over.
    Please forgive yourselves, and together, let us
    Let it go!

    We wait for you, always.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    SUNDAY-SCHOOL SING-A-LONG UPDATES

    RED, BROWN, YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE
    WE ARE PRECIOUS IN HER SIGHT!
    GAY, TRANSGENDERED, STRAIGHT, OR BI
    WE’RE THE APPLE OF HIS EYE!
    JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE

    God created sex, made the male g-spot accessible through the anus, and declared this and everything “very good” (Gen 1:31). Questions? Comments? Take it up with Her! :-)

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    SOME HUMBLE SUGGESTIONS

    Some humble suggestions (or “our demands” in other, more ridiculous lingo). Humility is authentic self-knowledge expressed in Love.

    Marin Foundation. You need to explicitly give support to full LGBT inclusion in the Church, and affirm/validate that there are contexts where gay relationships can be Holy. This is not a conservative or liberal issue, it is a human issue. You need to explore the blessings that come to the Church, the Family, and the World from gay relationships, not just their challenges to conservative theology. This includes you, Andrew. Man up. People that work at the Marin foundation who are “already there” (and we know you’re out there), insist that your organization as a whole get there, or leave and form/join an organization that will go all the way. We need you. Marin Foundation, you can do all the good work you are trying to do now, while making this vital and liberating change to your overall strategy and mission. Deep down, we think you already know this is the right thing to do, so GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

    Conservatives. Continue in your faith journey. If you are not yet at what Andrew calls “validation” and what we call “erring on the side of expansive Love,” you still do not have the right to deny sacraments or leadership positions to gay people in your church who disagree with you. The Church has had stalemates in the past- pacifism vs just war, for example. Yet we don’t see Just Warrers going to war against the ability of pacifists to be pastors/priests, get married, or otherwise participate in the full life of the Church. In the name of Christ, get over yourself.

    Gay People: You can only be intimidated if you allow yourself to be. God wants Wholeness for you and will settle for nothing less. There are plenty of Christian options out there that offer you more than what the Marin Foundation is presently offering you. We will be highlighting some of them in the coming days and weeks ahead. And remember, leaving the Church, or never joining a church, is sometimes better than being continually placed in a diminished state, by yourself or by others. The Church is not God, and God, Jesus, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, are NOT GOING ANYWHERE. The Church as a whole is in a period of great transition right now. Any Church that has a problem with you being in a Holy relationship has a problem with the Creator, and it is their problem, not yours. Pray for them, and leave. Or stay, pray for them, and don’t put up with their BS.

    With Even More Love, and in the precious name of Jesus of Nazareth,

    TinderHeart & the People of St. Hildegard’s

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    TWISTED LOGIC, Conservatives!

    We love Black people, but have a problem with Black Presidents.
    We love Native Americans, but think they should stay on their reservations.
    We love mentally challenged people, but don’t support their ability to reproduce.

    And we love gay people, but don’t want them being gay with one another. They must keep it in their pants, for if they don’t, the Church has every right to commit spiritual violence against them.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    LIVING IN THE TENSION RESOURCE PACKET, #2 –
    Building bridges between Antisemitic Traditionalists and the jewish community.

    The jewish community’s position:
    -UM, JESUS?

    The Antisemetic Traditionalist’s position:
    HIS BLOOD BE ON US AND OUR CHILDREN!- Matthew 27:25. Used for millennia by Christians to justify violent persecution of the Jews

    “Behold, I give unto thee a new teaching: thou shalt find what thou doest look for- TH”

    Or even better, “Seek and ye shall find.” -JC :-)

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    THE GOODNESS OF GAY SOULS

    The Soul of the gay person is not something that can be parceled out to fit with someone else’s conceptual configurations. We are not fragmented beings that can be affirmed but not validated, for instance. When God created our Soul, She created an organic unity. Our gay-ness contributes to every other aspect of our personality, a personality itself bearing the stamp of intrinsic goodness (see Genesis 1: 27-31) with the possibility for ever-increasing beauty and Grace. I NEVER HEAR this from the Marin Foundation. I hear about the existential difficulty gay people are for conservatives, and the challenges they and gay people face as a result of that existential difficulty, BUT NEVER the blessings we bring to the Church, to the Family, to the World. Never the ways that our marriages, if they are allowed, might help your marriage. Never the ways that our fullness being allowed in your churches might HELP us all in our Christian vocation. Never how diversity of sexual orientation, like diversity of gender, race, is a BLESSING.

    The possibility of an increased blessing for non-homosexual individuals that might arise from the full religious and spiritual inclusion of gay people in the life of the Church, is never floated. Until it is, routinely and consistently, at least as often as you endlessly recount the challenges posed to the Church by our presence, you cannot honestly say that you are working for reconciliation of the gay community with their Church. You are working for a comfortable and, for all practical purposes, permanent sequestration of us into a preexisting theological atmosphere that leaves us in a diminished state.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    BIBLICAL IMAGES, #1

    Support for LGBT relationships can be found in the Heart of the Divine Nature itself. Instead of scouring the text of the Bible for clobber verses, an undertaking rooted in fear rather than Love, How about we dig a little deeper?

    The Incarnation of Jesus.

    Christians that have a problem with lesbian relationships may be having a problem with the circumstance that brought about the birth of their own Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit, in both the literal text of the Scriptures and also in its inner meaning, is undoubtedly a feminine Energy. To put it another way Mary, a woman, became pregnant of the Holy Spirit, also a Woman. Two women conceived the Christ child, without masculine intervention.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    NO BRIDGES NECESSARY

    DEAR TMF and their conservative friends:

    My gay children don’t answer to you, nor does their dignity come from you. The fulLness of who they are is not up for a vote, and is not a matter of public opinion. Their Soul is not a worldview, but is my good and inviolable Creation- a gift for you, a gift for them, and gift for my whole World.

    My banquet table is set, and there’s always room for one more. Get with the program.

    – God

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    ABOUT ST. HILDEGARD’S

    St. Hildegard’s of the Blue Ridge is a deeply ecumenical spiritual community dedicated to the recovery and development of new-old ways of being Christ to one another, rooted in embodied, contemplative, Earth-honoring and life-Loving liturgy. We pray that our worship may grow compassionately up and out of the immanent and intimate, wild and verdant Heart of the Universe, known everywhere, in all times and places, as God, the Great Mystery who is also our voluptuous and delicious Beloved, in the tradition of our patron saint Hildegard of Bingen, and in the living lineage of Jesus of Nazareth, our Friend and Lover. St. Hildegard’s is a non-creedal Christian tradition welcoming all who seek to grow in the boundary-annihilating Love of God, self, and neighbor with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Following the original, radically egalitarian practice of Jesus, everyone is welcome at God’s table, as, together, we co-celebrate the Eucharist. As with all people, St. Hildegard’s unequivocally and joyfully welcomes gays and lesbians into the full life of our circle.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    OUR LAST OPTION

    New ebook available! How a new approach to civility can save the public square. (PS, conservatives: women still won’t be able to vote afterwards!) – The Marin Foundation Approach, circa 1900.

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    AFTER WORLD VISION

    NOW IS THE TIME to move to full LGBT inclusion in the Church. Show the World that Even More Love is what the Gospel is about!

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    PARENTS BLESSED WITH GAY CHILDREN:

    Once again, you can count on the Marin Foundation to convey only the suffering and hardship that comes to the Family as a result of Hearts that, like the Grinch’s, are two sizes too small (gay kids don’t create your suffering, BTW, the pusillanimous Souls of those that reject them, do). Never the blessings. Never the expansive Love. Never the spiritual growth that comes from letting go of God concepts that are too small for you and for us. Never the increased goodness and grace that YOU enjoy, as a result of our being here, sharing the spiritual journey with you. Such an unduly negative emphasis reveals TMF’s true colors: they are not interested in reconciliation, but in psychological comfort and ecclesial segregation and hence the continual reactivation of a prejudice that needs to die altogether.

    Not in the Church of Jesus Christ, if we have anything to say about it… Which we do

    You and your children can do better. “scroll to the bottom” of this page to discover Even More Love. http://notalllikethat.org/

  • EvenMoreLove8888

    JULIA

    Julai and others like her should never felt the need to consult with you, having never, EVER, been placed in a situation by his spiritual communities where they would think that choosing Love is choosing something other than choosing God.

  • EvenMoreLove112

    I couldn’t agree more. Which is why, we have consistently asked that our three members be allowed to post a grand total of 2 messages each, every 3 days, on other websites. Instead, Michael insists on wasting both of our times. – St. Hildegard’s

  • EvenMoreLove113

    I HAVE A GAY BROTHER? SWEET!!!

    Those were my beloved brother’s first words when I came out to him. He was the only one in my family to so exclaim. But that’s how it should ALWAYS be. Its what God our Beloved wants for us. Yet I fear, its not what is on track for the youth groups lead by those coming out of my own generation. 95 percent of the young men in my Sunday school cohort who were serious about their religion became youth pastors; I know what they were taught, and I know the cavernous echo chamber that Evangelical subculture, including their ministry, will likely take place in.

    I am tired of having to lurk in dark caverns, use hushed whispers, lift timid, shameful, eyes towards Heaven for the crumbs that might fall from the Divine table. That is not what God wants for us, or for you. Christ is the Light of the World, and S/He Lives in us. The Light shines in the darkness, or the collective stupidity, and is not overcome by it! The Light, when pumped up to full blast in the ballast-rooms of our Hearts, is meant to irradiate whatever room it looks upon with EVEN MORE LOVE. This is a feast, folks. As Aquinas said, echoing the Psalms, we’re here to get drunk on the beauty of God’s House, namely, the Universe. We are the Universe. Life and Love in all of its forms is a startling and wondrous gift. We have more enjoyable activities to be engaged in than attempting to placate DoomGod, the figment of our imaginations who would leave us in a diminished state. God is not the accuser!

    TMF, you focus too much on the pain that comes to religious people from having to deal with LGBT people. What about the joy? I don’t see the joy in you or your conversations here and elsewhere. I see an undue emphasis on pain. Christ came to give abundant life. Christ’s version of Love is not a sadomasochistic Love, or a Love focused on pain, but a pure Love, a joyful Love that leads to even more joy. God turns our mourning into dancing again. And again, and again, and again. And gay people, we can dance. And if YOU don’t dance, we’ll teach you how. :-)

    It took my sojourning with another faith tradition (nonChristian) to see that this is possible. There, LGBT young adults were not only out, proud, full of the Holy Ghost, they were in leadership positions, including peer leadership. That’s what I want for our children. It happens in other faith traditions. It WILL happen in this one.

  • EvenMoreLove113

    Consequently, this is what all of this is about- the kids. They don’t have a voice, no one speaks for them, and they are the ones that will suffer most if LGBT apartheid remains the order of the day in the conservative Church. Please see to it that doesn’t happen, TMF. Work for a just-war/pacifist style resolution, for the time being, in the conservative Church. Don’t leave the door open for future suffering. I’d like to see the 1000 percent suicide rate among LGBT conservative Evangelical kids come down to normal-or-better-levels. Less drastically, I don’t want a single child to have to go through the hell on earth that my adolescence in conservative Evangelicalism was. I am not alone, not by a longshot. That’s why Love must be more than sentiment, more than cordiality, more than even kindness- it must be justice, or Love-in-action. Love sacrifices its own conceptual configurations if need be for the Soul of another, especially when it loses nothing significant in the process. Love gives the benefit of the doubt. Love makes no peace with that which stands in the way of Love. Love seeks to utterly destroy the works of evil, to prevent suffering, to effect total cures, not just minor healing that must be continually rebandaged.

    In short, Love seeks and will stop at nothing less than TOTAL TRANSFORMATION of the Heart. As we chant at St. Hildegard’s

    God is not a tame lion,
    You better watch out or She just might
    Swallow you whole!
    God is not a tame Lion,
    And if you get lucky, She just might
    Swallow you whole!
    So swallow us whole, like Jonah, Love!

    -Josh :-)

  • EvenMoreLove113

    OUR LAST OPTION

    New ebook available! How a new approach to civility can save the public square. (PS, conservatives: women still won’t be able to vote afterwards!) – The Marin Foundation Approach, circa 1900.