Listen to this story on NPR. The Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA is Open and Affirming. But what happens when a convicted sex offender who has been attending services now wants to become a member? How far does the gospel reach? Into our own little hells or into the hell of those whom we fear? Isn't it both?
A mother voices her fear about her young adopted son, that he's so friendly, he goes up to anyone. I hear her worry; I have two daughters myself. But welcoming a child molester does not mean we abdicate our role as parent. It means sitting down with children and having a review of 'stranger danger'. It warrants the church developing a safe church policy, something every church should do. It means every adult keeping watch and also trusting God to be acting within this person. From what I heard of the story he seems to have an honest desire to be part of a faith community so that he might become a better person. He knows that to be isolated would mean only trouble for him.
It's a dicey call, but when do we start taking the gospel seriously? Doesn't a sex offender deserve the opportunity to practice resurrection just like the rest of us Christians?