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Missiongathering San Diego seeks to move away from Christian Nationalism

“God’s love is more radical, inclusive, and far-reaching than we are comfortable with.”

Missiongathering San Diego

Contact: 8693 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa 619-354-3993 www.missiongatheringsd.org

Denomination: Disciples of Christ

Membership: 85 (Attendance: 30-40)

Pastor: Braeden Storkersen

Age: 30

Born: Fullerton 

Formation: Antioch Bible College, Temecula; Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago; Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA; Claremont School of Theology, Los Angeles

To Be Ordained: September 2024

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San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Braeden Storkersen: The Sermon on the Mount, which expresses a radical love and inclusion. Jesus speaks about loving not just your neighbor but your enemy as well. It’s so challenging to love not just the people who think, look and live like us, but also loving people who live differently and think differently from us. That is one of Jesus’s most challenging and compelling messages.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PS: Some Christian churches are tending toward nationalism. There’s a hyperfocus on this unholy merging of God and country. The call of following Jesus Christ is one that loves truly all people, and any time you blend nationalism with following Jesus, there is going to be an exclusive lens applied to one’s faith. We have seen people be horrendously racist, homophobic, transphobic, pro-war, and idolizing presidential candidates or presidents over one’s actual messiah, one’s actual Christ. Christian nationalism poses a threat to church and to society at large….My church tries to be part of the larger movement in our preaching and conversations to move away from Christian nationalism and seek to be a more inclusive community.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PS: We strive to be a progressive, inclusive community of Christ’s followers dedicated to growing in faith, living a full life and teaching justice for the good of our world. We take the Christian traditions seriously, but we also embrace science, reason, history, and different perspectives on ultimate truths. So we have this interfaith respect and approach. We’re committed to embracing our doubts, asking the large questions of life and allowing our beliefs to evolve and grow over time. We believe our faith calls us to action to bring about justice and equity in the world for everyone, and that in our diversity we best reflect God’s creativity, beauty and design. So we seek to embrace and celebrate folks of all backgrounds—ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, socio-economic backgrounds…truly everything. Ultimately, we’re Christian, rooted in the teachings and example of Jesus. We draw from scripture each week and apply it to our particular context.

SDR: Why Disciples of Christ?

PS: We’re a non-creedal denomination, which means there’s no creed but Christ. Everyone follows Jesus together but there is no comprehensive list of dogmas and doctrines that each church and each member needs to believe. That really captured the heart of Christ for me.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: I do believe in heaven. We experience an eternal existence that is free of suffering and pain and is full of love and beauty. Where I diverge from many Christians is that I do believe that every single person will one day experience heaven or some form of heaven, regardless of religious tradition or what they’ve done in their lives. Naturally, then, I don’t believe in the eternal view of hell, fire and brimstone, that many Christians submit to. God’s love is more radical, inclusive, and far-reaching than we are comfortable with. So as Jesus says to love our enemies, even the people we consider enemies God loves, and there will be redemption and restoration for them as well.

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Missiongathering San Diego

Contact: 8693 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa 619-354-3993 www.missiongatheringsd.org

Denomination: Disciples of Christ

Membership: 85 (Attendance: 30-40)

Pastor: Braeden Storkersen

Age: 30

Born: Fullerton 

Formation: Antioch Bible College, Temecula; Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago; Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA; Claremont School of Theology, Los Angeles

To Be Ordained: September 2024

Sponsored
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San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Braeden Storkersen: The Sermon on the Mount, which expresses a radical love and inclusion. Jesus speaks about loving not just your neighbor but your enemy as well. It’s so challenging to love not just the people who think, look and live like us, but also loving people who live differently and think differently from us. That is one of Jesus’s most challenging and compelling messages.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PS: Some Christian churches are tending toward nationalism. There’s a hyperfocus on this unholy merging of God and country. The call of following Jesus Christ is one that loves truly all people, and any time you blend nationalism with following Jesus, there is going to be an exclusive lens applied to one’s faith. We have seen people be horrendously racist, homophobic, transphobic, pro-war, and idolizing presidential candidates or presidents over one’s actual messiah, one’s actual Christ. Christian nationalism poses a threat to church and to society at large….My church tries to be part of the larger movement in our preaching and conversations to move away from Christian nationalism and seek to be a more inclusive community.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PS: We strive to be a progressive, inclusive community of Christ’s followers dedicated to growing in faith, living a full life and teaching justice for the good of our world. We take the Christian traditions seriously, but we also embrace science, reason, history, and different perspectives on ultimate truths. So we have this interfaith respect and approach. We’re committed to embracing our doubts, asking the large questions of life and allowing our beliefs to evolve and grow over time. We believe our faith calls us to action to bring about justice and equity in the world for everyone, and that in our diversity we best reflect God’s creativity, beauty and design. So we seek to embrace and celebrate folks of all backgrounds—ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, socio-economic backgrounds…truly everything. Ultimately, we’re Christian, rooted in the teachings and example of Jesus. We draw from scripture each week and apply it to our particular context.

SDR: Why Disciples of Christ?

PS: We’re a non-creedal denomination, which means there’s no creed but Christ. Everyone follows Jesus together but there is no comprehensive list of dogmas and doctrines that each church and each member needs to believe. That really captured the heart of Christ for me.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: I do believe in heaven. We experience an eternal existence that is free of suffering and pain and is full of love and beauty. Where I diverge from many Christians is that I do believe that every single person will one day experience heaven or some form of heaven, regardless of religious tradition or what they’ve done in their lives. Naturally, then, I don’t believe in the eternal view of hell, fire and brimstone, that many Christians submit to. God’s love is more radical, inclusive, and far-reaching than we are comfortable with. So as Jesus says to love our enemies, even the people we consider enemies God loves, and there will be redemption and restoration for them as well.

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