We Found Those Young People Your Church Has Been Looking For

Hey! Good news!

We found those young people your church keeps saying they are looking for. You know, the next generation that we keep hoping will come in our doors and save us? Well, we saw a  whole bunch of them today!

Here they are:

Here’s another view of more of them:

Our church members found them at the Dallas Pride Parade today. Thousands of them. We were there, along with five other United Methodist congregations, and almost 15 other churches, marching in the Annual Dallas Gay Pride Parade.

And, dang! We found a whoppin’ bunch ‘o young people!!!

I mean, not two or three. Thousands and thousands of ’em. All gathered together in one place.

Apparently, like John Wesley found several hundred years ago, there a big old world of young people, who might never darken the doors of a church. But they really really seemed to love our tshirts, with the church slogan on them…

ChurchandHateLogo

They gave us lots of “high fives””‘ and smiles…and even some shock and joy, when they saw our shirts.

So, anyway…good news!

Those young people your church wants to attract really DO exist! And they seemed grateful to see church folks. And I got the feeling they just might be looking for the kind of church that most United Methodist Churches imagine they might be.

There’s just one teeny, tiny problem…

You know what pesky language in the Book of Discipline?

The silly language about homosexuality being “incompatible?”

Yeah…they hate that stuff.

They are soooo over doctrine like that.

Meanwhile in our denomination, we keep pretending doctrine like that is a matter of life or death. And as long as we do, as long as we cling to that exclusionary language –which logically is more in line with Westboro Baptist than most traidtional mainline protestant doctrine today(1)– they’re not gonna visit us.

Which is really too bad, doncha think?

But if you want to march with us in the Pride Parade next year, I’ll be happy to introduce you to some of them.

Because they are beautiful children of God.

(1) Arguably, the UMC is now officially the largest of the traditional mainline protestant denominations to not allow some “live and let live” like policies with respect to same sex wedding. This puts us, whether we like it or not, more in line with folks like Westboro than with those we have traditionally assumed we are most like.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

2 thoughts on “We Found Those Young People Your Church Has Been Looking For

  1. But, they aren’t heading to The Episcopal Church either. So, there may be a lot more to it than that especially for the 95% that aren’t LGBT themselves.

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