This post comes from the heart. I don’t have a script I’m writing from, nor am I going to write/edit and re-write this post. I think this needs to be off the cuff and from the heart.

I see a lot of people asking things like “What is the #OutlawPreachers?”, “What does the hashtag stand for?” and most recently, “I don’t see any of them doing anything. They just talk about doing things.” I applaud Jay Bakker for coming to the defense of the community and stating the fact that the reason a lot of the Outlaw Preachers don’t do much is because they have been kicked out of their churches for taking stands. My heart swells when I see people like Jay come to the defense of the community.

I need some people to come to a realization. This is so much more than a hashtag. This is a family (a family I am DAMN proud to be a part of). Now, like most families, we have our squabbles. We have the deadbeat couch potato brother. We have the Mother. We even have our own Papa.

When I look at the Outlaw Preachers, I see some who have been fired from jobs in ministry, some who have been kicked out of denominations and some who have been ostracized from their communities. I see some who live under the poverty line because they choose to minister to a group of Outcasts. I see some who have a Master’s Degree but have to wait tables to make due. I see some who are told by loved ones that they’re hell bound for being gay affirming.

I also see some of the most loving individuals that have ever graced the earth. I see some who might use the f word when they pray. I see many different parts of the body of Christ (one who calls himself the middle finger). I see a community that is TRYING to be better.

So, please, please, please don’t sit on the outside of my FAMILY and tell us what a poor job we’re doing until you’ve hugged some of our necks and felt our tears. Don’t sit on the outside of my FAMILY and tell us we could “do better”. Get in here, get your hands dirty and help us “do better”. Help us be better. This is my family and I will defend them. I will love them. And I will welcome you in to the family.