Sunday, February 28, 2010

Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality

Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, two mainline Protestant denominations, are considering whether to allow the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians as members of their clergy. The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that majorities of both denominations say that homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society. Among mainline Protestants overall, 56% say homosexuality should be accepted, compared with only about one-in-four evangelical Protestants and four-in-ten members of historically black Protestant churches.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010




Winter 2010

Hope College administrators blocked a campus roundtable’s invitation to pro-gay Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black. The administration’s objection was to his gay advocacy. It ruled that the theater department could have him speak about his screenwriting without discussing homosexuality. Students on both sides of the issues of homosexuality said they were offended that the administration implied that they were not mature enough to hear Black speak on homosexuality. Hope College is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and considered “the 4th oldest evangelical college” in the country.

In striking contrast to this recent situation, on January 28, 1983, EC founder Ralph Blair gave an address to the Hope College community at the invitation of the college. His pro-gay speech was entitled: “Hope’s Gays and Gays’ Hopes”.

Social psychologist David G. Myers convened the assembly and the respondents were Hope College faculty members, Allen Verhey and Lars Granberg, and Elton M. Eenigenburg of the adjacent Western Theological Seminary. Eenigenburg agreed with Blair while Verhey and Granberg did not much disagree.

Throughout his weekend on campus, Blair lectured in classes of the college and seminary, spoke at student and faculty luncheons, and led discussions at Hope Church. He also counseled several students. Other supportive faculty members included Hope College chaplain Gerard Van Heest, religion professors Wayne Boulton and Elton Bruins psychology professors Jane R. Dickie and Bob Brown, and seminary professor Stan Rock. Especially encouraging was the warm support of Lester Kuyper, emeritus professor of Old Testament and formerly the president of Western Seminary and New Brunswick Seminary, the theological schools of the Reformed Church in America.


Oh to be back in '83...

Read more of the Winter 2010 Newsletter here:

Monday, February 22, 2010


Thank you to our dear friends Brian Murphy, Micah Matthias and Matthew Beams of Sanctuary Collective, who met us at the Room for All conference in Grand Rapids, MI and inspired us to live out our faith and questions, together, as Hope is Ready. We are honored to be with them on this amazing journey.

Learn more about Sanctuary Collective here:


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Hope is Ready unanimously agrees with President Bultman's decision. Let's take another look at the Hope College Institutional Statement on Homosexuality.

Call to Action
We see that the current Hope College Board of Trustees Institutional Statement on Homosexuality is now under review. The Rev. Dr. Timothy Brown, Hope Trustee, will review "with others" the "theological foundation and language of the current Trustee position on homosexuality." We of Hope is Ready thought you may like to be one of those others. Hap at it. :)

Some History + a Question
This policy was last presented at a meeting of the Executive Committee (only) of the Board of Trustees sometime in 2001. To the best of our inside knowledge, there has never been a *full* Board of Trustees review of the 1995 Institutional Statement on Homosexuality Hope College policy.

So, our question to all of you lovely and astute scholars, theologians, lovers of Jesus Christ, movement-makers, friends and family of practicing homosexuals is this:

***How would you feel if the Hope College Board of Trustees reaffirms its Institutional Policy on Homosexuality yet again in 2010?***

Here for your viewing pleasure, with hopes for many enlightening conversations, the policy:


Hope college, like its founding denomination, the Reformed Church in America,distinguishes between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior or practice. Not all people who have a homosexual orientation engage in homosexual practice and not all people who engage in homosexual practices have a homosexual orientation. The witness of Scripture is firm in rejecting the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior while affirming the responsibility of Christians to be fair and accepting of persons with a homosexual orientation.

The College does not condone the commission of homosexual acts. Neither does it condone organizations or activities that aim to vindicate the moral acceptability of homosexual acts, or that suggest by their manner of presenting themselves that they have that aim in view. Specifically, the College will not provide recognition or financial or logistical support for organizations or groups whose purposes include the advocacy or moral legitimization of homosexual behavior.

The College does support fair and kind treatment for people with a homosexual orientation. It likewise supports the scholarly examination and discussion of all the issues surrounding the phenomenon of homosexuality. The College affirms the right of students and faculty to propound and defend ideas that may be at variance with the institutional position of the College. Persons expressing such views are expected to take care not to attribute those views to the College either by direct statement or by intimation.

--John Jacobson, President, August 16, 1995


please see "We are ready."

By the joint effort of Hope is Ready and Holland is Ready we will be starting an online communal reflection and theological discussion on the HOPE COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY. We invite you to join us here on our Hope is Ready blog, to share your convictions, fears, experience, and frustrations concerning the 1995 "Statement on Homosexuality" Hope College Board of Trustees policy. Also, follow us on Facebook. On the Facebook group page, "We are ready." we've opened a Discussions board dedicated to this theological wrestling.

We welcome an open forum, open to all questions on the "theological foundation" (Is advocating for the LGBT community a faith and justice issue? Is the Biblical interpretation presented in this statement absolutist?) and the ramifications of the precise language of the statement (how does this effect students and effect student groups?). We welcome *all* feedback, but will focus primarily on the statement's theological foundation as well as its exact language, inviting the Hope community into a close reading.

Come One Come All
We know that Hope College boasts a wide range of talented and skilled Biblical exegetics—skilled students, faculty, alumni and staff alike. Let's practice our hermeneutics on this complex issue and celebrate that "the Truth shall set [us] free." To entertain this needed community process we pray for the qualities and fruits of the Spirit as evidenced in the Virtues of Conversation in the Hope College Community (found here: and

Let’s Talk
I mean, really, crank out the Bibles, consult theologian friends, consult yourself if you consider yourself a theologian, talk about it at a Hope Bible study, talk about it in the classroom, talk and pray about it with your Hope Chaplains. Talk about it with your Hope Professors, with your Holland RCA pastors, and with your friends at Western Theological Seminary. Talk about it in church and outside of church. Talk about it with someone who feels differently than you do. Ask questions. Talk about it with your families. Talk about it loudly (or softly ) in coffee shops, JP's, lemonjello's, The Good Earth, and over Kletz coffee. Let's have a Hope/Holland community-wide theological conversation about this policy.

Remember the Rally?
We quoted from the Virtues of Conversation in the Hope College Community at our "Invitation to Conversation" campus rally on Tuesday, October 13th after the Dustin-Lance-Black-hit-Hope-like-an-earthquake upset. For those of you who weren't with us, we gathered in the bowl outside of Dewitt encouraging all attending to wear their best and brightest Orange and Blue as we publicly responded to the administration's repeated statements of "We are not ready to have this divisive conversation" wearing our first round of t-shirts that proudly say "We are ready." (We can order more if there’s another round of shirt orders. E-mail us at

Here's part of what we read at the rally and sent out in a campus-wide e-mail blitz:

"We believe in the virtues that mark conversation at Hope: humility to listen, hospitality to welcome, patience to understand, courage to challenge, honesty to speak the truth in love."

This Ain’t No Partisan Issue
We still say emphatically that whether we fall to the right, left or smack in the middle on this issue, we are ready to talk, read, wonder and pray about it. We want to have this conversation. We feel passionately that students need spaces of open and authentic conversation to process the delicate intricacies of mental and moral development. We do not believe that morality is a simple "check a, b and c" issue. Neither, for that matter, is the Christian faith.

Let's go Hope!

yours truly,
Hope is Ready

Hope is Ready

Hope is Ready is a Holland, MI based community revitalization organization. Essentially we're a collective of students, alumni, and faculty who are disappointed with the way Hope College's administration handles LGBT students, conversation and lack of protection. We want to ensure that young LGBT students understand that they're valued as much as any heterosexual student. At the moment we're continuing communication with local churches and organizations, like Latin Americans United for Progress in Holland, as well as Hope Reformed Church and Grace Episcopal in Holland, because we believe in ensuring the collaboration and unification of oppressed voices.

We also believe in collaboration within our organizational structure, meaning that the current number of students involved in more 'direct' planning is approximately 20, while the number of students attending our events is about 150, and our e-mail list is over 400. We believe in the power of story. We are pursuing a campus-wide conversation through diverse dialogue, sharing of stories and collaborative energy-giving efforts.

Our main objective as an organization is to create a safe space for conversation in the Hope and Holland community. We want to ensure that open dialogue is not only allowed, but respected, for Hope students, faculty and staff. The current position within the Reformed Church of America on issues of sexual orientation is to be in open dialogue about these issues. We believe that Hope College, as an affiliate of the Reformed Church of America, has a responsibility to be engaging in this open dialogue.

As a part of this process, we are hoping to encourage the administration to fully acknowledge and affiliate with the Gay Straight Forum, currently a non-official student group on Hope's Campus. We are also hoping to ensure that Hope College includes LGBT students under their protection and non-discrimination ordinances, currently they are not included.

Our dream is for the Holland Community and Hope College, as an educational institution that all of us value and love, to be places where everyone can share their story and know that they are equally valued, respected and welcomed.

yours in the journey,
Hope is Ready