Friday, September 1, 2017

My Nashville Statement

I needed time to process the Nashville Statement that was basically a hate manifesto wrapped in the pages of the greatest fiction books ever sold, The Bible.

I am a person of faith and all that faux spiritual talk that people espouse well I am all good with it.  I dig Religion in the concept of community building of restoration and the idea of gathering for good.  Since I now live in Nashville and have wandered in to only two Churches and watched some of the preachy crap they broadcast here on Sunday rather than having news I had enough to go nope on this shit.

Now it is not as if I don't have a lot to choose from and I frankly want to go to a couple of the more respected and historical marker Churches for no reason other than to say I went there and will promptly leave in the same manner I went in, with curiosity and compassion.  The compassion is for those who truly believe that this is the key to living.  By now we have evolved enough as humans to learn how the Golden Rule is a fairly secular guide to life.  Start there.

So I come home from a perfect day. The kind of day that I thank God for.  Literally thank God for. And then I flip on the news and heard this.

More than 150 evangelical religious leaders sign 'Christian manifesto' on human sexuality
Holly Meyer, The Tennessean Aug. 29, 2017

On the anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage, Gallup polled how many LGBT couples are married today. The results: gay marriage is up 33% in the past year.

NASHVILLE — A nationwide coalition of more than 150 conservative Christian leaders signed a statement, released Tuesday, affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of "homosexual immorality" is sinful.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's list of 14 beliefs, referred to as the Nashville Statement, is a response to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture that thinks it can change God's design for humans, according to the statement.

"Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be," the statement from the coalition members reads.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood convened a meeting of evangelical leaders, pastors and scholars Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference in Nashville. The coalition discussed and endorsed the statement.

In a press release, John Piper, co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement a "Christian manifesto" on human sexuality.

"It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness," Piper said. "It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people."

Among the signers who have been involved in national politics: James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in the District of Columbia.

Dobson and four others — Senior Pastor Ronnie Floyd of Cross Church, which has four campuses in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri; Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; President Richard Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.; televangelist James Robison, founder of Fort Worth-based Life Outreach International — also are members of President Trump's evangelical advisory board.

In a series of tweets, Pastor Brandan Robertson of MissionGathering Christian Church in San Diego, an LGBT activist who helped organize a protest at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission conference, called the statement an affront to God's creative design.

Christian author Jen Hatmaker of Austin, Texas, who come out in favor of same-sex marriage and whose books have been removed from the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Stores because of that philosophy, called the timing of the statement callous because of the Aug. 12 Unite the Right white supremacists' rally in Charlottesville, Va., and protester Heather Heyer's death.

"If the fruit of doctrine regularly & consistently creates shame, self-harm, suicide, & broken hearts, families, & churches, we shld listen," she tweeted.

Each of the Nashville Statement's 14 beliefs include one sentiment the signers affirm and one they deny. They cover a range of topics from a prohibition on sex outside of marriage to the connection between biological sex and gender identity.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who as a councilwoman officiated some of the city's first same-sex marriages when they became legal in Tennessee, took issue with the statement's moniker. In a tweet, she called it "poorly named."

Its name is derived from the meeting location. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's founding document — the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood — was signed about 30 years ago during a summit at a resort in Danvers, Mass.

Founded in 1987 and based in Louisville, Ky., the council's website said it has helped several religious groups, including the 15 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, promote "gospel-driven gender roles."

Some members of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention that played host to the coalition last week, signed the statement.

In the news release, the commission's president, Russell Moore, said it is "urgently needed."

"The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope," Moore said. "The Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come."

This year, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference focused on parenting, including how to talk to your kids about their biblical view of sex, same-sex attraction and gender identity.

The link connects to the entire hate document so read at your own risk. But now here is my response:


Now I just spent the better part of a week writing, rewriting and revising an essay I submitted to a writing contest called, Swimming in the Deep Red Sea.  It is a consolidation or at least introduction to my essays, many that have been put on this blog in one form or another, about what it is like to live in a Red State in a supposed blue city.   So there is no love lost for this my new and very temporary home town.

I said the other day I actually like Nashville, I walk a great deal and find myself seeking new places that I can embrace and enjoy while I live here.  I have said repeatedly that once it stops being interesting I will go sooner versus later and I have yet to hit that bar.  The schools are dumps but I am working around my hate for those and am seriously considering that by next year I will be done with them and find some other part time work that will be better suited and enable me to find a pocket of joy in a deep seated set of pants with more pockets than cargo pants.

And when I went into my favorite coffee shop The Barista Parlor in Germantown I ran into a former employee who had read this piece of shit and wanted me to read The Liturgists who had their response to this garbage.  Both she and her colleague are perhaps the most amazing young people I know. Both are people of faith but of modern faith, like New Country only not as annoying.

When I read this statement I was relieved but what I found fascinating is that one signed as a Human.  And another who sadly had to use a pseudonym for fear of job termination.  So there you go.  Add your signature no religious belief required.  I have long called my faith Humanism and that seems to be a great faith as it as about faith in others.  The link to their site is here and it is worth seeing the names of those who share faith and belief in both God and in others.

I share that with you and I found comfort and dignity to know that good people exist. They are everywhere tucked into life's cargo pants you just have to find them after you clean up the used kleenex, the spare change and the lint.

A Liturgists Statement
God is love

August 29, 2017

As floodwaters still rise in Houston, many prominent Christian leaders released the Nashville Statement. This document released a flood of its own, only this time instead of homes flooded with water, it was hearts flooded with grief. Yet again, powerful people of means use the platform of the Church to demean the basic dignity of gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, intersex, and queer people.

This isn’t new. “Biblical” morality has been used to justify slavery, resistance to interracial marriage, genocide, and war. The scope of the Bible’s narrative allows a broad interpretation of what is right and moral, and both the church and society at large have moved toward universal justice and acceptance on issues once thought to be “crystal clear.”

In regards to Christians across the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities, it’s past time to accept and affirm them as they are. In the same way that we no longer accept the morality of slavery based on its inclusion in our scriptures, we can no longer project first century notions of sex and sexuality on people today. The very notion of “orientation,” or even “heterosexual” would be completely foreign to the authors of both the old and new testaments in the Bible.

We understand that many of the people on the other side of this debate are loving Christians who really are trying to do and believe what's right–people who are also God's children, beloved and holy. However, this is a time that truth must be spoken to oppressive power systems. For far too long, the Christian Church has oppressed and marginalized people because of their gender and/or sexual orientation.

Personal beliefs about human sexuality have life-or-death consequences in our world. The social and systemic persecution of LGBTQ people creates real harm: limited and lost employment, physical assault, discrimination, depression, and suicide. This is not of God.

So, while we expect a flood of statements in response to the Nashville Statement, we the undersigned wanted to add our voice to the chorus of Christians affirming LGBTQ folks–including the Christians among them.

We believe that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are fearfully and wonderfully made, holy before God, beloved and beautiful as they are.

We believe all people have full autonomy over their bodies, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and the diversity of identities reflects the creative power of a loving God.

We believe that God is love, and that ‘anyone who loves is born of God and knows God’. (I John 4:7) God is honored in any consenting and loving relationship between adults, and therefore, all such relationships deserve honor and recognition.

We believe that same-sex relationships and marriages are as holy before God as heterosexual marriages.

We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ folks, and commit to standing alongside them in the work of resisting those who persecute them.

We don't believe LGBTQ folks need our approval or affirmation–they are affirmed first and foremost by God. This statement acts as a concreted record of solidarity.

For those of us who haven’t always been affirming, we repent of how our beliefs and actions caused harm in the lives of LGBTQ people. We also stand ready to welcome other people into repentance as their eyes are opened to the injustice caused by non-affirming theologies.

We don’t claim righteousness or moral superiority over non-affirming people. Our hearts have been broken by our own actions most of all.

May Christ’s love and mercy redeem us all,

PS- We encourage you to consider a donation to these LGBTQ Christian Organizations:

The Reformation Project
Nomad Partnerships
The Gay Christian Network

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