Sunday, May 26, 2013

Does This Make Sense, Bill?

Jennifer Knapp, Fallen

I emailed Bill Bohline (lead pastor at Hosanna) this past week, not all that hopeful that we'd reopen the dialog we'd begun last October but more so just to let him know that what concerned me then still concerns me now.

Hi Bill,

Is the time-out over? Am I allowed to speak again? A lot has happened since you stood before us on that Sunday in October and encouraged us to vote for the amendment to deny same-sex marriage...the amendment put forth by the guy who himself was divorced, making somewhat of a mockery of the entire proposal for those of us paying even the slightest attention.

My wife and I lead a small-group at Hosanna even though I've left the church after our last exchange. Tammy still regularly volunteers on Tuesday nights painting the nails of little children whose parents visit the clothes closet. I would often be there to put 'Jesus' tattoos on little arms but that no longer happens for me.

My wife and I were talking tonight about the same-sex marriage legislation that passed in Minnesota. I wondered out loud if you would speak to it this weekend and what you might say considering how you weren't shy about stating your opinion last fall. My wife wondered how it is that we can be accepted into leadership positions at Hosanna when our marriage is clearly a sham in the eyes of the church. You see, Tammy left her first husband but she didn't leave him for the right reasons. She didn't leave him because he was being unfaithful to her. What are we to do? Neither of us has any intention of changing the way we live much as homosexuals likely have no intention of changing the way they live. Should we step down from our roles as small-group leaders because we're living in sin?

We either embrace all that the Bible teaches or we just look at it as kinda-sorta good words to live by manual. Right now Hosanna is clearly picking and choosing which rules it feels comfortable cozying up to. Hosanna lacks consistency and that is what is so troubling to me. I'm reaching out to you as someone who has never been more adrift in his walk, in his faith and has never been more in need of help in sorting this all out.

Ignore me if that's what you want but know that I'm reaching out to you.


His reply...

It seems clear to me, Kevin, that your tone and attitude have not changed. So the answer to your first question is NO.

I'm certain that's not the answer Jesus would've given me.

No, I wasn't being as respectful as I could have been in the opening line of my email to him but to be honest, I have very little respect for the guy anymore. I sense such disdain for me from him but why? Because I'm asking some really difficult questions that are causing him to question the comfortable arrangement he has for his own faith and the church? If he could only for just one minute put himself in the shoes of one of those his policies are marginalizing.

I would think that I'd at least sense a drop or two of the outpouring of the love of Christ from him in this stalemate we have but I get none of that. None. Is this guy really a man of God or just a businessman posing as one? Does anyone on his staff ever question him about such things, about the hypocrisy of it all or do they fear the wrath of Bill Bohline and quietly follow along instead?

If you clicked on the song that opens this blog post you're listening to Jennifer Knapp, a woman who made a career of singing for the Lord until she came out to the world some 10 years ago and admitted that she is a lesbian. Her telling the truth about who she is led to no embracing of her by the church. The exact opposite in fact. They shunned and scorned her. There was no love of Christ for her from too many who are supposed to exemplify grace and mercy in the way they treat others.

In the song above she sings of her love for the woman in her life. It's such a beautiful song. I have to wonder if God would rather she simply deny her feelings and lie to herself so to speak?

Considering what my Christian faith teaches, am I to believe that God approves of people killing one another over some boundaries on a map (no lack of examples of this in the Old Testament) but then frowns on a same-sex couple in a loving relationship? What pieces of the puzzle am I missing that will bridge this gap?

I really want to understand this faith I've been so accepting of until now. I think what's making it especially difficult for me is the way the church has been using a magnifying glass to make some sins appear larger than others while ignoring sins that the rest of us routinely indulge in. Can we please not do that? Can we please agree that we're all sinners and that none of us is any more deserving of being able to serve the Lord in whatever capacity we desire? Please, let's stop denying people in the GLBTQ community the freedom to serve, a freedom that the rest of us take for granted despite our sinful lives.

Does this make sense, Bill?

Moving on...

Mom had a bit of a scare Wednesday night. We'd been over at her house helping her with her flower gardens and spending some time chatting. After we left she noticed some dark streaks in the vision of her right eye but she was reluctant to say anything to anyone. She woke up the next morning unable to see out of it. She called and Tammy told her to get to the emergency room without delay. Tim drove her. It turns out she had a detached and torn retina. The doctor was able to use a laser to tack it back into place and says the prognosis is for a full recovery. She goes back in one week for a follow-up.

Joe and his crew made lots of progress on our sun-porch and deck project this past week.

I was out doing dog do-do patrol in the yard a few days ago when I came across a baby snapping turtle struggling through the tall grass that was in need of cutting. I couldn't for the life of me figure where this guy may have come from but he'd been on a journey. I picked him up and cleaned off several strands of dried grass that had worked their way into the folds of his skin and were likely slowing him down. I then went about finding him a new home...


Jackie said...

Everything is coming along GREAT! Gardens look good. How big is the addition? Next week does not look much better in the weather dept but at least the roof is on to keep out the rain!

Kevin Gilmore said...

The porch will be roughly 17 x 22 with the deck measuring 20 x 22.

Yeah, it's not looking too good weather-wise for the coming week at this point. :-/

Anonymous said...

Kevin, You and Tammy are not living in sin if you asked for saw it as sin, repented in that area and moved on.....God's grace has it covered....He does not hold that over you.. :) Your marriage is not a sham...That is a lie..don't believe it.

Kevin Gilmore said...

True, I know we're forgiven but what about gay people living in committed relationships? Are they forgiven? Is our sin of living as we are any less than their sin? I think there's forgiveness for us all.

This gets to the heart of the matter in that my sins are overlooked by the church while other's sins aren't.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the term "leadership" and "church" that can trip people up. There are so many, many different church denominations. I have never really understood the "membership" thing to belong to a church cuz we (Believers in Christ)) Are the church. We come from all denominations even if different beliefs on doctrine. And as far as leadership, there are very good teachers that feed us Truth but we really only have one Leader..Jesus..:) Its His Spirit who draws and convicts the Believer. Anyway..hope you can find His peace on this.

Anonymous said...

One thought about remarrying compared to committed gay relationship. Jesus tells us (after conviction of a certain sin in our lives has been repented) to "Go and sin no more". Repent means to ask for forgiveness because we agree with God that it IS sin, turn from the sin and look to Jesus ( as He is the one who transforms us inside). What was the sin you committed? Adultery by remarry. Right? After forgiveness, one understands not to do it again.So, I doubt you and Tammy will divorce and remarry again. Right? Cuz that is the sin He wanted you to recognize. You are forgiven, yet He also tells you to turn from it and be free in Him by His Grace.
Its like Paul who addresses those who said " So, should we go on sinning to receive more grace?" His answer is a definite No.
In the same sense, I divorced---I saw that 'afterwards' as sin...I asked for forgiveness because He opened my eyes to the lies I told myself. What changed? I'm still divorced. Right? He isn't holding it over me that my 'status' is divorced. No...He forgave my Act of divorce and tells me not to do that sin again. I grew closer to Him as I recognized and repented it as sin and not justify it as being ok in God's eyes (As I was doing). He frees and wants us to experience that freedom...Its what He came for..:) One thing for sure...Its a walk..He is always pruning us.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, You reached out to Bill for clarity. (to meet and talk it out) You brought up the past to him as it was unsettled within you. You didn't agree with his actions in the past or recent past and you wanted to talk about it.
What you got from Bill is rejection. You were also (if honest) hurt by this. You were losing trust and all kinds of 'feelings' toward him came up.
I called Pastor Bill right after you posted this post asking him to consider talking to you as you were wrestling with some things. He said "I did not like Kevins tone but I will think about it" (Don't worry..I never spoke to him on the situation of Tammy and I)
I wish he would have called you and explain what he meant by your 'tone'...because leaving it as it was just left you feeling you were unimportant to him...feeling that can easily lead to assumptions about him.
But, I can't help but wonder if you can see the similarities in the conflict you have with Bill and the conflict Tammy and I have.
It is no different that Bill is a pastor. It is still a relationship you had. He was your pastor for years. The hurt and rejection you felt was (or is) real. Yes? If Bill was to come to you now, huh you and say " I don't want to talk about the past. Let's just forgive and move on", Would that give you clarity? Would that make things better? Would you have a better understanding of him? I think you would answer "no" to all 3. You wanted to talk.
Yet, Bill is your brother in Christ and always will be. Grace is here on earth for us to work through, heal and grow. We can't do it without HIS help. It is His Grace but both parties have to be willing to receive it. It's really all about Him and not us "trying" in our own ways. It is the freedom He wants so much to give us right here on earth. : )
I don't agree with Tammy that nothing will be resolved between her and I until heaven. It can be (if she chooses) but it's not the Lord wants for us. He wants us to grow in Him on earth and relationships are what He and life is all about. Our relationship with Him First and then with others.
I am not bitter with Tammy or you. I hope you are not bitter with Bill either. Even if he never talks to you, I hope you can work it through with your heart and eyes on Jesus. Time doesn't heal...Jesus does. : )
We may not get what we want in relationships but He knows and cares deeply about our heart and struggles. Theresa

Kevin Gilmore said...

And that's where he's wrong in saying that I need to have whatever tone he desires before he'll sit down and talk with me. Sorry, but the world isn't actually like that. He's a pastor or so I thought. Seems to me that he should meet with people no matter what their tone. Actually, it's his tone that is more concerning in this matter. He's the one who can't get out of his own way and put his ego aside to meet with me.

I now see him as simply a business-man posing as a pastor; something I've long suspected.

Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

Yep...I lean to agree with a 'business man'. Even though (again) I do feel he have good sermons whenever I visited. I felt there was way too much money going into the building to 'please' the people. I couldn't help but wonder 'How many people are coming to meet Jesus and how many are coming because they feel it's a 'cool' and 'entertaining' church?

Kevin Gilmore said...

There's a ton of money that goes into the building, flat screen TVs, the coffee bar and such but what's really lacking is a genuine outreach outside of the church. This was expressed to me by a friend who was on staff until around 2 years ago. I sent him a draft of my first email to Bill just to make sure I wasn't way off base with where I was going. He assured me I wasn't.

Also, you have to try out to sing in the choir. I never understood that. Apparently you have to be good enough to sing for the Lord. He won't accept just anyone.

Yeah, I get that they want to put on a really nice show to entertain the people as they sit in their comfy chairs with their coffees but so much about the church is missing the mark. Again, it's to appeal to the masses, unless of course if you happen to be gay then you're simply not welcome despite what Bill will tell you. Once they find out that you're gay you're done if you're in any kind of leadership role...and that includes being head cook. That happened.