Evangelicals running around with book tours and t-shirts promoting their blogs about how they once were straight but saw the light and are now queer, make me want to vomit…but only because they do so parading God and their new found theology as if it’s any better than the one before. I hate to break it to you but it’s not. It sucks. It’s just imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchal theology, to steel some of Bell Hooks’ words.
Here’s an example: a female pastor from San Francisco at City Church named Laura Turner wrote this article for Esquire. It’s got a catchy title, I‘m Evangelical, My Church Welcomes Gays, and I’m Not Voting for Trump, and some great points so it’s been going viral.
She makes the same old claims that many of these other evangelicals I’m encountering are making: “My church is evangelical in mission and in many of our beliefs, but it also welcomes LGBT individuals and couples into membership.”
HOW RADICAL!! (womp)
Essentially what the “but” says is of course we welcome queer people because of course we want to colonize their minds with our terrible theology, “after all we are evangelical in mission and in many of our beliefs” – don’t forget it.
They always say that. Smh.
So I Googled City Church to see what “they always” meant. And of course, just what I expected: “City Church wholeheartedly embraces the historic Christian faith expressed in all the ecumenical creeds of the universal church (e.g., the Apostles (390) and Nicene Creeds (325), Belgic Confession (1561), The Canons of Dordt (1618), Heidelberg Catechism (1563).
In case you aren’t up on ancient religious creeds, here’s Article 6 of the Cannon of Dordt (the most recent creed of the bunch):
The fact that some receive from God the gift of faith within time, and that others do not, stems from his eternal decree. For “all his works are known to God from eternity” (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:11). In accordance with this decree God graciously softens the hearts, however hard, of the elect and inclines them to believe, but by a just judgment God leaves in their wickedness and hardness of heart those who have not been chosen. And in this especially is disclosed to us God’s act—unfathomable, and as merciful as it is just—of distinguishing between people equally lost. This is the well-known decree of election and reprobation revealed in God’s Word. The wicked, impure, and unstable distort this decree to their own ruin, but it provides holy and godly souls with comfort beyond words
AKA At City Church you can be queer AND you can believe most of the world is going to a literal Hell of torment and anguish that God created for you and picked you specifically for. #ByeFelcia
But I can hear them now, “nah Gregory we read Rob Bell’s Love Win’s so we don’t believe in that kind of Hell…” Oh but you believe in some other floating land after death that you can’t describe and only still believe in because the angry-white-pastor-dude that preached at you as a child drilled it into your brains. Great.
And if it’s not Hell, it’s the Virgin Birth, or Miracles, or all other Religions don’t really work, or the bodily Resurrection and Ascension into space are literally true, or some other crazy supernatural wacko thing they want you to believe before you belong.
Even if the members of these churches don’t adhere to each and every word of these documents they are still claiming the sources and articles of their beliefs are from 390 and 1618. My good friend Rony is a doctor and they do not teach him from books written in 1618 or scrolls written on in 390…for far too obvious of reasons.
Telling me you affirm my sexuality but the religious creeds you want me to believe (or else I go to Hell) were written in a time when everyone thought the Earth was flat says to me you’ve got much bigger problems than figuring out how to like queer people.
(Hint: Deeds over creeds!)
This is methodological problem. Evangelicals haven’t actually changed much but danced around anger toward their gay kids and danced around 7 bible verses. In reality what needs to happen is an entirely different shift on how the Bible is read, understood, and applied for our time.
We don’t need faith or belief in the Bible we need faithfulness and commitment to the Bible.
The four gospels and many letters tossed around in the early churches were written by oppressed Jews and Gentiles marginalized for their radical love and compassion. The Bible is for the Church what Howard Zinn’s A People’s History… is for the United States. The Bible itself is a collection of radical history to learn from and reflect, we carry the vision onward, we take the message off the pages…ya know, make the word flesh!
So leave your imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchal evangelical church that you can’t talk about justice or alternative economic systems with many people at, that you will always feel politically or theologically alone at, that you can’t wear “different” or “gay” clothes to, that you can’t show up hung over or mention the night before at, that you always feel guilty for having good sex at, that always sings emotionally homoerotic supernatural-Jesus music…LEAVE and find a church that QUEERS THEOLOGY in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!