Christian Priorities as of May 27, 2015

A better, less angry post will follow, but this is what I have to say regarding all the stories that have come out in the past couple weeks, namely, the recent events surrounding the Duggar Family and The Village Church.

I’m straight up pissed about it, and most people will tell you that I don’t get angry very often.

First of all, who ever said that criticizing the church or church leadership is tantamount to attacking it? That’s ridiculous. The church is an imperfect institution run by imperfect people. There are going to be missteps and there will need to be people who point out those missteps. It’s not un-glorifying to God when people have the guts to do it. They’re not creating tension or division in the church. They’re saying what the heck needs to be said.

Second, someone tell me since when Christians are allowed to be above the law. I don’t care who you are. You could be John Calvin or Charles Spurgeon or C.S. Lewis. If you commit a serious crime, you should be going to prison. The church has no business running damage control or PR for people just because they are a little higher profile than the rest of us. That’s nowhere in the Bible.

Third, along the same lines, grace and repentance do not eliminate the consequences of your actions. Grace should be extended where there is repentance and even when there is not, but that doesn’t magically dissolve the consequences of your actions. Actions. Have. Consequences.

Finally, and this one is a little more personal. Someone better be able to tell me why, in the United States of America, we have situations in which churches are protecting child molesters and child porn addicts while there are LGBT Christians committing suicide because they feel unloved and worthless and have internalized a message from the church that they are dirtier and more sinful than everyone else. Someone give me a valid explanation to this, stat. How is that glorifying to God? How is that reflecting Jesus?

This is unacceptable, disgusting, and makes me sick.

But evidently, these are Christian priorities as of May 27, 2015, a time when we prioritize the well-being of people who are in sticky situations, as a result of their own actions, and defend them when there are far bigger problems in the world.

I mean, someone give me a halfway decent reason that child porn is any different than sex trafficking, seeing as most of those girls are only children.

This is part of the reason that young people (myself included) are growing increasingly skeptical of the formal church. Because it seems to be more interested in outward appearances and damage control than actual people.

After all, it hurts when child porn users are granted asylum in the church while people like us are given an ultimatum. Because it implies that we’re beneath even that. Where’s our grace? Where’s our unconditional acceptance?

And people wonder why we’re on our way out.

Gay ≠ Lesser

I recently sat down with one of my friends to catch up on life, and the reflections that I had after that conversation are the basis of this post. Now, I generally try to refrain from writing angry/irritated posts just for the sake of it, but I’ve been realizing that if this blog is going to be about my experiences, it has to include everything, because other people have probably felt those things too. So I’ll try not to just go off on everything, but what I write here is going to encompass all the different things that I’ve felt and experienced.

What I’ve been thinking about since my friend and I had that conversation is this: why do people automatically view us as being somehow dirtier, more sinful, and less sincere about our faith just because we identify as LGBT? Why do our theology and our motivations get questioned just because we identify as LGBT? And why do we always have to overprove the veracity of our actions to the satisfaction of straight Christians?

These things have been a source of frustration for me since the beginning of my journey to figure out what exactly being gay and being a Christian at the same time meant for me. All of the different things that people have said just don’t add up. Continue reading “Gay ≠ Lesser”

“Being Gay at Bethel”

Update: The original Clarion Medium page has since been archived, and a new link to the full, but slightly edited article has been added to this post to replace it.

So, I feel like I’ve already talked quite a bit about how positive my experience has been at Bethel, since my coming out and everything, but I think that this piece just reflects how much more open the campus has become recently.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by The Clarion, which is Bethel’s official newspaper. They were working on a story on what it means to identity as LGBT at a relatively conservative Christian university. So over the past few weeks I’ve been in contact with them, answering questions, being interviewed, and other things so that they could finish their piece, a piece that I think is really important, especially considering the environment and circumstances.

The story came out (ha) today, and the response has been largely positive. If you want to read about how a small Christian university in Minnesota is just beginning to start a dialogue on how LGBT issues interact with faith and Christianity, you should read this article.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/what-its-like-to-be-gay-at-a-christian-college-where-its-a-reportable-offense

Falling in Love

Stories like this are the reason that I’m still not sure exactly where I fall on the Side A/Side B split. It presents some of the challenges that go along with celibate partnerships and brings up a lot of good questions for people who are trying to figure out how to live their lives practically, not just with a one-size-fits-all theology that a lot of churches try to force on people. We need to remember that this isn’t something that you can simply slap a Bible verse on and then send people on their way. Every aspect of your life is affected, and I think that’s what so many conservative Christians, churches, and pastors don’t understand. We aren’t even sure how we’re supposed to live, because we keep hearing so many things from so many different directions. So read this, and also understand that this is why I’ve learned to take everything that I hear from churches and pastors on LGBT issues with a grain of salt, because they haven’t helped me or supported me in figuring out how I’m actually supposed to live and in the end all that matters is where I stand with God.

Sacred Tension

For anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog, you have probably picked up on the fact that the traditional perspective on gay marriage (what some call “Side B”) is a bit of a sore spot for me. The topic is very, very, very personal for me, and the vast majority of this blog, so far, has been dedicated to processing and sorting through how I feel about it. I’ve been thinking that it might be time to share more about why the topic is so very personal. I think enough time has elapsed between now and the events in question that I am in a place where I can write about them in a public way.

At the moment when I was the most certain of my traditional beliefs I fell, quite by accident, very deeply in love with another man, whom I will call…

View original post 1,732 more words