NJ Church says “We’re Sorry”

Chris drew my attention to a YPulse update pointing to this news story because of my post “We don’t have to live like this”.

SWEDESBORO, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey church is taking an unusual approach to get more people to come worship. They are hoping a simple “We’re Sorry” will go a long way.

“We’re Sorry” reads on a highway billboards in neighborhood around the church. A “We’re Sorry” sign also hangs outside pastor Mark Barnish’s home.

“We’re sorry for being judgmental, we’re sorry for being too political, we’re sorry for being anti-homosexual, we’re sorry for being boring,” Lloyd said.

It’s a campaign pastor Barnish started at his church to get 16 to 30 year-olds to come worship.

Take a moment to go to the news story and watch the videoCrossbridge Community Church has established a website – weresorry.net – to explain the series.

What do you think?

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7 Responses to “NJ Church says “We’re Sorry””

  1. Chris
    November 17, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    My knee jerk reaction is to say what a load of **** It is a campaign to get “young people” to church but is it a true sorry? Without true repentance there won’t be changed. I think if the church has a goal of saying sorry and feels a true repentance and wants to bring about change then they should repent to God, and go out into the community loving it where it is and show that change. If the goal is to get more young butts in seats then I think this is a horrid idea. At some point in the future odds are they are going to do one of those things they are sorry for, hurting someone instead of loving them, leaving that person thinking God stinks, church stinks. Ok that is not the word but it is politer then what I was thinking.

    I guess what I am saying is that programs are all well and good but I think what is needed is a deeper change starting in the hearts of leaders and pass on through teaching, breeding in the hearts of the followers, who bring it out into the community by how they live. Saying sorry with their their actions.

    This will not get butts in seats quickly but boy what a revolution that would be.

  2. patti
    November 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm #

    I hear what you’re saying, Chris. I guess I want to think the best in terms of their motivation, take this pastor at his word that he’s been moved by God to repent and apologize for disconnecting the actions of the church from the message of Christ.

    I totally agree that it’s a slow mending, but that the healing would be revolutionary – a miracle even!

  3. Michelle
    November 25, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    Curious. Does this church have any business saying they’re sorry? Was this church once judgmental and anti-gay? If not, who are they apologizing for and what right do they have to apologize for someone else?

    If so, have they changed? If they haven’t changed, then what do they mean by “sorry”? If they have changed, how so?

  4. patti
    November 25, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    Did you go check out their site, Michelle? From the description on the weresorry.net site, it looks to me like they’re apologizing for their self-assessed shortcomings.

  5. Michelle
    November 26, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    I did check out the website. The “We’re Sorry” site is just an overview (and the stats seem to be more about the Church at large than their specific church), but I found the news story informative.

    The pastor mentioned that he does believe “it’s a sin,” regarding homosexuality–it’s unclear whether he means the orientation, the identity, or the kind of relationship, but I’m guessing the latter.

    The apology for being “anti-homosexual” (while still believing same-sex relationships to be wrong) raised some questions for me. Clearly it is possible to believe this and not be hateful about it. Also, it only takes a brief visit to GayChristian.net to learn that there are many gay Christians who believe they’re called to be celibate and are living that life.

    For many teens and young people who have not yet experienced the range of attitude, experience and nuance in the Church’s relationship with sexuality, there may be disappointment if they see the apologize as a declaration of openness, only to discover that this church takes a conservative stance on sexuality. Some may not stick around when they learn that. For every gay Christian who believes in celibacy, there’s at least one more who believes they can pursue a committed relationship with someone of the same sex–and they’re looking for a church that will support them in that. Then again, they are less likely to be misled by this campaign, since the substitution of “homosexual” for “gay” is common among conservative churches, and the phrase “anti-homosexual” (which sounds just slightly awkward to the contemporary ear) acts as a kind of code for what they believe–whether they intended that or not.

    Anyway, I hope the “We’re Sorry” idea proves useful and eye-opening for that church, and it’s certainly in interested tack. It piqued my interest from a social and linguistic perspective.

  6. patti
    November 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    Thanks for expanding the thought for me, I understand you more clearly now. I agree that the word homosexual pretty much needs to be dropped from church vocabulary, it’s picked up a TON of baggage that changes it’s meaning significantly and makes it impossible to build bridges across the deep divide both the GLBT and churchy folk have established (obviously, in response to behavior, or perceptions of one another that may or may not be accurate). There’s a huge amount of misunderstanding and hurt, and, probably, a significant amount of fear involved in even having a discussion like the one this NJ church wants to undertake. I wish their messages were online; I truly am curious how they addressed all the “sorries” they brought up – issues they do have in common with a lot of the collected church.

    I recently met someone whose passion is to make those bridges, change the conversation from one of condemnation of GLBT people’s perceived or admitted behavior and elevate the tone to one that better mirrors the gospel. Check out his website, if you like. I’m eagerly looking forward to his forthcoming book Love is an Orientation. His name is Andrew Marin, and the website is themarinfoundation.org if you’re interested in taking a look.

  7. Michelle
    November 28, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Will check it out, thanks.

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