Ever since the demise of Christian Community Church of Clarksville, which folded in mid-summer of 2007, I’ve had several people ask me what happened, or tell me how sorry they were that things didn’t work out.
So why did it fold? Well, folks stopped coming. Perhaps they didn’t like the style of worship, or they just didn’t feel comfortable about many aspects of the ministry, or they just didn’t like the pastor (can’t say I blame them – I lacked a great many elements to be an effective pastor), so we agreed that it was time to close the doors. With all of the factors going against it, it was time to move on.
I still stand by our ministry, and I believe it was a good work for its time. Perhaps that time will come again. If it does, I’ll gladly help if I can. Until then, it’s important that people in Clarksville know that the door is always open for affirming ministries.
After the recent coming out brouhaha of Ray Boltz this past week and Azariah Southworth’s outing earlier this year, the question of whether or not a person can be gay and Christian has reached a forefront in the psyche of American Christianity. The debate rages on (as indicated on my post on the topic from 2006), and shows no sign of letting up.
In spite of the firestorm around whether gays can be Christian at all, there is a growing number of people who are just looking for a place to call home – without judgment, without fingers pointed in their faces, and where they can live their Christian lives. They’re looking for a place to serve, a place to worship, and a place to build solid relationships with their fellow believers.
Thankfully, the number of churches and denominations that embrace GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) people continues to grow, and I’m happy to say that they’re becoming easier to find. Most Episcopal churches (like the one I attend here in Clarksville, Trinity Episcopal Church) are affirming churches, while the Metropolitain Community Churches are known to be the first gay-oriented ministry.
I’ve posted these groups before, but they deserve mention once again:
GayChurch.org is a site that lists over five thousand churches across the world. Some of them might be out of date, but even still – it’s a blessing to know that there are Christian communities that welcome everyone.
For those who can’t find a local group in their area, I recommend the fine folks at GayChristian.net, where there is a thriving online group of gay Christians who fellowship in various ways (usually by spirited conversation) and with a surprising amount of grace. What’s especially great about the GayChristian.net site is that they welcome people from both sides of the celibate/noncelibate debate.
“Side A” Christians are a group of people who believe that gays can build loving, normal, healthy relationships and that God blesses such unions (I fall under this category). “Side B,” however, considers any sexual relationship outside of a heterosexual marriage to be sin, and that God calls gay Christians to celibacy.
While the two groups are vastly differentin their interpretations of how relationships can be formed, they’re agreed on one very important elemant: Gay Christians are not in sin just by being gay. They also agree that promiscuity is sinful, as well as dangerous. It’s a discussion that’s worth having – especially among evangelicals.
No matter where these people stand, it’s clear that the Rainbow Kingdom is getting more attention – which is actually a good thing. While many of our evangelical friends decry the idea of being gay and Christian, it’s becoming more clear that our relationship with God through Christ is one of grace, and His grace is for ALL who call on His name. It’s part of why I have this blog, and very much why I wrote my book.
So if you’re looking for a community that welcomes you for who you are – give these two sites a look. There’s a good chance that you’ll find something close to home.