Convention backs evangelism spending as leaders develop tools for the Jesus Movement

By David Paulsen
Posted Jul 13, 2018
Evangelism Charter

Postcards with the Evangelism Charter were distributed in the House of Deputies before the vote on A029. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] It never inspired the fiery passion of the debates on marriage or Israel-Palestine. It never threatened to upset the Episcopal Church’s status quo like the debates on prayer book revision.

But evangelism was a constant theme at the 79th General Convention – and not only at the large revival July 7 when Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached to a crowd of thousands.

The bishops and deputies who gathered here from July 5 to 13 embraced their inner evangelists in ways subtle and grand throughout the church’s triennial gathering. They engaged people on the street in conversations about faith. They pledged to follow Curry’s “Way of Love” when they return home. And they approved a three-year church budget that allocates $5.2 million for evangelism, including $3 million for redeveloping declining congregations and starting new congregations, also known as church plants.

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, has felt a lot of momentum since the last General Convention, starting with simply reclaiming the word “evangelism.”

“At this convention, what we’ve said is we’re taking it further and figuring out how is it that we as Episcopalians share and celebrate the good news of Jesus, with no shame, but also in a way that feels uniquely Episcopalian,” Spellers said in an interview with Episcopal News Service on July 12, the day before the end of General Convention.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry begins an impassioned sermon before a packed audience at a revival held on July 7 at Austin’s Palmer Events Center. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

Curry’s revival sermon set the tone for the work to come, with a message of love’s power to bring people together.

“Love heals the wounds. Love can lift us up. Love is the source of setting us free, and it is the root source of life,” Curry said at the Palmer Events Center, across the river from the Austin Convention Center where General Convention was held. “In fact, the truth is, the only reason we’re here is because of love,” Curry said.

Evangelism was one of three priorities set for the church three years ago by General Convention, along with racial reconciliation and care of creation. Curry took on the self-described role of “chief evangelism officer” and has preached at a series of revivals in dioceses around the church since February 2017.

The call to evangelism also has been taken up by church planters in community after community thanks to the Episcopal Church’s increased investment in new congregations and ministries over the past several years. General Convention approved $1.8 million for church plants and Mission Enterprise Zones in the 2013-2015 triennium, and $3.4 million was allocated for such ministries from 2016 to 2018.

The main church planting resolution assigned the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee, A005, initially called for $6.8 million in total spending on that network over the next three years to build on recent successes of these “holy experiments.” The committee recommended $5.8 million, though the final budget only sets aside about $4.3 million for the church-planting network, said the Rev. Frank Logue, a deputy from Georgia and chair of the committee.

The final figure is hardly a disappointment for people in the church, like Logue, who have fought to make evangelism a priority.

“The budget gives us everything we need to continue that movement,” Logue, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Georgia, told ENS. The spending rightly emphasizes the support system needed to enable new communities of faith to grow and thrive, he said. It includes money to provide potential church planters with skills assessments, coaching and regular follow-up meetings with church staff members.

“At the end of the day, money doesn’t get churches planted like know-how does,” Logue said.

The budget also includes $380,000 over three years to create a churchwide staff officer to oversee evangelism, taking over responsibilities that had been covered part-time by three different contract workers.

Spellers thinks the person who fills that position will take the lead in following through on Curry’s “Way of Love,” seven practices that provide a Rule of Life that all Episcopalians are encouraged to adopt.

Curry, in his sermon July 5 at the opening Eucharist of General Convention, said the “Way of Love” was developed to encourage Episcopalians to embrace more fully their role in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, Spellers said, and her team printed and distributed more than 100,000 cards with details during General Convention.

“Episcopal Evangelist – it’s part of our identity now,” Spellers said. “It’s a growing part of our identity as a church.”

The budget includes $100,000 in small evangelism grants, a renewing program outlined in Resolution A030.

Another evangelism resolution, A006, was rejected by the committee. The resolution sought to collect additional demographic data on church leaders involved in church planting and ministry development as a way to encourage those ministries to greater reflect the communities they serve. Concerns were raised about how the data might be used in determining funding and whether the data’s benefits would merit the extra work.

Bishop Nicholas Knisely of Rhode Island, who chairs the bishops’ committee on evangelism, said he wishes more people had come to testify about the committee’s resolutions and engaged more directly with the questions.

Three members of the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee met and talked with this group of people who have formed a sidewalk community next to the Episcopal Church-owned parking lot on Trinity Street in Austin. The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, deputy from Texas, stands on the sidewalk with arms crossed. Photo: Frank Logue

“I think everyone wants to be an evangelist. I don’t think we are keeping our eyes on that ball,” Knisely said. He was referring to other major issues at this General Convention that drew much more attention, such as same-sex marriage and liturgical reform.

Even so, he was heartened by the emphasis on evangelism at this General Convention, and early on, he and Logue led other committee members in some street evangelism. On July 4, when the committee’s business for the day was done in the JW Marriott, the members went outside the hotel, two by two, and practiced evangelism in any way the spirit led them, including talking with the people they encountered in downtown Austin.

Logue held up the vote to approve A029 as an important next step for the church. That resolution adopted what is known as the “Evangelism Charter,” outlining how and why Episcopalians vow “to proclaim with our words and our lives the loving, liberating and life-giving good news of Christ.”

Logue, who helped distribute cards outlining the tenets of the charter to all deputies before the vote, said the endorsement of a document may not sound like groundbreaking work, but it is important to make clear to all Episcopalians what the church means when it talks about evangelism. That talk doesn’t end in Austin.

“It will be on the quiz,” he said. “You will see it again.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.


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Comments (38)

  1. John Hobart says:

    $4.3M is still a lot of money to spend without specifying any measures of success.

    1. Kenton Sandine says:

      Should money not have be made available until someone quickly imagined before the end of the convention what success should look like? In your opinion, what “Return On Investment” would be appropriate for $4.3M?

      1. John Hobart says:

        Did they just realize they had a problem when they got to Convention? They have had decades to analize the problem, develop a strategy, and to put in place metrics to evaluate whether the strategy is working. Instead, they have squandered enormous amounts of time and money bloviating about their politics. I think it is a failure of leadership and a serious lapse of judgment.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          Why would politics distract from evangelism? I think that is a ridiculous scapegoat for our evangelism problem. Just because you think our church should be apolitical doesn’t mean a political focus is the root cause of all problems in our church. I think the church has a good plan in place for evangelism and I am optimistic of its success in spreading the gospel.

          1. John Hobart says:

            The results will tell. I think for years the hyper-partisan leadership have tried to do politics in lieu of evangelism on the assumption that if they could just catch the next trendy Democratic political wave the people would beat a path to our door. It hasn’t worked so they are belatedly trying evangelism.

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            I think it’s better late than never. Obviously we disagree about the church’s focus on politics, but I am happy that there is now a renewed focus on spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. We’ll have to wait and see what the results are of this new emphasis on evangelism.

          3. John Hobart says:

            My guess is that they will achieve their objective, which is to spend $4.3M.

  2. mike geibel says:

    In the fascination over a pigeon, many delegates chose to ignore the 800 lb. Gorilla in the room—declining membership. The many “hot topics of debate” were all about trying to fix the world, punish Israel, and improve our pronoun choices. The evangelism resolutions at least try to stem the hemorrhaging, but fail to acknowledge the causes.

    The Episcopal church is not welcoming to moderates and conservatives. Episcopalians are vacating the progressive pews and either joining churches that offer more traditional versions of Christianity, or abandoning the practice of Christianity altogether.

    There was a pre-convention survey in which, “We heard concerns that social justice is ‘only about politics.’” Instead of listening, the House of Deputies’ called for a Task Force on the Theology of Social Justice Advocacy to study how social justice messages can be covertly incorporated into the liturgy and theological texts, apparently disguised as established Christian theology and evangelism. [See Resolution A056; ENS article: “Committee considers social justice theology proposals”]

    Those looking out over the congregation and are seeing empty pews and the absence of young faces. The leadership has surrounded themselves with clergy drinking the same flavored cool-aid and cannot see, or chose not to believe, the cause of what is happening. Perhaps Bishop Curry has latched onto the “power of love” as a new starting point—at least its a way to voice his passions without polarizing half of the membership with politicized resolutions.

    Unfortunately, claiming that many of the Resolutions were not political does not mean they were not politically motivated. Painting a crocodile purple does not mean it’s not a crocodile.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      The Episcopal Church is not the only denomination with declining membership. Other denominations are also declining, including conservative ones like the Southern Baptists. So I think it’s far too simplistic to argue that political views are why TEC is declining in membership. The more likely explanation is that this is the natural result of the fall of Christendom. Since we can no longer assume everyone will be Christian by default due like we could under Christendom, we must do a better job evangelizing to those outside the church.

  3. Jordan Sakal says:

    I think that this is money well spent by the Church in order to analyse the question of how best to reach a new generation of Americans who may be looking for a new church or a new form of community.

    I had this conversation with my local priest recently in discussing how she can best help reach out to the community (and grow the congregation.) At my church we have a series of community events coming up through the end of July and all throughout August which we will be publicizing on Facebook I mentioned creating a weekly dinner event where the congregation could cook and serve pasta and sauce (or any food really) to the community and come together and spread the Word. There is much we can do I think through the vehicle of food, it provides a sense of community and would draw people in who would otherwise not experience the church.

  4. mike geibel says:

    Mr. Quellette: I encourage you to do your own research but I think that statistics will reveal that yes, mainline liberal churches are declining, but that conservative churches are either growing or holding steady.

    I am no Biblical scholar, but I am not persuaded that Jesus was political. Others more qualified say Jesus was political, but I wonder if they say this merely to justify their political activism. I missed the chapter where Christ denounced the emperor or extorted his followers to mount protest marches or issued Resolutions advocating disobedience to Roman laws.

    Most churches average 40% who are conservatives and who probably voted for Trump, or alternatively, against Clinton. The recent “Reclaiming Jesus” proclamation stated that the Tax Reform Bill was immoral and that America First is “heresy.” The TEC had previously adopted a similar proclamation stating that immigration laws are “racist.” There are many members who rightfully believe that the proper role of the federal government is to protect the needs of American citizens first. There are many members who honestly believe that we need more taxpayers than we need more taxes, and that tax reform can stimulate jobs. There are many members who honestly believe in the Rule of Law when it comes to immigration, and they are not “racists” for expecting Presidents to honor their oath to enforce our laws. The “Reclaiming Jesus” proclamation labeled such political beliefs as immoral, heresy and racist, which is the same thing as calling the members who support these beliefs as immoral heretics and racists. It just seems like an odd business model to actively try and run off half your audience, and then be stunned when the audience begins to shrink.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      The statistics do back up my point that all churches are declining, including conservative ones like the Southern Baptists:
      https://baptistnews.com/article/southern-baptists-lost-million-members-10-years/#.W1HX-_ZFzIU

      Regarding Jesus and politics, I suggest you read material from Bishop N.T. Wright (here is an interview with him here):
      https://www.readthespirit.com/explore/nt-wright-interview-why-left-right-lewis-get-it-wrong/
      In fact, Jesus’ ministry was VERY political for its time. The gospels use a lot of politically charged language for their time. Also, let’s not forget that Jesus was crucified because He was viewed as a political threat by Rome. That doesn’t happen if your ministry is apolitical.

      Regarding your complaints about America First, tax reform, and immigration, I think TEC is right on these issues, not because they are leftist but because they are Christian. America First is often a rallying cry for extreme nationalists, and it is against Christian teaching to but any nation before Jesus. The tax reform bill was a major giveaway to the richest people and corporations in this country at the expense of the most vulnerable (it even raises taxes on some of the poor!):
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/us/politics/senate-republican-tax-plan-poor.html
      Regarding immigration, I’ve made clear multiple times on this site that current enforcement of immigration laws are crueler that necessary, and has been condemned by other Christian groups. Also, when the policies target specific groups of people based on their ethnicity, I would call that racist policy. Conservatives are not required to support any of these unjust policies. The fact that so many do is a problem with secular conservative culture in this country, not an issue with TEC.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          And yet we see conservative denominations like the Southern Baptists shrinking, while the Catholic Church is only growing because of immigration. Not to mention that many of those growing “conservative” churches preach heresies like the prosperity gospel. I’m sorry, but I don’t think we should try to strive for church growth by going backwards on issues of gender and sexuality. After all, if remaining conservative on those issue is what leads to church growth, then the Continuing Anglicans should be thriving, and yet they are in worse shape than we are.

    2. John Hobart says:

      I think the Christian Right and the Christian Left have both made idols of their political ideology. While they are entitled to their political beliefs, I resent their attempts to make their idols part of my religion. I don’t find N. T. Wright’s arguments compelling and they are hardly objective given his strident and uncompromising political views. To say the Gospel is about politics because Jesus uses political metaphors is equivalent to saying the Gospel is about animal husbandry because Jesus uses pastoral metaphors. Those who think they have found political and economic truth in the Bible are really no different than those who think they have found scientific truth.

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        Well, I consider N.T. Wright, as a New Testament scholar, to be very convincing in this area. While he isn’t infallible, I trust his scholarship on this. It isn’t just political metaphors, it’s inherently political language that subverts Rome’s claims of divine authority and claims them for Jesus (e.g. proclaiming Jesus is Lord implies that Caesar is not). Again, I will also remind you that Jesus was crucified as a political threat, which would make no sense if His ministry was completely apolitical. I just find it incredibly weird to think that there are absolutely no political implications to the Christian faith. How is one’s life changed by Christ if it doesn’t manifest itself in society (i.e. in politics)?

        1. John Hobart says:

          Pilate could find no fault with Jesus and wanted to release him. It was politicized religious leaders who were threatened by Jesus. It was the High Priest and the Scribes and Pharisees who plotted to kill Jesus on false charges (i.e, the charges of political activity were false)…they are more analogous to the political crazies who go to General Convention than anything else that I can think of. The admixture of politics with religion is almost invariably violence and oppression, often leading to bloodshed, as history has shown time and again.

          1. Matt Ouellette says:

            I would argue it’s not the mixture of politics and religion that is the problem, but the mixture of religion and secular authority. There is nothing wrong with the church speaking out in favor of moral issues in society and urging the government to act. However, the problem emerges when the church itself wields secular authority, because that’s when corrupt officials begin using religion to control and oppress others. I would argue that what TEC is doing here is the first example and not the later.

        2. John Hobart says:

          I would argue that the only reason TEC appears benign is because it has less actual political influence than the student council at your local high school. I would also argue that TEC’s political activity is not taken seriously by anyone who matters and the TEC “leadership” is largely making fools of itself.

          1. Matt Ouellette says:

            I don’t think speaking out on important moral issues is making a fool of oneself, but obviously we disagree on this.

          2. John Hobart says:

            You are entitled to speak on any moral issue that you consider important. When you pretend to speak for the church, you are attempting to steal my voice, and that is both immoral and unethical.

          3. Jordan Sakal says:

            Mr. Hobart,

            I highly doubt the esteemed Mr. Ouellette is attempting to speak for the church here with his commentary. Rather he is quite correctly pointing out that the church is speaking for itself on these political issues (and others)

            Mr. Ouellette is not trying to steal your voice, rather with all of his commentary here in these threads he is trying to spread information and enrich people’s voices (and their minds.) He has been nothing but civil and he deserves the same consideration.

          4. John Hobart says:

            You have no grounds to speak about civility as I recall, young man. Especially when it comes to speaking on behalf of others who have not authorized you to speak on their behalf.

        3. mike geibel says:

          Certainly, Christ’s crucifixion was politically motivated. It was the religious leaders who demanded his death, not the governor of Judea. Jesus said that his Kingdom is not of this World, which does not sound to me like he was interested in politics at all. He was the son of God, so he would not lie just to try to save his life. Pontius Pilot found no guilt in “this man.”

          I was taught that Jesus spoke to the individual, never to government or government policy, and he preached that reaching God’s Kingdom was based upon humility, mutual respect and personal responsibility, and not through advocating governmental controls or calling for political marches. By teaching how we should live our lives and setting an example, Jesus profoundly changed history and our hearts. If asked today, I believe that Jesus would refuse to be identified by any political party.

          Perhaps he understood better that we do, that most politicians and emperors are corrupt and temporal, and that our lives are but nanoseconds in in God’s plan. Implicit in Christ’s statement, “Peace be with you,” was that the disciples’ mission was to be peacemakers, and that peace is the confident trust in God’s wise control over our lives. You cannot make “peace” by insulting those who hold different political views by calling them immoral, racists and heretics.

        4. mike geibel says:

          Certainly, Christ’s crucifixion was politically motivated. It was the religious leaders who demanded his death, not the governor of Judea. Jesus said that his Kingdom is not of this World, which does not sound to me like he was interested in politics at all. He was the son of God, so he would not lie just to try to save his life. If asked today, I believe that Jesus would refuse to be identified by any political party.

  5. John Hobart says:

    You have no grounds to speak about civility as I recall, young man. Especially when it comes to speaking on behalf of others who have not authorized you to speak on their behalf.

  6. mike geibel says:

    The average age of an Episcopalian in 2017 is close to age 64. The median Average Sunday Attendance is 57. Us geezers are dying off, but the nones, millennials, and generation EX-ers show no interest in the Episcopal Church. The actuarial tables plus divisive politicking is a lethal recipe for the Church.

    After the November 16th elections, the Church was presented with a Divine opportunity to be the voice of peace and reconciliation. Instead of requiring love and respect for all members of whatever political persuasion, church leaders embarked upon partisan proclamations and virulent denouncements of Trump and his supporters. The post-election marches and apocalyptic negativism exposed an inability to respect political opinions that differ from one’s own biblical interpretations of what the laws should be. No guns, no pipelines, communal bathrooms and showers for all, Israel must be punished, and open borders are more important than jobs, national security or the rights of citizens.

    This does not mean that clergy do not have the right to support causes or particular candidates—but not with the money I tithed. When the Church openly dives into partisan issues, the Church is seen as “taking sides,” and the demonization of members of one political party causes those members to respond with their feet. You can’t spit in someone’s face and expect them to keep coming back for more.

    Shortly after the 2016 election, the LA diocese declared itself a “sanctuary diocese” with a mission from God to harbor illegal aliens, a felony under federal law. My church held a special “Lament” service to bemoan the election of Trump and the defeat of Clinton. I didn’t even vote for Trump but that was my last day as an Episcopalian.

    1. John Hobart says:

      You said that very well. I have not yet given up on the Episcopal Church, but I am saddened by the political idolatry and bigotry that is driving so many from the church.

    2. Matt Ouellette says:

      So, was the church supposed to stand by and say nothing when immoral policies are being promoted by this administration? Standing up against gun violence, caring for the environment, opposing transphobia, opposing the stealing of land, and standing with immigrants are moral issues that all Christians should support. These should not be seen as partisan issues. If political conservatives and Republicans are upset with TEC for speaking out on those issues, then that is their problem and speaks more to the moral degradation of secular conservative culture in the country. TEC should not modify it’s moral stances in order to cater to the secular beliefs of political conservatives.

    3. John Hobart says:

      I think you make my point better than I did: the Christian Left and Right are just the secular Left and Right with a self-righteous, intolerant, religious veneer. ALL Christians should support your politics, of course.

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        Let me ask you a question: do you think it is leftist to oppose gun violence, care for the environment, oppose transphobia, or support immigrants? Because I don’t see those as leftist values. I see them as Christian values. Of course there can be disagreement on how best to promote those values, but I don’t think it is Christian to ignore those values.

        1. John Hobart says:

          I am not in a position to speak for what the Left or Right think, but there is nothing in the Creeds, Commandments, Councils, or Articles of Religion that require a Christian/Episcopalian to take any specific view on any of those topics so I would suggest that they are matters of individual conscience.

  7. mike geibel says:

    I’m sorry, Matt. I guess I’m just not a member of the moral elite who are unassailably correct on every social issue. Everyone has the right to be wrong, including me. Maybe you, too. But labeling everything and everyone you disagree with as “immoral” leaves no room for debate.

    We prevaricate when we pretend we love others when in fact we don’t. (1 John 4:20) We do not love others when we demonize them with false or hateful labels such as “immoral,” “heretics,” “racists”, or other ad hominem attacks such as sexist, misogynist, or homophobic. The person who uses the baptismal covenant to call his neighbor “un-Christian” has condemned himself.

    Living as a Christian is not dependent upon being a Republican or Democrat, or obedience to political correctness, protest marches. Nor is it about abstract punch-lines like “gender justice, eco-justice, or social justice,” imaginary “interlocking oppressions” or labeling every perceived inequity as an injustice.

    To me, living as a Christian is about living your life as a “just” person—a righteous person. It is not about partisan politics or denouncements of politicians we find repugnant. To love your neighbor as yourself, means respect for the dignity of others irrespective of their gender, religion, race or nationality, or whether they voted for the same political candidate. It is an instruction to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated—with respect and civility. It means not insisting that only you are right, and that those who you find disagreeable are less than you.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I never said I was correct on every issue, and I seriously doubt that I am. I am merely human. However, I really don’t understand how it is Christian to not support the values I listed above. Like I said, there is ample room for discussion on how best to promote those values, but I don’t see room for debating those as values in and of themselves. I’m sorry, but I think we need to draw the line somewhere. After all, I assume we don’t believe anything goes when it comes to morality, right? So I don’t think the point of being a Christian is simply to treat others with dignity and respect. Yes, that may be part of our calling, but another part of our calling is to stand for justice. That doesn’t mean aligning with a specific political party, secular ideology, or nation. It means following Jesus in caring for the most vulnerable in society; and part of caring for them is to speak out against injustice against them in society, even if it makes some people uncomfortable. Calling out injustice does not mean you hate those who disagree; after all, Jesus did not hate the religious leaders he called out as hypocrites. Rather, it is challenging them to be more just and compassionate towards their brothers and sisters (and Lord knows I need to be more compassionate myself).

  8. mike geibel says:

    The leftist values are in the virulent tone and the uncompromising means advocated.
    Does the Church advocate reasonable gun restrictions, or ultimately gun confiscation? Demonizing the NRA with hateful labels accomplishes nothing.

    Is “stealing land” a reference to Israel? I’m sure Israelis believe the land was paid for by the blood of their soldiers who prevented annihilation by the Arab states. Israel is our closest ally, gave the FBI the keys to hacking the iPhones of the ISIS murderers in the San Bernardino massacre, when Apple would not. Israel is now the only refuge for those Palestinians who are gay or lesbian fleeing from from a society where people of the “Lut” can be sentenced to 14 years in prison or executed. But if by “stealing land” you are referring to Native Americans, then I am sure that your Christian values will cause you to immediately sign over the deed to your home to the nearest tribal council.

    As for “transphobia,” the TEC filed amicus briefs which elevated transgender rights over the rights of privacy of our children. Frankly, I don’t want my 16 year-old daughter having to shower with an anatomically correct male simply because he thinks he is a girl. I’m old fashioned about that.

    On immigration—entering the country illegally is an infraction subject to deportation. Harboring an illegal alien is a felony. Compassion for the sojourner is an unsound basis for immigration laws and cannot be the measure of who and how many are allowed into the country.

    These are political debates where reasonable minds can differ. It is not about name calling and trying to make it about Christian values converts those values into mere political slogans. Middle ground and compromise is not achievable by calling those who disagree immoral, racists, or heretics.

  9. Matt Ouellette says:

    I can’t speak for the church on all these issues, but I would think the church supports reasonable gun restrictions, not confiscation. Gun confiscation is a fear-mongering tactic used by gun extremist groups like the NRA to oppose any and all reasonable gun restrictions like universal background checks (and yes, I do think it is right to criticize the extremist policies of the NRA).

    Regarding Israel, I do not think establishing settlements on land that does not belong to them is moral. They did not pay for it with their blood, they just decided to build settlements there without consent of the Palestinians for whom the land belongs. Israel may be an ally of the US, but that does not mean we cannot criticize the human rights abuses committed by its far-right government. And are you saying it is okay that Israel steals land today because we stole land from Native Americans in the past? Because that was immoral to do as well. I have no control over the land and thus have no right to give back any stolen land, but I will call out immoral policies where I see them.

    Regarding the bathroom issue, I’m sorry, but your position is transphobic. I’m calling a spade a spade here. You specifically referred to a transgender woman as a man who thinks he’s a girl. That is not what transgenderism is, and it perpetuates a stereotype that transgender people are just confused. They are not. Also, there is no danger for children to allow transgender people to use the same bathroom as cisgender people is not a danger to children. That is fear-mongering, plain and simple.

    I’ve made my position on immigration clear before. I don’t think the current policy of the administration is humane or compassionate, especially when separating children from their parents. Illegal border crossing is a misdemeanor, not a felony. We don’t need to have a zero tolerance approach for this.

  10. mike geibel says:

    Mr. Quellette: I respect your strongly held opinions, and I suspect there is probably more common ground between us than even you realize.

    We have strayed off topic here, and you apparently are taking the exchange way too personal. I apologize if I offended you. But if the new evangelism of the Jesus Movement is all about calling people names like transphobic, Islamaphobic, genderphobic, immoral, racists and heretics, then I guess I will have to pass. Peace be with you.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I didn’t take it personally, and apologize if I appeared to do so; and I’m sure you are a faithful follower of Christ, too. I do have strongly held opinions on these issues, though. However, I don’t think the new evangelism approach of TEC will be focused on accusations and calling names. Instead, it will likely be focused on spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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