No More Silence!

Kathy and Don Anderson are life long Covenanter’s. Don’s hails from Jamestown NY and Kathy grew up in Omaha NE where they now live. Graduates of North Park University they are active members of First Covenant Church. Last year at family camp they shared their journey with their church family and now they are sharing on Coming Out Covenant.

Story by Kass and Don Anderson

Nothing could have prepared us for the news that our son, Erik, shared with us two years ago, when he finally had the courage to tell us that he is gay. We will never forget that day. You would think that as his parents we would have  recognized this  ….but it was not on our radar at all. Although it was both shocking and tough to hear, it was one of those pivotal lessons in life that has contributed to a significant transformation of our faith.

Erik realized he was gay when he was in middle school but had to secretly keep this awareness hidden for years because he was too scared to tell anyone. When he was in high school, Erik heard some condemning comments from his family about this issue and he began to feel truly alone and in a dark place full of hurt, pain, and depression. He became angry with God because he felt God wasn’t helping him. One night Erik was seriously considering ending his life and began to write a will. There, alone in his room as Erik contemplated ending his life, he heard God’s voice.  God said, “Why would you be alive if I didn’t have a purpose for you?” With those words God gave Erik hope and the realization that God loved and accepted him for who he was and is.

Looking back now, with the knowledge of what could have happened, we could beat ourselves up every day for our ignorance and insensitivity but our loving Creator reached out to Erik and protected him that night. So yes, we are forever grateful to God for intervening, and we are forever thankful for helping us learn and understand more about the love of Christ.

Both my husband and I are part of many generations of “Covenanters.” Neither of us recall having a discussion about homosexuality at church or have ever heard any of the church leaders discuss this issue. So consequently, we never had reason to form an opinion about it. So we just kept silent about this issue like the church seemed to be. The little we did hear about it was mostly from Christians who we respected, and their views were that homosexuality wasn’t natural and it was denounced in the Bible. Never having close connections with anyone who was gay and never having taken the time to hear any stories or testimonies of gay people, we formulated that same opinion….. until the day this issue brought us to our knees. So you see on that day that Erik told us he was gay, we knew  very little about homosexuality, but we knew a great deal about our son! How could he be gay? He was physical on the soccer field, always had girls eyeing him when walking through the malls, and he just didn’t fit the image we had of a gay guy at all.

How ignorant we had become simply because we allowed ourselves to be consumed by the silence that surrounds this issue and because we had no motivation to try and understand why many of God’s people were being subjected to judgement and rejection. After listening to our son’s story, reading about other homosexuals and their stories, through lots of prayer, and finally the power of the Holy Spirit convicting us, we have heard the voice of truth. We lost the nice and tidy view of the world in which everything fit neatly into boxes of black or white and right or wrong. In fact, we had been placing Jesus in a box. We were putting limits on his love and grace. Our son also shared that he believes sin brings people away from God and being gay has not brought him away from God. It has brought him closer to Jesus than he ever could have imagined. Erik had to depend on Jesus for strength, courage, and support when there was no one else he could turn to. Jesus REACHED out to him!

We are grateful to be given new eyes to see the real Jesus with. We share our story in the hope that it might help those who are experiencing a similar situation. But we also share this because we so desire that the Covenant church would not be silent anymore about this issue. We can no longer hang our heads, for in so doing, we are generating attitudes of judgement and hypocrisy. The task of the church is to understand that Jesus didn’t answer all of our questions. But we do know for certain that Jesus’ main message was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” In 1 Samuel 16:7, it reads, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” All of God’s creation is good! We cannot exclude and determine who should be included in his kingdom or circle. We need to make space for all people and their differences. That’s the Jesus we have come to know.

Christian morality is trying to discover how we are to live a life that is consistent with who God created us to be. For heterosexuals and those of same-sex orientation, being moral means living by the love ethic of Jesus. Jesus was not silent regarding compassion toward those who had been marginalized as a class or group. The church needs to become the place where lesbian and gay Christians can learn how God wants to bless their relationships and empower them to share their gifts with a world that needs them. There should be no more labeling of people. The main concern for the church is that there are people who are Christian or non-Christian. The purpose of life as Christians on this Earth is to share the love of Christ.

What a wonderful opportunity for the Covenant church to show the world how Jesus commanded us to love. Let us not be silent anymore but accept all the differences that make each other unique. We would like to see the church get involved in deeper discussion on this issue by being open to listening to the stories of Christian gays and their walks and struggles. There is common ground in the struggles and the joys of all Christians. When congregations come together willing to discuss and listen, our knowledge will grow. The doors of the church should be thrown wide open for everyone. The body of Christ is about hooking our arms together and glorifying our Creator, encouraging and supporting each other in our walk, and going out in the world and sharing the good news of Christ’s love. God created everyone, including our son, for this purpose, too.

  • Ryan Cooper

    Don/Kass – Thanks for sharing your journey with us.  Your journey echos that of many other’s.  Erik – I was honored to watch you grow up at Cedars and First Cov.  I’m proud of who you are…and excited to see who you are becoming!  Sincerely, Ryan ‘Coop’ Cooper

  • Linda Newman Andersson

    Thank you for sharing your story! Prayers and hugs to your family.  <3

  • Eva

    Dear Kass, Don, and Erik, thank you for sharing your story.  It is a moving story.  It will touch many people who are on the same journey, or who are struggling, and it offers hope. God bless each of you as your journey with God. My family is grateful to be on the journey with you.

  • Tory

    I agree with the part of this article that says we should all love each other.  We love each other in our frailties and our shortcomings and encourage healing and growth.  When it comes to sexual lusts and tendencies and actions we should be fair and considerate.  I want to caution Christians that our sexuality and our flesh should not define us.  We should serve our Lord more than the desires of our flesh.  When those desires, be they heterosexual or homosexual, come to be dominant over sound doctrine and seeking the true calling of God,  we have a problem. 

    • Tory, I agree with everything you say here.  When sex becomes an end in itself, separate from loving respect and commitment to our partner, it loses an essential spiritual component.  God didn’t give us sex just for pleasure and enjoyment, though those are certainly aspects of sex.  But God created us as sexual beings with sexual desire and the attachments it creates in order to help us create a bond with a compatible person with whom we can share our lives.  Science proves that marriage makes us better — helps us live longer, healthier, and even happier lives.  Marriage to a compatible partner brings gifts into our lives which help us to more fully envision and bring to life the love that God has for the world and for all of us as God’s human creations.

      Sex is a deeply spiritual act and should not be sacrificed to mere lust or thoughtless promiscuity.  We serve God in our spouse with our every action — sexual as well as practical.  The desires, needs and concerns of our spouse become as important to us as our own, and we reach out to this God-given other, leaving behind the selfish gratification of merely our *own* needs and wants. 

      You say that when our desires, heterosexual or homosexual, are dominant over sound doctrine or seeking the true calling of God, we have a problem.  Absolutely correct.  Our loving relationship to our spouse in which we learn to care about the desires and needs and well-being of another is a part of that true calling of God, to live as channels of God’s love to others — to our spouses, to our families and to the world around us.  Blessings to you, Tory.

    • Bonniejmalouf

      Be careful that you are not saying something similar to this: “I love you even though you are short, and I am willing to accept this as your challenge and struggle, and can only pray that you will understand that, really, you are tall.”  Sexual orientation is not about lusts. It is about how a person is made. It is like being tall or short. Perhaps different than you are, but a perfectly valid way to be, and not something one can change. 

  • Erik Strom

    Thanks for being willing to tell your story, Anderson family! It’s a powerful testimony that I trust will help grow this dialogue in the ECC.

  • I’m so glad to hear your story, and to hear that when Erik came out to you, you had the clear sight to recognize that your acceptance and love for Erik as the gay man that he is, is intensely important to his well-being.  I went through this process over 30 years ago, beginning to realize in Jr. High that I had feelings for other girls, and I suffered in silence and pain and darkness and suicidal despair until my mid-20’s, when I finally came to understand that the scriptures which had been used to condemn people like me were misrepresented by conservative religious people, and that God would not have created me as a lesbian woman unless God wanted me to live my life responsibly and lovingly within the context of my God-given sexual orientation.  God expects no more and no less from us as gay people than God expects of heterosexual people: That we live our lives and give expression to our sexuality responsibly and lovingly, giving ourselves faithfully to our spouse in the context of a loving, committed, covenantal relationship that is consistent with the sexual orientation with which God created us.
    When I came to understand this truth, and knew that God loved me just the way I was created to be, that God did not condemn me for being attracted to other women, and that, in fact, God created a wonderful, loving woman to be my spouse in a deeply nurturing and committed, wonderful relationship, my self-hatred and suicidal depression left me, and I embarked upon a journey that has so far gifted me with 21 years of loving relationship to my lovely wife, and with two beautiful twin daughters.  Marriage to my wife has taught me many things and brought about growth in ways that a life spent alone could never have done.  My wife continues, after 21 years, to be the person I most want to talk to, the person with whom I cannot wait to share my day and my thoughts and ideas.  She is the person I count on and who counts on me.  We do all in our power to give our children a stable, happy, structured home in which to grow and mature. 

    Erik is so blessed to have the two of you who can so readily admit to the things that you may have overlooked, and make an immediate change, rather than dogmatically hanging on to hurtful, damaging ideas even in the face of your suffering child.  Bless you for your love and acceptance, and for your commitment to bringing awareness and change to the people around you.  You are greatly needed in the church and in the world around us. 

    •  Ah, Lorian – you have a special talent for putting into words what many of us feel. I’m just so tired of all  the craziness. There is an excellent article in the NY Times this week about homophobia. It basically comes down to the old sentence, “Me thinks thee protests too much.”.This recent study finds people who   scream the most are struggling themselves with their own sexuality. Bless you, dear heart.

  • Cindicarlson

    Bless you for opening your minds as wide as your hearts! I am so very impressed with Erik’s courage.

  • Bonniejmalouf

    Good for you. It is not complicated to know how Jesus thought and acted. It is just hard to do. And you are.

  • Seth

    It is not love nor loving to condone sin no matter what popular culture may say. The Bible is quite clear, when read in the context of the text, that homosexuality is a sin like many others. It is not necessarily any worse than others but it is sin. We are to resist the ‘flesh’…no matter what form that may take in your life or mine. Homosexuals are to be loved like all fallen humans made in the image of God but we are not to call something that is sinful otherwise. We are to check what we think is God’s will against his already revealed will, the Bible.

    • Actually, Seth, when you read the 8 or so Biblical texts which have been traditionally used to condemn gay and lesbian people, in the context of the surrounding verses, and in the context of the language and historical period, what becomes clear is that this tiny handful of scriptures actually condemn things like committing adultery with another man in your wife’s bed, serving as a homosexual prostitute, pimping other men as homosexual prostitutes, committing homosexual rape, and participating in homosexual acts as part of pagan temple orgies.  I think we can all pretty much agree that adultery, prostitution, rape and pagan temple orgies fall under the heading of “sin,” no matter whether one is homosexual or heterosexual.  What does *not* exist in the Bible is any text which condemns committed, loving, monogamous relationships between two people of the same sex.

      Gay and lesbian people are held to the same standard as any other person — to live honorably, responsibly, lovingly and chastely within the bonds of a committed, monogamous marriage to a person with whom we are emotionally, spiritually and sexually compatible.

      • Guest

        Seth is on the money here.  Approving, accepting, or embracing homosexuality is calling evil good.  On the other hand, loving and embracing the fallen human being made in the image of God is love, and as Christians we are certainly called to do that.  To say that the homosexual lifestyle/act is OK per the Bible is wrong, and relies on a seriously flawed exegesis.The primary illuminating passage in Scripture on this issue is found in Genesis 2–in the creation account itself.  Genesis 2:21-24 says “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”Ever since THAT day, it has been the consistent position of scripture that God created us as sexual beings, that God created us to live out our sexuality as one man, one woman, one marriage, for life.  That’s the standard.  That’s the ideal.  That’s the way our Creator designed us to be.  That’s what works best and what God declares to be godly and beautiful.  It’s not always what we do, or even what people in the Bible always did, (and yes, God blesses us even when we sin) but when we sin in whatever way, when we do not live according to the plan–to the design, we suffer.  Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor anyone else in the Bible ever contradicted this design of God, but rather re-established it (Jesus repeats this creation account in Matthew 19).So that’s how God designed us, but the human response is “why?”  Why would a merciful and loving God deny consensual love, companionship, and affection?  Well, I can’t fully answer that question, but I can say that (1) God did not create us to be homosexual.  But as a result of the fall, each of us is born sinful.  We simply cannot say “God created me to be this way and therefore I’m going to follow the desires I have within me, because they must be God if God put them there, and this must be who God wants me to be.”  (2) In many ways God denies us consensual love, companionship or affection (for example, polygamy, adultery, and sex outside of marriage, etc.).  I can’t explain all of the “why” question, but the wonderful thing is that we have a High Priest who is able to sympathize with us in EVERY weakness (Hebrews 4).  Even though God denies us some of the things we want, he still loves us more than we will ever be loved on this earth.  He has called us to show us “the most excellent way”, to bless us in this life and the next, to serve in his Kingdom on earth and in heaven, and to above all, love each other as He has loved us.  Don and Kass, if you are reading this I hope you continue to pray over your son, pray about this issue, seek wisdom, seek counseling, and search the scriptures.  We can’t make God into who we want Him to be.  We can’t make God’s rules into what we want them to be, and sometimes that can be very painful and hard to accept.  I will be wrapping my arms around Erik and your family in prayer!  Blessings.  Resources:For a biblical exegesis and examination of verses dealing with homosexuality: an excellent sermon that addresses our sexuality, as established in Genesis 2, WHY God made us this way, and why marriage matters:

        • @ “Guest” (I’m not sure why you feel the need to comment anonymously, but okay…), Biblical exegesis is very helpful in understanding the handful of passages of scripture which discuss any kind of homosexual activity, but one must make sure that one’s sources are not simply invested in maintaining status quo prejudice, fear and hatred towards homosexually-oriented peopled, disguised as “love” or “compassion.                                                       
          If you intend to use the Genesis creation story as a justification for treating GLBT people as less than God’s whole, perfect and beloved creations, you must also use the other aspects of the story as literal guidelines for how one must live one’s life.  I would assume for instance that (if you are a man), based upon God’s words in Genesis 3:17-18, and Genesis 3:23, that you are a farm laborer for your living and eat only plants which grow from the ground (hopefully while sweating profusely)?  And based upon Genesis 3:13, you compel your wife (assuming you are a heterosexual man) to give birth without any form of anaesthesia, so that she can fulfill God’s curse against Eve and all women?
          Seriously, Guest, if you are going to insist that the entirety of the Old Testament is prescriptive rather than descriptive in its detail, not only are you, I believe, missing the point of this amazing document, but you will need to abide by a great many directives and commands, many of which are less than palatable to modern humans, even those of conservative religious persuasions.  For instance, if your daughter is ever (God forbid) raped, you will, I presume, either force her to marry the man who rapes her or else put her to death for her fornication and impurity, correct?  I won’t go into all the many, many other examples of Old Testament scriptures one must be prepared to implement in one’s own life if one wishes to be able, without hypocrisy, to impose them upon others (even ones from which one is making unsupported inferences, such as that the creation story implies that only male-female pairings are acceptable to God because this is the only sort of pairing described in Biblical creation).  Suffice to say that there are many of them, and that I sincerely doubt you have accepted them all as literal directives for how you must live your life. 
          If you are not, in fact homosexual, then I would posit that you cannot possibly know whether or not a homosexual person has a relationship with God which is affirming of his or her sexual orientation and committed relationship.  The Bible was used for centuries as a justification for slavery, racial segregation and antimiscegenation.  And yet, we realize today that these practices were discriminatory, prejudiced, hateful, and about as far from being “God-ordained” as anything could be.  I urge you to go back to God in sincere prayer and to think very carefully before urging anything but loving acceptance of God’s beloved creations, regardless of their sexual orientation.  Blessings to you.

          • Susan Gillesp

            …and replying to guest.  I would say something is missing here, and that is the witness of scripture that nature itself is broken, as broken as we are.  So however we are born, it is broken.  For this reason I just can’t affirm that God made some people to be homosexual and “it is good” – but I can affirm that God loves us all in all our brokenness.  This doesn’t deny that some people have an orientation that differs from mine, nor does it proclaim that my orientation (“hetero”) makes me holy, because it doesn’t, and my heterosexuality is just as broken in its nature as anything else.  To me, the question is what can we say next?  You are right, I am in no position to judge anyone else’s relationship with God.  I will affirm that God in his mercy in my relationship with him has tackled the brokenness and sin in my life on his own agenda and in his own way, and I assume he does that with each of us.  And I know that I have not always (even often?) allowed him to change me in every way he might want to at the time he might want to.  So I absolutely believe and affirm that people with homosexual orientation can and do have relationships with God through Jesus, that they have his Holy Spirit, that he calls and gifts them and uses them for his glory and that they are members of his body.  As do people with heterosexual orientation.  
            I can’t quite see my way clear to saying that he approves of homosexual behavior, though – even if he is at work in those who themselves approve and do it, even as he persists in being at work in any of us who do continue to sin.  I may be wrong, I’m willing to learn, but from here I just can’t see it yet.  
            And so I want to say this about silence: I think some might misinterpret it.  I am silent about it because I am listening.  I do not want to commit hateful speech; I don’t want to speak against what the Lord may be doing.  Neither do I want to say what others want me to say if it is not what God is saying.  So I don’t say much in my public role.  You might consider whether those who are silent are trying to be full of grace and to listen.

          • Susan, I appreciate your thoughtful response.  While I do not believe that I am “broken,” anymore than I believe that you are “broken,” I am glad that you are open to the possibility that there may not be anything in particular about gay people’s homosexual orientation that God needs to “fix.” 

            I think it is difficult for straight people to understand what it is like for a gay person to be surrounded by straight people pontificating about what gay people think, feel, want, deserve and experience, and passing judgment upon their relationships with God and their spouse.  I appreciate that your silence, personally, indicates your lack of judgment and your stance of listening.  Sadly, this is not the case for many religious denominations. 

            I think that fewer and fewer denominations are remaining silent about homosexuality — more and more are becoming more stridently opposed to gays and lesbians as the “worst” of all possible “evils,” while others are becoming more open, more willing to realize that the church has made mistakes before and participated in the persecution and degradation of God’s children of other races, ethnicities and belief-systems. 

            I think the silence of the past had more to do with the fact that most people just figured that they didn’t know anyone who was gay, so why talk about it?  It stemmed from ignorance of what we now understand about the innateness and immutability of sexual orientation (homo- or heterosexual).  I think most churches just took for granted that homosexuals were “those people out there” and that there was no need to address the topic in Sunday sermons (it was much to prurient to mention in church, except for the occasional Sodom and Gomorrah sermon, anyway), since “those people” wouldn’t “dare show their face in God’s house, so no worries.”

            I’m glad that we’re finally talking about it.  It gives gay people the chance to speak out about *our* truths, and to share our actual experience with those who have for too long assumed that they knew all there was to know about homosexuality and what it meant to be gay or lesbian.

          • David Carlson

            Above are distractions. Questions and statements about stuff
            like a gay person having value, continuing to have a purpose as a creation of
            God, the fact that we all sin and so should not condemn others who sin, and the
            fact the God loves a person who is gay are… distractions… to the real question
            before us.


            I think the popular cultural conversation has twisted into
            something where coming out against homosexual behavior is considered = being
            against or devaluing people.

            How did we get to that? That bothers me. That is not true.

            Well, unfortunately it seems clear
            that in practice this has been true; I believe many homosexual people when they
            indicate they have been hurt by people who have devalued or hated them based on
            their homosexuality (and I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done so; I
            don’t think I ever have actively, but
            I’d be naïve if I thought I’ve never done so passively). And so it seems the
            (understandable) response is to re-classify homosexual behavior as positive so
            that homosexuals will then be treated better? If so, I can understand the
            rationale to this approach.


            But as Christians don’t we already know that everything Erik’s
            parents said about their son continuing to have purpose and value in God’s
            world is absolutely true? Should they have to assert it? Everything others have
            stated (in replies above) about needing to show love and kindness towards
            people experiencing homosexual thoughts is absolutely true. We Covenanters can
            already agree on that, can’t we? And you bet gay people can still do good
            things. Who in their right mind would think that any attribute of a person
            would prevent that same person from doing good stuff? Shucks, if that were true
            not one of us would ever love our children or work at a food shelf.


            We know we are all imperfect. We know we all have defects,
            either born or acquired. We aren’t being hypocritical when we acknowledge that
            a behavior of someone else’s is not what God desires… because we also acknowledge
            that some of our behaviors are not what God desires. We ALL fall short,
            and so we have compassion for us all
            (think of the Golden Rule)… or at least we hope
            to. We agree on that, right? We try. We fail. We repent. Right?



            SO MY POINT HERE IS: isn’t the question for us Covenanters,
            us Christians, simply: based on the design of nature and what is stated in the
            Bible, do we see evidence that God wishes
            for us to have a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex?

               Don’t be distracted
            by statements of showing love for all and such; that is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE… for
            all people, regardless of how you answer the question. Just answer the
            question, and go from there.


            Does God wish for
            us who profess our love for Him to have a sexual relationship with a person of
            the same sex?

          • Tstohlberg

            A couple of comments and a question to the writer. First,  I would suggest that your argument from the “design of nature,” is troubling. The lessons we can intuit from nature are complex and even contradictory. Those attributes that we so often attribute to God and to a “Spirited” Christian life — grace, forgiveness, generosity, mercy, compassion, etc. — are not necessarily the way of the nature. Secondly, because we live an embodied existence, all of our relationships are necessarily sexual relationships — informed by our gender and societal norms related to it — to suggest anything less is to advocate a form of gnosticism. Finally, if I read your last several paragraphs correctly, it would seem that you are suggesting that the issue is not sexual orientation per se, or even same sex relationships, it would appear that your concern is the sex. If that is true, then you have elevated  one element of intimacy at the expense of others and diminished all relationships as a consequence.

          • David, insofar as God created people with heterosexual desire and attraction as their innate, default expression and experience of sexuality, AND created other people with homosexual desire and attraction as their innate, default expression and experience of sexuality, I’d have to answer your question, “Yes, God wishes for *me* to have a primary, intimate, committed sexual relationship with someone of my own sex, AND, NO, God does not wish the same for you, since it would appear from your comment that you are created as a heterosexual person.” 

            I would not expect you to understand how I, as a homosexually-oriented person, experience life, but it might help you to place yourself in the position of someone whose primary sexual attraction is to members of their own sex in a world where the majority of people are heterosexually-oriented.  Ask yourself, if the reverse were true, and you were expected to stop being attracted to women, to either somehow *make* yourself be attracted to other men, or face a life of complete celibacy and aloneness, with no loving, intimate spouse with whom to share your life, no children, no family around you in your old age — is this something you would feel was reasonable, rational, God-ordained?  I wouldn’t. 

          • David

            Thank you for your answer; it provides insight into what motivates you. 

            Yes, I’d feel it reasonable and rational, as God did not ordain it. 

          • David

            Please let me emphasize that I don’t mean that in any mean or cold way. If you ask me what I’d feel, I only want to answer honestly based on what I know about myself. I don’t think I’d like the situation (understatement), but for myself I have found there are things that I can have and things that I cannot have… ordained by God or not… and these things do not stop me from being a useful, purposeful person regardless; it was with this in mind that I responded.

            I am not homosexual but plz do not assume I answer from easy circumstance or that I cannot relate in anyway.

            Alike or not, I wish you peace – David

  • Kurt Peterson

    This quote particularly jumped out at me: “Neither of us recall having a discussion about homosexuality at church or have ever heard any of the church leaders discuss this issue.” Fear produces silence, and silence reveals cowardice, and cowardice abrogates pastoral responsibility for the care of souls. “No More Silence.”

  • Diane Anderson

    And this quote jumped out at me: “…we so desire that the Covenant church would not be silent anymore about
    this issue. We can no longer hang our heads, for in so doing, we are
    generating attitudes of judgement and hypocrisy.”  Amen!

  • Djohnson

    What a powerful witness, Don and Kass! Thanks for your honesty about your attitude and understanding of homosexuality before it became so personal through Erik. Not pretty, to be sure, but certainly widespread, especially in the Church. But I also know how different it is when this issue has a personal face. It happened to me at North Park way back in 1972 when I did a paper on homosexuality for Dr. Soneson’s Christian Ethics class. As I began to read and reflect on it for the first time, I quickly found my assumptions and understandings start to crumble. Then, as the term progressed, three friends at NPC “came out” to me!  When I started talking more openly about homosexuality, my questions about it, and in general just showing an openness to the issue, they trusted me enough to tell me their stories (which was quite a shock, as you can imagine – especially in 1972!). This had a profound impact on my life, my faith, relationships in general, and helped shape the way I’ve served in ministry these past 32 years. God bless you as you continue the journey…

  • Tim Stohlberg

    Thanks to Susan Gillesp for broadening the conversation in such a profound way. Your observation that all humanity and therefore all human relationships participate in the brokeness of creation and await redemption is biblically sound and painfully true.

  • Kass Anderson

    Our family wants to thank all of you who read our article. We also want to thank those who responded to it. We are so grateful for all the support and encouragement that has been given to our family. It is “freeing” to publicly get our story out there. We hope others will share so we can continue the dialogue and learn from one another.

  • Kathie Johnson

    Eric, Don, and Kass,

    Thanks for your courage in sharing your personal story. I’m sure that it will help many others who are struggling to be who they are meant to be!! And hopefully it will open up discussion within the church. Blessings on you!!

  • Dick Nystrom

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • Doug Person

    Don and Kass,

    I am moved by the courage you exhibited in sharing your

    I am humbled by the exceptional love you showed to Erik by
    returning his “true identity” to him in such a public and courageous manner.

    The poet May Sarton wrote a poem called: Now I Become

    Now I become myself. It’s taken

    Time, many years and places;

    I have been dissolved and shaken,

    Worn other people’s faces,


    You gave Erik the right to claim the precious unique identity that God
    gave him; the power to proudly and honestly wear his own face.


    With Great Admiration,

    Doug Person

  • Ellenkratz

    Wonderful, compelling story.  As the mother of a gay son I could have written it myself.  Our son is a wonderful compassionate person, also highy successful businessman, now getting an MBA at Harvard.  Being gay is just a part of who he is.  It is so important for the church to realize that silent tolerance is NOT the same as demonstrating Jesus’ open, loving, compassion and acceptance for all.  His grace is sufficient for all, even those who are different from us.
    Lead on Covenanters, I am Lutheran.

  • mike

    I know erik, and there couldn’t be a more remarkable, caring person on this earth than him. The word gay doesn’t make you suddenly different from the person you knew before. We are all lucky to have him in our lives in any capacity.


    I am a Covenant preacher’s kid, went to North Park, worked at Swedish Covenant Hospital and am a christian who is also gay. I was saved in my sophomore year with my mom and dad at my side at home after Sunday night service. I was so happy to read your post. There are many Eriks out there but fortunately for your Erik he has loving parents who love him above all else. Your support is so valuble to him and later on in life he will look back with great love and emotion at all the love you gave him.

    I only wish my mom and dad were alive so I could share with them. In the something 40 yrs. of preaching, I never heard my dad once condem gays, either in the pulpit or at home. In fact he just preached the gospel, grew churchs and absolutely loved us, therefore as a lot of uninformed people have been taught to think, our family was not dysfunctional. We had a loving, nuturing home, my brothers and sister were always taken care of and I can speak for all of us, we loved our parents more than anything, except God.
    Continue to encourage and love Erik. He may have some struggles ahead but the God we serve can surely take care of everything.
    Some of my favorite verses are:

    For mom and dad.
    Romans 8:1
    Romans 10:13

    Erik, this is for you.
    1st Peter 1:13 & 15.

    God bless your family.