My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Culture War

Part of my job is to be aware of, and keep a close eye on everything that is going on around the country within GLBT circles as well as within conservative circles. Because of this I am signed up to a lot of listservs from very well known, very polarizing organizations on both ends of the spectrum. With that in mind I’ve noticed a specific trend recently in the listserv emails:

Each community is pleading, and strongly urging their people to get involved to win the culture war against the other community.

I started to realize something—this is the difference between a bridge builder and a dime-a-dozen culture warrior who blindly fights because they are told to:

Bridge builders want to end the culture war in peaceful and productive ways through eternal principles that draw us to God, and to each other.

Dime-a-dozen culture warriors want to win the culture war by turning to external, socially constructed tools for validation and legitimization within mainstream circles [mainstream secular and mainstream religious].

Which place do you find yourself in this culture war? And which place do you see yourself needing to be, and why?

Let’s discuss….

Much love.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Love is an Orientation on Kindle

I just found out that my book will be coming out soon on Kindle. InterVarsity Press has heeded the many requests—ask and you shall receive.

Much love.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Live Interview on WMBI Friday Morning

I will be on the Mornings with Mark radio show from Moody Radio for 1 hour, taking live calls, on Friday morning starting at 7:10am CST. Click here, and the Listen Live button is in the upper left hand corner.

Have a question? Chime in.

Much love.

Please Forgive Me, My Blogging Homies!

It has been quite a doozie of a past week. As I try to learn boundaries (which I’m obviously not too good at) in what to say yes to (which I’m very good at), and what to say no to (which needs great improvement), all of my free time recently has been spent sleeping and not blogging.

I’m wearing myself ragged, and I’ve not-so-subtly realized that I can’t keep this up—hence all of the extra sleep when it’s possible. But starting on Tuesday I will be resuming my daily week-day blog posts.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Much love.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Speaking at a Gay Bar Tonight

Tonight will be quite a night for us all. I’ll be speaking at a gathering called Elements, and they are hosting it at Roscoes—a well known gay bar in Chicago. Elements is an evangelical Christian organization who seeks to live life differently, in the places regular evangelical folks don’t tend to ever go. They bring in one controversial speaker a month, and hold the event in a controversial place that aligns with the speaker’s topic. So here we’ll be tonight at a gay bar, mixing up straight evangelicals with Roscoes normal GLBT patrons (and we can’t forget all of the folks from the different shades of faith and sexuality from The Marin Foundation who will be in attendance as well).

It will be a very exciting time and I pray the Lord uses this as a launching pad for other great connections to make significant bridges for the Kingdom. If you’re in Chicago, please feel free to come and by and experience an unforgettable night of productive dialogue!

Much love.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pray for Me

Yes, I’m running. I’m running fast and furious and the Lord is taking me where He needs me to go even though I haven’t found a time to breathe quite yet. As you can see on my schedule to the left, from May 11-May 24 I have 13 speaking events in 14 days. This is not a complaint, this is a request for prayer for my strength, courage and awareness to be able to be bold enough to each day enthusiastically preach and teach what the Lord has given me to challenge the GLBT and conservative communities to live countercultural to mainstream (secular and religious!).

I have found that talking about such a hostile subject to large crowds lends itself to some ‘unique’ experiences, stories and lives that have been dramatically affected by the pervasive culture war. This can be very, very draining day in and day out as I want to give, and do nothing less than share in that pain, hurt or excitement as much as I am humanly able. I have come to realize that I need much more strength than I am able to muster through periods like this one. So please lift up these times on my behalf. Although even after May 24, it doesn’t slow down all that much, but at least I’ll have a day off more regularly. Praise the Lord in all things!

Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers.

Much love.

Neue Podcast Part II

This is Part II of Relevant Magazine’s Neue Podcast that I did.

Much love.

Radio Interview this Afternoon

Today I’ll be a guest (live call-in segment) on the Bob Dutko Show from 1:35-2:05pm CST, Detroit’s #1 Christian radio show.

If you want to ask me any questions live on air, feel free to call in.

Much love.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reconciliation/Off the Grid

I leave tonight to go to Jackson, Mississippi to be with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) board of directors for their new project: Emerging Leader’s Initiative. Yes, that’s a mouthful. But it’s also an awesome opportunity as I was one of only a few hand-picked young leaders throughout the country to be involved with some of the heavy-hitters of urban life and ministry:

John Perkins
Wayne Gordon
Ray Bakke
Bob Lupton
Shane Claiborne
Among many others…

CCDA’s structure is based off of Dr. John Perkins 3Rs: Relocation (move into the neighborhood), Reconciliation (level the disconnect) and Redistribution (raise up new indigenous leadership). And those are all things that I take very seriously in my life, and try to model each day.

With this in mind I want to leave us with some words on Reconciliation from Dr. Perkins from his book, With Justice For All. I truly look forward to spending the next four days with these proven leaders—leaders who created a movement that has sustained the test of time. Something I can only hope God continues to foster through The Marin Foundation.

The only purpose of the gospel is to reconcile people to God and to each other. A gospel that doesn’t reconcile is not a Christian gospel at all. But in America it seems as if we don’t believe that. We don’t really believe that the proof of our discipleship is that we love one another (see John 13:35)…

To be reconciled to each other, then, we must bear the burdens created by each other’s pasts. And to be reconcilers in the world, to bring others together, we must bear the burdens of both the parties we seek to reconcile…

We must be reconciled to both God and man. The gospel’s first work is to reconcile us to God (2 Cor. 5:18), then, if our relationship with God is right, it will show up in our relationships with each other (1 John 4:20). For my worship to be acceptable to God, I must be reconciled to my brother (Matthew 5:23-24). To be reconciled to my brother I must first be reconciled to God; to remain reconciled to God I must be reconciled to my brother. I cannot have one without the other…

If the purpose of the gospel is to reconcile us to God and to our fellowman, if your mission is to be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation (see 2 Cor. 5:20), how do we fulfill that mission? It’s tempting for us to start out with a list of things to do. But that is not how the world of reconciliation begins. Before we can do the world of God, we must be the people of God—the believing fellowship, the Body of Christ. We cannot achieve Christ’s mission each working alone; we must work as a Body, each one exercising their spiritual gifts as a part of the whole. The believing fellowship must be a living demonstration of the love that God gives us for one another. Our invitation to others then becomes, “Come join us in this fellowship which we have with each other and with God” (see 1 John 1:3). Before we can invite others to join our fellowship, we must have a fellowship. So before we can do the work of the church, we must be the church.

To do the work of reconciliation, then, we must begin by being a reconciled fellowship, by being the Body of Christ. We must model the kind of relationships into which we want to invite others. Our love for each other gives credibility and power to our witness. We must begin by being. Being, though, is not complete until it results in doing. As James says, “Faith, if it has no works, it’s dead”. A faith that doesn’t express itself in works is not a true faith. Now that’s good, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to just be a reconciled fellowship, though that is where we have to start. We must be a reconciled fellowship on a mission. And our mission is to bring others into fellowship with God and with us.

And many of the people in the Christian community movement seem to lack this vision. They love each other, yet they lack this drive to take the gospel to unbelievers, inviting them to join the fellowship…
(excerpts from pp. 116-146).

The problem with the culture war that is GLBT vs. conservative Christianity, is that the word reconciliation has become distorted to mean something it is not. I’ll leave it there as I will be expanding on this, and other lingual distortions (and how to fix them) within the culture war starting next week.

Much love.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Most Humbling Review Yet

I sit here typing this crying. Yes, I cry. A lot. My life has been full of raw emotions these past few weeks with the unique juxtaposition I have been living recently. I have dumped my life out in words for people to read, re-read and then re-read again. Looking. Studying. Dissecting each word to see where it fits in the socially constructed boxes that pervasively label the culture war that is the GLBT community and evangelicalism. From those mythical labels come cultural perceptions which somehow morph into fact that release commentary and solidified opinions on your life's experiences - good or bad. Especially on this topic. I daily wake up humbled, and quite scared because I never expected any of this, I just wanted to follow what the Lord laid before me. And yet there is still so much uncertainty as I continue in contemplation to make sure I'm on solid footing in God's eyes as I move forward with this new voice that has been given to me. All of that to say I think my emotional build-up just got pushed over the edge. Give me 10 or so minutes and maybe I'll stop bawling about what I just read.

This review is the most soul crushing review I’ve read to date on my book. I’m not talking about “soul crushing” because it’s bad—I’m talking about “soul crushing” because someone dared to write what he did. It comes from the world famous Internet Monk, whose blog is consistently ranked in the Top 5 most read Christian blogs in the world, and he just took everything to a whole new level.

Praise be to God for His will to push this thing forward:

Barukh attah adonai

(Hebrew for 'Blessed are you, O Lord' - to be recited throughout the day in all things good or bad, because in all things, even our own breathe is a privilege given to us by our Holy Lord).

And that is what keeps me going.

Much love.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mentioned in the Dallas Morning News

The religion writer for the Dallas Morning News—Dallas’ largest newspaper—quoted a portion of Love is an Orientation, using it for the paper’s ‘Quote of the Day’ segment.

You can view it on their website here.

Much love.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weigh-in #4 and Upcoming Blog Series

Current Weight: 248.5 lbs.

Weight loss since last weigh-in: 1.5 lbs.

Total weight loss thus far: 11 lbs.

I haven’t weighed under 250 lbs. since May 2008—that’s exactly one year ago! Sweet. I’ll be weighing myself in again on Monday May 25th.

Also my next mini-series on the blog, starting with my next post, will be about the language in this culture war that drives each community further apart, and keeps us talking past each other instead of to each other.

Much love.