"Civility, it is said, means obeying the unenforceable." Ellen Goodman
We wanted to know if pastors felt limited or pressured when it comes to speaking about controversial topics. Half of Christian pastors says they frequently (11%) or occasionally (39%) feel limited in their ability to speak out on moral and social issues because people will take offense. The other half of pastors say they only rarely (30%) or never (20%) feel limited in this way. When asked to identify the source of the concerns, pastors are much more likely to say that they feel limited by those inside the church than those outside. In other words, the reactions of those in the pews are most on the minds of today’s pastors.
Have you ever been to a church where the Jesus music is so loud that some congregants—young, hip urbanites all—wear earplugs? Where the Christian pop-rock stirs people into such rapture that they jump up and down, both feet leaving earth, both hands raised ecstatically skyward, as if in a mild-mannered mosh pit? Where half the pastors, band members, and congregants have nose piercings and the other half have forearm tattoos, and a teeny-tiny beanie is the accessory du jour?
But Pastor Josh knows that some of his congregants are gay—or, in his words, “would say they’re gay”—and he’s happy to tell them where he feels “the truth lands on the issue.” He just doesn’t want “the conversation” to end the moment someone reads on C3’s website that gay marriage is an affront to God. “To me, that’s a shame,” he says. “I’m trying to show, ‘Hey, I’m not judging anyone. I’m not condemning anyone.’ We’ve all got our views and attractions and all those kinds of things.” He knows that young people, especially, inhabit a complicated, alienating world.
“I think every one of us is searching for love,” Pastor Josh says. “Even though we might disagree on where the best place to look for love is.”
Imagine stumbling into a church you’ve never seen on Sunday morning. As you approach you hear rapper DMX praying, “I have special privileges. I am God’s favored child.” In front of you sit Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, who were both raised Christian but now consider themselves “spiritual.”
The prayer ends, and a gospel choir in matching Yeezy merchandise belts out rapper Kid Cudi’s “Reborn.” Presiding over it all is Pastor Kanye West.
It isn’t a dream. Kanye reportedly started his own church on the first Sunday of the year, and since then, he’s attracted celebrities to his entertaining, religion-laced gatherings.