Houston We pray for Houston in the aftermath of this terrible storm. The misery index is off the scales. I have reached out to an inclusive Baptist church, Covenant Baptist, in Houston to say we are praying for them and have asked if we might offer them help in some way. They seem safe but once the rains have relented, they may get back to us. Please pray for this sister church.
Meanwhile, I have requested that our Shepherd’s Purse offering this communion Sunday be dedicated to relief efforts in Houston. You (we) may also want to donate through the One Great Hour of Sharing Donations that can be made through the church: either by visiting www.abc-usa.org and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page and then in the “Comments” section, type “OGHS-Hurricane Harvey.” Or give and designate through the church and we’ll send a collective donation to the OGHS. By the way, 100% of these offerings go to relief efforts, not a penny is used for administrative purposes. I encourage you to give to the Shepherd’s Purse this Sunday and from there we will send our financial support.
Nashville In a flood we reach out to others and help them. It matters not (or should not) that these Americans reside in a “red” state or a “blue” state—a lesson some Texas representatives and senators might have learned during the disaster of Hurricane Sandy. Be that as it may, “Evangelicals” have convened in Nashville and issued a statement insisting upon the sinfulness of being GLBT. When you look at the signatories of the Nashville Statement, it is overwhelmingly Southern Baptist. It includes persons who have spent a lifetime discriminating and heaping abuse on GLBT persons and look, not only GLBT, but Southern Baptists were formed explicitly to defend slavery (Slave-owning missionaries). They repented of that just a decade or two ago. As well, they continue to treat women as second-class citizens. In 2008 a Professor Ware of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville was cited by Ethics Daily as suggesting that “women wouldn’t have to worry as much about spousal abuse if they were more obedient to their husbands.” I listened to Ware’s sermon from which that summary was made and then wrote him a letter expressing my dismay and calling on him to repent from such hideous commentary. Perhaps the book of Genesis should be off limits to these scholars and pastors! There is a pattern here with the SBC and these Evangelicals. They are uniquely unqualified to speak with moral authority on this issue and given the many issues from climate change to war, poverty, extrajudicial executions of Black citizens and the rise of neo-Nazi and Klan members in their regions, that they would choose to “clarify” continued discrimination of GLBT persons is especially disgusting.
There will be those who issue counter statements of equal or greater length (such as the Denver Statement) but instead of pegging a statement to a city, I’d prefer to quote the Lord himself who denounced such persons when he exclaimed: You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? With that, remove the dust from your shoes and move on. The Evangelicals who signed this statement are nothing new and have nothing to say that will clarify anything. Indeed, their statement will be used to wreck families and abuse children. By the way, one of the signers was the CEO of Lifeway Bible Bookstores. Need I say you should consider never buying another religious item from that store?
So we’ll send money to relief efforts in Houston. We’ll stop giving money to homophobic institutions like the Southern Baptist Convention or Lifeway bible bookstore. We’ll pray for the thousands whose lives have been upended in Houston and we’ll pray for those whose lives have been upended by the Nashville Statement of gnat-slapping evangelicals. And importantly, we will continue to support and celebrate our church which is a haven of peace and justice. Because, you see, in a flood we help everyone and we do not issue condemnations of people whose only crime is their existence. ~See you Sunday