As followers of Christ, our faith teaches us that everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another.1 As American citizens we value our system of government which at its best seeks to protect even its marginalized citizens. Today there is a threat to the very soul of our nation. White Nationalism, White Supremacy, White Pride, The Christian Identity Movement, Christian Nationalism, and all other groups of violence and exclusion threaten our democracy and our religious communities.
Christian Nationalism is abhorrent to the true faith established by Christ and the Apostles. For in the Christian faith there are to be no borders or boundaries that define us beyond our baptism and common faith.2 Class, racial, gender, and identity distinctions have no place at the table of Jesus Christ.3Acts of Terrorism–foreign or domestic, sanctioned or unsanctioned–by the powers and principalities of this world are anti-christ, as taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.4
We of the Missiongathering Movement Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believe that God has called our churches to the Gospel of Radical Inclusion. No ideology is more opposed to that Gospel than Christian Nationalism and White Supremacy. We reject White Supremacy and Christian Nationalism as anti-Christ. It has no place in our house of worship or in our American political system. We denounce any persons, whether public official or private citizen, that espouses White Nationalist rhetoric as in desperate need of repentance and disengaged from the inclusive agenda of Scripture and the priorities of Jesus.
As Christians, we are bound to Christ, as citizens of the Kin-dom of Heaven. It is our firmly held belief that people of all faiths have a right to express their faith in the public square without fear of harm or persecution. That love of one’s country cannot be at the exclusion of religious conviction. That one’s religious affiliation, or lack of affiliation, should be irrelevant in one’s standing in the civic community. That the Government of the United States of America should not offer preference to any religion or non-religion. That religious instruction is at its best when left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions, and religious families. That America’s dream that religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions. That conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to the oppression of minorities and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion. That we must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, attacks on shoppers, attacks on students, attacks on festival/concert attendees and attacks on houses of worship—against religious communities at home and abroad.
Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple, the privacy of our homes, nature, or anywhere America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution.5 As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism and White Supremacy as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy. As followers of Christ, we commit ourselves to the hard work of anti-racism and reconciliation. As followers of Christ, we commit ourselves to strive against the evils of nationalism and racism recognizing that we are all one human race and family. As followers of Christ, we reject any form of terror or intimidation that keeps people from expressing gender, sexuality, and culture.
As proud citizens of these United States of America, we call upon our elected officials to publicly denounce and disavow themselves of Christian Nationalism and White Supremacy. We call for the resignation of all elected officials who cannot with clear conscience disavow and denounce such acts as domestic terrorism and antidemocratic.
We call upon followers of Christ to embrace and protect the diversity of this nation. To stand up in boldness in the face of terror, to show that we are people who will not cower in fear. We call upon each of us to do the hard work of repentance for all parts we have played in emboldening hatred and prejudice among us. We call for the table fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ to do the hard work of true unity and inclusion. May the peace of Christ be with you all as you go boldly to form a more perfect union in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
With Grace, Love, and Conviction
The Pastors of The Missiongathering Movement Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Andrew Shipley | Missiongathering Charlotte
Rev. Brandan Robertson | Missiongathering San Diego
Pastor Wendy Holland | Missiongathering San Diego
Pastor Lee Rivera | Missiongathering San Diego
Rev. Rich McCullen| Missiongathering Pasadena
Rev. Yani Davis | Missiongathering Pasadena
Rev. Loren Richmond Jr. | Missiongathering Denver
Rev. Devin Wright | Missiongathering Seattle
1Genesis 1:27, John 13:34-35
4Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:26-37
51st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America
North Park, San Diego, California: Missiongathering Christian Church, a progressive evangelical church in San Diego, purchased a billboard on University Avenue in the heart of Hillcrest (directly on top of the popular gay bar, Uptown Tavern) that declares “Radically Inclusive: God takes pride in you, so do we!” The billoard is prominently situated in the heart of Hillcrest, San Diego’s historic LGBT+ neighborhood and was intentionally positioned to be along the route of the San Diego LGBT+ Pride Parade on July 14, 2018.
The background of the billboard specifically names over two dozen minority groups that have traditionally been marginalized by the evangelical church in the United States. Among the groups named are Bisexual, Black, Nuero-Divergent, Muslim, Transgender, Non-Binary, Refugee, Immigrant, Palestinian, Indigenous People, Elderly, Disillusioned, Atheist, and Queer, among others.
“For far too long, Christians have been known for who we are against. We’re afraid of difference. We only desire to make the world conform to our image of what is right and good.” said Brandan Robertson, Lead Pastor of Missiongathering. “At Missiongathering, we believe that in our diversity that we best reflect God’s divinity- that when we amplify the beauty of our differences, all of us are challenged to expand our perspective and become more loving, more mindful, and more kind.”
The billboard stands in stark contrast to the signs that many other evangelical groups will be holding at Pride. Every year, Christian groups stand on the sidelines of the Pride parade and festival declaring God’s “judgment” on the LGBT+ community. “Their message isn’t good news for anyone- it’s a distortion of the teachings of Jesus, and it must be drown out with the good news of God’s radical pride in each one of God’s children”, Robertson said.
It is Missiongathering’s hope that their billboard will provoke discussion and be a beacon of healing for the hundreds of thousands of people who will pass by it on University Avenue, reminding them that there is a different kind of Christianity- a more loving, inclusive version- than the one that’s being represented in our nation’s public life or in the national media right now.
Missiongathering will also march in the Pride Parade and host a booth at the Festival that features large chalkboards which say “We Call Bullsh*t” which invite festival attendees to declare all of the ways religious communities have been harmful and hypocritical to them. On Sunday, July 15 at 10:00 AM, Missiongathering will host its annual Pride Worship Service, featuring Broadway songs as the worship selections for the service lead by church members and members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.
Missiongathering Christian Church is a progressive, inclusive Christian church in the heart of North Park. Led by millennial author and activist Pastor Brandan Robertson, we continue to be a force for justice and peace in San Diego and around the world.
The following announcement was made at Missiongathering's Sunday Service on March 25, 2018 by Lead Pastor Brandan Robertson.
Yesterday, dozens of folks from the Missiongathering community marched in downtown San Diego in support of the “March for Our Lives”, an international demonstration to end gun violence. First and foremost, I want to commend those in our community who marched and took a stand for the way of peace and justice, which is the way of Jesus.
One of the most basic calls of the Scripture is to speak truth to power, and the March For Our Lives was a potent demonstration of just that.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says:
Speak out on behalf of the voiceless,
and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.[a]
Speak out in order to judge with righteousness
and to defend the needy and the poor.
Yesterday, all who marched were fulfilling this command, speaking for those children whose voices were silenced when their lives were taken away by those who gained access to firearms.
Yesterday, children and adults, young and old, gay and straight, stood together to speak up on behalf of the vulnerable.
Yesterday, millions around the nation demanded righteousness from our lawmakers.
In our nation, we are addicted to guns. We are addicted to power. We’re addicted to our false sense of security. No other developed nation in the world has the sort of policies that we have concerning guns, and no other developed nation has seen as many mass shootings as we’ve had in the United States.
Church, this morning I want to be clear that this is not a political issue. This is not even primarily a policy issue. This isn’t about the second amendment at all. No, this is a gospel issue.
This is about whether we truly believe in the good news of Jesus and if we really believe in the message Jesus embodied. Jesus called his disciples to a posture of non-violence and of self-sacrifice. He revealed that the path of violence, even violence used to defend ourselves, will only perpetuate more violence.
There is absolutely no justification for followers of Jesus to support the lax gun laws that we have in this nation.
There is no justification for followers of Jesus to cling to weapons as a source of security or safety.
There is no justification for followers of Jesus to act out of the selfish motivation that would prefer to protect the rights of folks to shoot guns for sport before they’d support the rights of innocent children not to be murdered in schools by fellow children who gained access to those guns.
The Book of Isaiah calls all of us towards a day when:
“They’ll turn their swords into shovels, their spears into gardening hoes. No more will nation fight nation; they won’t play war anymore. Come, family of Jacob, let’s live in the light of God.”
That’s the biblical call of all followers of Christ.
The reason I am saying all of this this morning is because now that the march is over, it is time for us to take action.
Marches are great starts. They’re great soruces of inspiration and support. But if they end with a single event on a single day they’re useless.
Today, I want to invite every member of Missiongathering gathered here this morning to get involved in this important fight for justice.
In sacred grounds after service, there will be about 8 different clip boards floating around for you to sign up for the “Gun Sense” Pledge. The pledge is simple. It says:
“As a follower of Christ, I pledge to support local, state, and federal candidates and policies that fight for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence.”
If you sign up, we’ll register you with “Gun Sense” and organization organizing around the nation to fight to reduce gun violence so that you can be involved more locally and nationally.
Again, this isn’t political. It’s not democratic or republican. We’re not Anti-Second Ammendment. In fact, we are pro-life. We simply want to see gun violence reduced so more people live abundant and flourishing lives here and around the nation.
I want to encourage all of us to do this- this is the heartbeat of who we are at Missiongathering- a community radically committed to following Jesus wherever he may lead us in our world today. Let’s let our light shine, church, and let’s be channels of transformation in our community.
The Board of Elders of Missiongathering Christian Church is pleased to announce that The Irenic, one of San Diego's most loved all-ages music venues housed at Missiongathering, will be getting a new look and new management in 2018, and will continue to host a wide variety of concerts and shows throughout the new year beginning in February 2018.
In mid-2017, the Board of Elders decided that it was necessary to restructure and reorganize the operations of The Irenic to ensure its longevity and success as a non-profit music venue. By mid-December 2017, the Board of Elders reached a unanimous agreement about the organizing and structuring of The Irenic, and immediately began working with promoters to schedule shows as early as February.
"The Irenic is a beloved and unique venue, and our desire is to continue hosting high-quality performances in our sanctuary for the foreseeable future", said Lead Pastor of Missiongathering Christian Church, Brandan Robertson. "Our restructuring was only to ensure that our church could feasibly continue to sustain The Irenic while growing in our capacity to do outreach to our community."
Along with the restructuring, The Irenic was given a new logo to signify a fresh start and a turning of the page in it's history. The logo resembles a pigeon carrying and olive branch, which serves as an allusion to the meaning of the word "irenic", which means "to aim for peace."
For more information and to view a list of upcoming concerts, please visit www.TheIrenic.com