Monday, July 16, 2012

A bit of background...

It has been four years since I have posted on this blog. So if, by some chance, you find yourself here, and wonder "what happened to this guy?", here's the answer.

I started writing this blog as a journal of my coming-out process. My first post, in March 2005, was the first step to sharing who and what I was - after a year's-worth of coming-out-to-myself - at age 48. At the time, I had just been told that my candidacy to Lutheran ministry in the ELCA would not continue, due to financial reasons. I had invested an enormous amount of financial, spiritual, and emotional capital in the pursuit of ministry - including denying my own sexuality.

Then, with all that investment up in smoke, there was no longer any reason not to look at myself without hiding. As the old song goes, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

By the end of 2005, I had used this blog to come-out to my former church-mates in Kansas City and elsewhere.  There were some whose contact dwindled from sparse to non-existent, but for the most part, the reaction was accepting. I joined the Gay Christian Network, and GCN gave me a whole new world to explore in understanding my faith and sexuality.

In late 2007, I met my partner Chris. By New Year's Day 2008, we were living together in northwest Ohio. By 2009, we had moved to Champaign-Urbana, IL, and found a wonderful, open and accepting church community in a More Light Presbyterian church, McKinley Presbyterian Church. By 2011, we had moved from C-U to Springfield, MO, to be closer to Chris' parents. God had effected a restoration of the relationship between Chris and his parents, and he wanted to be closer to them in the later years of their lives.

So, in 2012, we are a pair of gay men in a loving, committed relationship - in a town that is the worldwide headquarters of the Assemblies of God denomination. (God can restore me to sanity, but hasn't made much progress, evidently....) We are members of a wonderful Disciples of Christ congregation - a middle ground between my Catholic/Lutheran history and Chris' home-church/small-congregation background. We have no dreams of marriage (my standing joke is that Missouri will pass a same-sex-marriage act about four hours AFTER Jesus comes back) - but we are as committed to each other as any married couple could be. More so, perhaps - because there are many forces in the world which would love to see us fail.

I keep these writings out here as milestones - to mark my journey along the way. And I hope they will also testify, in a way, that homosexuality is not incompatible with a life of Christian faith - no matter what many Christians would claim to believe. Even now, there are young people who would marvel that this understanding wasn't crystal-clear to me from the beginning. It is a much different world than it was in 2005, or even 2008....

This is my ongoing promise: if you leave comments here, I will read them. If you ask me to contact you, I will.  I believe that while some of these posts are dated, there is still value to many of these, because it will be many, many years before the full Christian communion in American comes to fully accept gay Christians. These moments-in-time will likely sound familiar to my GLBTQ readers - and perhaps to my straight friends, as well.

I leave this, for now, with my favorite prayer from the ELCA's "Lutheran Book of Worship"....

Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. (LBW page 137)
Amen, indeed.