Looking outside of yourself – Jay Bakker & The Salvation Army

I love it when my tribe looks outside of itself for wise voices, inspiration and a different perspective.

So, it’s been good in the last couple of weeks to have been able to pick up on one of those intersections along the way.

Jay Bakker of Revolution Church in NYC has been speaking to JustSalvos– the Social Justice Department of The Salvation Army in Australia. Jay crops up around 5.30 talking about grace, inclusiveness & sexuality, but the whole vid is worth a look & listen.

Some might imagine this to be a strange alliance; Jay is a straight yet gay affirming, tattooed and pierced “outlaw preacher”, and The Salvation Army is….well…what are we?

If you are in the US, and all you ever knew about The Salvation Army was picked up from bits and pieces you’d found on the web, you might well (erroneously) think The Salvation Army was a right wing fundie organisation who puts a lot of time, energy and cash into pushing a homophobic agenda. (I explored this a little on a couple of earlier posts, “Salvation Army on NPR…some thoughts” and “Sally Bash”) If – on the other hand – you had a small degree of personal experience of The Sally Army you’d struggle to even recognise the way it is occasionally perceived in some quarters.

The reality is quite different.

Does The SA hire hire gay people? Of course it does. Do we have gay people as part of our worshipping communities? Sure. Do we have friends and family members who are gay? Yes – many of us do.

The Salvation Army is a movement that started life – influenced by Jesus – radically reaching out to the marginalised and in large part that remains the case. Sometimes, though, we do need to remind ourselves of that, and in kind of a way Jay is a reminder of that heritage. The alliance I mentioned doesn’t seem at all strange to me. After all, early Salvation Army meetings were full of people who weren’t welcome in the Churches of the day, and may well not have been seen dead in their buildings given the choice!

Like many/most Christian tribes we’re on a journey when it comes to our interpretation of and response to human sexuality, and there is no longer absolute consensus at grass roots within our global ranks about quite where we stand on this issue. The place where we are today may well not be where we are in the future.

Our current engagement with people like Jay…and Andrew Marin… and Tony Campolo and countless others has to say something about at least our willingness to find ourselves in a place that reaches out to our LGBT brothers and sisters with love and grace.

8 Responses to “Looking outside of yourself – Jay Bakker & The Salvation Army”

  1. David Eldridge March 23, 2011 at 11:13 PM #

    Great blog. Wise and balanced.

  2. Martin March 24, 2011 at 8:05 PM #

    Jonny,

    Fantastic post – as David says above extremely wise. I’m deeply convicted that we followers of Christ should live generously in all aspects our lives – particularly how we engage with those who aren’t like us. I’m on a journey in my thinking about sexuality, and have different thoughts at different points. However, the important thing is we continue journeying and continue listening to God’s voice in this.

    Prayers,
    M

  3. Johnny Laird March 24, 2011 at 11:36 PM #

    Thanks for the encouraging comments, David & Martin…appreciate that

    J

  4. Grant April 7, 2011 at 7:29 AM #

    Just to clarify, this video is from JustSalvos, AUS territory social justice department.
    iSalvos.com is completely separate from justsalvos and the AUS territory.

  5. Johnny Laird April 7, 2011 at 6:19 PM #

    Corrected that now, Grant. Thanks for passing by, and picking me up on that. Sorry for the mess up on my part.

    Grace & peace

    J

  6. Rob October 11, 2011 at 11:21 PM #

    Philip Yancey has something to say on these matters. I picked up in one of his books…. he mentions a gay-pride-style march in Chicago i think it was, and the so called ‘Christians’ were on the sidewalk hurling abuse, whilst the ‘Gay’ Christians on the march were singing ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so’ honestly – when I read that I was mega-challenged and my heart went out to both sides in that scene. It was a life-changing moment for me. I needed that reminder from Philip. I could see it so obviously in the ‘racist’ thing – but had not set my mind to even consider the same arguements apply to the homosexual community. Lord, forgive me.
    I am confident that Jesus loves. Nothing more and nothing less. He LOVES. We are surely expected to emulate that as closely in our lifestyle as is humanly possible. I ask myself; can it be said that Rob Loves? Regardless. Unjudgementally? With nothing more than Grace to fall back on. Well,that’s where I want to be. However I have grown up with baggage that I shall have to learn to dump…somewhere…and the cross might be a good place to start…’cos as far as I recall, Jesus took all of that upon Himself. I believe He went there for Gays and Straights. I’m still working it out….and I don’t want to point fingers.. He knows I’ve needed His Grace more than most in the past – and probably (definitely!) am in desperate need of it right now. God help us as we work thru all of this. Its not my intention to judge you – please pray for guidance for us all. Rob

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