A Fear of Whales

A Fear of Whales

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About “Troublesome Lesbians”

posted by rgaffney

There is an article Here (I hesitate to link it lest I help propagate the popularity of the article) it is titled “When Two Lesbians Walk Into a Church Seeking Trouble” and features the story of a wonderfully loving and accepting church and how their Christian nonjudgementalism softened the heart of Amy the lesbian.

178932_10200091980326672_1937373783_nTo hear their Pastor tell it, This church is called Gateway in Austin TX, and their motto is “Come as you are” and they mean it! they even let lesbians come even though they admit they were trying to be shocking on purpose!

I’ll bet you would like a church like that. Maybe if you were in Austin you would like to visit.

Well I am, and before their article went viral I did… Or at least I tried to. I was not allowed.

I guess I’m not troublesome enough. I’m just a heterosexual white pastor’s kid, but at Gateway, you are not permitted to join a Bible Study until you have joined their church, and that is no easy task. I’ve spoken to others who have been asked to leave the Gateway community because they “didn’t fit in” or they “made people uncomfortable” both descriptions that sound very much like Jesus to me. I was only turned away at the door, where I didn’t give it another thought. I’m thankful I’m not like those who were invited in to the toxic community to be chewed up and spit out.

And I’m thankful that the pastor apparently sees the value in things like love and acceptance, and that the people who have taken this article viral, apparently do so for the same reasons… But while the pastor toots his own horn, he seems to fail to realize that his church has massive problems with acceptance, and they are visible even in his own article if you read carefully.

Guess what: If the fullness of our love is the capacity to not be shocked by girls who like girls, then our love is not full enough. GLBT people have hopes and dreams and personalities. They need much more than for you to be unaffected by what you perceive to be their troublesome antics.

And as we in the church pat our own backs by spreading this article. saying “Yes, I am a champion of allowing lesbians to come to church where they will learn to stop being lesbians, look how accepting I am” we need to turn out gaze back on ourselves. I’m not

Not “Look how loving I am”.

Not “let me teach you how to be an accepting Christian”

Not “even people who are muddy are allowed near me”

But “Lord have mercy”

“Lord, teach me to love more, to accept more”

”Lord thank you for allowing muddy people like me near you”

Ghosts

posted by rgaffney

Last year at this time I was sitting in Varsity Donuts trying to make sense of living in Rural Kansas while not actively working for InterVarsity (My term ended February 2013) Today I’m back in the same Donut shop to visit, a Seminarian, still making sense of my experiences here, many of which I was too busy, or too emotionally involved in to blog about at the time.

The town is full of Ghosts today. It is not the same community that I am returning to, the students I served, and friends I made have almost all moved on like I have, in their place is a new crop of NPCs. People I don’t know and will not build relationships with along with the land’s memory of what once was.

On that bench over there I met with the Moore group for the first time, the table over there housed a weekly bible study where someone came to faith. That’s the field where I fought with lightsabers, and across from it I helped students move. Each place abandoned, except by the imaginary silhouettes of significance I put there in my mind.

It’s a funny statement “there is no such thing as ghosts” I feel like I’m beginning to understand how a house where a child has died, or a violent battle has taken place can be considered haunted and therefore inhospitable. I guess it’s like Santa Clause in that way.

I’m going to try to meet the ghosts while I’m here and write about them. I want to engage in the memories before they fade. Some of that will be published in the coming days. Forgive me if some others show up in random places in the coming monthes

Looking Back

posted by rgaffney

As I begin my Lenten discipline of looking back, I’m most immediately reminded of Urbana 2012, one of my freshest memories from my IV life. It was there that Terry LeBlanc spoke about the discipline of remembrance telling a story about fishing with his grandfather, who told him how not to get lost in the woods “When you look back at the way you came, you will always be able to find your way home. Listen to his sermon for free here

When I sat there listening to Terry remember his elders, I knew that I was about to transition into a new stage of life, and I thought back to the experiences that had developed me. The Charismatics, The Evangelicals, The Lutherans, The Presbyterians, The Methodists, and finally The Missionals, paying particular attention to my time with them, which had not yet been reflected upon.

Now as I sit here remembering my remembering, I have the seminarians to add.

I’m not ready yet to write about the seminarians yet. As I was not ready then to write about the Missionals. My classmates read this blog, and what I would say if anything would be the sort of happy slappy drivel that wouldn’t be worth reading. If I am to authentically talk about both the strengths and weakness of a community, I have to do it in retrospect, so that is what I will endeavor to do here and now. Next week I’ll go to Kansas and reflect on my time there

Eternal Influence

posted by rgaffney

485px-Saint_francis042A little under 1000 years ago in Italy there lived a man named Giovanni de Bernadone, but his friends call him Francis.  Francis was a Christ follower, and if her were here today he would be the first to tell you that he didn’t understand completely what that means. But he lived his life in poverty and faithfulness and trusted the rest would work itself out.

He read the bible simply and literally. When he encountered Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” where I would debate canonicity, Francis simply took God’s word for it, and endeavored to preach to rocks and birds.

448px-San_Damiano-InteriorAt In the midst of the crusades he was praying by the old church of San Damingiano outside his hometown. He heard Christ’s voice from the cross say to him “Rebuild my church which is in ruins” and Francis did as Francis does, proceeding to literally rebuild that church one stone at a time.

While he was working some people started to follow him, then some other people got mad about the movement he created. The pope got involved, some great stories took place, and then he got old and died. He was never ordained.

Fast forward back to the present. There are no fewer than 3 major ecclesiastical movements started as a result of his faith, millions have been inspired by his life, and a new pope has been elected. A humble argentine named Jorge, who took the name of Francis in the highest office of Christendom following the reign of Pope Emeritus Palpatine to do just what Francis endeavored to all those years a89evBTdgo. Rebuild the church which is in Ruins.

But you knew that. What’s my point?

It’s striking to me how long-lasting the influence he had has lasted, and indeed how long it will last. Francis is arguably more influential now than he ever was when he was alive, an we can expect that influence will only increase- forever.

I believe that Francesco possesses an immortal soul which lives even now, but suppose I have taken scripture overly literally. Suppose even that I have chosen the wrong religion, or that I was wrong to choose religion in the first place. Even still through his humble faith, even his gullibility, Francis has apparently achieved what was promised of the saints. Eternal life. Eternal influence. He traded the opportunity to be a wealthy silk merchant for a couple decades for the opportunity to serve the poor for the next thousand years and beyond.

It was a good trade

Previous Posts

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About “Troublesome Lesbians”
There is an article Here (I hesitate to link it lest I help propagate the popularity of the article) it is titled “When Two Lesbians Walk Into a Church Seeking Trouble” and features the story of a wonderfully loving and accepting church and how their Christian nonjudgementalism softened the hear

posted 12:19:45pm Mar. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Ghosts
Last year at this time I was sitting in Varsity Donuts trying to make sense of living in Rural Kansas while not actively working for InterVarsity (My term ended February 2013) Today I’m back in the same Donut shop to visit, a Seminarian, still making sense of my experiences here, many of which I w

posted 8:23:00pm Mar. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Looking Back
As I begin my Lenten discipline of looking back, I’m most immediately reminded of Urbana 2012, one of my freshest memories from my IV life. It was there that Terry LeBlanc spoke about the discipline of remembrance telling a story about fishing with his grandfather, who told him how not to get lost

posted 7:19:00pm Mar. 05, 2014 | read full post »

Eternal Influence
A little under 1000 years ago in Italy there lived a man named Giovanni de Bernadone, but his friends call him Francis.  Francis was a Christ follower, and if her were here today he would be the first to tell you that he didn’t understand completely what that means. But he lived his life in p

posted 2:42:42am Oct. 03, 2013 | read full post »

In Plain Sight
Earlier this week I wrote on awareness. I wasn’t terribly nice to the awareness industry. I beat up on it, I asked hard questions of it. I did it for a reason. A while back an old friend by the name of David sent me a message about a sex trafficking documentary he wanted me to raise awaren

posted 2:16:47pm Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »


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