An Email Sent to a Ministerial Colleague
a little background:
Two weeks ago while driving through a familiar part of my hometown I sat at an intersection. The evening sky was pink, the traffic light was red, the radio was playing a song by Uncle Tupelo, and I was in very fine spirits. But as they say, even the silverest of clouds have a dark lining (or something like that.)
Glancing to my left my eyes suddenly beheld a sight that made my heart sink. There, mounted high atop the bell tower of a stately old church building was a rainbow flag with the words "God is still speaking," boldly emblazoned upon it (see picture, right). I immediately wondered aloud, 'what kind of pastor would use his/her church building for the promotion of human sexuality?
Am I alone in thinking this a little odd?
What follows is a verbatim copy of the email I sent. Names, specific locations, web-addresses and the like have all been removed. My intention was/is not to insult my activist-minded colleague in ministry, nor to shame the flock that has very tragically placed themselves under her care. My intention is simply to show that using one's church building for the promotion of sociopolitical causes (especially very self-serving and unbiblical ones) is not merely an exploitative breech of ministerial ethics it is also a terribly sad substitute for genuine pastoral ministry.
I have not received a response to my email and I do not expect I will. If I do however I'll post it here on my blog.
a copy of my email:
Dear Pastor _____________,
After driving down ______________ Street just a couple of days ago I noticed your very beautiful church building and thought I would look you up online and drop you a quick note as a fellow Christian and colleague.
To my delight I found ___________ Church quite easily online and was delighted to read your "Faith Page" which assured me that you are open to “diverse" viewpoints and are committed to “different ways of thinking.” Moreover, I discovered that your Faith Page actually encourages readers to send their quotes for inclusion on your website. (i.e., “Email us and have (your quote) included!” see reference, www.________________.org)
May I say, that this is a wonderful way to highlight the fact that God is still speaking (as you claim)! In addition to this, it is a very bold yet practical way for you as a pastor to demonstrate publicly that you do, in fact, celebrate the kind of openness and diversity that your website makes so much of. I sincerely wish that more ministers of your kind would be as daring as you are in this regard.
Having said all of that, here is the quote I would like to submit. I trust that it will be thought provoking and helpful:
“I am a Pastor who feels that using one’s church building as a billboard for the promotion of human sexuality is a pathetic substitute for genuine gospel ministry.”
Please let me know when my quote appears on your site! I’d like to put a link to it on my blog.
-Rev. R Crabtree
All Souls Church
Green Camp, Ohio