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Saturday, May 16, 2009


May 12, 2008
Joel Osteen meets with Jay Bakker!
Please look at the addendum added to this post on May 13. Jay Bakker
has released a statement.

As my regular readers know, I have blogged in the past two weeks about
my visit to Lakewood Church. I issued an open letter to Joel Osteen
asking him to embrace the gay community by responding to Soulforce's
request for Lakewood Church to participate in the American Family
Outing. I also blogged about the press conference that Soulforce held
last week. You can read these previous entries on this blog.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the picnic on Saturday because
of other family and church obligations, but Soulforce issued the
following press release just moments ago. Jay Bakker and Joel Osteen

Soulforce Press Release, May 12 2008:

Research Shows the Impact When Houstonians Know Gays and Lesbians

(Houston, TX) On Mother's Day, Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye
Bakker, brought a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
(LGBT) families to worship at Lakewood Church--the largest mega-church
in the U.S. After the service, Bakker met privately with Lakewood's
pastor, Joel Osteen, to talk about faith, family, and LGBT people.

The visit is part of a nationwide fellowship effort called The
American Family Outing, which aims to create dialogue between LGBT
families and families at six American mega-churches. Several prominent
mega-churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois,
and Hope Christian Church in Maryland, have agreed to meet lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender families.

Earlier in the week, Lakewood officials had expressed an unwillingness
to meet with Bakker and The American Family Outing. A tip from a
Lakewood Church member led Bakker to seek out Osteen after the
Saturday evening service, during the time when the pastor greets new
visitors to Lakewood. The two exchanged remembrances of Bakker's late
mother, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, and arranged to meet privately the
next day.

Bakker's conversation with Osteen came just a day after The American
Family Outing hosted a picnic in a Houston park for families from
Lakewood Church. A handful of Lakewood members attended the picnic
and expressed their appreciation for the effort to start an open
conversation about the status of LGBT people at Lakewood.

Opportunities to connect one-on-one and family-to-family are the goal
of the American Family Outing, which was created in the belief that it
is possible for families to have meaningful conversations in spite of
perceived differences.

In Houston, Rice University Professor Stephen L. Klineberg's data can
confirm the impact of simply getting to know someone who is gay or

"One of the most powerful predictors of area residents' attitudes
toward gay rights, as powerful among religious fundamentalists as it
is for the more secular respondents, is the simple question, 'Do you
have a personal friend who is gay or lesbian?'

"It seems clear that the opportunity to get to know someone who is
homosexual helps to break through the stereotypes and fears, and to
reinforce the sense of common humanity," says Klineberg, who is a
Professor of Sociology and the founding-director of the Houston Area
Survey (1982-2008), which has tracked Houston's demographics and
public attitudes for the past 27 years.

"Support for gay rights (e.g., allowing gays and lesbians to serve
openly in the military, or to teach in the public schools, or to be
legally permitted to adopt children) has continued to increase
steadily and consistently among Harris County residents over the past
two decades," Klineberg continued.

The American Family Outing is a collaboration between Soulforce,
COLAGE, National Black Justice Coalition, and the Universal Fellowship
of Metropolitan Community Churches.

Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization.
Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
people from religious and political oppression through the practice of
relentless nonviolent resistance.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) is
an international fellowship of Christian churches with a special
ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The National Black Justice Coalition(NBJC) is a civil rights
organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving,
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works
with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and
an end to racism and homophobia.

COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth and adults with one
or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parents. We
build community and work toward social justice through youth
empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.




(Houston, TX) On Mother's Day, Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye
Bakker, brought a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
(LGBT) families to worship at Lakewood Church--the largest mega-church
in the U.S. After the service, Bakker met privately with Lakewood's
pastor, Joel Osteen, and two senior Lakewood staff members.

After the meeting, Bakker released the following statement:

"Joel Osteen and his family were very kind and courteous. They
reserved special seats for our group of families, and they spoke
compassionately to me on the first Mother's Day since my mom's death.
But our conversation indicated that they do not share our convictions
and that Lakewood Church is not yet ready for an open dialogue with
LGBT families.

"I believe it's important for the church to have these conversations,
because we are all one body. Open dialogue can dispel the fearful
misperceptions that keep us apart. In the end, it's about communion
and loving one another in spite of our differences.

"I have hope for the future that LGBT families will be able to meet
with Lakewood Church eventually."



Rev. Matt

nathan day


270-721-0482 FAX

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