In Or Out?

This past week  we had the New Church Start Boot Camp.  It was a very full day with lots of ideas posted on walls as we began to flesh out next steps. I posted a picture and a little overview and put it up on Face Book.  Since June, we have gone from 112 to 404 people who are following the PRUCC FB Page.   In the past couple of days the numbers that people see show a gain of two more people.    What is interesting, is that is not the case.  Since this post, for the second time in three months we have had people  unlike us.  Yesterday there were 5 people who unliked us and 7 people who liked us.   The unlikes were in response to the Boot camp post.  I wondered what I might have posted that would get people to unlike us. It didn’t take long to realize that I mentioned that I have a wife.  That was the case the day others unliked us.   In or Out is an interesting concept.  Phoenix Rising UCC will be a place where no one will be unliked.

“Jesus said I am the good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and they know me…I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.”( John 10:11-16) Jesus was prophesying that Jews and Gentiles would both come together in one sheepfold, live in peace, and follow.  We saw Jesus model this truth, with the women at the well. (John 4: 6-29). She was a samaritian woman who was a rejected member of her community because she had been married several times and was now living with someone. Samaritians where also considered half breeds. half Jewish and half gentile. The did not belong in the Jewish community or the gentile community because of this.  What made this story so important was  Jesus did not reject her, He spoke to her, let her know that she was In with God not out!

The Good Shepherd say’s come, you belong to me and the sheep who hear come!  The sad part of the Christian story is that throughout history followers have excluded many who heard the voice, putting up barriers, even killing others  because they refused to accept that they” belonged

Nevertheless the Good Shepherd continues to call the sheep of every race, religion and sexual persuasion and they continue to come.  Desmond Tutu said, “God is not upset that Gandhi was not a Christian, because God is not a Christian! All of God’s children and their different faiths help us to realize the immensity of God.” Love’s ultimate proof is manifest in those who love God, self and others!  We recognize the sheep because they listen to the shepherd.

Because Jesus never turned anyone way  you can trust that God will never unlike you!  Does it bother me that people have unliked Phoenix Rising UCC?  Yes and no.  Yes, because on both days PRUCC unlikes took place in response to  articles where I mentioned my sexual orientation and same gender loving self.  It is sad to me, because it left me with the assumption that those who took the time to unlike us, did so because they could not imagine themselves in a church were there was a gay minister or gay people.   Are you out or are you in really isn’t the issue.  What needs to be lifted up is Jesus has “other sheep” and they will be welcome with open arms!!!!

It is my hope that if this article provokes you to unlike our FB Page you might message me so that we can have a conversation.  All Sheep are welcome in!!!




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