Hey, I promised I would write more about LaDonna Whitmer, and the conference. So here goes.
LaDonna rocks and was not offensive to me, but she was to some others. What an amazing woman she is. Here she comes from San Fran, California to speak to Pastors in Alabama. She was honest, real, and personal. She did take us to task for our lack of genuiness, authenticity, acceptance. She started by showing us a cinepoem called Sunday Misfit. I was truly touched and cried. She then talked about her experience in the church, which has been quite painful from age 4 on up. She has tried church in her adult life, but even that became painful. If you recall Willow Creek had a service reaching out to the post moderns, called Axis. She was going to that service, but even Willow Creek had trouble accepting and loving the post moderns. The Axis that is now is not the one she went to. (here is one article on the demise of Axis. Here is one at Jesus creed and this is Dan Kimball's take on it.)She has not attended church in 6 years. She had not stopped believing in God, but did not go to church. She and her husband has found a church called Revolution led by Jay Baker. If you get the Sundance Channel you can watch him in a show called One Punk Under God.Yep the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. She also showed us vidoes of friends she had taped that didn't go to church either, and what they had to say about church. Lots of pain there of how they had been treated. I hope she saves those videos, they were powerful. She then took questions and answers from us about what she had said. Things went okay until one of our Pastors wanted to take her on about some things she said, and kept pushing her. She actually handled it better than I would have. I would have reacted, but she didn't. I talked to her briefly before the presentation about her website and blog. And then I spoke to her husband afterward.
All I can say is God forgive me for any way I have played in not being accepting, loving, showing the gospel to your children. God forgive us who say we are believers, followers, disciples for our judgementalism and abuse of those who don't seem to fit our idea of who belongs to the kingdom of God. God help me as your Pastor lead this church that I now Pastor to lead them to be accepting and loving and showing your gospel to those who they have not before. Thank you for LaDonna and her friends who willing shared with us their pain, their needs, and their selves with us. May we have the courage they had to do likewise.