Strange Bedfellows – You’ll get that joke in a minute

Recently there have been a rash of state laws that are attempting to guarantee “religious liberty” to business owners who want legal protection when they want to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Apparently, making a cake for a gay wedding means you are automatically invited to be in the wedding party, obligated to buy an expensive gift, and be first in the receiving line. I’m curious if the makers of these wedding cakes give their customers some sort of questionnaire regarding their lifestyle in case they are living together before marriage or involved in a poly-amorous relationship so they know not to make cakes for them either. I’m assuming this questionnaire includes questions about whether any potential cake-eaters gossip, lie, are disobedient to their parents, or cheat on taxes. Those people don’t get cake either.

These 21st century Jim Crow laws have brought out a lot of protesters from all sides and I’ve actually found articles that make me agree with Fox News contributors and Andy Stanley, of all people. The end, dear readers, is very near.

Kirsten Powers, the aforementioned Fox News person, wrote:
“It’s probably news to most married people that their florist and caterer were celebrating their wedding union. Most people think they just hired a vendor to provide a service. It’s not clear why some Christian vendors are so confused about their role here.”

Couldn’t agree more. With a Fox News contributor. I’m already freaked out about my next birthday and my job and what I’m going to be when I grow up, ministry-wise, but now, I’m agreeing with someone from Fox News. It’s a sign of the apocalypse.

Then we have Andy Stanley. He said: “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”

Seriously. An evangelical making sense? Again – the end. Near. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There are also people who are using platforms to say that their religious liberty is being threatened. There are lots of pastors, mostly evangelicals, who believe their religious liberty is being threatened. It’s totally not. No one is going to take away their churches, make them say things in sermons or make them marry gays. They can still do/say/preach whatever they want without being persecuted by the government. Evangelicals cry religious persecution when they’re asked to treat people of all faiths fairly and when they are no longer in power. White male evangelicals are the worst about this. It’s highly disrespectful to the Christians who are actually being persecuted around the world.

I’m not exactly sure what these state legislators in KS or AZ are thinking they’re going to accomplish by bringing back pre-Civil Rights era legislation and allowing businesses to target the gay community. They will hurt the economies they’re trying to protect. They will limit tourism, commerce and incomes. They are pandering to the far right of their bases and will ultimately lose the middle and somehow, in a mid-term election year, thing that’s a good idea. The mind boggles on so many levels. The KS law has been abandoned but the AZ law is still in play. There’s a protest on Monday that I’m going to try to make, and I hope that our dumbass governor keeps her law-signing pen sheathed.

Update: Our two Republican Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake have asked Gov. Brewer to veto this bill. As have Mitt Romney and a group of 3 of the state legislators who originally backed the bill. It’s a world gone mad.

May Have Also Left My Ministry Mojo in San Francisco

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going through a ministry mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s 20 years in ministry fatigue. I’ve just found that I don’t at all feel comfortable in a traditional church any more. I can visit, but at this point I don’t really want to be heavily involved. I am anticipating some major transition in the next few weeks (fingers crossed) and until then, I see myself on a sabbatical from all things church.

The thing that did it was the weekly newsletter from my church in San Francisco. I’m still on their mailing list, and I think I may even still technically be a member. Anyway, I saw in the newsletter that the church is doing their Ash Wednesday service in the 16th Street BART station in San Francisco and that’s sort of the straw that broke it for me. That’s the kind of thing I want to be involved with. No offense to churches that aren’t there, but that’s where I want to be. I don’t want to be preoccupied with buildings. I don’t want to be worrying about entrenched ministry teams not communicating with other ministry teams. I don’t want to be part of a denominational structure that hamstrings ministry efforts. I don’t really even want to be part of a church that talks about doing ministry in BART stations. I want to be part of a church that does it. I don’t want to talk about it. I want to do it.

I would think that there must be more disaffected church people around, here and in other places. How does one find them?