I worry when we make decisions concerning who is in and who is out of the church. Who allows us to tell someone they are not welcomed to enter through the doors of our churches? Should we allow a lifestyle one lives to become a factor of their welcome? I believe this is ridiculous. There should be no reason why anyone is not greeted by a smiling face.
I have to go back to Jesus sitting at the table with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, sits and eats with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. By the way, you and I are sinners. If we do not allow people in our churches simply because they live different lifestyles or hold differing views than ourselves, we are not being like Jesus. Jesus never condoned the sin or lifestyle of those He sat with at the table. He said to the religious leaders, “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but those who are sick.” And they were sick, in need of a Doctor to heal them from the inside out. For us then, we should welcome anyone to our table or our place of worship.
The reason I am even writing this post is because of the responses I have been reading to a post written by a pastor in San Francisco. Interviewed by some dude who wanted to know how his church stood on the issue of homosexuality, this pastor said that we would welcome any individual into our church but that does not necessarily mean that we agree with their lifestyle. I am not sure why it had created so much controversy on his site when he posted the conversation on his site.
If we are going to say that those who practice homosexuality are not allowed in our churches, we might as well say that those who masturbate, struggle with pornography, lust, cheat, lie, or basically life a sinful life, are unable to walk into our churches.
There are no perfect churches. Even if one existed, it would cease to be a perfect church once you or I walk through the doors.
So where do we go from here? I hope we open the doors a little wider for anyone. I hope that we do not make a checklist of sins that prevent people from entering. Rather I hope we open our arms to others. Once we close our doors to those who life differently than you and I, we have ceased to love others as Christ has called us to do. It does not mean that we have to condone the sins of others. It just means we need to love others like ourselves. This is the Jesus Creed.