Other Group

Zao MKE Church

Website:

www.zaomke.org/

Location:

Milwaukee, WI

Pastor:

Jonah Holm

The Zao MKE Church is an ideologically left-of-center United Methodist Church-affiliated church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The church is led by a transgender pastor and is guided by a far-left social justice mission. It supports LGBT interests, Black Lives Matter, and liberalized immigration laws. [1]

Overview

Zao MKE Church is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. [2]

The church is guided by a far-left social justice mission. It describes itself as ‘‘Jesus-rooted, justice-centered, and radically inclusive.’’ [3]

According to the founder of the church, the word ‘‘Zao’’ is a Greek word used in Jesus’s teachings that means ‘‘fully alive.’’ [4]

Theological Stances

The church claims to focus on the abundance of life now, rather than the afterlife. It also claims to be in the spiritual tradition of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. The church claims to embrace a practical theology without the hard lines of doctrine, as well as ‘‘personal holiness, social wholeness and the living out of God’s mission against injustice.’’ [5]

Political Stances

Zao MKE Church supports the Black Lives Matter movement and claims that Jesus was ‘‘brown.’’ [6] The church claims that many Americans describe Jesus as a white, blonde, Californian surfer dude in appearance; instead, the church describes Jesus as a ‘‘brown-skinned, Palestinian, Jewish, peasant organizer living under Roman occupation and challenging religious authority.’’ [7]

The church is also a strong opponent of traditional Christian views on homosexuality. The church believes that people should see the holiness of their sexuality and sexual orientation and supports ‘‘trans liberation.’’ The church affirms that God created people to be gay or trans and bemoans the lack of trans leadership in religious communities. [8]

The church declares itself to be radical, defined as protecting and celebrating the most vulnerable, prioritizing the oppressed, and accepting everyone but not all ideas. The church says it does not accept those who believe in white supremacy. [9]

The church opposes the U.S. trade embargo on communist-ruled Cuba and has served as the staging ground for demonstrations that call upon the U.S. government to lift the embargo. [10]

Leadership

Jonah Holm is the pastor of the church. Holm is transgender and has a degree in social work in addition to a degree in theology. [11] Holm has stated that before becoming pastor of the church, Holm struggled with suicidal thoughts and drug addiction. [12]

References

  1. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  2. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  3. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  4. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  5. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  6. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  7. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  8. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  9. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  10. “MKE Rally, Then Car & Bike Caravan to Lift the Cuba Blockade.” MiVoz. Accessed November 13, 2022. https://mivoz.com/event/mke-rally-then-car-bike-caravan-to-lift-the-cuba-blockade/. ^
  11. Masterson, Paul. “New Spiritual Community Celebrates Jesus, Social Justice and Radical Inclusion.” Shepherd Express. December 17, 2019. https://shepherdexpress.com/lgbtq/my-lgbtq-pov/new-spiritual-community-celebrates-jesus-social-justice-and-/. ^
  12. “Jonah Holm and John Holm.” StoryCorps Archive. Accessed November 13, 2022. https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/chi001004/. ^
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Zao MKE Church


Milwaukee, WI