Posts tagged Liberty University
Finding Space for Worship

Music moves us, whether to tears or action, and it provides a measure of unity as voices and instruments join in a textural composition unique to its contributors. It informs a collective identity, creating a sonic table around which we can gather and be fed, enfolding one another with love.

For some Christians who've abandoned Evangelical theology and ecclesial spaces, there remains something of a gap between the theology and forms of expression in the faith spaces comprising the spectrum of progressive ecclesiology. I've not conducted a study on this—it's purely anecdotal, and I'm speaking from my experiences and conversations I've had with others.

There also exists a population of relatively progressive Christians embracing conservative Evangelical churches strictly for the relevant forms of expression, whether through music, forms of visual art, or open engagement with cultural trends. (Again, this is an anecdotal observation.)

Somewhere between my post-Evangelical year in a mainline church, Pentecostal upbringing, Lutheran education, and Southern Baptist degree, a longing for a kind of expressive freedom was reborn in the wake of theological reconstruction.

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What Liberty University Taught Me

Two years ago, in the onset of my faith journey, I thought I could put my head down and just get it over with.

I was wrong.

It's not that I exclusively needed my experiences at Liberty to inform the person I am today, but they unwittingly became an invaluable part of who I've become. The friends, the memories, and the cost of coming out taught me - and I'm still learning - much about life and the pursuit of collective justice. I've lived and participated in a culture that blames the victim, vilifies the marginalized, and refuses to acknowledge its own sin.

Still I'm finding, through the trauma, the loss, and the anger, the early signs of a coming spring.

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What Evangelical Colleges Can Do for Their LGBTQ+ Students

The Dean of Students asked me a simple question: Given our significant theological differences, how can Liberty hold to its "views" whilst being more hospitable to its LGBTQ+ students?

It's a fair question more administrators need to be asking.

Evangelical colleges can move towards a broader inclusivity without "compromising" their standards of right and wrong, but it will be uncomfortable and seem counterintuitive.

Ask yourself: would you rather win the argument or liberate the oppressed?

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Redeeming Rage

Rage.

Sometimes directed, sometimes contained, something akin to a simmering pot of water on the brink of a boiling release. It's both uncomfortable and rewarding, destructive and productive. We've all felt it. We've all attempted to cope with wave upon wave of roiling anger only to have the tide broken against the steadfast rocks of rational thought, allowing ourselves the humbling respite that follows.

Maybe we don't reach that place as quickly as we'd like, finding ourselves keeping the rage tucked within as best we can even as cracks in the dam allow just enough pressure to find its way out such that we are not overcome by it.

And then, for some of us, the dam breaks.

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To My Non-Affirming Friends

What you say to us, no matter your intention or method, can have profound and long-lasting implications in our lives. Your words are powerful, and as Scripture often reminds us, can bring life or death. The same is true of ideas and ways of thinking, with our beliefs having practical ramifications for our neighbors.

This is true of everyone, but especially true for those already experiencing the deadly effects of systemic, religious marginalization. The implicit meanings of these recycled platitudes – formally understood as micro-agressions – can have devastating consequences even if you think they’re the best way of “loving” your LGBTQ neighbor.

While I recognize and respect the ways in which non-affirming Christians endeavor to build bridges without attempting to harm LGBTQ Christians, the following are some of the prominent Christian-ese abstractions that make for poisonous darts lobbed recklessly at the already-wounded.

I do wish to tread carefully at this juncture, and I want you to anticipate my take on these phrases and statements will be followed by a series of kind suggestions – more thoughtful ways of addressing us, even in the midst of dissension, that will help all of us better love one another and our Creator.

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Gay and Progressive at Liberty University

For many of us, who we are today – for better or for worse – exists largely because of the community we found at Liberty.

I write this not as a means of demeaning the value of your experiences and love for the institution – I respect you and consider all of these things tremendously sacred. I’m sure we can agree Liberty University has its share of flaws. Instead, I’m going to give you some honest perspective from my short three years of experiences at the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.

So here’s another piece of my journey, transparently and graciously laid out with the hope you can make space.

This is what it’s like to be in a minority attending a school built by a moral majority.

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