National Coming Out Day, 2018

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I grew up in a home where anything related to coming out was met with a sneer. “Why do they have to force their sexual depravity on us?” was a common refrain in discussions. From the time that I began actually dealing with the fact that my sexual attractions and my experience of the world just didn’t fit the narrative which my friends and relatives seemed all-too-comfortable in, I weighed the options of coming out.

For years, I refused. My freshman year of college, I was asked point-blank by a friend in marching band: “Are you gay?” I told him no. I had reasons, of course. Being a conservative Christian, I wasn’t actually gay because I wasn’t sleeping with men. I was same-sex attracted and was attempting to be free from the curse thereof through prayer, accountability, and just plain perseverance.

There is nothing at all wrong with any of those three things. It was, for me, a misguided attempt to grapple with reality as I found it.

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The Love of God

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St. Aelred lays out a template for Spiritual Friendship in his book of the same name. He cautions his readers that in order to have close, spiritual friendship, everything about the relationship must be founded upon the love of God. He cautions that we must be especially careful that whatever we build atop this foundation fits with it. Whatever doesn’t fit the foundation must be corrected, using that foundation of the love of God as a template. In other words, if the building hangs over the sides of the foundation, bad stuff will happen.

Recently, I was discussing this passage with some folks one evening recently and I asked, “What does the love of God look like in practical terms?” Continue reading

Two and a half years later

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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.

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Romance and Friendships

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.”

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Mourn with those who mourn

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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

Friendship and Love

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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

That Deathly Silence

A powerful post commemorating this year’s Day of Silence. Will you speak for those who can’t?

Spiritual Friendship

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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Can Vows Change Friendships? And Should They?

Wonderful thoughts from Wesley Hill on the pitfalls and possibilities of friendship.

Spiritual 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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Hoping for Love

This is a wonderful reflection on what SCOTUS means for people. Please read it…and read it thoroughly.

Spiritual Friendship

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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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Seminary Is Over

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10423653_10101741629732194_2341153165430310690_nAfter 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