pastors deacons


  • 600 names - all of these names can be used for any gender, but I divided them into what gender they traditionally are (male, female, unisex)
  • Common and unusual names
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  • English, Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Greek, German, Latin, French, American, Spanish, Scandinavian, Hebrew, Turkish, Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Iranian/Persian names

** denotes a name heavily associated with a preexisting entity, fictional or real

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anonymous asked:

I was wondering how you came to the decision that God doesn't see being LGBT as a sin. I've been trying to discern what I believe God says about it, but I can't. It feels like I've been running into a wall for years. I want to believe that it's okay, but I can't seem to let myself. I don't feel like I've ever heard God say it was okay. I've seen a lot pointing to it being okay, but I've also seen a lot pointing to it being wrong. (1/2)

(2/2) And I don’t want to disobey God, but if it is wrong I know I will be angry and bitter the rest of my life. I kind of think maybe God has told me, but I don’t want His answer so I decided to ignore it. Or that God told me, but I thought it was me being hopeful and that He would never actually say I was okay so I didn’t believe it. I just wondered if you could give me any advice on this.

Hey! Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I understand how difficult this question is; it took me five years of asking questions, listening to the lived experience of others, soul searching, yelling at God, furiously highlighting my Bible, and praying to come to my conclusion. Which is, just to be transparent, that LGBTQ folks are fully included members of the body of Christ who are held to the same standards and are invited to live by a Biblically-based sexual ethic. LGBTQ folks are no different from any other Christian; they are are gifted in unique ways by the holy Spirit, struggle with unique temptations, and work for holiness and justice in their own unique ministries. 

As mentioned, my road to this answer was long and fraught, but it coalesced around three distinct events in the last year or so of my life. The first was reading God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines. I had encountered plenty of arguments for the affirmation of gay Christians before, but they always either encouraged gay Christians to live permanently celibate lives, or they held such a loose view of scripture that they disregarded every passage they didn’t like and elevated sociology and scientific research above the Bible. Now I absolutely affirm those in the church, gay or straight, who have been called to a lifetime of celibacy, and I am a big advocate of bringing current research into conversation with the Bible, but neither of these arguments were sufficient for me. God and the Gay Christian was a game changer. It’s written by a evangelical gay man who holds a very high view of both Biblical authority, and he took a year off his studies at Harvard divinity school to thoughtfully and lovingly engage Biblical witness on the subject of sexual orientation, both on a verse-by-verse and holistic basis. I read it in one sitting on a summer day in my living room, then put the book aside and said to God “Okay. I’m done fighting. I’m on board.”

The second event had been in the works for a while. It consisted of my abandoning my need to theologically police others on the minutia of issues of sexual orientation, a practice I have seen wreak unimaginable harm in and outside of the church. I had enough evidence to finally decide which side of the fence I came down on, and surrendered the rest to the Holy Spirit. If an LGBTQ person told me they loved Jesus, I decided to trust them, to trust the Holy Spirit with them, and to treat them just like any other brother or sister in Christ. The third event was my starting seminary, in which I met a number of gay, bi, trans, and nonbinary people who took the Bible and sex seriously, who were in love with God and absolutely committed to serving the church as pastors, teachers, and deacons. They erased any other hesitations I had. 

That’s my story, but turning to yours, beloved child of God, I encourage you to continue listening to the Holy Spirit through prayer and attentiveness to your own heart. The Bible is an amazing, life-giving book, but it isn’t as neat as we would like. It’s colored by the politics and context of its time, and it doesn’t pretend to be the unfailing rule of life we want it to be. You need to keep the scriptures close to you as you discern the right path; you need to engage God’s story and the person of Jesus and the Bible’s opinions on spiritual and social dimensions of sex. But ultimately, it will not make your decision for you. Neither will Matthew Vines or Tim Keller or any theologian on either side of the isle. One revelatory moment won’t make the daily choice of how you live in your body go away, and weeks or months of being confident in your spiritual choices doesn’t mean that doubt does not creep in sometimes to try and dissuade you from the truth. Repetitive nagging can be the Holy Spirit tugging our heart towards something new, but those ugly waves of guilt or self-hatred that crash in are absolutely not. 

I am so sorry you are having to have this conversation with God (and God wants to have it with you! He loves your body and your mind and created you as a sexual being with delight! She wants to guide you in how to inhabit your body fully and ethically and with joy!) in a time where human sexuality is a warzone. I’m sorry your existence has been politicized and that your presence in the church is seen as a statement rather than a cause for celebration. If there is a Bible study or church community where you feel welcome near you, root yourself there, let those people pour love into you and guide you but remember that at the end of the day, you answer only to God. Other people’s opinions are immaterial, and gender or sexuality labels, which sometimes helpful, pale in comparison to your true identity as an heir of God’s kingdom. 

P.S. Queerly Christian is THE PLACE for Biblical scholarship and community building about this issue. Give them a follow!

anonymous asked:

What is preacher's kid syndrome?

The basic definition given by Wikipedia

is a term to refer to a child of a preacher, pastor, deacon, vicar, lay leader, priest, minister or other similar church leader. Although the phrase can be used in a purely descriptive way, it may also be used as a stereotype

 Children of clergy often experience pressure due to the expectations placed on them, and may develop feelings of isolation and inner conflict as a result. Parental workload (which, by definition, includes working on the weekend) may also be a source of stress. 

Effectively, the child is expected to be the young embodiment of the parent’s pristine behaviour and beliefs but fails via never being able to reach them and rebelling. 

I get a little bummed out by churches that are only designed for insiders without considering the actualities of the real world, when every sermon and service uses an exclusive buzzword language to measure Christians by getting “wrecked” and “on fire” all the time. Really though, a lot of that talk is an agenda to recruit free volunteers for perpetuating church programs, or it’s passive-aggressive flexing by the pastor to look better than those “other Christians” down the street. That might be church business, but it ain’t God’s business.

People who attend church also have hospital bills and rush hour and work stress and family troubles, and they’re mostly just trying to get through the day without falling apart at the seams. They need a refuge, a safe haven, a sanctuary, a holy ground to encounter glory. They need to know how faith can operate in a fractured, fallen world — and no, not all of them want to be pastors or missionaries or deacons. I don’t think our biggest concerns are false theology and church methodology and “you better have an authentic faith with everything you got.” That’s all important stuff, but Jesus doesn’t make us jump through those hoops to meet him. Only people do that.

Jesus is doing a work that’s bigger than our doctrinal squabbles and our ministry bubbles. He’s come to inaugurate a Kingdom. And he meets us where we are to bring that sort of healing, right in the dirt and grit of our very worst. We need him most between the back door of the church to the front seat of the car, in the real world again, in that uncertain space from Monday to Saturday, when the pressure is on. This is where Jesus does his best work. This is where we get to work, too.

— J.S.

In hiring employees, religious organizations are allowed to discriminate in favor of their religion but not against any particular other one. What hasn’t been argued in court is whether they can discriminate in favor of categories that include them. (I say yes, but this is admittedly outside the reasoning for allowing the exemption in the first place.)

For instance, a Baptist church can hire exclusively Baptists, but debatably not exclusively Christians.

Me: “What if my religion is “non-Baptist”?”

Professor: “You mean anti-Baptist?”

Classmate: “You mean like the Anabaptists?”

Me: “No, just not a Baptist. My religion is that I do not believe this specific set of tenets. Do I get to discriminate in favor of other non-Baptists?”

So anyway, I hereby found the Disjunctive Non-Baptist Church of Possibly Christ. Doctrine is limited to but need not include the following: 

  • If there is exactly one God, God is in a number of persons that is not three;
  • Baptism is either necessary for salvation or need not be done by immersion or can be done to infants;
  • Churches are to include offices other than deacon and pastor; or
  • Either there exists at least one reliable source of doctrine other than what is ordained in Scripture or Scripture is not such a source.

Note that it is entirely possible to be a Non-Baptist without believing any of the above! The Disjunctive Church of Possibly Christ, in all its compatible denominations, is very accepting of a wide variety of faiths. The only people not welcome here are Baptists.

anonymous asked:

The Crusades were wars that met the Just Cause doctrine of the Church, and were primarily about land-grabs done by Muslims. Moreover, the difference between Islam and Christianity is plain to see: One advocates killing in its Scripture, and the other is Christianity.

I’m gonna try really hard to unpack your confused and convoluted point, here, Anon, without ridiculing you with stuff like a Let Me Google That For You link to “Places Where The Christian Bible Advocates Killing” or just line after line of direct quotes from scripture. It’ll be difficult, but I want you to know that I’m Going To Try.

First, casting the Crusades as meeting a “Just Cause Doctrine” question-beggingly assumes the legitimacy of The Church to say which campaigns of violence are “worthy” and which are not. From where does the Church garner this authority? From where does the state? When we dig down into either of these questions, we come to see that structures of authority maintain themselves by casting any and all actors outside of their rules and interests as “illegitimate.” This has been the case for thousands of years, and, with this understanding, we can chart the history of Nations’ relationships with “Freedom Fighters,” “Privateers,” and other forms of mercenary actors.

SECOND: Let’s talk about the conflation of Christian Doctrine and Christian Scripture, wherein Christianity—the followings of the teaching of Ieshua Ben Dauid, of Nazareth, The Christ—is primarily held up as a religion of love and peace, PRECISELY in those instances wherein people attack the doing of violent atrocities by those calling themselves “Christian.” Fundamentalists who point to Deuteronomy and Leviticus when they bomb abortion clinics or kill LGTBQIA people, and say they’re “Christian” all the while; church leaders who use the Old Testament to endorse the disregard of human rights for groups they don’t like—from slavery until today; these are the acts of people who say they’re following the teachings of the Christ.

Who said (and I quote The Guy Himself, from their scripture, here): “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another;” “This I command you, that you love one another;” “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood…;” and then ABOUT THAT COVENANT:

“Who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” And:

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

So we have this history of SO MANY Christians CONVENIENTLY IGNORING that Old Covenant/New Covenant thing, ascribing weight to ALL of the rules written under the auspices of the Old Covenants, rather than the ONE RULE of the New Covenant: LOVE EACH OTHER. Which, incidentally, is actually the only rule that was ever intended. At least according the Nazarene, it is. They ignore that split that is, RIGHT up until the point where they need to denounce someone else’s religion.

And speaking of Doctrine Vs Scripture, the reverse can be seen in a lot of the Quranic exegeses. That is, where the original TEXT of the Quran may seem to call for the deaths and dismemberments of nonbelievers (several times, in fact), the commentary and doctrinal interpretations have focused on the understanding of those scriptures called “The Sword Verses” as being ABOUT SELF DEFENSE in the face of broken treaties and NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE. For an example, turn your face to Brother Malcolm who said, “I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand under the weight,” and

Usually the black racist has been produced by the white racist. In most cases where you see it, it is the reaction to white racism, and if you analyze it closely, it’s not really black racism… If we react to white racism with a violent reaction, to me that’s not black racism. If you come to put a rope around my neck and I hang you for it, to me that’s not racism. Yours is racism, but my reaction has nothing to do with racism…

So that is the commandment to give no quarter to those whom you once welcomed with open arms and formed an alliance, but who then turned on you and broke their peace. See also Qur’an, Surah 9: AL-TAWBA (REPENTANCE, DISPENSATION). Anyone who honours their agreements and treaties is a friend and is to be granted Every Courtesy.

Now. Taking all of that into account, we can see that those who interpret the Quranic passages about violence as being about offensive rather than defensive or “corrective” violence, and then use that to justify things like terrorist attacks are a) the VAST minority of Islam, and b) cherry-picking.

Which seems to be a habit among people who like to talk a lot about religion, in public, without ever actually, y’know, STUDYING it.

Oops. I see that I kind of failed in not laying out line after line of both scripture and exegesis for the sake of clarity, but I DO SO HOPE YOU’LL FORGIVE ME.

This has gone on way too damn long, but let me just end on this thought: From the framing of your statements I’m pretty safe in assuming that you’re some species of Christian or someone who calls themselves “secular-but-spiritual” while being steeped in a tradition of uninvestigated Western pseudo-Christianity, so how about when you come at me, don’t do it with your half-comprehended texts and your pastor/deacon/priest/minister’s words, but with the doctrine you LIVE.

Where’s that Love?