has almost been exactly one year since the proverbial crap hit the fan for me. I have spent a lot of time during this past year reflecting upon what happened and how I allowed it to happen.
Of course, there were really two separate and distinct issues that cost me my ministry, church, job, friends and community: (1) was the revelation that I was gay, a generally unacceptable situation within the evangelical subculture; and (2) I had been sexually active with a member of the congregation.
Regardless of your views on #1 (being gay), #2 is unacceptable.
So I continue to go back to the question, HOW DID I ALLOW MYSELF TO CROSS SUCH OBVIOUS BOUNDARIES?
Through a lot prayer, reflection, counseling and talking with wise people, I have come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is not that complicated… it is actually a pretty simple (and, in many ways, predictable) equation.
Here is the equation:
2 SINGLE CLOSE FRIENDS + PRE-EXISTING FRIENDSHIP (prior to me being pastor or the church even existing) + COMMON SHARED STRUGGLE (and therefore a deep level of trust/sharing) + LOTS OF TIME TOGETHER + SECRETS/HIDDENNESS + SEXUAL ATTRACTION = TROUBLE
In other words, it is really no mystery how it happened. We were friends, we were both single, we shared are struggle with each other, and we allowed temptation/struggle to win.
Tragic, yes. Damaging and destructive, yes.
Maybe even inevitable given all the other dynamics at play…
So that, I think, answers the question of HOW it happened.
Tomorrow I will post some thoughts on how it could have been avoided — and how such things can be avoided in the future.
I would love to hear your thoughts…