About Dave Barnhart

I am a pastor, author, teacher, and coach. My mission in life is to teach and live abundant life among passionate people. I began a network of house churches called Saint Junia United Methodist Church in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama.  I’m married and have a son. I’ve written a few books: Church Comes Home, What’s in the Bible About Church? and God Shows No Partiality. I’ve worked with individuals and organizations to resolve conflict and grow spiritually.

If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can email me at dave (at) saintjunia (dot) org, or send me a message on Twitter.

If you’d like me to become your coach or consultant, you can schedule an appointment through Behavioral Sciences of Alabama.

What I’m currently working on:
I am currently a student of mental health counseling at UAB and nature and forest therapy through ANFT. I’m beginning a project called The Ecology and Spirituality Lab. I write a semi-regular devotional available through email or my blog.


19 thoughts on “About Dave Barnhart

  1. A FB friend of mine posted your article about homosexuality and grace. Thank you for your thoughtful reflections on this topic. I too am a pastor who is convinced of the need to help all broken people understand the amazing grace awaiting them.

    Additionally, I see another problem afflicting churches, not just those blinded by self-righteousness and hate: The inability to articulate a compassionate and rational defense of traditional marriage without judgment. I have embarked on this project myself and offer my thoughts for your consideration. http://youtu.be/co_pthJ60Q8

    Even if in the end we happen to disagree on the conclusions that I’ve drawn, I thought that you might appreciate this perspective.

    • Interesting that you refer here to homosexuals as “broken people.” I know many and most are as in tune to themselves and others just as much as those you would consider “whole or not broken.” So discouraging to read such from, whom I believe must be educated. You know what I think? I think Jesus/God/HolySpirit does not give a rat’s foot whether people choose to love others of their opposite sex or those of their same sex nor which folks they choose to marry and have sexual relations with. The Trinity cares that we love one another as Christ loves us! On that notion, hangs all the other commandments!

      • Well said, M.J. The problem is that so many Christians take and wave parts of the bible as “God’s word” (yet conveniently do not address the contradictions and inconsistencies of so many other verses). That makes it easier to condemn or at least minimize gays in so many ways, despite the fact that we are all “broken”. The focus becomes a moral judgment upon others vs following Jesus in love beyond measure.

      • I have seen your doctrine, and I loathe it.
        Jude is clear. It seems you have crept in unnoticed, turning the grace of God into a license to sin (in this case, a marriage license). We should be interested in God’s truth, not our own echo chambers of personal theology. Believe it or not, it is possible to love the LGBTQQ community without swaying on what God says clearly in his word about marriage.

      • Matthew 23 is clear. It seems you have turned the grace of God into a license to sin (in this case, locking people out of the kingdom of heaven). We should be interested in God’s truth, not our own echo chambers of personal theology. Believe it or not, it is possible to love Christian traditionalists without swaying on what God says clearly in his word about tying up heavy burdens for others that we don’t have to bear.

        Your rhetoric. Different nouns.

  2. Dave, I just read your blog “How Being a Pastor Changed My Thinking on Homosexuality” and was disappointed that the comments were closed.
    I am an atheist, so the notion the homosexuality as a sin has no meaning to me and I view homosexuals the same as any other people. I, myself, am a happily married guy (46 yrs) to a wonderful Scots lady (not laddy). I am so happily surprised to read of such a positive attitude as yours on a Christian web site. There are so many hateful, and lying, sites claiming to be representing Christianity, such as the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Liberty Council and, sadly, many, many more. Unfortunately these people have a tremendous influence on so called conservative politicians at local, state and national levels and are effecting the law of the land, in a negative direction. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the New Apostolic Reformation, but they are a decidedly theocratic group with widespread influence that seeks to have religious control over all aspects of American, and the world’s, activities. Even worse is the entire “Christian Nation” movement that is, somewhat effectively, trying to break down the “Wall of Separation”. Their main spokesperson is David Barton who also has the ear of many right wing politicians.
    I have found that many moderate Christians have no idea of these groups and the hate, lies and fear they widely distribute, and, sadly, most don’t really seem to want to think about it.
    Enough of the gloom and doom, even though it is a real and present problem, I thank and admire you for you reasonable, and human, view point. There is a Christian site you might appreciate, http://lethoperise.com/. Particularly this entry: http://lethoperise.com/2012/11/07/grieving-and-hope-after-the-election/ .It was recommended to me by the same person who recommended your site and I found her a delightful person to communicate with.

  3. Hi Dave,

    I Just finished reading God Shows No Partiality and it is brilliant!

    I’m an atheist and have always struggled with how I see so many people who use Christianity as a weapon. Having been baptised and confirmed I always knew that the people of my parents church were loving and compassionate and I found it difficult to square the circle. You have given me much ammunition to take on the people who would seek to burden people rather than accept them.

    Your book has given me hope and I will certainly be recommending it to all of my friends.

    Keep up the good work!


  4. Dave,
    I have just read your article concerning censorship and the bible. As a Vandy Divinity product from the 80’s I am thrilled that you are continuing the mission of asking penetrating questions that spark honest discussion about faith. I like your style, and will make it a point to follow you. I would like to ask if I am free to share your thoughts with the congregation I now serve. I have been involved in church revitalization for the past 32 years, and have found your approach to be most helpful to sparking growth. Keep up the great work!
    Many thanks,

  5. Dave, I would love for you to Know Jesus Christ and no longer “only Believe” in Him! I have written of my experiences on my blog. http://www.davidwinter.wordpress.com Jesus Christ Wills to be known. We Must seek Him in Spirit and in Truth. Flesh and beliefs keep you trapped in eternal hell.
    Love your Brother,
    David Winter

    • David,

      The arrogance of your comment is staggering. I must admit to being so sick and tired of other people claiming to know Him over and above people who determine not to be bound by your version of Christianese.

      Sorry to hijack this thread of comments, Dave, but I couldn’t help myself. 😉 The blindness of churched people to their own callous judgmentalism hurts my heart so badly that I cannot be silent in the face of it. Having once been this way, I find myself walking around looking for people to shake awake! I often despair of my efforts ever bearing any fruit. 😥

  6. Dave, I came across your blog while looking at some of the Freshly Pressed posts selected by WordPress. I was fascinated by your background in Nashville and other Southern locales, since I am Nashville born and bred, worked at Vanderbilt Medical School long before you came to Vandy, and am familiar with many of the places in Alabama you mentioned in your “about” piece.

    Then, and I don’t remember how, I came upon your post on homosexuality and the church. I just wanted to leave a resounding amen to what you wrote. When as Christians we don’t behave as Christians, it is certain mockery and degradation for Jesus Christ who shed his blood for us, ALL of us. Thank you for standing up and saying what so many Christians likely would say if it didn’t have a price tag attached in society.

  7. It was the act of serving as a pastor and coming into contact with homosexuals in dire spiritual and pastoral need that changed your thinking. It is heart-warming to know that when gay people come to you – that you are extending the grace and love of Jesus to them. Today, many religious people, lie in the proverbial manger like dogs, snapping and biting the oxen that come to eat the nourishing hay. I am one of those gay men who came to the church seeking God’s love and was prevented and turned away. Until one momentous, glorious day, famished and confused, I asked God what he thought about me a homosexual. Someone who has been called an abomination and filled with evil spirits. No sooner had I asked this, when I felt two large, warm hands placed on my head, and the loving power of Jesus flooding and surging through my body, into my mind, filling up my soul, my whole being. I found myself crying, laughing, shouting, singing in tongues, on my knees, my hands raised. That day – Jesus came to me, when no one else would, and He showed me just how much he loved me. I have never again questioned his love for me. The cruel diatribes of those who seek to keep gays from God no longer have any effect on me. Now, as Jesus taught us – I pray for those who spitefully abuse gay people. Now, I tremble in fear for them, for what will God demand of them – who refused to extend his grace to the dispossessed.

  8. Dear Dave,
    Thank you for the Exodus.
    Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking and feeling for years. Since my best friend had a baby when we were teens and no priest would baptize the “illegitimate” baby until now I keep thinking, Wait a minute, that’s not the Jesus I know and keep in my heart who said, “Let the children come onto me.” That’s not the Good Shepherd, the Jesus who tied a towel around his waist and washed his disciples’ feet!

  9. I just read your take on John 8:11. I’m curious as to what Bible you use that does not say, in some form or fashion, “to go and don’t sin”? So far I’ve checked 6 different Bibles and haven’t found where it doesn’t say those very words.

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