The Answer is Still No

10 Questions for an LGBTQ-Considering Church

Seven years ago our college freshman surprised us with a letter home, telling us she was attracted to women. Hannah had been a model youth group kid in high school, committed to her small group, working with children, and leading worship. Unbeknownst to us all, while busy pursuing her faith and ministry, she had also been trying to “pray it away.” She was taking the approach prescribed by the church she was born into and raised by, the church that said this  prescription came from the Bible.

For that and myriad other reasons, I left that church about five years ago, and have been worshiping elsewhere in town. Leaving a two-decade relationship with a church where I was a leader for adults and children, for worship and small groups – and where I started and raised my family and was generally “all in” – has not been easy; it’s been filled with deep loss, deep questions, and in many ways a reshuffling of social life in a small town.

My experience, and my daughter’s experience are different, but both have led me to ask these 10 questions of my former church and other churches willing to converse. These questions aren’t easy, nor were they easy to form – I’ve waited nearly seven years to ask them so directly. 

Continue reading “The Answer is Still No”
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Church & Frenemies

Mars Hill Reflection 4

WEEK 4

Maybe you are too – but I’m getting a little tired of Mark Driscoll. It has been a great prompt for conversation and writing about the church in context, culture, and gender, but unless the final two episodes bring something new to the table, this will be my last related post, and I promise to barely talk about him.

Continue reading “Church & Frenemies”

Church & Culture

Mars Hill Reflection 2

I’ve found myself in an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  This is the second post, but I recommend reading the first before you go on.

Should followers of Jesus be influenced by culture? What about the church as a whole?

What even is culture? There are a dozen definitions but as a lifelong church kid, the one I’m reflecting on today is one that was never spoken, but always implied: “Anything outside the church.” We were warned against culture and the insidious influence it could have on our morality and beliefs. We were to protect ourselves from cultural influences and stick to the Bible. We didn’t need to understand the intermediate 2000 years of church history or the world around us because we were (as non-denominational independents), uninfluenced by it.

Oh, and one more thing we didn’t speak about: the notion that we ourselves were a culture.

More on that from Mars Hill:

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The Connecting River

As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars.  Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector.  She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.

LeavingChurchThis beautiful book by Barbara Brown Taylor (BBT) offers a rare transparency from a person inside the clerical robes.  The countryside speaks to her faith. Its pages are full of spiritual honesty and earthy appreciation, as if Henri Nouwen were on a nature walk with Mary Oliver. Continue reading “The Connecting River”

Unbundling My Bias

“Let me first say that I am biased now and always will be,” Rob said, after I finally found the guts to call him.  It seemed safe to confide in him since he lived so far away.

I called hoping Rob would know how I felt – since he had also spent time in a close-knit Christian community that didn’t – on paper – approve of his daughter’s sexual orientation.  I was still in the early stages then, not yet talking locally about it but needing to know I wasn’t alone.

He did know how I felt, and talked me through it.  Continue reading “Unbundling My Bias”

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