“The United Church of Christ is generally, and certainly in the Northwest, very much on the progressive edge which I’m proud of,” he said. “There are an incredible number of people craving the theology we have, which encourages people to take their own faith journey.
While Schmidt is openly gay, he said, “I am not a ‘gay pastor.’ I am a pastor who happens to be gay. I’m a pastor first and foremost. The other aspects of my life are secondary. My partner Donald Osmer and I were married in Canada. Here we have a domestic partnership. We’re ‘the two Donald’s.’”
Rev. Schmidt spoke of three religious books he published, including “Emerging Word.” This was my doctoral dissertation based on ‘creation spirituality,’ which celebrates not original sin but original blessing. I think it’s far more biblical, but less popular. Also ‘Bible Wanderings’ about Bible stories in different settings, and ‘In the Beginning,’ also about ‘Creation Spirituality.’”
He explained, “’Creation spirituality’ developed with a lot of mystics in the Middle Ages, such as Meister Eckhart, Hildegard, and St. Francis of Assisi. Assisi’s writings were amazingly profound, amazingly cutting edge and nobody ever reads those. The Catholic Church suppressed them for years and left him ‘in the garden for birds. The whole thing is that he was a nice man who loved animals.
“In the beginning we are recognizing we’re blessed,” he said speaking in the context of creation spirituality. “Original sin is very popular,” he added. “It sells. It’s not biblical.
“When people say they think the Bible tells us how the world was created and it happened in a few thousand years, I think that’s just immature. There’s no conflict between recognizing that the earth is 15 billion years old and that God was involved. The energy force that created the universe and the big bang is divinely planned. The god I worship is the god that cared enough to create that, and love us. To me that’s an amazing miracle.”