on October 13, 2013
SORRY! An Open Apology on What the Church Has Gotten Wrong… and Our Chance to Get it Right
Loving like Jesus loves means loving with no strings attached. It’s time to stop segregating and unify under the BIG love of Jesus.
After listening to this podcast, suddenly I don’t feel alone as the mother of a gay son. It touched my heart that your church would open the dialogue of everyone being welcome to come and worship and it made me want to give church another chance. Thank you for reaching out to people who have been so hurt. Now, if we can only get a church in the Florida panhandle where I live to step up and show love like you have… the love of Jesus!!!
I’m interested in knowing what church you attend on the FL panhandle. My parents moved there recently and attend a church which I won’t mention here directly. I am gay and came out to my parents a little over two years ago. It hasn’t been an easy road but they love me all the same. They have felt very lonely in this process as they’re too scared to let anyone know. The one person they did disclose the “information” to was the head pastor of the church they attend. He said that he could meet w/ me the next day. I agreed to meet w/ him not b/c I thought that I needed “counseled” on the issue (let’s face it- most evangelical pastors are the LAST ones who I’d ever want counseling me through this “issue”) but I went more because I wanted to get a feeling on where he stood regarding the issue. It wasn’t totally awful but it was exactly what I had expected- “we love YOU but don’t agree w/ your LIFESTYLE” he even went as far as to (w/o stating it flat out) compare me to a pedophile. Anyway, I’d love it if you could contact my email directly to not only talk about what church you attend but even more- maybe have you and my mom get in touch b/c I really believe that she needs to team up w/ someone going through something so similar. Thanks Jennifer!
I’m sad to tell you that I don’t attend church anymore after years of trying to not listen to the parts of sermons that were telling me my child was less than, I literally got up and walked out of a church where the pastor was mocking and making fun of gay people from the pulpit. That was about 3 years ago and I haven’t been back for a worship service in any church since. I live in Niceville, FL and unfortunately open and affirming churches based in Christianity are few and far between in my area. Whereabouts did your parents move to? My email is email@example.com if you would like to contact me that way I would love to talk with you and/or your mom. Sending you lots of love, Josh!!! I am so touched that you are thinking about ways your mom can get her needs met while she goes through this with you. What a precious son!!!
I am good friends with Jennifer Stringfellow that replied to your post. I also live in the FL panhandle. I’m also the mom to a gay teenage son. Jennifer and I would be pleased to support, listen, do whatever is necessary to support you and your mom. How kind of you to think of her needs at this time. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Oh my….so refreshingly needed today. Ditto to what Jennifer Stringfellow said as she and I are friends. If you ever want to consider a church plant please come to our local area. Thank you so much for this message. What a brave man and pastor!
Jesse, I had to write one more thing, in addition to the FB post. I love Linda with all my heart, and my heart breaks for the Robertson family. To listen and not be moved to compassion speaks volumes about the listener. Brene Brown (wholehearted-living genius) says people act out of one of two things: love or fear. Always. (Pride, judgment, anger, all fear…) The detractors Linda said have deluged you today are in complete fear. What will this mean for them? Will their church have to welcome gays? If they’re wrong about this, what else might they be wrong about? Their response has NOTHING to do with Jesus and everything to do with fear. I’m an encourager by nature and I just had to just give you my best. Thanks again for doing what many are terrified even to think of doing. Bless you!
This is AMAZING!!! If only other churches would take this on, it could change the world!! There are soooo many people not going to church today over this exact issue. When our son came out 2 yrs ago at the age of 25 we felt totally alone in the Christian community. When we tried to share our story with our church we were blasted for it in such a mean spirited way that we haven’t been back. Oh If we could only find a church like yours here in the south. I will put this at the very top of my prayer list. You guys are definitely on the right track with this—Loving like Jesus loved—what a concept!!!!
Thank you , thank you, thank you for your humanity towards our gay sons and daughters.
We also believe our God is bigger than all of our sins, shortcomings, failures etc…….
God is love, Amen………..
Is the stance of Rain City that being gay is not a sin, or that being gay is no more reason to single out someone as being ‘sinful’ than any other sin that separates us from God?
Just curious what the stance is.
Jake, I will let Jesse and the other pastors & elders answer for themselves, but this is what we have heard Jesse saying: BEING gay is never a sin. As far as being in a gay relationship, there is room for disagreement on this in their church. They have some members who firmly believe that God affirms same-sex marriage, while others do not. This is not one of their central, “close-handed” doctrines.
One of the most encouraging things about Rain City Church is that as an organization it does not presume that there is a single ‘stance’ that reflects the beliefs of all its members
I can’t speak for Rain City, but, I would encourage you to research what the term ‘sin’ really means and what the New Testament actually says on this issue (specifically Jesus mention of those ‘born a eunich’). It is not as clear cut as many Christians believe. Even Paul leaves room for debate. It largely depends on how you interpret the term ‘unnatural acts’. Is loving a relationship between two adults regardless of gender ‘unnatural’ ? Many would argue it is not.
First of all, I love that you are have a series, called “Sorry, An open apology on what the church has gotten wrong. And our chance to get it right.” That shows great intention on serving and loving without walls. It also reminds me that you seek a posture of “hanging it on the cross” which shows more love than sticking with a position.
If someone feels fearful of showing love, God can erase that fear. Don’t be surprised if Jesus gently whispers, “Love others with the same love I have for you.”
Praying that you will lead without fear, but HIS love.
Powerful. God bless the Robertson family for their bravery and their love. May God help them find peace in their tragedy. God bless you, Jesse. You know how much I love you.
Brilliant message, Jesse. I miss Rain City while I’m down here in Oregon, so thanks for doing the podcast. You’re moving me to tears from 300 miles away.
This sound clip brought me to tears over and over. I wish my parents could say this to me. I’ve have struggled with suicide, drugs, low self esteem, depression and self hatred for most of my life. I don’t know what life would be like without these companions. I have been and still am mad at God for my existence. The church was a huge part of my life, being part of the worship team and teaching Sunday school in the past, and it’s been so hard not having that in my life anymore. I just don’t believe that I will ever get peace, love or hope in this lifetime. But I have a lingering belief that God is bigger then this and I do not really know him or his heart for me.
Ed, I wish there were some magic words to take all your pain away, but there isn’t. I am sorry you have heard the message that you have heard about yourself and that you feel this way about yourself. I wish I could be there personally to let you know you are loved and valuable in God’s eyes, just the way you are, right now. I too am not attending Church at the moment and there are times I miss it very much also. What has helped is to find a group of people who are going through something similar to what I am. They have become my “church” in many ways. God can give you peace, love and hope in this life and I will pray that you find it. You are not alone and pray you will feel God’s love and presence very strongly and personally. You will be in my prayers.
I am so sad for the hardship of your journey. I pray John 3:16 &17 for you. He came not to condemn, but to save all of us. HIS heart must break for your load and HIS desire to just love you as you are. I hope you find a place to praise him and know you are HIS. Praying that your lingering belief will bloom and you can worship free from pain.
Just a Mom!
Just a thought the God we know does not discriminate, come as you literally and allow the Creator to wash some of your pain away. The church as a whole cannot take away your ability to worship in your own way. Erasing those negative messages is very hard but try to remember this saying, I can’t, He can, so I will him do it. Those are the first three steps in the 12step recovery process summarized. Good luck on your journey find community somewhere! There are people out there who will love you Ed. Just a few thoughts from a mom of a gay teenage son.
I can’t express to you in words how wonderful it was to listen to a sermon and know that I could trust it… know that I wouldn’t have to weed out the hate meant for me. I’ve had a real hatred for what “church” in America has done to young people and human beings of all shapes and kinds and colors for a long time now. I’ve worked in them. I’ve pretended in them. I’ve been burned by them. And for the last 12 years I’ve had nothing to do with them… and that’s where I really found God. And now I’ve been incredibly and authentically moved to tears by one and I wasn’t even there. I would like to thank this obviously wise and loving pastor and an incredibly brave church. I’d like to thank Susan Cottrell, who is an amazing example and wonderful person, for continuing to share this and other important messages with the world. But most of all, I want to thank my two newest heroes, Linda and Rob Robertson. Absolute heroes. Thank you all. I’ll now be sharing this in a thousand places.
Hi Patrick!! I echo everything you said and dearly love the above mentioned people too!! We have a 27 y/o gay son and have struggled with these same issues for yrs. It is very difficult to find a pastor and church courageous enough to really look at this issue instead of parroting whas has been said from yrs. past. Things that we know not to be true about the wonderful gay people we take the time to get to know. I am so sorry you have been so hurt by the church. We have too–however, I miss it and want so badly to find a place in our area (TN) where the “Whosoever” in John 3:16, includes any/every person who longs for a realtionship with Jesus Christ. This dividing line of them/us must stop. We are ALL God’s children–Patrick, you are LOVED by a God who knows exactly who you are, and I know many “mothers” who love you too Just Because You Breathe—
My son also feels connected to God, yet in doubt of the church. As Mom’s, we regret learning that others in church made our child feel hopeless. That is teaching, based on fear. I am also thankful for this church and their courage to love like Jesus loves us. I am a better Mom, because of God leading me to Susan, Linda & Rob. I am so sorry that you have been hurt.
That was a very courageous sermon especially for a newly-planted evangelical church. I’m a retired pastor from a denomination which has had our family fight on this issue and come through to a better place despite losses. So now gay people are safe with us because we finally stopped trying to put limits on God’s love. We learned that God’s love is relentless and Jesus just keeps surprising us by being every place ahead of us and the Holy Spirit keeps moving people to do things we never expected. Grace is everywhere if we just open our eyes to see it. Jesse, bless you for that message.
[…] http://www.raincitychurch.com/2013/10/10-13-13-homophobia-stops-here/ […]
Mail (will not be published) (Required)
Follow @RainCityChurch on Twitter
© 2011 Rain City Church. All Rights Reserved | P.O. Box 50212 Bellevue, WA 98015 | email@example.com