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The Presbyterian pastor who created "The Message" translation of the bible has said he supports gay marriage and would officiate a same-sex wedding if asked.
Eugene Peterson said in an interview with Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Service that he "hasn't had a lot of experience" with homosexuality but had attended churches as an associate pastor where several women were lesbians.
He said while looking for a new music minister in his own congregation a high school teacher showed up in church one day and stood up and said "I'd like to apply for the job of music director here, and I'm gay".
Peterson said: "I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.
"I wouldn't have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do.
"I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they'll probably just go to another church.
"So we're in a transition and I think it's a transition for the best, for the good. I don't think it's something that you can parade, but it's not a right or wrong thing as far as I'm concerned."
When asked if he would officiate a same-sex wedding, he replied "yes".
The 84 year old writer's popular contemporary language bible that was published in segments from 1993 to 2002, doesn't use the word "homosexual" or "homosexuality" in the text.
Meanwhile, LifeWay which is America's largest Christian retail chain, may stop selling The Message bible and the retired pastor's other books.
A statement written by a spokesperson for LifeWay said: "LifeWay only carries resources in our stores by authors who hold to the biblical view of marriage.
"We are attempting to confirm with Eugene Peterson or his representatives that his recent interview on same-sex marriage accurately reflects his views. If he confirms he does not hold to a biblical view of marriage, LifeWay will no longer sell any resources by him, including The Message."
The LifeWay website currently lists 135 titles by Peterson, including versions of his Message Bible and his memoir The Pastor.
In the interview series with Merritt, Peterson also revealed that he will no longer be writing, teaching, or speaking publicly.
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