My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can’t Help Myself

First off, each week I’m getting more and more annoyed by the new judge Kara for the following reasons:

She says the same stuff for every contestant in a monotone, hand-gestured manner as she tries to make her “big idea” become a reality (which it never really does)

She tries too hard to make herself too relevant and important (trying to prove she belongs as a judge on the greatest show ever—which she hasn’t)

She is always telling the contestants: “You should have sung so-and-so instead” (Note to Kara—that is not useful or constructive at all because the song is already done and they can’t do anything else for that week’s style of song besides listen to her babble)

On with my updated rankings:

1. Adam
(He is just flat out crazy good and really strange—yet super entertaining)

2a. Kris
(He has an awesome voice, is awesome on the guitar and now we learned it’s the same on the piano)

2b. Danny
(Although I wish I would see some tears in his emotion, he kills it week after week)

4. Allison
(Just so different and fresh)

5. Matt
(I actually like him much more than America or the judges seem to)

6. Lil
(Although she has some pipes, she’s too predictable)

7. Scott
(His skill and attitude towards criticism amaze me, but I feel the others are just better)

8. Megan
(She’s very cute, but she tends to biff her songs every week)

9. Anoop
(It doesn’t seem he’s ready for this stage)

What is your ranking thus far???

Much love.

Guest Post: The Divorce of a Church—Part 1

In a previous post DJ, a reader of my blog, made some very poignant comments that I thought were extremely important for everyone to hear. Here is Part 1 of his feelings on being gay and attending a church that is having a hard time living in the tension of what is faith and sexuality:

"Over the past several years, I’ve discovered many revelations about my sexuality, not the least of which is how my former method for dealing with it was chosen primarily by fear: fear of going to hell, fear of becoming a sex-monger, fear of losing my spiritual community, etc. I could no longer survive under the oppressive weight I felt from my former church, especially in the midst of insufficient supportive relationships. For the sake of my mental health, I began to visit another church in the area.

Just 2 weeks into going to services, I could sense God saying “this isn’t where you should be visiting; this is home.” I felt a sense of welcome that I had never experienced in a church before. As I began to take steps towards Christ in accepting myself in the way that He had, I also began to recognize that not everyone in attendance would follow me there.

To say I felt split and confused is an understatement. But at that church, I found a safe space to seek God regarding my sexuality, eventually coming to reconcile my faith and sexuality. This had some unpredictable side effects though:

I felt like I would be the cause of a major rift, being one of only a few gay people at the church.

As this was a transitional period in our church’s history, there was a significant amount of tension in the air, despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact?) that we never uttered a word about the 2 big litmus tests for determining a true Christian: abortion and homosexuality. While I was not able to articulate this then, I now realize that the hushed atmosphere began to feel like the dysfunctional home that didn’t talk about problems, but where it was impossible to escape them. And I felt like the kid who was going to eventually be the cause of mommy and daddy’s divorce. And so we trudged on in virtual silence. I came out slowly to people I deemed safe, and swallowed my true being around those who felt “lovingly” hostile.

At some point along the way, people began to silently (and sometimes boisterously) leave. No one really said it, but it was clear that things were starting to feel very “liberal” and “unsound” to some of the more conservative folks in the congregation, just because there were a few gay people starting to attend. And the great divorce felt all the more imminent.

I can remember talking to our new senior pastor (in my early days at the church), and divulging my sordid same-sex attractions to him. I intimated that I was very confused about all of this, and trying to find my way—since my previous church had brought me nothing but pain and suicidal ideation. This pastor made me feel very loved and valuable. He replied that he would not preach me into the right way to go, nor look down on me and give me his sage advice, but rather, he would walk alongside me and question with me.

It was a huge sigh of relief. And yet, I could very well tell this would not be the posture of several others in the church. I remember pleading with him to keep my journey silent, so as not to stir up controversy. By this point, I had become pretty visible in the church, giving the welcome occasionally, and involved in several lay leadership positions. If news were to break that I was gay, people would protest. They’d do as people have done in other churches I’ve attended upon discovering my “struggle”: they’d deem me unworthy of service, and remove me from the ministries where I felt called. And then, they’d fight. They’d fight those who would dare stand up for me and declare my value to the church. They’d fight those who didn’t feel threatened by me. My deepest fear of course, was not the fighting, but the inevitable split this would lead to, and I would be the cause."

Part 2 to be posted tomorrow...

Much love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Book is in the Warehouse

I just got the coolest phone call I’ve ever received:

InterVarsity Press just called to tell me that my book, Love is an Orientation, just got delivered to their distribution warehouse!!!

So for all of you who have pre-ordered it (and thank you so very much for that!!!), it should be arriving some point soon! And this also means that soon it’ll be hitting a Borders and/or Barnes and Noble near you as well!

As soon as I go and pick up my copies, I’ll take some pictures to chronicle the experience and post them on the blog to share in this excitement together.

YEA! We did it, and the time is now!!!


Much love.

Gays in the Military

I recently read an article by a national Christian organization claiming that having open gay and lesbian people serve in the military would be a threat to the congruency of our armed forces. Three things came to my mind:

1. A few years back a study in TIME said that 60% of publications from 1940-1950 stated that gay people were:

a. A direct threat to the strength of the US military
b. A direct threat to the security and strength of the US government
c. A direct threat to the safety of the general American public

It saddens my heart to realize that, although not the majority, some of us in the Christian community still believe those claims of governmental, societal and personal destruction from a half-century ago.

2. What do people in the actual military think?

The same Christian organization also reported that 10% of the people in the military would not reenlist if “don’t ask don’t tell” was repealed. My general belief is that, like my friend Shane Claiborne says,

“America needs the Amish for homeland security and Jesus for President.”

Beyond my general thoughts on war, my wife knows some military “lifers” who are hard-nosed, small town, country-strong, non-Christian soldiers who have done a number of tours in the Middle East, and now train soldiers to do the same. She asked them on my behalf what they would think about a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and each of them said (to some variation of the wording):

“Everyone knows who the gay guys are because most of them don’t hide it. In a life vs. death battle, none of that matters anyway. No one really cares except the extremely homophobic people who keep their distance outside of active duty—and that seems to be a really small number.”

3. The broader issue I can’t get past is:

Why would we want to stop gays and lesbians, who would give their life for our country, from enlisting? If someone is willing to enlist and actively engage in combat around the world (something personally, I wouldn’t willfully do), why would I want ban them, or anyone else from doing so? That just doesn’t compute for me.

Agree? Disagree?

Much love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reminder of Faith in Food

This past weekend my wife and I stopped in to eat at Portillos (if you’ve ever been to Chicago you know the wonderfulness that is Portillos!). When we sat down I looked at the booth next to us and I saw a very elderly couple sitting on one side, and sitting across from them on the other side was a homeless man. The sight of this intrigued me, and I couldn’t help but try to listen in as much as I could. And what I saw and heard truly blessed me.

This elderly couple sat there with this homeless man, fed him, and more than that, were 100% totally engaged with this man and everything he was saying. What was so special was the look on the homeless man’s face as he seemed overwhelmed that some random people he didn’t know would care so much about him.

Living in Chicago, there is no shortage of homeless people around always asking you for money. Many people just get desensitized to their requests. Now I’m not saying that I don’t just pass them by like everyone else the majority of the time, because I do. Though during our brutal winters I do make a point to go through my closet and collect all of my old coats and sweatshirts and I take them and purposefully walk around Chicago to find homeless people to give them to, trying to bless them in the name of Jesus.

But I’ve never taken a homeless person out to eat and sat there doing nothing other than listen to them and try and bless them through engagement. Watching this elderly couple do exactly that was a humbling reminder of another way believers can put their money and mouth where their faith is.

I know for one, the next time I’m headed out to eat and come across a homeless person in need, I’m taking them with me.

Much love.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reflection from last night’s Living in the Tension

I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced quite the time of total transparency in community more so then I did last night. The topic was Slang, Slurs and Sex: The stopping points that separate us from each other and the Father. I opened our time last night the only way I knew how—by being as raw and honest as I possibly could:

“When my three best friends came out to me in those three consecutive months I ran away because the only thing that went through my head every time I looked at them was two naked dudes banging. And they were lesbians! Shouldn’t that have turned me on instead? But it wasn’t about them, it was about the image I had groomed myself to be grossed out by. And I didn’t know what to do. That was my original stopping point.”

And from that moment on, for the next hour and a half a group of us that consisted of a Monk (yes, a literal Monk), gay Christian men and women, celibate folks with a same-sex attraction and straight conservative Christian men and women transparently poured our hearts out about what it was like growing up, living and exploring our own lives through our own contexts surrounding our unique experiences, words (language said by us or to us) and community—or forced lack there of—of what it was like to originally enter into this journey that is faith and sexuality in culture.

Some of the night was not pretty. There were many tears, questions (wonderful and sincere questions that in everyday life people on both ends would be scared to honestly ask the other for the fear of a very harsh response/alienation) and moments of bewilderment as we all at one point or another realized, “I can’t believe I just said (or told that story) out loud.” And strangely enough, it finally felt right for many of us to step out like that for the first time. We all got it. We all got that this is what our intentional community of living in the tension is all about. Learning to listen and love those opposite than ourselves, even (and willfully) amongst our differences.

A few profound thoughts that I feel like I have to share during the part of our discussion surrounding the belief in the cultural imputation of homophobia and secularism within society:

“Your [Andrew’s] stopping point was the vision in your head. Mine was a clergy member raping me every Wednesday night in the Parish House and then going to church on Sunday and listening to him talk about righteous living.”

“I’ll be honest, community makes things easier when others around you are similar. This is my Christian community and it’s easier to continue in it, in agreement with everyone else surrounding one’s ‘coming out’ rather than be the outsider to go against the grain.”

“You never think about God the same way after you’re treated a certain way by believers, no matter how much you try and try to reclaim that pureness throughout your life.”

“We [the Church/small groups] seem to value not really knowing each other in community because it’s nicer and easier that way. You ever notice with small groups when a big secret is revealed within “community”, it usually splits the group or someone leaves because the truth in that sacred moment and the subsequent “what happens now” that comes after is too difficult or painful or uncomfortable for people to stick around.”

At the end of the night I realized that each of our faith journeys after the ‘outing’ (whether that is a gay person putting themselves out there by coming out or a straight person putting themselves out there by standing by them no matter what), our faith is seriously tested at that point—a defining moment in many people’s lives of who and what God and his believers are.

We must all work overtime to deliberately deconstruct those potential moments by teaching others who have not been through such an experience what it means to purposefully bring forth a cultural shift away from traditional imputation and onto intentional constructive tension.

Much love.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living in the Tension Community Gathering

Tonight is our second Living in the Tension Community Gathering, 7pm at 5255 N. Ashland in Chicago (yes, the address is one building different). For more information you can click here.

We will be discussion the language, biases and stereotypes that tear us all down. Tonight’s theme will be:

Slang, Slurs and Sex: The Stopping Points that Separate us from Each Other and the Father

If you’re in Chicago, swing on by and get involved in The Marin Foundation’s new intentional community of uncomfortable immersion regarding faith, sexuality and culture!

Much love.

A New Way of Marriage?

A friend of mine, Bart Campolo, brought this recent TIME Magazine article to my attention through his blog. The article is about two law professors, one who is in favor of gay marriage and the other who is against it, and their new theory in how to provide legal and political space for marriage, that would satisfy both ends of the spectrum. They suggest that in order to provide this space marriage must be removed from the hands of the government.

“Instead, give gay and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union — anything, really, other than marriage. For people who feel the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they wanted. Religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their tenets. And for nonbelievers and those who find the word marriage less important, the civil-union license issued by the state would be all they needed to unlock the benefits reserved in most states and in federal law for married couples.”

In a further explanation the article went on to state that:

“Both sets of lawyers agreed that the idea would resolve the equal-protection issue. Take the state out of the marriage business and then both kinds of couples — straight and gay — would be treated the same.”

It’s an interesting concept, one that I think the GLBT and secular communities would have no problem with—but ultimately one that I don’t think the Church would ever agree to. Legally it makes sense: if there is a legally documented separation between Church and State, then marriage must be included in that separation as well. These professors’ theory makes room for such a thing. But at the end of the day the Church has staked a claim on the “marriage business” and I would be shocked to systemically see that ever change.

None the less, it doesn’t mean it’s not a great concept or one that should be seriously considered.

I was wondering all of your thoughts as well? This could be a really interesting discussion…

Much love.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Swearing on Amazing Race

Last week I was watching Amazing Race. One of the contestants this season is Mel White, whom many look at as the founder of the gay Christian movement (he founded the gay Christian organization Soulforce, an activist organization that works for the “freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from religious oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.”) Before he came out, Dr. White was a ghostwriter for the likes of Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker and Jerry Falwell. I know, some lightweights, huh?

When White did come out he was vilified, and publically hated within the Christian community at large, and I have absolutely no idea what that must have been like for an entire population of folks whom you love and serve, so quickly and so publically turn their backs on you—even as I don’t believe Christ would have turned His back on White in the same situation. I don’t know Mel White personally, but I do know some people who call him a friend. And they have nothing but great things to say about a man who has been through what only very few could imagine.

Back to the Amazing Race…I was watching the episode above and at the time of 7:56 in this video, on national TV Mel White swore in anger. It was so pronounced that they had to fuzz out his mouth so no one could read his lips. Now this is NOT a judgment on him. I was just shocked to see it.

I have a friend who knows Mel ask me not to write something like this about him because of the effect it might have on a potential future relationship with him. But isn’t iron to sharpen iron? To be honest, it’s not just Dr. White. I cringe whenever I hear any believer swear. Maybe I’m just that old school? But as a professor of mine in seminary says,

“The world doesn’t read the Bible, they read Christians.”

I long that the world can read Christians and see a unique group of folks who put Jesus’ hands and feet to this earth in not only what we do and how we do it, but also with what we say.

Much love.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lord Judge Me According to My Integrity

I was reading Psalm 7 the other day and I noticed something that I had never noticed before:

Awake, my God; decree justice.

Let the assembled people gather
around you.

Rule over them from on high;
let the LORD judge the peoples.

Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.

O righteous God,
who searches minds and hearts,
bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure.

Wow. What a word by David concerning those that perpetuated Saul’s paranoia to keep the kingdom he rightfully thinks is his, and not the Lord’s that was given to David. The words:

“Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High”

have stuck with me the last few days since I read them. David is pleading with God to judge him. Who actually asks God to judge them? And not only so, but David puts his inner most faith and faults in God’s hands by asking Him to judge David according to his righteousness and integrity!

Let us all have enough faith that we too cry out and be so bold as to want God to judge each of us according to our integrity. It’s a very scary thought if you actually think about it…but David’s heart at that moment intrigues me, and challenges me as I strive to be a man full of Godly integrity. That when I am judged by the Almighty, I might kneel before God and say with 100% sincere conviction,

“Judge me O LORD, by my integrity, and see that what I have done is pleasing in Your eyes.”

We can say that all we want, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, who knows what the outcome will be? This is just another reminder of the power and faith that it is to live a distinct life as a follower of the Way. Life giving? Yes. Scary? Without a doubt!

I recently (and unfortunately) saw a blog post written about me by someone I don’t know (I’m guessing he is gay), nor has this person ever tried to contact me to talk. They said:

“This guy is a FundaGelical. He says he's a conservative Christian. He admits it in the video [the promo video from Love is an Orientation]. He contrasts his "conservative/traditional" view with the "pro-gay" view. Well, if that doesn't show what he is, I don't know what would. Thus, although he is not open enough to come right out and say it, he believes homosexuals are sinners.He's very crafty in talking around the issue.......but he admits to the conservative/traditional Christian view on gays. So he's no different than any of the gay bashers.......except he's hiding it better. Unless he can come out and say that it is NOT sin for a gay couple to have a marriage relationship just like a heterosexual couple.

He's just another guy making a living by slandering gays. And he never says anything even remotely resembling that.....he is strangely silent about it.

I cannot even begin to express my contempt for such people, and especially those who make their living through such behavior.”

I would love to sit here and publicly tear apart off of his false assumptions, but as David said, LORD, please judge me by my integrity. I know this is a volatile place that I have been led to, and all I can do is claim The I Am as The I Am and continue praying

“O righteous God,
who searches minds and hearts,
bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure”

For we are all children of the Holy God, and all deserve to be treated as such - the man who posted those words as well as me. Let us all continue to work towards putting an end to the violence: rhetorical and physical.

Much love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here it is!

Remember my sermon from Capitol Hill the night before the Inauguration—the same sermon that is in the process of being archived in the Smithsonian? Well, here it is! I hope you enjoy it.

Much love.

This Weekend's United Church of Christ Event

This weekend I will be speaking to a group of United Church of Christ (UCC) clergy members in the St. Louis area. As many of you know, the UCC is one of the denominations that are being torn apart by the topic of homosexuality. Although much of the UCC has already decided upon an affirming stance (a pro-gay theological belief system) that includes ordination of gay and lesbian people, there are still factions that believe in a traditional interpretation of Scripture.

The fight within the UCC has become public news, especially in the Midwest region. I was therefore asked to come and speak to a gathering of UCC clergy, both progressive and conservative, together, to help facilitate a peaceful and productive dialogue to help stop the fighting. If you think of me over the weekend, please pray for my time with those in the UCC who will be in attendance, as the Holy Spirit will move throughout our time and let there be significant changes within each side’s understanding and will to build bridges towards each other and for the Kingdom.

If we can’t work with our own, how can we expect those on the outside to believe in what we claim?

Much love.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting Tempted in Both Directions

As the profile of The Marin Foundation starts to grow so does the political pressure. Over the last half-year I have had a few memorable political occurrences that I think really summarize faith, sexuality and where our culture is at regarding homosexuality.

It all started last summer when a very well known secular GLBT organization offered to pay me a significant amount of money to release a one paragraph, joint statement with them saying that I believe homosexuality isn’t a sin. Wherever you’re coming from theologically, forget about those implications for a second and instead concentrate on the inherent political nature and its impact of what a statement like that would mean. To me, it meant a few things:

1. This well known secular GLBT organization was either, a) not comfortable with The Marin Foundation’s willful commitment to the Lord’s call on us to act as bridge builders; working within both communities to level the disconnect and the culture war, or b) wanted to gain more public support to accumulate more people on ‘their’ side.

2. That the Majority Mindset of accumulation = domination is the pervasive mindset within this debate as the GLBT community believes if they can have enough influential people/organizations to side with them, conservative Christians are going to have to believe the GLBT community’s version of the Truth.

3. The traditional means of picking a side, staking your ground and then fighting is still the default means to handle the topic of homosexuality.

Here’s the kicker, the last I spoke with that GLBT organization, the offer is still on the table after all of this time. And believe me, The Marin Foundation could use the money. But what The Marin Foundation can’t do is go against what the Lord has put us here to do. As a friend of mine said,

“It’s not free will if people don’t have the free will to go in the other direction as well.”

Then recently I got an email from a very well known conservative ex-gay organization. In that email they asked me if during some of my larger speaking engagements I could mention their name in partnership with The Marin Foundation to give them more exposure; then allowing me to tap into their already large database of people and donors. When I read that email I was fuming because not only had I never been in contact with this organization until they so boisterously emailed me their request, but at that moment I made the connection that their email was the same version of bribery as the secular GLBT organization—it was just done in a “Christian” fashion.

Are Christians now no better than unbelieving secular folks? For the first time I started to actually feel Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:5. Are there no Christians wise enough to be held accountable for our actions that have become no better than what the pagans (secular) do?! With that realization I have come to the conclusion that the overarching problems in the Christian world regarding homosexuality falls into:

1. Either a) that Christian organization is not comfortable with The Marin Foundation’s willful commitment to the Lord’s call on us to act as bridge builders; working within both communities to level the disconnect and the culture war, or b) just wants to gain more public support to accumulate more people on ‘their’ side.

2. The Majority Mindset of accumulation = domination is the pervasive mindset within this debate as the Christian community believes if they can have enough influential people/organizations to side with them, GLBT people are going to have to believe the Christian community’s version of the Truth.

3. The traditional means of picking a side, staking your ground and then fighting is still the default means to handle the topic of homosexuality.

Sound familiar? If I only do one thing in my life, I will work until my dying day to deconstruct these mal-spirited, traditional mindsets that have become the only acceptable way to handle this topic. Mark my words: these ways are not acceptable and I will never give in, in either direction. Someone has to put a stop to all of this madness, and if the Lord has deemed The Marin Foundation to be that catalyst, then so be it.

Join with us in this new way of what it means to build a bridge and live in the tension. No longer will Majority Mindsets dominate us or culture! In his book, The Monkey and the Fish, my friend Dave Gibbons recalls an interview with the Leadership Journal through Christianity Today International. When Dave was asked about what it means to be a liquid leader in a third culture church that focuses on a decentralized model of works over a Sunday production (which, by the way, lost Dave’s mega-church 25% of their congregation and giving), he said:

“I was reading Gideon in Judges 7, where God whittled down his army from 32,000 to 300 men. It seemed like the Lord was saying to me, Dave, what do you want? Do you want 30,000 people to attend your church, or do you want 300 radicals? I remember boldly saying, “Three hundred, Lord! Yeah, three hundred warriors” (p. 212).

I hear that Dave! Lord, give me 300 countercultural, distinct followers of the Way and let’s see what our Father will boldly do with the GLBT and Christian communities across the country!

Much love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yes, I’m Totally Obsessed with American Idol

When I started this blog I promised myself that during American Idol season I wouldn’t litter it twice a week, every week, with my obsession that is the cultural phenomenon that is American Idol. But I just couldn’t help myself after tonight’s show. I honestly have to say that overall, this show was the greatest display of talent from top to bottom, that I have ever seen in any episode of American Idol’s history.

Since the very first show eight years ago I have been passionately fanatical about everything that is American Idol:

My week is ruined if for some reason I am not able to watch any episode

Every week I vote

[Every week I vote multiple (hundreds of) times!]

Every year I go to the American Idol concert when the tour comes to Chicago

I buy all of the albums when they release

I heart Clay Aiken!!! (no, not just because he’s gay)

What can I say? Well, I think I said enough… Back to this week—I think I am so surprised about tonight because I didn’t see these unreal performances coming at all, especially since I wasn’t necessarily in awe from the Semifinals. I was only disappointed in a few people (Jorge, Anoop and Megan in that order), but overall it was an insane night of outstanding renditions of Michael Jackson’s songs. I’m not even a big fan of the King of Pop (he scares me a great deal), but I have to tell you that the other ten contestants killed it! After one week, here is my order:

1. Allison
2. Danny
3. Adam
4. Alexis
5. Scott
6. Kris
7. Michael
8. Lil
9. Matt
10. Jasmine
11. Megan
12. Anoop
13. Jorge

I’m splitting hairs with my ranking, I could actually take any of the top eight an rearrange them in any other 1-8 order. It’s going to be a great season, and I can’t wait to see what happens. There is no greater show ever created in the history of the world than American Idol!

Rock on! Marin … out.

So who did you love and who do you want to see kicked off Wednesday night?

Much love.

Another Undeserved Murder

Due to me being sick last week I wasn’t able to post this, so here you go a week late.

On February 25, 1997 a man that I considered my second dad, Jeff Still, was killed by a drunk driver. Jeff was a man I looked up to in all aspects of life: He loved the Lord, he played Division I football in college, and he was a model husband and father to his two little boys—all things I aspired to each day of my young life [I was 16 years old when he was killed].

Jeff always listened to me, encouraged me, stuck up for me in the face of much adversity, and believed in me that the crazy goals I had could, and would, come true with enough faithful dedication and love.

I loved Jeff (I called him Coach Still) so very much. I still have a picture of him hanging on my refrigerator, and even in writing this my heart hurts remembering who he was and what he meant to me.

As I posted on October 17th, please do not drink and drive. There are too many innocent lives lost by stupid, and very preventable decisions to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk [and by drunk I mean ANY drinks at all]. I am not judging anyone who does drink. I am just trying to prevent more lives that will be taken away from potential friends and families who will miss that person everyday—wishing they were there for just one more day to share one more experience. Always remember that just because someone thinks they are “ok” to drive, doesn’t mean they actually are. There is no excuse.

Much love.

Monday, March 9, 2009

OUTNight Board Picture 2

This is a weekly (sorry, it’s been about two weeks since the last one I put up) series of poster boards that members of The Marin Foundation had GLBT people in Boystown write on, to honestly answer questions regarding God, faith and religion.


What do you think about the Church?

A few of the Answers:

I heart the church
F*** the church, but I love the Lord
I don’t know?
A home left behind

We know what we need to do with these thoughts, feelings and reactions. If we can at least keep these words in our minds while building bridges, we’ll have a significant head start on many others who still believe GLBT people and straight Christians are starting from a level playing field—because we’re not.

Much love.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Radio Interview this Afternoon

As we all know how I embarrassingly messed up the date last time, I know for a fact that I’m going to be on the John Hall Show on WORD-FM 101.5 Pittsburgh this afternoon at 4:10 pm Central Time. You can click here to listen live.

Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Last Night’s Living in the Tension Gathering

Going into last night I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know who was going to show up, how many people or where they were coming from socially and/or theologically. But that is the exciting (and ridiculously scary) part! About 15 people showed up—and they were gay, straight, male, female, progressive and conservative. I couldn’t have asked for any better of a mix.

As I suspected, at the beginning they were all quite shy; trying to get the lay of the land and what was going to be happening. In the Intro I went through the post I did yesterday and then started in on what it means to willfully enter into a place of uncomfortable tension—free to be you and express where you’re coming from as each person knows that the others are all totally committed to staying, reconciling and growing—no matter what.

I began talking about my understanding of what it means to have, be, and live out a Bridge Building Theology in culture (a little intro to Chapters 7 and 8) , and the next thing you know people started to open up and share about their experiences and stories with their family, friends and the different churches they attend, and have attended. Faith, culture and sexuality became alive that hour and fifteen minutes as we connected from different points to all understand that the only way we’ll actually understand, is if we admit we don’t understand. Doing life together in a context of ‘things that make our skin stand on its own’ is the only way to go...

At the end of the night there was a lot of really good feedback, as many of the people in attendance said,

“A little uncomfortable. But I’ve never even heard of anything like this, let alone it actually happening. Thank you and see you next time.”

I did think there was one really poignant message by a gay man while we were talking about what it’s like for the GLBT people to show up and put themselves out there:

“I’ve spent too much of my life being the ‘token gay person’ trying to figure out who I am and what the church thinks about me. I’ll never put myself in that place again. I just won’t do it. But here I am tonight and this gives me hope for a new way of being able to figure stuff out.”

As scary as it was for all of us in that room last night (and yes, even I was scared out of my mind with the unknown), it was such a blessed initial time together and I just feel that this thing is going to have a great impact—not only individually for those who attend, but in turn structurally, as those who attend go out and influence their circles of influence in a new way.

Don’t quench the fire!

Much love.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Living in the Tension Community Gathering

Hello all. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Last week I got sick—real sick. I was knocked out for 6 days and I’m still feeling some residual effects even today, 8 days after the initial kick in the pants. But enough of my bitterness…on to happier times.

Tonight The Marin Foundation is hosting our first Living in the Tension Community Gathering at 7pm. If you’re in Chicago, feel free to come on by to 5249 N. Ashland Ave! Here is a quick breakdown of what we’re all about, our mission, 2009 schedule and tentative topic list:

Purpose for Living in the Tension Community Gathering:

Christians need to start willfully planting themselves in the middle of some very uncomfortable places—making a conscious commitment to stay in that place with the GLBT community. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was locked up in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. In a letter to confront his fellow white clergymen, MLK reflected on his life’s work to that point and said: “I must confess that I am not afraid of the world tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension my whole life, but there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension which is necessary for growth.”

I’m going to be real right now—the Christian community has been running from that constructive, non-violent tension for too long when it comes to gays and lesbians. The productive growth that MLK was talking about only comes retrospectively, after much time has been spent immersed in tension filled areas with what we are most uneasy about. Those tension-filled areas are dirty, disgusting, confusing, overbearing and uneasy. And they’re worth every minute for the kingdom we so boldly claim ourselves to be a part of.

Mission Statement:

For gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, ex-gay, celibate and straight people to all willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, intentionally forming a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics within the culture war that is faith and sexuality.


Culture wants to resolve conflict—we want to use our different communities’ filtration systems to elevate the conversation through the tension. Get past the stereotypes. Learn and practice what it means to live in unanswerable questions. Shift the paradigm away from a ‘fix it’ culture to one that turns hearts onto Christ amongst the most uncomfortable places. Stay. Commit. Reconcile. Grow.

Current 2009 Schedule (only through May 21st at this point) and Tentative Topics:

March 3: Elevating the Tension in Faith and Sexuality

March 19: Language, Biases and Stereotypes that Tear us all Down

April 9: Controversial Research—Myth or Fact

April 21: April 17th Day of Silence—Shame in the Closet

May 12: MILK Movie Viewing and Discussion

May 21: I DO EXIST – EX-GAY Viewing and Discussion

Future Dates still to be scheduled:

June 4: Is there such a thing as the 4th Ideal of Sexuality and Faith?

June 28: Attending Chicago Gay Pride Parade and Discussion After

July 16: Discussion with a Gay Secular Person

July 30: Discussion with an Ex-Gay Person

Aug 13: Discussion with a Gay Christian

Aug 27: Discussion with a Celibate Person

Sep 10: Discussion with a Straight Conservative Christian

Sep 22: Reverse Board—God and Gay

Oct 8: Secret Confessions (Oct 11th National Coming Out Day)

Oct 19: Volunteer at Chicago AIDS Hospice

Nov 5: Gay Marriage: Right, Wrong, Political, Religious?

Nov 17: Love is an Orientation

Dec 3: The Actual Argument: You're in the Fire Now

A goal of mine is to help other churches and organizations around the country start their own Living in the Tension Community Gatherings! I’ll fill everyone in on those plans as we’re on our way through this new, and exciting adventure in Chicago.

As my favorite saying goes (and yes, I actually made this one up!):

He was a Jewish carpenter, and therefore I build bridges.

Much love.