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1YrL8tr Reflections, Part 1

03 Jun

It has been one year since I was forced out of full time ministry because of my own sin and because people found out I was gay (note that is two different issues).

I am going to post some reflections and “lessons learned” over the next few days, as I reflect back on the year.  This morning I was praying during my morning time with God that this coming year would be a “new year”. In Judaism, you are commanded to mourn for one year… and then you must move on. Much of what I have gone through is a mourning process over loss — loss of friends, community, church, mission, purpose, etc.  I am hoping God will give me new friends, new community, new church, new mission and new purpose this coming year.

I still pray for reconciliation with my previous church and with individuals there. But after a full year, with very little progress, I hold little hope… but I keep praying, trusting God to change hearts.

There is a lot to reflect upon from the past year.  First, the biggest obvious change in my life… I am now living as an openly gay follower of Jesus Christ.

The change here is that for 17 years I was living as a non-open gay follower of Jesus Christ.

The change is not in my identity or who I am or who I love… but that other people now know and can decide to love me anyway, or reject me.

I have never hidden the fact that I am gay from Jesus. (lol — try hiding anything from him!)  I have never felt shame or guilt for being gay before Jesus.  He has always known (probably before I did) and called me to himself anyway… and then he gifted me and equipped me and called me into various ministries… always fully knowing.  There were never — and are never — any secrets with Jesus.

Over the years I have struggled with how to live faithfully given my situation.  Often times I struggled with the notion that I didn’t want to be gay, hoping that Jesus might change me. But the answer I always got was that “I love you as you are… and my grace is sufficient”.

But being open about it to others is a change.

It some ways a very hard one. It opens you up to attacks, ridicule and rejection. I have experienced all of that this past year. It also makes some people just feel awkward around you. I have experienced that too. Some have said I am going to hell because of it or have lost my salvation. Others have implied I must be under the influence of demons.  I have heard some crazy stuff this past year.

But in many ways it has been a good thing to be open.

In the midst of rejection by so many, I have experienced the beauty of unconditional acceptance by so many others.

In the midst of being shown no grace by so many, I have received unbelievable grace from so many others.

And even more significantly, living without secrets and hiding has given me a self-confidence and self-love that I have not had before… and it has helped me overcome a longterm social insecurity that often came across as introversion but was really a deep-seeded insecurity.

I am not one to pretend something is good when it is not. Nor am I someone to pretend that all things that are must be good and God’s plan.  If I could undo the past year (and the events that led to it) I would do so without a hesitation or doubt.

That said, living as an open and honest gay follower of Jesus Christ is a far better way to live — and I believe more honoring to Jesus — than living as a hidden gay follower of Jesus Christ.

More reflections tomorrow…

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1 Comment

Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Lessons Learned, Uncategorized

 

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One response to “1YrL8tr Reflections, Part 1

  1. Ben D.

    June 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    <p>Thanks Anon… I think your observations are accurate (though I wish you weren’t anon, lol).</p><p>You are correct that I resigned my position as pastor and that I did so both because of my sin and because my sense was that it was impossible to be openly gay (no matter how that played out… Side A, Side B, etc) within the church. I also think you are correct that, even if the other guy had not been part of the congregation, the result would have been the same.</p><p>BD</p>

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