'Tolerant, Open' Church in Wyoming Redefines Christianity
According to HuffPost, the United Church of Christ was the first church in Casper, Wyoming, to fly the LGBT pride flag. The article's sub-headline goes on to say, "They didn't stop there."
As expected, HuffPost praises Casper's United Church of Christ and holds the church up as an example of Christianity done right. The problem with the article (and the church) is, well, all of it. The church has redefined Christianity to the point that it's hard to tell if they actually adhere to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Providing a brief history of the church, the article reveals,
When Rev. Dee Lundberg joined the United Church Of Christ in Casper, Wyoming, in 2008, the congregation was considering closing its doors. Six years earlier, the inclusive house of worship had announced itself as 'open and affirming.' It would welcome everyone, and its clergy would perform same-sex weddings.
But in 2002, the idea of LGBTQ inclusivity was “hugely radical” in Wyoming, Lundberg said. The brutal death of Matthew Shepard, a gay student in the state, had slowly ushered in some change and tolerance, but not much. In the years after the church declared its openness, average attendance at Sunday services had dwindled to 12 people.
The dwindling membership is no surprise. Churches and denominations that abandon the Bible as their rule for all life and practice while embracing liberalism see precipitous declines in membership. Why get up early on Sunday mornings to attend what amounts to little more than a social justice club? Demonstrating the truth of this, the church in Casper has remained small and "it continues to struggle with its budget."
Based on Dee Lundberg's own words, many of the members her church does have aren't even professing Christians. She told HuffPost, "My church is by no means all Christian; I have a handful of atheists in there. A truckload of agnostics. They want that community, that tolerant, open, peace-seeking community."
Explaining what takes place at the Sunday morning service, Lundberg says,
"My job on Sunday morning isn’t to tell people what to believe, but to throw out the big questions. Sometimes we have a discussion instead of a sermon, because there’s a lot of wisdom in the room," she said.
Most Sundays, Lundberg focuses her sermons on unity in an increasingly polarized political environment. "It’s a lot of, ‘How do we get through this next week of craziness together?’" she said. "How do we talk to each other and move past these divisions and how do we keep working for social justice and equality in a climate that feels like the waves are always banging against us?"