The work I did around Christianity
John Shore is America's preeminent non-douchy Christian. His blog is a must-read for anyone, Christian or otherwise. — Dan Savage, founder, It Gets Better; host, Savage Lovecast
John Shore is awesome, and a brilliant writer. The minute I started reading his stuff, I knew he was a brother from another mother. —Rob Bell, Love Wins.
John Shore is a gadfly, calling the Christian Church everywhere to act the way it says it believes about love and justice, which of course makes him an uncomfortable presence in those churches that do not like to be forced to face reality. So were the prophets of old. So was Jesus of Nazareth. — John Shelby Spong
John Shore is co-founder of The NALT (Not All Like That) Christians Project (which was written about by TIME, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, and others). He is also founder of Unfundamentalists.
John is best known for his work methodically dismantling the Christian teaching that homosexuality is a sin (e.g., Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality).
He is also recognized for his seminal essays exposing and helping to weaken the authority of Christian fundamentalism (e.g., The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity; Waiting for Bob Jones’s Huge Gay Bomb to Drop; Bob Jones University Shuts Down Year-Long Investigation of Sexual Abuse on Its Campus; Only Psychos Feel Abused; The Southern Baptist Convention Throws Transgender People Under the Bus; Southern Baptist Pastor Accepts His Gay Son, Changes His Church), as well as for his influential debunking of the traditional Christian teachings of both hell (e.g., Is Hell Real? What Are We, Six?; Christian and Atheist Argue About Hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist Wins; What Christianity Without Hell Looks Like) and evangelizing (e.g., What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear; When Bad Christians Happen to Good People; How Is, “Convert, You Sinner!” Loving?).
When, in 2007, John began using the platform of his blog to advocate for the full and equal acceptance of LGBT people within Christianity (he originally blogged on JohnShore.com, moving his blog to Patheos in 2012), literally no other Christian leader or blogger, “progressive,” “emergent,” or otherwise, would step up and help him fight for the cause of LGBT equality in which he believed with such unabashed, compassionate, and ultimately sea-changing fervor.
In private, they all told John that they believed in what he was saying and teaching. They just couldn’t say so publicly.
“I did everything I could to get literally any leading progressive Christian leader with an online presence (being very nearly all of them) to join me in championing LGBT equality,” he says. “From publicly challenging them, to begging and cajoling each of them on the side, nothing worked. They wouldn’t join the cause. They were all too afraid of losing their speaking gigs at churches and Christian conferences, their Christian funding sources, their book deals, their wealthiest congregants.
“They were afraid of what supporting LGBT equality would cost them, literally.
“But I had no such concerns; I’m not a professional Christian, and am beholden to no one. I’m just a writer. So I did what I do. I kept writing.”
Mr. Shore’s work on the topic of Christianity and LGBT equality came to be featured by Dan Savage, Andrew Sullivan, GLAAD, Advocate.com, Towleroad, Joe. My. God., Good As You, and many others.
Straight as he is, he was also a featured columnist for LGBTQ Nation.
Over the years, as post after post of Shore’s on the matter of LGBT equality went viral (e.g., What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?; Mr. Wallis and His Big Gay Waffle; If You Take Paul Literally on Homosexuality, Take Jesus Literally on Money; An open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers; The Inevitability of the Rise of Progressive Christianity), things began to change. (“Viral” is here defined as shared on FB at least 25,000 times.)
Slowly but surely, as Shore’s writings gained traction and grew in popularity, first progressive Christian bloggers, and then progressive Christian leaders, felt safe affirming full LGBT equality.
Many of Mr. Shore’s original and then-radical arguments in support of the Christian acceptance of full LGBT equality are now standard progressive Christian positions on the matter. To obey the “law” of condemning homosexuality is to egregiously violate what Jesus himself declared the Greatest Commandment. What anti-gay Christians are denying gay people—in direct defiance of everything for which Jesus stood and died—is nothing less than love. The blood of any gay person’s suicide is on the hands of all anti-gay Christians. Like it or not, every anti-gay Christian is, necessarily and by definition, a bigot. The very phrase “anti-gay Christians” as a means of keeping conversations on the issue singularly focused. All of these thoughts and ideas, and more like them, originated with Mr. Shore, and are now commonplace throughout progressive Christianity. — Dan Wilkinson
“All of us who are enjoying some measure of equality for LGBT people and the beautiful community it creates owe a debt of gratitude to John Shore.” — Rev. Colleen Ogle, King Avenue United Methodist Church, Columbus, Ohio.
“Shore is a humorist whose work is more comedic than Donald Miller, and his appeal to Christians is more direct. Shore is preaching and teaching under the comedy, and he is very effective as a critic and motivator. Shore turns evangelism upside down and engages in just enough hyperbole to effectively make his points . . . . Shore appeals to Christians to ponder the nature of love, the importance of honest and mature Christian character and how relationships with non-Christians really look. Shore speaks so much common sense, and skips so much Christian-ese and predictable rhetoric that some Christians will be offended immediately.” –Michael Spencer, a.k.a The Internet Monk, author of the bestseller “Mere Churchianity”
“John Shore helps me un-learn something I shouldn’t have learned in seminary, which is that there’s a dichotomy between being pastoral and being prophetic. Watching him consistently do both of those at once reminds me that, yes, being pastoral to the victims and prophetic to those who have hurt them is how it ought to be. I’m a big fan and beneficiary of John’s writing.” — Fred Clark, a.k.a. Slacktivist.
“John Shore is funny as hell and smart as hell, which is good because I’ve heard that we’re both going to spend a long time there.” — Tony Jones, Theoblogy.
“John Shore’s unique, honest, and passionate writings draw us to dig a little deeper, to listen with the intention of truly hearing and understanding each other. He gives voice to those without a platform; he puts into words our latent questions/ observations about today’s topics that are begging to be addressed from the viewpoint of an informed Christian” — Spencer Burke, founder of TheOOZE.com
“John Shore is a genius.” — Stephen Arterburn, Every Man’s Battle.
“John Shore has been pioneering the slide down the slope for years.” Author, radio host, and career gay-basher Dr. Michael L. Brown, named by the Southern Poverty Law Center in September 2012 among the “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right,” and profiled extensively to be among those that the SPLC considers to be leaders of hate groups.