Post # 16
I think it comes back to the simple question: what would Christ do?
Jesus reached out to those who were condemned by those in society who couldn’t see past their own self-righteousness and bigotry. He loved and taught; he wasn’t a condemner.
Whether this church puts their name on this offering or not, they are supporting it if they’re allowing the offering to be collected within the church itself. I can’t say whether you should stay or go – that’s between you and God, and is definitely worth praying over. However, I am strongly wary of any church who spends any amount of time judging others. That’s not the example Christ left us with.
“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw the stone.”
If this new pastor thinks this offering isn’t appropriate, then he should stand up and put his foot down. That’s what being a leader is all about.
Post # 18
I am SO sorry. 🙁
I am so upset that people can be so….. judgemental. 🙁 It really saddens me.
I can honesltly say that I think you need to stand up for your brother, and discuss it with your paster… however beware that he will deny the church being involved in it due to being controversal. BUT. you know its true. and you should speak your mind.
I would also speak with your Fiance and your brother.
I HATE how people think it is acceptable to not allow others to live there lives happily. It urks me more than you know. 🙁
Good Luck! Are you in California???
Post # 19
i think it sounds like there are two issues? 1. whether you should have this pastor marry you at a non-church location, and 2. whether you should continue attending this church given that they are advocating something you strongly disagree with. if you feel that the pastor is not supporting or advocating this offering, then i personally feel that number one is okay. for example, what if you went to this church, did not support this offering, and someone found out that you go to this church and decided that they couldn’t be associated with you as a result. yes, you go to the church that supports it, but you don’t agree with it nor are you involved in it. if that same description applies to your pastor, then i think you could still have him marry you. the answer to the second question is a lot more complicated. i think what bparadoxic wrote was really powerful – Christ brought a message of love and acceptance. and the foundations of most religions teach that we should improve society through love and support and fellowship – not through condemnation. if you could remove your brother from the equation, would you continue to attend this church? if the answer to that is no, then you already know what to do. if yes, then i think you probably need to talk to your brother. perhaps tell him that the offering bothers you, that it makes you feel uncomfortable continuing to attend the church, and ask him how it would make him feel if you continued to do so?
Post # 20
Honestly? If I were your brother and you stayed at that church, and continued with your plan to be married by that preacher it would damage my relationship with you beyond repair.
I think you should stand up for what you believe and your brother.
Post # 21
I feel for that pastor. If your old SS teacher is right and this isn’t something he personally believes in then he has a quandary on his hands. If he takes a stand on this issue it is going to hurt a lot of feelings, people will leave the church over this or at the very least bash his ministry and ruin his name in the community. If he isn’t married they will say he is a closet gay. If he ignores the issue he is probably hoping it will just go away and make plans so something like this never happens again. Since he is a new pastor he is in a sticky situation. He won’t have the backing in the congregation to smooth this out. If he is a young pastor he won’t have the knowledge and experience to finesse this situation. Poor guy! OP pray for wisdom not just for you but your pastor. I will be doing the same. Dealing with this is his responsibility but that doesn’t make it easy or fun. I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. Remember who the real enemy is. Look at the timing of this. They start this collection with a new pastor not your old pastor. Why? You aren’t wrestling against flesh and blood here sister. Chances are this is all an attempt to stop real growth in your church. A house divided against itself can not stand. If the enemy can take down the pastor right in the beginning or get him to compromise on his beliefs then he will pose no threat. Just keep your prospective as you go in for that meeting. ((Hugs)) and prayers.
Post # 22
This makes me so, so sad that when there are millions of people in this world without enough money to eat regularly or have roofs over their heads, a church is raising money to prevent the union of two people in love. What a gross misappropriation of funds.
Sorry for that little vent. If I were you, I would leave the church but be very clear to the pastor as to why. Church leaders often follow the lead of their parishoners on things like this. Even if you live in a small town, undoubtedly there are other ways to be spiritually fed. Alternatively, I’m sure that there are like-minded people in your congregation. You could use the church as a forum to engage in conversation about this issue and band together with fellow parishoners to protest the inclusion of this fund in the church. For the sake of your pastor and your brother, even if you don’t leave you should at least let your pastor know that this makes you very uncomfortable and makes you question whether you should continue being spiritually fed at this church.
As for whether to involve the pastor in your wedding, I think you should talk to your brother and possibly your mother, and think about your relationship with the pastor (How far back do you go? What is your relationship like outside of the context of church?) in discerning what to do next. Based on my own views, I could not have someone who told my homosexual brother that homosexuality is a “choice” or a “lifestyle” have such an integral role in my celebration of love. However, I don’t know how far back you go with your pastor. If the pastor were like a second father to you and you have known him your whole life, I see how the situation might be more complicated.
Post # 23
While I am not Christian (at all) I once was, and left my church because of how they see people who are different. I do not think it’s right to look down at others because of their sexuality, or how they dress, ect. To me, many Christians (especially Southern Baptists) held onto this idea that they are more holier than anyone else. (I was told I should be saved a second time on account of dressing too “dark”!) Obviously, not everyone is like this, my Maid/Matron of Honor and another Bridesmaid or Best Man are Christian and open minded enough to support things like gay marriage and rights. But I think many people that call themselves Christian need a good dose of humility and get off their religious high horse.
Post # 24
I agree with mckernae–it’s pathetic that these people want to invest time and money into suppressing something so totally harmless, instead of putting that towards an effort that would do real good in your community… like food and supplies for the low-income and homeless, or a women’s shelter–or even the plumbing issue you mentioned. I think you should ask your pastor this when you speak with him… I’d be curious what he has to say in defence of this collection.
Regarding the problem you face, while I understand how difficult this must be, I think you should leave the church as an expression of support for your brother (and as others have said, let the pastor know exactly why you are leaving). I know there aren’t a lot of other options for churches in your area, but I think you can always find ways to nourish your spirituality since it is so important to you. Whereas with your brother, I think anything less than a full expression of support will be very hurtful to him, and could undermine your relationship over the long term. Especially because your mom has left the church, too; I think it would be very powerful for your entire family to be united in this, and he would deeply appreciate your support.
Post # 25
Thanks so much for all your help. I appreciate everyone’s advice and kind words. So many of you are saying the things that I think as well; especially, about raising money for something so ridiculous when there are so many other important needs out there. My brother will be around this week and I am going to sit down and talk with him. I am very anxious/nervous about talking with my preacher. I hope, hope, hope that he has some things to say that make me feel better about the situation.
Post # 26
Is anyone else confused about where this money is even going? How sad is it that people are willing to give money to such a cause, especially when the request for the money is so vague. I’m so sorry you’re feeling torn in this way, feeling let down by your church must be crushing. I agree that your brother’s feelings on the matter are the most important so you can’t make a decision until he’s ready to tell you where he stands on the matter.
I would also recommend talking to the pastor and maybe some other church members. Christians also believe in forgiveness and redemption, which you may find in your heart after speaking to your pastor. He is human too and may have felt pressure to hold such a collection. Tell him how uncomfortable you are with the church’s choice of charities. Could you possibly see this as an opportunity to enlighten some people in your church? Of course you won’t be able to change anyone’s mind about homsexuality, but you could help the church to prioritize thier causes. Instead of leaving, perhaps you could start raising awareness for causes like domestic violence, hunger, homelessness etc. I understand that it may feel wrong to associate with that church anymore but it sounds to me like they could use someone like you.
Post # 27
I was confused because it sounded like the special offering’s purpose was a secret.
It sounds like you have a difficult discussion ahead of you, with your preacher I mean. I wish you the best of luck!
Post # 28
@MojaMilosc–I am about as confused as you are. It is going towards supporting a “campaign” to fight against the 1st admendment. This is something that many churches in my small (close-minded) town have met about and decided to start. Hopefully I’ll have more information when I meet with my preacher Thursday.
Post # 29
Can you still be spiritually fed by this pastor and church now that they are doing this? I know I would have a problem with it and that feeling would close me down and I would no longer feel safe there. What would you do if they were rasing money to be anti-black or anti-woman (all women should be at home, barefot and pregnant fund). Would you still be able to stay?
If you do decide to stay and/or have this pastor do you ceremony, I would do something like this to show you support marriage equality- http://whiteknot.org/
Post # 30
You were very considerate and gracious not to bring it up to your brother in the heat of the moment. He was dealing with his own justified issues and you truly went out of your way for him, that’s admirable.
I think you really need to soul search on this one. Talk to your preacher, be honest. And also be a good listener. If what he says just does not work for you or make you feel better you are not being spiritually fed anymore by this church. You can look around for another place, or have a personal relationship with god outside of the church.
It’s a scary time for people of minority right now (whether you’re hispanic in Arizona, a woman in the South or Gay when dealing with church.) I think we should be coming together to support EVERYONE, because we do not have to agree with XYZ but we should be supporting the right to be who we are. What if we are the minority next?
Good luck. I don’t envy your path but wish you much success on it.