On Monday, Queerty broke the news that Reverend Matthew Makela, a pastor in Midland, Michigan with a track record of making damaging statements towards the gay and transgender communities, had stepped down from his position at St. John’s Lutheran Church after his wife and church officials learned that he’d been cruising Grindr for sex with men.
The following day, the Senior Pastor of St. John’s, Reverend Daniel Kempin, posted an open letter to congregants on the church’s website.
“It is my grief to inform you that Pastor Makela announced his resignation as a pastor of St. John’s through a letter that was read in worship on Sunday, May 17,” he begins. That’s the day before the story broke here.
“To make matters worse,” he continues, “the details of sin that have been kept confidential are being posted online by those who seek to do harm to the Makela family and to St. John’s. This is taking an already difficult situation and making it even more painful… The facebook pages associated with St. John’s have been taken down in an attempt to remove the opportunity for malicious posters to have access to St. John’s members…”
Here’s the typical closed-door religious attitude that we find appalling. If Kempin had it his way, Rev. Makela would have broken ties with St. John’s congregation without ever having the “details of sin” made known to them.
His community would never have known that the man telling them being gay is a condition comparable to alcoholism and that gay marriage is just another blemish on the holy institution was in fact seeking the intimacy of men himself.
And not just a quick fling — he says in Grindr messages he likes to “make out naked,” “massage” and “cuddle.”
But don’t expect a conversation on what’s real to gain much traction at St. John’s.
“I write this to you to warn you that you may be confronted with the details of the sin, and to remind you that sin is never pretty,” writes Kempin. “Don’t panic…Don’t respond…Be patient and trust God. This too shall pass.”
He leaves the reader with one final piece of advice from scripture:
“Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”
You can read the full letter here. (NOTE: The church’s website is currently down, likely due to an overflow of traffic.)