Chris Seay Tries to Clear the Air in Montrose

I have heard great things (from great people) about Ecclesia, a local church which by all accounts caters to the younger set who are ________ (verb) with church as usual, whatever that means.

The church is located near downtown Houston in an area known as Montrose. The area is progressive (so-called), and reminds me of Austin. Back in my high school days, we used to make crude and sophomoric jokes about the area due to it being the epicenter of Houston’s gay community.

I cannot think of a better place than Montrose to place a church. The Houston Press is the local so-called progressive paper (so much so that it’s free!), much like the Austin Chronicle in that fair city.

They have covered Ecclesia in the past, in fact they featured her along with her pastor, Chris Seay, back in 2003.
“Gen-X Gospel:Ecclesia beckons the young with a blend of Christianity and counterculture”

The piece appears to be fair to its subject, though the constant (though hardly surprising) bashing of “religious institutions” on the part of the Press not to mention some of the interviewees is a bit tired and overly simplistic. Why let reality get in the way of pet perceptions?

Also, there is nothing like a solid f-bomb from a congregant (especially when describing the humanity of the church’s elders) to give a church some modicum of street cred in an area like Montrose.

Then this happens,
“Hands Off Our Gays! Rumors surround a Montrose church”

Not sure what a “gay-recovery program” is but Pastor Seay was quick to point out that,

We [Ecclesia] are definitely not starting any gay-recovery programs. We hate that stuff.

Apparently Seay’s words are given further elucidation by the Press. The Press writer cheekily reminds the reader,

Then again, Seay once told Mother Jones magazine that, while he condemns homosexuality, “It is no different than sleeping around or chronic masturbation.” In fact, it’s no fun being gay without sleeping around and chronic masturbation, he somehow didn’t go on to say.

Then as if to hang Ecclesia and her mission on her own petards,

Contributing to the hard feelings on the messageboards is the fact that Ecclesia holds itself out as being different from establishment churches.

The best quote of all is from a resident who for better or for worse picks up the banner and waves it from the top of Chapultepec Castle,

“It’s not like they are First Baptist — love ’em or hate ’em, you know exactly WHAT they are and why they would be in the neighborhood,” wrote one resident. “This…this seems dishonest and creepy.”

Forget the fact that Seay “hates” these kind of programs, I guess that’s not enough for our concerned resident. Could it be that her incredulity is based on the perception some people have of “religious institutions”?

It would have been good to ask this person to elaborate on First Baptist and “WHAT they are and why they would be in the neighborhood”?

See (no pun intended)? It always comes back to the establishment churches, to quote the great golden philosopher,

This is all your fault!