Pastor behind church’s North Carolina Amendment 1 apology billboard speaks
Missiongathering Christian Church in California – in response to the passage of Amendment 1 which recently defined marriage in North Carolina’s state constitution as between one man and one woman in addition to banning other types of domestic legal unions such as civil unions and domestic partnerships – has sponsored a billboard erected in Charlotte, North Carolina on Billy Graham Parkway which reads “Missiongathering Christian Church is sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who denied rights & equality to so many in the name of God,” provides a link to a Facebook page and contains the phrase ‘in response to Amendment 1.’ Alex Roller, Spiritual Formation Pastor of Missiongathering Christian Church, comments for this article.
Missiongathering Christian Church, in stark contrast with various other Christian churches, both supports same-sex marriage and rejects the idea that homosexuality is a sin. Roller, a gay person himself, approaches scripture differently than – as he explains – many fundamentalist and conservative churches which believe that biblical verses condemn LGBT persons. A more academic and thoughtful understanding [explained here, by the church] of the cultural contexts and wider message of Jesus’ teachings, Roller notes, should lead people away from a literalistic interpretation of commonly cited verses which appear, to some, to condemn homosexuals.
Cultural influences, family history, generalizations, fear and lack of understanding – Roller says – might account for what seems to be a disconnect between people — whether they be pastors or lay churchgoers — who have a literalistic and condemning interpretation of scripture as opposed to those who do not. Roller, though, is optimistic about cultural change because he is noticing churches growing and progressing while also noticing the news media doing a better job of accurately portraying LGBT people so that people can have a better understanding of LGBT persons.
More information about Missiongathering Christian Church can be found on their website. Information specifically pertaining to their billboard in North Carolina can be found on their 'Our Hearts Are With You' Facebook page which includes a frequently asked questions page in addition to an explanation of their theological views concerning the Bible and homosexuality.
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