Jimmy Creech spoke before a moderately sized crowd at Discovery United Methodist Church on Wednesday and left those who heard him with a renewed sense of what Christianity is all about. His message of inclusiveness for LGBT persons was well received, and after his presentation many gathered around to speak personally to him and to have their copy of his book, "Adam's Gift," autographed.
Creech is a former United Methodist minister who was confronted by a parishioner, Adam, who was leaving the church because of the exclusion he felt due to church policy. Creech assured Adam that he was loved by God but then found himself having to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin.
Creech told of how the Christian church developed its policies against same gender relationships, referring back to Augustine of Hippo's belief that sexual desire was the most foul of human wickedness and St. Thomas Aquinas' role in implanting the church's attitude of distaste for same sex acts.
He also stressed that those attitudes were not based on scripture.
Creech's visit was a follow up to a month long study of "Adam's Gift" by a group at Discovery United Methodist Church. Prior to the event, he met with the group members during their final night of the book study and spoke casually, answering questions about the book as well as the development of his understanding regarding LGBT people.
Creech said later that acceptance of the gay community is a matter of justice, but for the (United Methodist) church, it's a matter of integrity. And he said that a pastor's role does not stop because of someone's sexuality.
He was described by study group members as “a class act” and “one of the smartest preachers I’ve ever met.”
The study group has decided to continue their discussion of LGBT issues and faith, and will meet as before on Wednesday evenings at the church.