Tuesday, November 8, 2016

No Room in the Evangelical Church

Church with a rainbow flag. Image source.
There's drama going on with the anti-LGBT section of the church. InterVarsity is requiring all staff to agree that sex is only for marriage with opposite-sex partners, evangelicals are freaking out over Jen Hatmaker's support for same-sex marriage, and here's a Christianity Today article about how evangelical institutions have been "clarifying" their position on marriage. [trigger warning: a lot of "this is what Christians have always believed" language at that Christianity Today link]

And it all makes me so glad I'm not an evangelical anymore. I quit after the World Vision debacle of 2014. So glad I'm not involved in any churches or Christian groups now. I haven't been for a long time, and I am SO GLAD. Twitter is my church.

Evangelicals claim they're all about loving God, or following the bible, or whatever, but they're not. They're about sticking to one particular interpretation of the bible- an interpretation made by people, not God- and refusing to listen to anyone who disagrees. Even when those people who disagree truly do love God and follow the bible.

Ugh. I'm so done with that. I've decided I'm not willing to attend any kind of church or Christian group unless they explicitly say they are LGBT-affirming. Because it's just not worth it. If they're preaching "hate the sin, love the sinner," or some kind of "middle ground", or try not to say anything one way or the other... they might seem like nice people, but you never know when they're going to whack you over the head with a bible and then feel so proud of themselves for taking a stand for God. InterVarsity did that. I still can't believe InterVarsity did that.

I'm not okay with "middle ground." I'm not okay with "third way" or "agree to disagree." Basically, I'm not okay with any ideology that says it's totally fine to prioritize the bible over the actual lives of actual people. "But the bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman!" Okay, fine. The bible doesn't actually say that, but for the sake of argument, let's say it does. That belief is deadly- literally deadly. I don't care if the bible teaches it or not. I want a church that cares more about people than words- yes, even the words of the bible. You know, like Jesus did.

I want a church that values love and justice over anything else. But I've never been in any church like that. All the churches I've been in valued the specific words of the bible, and arbitrary commands about what is or is not "sinful." They didn't care what effect their teaching actually had on people. They said God knows best, so even if God's commands seem bad from our perspective, we have to trust that we should follow them anyway.

And I have had it with Christians who believe it's virtuous to hold on to certain beliefs, in the face of pressure from "the world," in the face of mountains of evidence showing how much harm those beliefs do to people made in the image of God, as every last "rational" defense falls and all they have left is "God said." They deny the clear teaching of Scripture, "a good tree cannot bear bad fruit."

"You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

Eff that.

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