I love this video… and this movement!
Monthly Archives: May 2011
Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of
forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
(from Scot McKnight)
I have been blogging about six key decisions I made in the weeks after things blew up in my life and at the church. These six decisions were critical to me being able to make it through everything.
Those decisions allowed me to make other important decisions: go to culinary school, live in Manchester, get a job as a chef, connect with a Hartford church, develop new friends, etc, etc.
Life is very much about makin decisions and continually moving forward. Again, I wasn’t perfect these last two years… I didn’t make all the right decisions… there were set-backs and trip-ups. But overall, I feel like when it came to the core and fundamental decisions… those I got right and because of that I was able to keep moving forward in a healthy way.
While life is good for me now, there are still a number of unresolved relationships. I am still not happy with how things ended with the church and with the Board. And I wish that there could be more positive closure with the congregant/friend involved. But I feel like I have don everything I can — and everything Jesus asks of me — in those relationships and it is outside my power to see these things finish well. While I have not given up hope, I also know that it is outside my control.
So what next?
Continue to make good decisions… move forward… and keep my eyes on Jesus.
[Click links below for each post in this series:]
- 6 Decisions that Saved My World
- 6 Decisions, Part #1 – Build Community
- 6 Decisions, Part #2 – Find Mentors
- 6 Decisions, Part #3 – Live Transparently
- 6 Decisions, Part #4 – Take Responsibility
- 6 Decisions, Part #5 – Integrity always Wins
- 6 Decisions, Part #6 – Keep My Eyes on Jesus
The single most important decision I made every day during this time was to Keep my Eyes on Jesus as I limped through the race.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
As much pain as I was in, as hopeless as the situation seemed, as depressed as I became, as paralyzed as I was… I never stopped praying, reading scripture, or crying out to God.
My faith never wavered. And I kept my eyes on Jesus.
I know a lot of guys who after their world collapses, just walk away from faith. And I know even more who when their sexuality clashes with what the institutional church is saying… just walk away too.
I know way too many gay refugees from the church… including those who left the church I was at.
That thought never even crossed my mind.
For me, I knew that whatever the answer was… whatever the future was going to look like… it was going to be found in Jesus.
I also knew that whatever Jesus said to me about this issue, I would do. He is my Lord, and that trumps all else.
Luckily, through all of this, I learned to not just love God more — but to love God while also liking myself at the same time. I learned, too, to freely and fully accept God’s love for me as his child… something I had preached 1000 times to others, but had a hard time believing for myself.
And Jesus was faithful to me in the midst of the darkness.
He walked with me.
He sat with me.
He cried with me.
He was with me — and He was for me.
And I knew, that no matter what else I did, I had to keep my eyes on Him… or I would be lost.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” — Proverbs 10:9 ESV“Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” — 1 Peter 3:16 ESV
I have a basic axiom for life: INTEGRITY ALWAYS WINS.
- Once everything blew up, I confessed and revealed everything (probably more detail than they wanted) to the Board.
- I never blamed others for what happened to me. I accepted full personal responsibility.
- When accused of something I was guilty of, I acknowledged it. When I was accused of something I did not do, I answered the charge.
- I never bad-mouthed the church. I was truthful about what happened on the blog, and was even open in criticizing the process and decisions that were made, but I never bad-mouthed the church or the board. (In fact, I still think it is a great church and I often refer people to it and I still financially support its missions when I can.)
- While the Board agreed to pay me three months salary when I left, I was aware of the financial stress the church was under and I voluntarily did not take the final month of pay (even though I had no income at the time). This just seemed like the right thing to do.
- I expressed publicly that I would answer anyone’s questions and meet with anyone who wanted to talk to me about what happened. Several members of the church took me up on this offer and it was helpful for both of us.
- As I wrote about yesterday, I embraced a philosophy of transparency.
Ongoing reflections as I look back over the past two years and specifically six key decisions I made in the first three months after my life blew up… today, decision #4:?Take Full Responsibility — No If's, And's or But's.
I have to confess that I am a bit more than surprised how much attention is being paid — both by the media and just regular folks — to the “rapture on May 21, 2011” prediction. I don’t actually know anyone who thinks the rapture will happen tomorrow, but they do seem intrigued by the whole question of end-times.
- Keep short accounts with other people and with God. Confess sin, seek forgiveness, and as much as it is possible, live at peace with each other.
- Make your relationship with God a priority — don’t put it off.
- Invest in what will count for eternity: relationships. Money, titles, luxury cars, big houses, prestige — these things don’t ultimately matter very much.
- Prepare for eternity. In many respects, this life is preparation for the next. So prepare well by living out your primary purposes well: worship, community, discipleship, ministry and mission.
- Gain a long term perspective on what matters: justice, people, relationships.
- Make your relationship with God a priority — eternity is a long time… we need to get the big things right.
- Be part of God’s ongoing plan to bring forth his Kingdom, build His church, and push back the gates of Hell.
- Invest in big God-honoring visions. Give your life to something that matters.
- Work well, live well, love well. St. Paul has to remind the Thessalonian church the importance of working, being good citizens, etc. They thought Jesus would return at any moment and had stopped doing the basic things of life because of that. Paul tells them to essentially get a job, earn money, take care of their families, and to live life well. This is good advice.