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.
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
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
A couple of days ago, one of my classmates sent me a PM through Twitter, asking me my thoughts about Andrew Wilson’s recent piece for ThinkTheology. We PMed back and forth on the subject, but as I was at work (sorry, boss), I couldn’t think it through as it deserved. Now seemed like a good time.
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.
Liturgies aim our love to different ends precisely by training our hearts through our bodies. (James K. A Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, pg. 25)
Several years ago (2008ish, I think) my parents and I embarked on a small group at the church that we were attending at the time which was working its way through The Truth Project, a curriculum designed by Focus on the Family for use in churches to expose adults (primarily) to worldview issues and good teaching on a Christian worldview. The strength of such curriculum is that, as thinking beings, we need to think consciously about how we think and what we accept uncritically.
The problem with such programs (and yes, I saw most if not all of the DVDs and participated in maybe half of the discussions in the group–so I’m speaking from some measure of experience) is that they don’t aim at the heart. Christianity is reduced to a worldview in abstraction.
It’s the day after Christmas. The new phone case I got from my brother is on my phone, the new peacoat and scarf I got from my mom & dad are on the back of my chair, the new book on the music of hymns which a mentor and friend gave me is on my shelf and I’m making good progress on a book about the Eucharist.
What does it mean to be reasonable? Google’s definition says,
(of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.
That seems fairly straightforward…”fair and sensible.”
What happens when someone you know holds the opinion that they are, in fact, reasonable–when in truth, they are not? Is it loving to confront them? How often? To simply navigate the situation so that the fewest people are hurt?
What happens when the person accuses you of upsetting the way things are due to the fact that you’ve sought advice and/or counseling about them in the past? How does one love that person well?
In my counseling class at seminary, we’ve been talking about family dynamics. It’s been a tough discussion, what with all of the talk about abuse, narcissistic families, borderline personality disorder and digging into one’s own story.
It’s especially tough when some of what the class dredges up is your own story, your own anxiety, your own muck.
I see a counselor regularly. I had a two hour session today. It was one of the hardest two hours I’ve ever experienced. What I didn’t exactly anticipate was my utter exhaustion after the session.