When it comes to gay marriage as a public policy issue, I was once very outspoken on the topic. From the 2003 to 2008 I lobbied for marriage amendments in Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, California, and on other national media platforms (interviews.) I went to Washington DC more than a few times and lobbied for the Federal Marriage Amendment on Capitol Hill. I also visited the Bush White House a couple of times and sat 20 feet away from when President Bush made a statement in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Because those experiences are not something I enjoy reflecting on lately, I have avoided writing this post. However, I can’t get away from it. If I was passionately willing to lobby for banning gay marriage at one point, I feel I should speak up on the topic if my views have changed.
To be clear, my view of marriage in a spiritual context has not changed. I believe the wedding union of husband and wife bears the image of God uniquely. Individually they bear His image equally and beautifully. Together they bear His image in a way that neither can do alone. I believe marriage between a husband and wife is transcendent; that Christ refers to the church as His Bride is stunning. One of my favorite meditations is to consider Christ and His Church in the symbolism of marriage.
What I am also trying to learn is how I can state my beliefs without being a jerk about it. I don’t have to contextualize my personal belief by insulting gay couples who have married or gay people wanting to get married. The beliefs that guide and direct my life also compel me to seek to be a blessing and friend to gay couples; to see God’s presence in their lives as individuals and as a couple.
I have also come to believe that trying to make our secular government impose my spiritual beliefs in this matter is not helpful or appropriate. Let me explain …
Sunday, August 3rd 2014 was the first time I had been in a gay bar in over 23 years. I went right after church to go visit my friend George (a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia) who I hadn’t seen in 27 years.
It was a trip.
Yes, it is a gay bar, it is the famous (infamous?) Parliament House (PH). It is known around the world from what I have been told. I have never been to it or even driven by it… until that Sunday.
Lately I have helped other friends with their books and that has sparked a new personal book project! I have been so excited it has been hard to sleep the past couple of nights.
If you are someone I am connected with on social media, you might have seen various posts lately about how I have the honor of working with Dr. Kathy Koch as she writes her new book “Screens And Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World.” So far I have done background research and given feedback on what she is writing as she writes it.
This comes on the heels of doing the same type of content/writing feedback for another friend’s memoir, Jennifer Allison (aka The Rambunctious Kid.)
Seriously, I am loving these kind of projects. While I haven’t been a part of his writing process, I am of course very excited for Alan Chambers who has worked very hard on his new book that is due out next year.
This post from my old blog has been brought to my attention several times within the past couple of weeks so I thought I would repost it for the record. I have only slightly edited it for information (ongoing) that is no longer relevant. For those that don’t know, or didn’t read this on my old blog, the particular night referenced below is one of the most powerful experiences I have had. This post was originally written July 8th, 2013.
On June 19th 2013, during the opening night of the Exodus Freedom Conference, I sat on the front row. Leslie was to my right and Kathy and the Exodus board to my left. All of us were providing each other, and Alan, support as we knew that Alan was making one of the most important keynote speeches of his life. He announced that Exodus is closing.
It was excruciating. The tension, the excitement, the knowledge of what was about to be said … my heart was racing and the tears came and went … to come back again. I had known that night was coming for a while, but there is a difference between knowing and experiencing.
It was quite the profound experience.
A new reader to the blog contacted me privately with the following. It is edited slightly to maintain confidentiality and for readability:
I have a quick question to ask and would appreciate your advice. My company was invited to attend a(n) :::edit::: event to honor LGBT older adults during pride month. Everyone is going but I’m not sure if I should attend. My friends are saying if I attend, it means I’m endorsing their lifestyle, politics, propaganda, etc. Perhaps but I don’t think so and don’t mind attending. I just want to listen and I’m also curious since I used to keep my distance from these things. So what do you think? My friends are saying talking to a LGBT person is very different from attending an organized event (true). They say I should only go if I’m going to hand out tracts or share the gospel which I don’t think is appropriate. It gets complicated when all my co-workers who aren’t Christians are attending but my friends say that’s fine.
Thank you so much for your message and question.
Regardless of the purpose of an event, attending specifically themed events will always be a matter of personal conscience. I will assume that your company isn’t making this mandatory so the exercise of personal conscience won’t have as dramatic (but probably still impactful) effect. That said, the relational aspect with your co-workers could be greatly blessed when they see you’re interest, humility, and willingness to listen.
I can confidently say that God wired me to be an intuitive “feelings-first” type of person. I trust my feelings and intuition because that is, no question, how God made me. The problem is that in my efforts to test and find the meaning behind the intuition, I can be lazy and simply “assume” something to be true. Based on my gut feeling, I can explain away a situation or judge a relationship without actually paying attention to discovering the broader context of known facts. I do that much less now that I have gotten a bit older, but it can still be a struggle. I have learned to not act on my feelings before prayer, investigation, and reflection.
All that said, God also wired me with a brain and the ability to analyze and apply logic. I might be a feelings-first type of person, but I am not properly engaging the broad range of gifts God has given me if I only make decisions based on how I feel.
Today is Memorial Day! I thank God for all of our military heroes here and around the world. I thank God also for the men and women, and their families, who have sacrificed their lives to fight for and preserve freedom. I will also spend time thinking about and thanking God for the military vets in my own family.
Plus, I will thank God for the One, Jesus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice to liberate us eternally, for an everlasting peace.
Check out this video from my friend Kathy. I think it is excellent and has a suggestion for families that would be so healthy, and honoring, to do.
Tomorrow is my 46th birthday. Normally I start announcing it … loudly and often … for up to two weeks prior. This year it has come up in passing, and while I still expect a parade to honor this wondrous event, I haven’t been hyping it as much as usual.
Maybe my “mellow out” age is 46? ::: laugh ::: I still want a parade though … that’s not wrong is it? … what?
For a little while now I have been humbled by how much the gay vs ex-gay (and vice-versa) debates had defined me. While in the ex-gay movement, I always knew that I had a life beyond that realm. Lately, the humbling part of actually living life beyond Exodus, is the realization of how some of the polarization found in that movement did define my identity. A bit shockingly, its influence on my vision for my personal future was much more than I realized, or cared to admit.
Here is the full text of my guest blog post on Dr. Kathy’s blog not too long ago. I am so honored to be guest blogging over there!
I am honored to be blogging here today! Lately, I have been reading No More Perfect Kids by Dr. Kathy Koch and Jill Savage. The story below tumbled out and onto the screen after reading the first chapter of their excellent book. I hope you will see the value of how a teacher can embrace an imperfect student, help affirm their innate gifts, and set them on a positive course. Mrs. Pierson has always been a personal hero of mine. I am sure you will see why.
Mrs. Pierson had this completely ’80’s longish bob hairdo thing going on. This was of course completely appropriate because the scene I am going to describe happened in 1984. She also dressed like a college professor (in my mind) even though she was my 9th grade civics teacher. I wouldn’t say she was overly gregarious, but she always seemed super-smart, confident, and calm. For many reasons, I loved her and that class. In all of my school years, civics was one of the very few classes I felt eager to attend. I never hesitated to raise my hand and answer the questions she would ask.
I loved the subject and I loved seeing her eyes light up in recognition of my eagerness.
Even when Tip, the kid in front of me, would blow spit bubbles randomly in the air, I was always focussed and enjoyed that class. Tip was cool too.