A profanity-speaking preacher who has lost hundreds in his congregation over his decision to allow open homosexuals to serve in leadership positions, and who says he “doesn’t care” what the Bible has to say on the issue, is featured in a new online video that has received over a million views in less than a week.
Ryan Meeks is the founder of EastLake Community Church in Bothell, Washington, which identifies itself as “an inclusive Christian community where faith is less about a story to be believed as it is a life to be lived.”
In 2015, Meeks announced that he believed a “move of the Spirit” caused him to rethink how he had handled the issue of homosexuality. In the April 8th video released by Upworthy, Meeks—amid clips of profanity usage—noted that he used to shy away from the topic.
“When it came to the conversation around the LGBT community and church policy, or what does the Bible say about homosexuality, I always felt awkward about it. I didn’t want to bring it up,” he explained.
“I felt like I needed to scare people into believing the right thing because the God who loves them is going to send most of human history to Hell,” Meeks said. “That’s the Good News? Sounds pretty [expletive]!”
He outlined that when one of the members of the EastLake worship team came out as a lesbian and feared that she would consequently lose the right to serve, he questioned how he had come across to others.
“[M]y heart broke and I just realized I had been a coward for too long,” Meeks recalled.
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He decided that EastLake would therefore be “open and affirming” going forward. However, he knew that the choice would carry consequences and he might lose the congregation.