By ERIC GORSKI (AP) – 12 hours agoDENVER — The auditorium lights turned low, the service begins with the familiar rhythms of church: children singing, hugs and handshakes of greeting, a plea for donations to fix the boiler.Then the 55-year-old pastor with spiked gray hair and blue jeans launches into his weekly welcome, a poem-like litany that includes the line "queer or straight here, there's no hate here."The Rev. Mark Tidd initially used the word "gay." But he changed it to "queer" because it's the preferred term of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people invited to participate fully at Highlands Church.Tidd is an outlaw pastor of sorts. His community, less than a year old, is an evangelical Christian church guided both by the Apostle's Creed and the belief that gay people can embrace their sexual orientation as God-given and seek fulfillment in committed same-sex relationships.Disagreements over homosexuality and the Bible have divided mainline Protestant churches for years. In evangelical churches, though, the majority view has held firm — the Bible clearly condemns homosexual acts. The common refrain at evangelical churches: "love the sinner, hate the sin."But with younger evangelicals and broader society showing greater acceptance of homosexuality, many evangelical churches can expect, at the least, a deeper exploration of the issue."Highlands Church represents a breakout position, where you have a gay-affirming stance that moves beyond the traditional kind of liberal-conservative divide," said Mark Achtemeier, an associate professor at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "I'm finding lots of moderate conservatives just think there's something wrong with a default position of excluding gays from the life of the church."David Dockery, president of Union University, a Southern Baptist school in Jackson, Tenn., believes Highlands is — and is likely to remain — outside of the mainstream of evangelical churches."I don't think it can be taken for granted anymore that the traditional evangelical view will be adopted by the coming generations given the changes and shifts in our culture," Dockery said.That makes it all the more important, he says, for evangelical leaders to clearly teach the traditional views on homosexuality.The people of Highlands Church — those who stood with their renegade pastor and others who left feeling betrayed — have learned that taking an uncommon road comes at a cost....
Sunday, December 20, 2009
It takes great courage to practice what you preach.
It is obvious Rev. Mark Tidd and his Highlands Church congregation follow the words and actions of Jesus and not man made dogma perverting the authentic teachings of Jesus.
Posted by De Sube at 12/20/2009 12:26:00 PM