Gregory Stevens isn’t your run-of-the-mill Baptist minister.
“A quick note,” he said in a recent email to Baptist News Global. “I prefer to use ‘Gxd’ or ‘Gxddess’ when writing God to represent trans, feminist, queer, and gender-bending struggles.”
He also isn’t, for the moment, an employed Baptist minister, either. Stevens’ equally progressive take on social justice issues led to his May 15 resignation as associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Palo Alto, California.
Tweets Stevens had posted months before, including one slamming the ultra-rich community as “an elitist s— den of hate,” were introduced during a city council meeting the night before. The congregation was seeking a permit needed to rent space to other organizations.
News of the Florida native’s tweets have gone viral.
Stevens, who is gay, agreed to answer questions via email about the experience and about his Baptist faith. His comments have been edited for clarity.
Where in Florida are you from, and what kinds of churches did you attend growing up?
I am from Tampa. I first started going to church in middle school at the First Baptist Church of Lutz, a Southern Baptist church. I went with a neighbor, not my family. I then moved on to Grace Family Church, a non-denominational megachurch. I was an intern. I left the internship for theological reasons and took my first youth ministry position at Bay Hope Church (back then it was called Van Dyke United Methodist Church). I again left for theological reasons and moved to the more progressive Missio Dei Community (an emergent church) and worked on the staff as an associate minister. And then I moved to California for seminary at the Claremont School of Theology. Continue reading Baptist News Global: Unconventional Silicon Valley Baptist Minister