As I’ve been reading the posts and comments here, I’m excited to see new dialog within the Covenant. I’ve seen views across the board about us. We are people, not an issue. I am gay and a child of God. These identities can and do coexist.
I have been a Christian all my life, and there was a time when I myself was strongly against what was already evident inside me. I held it in the dark, too afraid of what might happen if my secret was out. I must admit, though, that my fear did not come from the pulpit – well, maybe a few I happened to see on TV. The pulpits were mostly silent about us. Instead, the hate, anger, filth, and outright lies came from the news, TV, and from movies. Most of all, it came from everyday people around me: from family, friends, and strangers. From those who suspected I was gay, it was the taunting and torture just about every day of my grade school and junior high life. I’d been singled out and attacked, and I was constantly taunted by fellow students.
The taunting was still a problem in high school, but I made a small group of friends and stayed away from any extracurricular activities. I limited myself to one activity outside of school: being drill leader for JROTC. The rest of my time I chose to work instead of doing other school activities. I worried this might affect me down the road when applying for college, but it wasn’t worth the risk to me. Being out simply didn’t feel like an option. My group of friends from high school never even knew until a couple years after I graduated from college. Continue reading Anonymous: My Story→
Last fall, I wrote the following letter to my family on Thanksgiving. I share this letter here, especially mindful of those families with LGBT children. But I also share it because, though it may be addressed to my biological family, the message is equally one for my church family, my ecclesial family.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve listened to some of my friends relate their feelings in anticipation of going home for Thanksgiving. Some are excited: because they love and miss their family and can’t wait to see them again, or because this is the first time they’ve been welcomed home for a holiday in years. Some are ambivalent about family time, because they expect to sit quietly and peacefully coexist without really talking about the stuff of life. Others are downright anxious about going home, fearing harsh words, difficult conversations, and judgment. And some won’t go home at all, either because they’re not welcome or they’d just rather avoid the awkwardness and spare everyone the difficulty. All of my friends’ feelings in relation to their parents and family – excitement, ambivalence, fear, anxiety – stem from the fact that these friends also happen to be gay. Continue reading Surrendering Perfection→
(Benj is the son of Eva Sullivan-Knoff and John Knoff. His contribution brings to completion his and his family’s story of coming out. Please, be sure to read the two previous posts by his mom and dad. Benj is a student and a poet. One of his poems was featured on NPR. Thank you Benj for sharing with us.)
Paradox: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
I grew up in the church: baptized at birth; confirmed in eighth grade; sang in the children’s and youth choirs; attended Sunday school before services, services, youth group on Wednesday nights, and every weekend or summer retreat I could. My dedication might have initially been bred of obligation, but it matured into genuine devotion. So when an attraction to men emerged, I turned to the God I loved, praying frequently, asking Him to dissipate my inclinations, or at least to allow me to be one way or the other, not trapped in eternal uncertainty. Doubt is a terrible weight; it pressed into my thoughts constantly, unsettling the identity I had prided myself in. Continue reading Benj Sullivan-Knoff: “Paradox”→
Several months ago, I received the latest issue of The Covenant Companion, which contained the cover story, “Our Place in the Covenant.” In anticipation of the denomination’s 125th Annual Meeting, the Companion featured several short stories and testimonies from Covenanters of varying backgrounds on how they have come to find a place in this church. In that same issue was a letter to the editor by my friend and fellow blogger, Ralph Sturdy. Ralph pointed out what he referred to as a “sad commentary”: that support for parents and friends of gay and lesbian children in Covenant churches has been relegated to a back-page classified ad for a confidential email. “Are they being asked to hide behind a veil of secrecy and shame?” Ralph asked. “Are we saying to our gay and lesbian children, many baptized in Covenant churches, that there is no place in the Covenant for them?” (emphasis mine)
Here, in the same issue about finding place in this church, an issue that celebrates belonging and Covenant identity, was a letter about quiet marginalization. Here was a letter raising a voice for those whose place in the church has, ever so subtly, been moved to the borders, to the fringes. The sad irony wasn’t lost on me, because it was and remains a dichotomy I have been forced to wrestle with every day of my life. And so, I felt compelled to write and submit to the Companion the following response: Continue reading Finding Place in this Church [UPDATED]→
Members and friends of the Evangelical Covenant Church in favor of a more inclusive church!