To Those With Open Hearts, an Open Letter

I often feel like figuring out life is like learning to play guitar. Hopefully I'm better at life than I am at guitar.

I often feel as though the act of figuring out life is like learning to play guitar. Hopefully I’m better at life than I am at guitar.

My dear friends, if you don’t mind, and if you have the time, I’d like to chat with you for a moment. Turning points like this confront us in life from time to time and how we handle—or don’t handle—them can often shape the course of things to come in ways we seldom foresee. It may be that with the words I say here I will burn every single bridge of fellowship that’s been built during my brief life. I’m grateful that probably won’t be the case but, even if it were, it would be a small price to pay for the joy of being finally, truly honest about who and what I am.

What I’m about to discuss is no great secret and, in fact, I strove to be forthright about where I was—spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally—any time someone cared enough to inquire. It’s never easy asking someone deeply personal questions and it’s been my belief that if someone is bold enough to ask, I ought to be bold enough to answer. But first, and before anything else, I want you all to know something: I love you. The people with whom a man shares his life are his true treasure and I’m deeply grateful to have so many wonderful, generous, and kind people who I can call friends. It certainly makes what I have to say that much easier.

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A Fight the Church is Forfeiting

Bear in mind, I’m a student chaplain at a very conservative Christian university, so there’s potential I could face repercussions for the words I’m about to write. I’ve nevertheless come to the liberating understanding that purity in devotion to right-wing Christian political doctrine is NOT a prerequisite to loving the Lord, so, frankly, I’m not particularly concerned about it.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was finally done away with last week in the United States Armed Forces. Conservative and Christian groups across the country fought a long battle to see the policy remain in place based on a wide variety of arguments. None of them, I feel, had much basis in fact. Any policy, law, or rule that requires people to hide who they really are is one I firmly oppose.

On another note, this is not a new video, but it’s one I didn’t see until tonight.

While people like Joel Burns, Dan Savage, and even President Obama attempt to reach out to gay teens across the country with a message of hope and encouragement, the Church sits by on the sidelines, either too afraid or too indecisive to speak a very Christian message of healing for the broken-hearted, and acceptance for the outcasts. Yes, I’m aware of what the Bible says about homosexuality so please do not comment on this post with nothing more than Scriptures telling me how wrong it is; trust me, we ALL know. That’s not what’s at issue here.

The issue is that some elements within the Church have made Christ’s message of hope, reconciliation, acceptance, and comfort contingent on people not being engaged in certain sins. That’s wrong and the community of believers is going to have to reorient its approach to this issue to avoid rendering itself completely incapable of relating to this group of people.

I’m not asking you to change your opinion on homosexuality; I’m asking you, if only for a moment, to see past the homosexuality and see the human being–one who is often longing for acceptance and comfort.

On a final note, also in the series of “It Gets Better” videos is one from the grandson of the founder of my university. Just watch it: