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Jesus was inclusive — and so should all churches be

Inclusivity and religion, inclusivity and Christianity — I know those two words in today’s world seem to reside side by side. We know in our heart one can't have one without the other.

However what we experience with inclusivity and religion and/or Christianity, in this day and age, are often diametrically opposed ideas. Creeds and belief systems of every sort compete for the souls of humankind, and often the competition results in building high fences and excluding those of other creeds.  

If there is one thing which characterized the ministry of Jesus on earth, it was his inclusive approach for those who were seeking, not just for those who agreed with him.  

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Religion blog: A pastor’s letter

A few years ago, a good friend of mine, who also is a pastor, lamented to me that he wished the gay community would not be so “in your face” about its issues. We had a pretty loud conversation, fight and argument that ended with me stomping out of his office, slamming the door as I went.

I had ended this hot debate saying, I was actually screaming through my tears, that he, the straight guy, didn't have to spend his every waking moment justifying his very existence as an accepted child of God.

I was so angry that even this friend didn’t seem to get that the forces of the church were against us in such a way it was a fight every day to continue to see a reason to live. To be fair, he later came to my office opened the door and simply said, “I get your point” and we having been fighting this stupidity together ever since.

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Religion blog: The guise of ‘family values’

What shall we write about this week?  It is not like there isn’t a whole mess of topics to pick from.

There's the whole Karen Handle power grab, under the guise of “family values.”

There was some idiot from the political right caught on camera saying that Rachel Maddow was the best excuse he could think for using contraception, under the guise of "family values."

There is One Million Moms.com (a project of the American Family Association) wanting Ellen DeGeneres fired from being a spokesperson for JC Penney’s, of course, under the guise of "family values."

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Religion blog: Priorities of faith

I was digging around for something to write about for this week’s blog, and came across the blog I wrote for the last election cycle. I'm not sure if I'm happy to have found it.

We have indeed made history by electing the black person to the office of President of the United States. This president has done more for the LGBTQIA community than all previous presidents combined. So yes, I'm happy about that, excited even.

While I am excited about these things, it appears not much has changed in three years since it was written. So here is a retread with a few edits here and there to bring it up-to-date.

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Religion blog: The GOP, Christian churches and Exodus International

Let me start by saying there is no one who is running for the presidency of the United States on the Republican side of the aisle that is going to be helpful to the LGBTQIA community. In fact, the vast majority of them if they get their way are flat dangerous to our community. We will find all if not most of the progress we have made over that last 30 years washed away in an overwhelming wave of fundamental conservatism such as we have never seen.

If one listens closely to their rhetoric, we hear that all that is wrong with the world, ethically, economically, and spiritually, can be traced back to the LGBTQIA community. God almighty is raging God’s wrath upon the Earth because of us and our desire to have life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

They will never admit the problems we face as a nation are due to greed, arrogance, hypocrisy, and the desire for absolute power.  Nope -- it is too easy to blame us.

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Religion blog: “Wag the Dog” of Christmas

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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Religion blog: Here we are again

Sunday is a day of mourning. It is not a day that is on the national calendar. In fact, with the exception of a small percentage of people in this country, this day of mourning will pass completely unnoticed.

If these words I write look familiar, they are because nothing has changed since I last wrote them, except some people are more aware.

Again this year those who take a moment and remember on this day will find themselves swinging between tears of grief and deep waves of anger not to mention a certain amount of fear of further attacks.

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Religion blog: Taking ownership of our faith

If you live in Georgia the story of Shorter College and the faith statement employees are required to sign is about a week old. There has been no shortage of opinions concerning this “goodie-two shoes” approach to controlling people’s lives.

I guess as a private institution they can have any rule they want. With that said, the college has absolutely no business in people's bedrooms. They choose to quote the Old Testament for the reasoning for this rule ... I believe that in the Old Testament polygamy seemed to be acceptable, stoning wives for adultery was the law of the land and marriages, for the most part, were arranged. Shorter University is on a power trip of the worst kind.

Yet, there is a deeper and far more dangerous issue which is occurring with regard to this faith statement people are being forced to sign.

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Religion blog: Our spiritual Titanic

If there is one thing that's as sure as the rising or setting of the sun, it's that Christians don't like to be called out on their crap.

After my last blog, I caught more then my share of grief from folks who think the Christian faith is the one and only answer in the universe – there is nothing they could do that could be considered terrorism.

They hide behind theology that says the only way to God is through Jesus the Christ.  They measure a person’s worth by whether they are “saved” or not.  They say they help those who are hungry, homeless or on society’s edge because it's the right thing to do.  Lurking behind that hypocrisy is the real reason: to win souls for Christ.

It is precisely this kind of arrogance, questionable traditions and just flat out power and control issues that have left churches empty, struggling to pay the bills and worship services looking more like a Hollywood production than actual worship.

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Religion blog: Are Christian extremists that much different than foreign terrorists?

"I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." — Mahatma Gandhi

Maybe it is because I am getting old and my ability to just blow things off takes more energy then I have or it may be because Mahatma Gandhi’s observation of Christianity is right on the mark. Sadly in this day to call oneself a Christian has become embarrassing in the world we find ourselves living.

So if this blog today seems like a rant, maybe it is. However, I would like to think it is a call to those in the Christian faith who see the teaching of Jesus as far more important than the institution of the church, to start speaking loudly and clearly, as it seems the extremists now own the faith. I really think it is time for those who follow the teaching of Jesus to take back the conversation rather then letting the extremists destroy us.

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Religion blog: Did you see the elephant in the room during the raid on the Eagle?

There is an old story that has been around for a long time and told with many variations to the moral of the story and so today this story sums up the raid on the gay Midtown bar the Atlanta Eagle, the Atlanta Police Department and some of our brothers and sisters in our community.

One day three blind men encountered an elephant.

Upon touching the elephant's tail, the first blind man exclaimed, "I declare, an elephant is exactly like a rope."

The second blind man, bumping into the elephant’s side, said, "No sir, you are wrong. An elephant is exactly like a wall."

Then the third, having grasped the elephant's trunk, declared, "You are both mistaken. The elephant is exactly like a snake!"