You’ve done it this time, pastor John!

You’ve done it this time, pastor John!

The word ‘provocative’ barely does justice to the contents of John Pavlovitz’s ‘Stuff That Needs to be Said’ blog.

And he most certainly ruffled feathers last week when he addressed the question “what if my kids turn out gay?” His post attracted over 2,000 comments! Among the first to tear into Pavlovitz, a pastor in California, was “Greg”:

I find this extremely sad. How can a supposed pastor glorify sinful behavior? If my kids thought they were gay I would be doing everything in my power including never ending prayer that my child would stop the sinful behavior.

Here’s a taste of what Pavlovitz, a father of two, said to raise the the blood pressure of “Greg” and many more of his ilk:

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children. I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe? Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church?

Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

He asserted that if any of his children grew up gay, he’ll make no secret of the fact:

I won’t talk around them in conversations with others. I won’t speak in code or vague language. I won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I won’t try to spare the feelings of those who may be older, or easily offended, or uncomfortable. Childhood is difficult enough, and most gay kids spend their entire existence being horribly, excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m not going to put mine through any more unnecessary discomfort, just to make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier for a third cousin with misplaced anger issues.

But he will pray for them:

I won’t pray for them to be made ‘normal’. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal.

I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them; from the ignorance and hatred and violence that the world will throw at them, simply because of who they are.

I’ll pray the He shields them from those who will despise them and wish them harm; who will curse them to Hell and put them through Hell, without ever knowing them at all. I’ll pray that they enjoy life; that they laugh, and dream, and feel, and forgive, and that they love God and humanity …

Towards the end of a beautifully written piece, Pavlovitz said:

As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, or clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send me, or praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic … but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less.

In an earlier post, he accused “the Church” of choosing “lousy battles”.

We know you like to fight, Church. That’s obvious.

When you want to, you can go to war with the best of them. The problem is, your battles are too darn small. Fast food protests, hobby store outrage, and duck-calling Reality TV show campaigns may manufacture some urgency and Twitter activity on the inside for the already-convinced, but they’re paper tigers to people out here with bloody boots on the ground.

Every day we see a world suffocated by poverty, and racism, and violence, and bigotry and hunger; and in the face of that stuff, you get awfully, frighteningly quiet. We wish you were as courageous in those fights, because then we’d feel like coming alongside you; then we’d feel like going to war with you.

Church, we need you to stop being warmongers with the trivial, and pacifists in the face of the terrible.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

14 responses to “You’ve done it this time, pastor John!”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    What a pity the christian faith isn’t populated withe more John Pavlovitzes. Compassion and understanding are sadly gifts that many of his peers don’t seem to share.

  2. Broga says:

    The irony, in view of what the church purports to teach, is that his compassion and understanding will be met by vindictive abuse from “true” Christians. I liked his comments about not being prepared to deny his kids’ sexuality to accommodate the attitudes of a third cousin.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Pastor Pavlovitz is an extremist who distorts his religion. Since Christianity expressly calls for the murder of homosexuals I prefer the distorted faith to the traditional faith.

    It must be nice to pick and choose what one believes based on evidence here, tradition there and good feelIngs other times – while maintaining tax exempt status no matter how much or little quantified social good one does.

  4. Brian says:

    Pastor Pavlovitz is walking the talk. Too many “christians” today always refer to faith as “creedal system set in stone.” The Pharisees of Jesus’ time made the same mistake. Jesus taught us about “his Father” and the nature of Faith; a Relationship with the God “of our understanding.” It’s a truth that people in 12 Step Programs understand better than any “church goer” I’ve ever met. Truth is not a “static” idea found in the Bible. It dwells in the very being of Jesus.

    “I am the way, the TRUTH and the LIGHT.” Jesus said in the Gospel of John (14:6). There have been arguments and disagreements about any number of issues – all nothing but little questions of no real significance. The weightier questions of Love are usually circumvented in favor of contentious arguments focused on Control.

  5. barriejohn says:

    “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE.” If you’re going to quote the Wholly Babble at least get it right. Sheesh!

  6. Broga says:

    @Brian:Truth “dwells in the very being of Jesus.” Sounds grand but what does it mean?

    “a Relationship with the God “of our understanding.” I don’t know why their is a capital R. That apart the disagreements amongst the many Christian churches and sects suggests that they don’t “understand” God so I don’t know what kind of relationships they have with him.

    I have never met anyone, and I have asked lots over the years, to explain coherently what they mean by God. They often refer me to the bible which supposedly provides the answer. But the God of the bible is a barbarous tyrant with an insatiable appetite for flattery and a tendency to inflict mass slaughter, including children.

    Anyway Brian I am open minded on this so will you please explain to me what you mean by God? Thanks.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: “He’s making it up as he goes along.” (After all, his name IS Brian!)

  8. Daz says:

    “Truth is not a “static” idea found in the Bible. It dwells in the very being of Jesus.”

    Truth™ is a tapeworm?

  9. AgentCormac says:

    ‘Truth is not a “static” idea found in the Bible. It dwells in the very being of Jesus.’

    I’m with Broga. I’ve read and re-read those two sentences several times now and I am still no closer to understanding what Brian is trying to say. Come on, Brian – explain yourself.

  10. Scethin says:

    “Anyway Brian I am open minded on this so will you please explain to me what you mean by God? Thanks.”
    No Broga he wont because he can’t because he doesn’t have a clue.

  11. Barry Duke says:

    He’s obviously not one of them Baptist buffoons:

  12. Paul Cook says:


    Ah! No I think you are wrong asking for an explanation of god (somewhat) because the bible has jehovah as one of many.
    So if you get an answer of what is meant by god you should also ask which one is best.
    Watch out for those iron chariots.

    And Brian what on earth do you mean that truth dwells in the fictional character jesus- that is just infantile. It’s as good as me stating as a fact Mr Benn is Love.

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    It’s good that Pavlovitz says what he says, but there’s one thing I disagree with him on and that’s the first bit: if his kids are gay we’ll all know about it. I’m sorry, but if they want us to know they’re gay I’d expect them to do the telling, and only if they want to.

    It would be so good if coming-out conversations went like this:
    “Mum, Dad, I’m gay!”
    “That’s nice, dear. What do you want for tea when you bring your boyfriend / girlfriend round?”

  14. Betty Davis says:

    Yes Matt- I picked up on that too- I’m sure my gay son would be mortified if I acted like that- otherwise a great bloke if a little misguided.