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Straight believers find a home in gay churches, synagogues (Oh brother...)
RNS ^ | July 22nd, 2009

Posted on 07/23/2009 7:52:54 AM PDT by TaraP

WASHINGTON—When Andi Kasarsky’s husband died six years ago, members of her synagogue came to sit shiva—the customary Jewish ritual of mourning—with her.

They came in shifts for days, many of them strangers, to share her grief. And although Kasarsky was mourning her husband, many of the grievers were gay.

She was so touched by the support that Kasarsky, 54, became a more faithful member of Bet Mishpachah, an unaffiliated Washington congregation of around 200 gays and lesbians. She’s just one of many heterosexuals who are finding God in predominantly gay houses of worship.

“Mishpachah means family and they were truly family to me,” said Kasarsky. “Isn’t that what we want and look for and hope for in a religious community?”

As faith-minded gays and lesbians struggle for acceptance in predominantly heterosexual churches and synagogues, the idea that heterosexuals seek out gay houses of worship might seem strange, but it happens more often than one might think.

Denver Schimming, 51, and his wife Sheila Hobson, 48, were in the market for a liberal-minded church in Nashville, Tenn.—“the buckle of the Bible Belt,” he says—and knew they found something different at Holy Trinity Community Church, where 90 percent of its 350 members are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT).

“I laugh and say we’re the token straight couple, but I kid you not, they treat us like royalty,” said Hobson. “They are so loving and giving.”

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others once called 11:00 on Sunday morning the most segregated hour in Christian America; indeed, sexual orientation can be just as divisive. Just as churches were split into white and black, they have also split between gay and straight.

Alternative faith communities that cater to GLBT believers, such as Holy Trinity and Bet Mishpachah, were an outgrowth of the gay rights movement that took root 40 years ago. “Inclusion” is the buzzword for many of these congregations.

Rabbi Toby Manewith, a straight woman who was recently installed as Bet Mishpachah’s new rabbi, said the radical welcome grows out of “members’ experience of being on the outside.”

“Everyone who comes here, no matter their sexual or gender identity, religious affiliation or knowledge, everyone is welcomed with open arms,” said Manewith, 43. “You’d hope that would happen in all religious communities, but the truth is it’s not an easy thing to put into practice.”

Some straight believers attend out of a sense of solidarity or social justice. Others wandered in by accident, or were invited by a gay friend or family member, and simply felt at home and decided to stay.

While some congregations—such as those that belong to the 43,000-member Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)—were formed to deliberately minister to gays and lesbians, others took a more organic approach as their surroundings changed. That’s what happened at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in the heart of Washington’s gay Dupont Circle neighborhood.

Kristin Jones, 56, stumbled upon St. Thomas nearly 25 years ago when it was, as she put it, full of elderly church ladies and young gay men. She came because she liked to sing in the choir; she stayed even though women—let alone straight women—are still the minority.

The church has seen Jones through single motherhood; 60 members threw her a baby shower as she prepared to adopt her first of two daughters from China. With time, “I started thinking of St. Thomas as my tribe,” she said.

Even with the support, being the straight sheep in a gay flock is not without its predictable oddities. Ivan Zimmerman, 51, remembers congregants assuming he was gay during his early days at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a renowned predominantly gay 700-member synagogue in New York City.

“I would joke and say I’ve come to terms with my heterosexuality,” Zimmerman said.

The minority status that straight members experience provides a taste of what GLBT people face daily—and that can even be appealing, straight worshippers said. Avrum Weiss and his wife were the only heterosexual couple when they joined Atlanta’s mostly gay Bet Haverim synagogue; now, half of the congregation’s 200 members are straight.

“Judaism is rooted in a long history of oppression and suffering,” Weiss said. “… When you sit in a room with people who are in that moment living through oppression, it’s a dramatically different experience.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: episcobaal; episcopagan; episcopal; evolution; gaychurch; gaystapo; genesis; homobama; homocults; homosexualagenda; nonchristiancult; perverts; religiousfaggots; religiousleft; sin

1 posted on 07/23/2009 7:52:55 AM PDT by TaraP
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To: TaraP

“gay churches”


2 posted on 07/23/2009 7:54:10 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: All

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.....

3 posted on 07/23/2009 7:57:20 AM PDT by TaraP (Unless we stand for something, we will fall for everything.")
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To: TaraP

File in I don’t care bin.

4 posted on 07/23/2009 7:59:20 AM PDT by edcoil (If I had 1 cent for every dollar the government saved, Bill Gates and I would be friends.)
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To: TaraP

Like a disease attacking a weakened host, these perverts like to prey on the vulnerable.

5 posted on 07/23/2009 8:04:34 AM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: Slapshot68

It’s just more liberalism. The guy and his wife say that they were looking for a liberal minded church. Why would anyone look for a liberal minded church unless they were very liberal in their social attitudes? Or looking to make a political statement by who they mingle with at church? They want to claim how enlightened they are by being in a church with liberal/gay members. Okay............

I agree God loves us all, regardless of sexual confusion, gender bending inclinations and all that. I think many of these liberal types don’t realize that they will be welcome at others houses of worship. All the churches I am familiar with will welcome anyone who sincerely seeks fellowship, and wants to learn about the word of God, and be part of a faith community.

6 posted on 07/23/2009 8:07:32 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: TaraP

Substitue the word sinner for gay in this article.

1. All churches are made up of sinners.

2. The purpose of a church is to save people from their sins and set them on the straight and narrow road, not to provide encuragement and approval for their sin.

7 posted on 07/23/2009 8:14:26 AM PDT by Brookhaven (Obama hasn't just open Pandora's box, he has thrown us inside and closed the lid.)
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To: TaraP
What's next, pedophile churches?
8 posted on 07/23/2009 8:21:08 AM PDT by mrmeyer ("When brute force is on the march, compromise is the red carpet." Ayn Rand)
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To: TaraP

Uh, no they don’t.

9 posted on 07/23/2009 8:56:24 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Brookhaven

We are all sinners..We need to hear the truth of GOD..Church should be a place to go and as for forgiveness of our sins, not a place to justify them....

10 posted on 07/23/2009 9:31:42 AM PDT by TaraP (Unless we stand for something, we will fall for everything.")
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To: TaraP

IIRC, the Mosaic law, going back to what G*d said, holds that a man lying with a man is an abomination in the eyes of G*d”.

If it is good enough for the Almighty, it is good enough for me.

I assume the synagagues supporting this perversion are Deformed Synagogues, not Orthodox or Conservative.

Oops! My mistake, - change “Deformed” to “Reformed”.

11 posted on 07/23/2009 10:07:29 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: TaraP

You can find your local Episcopal “Church” here:

12 posted on 07/23/2009 2:10:27 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: Dilbert San Diego

Genesis is not in their Bibles.

13 posted on 07/24/2009 7:44:18 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???)
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