Atlanta black gay blogger sounds off on religion
Pastor Bradley Schmeling resigned his post at Atlanta's St. John's Lutheran Church this weekend and will soon take a job as senior pastor at a church in Minnesota.
Schmeling, who made national headlines for being put on trial by the Lutheran Church for being in an openly gay relationship, posted to his Facebook page on Sunday he had resigned and would soon be moving to Minnesota.
It's been a big day. With great sadness, I submitted my resignation as pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, Atlanta. And with great joy, I accepted the call to serve as the senior pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. I'm so sad to say goodbye to an amazing church community here in Atlanta, and I'm so excited to start ministry with another amazing church community. My last Sunday will be May 6th, starting at Gloria Dei in mid-June.
Well, we are six days away from what Christians have come to call Christmas. I find it hard to understand, and almost laughable, at how twisted and screwed up this “church” celebration of its founder has become.
I want to share this obvious observation: Even if there were some remote chance I could become Pope ... they would never let me. The reason is simple and it's not because of my progressive views of Christian theology, or the fact that I am unapologetic for being gay or even the fact that I do not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God.
Nope, it is because I believe December 25th is one of the biggest scams ever pulled on humanity.
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Four Atlanta churches are partnering to offer Holy Week worship services this year. Virginia-Highland Church, Decatur UCC, Kirkwood UCC and Praxis UCC will offer combined observances during one of Christianity's most important week-long celebrations.
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday (April 17) and culminates with Easter Sunday the following week.
Virginia-Highland Church will host on April 21 a joint Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m., while Decatur UUC will hold a A Good Friday Tenebrae service the following day on April 22. Each congregation will host its own Palm Sunday and Easter service.
All services are free and open to the public.
I remembered an old quote from a former Hall of Fame major league baseball pitcher by the name of Satchel Paige: “Never look behind you, ‘cause something might be gaining on you.” Ain’t that the truth?
This year has been full of challenges, full of loss and with more to come. But despite all odds, if we are to find peace we cannot and must not look back, but rather continue to move forward.
As I write this blog this evening all across our nation people are caught up in a war of words and ideology. It feels like we are stalled and a fierce fight is going on to push us back to the “good old days,” whatever that was or is. Folks on both sides of the various debates will tell you they are fighting for the very soul of America.
The top religious allies and enemies of LGBT equality
We know the LGBTQIA community has made a great deal of progress over the past 40-plus years. This progress has come about because for the most part the community as a whole has stepped far out of the closet into the every day world.
There is no place one can go and not find well-adjusted and successful folk. Hell, we have even made it into commercials to sell almost every conceivable product and are main characters in the TV and movie world.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is about to become a thing of the past. Every time one looks up there is another state granting either marriage or at minimum “civil unions.”
I have got to say there is nothing worse than finding one’s self on the wrong end of a gospel story. A few days ago, when the news of Bishop Jim Swilley the founding pastor of “The Church in the Now” got out that he had come out, I was not particularly kind.
One my Facebook page I made the following comment: “is thinking Rev. Swilley is NO gay hero. He finally comes out after he has fathered 4 kids, was in a sham of a marriage...and how many young folks took his hypocritical teachings to heart and ended their life? I am sorry there are those of us who have stood in the line of fire for a long time and took the hits while he was...Thank you Rev. for getting a conscience, lets see what you do now that you are out.”
Then as I am preparing to write this blog I re-read the story of the “Prodigal Son.” One can find the complete story at Luke 15:11-32 (The Message). Needless to say I found myself on the wrong end of this Gospel story.
Dr. Creflo Dollar of Atlanta's World Changers Church spoke out during his Oct. 31 sermon against Bishop Jim Swilley of Church in the Now, after Swilley came out to his congregation in mid October.
Dollar, who didn’t use Swilley’s name specifically, said during his sermon that Swilley’s address to his congregation about his homosexuality would do more harm than good for struggling youth contemplating suicide.
“The Bible says that even the very elect will be deceived. Unfortunately ladies and gentlemen, it seems like we’re almost there. Especially when you have preachers getting up in their pulpit saying, ‘I’m gay, and there’s nothing wrong with it.’