By Darren Cardinal (a.k.a. Cadillac Louis)
The following is an open letter I have been working on since my wife and I departed from our previous church. It was an easy decision for me after some very hurtful conversations with fellow members. It hasn't been an easy transition for my wife, but (I think) it's getting easier for her. We currently claim no home church, other then our actual home - church is where you make it. I hope you'll read on and please take in every aspect of this letter.
To whomever this message shall reach,
My name is Caddie and I'm writing this letter in response to an ideology I feel has been plaguing the church for far too long. I guess I should give you some background on myself before going any further. I've been a devoted Christian for something close to four years now, and most of that time was spent as a youth leader for my former church. I'm writing this because I feel the message that set me free from that life has been obscured, and that message is simply this, "God is love." I've been to several churches in my life and at every one I attended, I've noticed some key problems.
One of the biggest problems I've noticed is the idea of being "inclusive, but only so long as another group is in-line with our beliefs." In other words, if a person or group views God differently than us, "well, then clearly they're not of God." I'm sorry, but from my readings and study of the Bible, this is in direct contradiction with the teachings and life of Jesus Christ (you know that long haired dude we claim as "ours"). Not only did Jesus teach tolerance, but he embraced it. So your (and I mean this in a general sense) convert-over-accept idea is wrong!
I've noticed a lot of Christian mainstream churches who are willing to "borrow" from other religious traditions, but who won't invite those other believers into the "sacred" four walls of their church. My other problem with the exclusion I see being taught in our churches is how our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community are treated. Now I know the argument that could be raised by this statement, but I'm here to tell you that anti-LGBTQ talking points are inherently flawed. For starters the word "homosexual" didn't even appear in the bible until around the 1940's (you know, when it was a law in the United States to "not be gay" and African-Americans had to drink from different water fountains). Another point: let's say you are right and "it's not okay to be gay" according to the Bible. Well, then we better start following all those laws (again, you know, those things Jesus set us free from), and I better never see the pastor wearing a cotton-polyester blend suit or eating shellfish. If I do, we better stone him.
My second problem is this gospel of prosperity. Sorry, but I don't think it had anything to do with Jesus wanting you to live in a quarter of a million dollar home, driving a sixty thousand dollar SUV while drinking a ten dollar cup of coffee. Yet when the homeless man on the corner asked for change you tell him "Get a job, you bum!" Seems a little bit different then what Jesus taught us, doesn't it? True if you are faithful to the lord He will bless you, but shouldn't we also be giving it all back to those less fortunate? I'm not telling you to live the life of a begger, but I am asking you to reassess what is truly the gospel of prosperity.
Lastly, I want it to be noted that I do not hate you for this hurt you have caused. In fact I still find myself madly in love with you. For every single person who has told me I have fallen from the heart of God. For every friendship lost because I wouldn't break my belief in a better way then condemning or converting. For every person who has been turned away because they were "ungodly." I still love you because my faith in Jesus and in following him has taught me to continue to love you. This doesn't mean I have to forget what you have done and continue to do, but I still continue to love.
I hope someday to see a church united and finally able to accept everyone, but until then I will hold on to hope.
Darren Cardinal (a.k.a. Cadillac Louis) was born and raised in The Motor City. He self describes himself as "your average working class lefty chasing after the heart of his faith." Unashamed of his social and political activism Darren is a powerful straight ally for the LGBTQ community. When his not out fighting for the underdog, or being devoted to his beautiful wife and father to their new born daughter, he is in the midst of starting a progressive church, "Progress to the Cross".