Nine months after Evangelical pastor Adam Phillips moved to Oregon to start Christ Church: Portland, he was kicked out of the congregation. The reasons behind his removal from the church was his advocating for inclusion of anyone who identifies as LGBT Christians in the church. Well, the jokes on his old congregation, because since Phillips was kicked out in 2014, he's gone on to launch his own non-discriminatory church. And they are thriving.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Phillips described his belief of what it means to be an Evangelical: "Being an evangelical is about living the good news of Jesus for the common good and for the planet, all of God’s creation." His new church, Christ Church: Portland, was founded on this tenet of inclusivity and a progressive understanding of what it means to live by the bible.
The church's website, whose landing page features the text, "Open. Active. Inclusive." in large font, expands on that understanding: "Following in the way of Jesus, we hope to be a church that includes all (no matter who we are, what we think or where we come from) while trying to be focused on the things people of faith have been actively pursuing for thousands of years."
People have used the bible as reasoning and support for hateful, selfish and destructive behavior (see: Crusades, imperialism, colonization, etc.) since the day it was first published on a piece of papyrus back in the ancient days. Most of that feels like the exact opposite of what the bible is designed to teach us, so it's great to see Phillips' refusal to give into that sort of environment, and the success he's had. Phillips cautioned like-minded Evangelical Christians that they might feel like the minority in the way that they interpret the gospel, but told them that they shouldn't compromise on their belief in inclusivity.
"The experience will humble you ― you’ll likely lose friends and support," he told The Huffington Post. "Inclusion is not our only ‘issue’ ― but it roots us in being a whole, healthy church for God’s glory and neighbor’s good. Phillips is also featured in a new short documentary video by The Atlantic on the same topic, which you can watch here: