Posts tagged evangelicalism
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.

Read More
I Can't Make You Understand

I know it's two years after the election, but every fucking week is a searing confrontation with its consequences.

I can't make anyone believe this is bad, if for any other reason than the fact that those most benefiting from this presidency are those whose privilege has protected them from collective marginalization.

I can't make anyone believe that putting children in cages as a punitive policy measure for deterrence is incontrovertibly wrong. I can't convince you the suicide rate for LGBTQ+ youth is unequivocally related to your beliefs. I simply can't make you understand, but I don't have to, either.

I love you enough to be angry at you, enough to tell you I'm hurt, and this pain is wholly justified.

Read More
To the Queer Kids

For queer kids, it's harder than most appreciate to find a safe space.For those of us studying in Evangelical colleges, even primary and secondary private Christian schools, we're met with open hostility.

I'm one of you.

This is an experience few can understand and many belittle, perhaps unwittingly. The inability of your peers to empathize with your situation only adds to your pain. The emotional burden placed upon you time and time again by these same people is immense; most humans don't have to provide epistemic justification for their own existence. It hurts no matter the source. It suffocates, coming in every direction.

Your family, your friends, your professors, your administrators, your pastors, the leaders whose paths you cross - it's overwhelming. Somehow, your desire to love and be loved is a threat to the fabric of culture. And it doesn't make sense. It's not fair. But if there's anything you should know, it's that you're not alone. We're not alone. You're not the first, and you won't be the last.

So this is for you.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
reFRAME

In the months after my plunge into affirming theology and subsequent deconstruction began the savagery of life as I had known it, I found myself without the solid footing I once knew. There was a day not too long ago when I could give anyone an answer as to what I believed and even provide a basic set to justifying propositions from within that framework.

Having lost that entire framework, there wasn’t much to justify anything; the beliefs I once held dear were now untenable concepts predicated upon untenable constructs. It had all fallen apart, and what was left was a shell of “belief” out of need for survival.

What surprised me most was my lack of interest in redeveloping any framework upon which I could renew spiritual disciplines.

Nothing about Christianity, God, or the Bible provided comfort.

It was quite the opposite, in fact.

Read More
Gay Jesus

There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. I can’t bring any new theology to the masses, add to the perennial affirming-versus-non-affirming discussions, give you a heartbreaking story of oppression or redemption – no, all I can do is appeal to your reason as a fellow human being and child of God.

So much has been written and spoken, but the best I can do is point you to the very best resources and share my own story.

Read More