The late, great Christopher Hitchens once said, “Those who condemn a certain action or lifestyle, have a secret desire to participate in it.”
That astute analysis seems to ring true quite often for certain people in right wing politics, and sometimes even in the clerical community. Married father of five and pastor at St. John’s Church in Michigan, Matt Makela, had to resign his pastoral duties (which included comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and calling transgender people “opportunistic sickos” who are “preying on young children”) when his Grindr profile was discovered.
Makela was definitely not shy when chatting up dudes on the app, telling a potential date, “I love making out naked. Oral and massage. And i top. Also love to cuddle.”
Posts on his now deleted Facebook page told a slightly different story on the former pastor’s feelings:
And there’s this excerpt from an op-ed he wrote in 2014:
A sexual attraction to the same sex is a sinful temptation to be resisted and overcome by God’s grace and power, just as a temptation to steal or lie or overeat must be resisted and overcome by replacement with working hard, telling the truth and moderation in appetite.
Makela isn’t talking, but according to Queerty who broke the story, he did confirm that the Grindr profile is real.
Posting on their website, St. John’s Church made sure to warn parishioners not to turn on the TV, lest their eyes and ears be poisoned by Makela’s sin:
Dear members of St. John’s,
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. Pastor has acknowledged that there was sin and repentance, and I have testified that there is indeed forgiveness through the same Lord who forgives all our sins. Nevertheless, it is an end of our time together in ministry, and we ask for your continued prayers and support for the Makela family.
To make matters worse, though, 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.
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. 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, but the internet and age of communication being what it is, I have no way of guaranteeing that you will not come across this information in some way.
A few thoughts on how to proceed:
-Don’t panic. This changes nothing. Matt is still forgiven and he is still loved, and we will do what we can to stand by him and the family as they face this spiteful attack of shame. God is bigger than this and will see us through.
-Don’t respond. Those who are trying to shake up the congregation are doing so, at least in part, to generate traffic to their website. If you click on a website to see, or respond to what is being said—even in a positive way—you are only rewarding those who are trying to shame the Makelas.
-Please know that the leadership of St. John’s will be forthright with any information the members need to have. However, we do not intend to use the internet as the primary means of communication at this point.
-Be patient and trust God. This too shall pass. In the meantime consider the advice of 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.”
See you in Church,
Featured image via Queerty