Speaking Publicly

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here and I hope to begin changing that. Grad school is in its final year and I’m going to be job-searching before much longer, but right now I’m trying to get through Hebrew translations and papers.

Lately, instead of blogging, I’ve been speaking publicly. I’ve spoken to high school students and to a group of PCUSA congregants most recently. Each experience had its own ups and downs, but it’s been an instructive few months even so.

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A Counter-Cultural Kind of Love

Dave:

“Because homosexuality is often reduced to the desire for gay sex (which is a very small part of being gay), Christians often don’t understand what we’re talking about. But there are gifts that come with each disposition and vocation, and we’re exploring how those gifts can be embraced and celebrated through friendship and community.”

Yes and amen.

Originally posted on Julie Rodgers:

I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to share a little about my faith and sexuality in generous pieces at Religion News Service and Slate. What I appreciated about both journalists was their desire to truly understand our experience as celibate gay Christians: both our choices and the heart behind those choices. It was also encouraging to see one explaining this path to the Christian community and one explaining it to a broader readership, with both demonstrating such charitable spirits.

Given the short space that I’m able to unpack the complexities of all this in brief quotes—you know, gay, ex-gay, celibacy, friendship, Jesus, and the fact that there’s way more to me and all people everywhere than our sexuality—this seems like a good time to share a little more about my season in ex-gay ministry, and to highlight why it was so nourishing when I landed in the Spiritual Friendship community.

I’ve shared previously…

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On the Pubcast!

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Tanner & Les.

Tanner & Les.

Two really cool guys had me on their podcast (The Reformed Pubcast) recently. They’re Calvinists who talk about Arminians, theology, and beer. But at minute 23 of this week’s podcast, they talked with me about being Gay and Evangelical.

The reaction on the blog has been mixed, but I think is largely good. I have a sense that hearing from a real-life Calvinist who wrestles with his sexuality and identifies as gay (but with the qualification that he is celibate unless he marries a woman at some point) is utterly foreign territory to some. That’s ok…and if you’re visiting from the Pub, welcome!

One question I was asked on the Facebook group has to do with whether or not the word “love” can be used for me to talk about those to whom I’m attracted. I’m well aware of popular Calvinistic teachers who do not like for the word “love” be associated with anything same-sex related. However, since I was asked why I used the word love, this is what I replied. I share it here because I imagine that there are many people who would secretly ask the same question.

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The Labor of Love

Dave:

A wonderful thought (or two) about how romantic love shouldn’t inform our friendships.

Originally posted on Spiritual Friendship:

Imagine a man who quits his job and moves across the country for the woman he loves. This act is either incredibly beautiful or incredibly stupid. One critical fact makes the difference: how she responds.

“Love at first sight” only works for those who have not learned the labors of love. For how can one love another when he does not yet know how to love the other? The greatest love is less like a disembodied hook-up and more like one striking image from John Green’s The Fault in our Stars (the tragically funny book, which I saw as a movie and laughed when I wasn’t supposed to—sorry, fellow movie-goers!). The protagonist reflects, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

A love which is truly for the other is a slow love, because it is a patient love. It does not demand…

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From Sex to Sexual Politics: The Problem with Gay Marriage

Dave:

A thoughtful look at historical matters in a very charged debate.

Originally posted on Spiritual Friendship:

Last year, Joseph Bottum wrote an essay for Commonweal entitled, “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage.” With a title like this coming from the pen of a former editor of First Things, Bottum’s article was almost certain to generate voluminous commentary. And it did.

One year later, the commentary continues, with the most recent issue of Commonweal including responses to Bottum’s thesis from two high-profile Catholic journalists. Ross Douthat—a columnist for the New York Timescriticizes Bottum for going too far. Douthat argues that if Catholics “are to continue contending in the American public square,” then “there is no honest way for the church to avoid stating its position on what the legal definition of marriage ought to be.” Jamie L. Manson, on the other hand, thinks that Bottum does not go far enough. She argues that gay couples should…

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Scruffy Hospitality

Dave:

Hospitality is so important… So why is it so difficult and how much does it mean to single people in our lives and churches?

Originally posted on Spiritual Friendship:

I always like seeing this emphasis in discussions of hospitality:

After seven years of marriage, my wife and I have welcomed numerous friends into our home. Once we decide to host friends for an evening, we usually kick into get ready mode, a fast and furious sprint in the days and hours before our friends arrive. We divide and conquer the to-do list: select a menu, complete grocery shopping, mow the lawn, sweep the floors, run the vacuum, clean the playroom, wipe the bird crap off our lawn chairs (we have lots of trees), set the table, clean the playroom (again), and somehow, someway, pray all that happens before the doorbell rings.

Over the years, that to-do list has prepared us for hosting company, but it has also prevented us from welcoming friends in our home. Unwritten Southern rules of offering hospitality with excellence have affected how often we invite…

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Are We Headed For A Crash? Reflections On The Current State of Evangelical Worship

Dave:

I’m a worship leader in my local church and I agree that worship leaders need to help their congregations sing with confidence and point them to Jesus. The church as ‘concert hall’ is problematic at best and soul-killing at worst.

Originally posted on Worthily Magnify:

1 Last week I spent a couple of days attending the National Worship Leader Conference , hosted by Worship Leader Magazine , featuring many well-known speakers and worship leaders. The conference was held about 15 minutes down the road from me, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m glad I went.

I met some new people, heard some thought-provoking teaching, enjoyed some good meals and conversations with worship leader friends, and experienced in-person some of the modern worship trends that are becoming the norm in evangelicalism. It was eye-opening in many ways.

Over the last few days I’ve been processing some of what I saw and heard.

Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote…

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The Problem with “Same Sex Attraction”

Dave:

This is an especially helpful distinction.

Originally posted on Spiritual Friendship:

One view, which has many defenders among Christians who believe that homosexual acts are sinful, is that the term “same-sex attraction” is the clearest and most precise term for describing the experience of those who are, from time to time, tempted to commit homosexual acts.

However, the distinction between carnal and spiritual friendship makes clear that there are different ways of desiring union with a person of the same sex, some of which are virtuous and some of which are vicious. Unfortunately, the term “same sex attraction” introduces unnecessary confusion by lumping all of these desires in under one category.

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