Wednesday, November 20, 2013


A little more than a year ago I wrote the following:

We stumbled into this little old church in Paris and soon discovered that they are attempting a grand experiment--welcoming anyone and everyone. Based on the half-empty sanctuary on any given Sunday, this experiment has not yet “caught on,” which is unfortunate but perhaps understandable.  There are Democrats and Republicans sitting on the same pew; open and proud heterosexuals sharing a hymnbook with open and proud homosexuals; Bible devotees in conversation with people who distrust the Bible, believers in the virgin birth sharing pot-luck suppers with folks who dismissed that notion years ago.  It’s a strange group.

Every Sunday, Pastor Charlotte spreads her arms across the communion table and says, “This table is open to all.  It is Christ who invites us,” and acts like she means it.  Yesterday, a new member, upon hearing about a hateful comment overheard in a cafĂ©, replied with some exasperation in his voice, “Well until I found this church I would have just condemned that person to hell, but now I’ve learned to just move on over and make room for him at the table!”  We cracked up.  It’s just so much fun!

It saddens me to report that the experiment failed.  Last wee, two days after Pastor Charlotte informed the church elders that she was going to participate in a commitment ceremony for 2 men who have been regular visitors at our church they asked for her resignation.  She, who consistently preached year after year that "all means all" is no longer welcome at the church.  We are heartbroken.


  1. I am so sorry for you and the others who believe that all means everyone. The sorrow of the loss of trust and community is real and painful and the price paid by your pastor for her love and acceptance is a travesty that joins other such travesties magnified to the nth power over thousands of years of misunderstanding and misinterpretation and exclusion in the name of righteousness. The Pharisees live on.

  2. "All" definitely means "all" in terms of salvation, but "all" can't mean "all" in terms of tolerance of that which is perceived as sin. I've known pastors (and rabbis) who wouldn't marry two straights living together, or marry a believer to a non-believer, or whatever. So while the elders' opinions and subsequent behaviors may not be popular, they are entitled to have them, and exercise what they believe is God's will for the church they shepherd. Their corporate decision doesn't affect anyone's salvation or personal relationship with God. It would be very wrong for the elders to simply "agree to get along." You don't, correct, which is why you've changed places of worship so often? I find "agreeing to get along" more contemptuous than any opinion with which I disagree. I am sorry for what is almost guaranteed to be pain and anguish for your pastor, your congregation and you personally. It is never easy, pleasant or quick to disagree or separate ourselves from those we love. Fortunately, God doesn't dollop out his love to just those with the "right" opinions. Or those who agree. Or those who are sinless. If he did - I'd be sunk because - like your pastor - I hold opinions that others disagree with, too.

  3. Failed is such a strong word. Perhaps, with time, other things will occur because of the whole experience, beginning to end that are unseeable right now. And I agree with both ladies above. So painful and yet.......
    There is a posting where Hillary Clinton speaks about abortion, she acknowledges both sides passionate stand on what they believe. She also goes on to explain her stand. We have so much to learn! SG

  4. I appreciate all the comments and emails I have received. And I agree, SG, that the final chapter has not been written...anything could happen going forward. This blog post was an expression of my immediate disappointment at the route the church leaders chose. I remain committed to being a voice that affirms that homosexuality is no more chosen than left or right handedness and is just as neutral. I want to be one of the growing number of voices who assure gays and lesbians that their orientation is in no way shameful and that they deserve the same rights and privileges of straight folk. If they do not hear that message loudly and clearly in their church, I implore them to come to my living room.


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