(PDF version available here.)
The 2017 Evangelicals Concerned calendar includes our 30th Presidents Day Winter Weekend Bible Study, our 75th ConnECtion and our 15th Fall Preaching Festival.
The Presidents Day Weekend Bible study will be February 18-20 at The Turning Point at Kirkridge Retreat in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania.
ConnECtion2017 will be June 2-4 at The Nelson Lodge atop the mountain at Kirkridge. Todd Komarnicki, film producer and Sully screenwriter, will keynote, as will actress Jane Bradbury, who’ll read from Amy Carmichael’s devotionals. Ralph Blair will also speak.
The Fall Preaching Festival, in grateful celebration of the Luther 500th, will be October 6-8 at Ocean Grove on the Jersey Shore.
Gay marriage and an Islamist’s mass murder in an Orlando gay club ranked 9th and 10th among lifetime events that Americans say impacted them most. This Pew Research found that Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 slaughter was the event that most impacted Americans’ lives.
Christian country superstar Carrie Underwood has voiced wholehearted support of marriage for same-sex couples. In January, she gave an impromptu performance at Passion 2017, a major 3-day evangelical event where over 55,000 members of the collegiate generation packed the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Afterwards, she tweeted: “What an incredible night! Thanks for letting me be a small part of it!”
But Wesley Wildmon, a heterosexually married grandson of the founder of the Religious Right’s American Family Association, wasted no time in sending out his open letter publicly protesting her presence on stage. AFA’s 27-year-old Director of Outreach blasted the evangelical organizers of Passion 2017 for permitting the appearance of one who supports “those who practice homosexuality”.
Jen and Brandon Hatmaker are two more evangelicals who support marriage for same-sex couples. Co-stars of a popular real-life family series on HGTV, they’ve now learned how very quickly there can be a costly backlash to such empathy and support.
Jen’s public comments came in response to a question from Religious News Service’s Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical who is same-sex attracted though committed to celibacy. He asked if she supported marriage for same-sex couples and she replied: “I would never wish anything less for my gay friends”. She explained, “Just like the rest of us, [they] need marriage support”. Her husband then defended the position on Facebook. Ever since, bookstores, e.g., Southern Baptist LifeWay Stores, have refused to carry her books.
Christianity Today’s Kate Shellnutt notes that Jen’s position is consistent with her overall approach, though applying it to same-sex issues was too much for many other evangelicals to accept. Shellnutt says: “Jen is very sensitive to the outsider … she is so passionate about including others: cultural outsiders, the homeless, racial minorities, people who have been hurt by the church”. She adds that Hatmaker’s recent comments only “clarify and update what she’s said previously.”