I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement from my last article: “A P*ssed Off Southern Pastor Tells It Like It Is.” I think it is a testimony to the very real need for those of us who are both liberal and Christian to find a common, honest voice. I have received so many friend requests, messages, and comments that I simply cannot reply to them all, so I decided to speak to you all again from here.
1. I am a female pastor from Arkansas.
2. I am Methodist, but my views are mine alone and I do not speak for my congregation or my church conference.
3. I would never speak of politics from my pulpit or within my church. This is not my church — it is my job as a writer, therefore I can speak about politics if I like. Freedom of speech, remember?
4. I absolutely do preach from the heart of Christian kindness and acceptance which I spoke of in my first article. I have numerous other articles on Liberal America which are Bible Study and Devotionals and they all follow my Matthew 25 theology. My congregation knows me as a “love your neighbor” pastor. It is my message, and it is my church’s mission. We welcome and love everyone, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as human beings attempting to live like Christ.
5. I did not say, nor do I think, that all Republicans are stupid. I spoke of the current Republican candidates, and I cannot in any way find Christian values within their words or their actions. They put themselves in a public position to be judged, just as I do when I publish these articles. I have a right to form and state opinions about them.
6. There are many Republicans in my life whom I love and respect. They are my friends, my family, and my church members. They are good people who strive to live like Christ, but they are not the image the Republican party has in their leadership right now. If you read my article, I spoke of the Republican party NOW.
7. I have in fact been called in to speak with my District Superintendent after he read my article. I have no indication that I will be punished; my assumption is that he is concerned about me because I was so angry. I will keep you posted…
8. I was angry. Very angry. I woke up Saturday morning with a Facebook feed full of pro-gun propaganda, using the latest mass shooting as a jumping off point to further spread NRA agenda. Many of the things I saw were posted by Methodists, and even some in positions of authority. My heart broke as I scrolled through each meme and post, and it dawned on me that if I posted my true feelings, I would come under fire for them. And the more I thought about it, the madder I got.
9. The main point of my article was that you can feel free to be completely open about your political opinion on every hot topic in our culture…as long as your opinion is conservative and Republican. That is NOT okay. Then I realized that I am part of the problem. I do not speak out from fear of losing friends, creating conflict, or jeopardizing my position in ministry. There is such a thing as sin of omission…
10. So …. I pulled up my laptop, and spoke. I wish I had calmed down a bit first and been a little less aggressive, but maybe that was the point. As liberal Christians our tendency is to be passive and kind. Maybe, occasionally, we should get mad.
11. I have resolved to accept whatever chastisement or punishment my church feels necessary and appropriate. I believe in the Methodist Church. But I will never apologize for my message, and I will continue to speak it wherever anyone will listen. I love this country, and it is time that love and community replace the hate and intolerance which have been infecting us for too long.
12. Your words of kindness and support are overwhelming, and I humbly thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who disagree with me, I respect your opinion, and hope that we can all find a way to work together to build a true kingdom of God in our culture and a nation of integrity within our government.
May God illuminate your path before you. May God give you the wisdom to see it, the courage to take it, and the strength to persevere.
Peace of Christ be with you, my friends.