What’s the number one reason you attend church? If it’s the church’s homosexuality views, there’s a new group you’ll likely appreciate.
If you’re the type who can skip past all of the myriad problems in the world and jump specifically to homosexuality views as the sole reason to judge whether a church is the right fit for you, you should know there’s a group seeking to define churches on that issue alone.
But first, RNS begins its story with a fictitious tale of “Jim,” a man who has happily attended his church for more than six months. All of a sudden, we’re told, he is no longer willing to attend because he learned at a membership class that said church has a position on homosexuality that differs from his own, on which he “cannot compromise,” so he “has no choice but to leave the church he once loved.”
How sad this is.
Sad, but not surprising. Certainly not surprising when there are groups that are willing to focus on this one, single issue as the reason to define a church’s value or its worthiness of one’s attendance.
The group rates churches two different ways: clear or unclear on their position and “affirming” or “non-affirming” on LGBT rights.
I might think of a few things more important on which churches should be rated. Among them might be how missional they are in practice and how much they are out and about in their own communities serving rather than keeping their activities enclosed within their own walls.
I know of a church in the Charleston area, for example, that operates a clinic for members of the community — whether they attend the church or not — that need health care they cannot afford. The same church also donates clothing to people who are down on their luck but are trying to put forth a good impression by working to get a job. And it operates a food pantry to help people who might otherwise have to choose between paying their rent and feeding their family.
But this is a church that’s demonstrating God’s love much more effectively by its outside activities even if it doesn’t pound a gavel on the pulpit every week that homosexuality is wrong.
Ironically, the story implies the service may be designed for the gay community rather than the conservative Christian community, as it is operated by people who are either gay themselves or work in gay-affirming churches. That, in turn, would seem to imply that it’s gay people who want to attend only churches that affirm LGBT rights, just as it would be conservatives who’d only want to attend churches that do not.
If I had to guess, I would imagine the church I mentioned doesn’t “affirm” homosexuality, but I know there are gay people who attend the church.
Maybe that’s because they recognize there’s more to a church than this one issue.
And there are some other issues that might be worth placing into the category of “agreeing to disagree.”
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.