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]→
Ever wake up in the morning and for that first instant of wakefulness wonder where you are? That is a little how I feel writing this blog. I feel like I just woke up and I am wondering how I got here. One moment I was “party line” Covenant pastor who had the appropriate evangelical view of homosexuality and then it was like I woke up to a different way of seeing.
In reality I think the process of “changing my mind” was happening slowly under the surface and I didn’t know it was happening until one day it popped out and surprised me. What changed my mind? A number of things. First of all I think it was years of pastoring people. It started with a young man 35 years ago who asked if he could come and speak to me but when he arrived in my office he could not speak a word of what was on his mind. We sat in silence for an hour – when our time was up I asked him if he wanted to come back again and he shook his head yes. Two more times we sat in silence for an hour before he was finally able to say to me that the had come to realize that he was gay. But saying it out loud was all he could do. He never came back to see me again, but his struggle left an indelible mark on me and gave seed to the conviction that homosexuality was certainly not something that he was choosing, instead it was something that he could not avoid. His self loathing and fear was palpable and my heart went out to him. Continue reading How did I Get Here?→
Members and friends of the Evangelical Covenant Church in favor of a more inclusive church!