Reblog: 50 Ministers Bless Gay Marriage Of Bill Gatewood And Rick Taylor, Showing Solidarity With Rev. Frank Schaefer

Bill Gatewood and Rick Taylor only needed one minister to marry them at their longtime place of worship, Arch Street United Methodist Church.

Instead, they got fifty.

Risking the loss of their credentials, the ministers came to show their support of same-sex marriage, an issue currently being hotly debated in the Methodist Church, as well as to show solidarity with an embattled colleague who has been personally affected. Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, PA, will stand trial on Nov. 18 in front of the church because he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding, which is currently against church law.

At Gatewood and Taylor’s wedding, the Methodist clergy members along with other clergy from other denomination filled the front of the church after vows were exchanged. Resting their hands on each other and the couple, they said in unison, “Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder,” according to Philly.com.

Awesome sauce: 50 Ministers Bless Gay Marriage Of Bill Gatewood And Rick Taylor, Showing Solidarity With Rev. Frank Schaefer.

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Grace: one size fits all

Someecards

Do you think it’s sometimes easier to be merciful towards the ‘big’ sinners–murderers, thieves,  rapists, and so on? This morning I was disparaging about a family member whose husband is ill. Her requests for prayers and support are more about her than him, and I wasn’t feeling very sympathetic, much less inclined to pray for her.

Later I read an article about a man who raped a six-month old baby to death. Through the disgust I found myself thinking something along the lines of, well, everyone deserves grace–even him. I was more gracious about this guy’s crime than my aunt’s relatively harmless (and even understandable) narcissism.

Have you ever experienced anything similar? It made me feel like a prat and I wondered if we have the reverse situation going now than in Jesus’ time: where we are more likely to forgive or help strangers, these ‘others’, than we are the people in our own backyards over weekends, on our Facebook timelines, in our living rooms.

Maybe it’s because for most of, these ‘others’ are on the periphery of our lives: they live in news bulletins or in ghettos or in quiet whispers about ‘someone who knows someone who knows’. They don’t buy us birthday presents or spam our e-mail accounts with chain letters. We can afford to be gracious because doing so does not fundamentally alter our lives.

But extending grace at home, at work, in shopping malls, at birthday dinners, to the people we see every day–that’s not always so easy. We tend to grade sins, and unfortunately our magnanimity about those who commit them sometimes grows in relation to how big we think the transgressions are. The ‘smaller’ sins slip through the cracks of daily life, into that shady area of ‘habit’.

But all grace is radical, and everyone, regardless of who they are, what they are, whether those parameters fall within or outside our families, communities or comfort zones, deserves grace. Even slightly histrionic aunts :).

All grace is grace.

Reblog: The Gospel Is Not a Behavior Control Program | RELEVANT Magazine

My suspicion is that, if we’re unflinchingly honest, we are often more concerned about behavior modification than we are about individuals encountering the presence of a loving God.

via The Gospel Is Not a Behavior Control Program | RELEVANT Magazine.

Weekend Faith Renewal: Hide Your Bibles

Bible

In North Korea, you and your family can be tortured and/or executed if just one of you owns a Bible (Pegues 2006:150). Let that sink in for a second. Think about all the Bibles and other religious stuff you have lying around your house. On your bedside table or on dusty shelves or in jumble drawers underneath Chinese take-out menus. In another country, your pretty crucifix or multi-coloured WWJD bracelet could literally get you killed.

Those of us in free, democratic countries love to cry foul when other religions are granted the same rights we have; we call it ‘persecution.’ I wonder what someone from Nigeria, for example—where people are routinely shot or blown up at church services—would say when we complain about religious persecution? When we can freely attend church services and hold Bible studies and worship our God…all without being martyred for our efforts?

We can’t really imagine what that’s like, but we can try.

This weekend, hide your Bibles. All of them. Treat them as you would water when you’re thirsty in a country where liquid is illegal. Hide all the religious paraphernalia: the jewellery and the faith wear and the DVDs and the worship music and the glossy magazines. Put it in a box under a bed. Tape it to the underside of a desk. Bury it in the back garden. Remember that at any time people could come stampeding into your home to search it, and if they find these things, you lose everything.

When you go to church on Sunday, imagine that you’re afraid. You go anyway. While the minister is talking, expect the doors to fly open at any second, and armed men to come storming in. Feel the air shatter around you as an explosive detonates. Imagine getting dragged, punched and beaten and thrown into the back of a van that smells like sweat and fear; being separated from your family, not knowing whether you’ll ever see them again.

Imagine still wanting to call yourself a Christian. Imagine still believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer; God as Almighty; the Holy Spirit as friend and confidant.

Just this weekend, pretend that this is your daily life. Now look to God. Now pray to Him. What has our privilege of worship been hiding from us?

It's just as well I'm not burying my stash. I'd need a trench!

It’s just as well I’m not burying my stash. I’d need a trench!

Further resources:

Reblog: God can’t be kept out

We all grieve in different ways, and we must be patient with one another as we do, but there is a rumor floating around among the people of God that is so vile, so dangerous and untrue, it simply must be called out. It’s a rumor that began long before the shots rang out at Sandy Hook and long before this Advent season.

It’s the rumor that God can be chased out.

Read the whole post: God can’t be kept out.

Blaze

If we as Christians would complain about the mounting evil and growing spiritual darkness in our country…we should ask ourselves the question: where is the light? {Source}

Reblog: Rev. Roger Wolsey: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity

Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing movement to reclaim Christianity from those who’ve distorted it into something that Jesus and his earliest followers wouldn’t easily recognize — conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The movement has emerged on two fronts, roughly simultaneously. One wing comes from the mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches that, due to the shift from modern era mindsets into postmodern ones, have shifted from liberal theology to “progressive” Christianity. The other wing comes from young people within the Evangelical communities who are questioning and redefining their tradition and is known as “emergent” Christianity. Combined, these movements are a new Reformation.

via Rev. Roger Wolsey: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity.

God hates plastic bags

Out of the mouth of babes:

A mother was filled with pride when her young son mounted a quiet counter-protest against picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church over the weekend, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

Nine-year-old Josef Miles and his mother, Patty Akrouche, were walking around the Washburn University campus in Topeka, Kan., on Saturday when they saw a group of Westboro Baptist Church protesters armed with signs.

The Church is infamous for using pickets with phrases like “God hates fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

After reading some of the signs on display, Akrouche said that Miles asked her if he could create one of his own.

Using a small sketch pad, he wrote out his message in pencil and held it out while he stood across from the picket line.

“GOD HATES NO ONE,” he wrote.

Also: the thirty best anti-Westboro Baptist Church signs. I especially like

He makes a valid point.

He recommends we go green.

Bringing sexy Barack.

‘Jesus is not a homophobe’

The Lesson of the ‘Jesus Is Not a Homophobe’ T-shirt | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

Is it really asking too much for the adults in whose care Mr. Couch is entrusted to try to understand what it’s like for gay youth to live in this world?

The road less unblessed

Now I’ve heard it all! Frustrated by the fact that religious leaders blessed a portion of highway in Florida, a group of atheists decided to “unbless” the road. Armed with scrubbers and a large container of “unholy” water, the group sought to wash away the work done by the Polk County organization known as Polk Under Prayer.

According to a story by Bay News 9, “Representatives from various atheist groups in the area scrubbed the road at the Pasco-Polk county line. They were figuratively removing holy oil that had been put on the road last year by a group of area religious leaders.”

(Via here.)

Apparently they were protesting state/church involvement, which is their full right to do, but one wonders what they gain from po(l)king fun at something meant to benefit all local residents, regardless of their religious or unreligious affiliation…besides massive Internet traffic, and being labelled harbingers of the end times.