This kind of story is exactly why I cut Brian McLaren some slack.

Basically, the play is the result of a hundred or so interviews with gay and lesbian people and their interaction with Christianity throughout their lives. It was a powerful play because the script was entirely comprised of the content of these interviews.

They told their stories and incorporated passages of Scripture that address homosexuality. While I don’t agree with the interpretation that was put forward on these passages, one thing really struck me: putting the Scripture next to the individual stories humanized the whole issue of homosexuality. That piece was very well done.

After the play and a short discussion time, Dan and I got a chance to sit down and have a beer with someone who is very closely connected to the show. She shared with us that they had invited over 600 different churches and Christian organizations to come view the premiere.

One of the most common responses she got from churches was “hate mail.”

This was from churches.

Then, she shared with us her own personal story and how she was publicly shamed by a clergy member during a church service when she was in high school. She has never been back. I’m sure the “hate mail” she received really made her want to give church another chance.

It struck me that this play, in many ways, was the gay and lesbian community reaching out to the church to start a dialog.

And the church’s response was “hate mail.”

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16 Comments(+Add)

1   Joe Martino
September 28th, 2007 at 10:21 am

Surely, you’re not suggesting we don’t take a stand!

2   iggy
September 28th, 2007 at 10:26 am

I personally will take a stand against “hate mail”…

I will start with protesting Ken Silva and his anti “man-loving” ways. I am writing an email right now…

oi, what a web we weave!


3   Phil Miller
September 28th, 2007 at 10:29 am

I quit reading when this so-called “Christian” starts talking about drinking beer. (Just kiddin’, I’m just doing my watchdoggie impression).

Seriously, it’s sad that a church would send anything that could be considered “hate mail”.

4   Rick Frueh
September 28th, 2007 at 10:38 am

I am all for reaching out to gays in love and with the life saving gospel of Jesus Christ. We have acted shamefully. But how in the world does that mean we should cut MacLaren, of all people, some slack?

MacLaren is a bone fide heretic who doesn’t need slack he needs prayer for his own repentance. There are many of us who thought our actions toward gay people was unloving and without mercy, but we didn’t say the other things that MacLaren has said.

5   Joe Martino
September 28th, 2007 at 10:41 am

What exactly has McLaren said that was heretical about gays?

6   chris
September 28th, 2007 at 10:43 am

Surely, you’re not suggesting we don’t take a stand!

Absolutely take a stand!

The question is “where do you want to stand”?

“and Jesus looked on them with compassion”
“Jesus looked at him and loved him”
“neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more”
he touched the leper!

Once some “well-meaning” church people criticized me for going to the bar with my brother. They asked/said “Why would you go there? Don’t you understand what that makes you look like?” my response: “I go to the bar with my brother because he won’t come to church with me”.

I wish I would have been invited to go.

7   chris
September 28th, 2007 at 10:45 am

MacLaren is a bone fide heretic who doesn’t need slack he needs prayer for his own repentance. There are many of us who thought our actions toward gay people was unloving and without mercy, but we didn’t say the other things that MacLaren has said.

Rick I asked you in another post if you had read, the only article that I can find, where MacClaren talks about homosexuallity? If you have other sources I would love to hear them.

8   Rick Frueh
September 28th, 2007 at 10:46 am

Joe – It isn’t just about gays, MacLarens’ resume goes way beyond that. I am working on an articlce that will, I hope, deal substantively and with accurate quotes what MacLaren has said.

BTW – a great comment, chris!

9   Joe Martino
September 28th, 2007 at 10:48 am

For the record my “take a stand” comment was sarcasm.

10   iggy
September 28th, 2007 at 10:52 am

Really, I think this quote is the most insightful of Brian McLaren

“I hesitate in answering “the homosexual question” not because I’m a cowardly flip-flopper who wants to tickle ears, but because I am a pastor, and pastors have learned from Jesus that there is more to answering a question than being right or even honest: we must also be . . . pastoral. That means understanding the question beneath the question, the need or fear or hope or assumption that motivates the question.”
–Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question, Out of Ur, Jan. 2006

The issue is that this is more than about “sin” but about “people.” When we can realize that it is about people then we can begin to help them… until then we only will come across as hateful.

When you have a group of people who identify with a sin as their identity, one needs to proceed purposefully and lovingly to help them redirect their life.

To expect a gay monogamous couple to just stop loving each other… is a bit hard… what if we found a verse in the bible that stated hetero marriage was a sin… how easy would it be to just stop loving our spouse and start over as gay?

Think about that… before you just spout off.

I would probably choose to live with my wife and live in sin… especially if there are people who “hate” me for loving my wife.

Now, that is what we expect from the gay community. Funny thing is I see that many gay people reached out to churches to help them were used, abused, and cast out…

I have a friend who went for counseling… and was seduced by the pastor /counselor… I know another who was told to leave because he “struggled” with his sin still… he left and stopped the “struggle.”

I know a woman who was told simply that she need “shave your legs and wear makeup” and she would be straight… needless to say it did not work and it took her many years to overcome her own temptations. (In addition, she still struggles today after being married for many years with to grown daughters)

I know a man who as his “lover” died of AIDS was told that he would burn in hell with him…

Yet, somehow to have compassion is to be for “sin” to lovingly reach out and redirect by God’s prompting is “approving” and saying with a wink that “gay is OK”.

Somehow, I wonder if Jesus made a mistake at the Cross and we all need to face the judgment we deserve…

Be Blessed,

11   Rick Frueh
September 28th, 2007 at 10:56 am

The hypocrisy and hatred by the church toward homosexuals and lesbians is legion and inexcuseable. It rivals the way the so called church treated blacks in the south and elsewhere.

That topic aside, MacLaren gets no slack.

12   iggy
September 28th, 2007 at 11:06 am


MacLaren is a bone fide heretic who doesn’t need slack he needs prayer for his own repentance. There are many of us who thought our actions toward gay people was unloving and without mercy, but we didn’t say the other things that MacLaren has said.

Respectfully I ask for a source that shows these things that Brian has stated that makes him a heretic.

I keep asking… but no one will do it.

So… again, where are these quotes?

I read some at thinkerup’s blog which in the end some went on to state “yep, that proves he is a heretic>… yet not one quote stated he approved of homosexuality or denied hell or was a Universalism… in fact one showed he was NOT a universalist… another showed he did believe in hell but thinks that some of the parables are not about “hell” as much as it is about being accountable now…

Such as these:

“we should consider the possibility that many, and perhaps even all of Jesus’ hell-fire or end-of-the-universe statements refer not to postmortem judgment but to the very historic consequences of rejecting his kingdom message of reconciliation and peacemaking.”
–Brian McLaren’s Inferno 3, Out of Ur, May 2006

In addition, this one…

“The language of hell, in my view, like the language of biblical prophecy in general, is not intended to provide literal or detailed fortune-telling or prognostication about the hereafter, nor is it intended to satisfy intellectual curiosity, but rather it is intended to motivate us in the here and now to realize our ultimate accountability to a God of mercy and justice and in that light to rethink everything and to seek first the kingdom and justice of God.”
––Brian McLaren, The Last Word and the Word After That, pgs.188-189

Neither of these softens “hell” nor denies it… in fact it is holding us MORE accountable NOW.

Notice also this quote…

“Tony [Campolo] and I might disagree on the details, but I think we are both trying to find an alternative to both traditional Universalism and the narrow, exclusivist understanding of hell [that unless you explicitly accept and follow Jesus, you are excluded from eternal life with God and destined for hell].”
–Brian McLaren’s Inferno 2, Out of Ur, May 2006

Now, Brian is not stating that Universalism is true, rather that he is sympathetic to those who are Universalists…

There is a difference.

So repeatedly, I will ask for quotes that make him a heretic…

Be Blessed,

13   Rick Frueh
September 28th, 2007 at 11:09 am

Iggy – as I have stated I am currently doing my “own research” about MacLaren and will post it soon. The quotes you site will do well in supporting my overall assessment.

One quote – two readings.

14   iggy
September 28th, 2007 at 11:14 am


The issue is also that they need be in context…

And not twisted out of context as so many have done and are doing.


15   Rick Frueh
September 28th, 2007 at 11:27 am

I am not so concerned about “twisting” them as I am about “untwisting” them to reflect what he is really saying. Suffice to say with MacLaren it is a cake walk. Some are harder.

16   Noel
September 29th, 2007 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the link and the conversation.

While I believe Scripture is clear on homosexual practice (it is a sin), working with homosexuals is complex because they are people who need Jesus as much as any of us. We all have our sins / blind spots that need Jesus’ influence.