Open and affirming: A church's path to LGBT acceptance

  • Article by: JOHN GUNYOU
  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 5:36 PM

After hours of discussion, one man -- uncharacteristically -- rose to speak.

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wardnjuneAug. 18, 12 8:34 PM

Very touching commentary. Thank you, John Gunyou. (And thank you, Russ.)

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reidAug. 18, 12 8:48 PM

What a wonderful story of acceptance and, I believe, showing Jesus' example of how to live and love others as one of your own family. Nothing was lost, everything was gained including another soul to further the work of the church in a sincere way. We, too, have had a gay member come forward who had joined because of an open and accepting attitude of our congregation. Sadly, some feeling that they wanted my church to go a way different from which it had for the previous 30 years, along with a major change in the pastors', put an end to the acceptance, with a dramatic loss in membership, and work of mission we had been working so hard to do. Now the church is in financial ruin, bitter members not talking with one another and many leaving to find a worshiping community more in line with what we had experienced prior to this breakup. It is hard to imagine an outsider or gay person (of which there no doubt will be born to parents who still attend there) to have any chance of growing and becoming an energetic worker for the poor and oppressed. I'm hoping more stories like the one related here show age and religion will not be a barrier to advancing acceptance in our state.

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BABloomAug. 18, 12 9:12 PM

May all Minnesotans be lucky enough to have a Russ, or a John to show them that love is love and that our constitution should not be used to discriminate against our fellow citizens.

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pdxtranAug. 19, 1212:09 AM

I think the important message here is that GLBT people are not defined by their sexuality and that anyone who rejects them on the basis of that attribute alone is the one who is missing out.

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hello999Aug. 19, 12 8:12 AM

Yes, very touching and contrary to those mean spirited people who say that homosexuals will go to hell. I wonder if the bible is actually true and if Christians should obey it and warn those who are walking in sin to repent? But it is easier to accept their sin than stand for truth and righteousness.

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owatonnabillAug. 19, 12 8:49 AM

A charming little tale, to be sure. But one that is completely superfluous. A church can believe anything it wants, and as long as that belief does not harm others, We The Secular Public have no need or business being concerned about it. For the umpteenth time, gay marriage is a SECULAR issue, a legal contract between two adults at or above the age of consent, and as such should not be limited by the legal system. Churches can limit it all they want, but no one is forced to remain a member of any church. There are legitimate secular reasons for debate (what is the effect on an adopted child being raised by a gay couple, do gay couples spend more for health care than their straight conterparts and as such should their insurance premiums reflect that, etc.) but that is all after-the-fact and should not be a limitation on any gay couple's right to marry.

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lovingsonAug. 19, 12 9:28 AM

We should be open to all people. When it comes to accepting the immoral conditions they wish to live in, that is a different story. It does not matter what we do for a community when it comes to having a relationship with God, what also matters is that we turn from our sinful ways. From the beginning God made them Male and Female.

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mydh12Aug. 19, 12 9:38 AM

My church is "open and affirming" to any sinner, including homosexuals, who wants to follow Jesus and turn from their sins. However, it is NOT "open and affirming" to the continual intentional practice of sin. In John 8, Jesus told the prostitute, "Go and sin no more." That is what all sinners, which includes me and all of us, should strive for. God does not want us to condone sin, and certainly not to promote it by giving it our approval. One reason your church may be needing more young men to join your committees is that most men that I know are NOT attracted to groups that don't really know what they really believe or why they should believe it. Your mainline church is dying. That's not surprising. I'm afraid that Russ' decision will only hasten it. That's sad.

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ninetyninerAug. 19, 12 9:59 AM

mydh12 - the mainline churches are dying because they refuse to adapt to the realities of life. People are not sheep and they cannot be told forever that the earth is the center of the universe, when they can plainly see that it's not.

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davehougAug. 19, 1210:12 AM

"The question is not is God on our side, but are we on God's side" Abraham Lincoln

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