This is from my last church, which was my LAST church. It’s public info, so no need to blank anything out. The new pastor is gay, although he doesn’t go around talking about it. The UMC is finally really splitting, so we’ll see what he does after that’s done.
Anyway, anyone see the irony? That’s their underline, I didn’t add it. I know people here. The pastor is actually a great guy. None of them get that this is not welcoming as a “safe space” to explore and ask questions.
I could come up with several questions, just in the form of, “what’s this about?” and read a few verses. Or, “Is this about the love of Jesus?” and just read, from their Bible.
I would leave out the “we’ll read from the Bible” part. If they are open, they would read from different texts each week. The “you don’t have to be Christian” part has a hint of “but we’d like you to be”, hidden in it. Maybe they don’t mean that, but 1,700 years of Christianity says otherwise. I’ve already “asked questions” of the pastor and some members, the leaders, and I know what answers I will get. Again affirmed by my 17 years as a progressive Christian, you can ask the most liberal, cutting-edge, well-studied theologian out there a common question about their religion, and you are likely to get an answer that is very similar to Ken Ham or answersingenesis.
Here’s another view of what progressive really looks like. Gretta settled a long fought battle to stay in her ministry and openly declare her very progressive position. It started with this letter, in response to an article from Bishop in her church, calling for people to pray after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015.