WELCOME to DAN HOOPER.INFO !
This is Dan Hooper's personal, theological and pastoral page for LGBT Christians. Contact: Please see the "About" page.
This is a place for Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christians to discern the Spirit within—the spiritual self, the spiritual life denied to us in so many institutional churches—which may have atrophied in our younger years, or been trampled by the enthusiasm of "the movement," or which has been lost in our pain, suffering, or grief.
And this is a place to test the spirits outside—to hear and evaluate other ideas and other voices in the mission and the movement, and become engaged in the greatest struggle of our times—the spiritual struggle.
DanHooper.info is not an organization. This site is not a public relations page for any organization, but a personal site which I created in order to release my own spirit to any and all people of good will and honest spirituality who want to be part of the "gay/Lesbian/Christian" movement. There are many other organizations out there, doing good and nurturing work, including Lutherans Concerned. Yet because they are organizations, the processes by which they reach consensus or state their mission and advance their ministries are more structured. Herein you will find resources from one person. See: About Dan Hooper
[This site is not a tax-exempt organization and does not solicit contributions except those of ideas and spiritual support. It has no officers, no business office, conducts no business, and is not incorporated in any way or under the laws of any state. This site is strictly my contribution to the discussion Christians are having everywhere about what it means to be a sexual minority and a disciple of Jesus Christ.]
Mission and Concept of this Site
The mission of this site is a small part of the mission of Jesus given to his disciples: to go and to teach. It claims no authority other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Good News that God our Creator has accepted us and redeemed us, through the death of Jesus, and not by our own deeds, merits or intentions.
God's love is as unconditional as it is everlasting. And it is linked to the certain knowledge that Jesus poured out his Spirit to his followers and thereby detached the Word, the power and the mission of truth and light from authority tied to human institutions. Institutions such as the church can and do share in this Spirit, but they cannot control it.
This is not a church or a community. This site exists to serve Christian, Christian churches and spiritual communities. The thoughts and resources posted on this site are simply offerings. They are intended to be part of a larger conversation with sexual minority people and with the mainstream of human sexuality—"gay and straight"—who together are seeking the truth as revealed by the Gospel and testified by the power of the Spirit.
In countless ways, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are marginalized in our society, and most of all in the Christian churches. The rejection, judgment and hatred we suffer is largely cultural—left over from centuries of fear and contempt for all things which were different, foreign (not local) or too complex to be understood in times when education was sadly unavailable. Tragically, the Christian church mimicked society's fear and eventually absorbed social hatred into its own teaching and structures. As a result, most expressions of the Christian Church became the most inhospitable institutions in the world, many intentionally denying the grace and comfort of the Gospel to gay and Lesbian people, trying to convince us that we are beyond redemption and without hope, facing certain damnation, and having no spiritual lives. To all this, we say, "Nonsense!!"
Ironically, society is now changing. Since the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, American society and now most societies are opening and changing to make room for us. Tragically, it is now religious structures which are the most resistant to this openness and change. I cannot help but believe that, in spite of what religious institutions may publicly state, it is the indwelling spiritof the loving God in each of us which is breaking open both society and religious communities.
My own sense of vocation is to study and speak to the tragedy of the Church's rejective and punitive policies, and, in the corner of the Church's life which has always been my home, to nurture others who see the church differently.
Why the Lutheran Church? I have often explained that I am a Lutheran not because I was born into it but because I believed what the Lutheran church taught. Although nearly invisible in American society, the Lutheran churches trace their roots back nearly 500 years to the Reformation in Europe, and faithfully proclaim the very heart of the Gospel. The biblical teaching which is most central is called "Justification by Grace", which Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten has described as the article of faith "by which the Church stands or falls."
Too many church traditions unfortunately carry a lot of baggage which is in conflict with this fundamental article of faith:
- The belief that some people deserve God's favor because of obedience, faithfulness, purity or exclusiveness.
- The belief that some people constitute an exclusive minority of human souls who will be "saved", in contrast to everyone else, who will be "damned", for eternity.
- The unwillingness to re-educate their own members to the true faith when they know that their doctrines and traditions are so moribund and narrow as to drive people away from Christ and away from the love of God.
- The unwillingness to apologize and repent for leading sincere people away from revealed truth, and for burdening the consciences of the faithful.
- The unacknowledged fear that their institutions will lose members and dollars if they are perceived as too welcoming or too liberal about homosexuality and sexual minority people.
- The unconfessed greed in using strident anti-homosexual rhetoric as a conservative institutional fund-raising tool.
The Lutheran exposition of the Christian faith is able to proclaim God's unconditional love for all. It seeks to set aside some of the terrible baggage and burden of condemning people for being who they are. Insofar as it faithfully tries to keep its Reformation heritage in view as the true path of discipleship, the Lutheran heritage of putting grace, faith and Scripture first frees it from foolish and extraneous religious traditions which hurt people, alienate people and drive them away form God!
The Gospel does not condemn anyone, but invites everyone to simply receive the grace of God which is offered to them. There is nothing that we need to do, nothingto be worthy of God's love for us. We are in fact justified, reconciled, made welcome as a child of God simply out of God's marvelous kindness and love. We don't earn God's love (no one does!), and we can't pay for it because it is a gift. This is grace.
God's Word for us is always an invitation, not an ultimatum.
"You search the scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify of me." -- John 5:39
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life. --John 3:16
I believe that I am saved because God does not have the heart to throw me away. -- Dan Hooper
Note: Most of the writings are available here in "printer-friendly" Adobe Acrobat PDF format in order to conserve the number of web pages (music files are in MP3 format). Acrobat Reader is available free; click on the icon below.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Daniel M. Hooper Last Updated: March 19, 2008
For Dan's BLOG, see: www.indwellingspirit.org