|Willow Creek - Not guilty?|
The Global leadership summit organised by Willow Creek Community Church of Bill Hybels is expected to be participated by 165,000 people. Due to pressure from an online petition at "Change.org", Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz cancelled his appearance. The petition claimed that Willow Creek is anti-gay which has been the case until 2009 when they broke off association with Exodus.
The online petition supported by 800 seems too small to impact opinion, but it came after a Starbucks employee was allegedly sacked for being gay in New York. When these two unrelated facts are added, it paints a negative picture and an association with the Christian Right.
Bill Hybels tried to take the high moral ground declaring that "Willow is not only not anti-gay, Willow is not anti-anybody” which is partially true. They have had a long association with Exodus and the link has only been recently aborted. It's like regularly physically abusing a person, and even though we had stopped does not mean that we were not liable for the harm done.
Willow Creek is a good and gracious church and they have done the right thing by distancing themselves from the anti-gay groups such as Exodus. What Christianity does not realise is that there comes a tipping point where whether we stop our anti-gay crusade doesn't matter as much because we have gone passed the point of grace.
The Christian anti-gay propaganda against gays has caused immeasurable harm with many lives destroyed and stucked in closets and many taking their lives. Droves of gays have left the church and many their faith. One cannot wash their hands when there is too much blood.
There comes a tipping point not because gays are any stronger or more vocal, but the shift in public opinion. The church is still debating whether gay sexual orientation was a sin whereas the wider community has moved on and is now talking about gay marriage. Over 50% of Americans now support gay marriage and in some liberal states this is reaching 60%.
The business concerns of Howard Shultz of perceived anti-gay image is not unfounded. It only takes a small spark for the Christian Right has sung their rethoric over the last three decades until we now see a backlash where Christian churches will be taken to task for the harm caused. They may even be much more accepting of gays now than 20 years ago, but the seed has been sown.
There is also a spiritual backlash against the church where God is moving to turn over the stones of Christian hypocrisy with the likes of Ted Haggard and Eddie Long. One by one the dire hypocrisy of the church is revealed not counting the many abortions done because of the lifestyle of heterosexuality.
The manner we judged is the manner we shall be judged. Truth is sadly negated because we have judged with fear, a false witness and homophobia. Therefore, even though mostly innocent, Willow Creek ended up being judged. The church as a whole has played a deadly regime of false witness against gays, and they will receive the reward due of false accusations and rethoric. The lies and the half truths sowed about gays, will come back four fold. It's not about a difference of opinion, but the many hundred of thousands of lives destroyed. Condemnation kills.
The only way Willow Creek can get out of condemnation, is not to take the high moral ground as if they were being unjustly accused, but Christian leadership involves taking that step of repentance and asking the gay community for forgiveness. They haven't reach that point of grace because they are still insisting that gays be celibate whilst heterosexuals are free to love and to marry. Their hypocrisy will come back to judge them.
The next time will not be as harmless as the CEO of Starbucks pulling out of a conference, because morality demands justice. It is unjust to deny others the opportunity to love and the more we resist the move of God, the more severe the test and consequences will be next time as Pharoah found out. And God has probably little to do with it because there is a law of sowing and reaping. And this is the start of the season of reaping.
When Soulforce visited Bill Hybels in 2008/2009, it was God's grace to Willow Creek. They did right by distancing themselves from Exodus, but God wants them to let my people go, to let the Rainbow people of faith to worship God with the church doors fully opened and not with a conditions such as not having sex. God, wants the church doors to be fully opened, not halved open, not opened with conditions, for the love and grace of God needs to be released unconditionally to the Gay community.
And God is knocking at the locked Gates of every Christian church, just that He starts from the biggest church such as Willow Creek. ... and the banging at the door will get louder and louder until we get so annoyed. There is no point for Bill to declare that he was "not anti-gay" until he fully allows them to Exodus out of the closet with no strings attached. "Let my people GO", says the Lord of Host. The cry of heaven is getting louder. Can you hear it!