A pastor in Kansas has kicked out a member of the church band for being an unrepentant homosexual.
Chad Graber found a spiritual connection at CrossPoint Church in Hutchison, KS, located about forty miles outside of Wichita. He discovered his passion for music there, became active in the church orchestra, and even found help for his substance-abuse problem in the church’s recovery program.
“My goal was to put more good things in my life, and church was it,” he remembers.
Sometime around 2007 he joined the six-piece worship team for Celebrate Recovery, playing keyboards, learning Christian songs and practicing chord changes.
His playing caught the ear of other worship leaders at CrossPoint, the largest church in Hutchinson, boasting some 1,400 members.
It wasn’t long before Graber joined the Saturday worship band. For nearly four years he played in both worship groups.
But when senior pastor Andy Addis found out Graber was gay—and not exactly grappling with his same-sex attraction—he sent him away like Mary and Joseph at the inn.
Graber, who was single, hadn’t discussed his sexual orientation with many people, but he had come to realize it was something that “refused to go away,” despite his prayers for healing. He had never talked about it with anyone at church, though. So it was surprise when, last fall, Pastor Addis pulled Graber aside and asked him point blank: Are you gay?
It turns out a fellow band member had “complained” about Graber, a gay man, having a leadership role in the church. Addis said that was a dealbreaker, and that he was also worried a “troubled Christian” might try to hurt Graber.
“But he told me he’d love for me to keep going to church services,” says Graber, who passed on the opportunity to sit in the back of the bus, er, chapel.
The good pastor says he still accepts Graber but that the Bible is the Bible: “I have to stand on Scripture,” he explains. “People on both sides of the aisle need to be willing to forgive, understand and accept their differences. When I say ‘accept,’ I can still believe that I’m 100% right and that you may be wrong, but I still have to accept you as a person.”
But Graber—who has since found a new welcoming church (and a partner)—doesn’t think you can cast out someone you profess to accept. “That’s like someone saying they love black people but believe in slavery,” he says. “Or they love women, but they fight to their dying breath to deny them the right to vote. Or they’re with the Nazi party and work in the Holocaust, but they say they love Jews… There is no compromising my life.”
At least Graber can be content knowing Addis is being equitable. He says he’d treat a heterosexual parishioner exactly the same if they were committing adultery. “Everyone sins. But the issue is whether you see it’s a sin and make changes as a response to what you see in Scripture. The difference with Chad is that he switched from struggling with his sin to embracing it.”
So Christians like Addis accept us, but only if we’re miserable.