There can be little doubt that we are living at a time when our attitudes as a society are undergoing a tremendous shift in what we think of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Recently, we spoke on this show with Michigan State University professor Charley Ballard, who directs the state of the state surveys. The most recent MSU survey found, for instance, that 54% of Michiganders support gay marriage, with 36% opposing it.
Just four years ago, gay marriage was opposed by 51% and favored by 48% of those surveyed.
That is the view from social science. But what about the view from the pulpit?
Ken Wilson is pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. The evangelical minister has spent years wrestling with this question: Where do we – as a Christian faith community – draw the line on the gay marriage issue?
His journey to rethinking his beliefs about where LBGT people fit into what he calls “the company of Jesus” is spelled out in his new book “A Letter to my Congregation: An evangelical pastor's path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus.”
The idea behind the event is to celebrate the diversity of music among different communities and faiths in southeast Michigan. Participants seek to bridge cultural, racial, and religious gaps between different churches, and develop friendships.
Jean Wilson is the co-founder of Gospelfest, and choir director at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline. She sat down with Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White to talk about the event’s 20-year history.
Wilson says the event offers a variety of music, from traditional black gospel to contemporary Christian, pop-rock, and more. And she says the event is about diversity and unity.
“Although we are so diverse in our different ways of worship, we are all headed in the same direction; we are all children of the same creator. Although we have so many differences, we do have that thing at the core of our very being that really says that we are all related and are one, and we get to celebrate it.”
On Saturday March 10, choirs from Ann Arbor and Detroit will come together for the 20th Annual Gospelfest at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor.
The gospel choir of New Prospect Baptist Missionary Church in Detroit will also participate in this year's event. Here's a video of the choir during a Saturday morning practice.
A church on Detroit's west side has become a community developer by building 90 homes over four years and injecting pride and optimism in the neighborhood.
The last batch of new tenants moved in this month. The Rev. Oscar King III says stable housing is crucial if Detroit wants to recover. The homes are near his Northwest Unity Baptist Church.
The Detroit Free Press says there were more than 800 applicants for the homes, mostly two-story colonials. The renters include professionals, low-income families and even the homeless. Jack Bostic Jr. says homes are more important than a church having a fancy place to worship. He says his neighborhood looks like any suburb.
Janet Norfleet says her children pick up trash on their block, a habit that others are following.
The ongoing debate in churches regarding homosexuality is being argued on 10 billboards in northwest Ohio. The Toledo Blade reports that Toledo's Central United Methodist church posted a single roadside billboard in April that said that being gay is a gift from God. That has led the minister at Church on Strayer to offer an opposite view.
A decade ago state lawmakers banned gun owners from taking their weapons into certain public places out of fear of gunplay. But State Senator Mike Green of Mayville says experience has shown those fears were unwarranted, since he believes people have been carrying in ‘gun-free zones’ already without incident.
It was an obstacle ten years ago because people feared, a good, honest, law-abiding citizen would use it in a way that would hurt or harm other people. But the fact is, in 11 years there’s not been hardly anything that happened like that.
Green’s legislation would also put the Secretary of State’s office in charge of processing concealed carry permit applications. He says local gun boards are not completing background checks on the applicants fast enough.