I Am the Church


(system) #1

Nadia Bolz-Weber is founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints Church in Denver, Colorado. When asked to speak about the "issue of homosexuality," she turned over the platform to members of her congregation. From their website, HFASS is "a group of folks figuring out how to be a liturgical, Christo-centric, social-justice oriented, queer-inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverant, ancient/future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination." Listen to personal and compelling reasons for why these individuals are part of the body of Christ.

Why do you go to church? And perhaps, why do you go to a Seventh-day Adventist Church?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6343

(Sherlock1) #2

I go to church to be with fellow believers, having a relationship with them, to have strength with them; because that is how God made us humans, to be with each other in His fellowship. He knew life would have many challenges and has put within us a desire to be with each other. He knew that we can be stronger when we are together. There is more accountability with each other because we face each other. God made within us an attraction for others, man for mating with woman for life, brothers and sisters for family, fathers and mothers for guidance. It is absolutely and entirely all about CONNECTION!! That is why I go to church. I was connected when I was young because of faithful and insightful church members. Now that I am older it is my daily opportunity to help younger people with their connection.

Why SDA? Their doctrine is very biblical and offers justifiable answers. The freedom of truth; I love it! Thank you Lord and You are so praiseworthy.


(Carolyn Parsons) #3

I don’t attend the SDA church because it is an ugly place for LGBTIQ people. It is a sad place, filled with judge mentalism and fear of not being perfect. There is hypocrisy of not living according to the principles of the gospel. The church in 2014 can’t seem to have the courage to treat women ministers with dignity and celebrate their gifts. It has a persecution complex, it pays lip service to helping the poor while ignoring social justice issues that keep women and children in poverty. The church denigrates those who accept evolution as science, who have open minds about philosophy and accept the views of those outside the SDA church as valid. The church takes a dim view of members using our gifts of reason and have reasoned opinions that may differ to church dogma.

You caught me in a moment when I decided to eschew fear and tell the truth. I am queer, and I am not an issue.


(Bille) #4

I think this essay was a very poor introduction to either the question of why we go to church OR to a discussion on sexuality as identity.

“I” am NOT “the church”. WE are the church. All of us. Together. Whatever our sexuality, how ever we or others put labels on us to distinguish one from the another… whether it has to do with our race, color, culture, ethnicity, social status… the only “identity” label that matters as far as our being a part of “the church” is that we are human… a member of the order of created beings that God created, loves, and identifies as members of His Family… living parts of His very body!

As far as our sexuality is concerned, we have so far hardly even touched the surface of the complexity of the issue. And in trying to make “either/or” labels for each of the various types of sexual indicators, we have not merely made sexuality into a much greater “issue” than it deserves, but we have done so in ways that cause people to find their total identity in the label of the day for the way they experience their sexuality.

This is basically wrong-headed… and we… all of us… should resist the practice. NO person should ever BE an “issue”. No person should ever consider himself an issue even to the extent of denying that they are “an issue”.

People are humans… not “issues”… they are to be loved… not labeled. When it comes to matters of sexuality, they may experience the challenges of handling their sexual impulses and basic needs in different ways. But no one, themselves included should ever take their identity from those differences.

I am sorry… and ashamed… that we as SDAs are not leading the way in loving individuals and understanding human sexuality in all of its forms… and in not confusing individuals with “issues” about some facet of individual experience. I would hope that Spectrum could be one of those places where such learning could take place.


(jeremy) #5

i feel sorry for each one of these real people in this video…


(le vieux) #6

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom
of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matt. 15:8, 9.

I’m not sure what the point was of posting this video. I can’t read their minds, but I suspect that many (not just those in the video) look for a church which will affirm them in their sins, not help them overcome their sins. As Paul said, they have “itching ears.” For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. II Tim. 4:3. A claim of church membership proves nothing. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. These people need help, not affirmation.

I go to church because that is where I expect to find fellow believers who worship God as I do; where I will find fellowship with people who believe in the Bible as I do; and because we are admonished to assemble together, especially as we “see the day approaching.”


(le vieux) #7

In other words, you don’t like the SDA church because it refuses to conform to current cultural trends; it maintains its commitment to Biblical truth, and will not compromise with those who wish to lower the high standards set by our Creator.

“The church denigrates those who accept evolution as science, who have open minds about philosophy and accept the views of those outside the SDA church as valid.” If by “denigrate” you mean that it will not compromise with error, with philosophies that have no Biblical basis, then yes, we are guilty. It’s fine to have an open mind, but there are limits. Evolution and Scripture cannot be joined. If that bothers you, either figure out why we stand on the Bible and reject evolution, or find a church which has bought into all the current scientific and cultural trends. As far as “views of those outside the SDA Church” goes, I’m not sure what you mean. We reject any view or philosophy which is out of harmony with Scripture. There is no room for unbiblical concepts within the church. It’s that simple. Again, if that disturbs you, find out why we reject these ideas, or find a church (like the Universalists, perhaps) which doesn’t care what you believe, as long as you don’t make waves.

If you’re looking for a church without hypocrites, you’re wasting your time. It doesn’t exist, and never has. It was probably at least as bad at the time of Christ as it is now. And yet He continued to attend the synagogue every Sabbath, in spite of the corruption that existed, and the false doctrine that was preached.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #8

what ever happened to–“Neither do I condemn thee, Go and sin no more?” Yes the church has an open door, but it is to invite people in for healing and send them out to witness and to serve. it seem the current trend is not only to accept them in but to endorse their open immorality. Of course we all stumble and fall but we confess, and are restored. The current response seems to be–“What’s it to you bud!” Yes Christ invites each one of us to be a part of His Church, for fellowship, for healing, for witnessing and for service. We come as we are, not in defiance but in supplication. Tom Z


(Elaine Nelson) #9

We SHOULD be shamed. Not to be repulsed by churches that call themselves Christian and yet become very exclusive with whole lists of “undesirables.”

How in God’s name will the church ever recognize people who are different when it still cannot accept women as equally part of the human race in every respect? Personally, I refuse to be shamed by association with any church that disrespects other humans.


(Carolyn Parsons) #10

No that is not what I mean. But thanks for making my point for me.

In your reply you show why the church is a toxic place for LGBTIQ people. You took my story and at every step insisted that you know my story better, and you know that my thoughts and feelings are not valid because it do not agree with your narrow view of the bible, SDA theology and life. You even make ultimatums that I agree with a particular view you have or I am not welcome, my presence is not valuable, I am not worth being in community with SDA’s.

I did not say that I wanted the SDA church to be free of hypocrites, I think it should not be hypocritical. That is a huge difference. There are churches who stand for what they believe, dignity and respect for all people, and they live their beliefs every day with humility and compassion. And they do care what you believe, they have a theology and doctrines, they are right doctrines and not false ones based on a distorted view of the bible, history and humankind.


(Carolyn Parsons) #11

Why is that so, Jeremy. They look like happy, well adjusted people with great meaning in their lives.


(SurprisedByGrace) #12

“Listen to personal and compelling reasons for why these individuals are part of the body of Christ.”

The only “compelling” aspect of these testimonies are that they appear to believe that they can be happy with the brokenness that all humans are part of and never have to change, to acknowledge their condition before Him. Identity for the believer is NOT found in a person’s sinful impulses, no matter how strong, no matter how long an individual has acknowledged them. Identity for the believer is in Christ and in Him we are not our own. In Him our brokenness is mended. In Him we are transformed. We “go” at His loving command, AND “sin no more.” Our identity in Christ can never make us accepting of that which is outside of God’s holy design and purpose for humanity, male and female. in other words, we can’t accommodate sin or embrace a sexual lifestyle that is part of the brokenness of humanity, that which has come after the Fall.

There is a reason God says that “in Him” we are a NEW CREATION.


(Dee Roberts) #13

It has clearly never occurred to several commenters here that these people, just as SDA LGBTQ people, may well have a close spiritual walk with our savior, and they have indeed heeded his call to “go and sin no more” relating to sexual orientation, or gender identity, etc.

Remember, in the story of the woman caught in sin, we humans really on have two positions that we can find ourselves in; 1) the woman or 2) in the crowd ready to stone her and then walking away from the source of life. We never should assume the role of Jesus in this. So either you are to be stoned and are saved by Jesus, or you are collecting stones to throw.


(Sherlock1) #14

I believe the questions were pertaining to why you go, not the negative of why you don’t.

No doubt that there is no perfection on this sinful earth, but a way has been provided for understanding, growth, and connection with our God and fellowman.

Life is all about CONNECTION. Human connecting with the creator of humans, husband connecting with wife, children and parents connecting, employees connecting with each other making a team of workers, etc, etc.

Connections that are abnormal, unnatural, not God designed, and not logical create for rejection and hardship. Healing and overcoming is best available with fellow believers.


(Sherlock1) #15

You are “sorry and ashamed”? “Human sexuality in all forms”? You know what God says in the bible about relationships with man and woman. Just because the world goes awry does not mean for churches to go with it. Do you think human sexuality is a free experience for all to do as their hearts desire, even sinful hearts? Pedophiles and much more are examples. One must consider God’s design, what is natural, what is healthy, what is normal, and what is logical. Healthy connections bring healthy results.


(le vieux) #16

Please don’t distort what I said. I gave no ultimatum, nor did I suggest that you are not welcome. But with such a low view of the church, why would you want to come? There are other churches which teach that homosexuality is not sinful and that evolution is a fact. It seems as if you would feel more comfortable in one of them You made certain judgments about the church with which I disagree, such as that we don’t treat women ministers with dignity. Translation: we won’t ordain them. If, as I believe,the Bible does not endorse women pastors and elders, then this is a dead end street, and they should find other ways to use their talents. That has nothing to do with dignity, or lack thereof.

As for social justice, that’s a loaded term, and it’s not the job of the church to buy into the current understanding of that. We’ve also been counseled not to duplicate the work of the Salvation Army. That’s not our job. Each individual church member is to do what he or she can, in harmony with Matt. 25, but we mission of the church is the Great Commission, in the context of the 3 angels’ messages.

The church does not discourage the use of reason. But when that reasoning takes one outside established truth, it’s misguided reason.


(Elaine Nelson) #17

Why the worried concern about other people’s sex lives? They answer only to God, not man. It is religious people who have had a voyeuristic interest in the private lives of individuals. Psychologists would call it morbid curiosity, seen in the vulgar form as “Peeping Tom’s” who would like to peer into people’s bedroom. That is not your business or mine. God alone is the judge; let God be God as he has not appointed your or anyone else to act in his position of judge.


(Kevin Paulson) #18

I don’t often agree with you, Tom, but I sure do here!


(Kevin Paulson) #19

Dee, no one is heeding Christ’s command to “go and sin no more” if they make peace in their lives with a practice which the Bible, throughout both Testaments, categorically calls sin. It is one thing to accept and practice sin without knowing God’s will (Acts 17:30; James 4:17), but quite another to understand God’s will as revealed in His Word, and to choose a contrary course.


(Carolyn Parsons) #20

Sorry, I misread the question above. I think it is important for people who are attending to be heard so I will pull out of the conversation to allow others to answer the questions originally asked. Thanks for letting me know.