Pastors Should Follow Obama & Stop Evolving!

Unless you spent yesterday hiding in the woods you heard that our President came out publicly in support of gay marriage.  He was already the most aggressive Presidential advocate the LGTBQ has had, over turning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, giving executive orders to secure legal rights for gay partners, and ending executive support for the defense of marriage act, so one could think that this public announcement isn’t a significant shift in policy at all and in the end a liability for re-election.  Regardless of any long term consequences, I am proud of Obama when he said that “In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she (Michelle) cares most deeply about is how we treat other people.”

You see for those who pay attention to how he has served as President we already knew what he thought.  He has been actively supporting the recognition of equal rights for the gay community throughout his first term.  Obama was never evolving personally in the White House.  What has happened is Obama finally let his conscious speak on an issue that is divided and contentious because it was becoming humorous to here again that his mind is ‘evolving’ while acting like his mind was settled.  Yet there is something powerful about the one occupying the White House to believe it out loud!  I wonder if the same wouldn’t be true if more Christian leaders stopped evolving and started speaking.

Obama’s situation is not much different than many Christian leaders throughout the country whose jobs and personal security necessitate keeping the mysterious ‘independents’ and ‘moderates’ more happy with you than the other options.  The number of influential pastors of large churches, seminary professors, and denominational leaders who have been walking the ‘evolving’ tight-rope around gay marriage in the church are huge.  Just from personal conversations I can think of 15 well known church leaders who would loose their jobs if their actual conviction as a Christian was known.  If you ask these individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of the church what they really believe they are open and affirming to the full inclusion of the LGTBQ community into the church and yet their public stance is ‘evolving.’

Just this past week a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship minister from North Carolina said regarding Amendment One, “It’s sad that the only three people at the church voting against the amendment are the three ordained ministers and the congregation will never know.”  That is a sad but all too frequent decision by many.

It is my hope that my Brother in Christ Obama’s risky move to make his personal convictions known will inspire the silent ‘evolving’ leaders in the church to do the same.  Maybe then we can end the culture war that is costing the church its integrity with a generation and communicating hatred toward our gay brothers and sisters.

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15 comments
Darrell Muth
Darrell Muth

To presume Obama is the final word on same sex marriage or anything thing else of cultural relevance is....

Wayne Schroeder
Wayne Schroeder

"How we treat other people" and ourselves, and our Lord is the mark of Agape. LGBT is one of todays Samaritans/neighbors who we are called on to love. Thanks Tripp.

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

@Jonathan....thanks for not reading the post and just commenting. i don't think Obama is the messiah, i have no idea who is crying or spilling milk, and im not planning on moving.

Jonathan
Jonathan

Most pastors read the bible and know the definition of the word sin. I know it's fad to say everything is ok but 32 states have decided they want marriage defined between man and woman. I don't like to be force fed liberal garbage. If you don't like the democratic process then happily move to North Korea and see how that works for you. We voted in NC on Tuesday and Barry o didn't out until wednesday. Sounds like he doesn't care too much for the Lgbt people in NC but I forgot Obama is your messiah he can do no wrong. Be a big boy and stop crying over spilled milk.

Amy
Amy

I wish more pastors would be truly open about their support. There are people in my church who are afraid to come out because they believe that all the church leaders would do what one of them did to a former member. (He was forced to sign a contract that he would not engage in any "homosexual activity" for the duration of his membership. An attempt was made to "exorcise" the "demon of homosexual lust" out of him.) There were/are leaders & pastors who *do* support full inclusion of LGBT folks, but only a few people know their "secret." Our leaders are in fear of being discovered as allies. So are members of our congregation. Until I decided to go public with my support, I had no idea how many LGBT folks & their allies existed in our church. Pastors, don't be cowards!

Travis Mamone
Travis Mamone

Ah, gotcha! Now I know what you mean, 'cause for the longest time I played the "Gee, this is a tough issue, let's all just have a big open discussion and not really get anything done" card. Turns out I was only making things worse for both myself and my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

@Travis the post was about the LARGE number of ministers who have a personal conviction and use the status of 'evolving' as a way of avoiding speaking their actual convictions in public. Clearly you and I are hoping that the less open ministers in the world evolve. I just know a bunch of ministers are theologically open and affirming but don't ever say it out loud.

Travis Mamone
Travis Mamone

On the contrary, I say pastors need to evolve MORE! If I didn't evolve, I'd still be in the closet and hating myself.

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

@Danny... great point about civil unions. That was Obama and W.'s public position when they both came into office. Obama moved towards marriage and W away from recognizing the State's right to give legal status to gay partners. Personally I am uncomfortable with the State deciding who can and can't be married. Most weddings I have performed I asked the couple to get the legal part of the marriage done separately so that the decision of who is and isn't married in the church is the churches actual decision. Likewise who does and doesn't get legal status is a political decision.

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

@Ben Marsh...awesome to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. Very fond memories of you from back in the day. Thanks for the question about hermeneutics, it's the right question I think. I will just work on another post about it since it is a bit different in topic. Why I phrased things the way I did in the post is to highlight how Obama had already come to a conclusion that changed his practice but was slow playing saying it out loud. I definitely don't think anyone who is actually thinking things through or of a different conclusion should go along with him. It is nice though to see any politician be honest about their actual convictions - even when I don't agree with them.

Benjamin Marsh
Benjamin Marsh

Tripp, I ask this with absolute respect and with hope for a genuine answer (in other words, I am not leading somewhere with this question - I really would like to know your thoughts): what, if anything, prevents you from endorsing "open" marriage or polygamy? I find that if we adopt a hermeneutic that precludes the traditional basis for establishing heterosexual marriage, we also preclude the basis for establish monogamous marriage, but I am honestly open to hearing arguments to the contrary. Thus, the question. Thanks, Ben

Alison Crockett
Alison Crockett

This is a difficult task I think for the church. Humanity cries out to us that all people who are loving should be able to live in monogamous relationships. I think Christ would love all human beings and if they are who they are, he would love them and shun those look down upon them. You are right. It is tough, but they are not other. Gay people are us: human and should have the same privileges that other humans do. If it's about children, most gay parents are loving, supportive healthy child rearers. Should those loving people have less rights than a murderer or a rapist? Those people can marry and have children too.

Danny Bartos
Danny Bartos

Why not "civil unions" for the sake of civil liberties due to all of us? You cannot hijack the churches instatution of marriage. It belongs to us as a picture of Christ and His bride. It's difficult for me to get past Romans 1, and say "Ok, let's not worry about you missing the mark, just do what you want as long as your sinsear". Loveing our Gay brothers and sisters is where we have been very weak as a church, loving Jesus and obedience to His word will ultimately be a better way for us all.

burl
burl

"any practicums in sacrificial bravery at your seminary, and if not why not?" Can you say, Bonhoeffer? It was easier to be a martyr when values were more absolute. In a relativistic epoch, when everyone says your opinion, even your Ultimate Concern, is good maybe for you, but not for so much for me, it is harder to face individual-annihilation for the sake of social enlightenment.

dmf
dmf

one might say that being persecuted (and living without a safety-net) for telling hard truths is the christian way, too bad Foucault passed away before his work on "fearless" speech could mature, any practicums in sacrificial bravery at your seminary, and if not why not? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrhesia

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