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Last year, Worship Artist and Song Writer Vicky Beeching shocked many when she announced she was gay.  You probably sing some of Vicky’s songs in your church (like Glory to God Forever). The revelation sent shock-waves through the Christian community… some even asking if it was ok to sing Beeching’s songs anymore. But now, the shock has worn off, and Beeching sat down for her first full interview since ‘coming out’.  Here are some quotes I found interesting… keep reading
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Joseph Wared, the director of Believe Out Loud has an op-ed piece in today’s Advocate. Wared writes: I have no doubt that there are conservative Christian leaders who provide extraordinary ministry in the social justice arenas of their choosing. Reverend Giglio’s commendable work to combat human trafficking was the rationale for his selection. But our culture is shifting, and when it comes to LGBT equality, Americans expect more from our churches. The U.S. Episcopal Church, Metropolitan Community Churches, and the United Church of Christ are just a few of the denominations that are meeting this need. Christians are consistently becoming more visible advocates for the full inclusion of our LGBT neighbors. Over the past few years I’ve had many conversations with friends and families, and I’ve seen folks move from antigay opinions to an unconditionally loving theology and everything in between. Christianity does not have to be exclusive of LGBT equality, and when it is, people are leaving the church. The Public Religion Research Institute found a significant increase in the number of college-age millennials who transitioned from being religiously affiliated in their childhood to religiously unaffiliated as young adults. A sizable majority view present-day Christianity as antigay and judgmental and believe that what makes America great is our openness to change and new ways of doing things. As public opinion shifts, churches that do not fully affirm LGBT people will leave many in their flock behind. Scripture that is void of compassion is merely words, and our ability to have compassion for every human being is critical to our faith and in an increasingly diverse world. If conservative Christians cannot stomach this evolution, they should not be surprised if progressive Christian traditions, like the U.S. Episcopal Church, gain more traction in society. For some, this is a necessary consequence to maintaining their biblical interpretation on homosexuality, but this shift should not be depicted as a decline of Christian beliefs in our society. Thoughts?  I definitely disagree… but agree that this is the way the culture is headed. Not so sure that he’s right that people will leave churches in droves that take a Biblical stand on homosexuality. What do YOU think? // Read more here…
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Many churches in Chicago do not show their support to the LGBT community… especially churches that believe that homosexual behavior is sinful.  But one church… a 40-person congregation called C3 is making a difference in the lives of the LGBT community, without compromising their theology: lgbt chicago churches  

WATCH LGBT Chicago Churches Show Concern for LGBT Community

Excerpt: East Lakeview might be the last place you’d look for a Baptist missionary church, but on Aldine Street, just a few blocks west of Halsted, there’s a 40-person congregation called C3. The Chicagoland Community Church, as it’s known, is part of the Southern Baptist, or Great Commission, network of churches. Pastor Jon Pennington is a loquacious man who moved to Chicago 12 years ago to start the church. C3 is “not a church that is open and affirming,” he says. But “we are a church that is open.” He means that while his church views homosexuality as a sin, every Sunday after its 4 pm service, the congregation offers a hot meal to anyone who wants to join. The dinner is part of the church’s “Safe Haven” program, which caters primarily to young LGBT people. “Hate the sin. Love the sinner,” Pennington says. “We mean it and try to live it.” And so, on Sunday afternoons when the bars and restaurants on North Halsted are packed, a group of young people often waits outside the modest-looking church for worship services to wrap. “We honestly and completely and totally love people who are in the LGBT community,” Pennington says. “And we say that without flinching. I loathe the fact that some Christians try to use this book [the Bible] as a justification to scream hate and to come by with horrible signs that the scriptures don’t even say. That absolutely nauseates me. Though there’s a problem with the other extreme. When people just put a rainbow on the church, they’re ignoring a good portion of the scriptures. And once you start bringing your scissors to the text, that’s never gonna stop.” Neighbors have chided Pennington for attracting “that element,” meaning young people, to their part of the neighborhood. But he insists on not only hosting the weekly meal, but also making sure young people feel at home there. Guests at C3 are welcome to sleep if they’re tired—something that’s often banned at other service centers. And the church opens its closets too, giving away jeans, hooded sweatshirts, socks and underwear. Dee Heldenbrand cooks Sunday meals. She prepares for 50 people but says the church usually only gets 25-30. Some weeks she’ll make chicken and rice. Others it’s macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs. “They eat until they’re full,” she says. Church member Colby Mowery, 21, runs the “Safe Haven” program. He says it’s a time when young people can get off the street, grab a bite to eat, share in some conversation or sit alone if that’s what they need. The church has instruments that it lets young people use. (The opening video in this series includes an original piano composition played by a young person during one of the weekly dinners.) “We are not anti-gay. We are pro-Jesus,” Mowery says. “Our purpose is not that we are against anyone.”
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I’m not sure that Louie wanted all this publicity after being chosen to pray at the inaugural. He’s now being lamblasted as antigay.  From the Advocate: The most LGBT-friendly president in U.S. history will once again have a minister with a history of antigay statements deliver a prayer at his inauguration ceremony. Pastor Louie Giglio of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, chosen to give the benediction, or closing prayer, January 21 at President Obama’s second inauguration, gave a sermon in the mid 1990s in which he said being gay is a choice and a sin that merits eternal damnation and that Christianity can help gays can become straight,ThinkProgress reports. In the sermon, available on a Christian website, Giglio says the Bible clearly teaches that “homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin,” and it is among the factors that “prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God.” He also says, “The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus.” When the item was posted, Giglio had yet to respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about whether the sermon represents his current thinking. The Advocate has also asked the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which plans the ceremony, for comment on the choice of Giglio, but there has been no response so far. A “Beliefs” section on Passion City Church’s website describes the church as “conservative and evangelical,” apparently with a literal view of the Bible, as it says, “We believe in the accuracy, truth, authority and power of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God.” // Read more here…
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