January 17th, 2013
Mars Hill is a hip, cool mega-church in Seattle with about the nastiest anti-gay culture you can imagine. And like many mega-churches, it has various “campuses” – spin-off churches, sometimes with their own pastor.
Well Mars Hill is all excited that one campus has a new location, right next to Capitol Hill, the gay neighborhood. (press release)
“This is an incredible opportunity to be a ministry hub for downtown Seattle as it will allow us to better serve the business men and women in our city, as well as the homeless and marginalized, as we’re closer to one of our ministry partner, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission,” says Tim Gaydos, lead pastor of the Downtown Seattle church. “Also, being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill.” CrossCut News recently reported on some of the church’s community reach efforts.
So I went to see what CrossCut News had to say about the service and ministry to “those who are infected with AIDS on the hill”. I didn’t find any mention of services or care, but I did find this:
Mars Hill is known as hip, but also theologically conservative. Two issues, in particular, tend to put Mars Hill at odds with much of liberal Seattle: views on homosexuality and the role of women.
So I asked Gaydos, “What about gay people and people of other faiths? Are you comfortable working with people like that?” “Absolutely,” said Gaydos.
“We want to make this a great city where everyone flourishes and that means loving everyone of different backgrounds and beliefs. Actually, we have a lot of gay people coming to the church.”
To be clear, GLBT are welcome to attend and participate at Mars Hill Downtown. They are not able to become members of the church.
That’s it. Just “a lot of gay people coming to the church”. But surely that can’t be what they mean by “those who are infected with AIDS”, can it. Surely they don’t just assume all gay people are “infected with AIDS”.
And what’s with that term: “infected with AIDS”? I don’t think I’ve seen that particular phrase since some time in the 90’s.
So I looked closer. What is the message of this ministry to Those Who Are Infected With AIDS On The Hill? Well, the church is doing a series on Who Do You Think You Are (buy the book) by Pastor Mark Driscoll, author of the exciting Real Marriage (buy the book).
It’s full of exciting advice on how to avoid “a false identity apart from Christ” and includes such zingers as “Sin may explain some of your activity, but it’s not your identity.” Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
But maybe I’m oversensitive and misunderstand. So I checked Mars Hills website to see if they do indeed have a ministry in service to those who are, well, ya know. And when I looked for ministries I found a few choices: Family Ministry, Student Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Global Ministry. No that didn’t seem right. But there also were Biblical Counseling, Pre-Marital (clearly not us), and Redemption Groups.
Wait. Redemption groups. Hmmm. Maybe the service and ministry to the AIDS-infected is under Redemption groups. Yep, I clicked on Redemption groups (buy the book) and there we were: “the gay lifestyle was everything I was” — redemption in the life of Dan.
But that was 2010 and not AIDS-infected specific. Surely a church with a ministry to T.W.A.I.W.AIDS.O.T.H would have some mention of it somewhere on their rather extensive website.
So I searched the entire site and Yes! I found it:
In this church we have some people who are both rich and righteous. They’re like Boaz. You never hear of them because they’re not looking for accolades. They’re just looking for opportunities. You know, we have a ministry to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, for example. And we had someone who had a brother who died of AIDS, and he sent us a very generous check saying, “Use this money to help people who are struggling with same-sex attraction, so that they know the love of Jesus and have a new life.” That’s very generous. Didn’t owe us anything. Never even met this guy – what is that? Righteous rich. That’s a kind thing. That’s a nice thing to do, because he understood the gospel.
Overlooking the morality tale about “don’t leave your assets to your homophobic ahole brother” it’s a revelation. There we have it. Voila, we found the ministry to “those who are infected with AIDS on the hill”. It’s the ministry to those who struggle with same-sex attraction.
You say “gay”, Mars Hill says “infected with AIDS”. Same difference.
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