More than two years ago, the interim senior pastor at the church I worked for sidelined me from ministry because I call myself a gay Christian. He criticized me behind closed doors, telling me that by calling myself a gay Christian I was uniting the name of my sin to the name of my Savior and bringing dishonor on the Gospel. He talked well about me in public, telling parents of kids in the youth group that I was living the single life better than most other single guys he knew, gay or straight.
A couple of years ago, I was out with a friend from another town. We ate at a sit-down burger & soda place within walking distance of my house and had a nice long chat. It’s been long enough now that I don’t recall the exact subject of the conversation, but I remember the broad swath of the territory covered. This guy and I have been friends since college and know each other super well. I was in his wedding and if I were ever in the position to be married, he’d be in mine.
At a certain point in the conversation, I made a comment which I had spent a great deal of time deciding how to phrase because, knowing him, I knew the push-back was coming. Push-back, he did…for 35 minutes. After debating whether or not my critique (no, the first sentence of my critique!) was valid, he acquiesced.
But then he said, “See? Why can’t my wife have a perfectly rational conversation like this? You and I can!”
And I looked at him and said, “If I had to sleep next to you, I’d have gotten up and walked out long ago. We can talk this way because I don’t have sex with you.”
I think often of Washed and Waiting, a book which has helped me a great deal in the last seven years of my walk with Christ. In it, Wesley Hill talks about his loneliness even in the midst of the crowd. If one were to examine Wesley’s Meyers-Briggs against mine, I’m willing to bet we’d test differently. Wes’ and my personalities more than likely create situations where one of us might be drained while the other was being recharged. The experience of loneliness and desperation, however, are not tied to one’s personality. They are very nearly universal in the lives of those who are human. Continue reading
I graduated from seminary in May, 2015, but I still live in town. I keep up with seminary friends who are still in classes, so a group of us get together regularly at a local dive bar for cheap beer and toasted ravioli. (If you’ve not heard of it before, it’s deep fried, breaded ravioli. Marvelous stuff. It’s a St. Louis thing.)
One of my friends told me about a guy who was going to come to the bar to hang out with the group. “He’s in his early 30s, gay, celibate, and a Christian,” said my friend. I have to admit that I thought, “Early 30s and celibate? He’s probably awkward and ugly.” Continue reading
A powerful post commemorating this year’s Day of Silence. Will you speak for those who can’t?
There is a fairly famous quote by cartoonist Lynn Johnston that goes, “The most profound statements are often said in silence.” Silence can be a powerful force. Failure to speak can be a form of speaking.
Today is the Day of Silence, a day where many around the country decide to refrain from speaking in order to stand against bullying of LGBT youth. The event originates with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). As our cofounder Ron Belgau said in his post on last year’s Day of Silence, “On most questions related to sexuality, we hold positions very different from theirs. It is unlikely that they would endorse our approach, and we do not endorse theirs.” However, despite our disagreements, we do share a common concern for bullying. And days like today present us with wonderful opportunities to speak Christian compassion and love into the cultural issues…
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Wonderful thoughts from Wesley Hill on the pitfalls and possibilities of friendship.
Sam Allberry (whose own story of being a Christian and coming to terms with his same-sex attraction you can watch here) has written a sharp, charitable take on my new book Spiritual Friendship, and I’m grateful to him for it. While I don’t want to turn this blog into a platform for promoting my books, I do think, in this particular case, reflecting on what Sam says may help all of us grapple more deeply with what we’re trying to accomplish on this blog.
Sam says a lot of kind things about the book, but here is his primary substantive criticism:
[Hill] exhorts us to reconsider the place of covenanted friendships in the life of the church. No one can deny what earlier Christian generations can teach us about friendship. Nor can we deny that a lack of commitment drives so much of our contemporary loneliness. But it seems to me…
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This is a wonderful reflection on what SCOTUS means for people. Please read it…and read it thoroughly.
My friend Alan Jacobs, a traditional sort of Anglican Christian, wrote this the day after the Obergefell ruling:
Perhaps I am soft on sin, or otherwise deficient in serious Christian formation — actually, it’s certain that I am — but in any case I could not help being moved by many of the scenes yesterday of gay people getting married, even right here in Texas. I hope that many American gays and lesbians choose marriage over promiscuity, and I hope those who marry stay married, and flourish.
I know what he’s saying. I felt that too.
But I was thinking more today, What is that experience? For those of us like me who hold to a Christian view of marriage that contradicts the SCOTUS definition, what does it mean to be moved by scenes of gay marriage?
Well, for starters—and I’m speaking for myself here, not necessarily for Alan—I…
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After a long dry-spell of writing, I’m back. I’ve had a five-year journey through seminary–a journey which has been one of the wildest, life-changing journeys anyone could hope to take. I was remarking to someone just the other day that I basically don’t even recognize the person I was when I started seminary. This may come as a shock to family members who may not see much if any difference at all, but my theory is that family members tend not to see who you are; they’re too busy presuming you’re who you’ve been…but that’s another blog post for another time.
At the end of a momentous occasion like that, folks tend to ask me what I’ve learned, what’s different, what’s changed. Here’s a list. It’s not exhaustive–that would make for bad blogging. It’s not even prioritized–it’s just a handful of things which I’ve observed in myself and others. Continue reading
The assumption seems to be that attraction is the same as lust. Feeling attraction for someone of the same gender must be lust, right? In fact, some of these comments from others seem to indicate that they themselves feel that if they (as a straight man, for example) were to feel attraction to a woman that it would undoubtedly be classified as “lust.”
Really? Is that really the sort of men and women which populate the Church? Have we created men and women who have no idea how to understand love apart from sex, affection apart from marriage, and attraction apart from dating? Continue reading
Wesley has a wonderful point about being known in ever-deepening ways.
Earlier this week I was talking briefly online with a friend who’s still in the middle of the process of coming out to family and friends. It’s been a few years since I was in his shoes, and hearing him describe both the newfound freedom and the emotional exhaustion of coming out took me back to those moments of my own life.
I think, for instance, of sitting with a friend at her kitchen table late one night. I’d come upstairs from my basement apartment to where she and her husband lived on the third floor of the house, having decided this would be the night I confided in her, dear friend that she was. And even though I counted on it going well, and even though I’d had the same conversation with other friends a half dozen times in the previous weeks, I still felt jittery. Imagine knowing you…
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