More than two years ago, the interim senior pastor at the church I worked for sidelined me from ministry because I call myself a gay Christian. He criticized me behind closed doors, telling me that by calling myself a gay Christian I was uniting the name of my sin to the name of my Savior and bringing dishonor on the Gospel. He talked well about me in public, telling parents of kids in the youth group that I was living the single life better than most other single guys he knew, gay or straight.
I was hanging out with single folks from my seminary the other day for dinner and dessert. We were discussing how difficult it is to get a job in the PCA and EPC if you are single…and I chimed in, “Yeah…but because I’m gay, I’ve got two strikes against me.”
Immediately, my phone beeped. This is the text message I received:
Hey brother, been thinking about you a ton lately. I think God is going to use you to do things you can’t even imagine for the glory of his name. Praying for you and the work He has laid out for you to do, work we don’t even know yet. Love you.
Wesley Hill has written a great article over at the First Things blog. One of my favorite moments of the article is this:
This is what bothers me about what I hear from certain kinds of reparative therapies: offering hope to gay people seems to amount to a prediction of orientation change (assuming the correct regimen is followed). And whenever a Christian expresses doubt about the surety of that prediction, the response can often take the form of, ‘Well, you just don’t have enough faith.’ (Or as a licensed professional counselor, a Christian with a certain angle on reparative therapy, once said to me, ‘That sounds like depression.’)
Yeah…something like that. 😦
Check it out.
I wrote this short post back on Jan. 30th, but never posted it for some reason. Decided I’d post it now, mostly because I have been thinking again about things I haven’t taken the time to mourn. Today isn’t overcast…it’s sunny and chilly. And yet, I still feel down.
It’s truly amazing how much difference three days can make. Two days ago, it was sunny at 61 at 11 am. Yesterday, it was in the low 70s and overcast. Today, it’s snowing off and on and below freezing. I grew up here, so you’d think I’d be used to it. The adage is true: if you don’t like the weather in the midwest, wait five minutes: it’ll change.
This morning, I woke up after having stayed up way too late with two friends of mine…one Catholic and the other Baptist…talking about theology and liturgy (and of course, Mary). I had a headache, but I pulled my prayer book (the one I just recently purchased from CPO in Springfield, MO…published by Concordia) out and prayed one of the prayers for Sunday morning.
I dragged myself to church this morning. I was feeling really low. I literally sat at my desk at 11:20 (5 min. after church had started, 10 min. away), and thought, “What’s the use?”
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
–Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)
I feel dissatisfied. I spent the weekend with some fraternity brothers. The oldest among them in the active chapter was visiting my undergrad my last semester and met me on his visit. He’s graduating in May, having taken six years to finish. I felt a little old. Actually, I felt really old. The year I started college, some of the fraternity brothers were ten years old. Continue reading
In his book The Mission of God, Christopher Wright discusses the knowledge of God that Israel had in the Old Testament, specifically in His acting by delivering them through the means of a pagan king who had no allegiance to Yahweh.
[I]f Israel should be inclined to protest at the means by which God would bring about their deliverance (i.e., through a pagan king who did not even know YHWH, yet is provocatively described as YHWH’s “shepherd” and “anointed”), they would do well to remember who it was they presumed to argue with–the Creator of the universe.
“Concerning things to come, do you question me…? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands have stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:…He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free” (Isaiah 45:11-13).
So, the reason why God’s planned action for Israel’s deliverance will be spectacularly successful is that it is grounded in his universal sovereignty as Creator. And the effect of that saving action will be to demonstrate the unique identity and status of YHWH to the rest of the world. Israel would do well not to protest, for they have a role to play in that divine agenda. If Israel’s ultimate mission was to be a blessing and a light to the nations, they need to cooperate with God’s means of executing that purpose, whether they approved of it or not. (from The Mission of God, pg. 90)
I complain to God fairly often about the means by which he brings about my deliverance. I presume to argue all the time with the Creator of the universe. Surely, He could’ve cooked up a better scenario than me being disposed to crushing hard on my friends and having to pick myself up from those emotionally charged situations, bravely continuing friendships with those whom I’ve crushed on and legitimately love. He could’ve at least made it easier for me to be physically attracted to a girl who was once very interested in me, but whose interest seems to have waned. It’s painful, really–all of it. Continue reading
Check out Puritan Reformer’s video on seasonal depression and some easy ways you can avoid its effects. As someone who wrestles with seasonal depression a bit, I think his advice sounds like it will help…for example, eating fewer carbs. As I was telling a friend of mine tonight, not only do the carbs influence my mood, but they’ve caused me to put on weight which makes me more depressed because in my family when people start, they don’t usually stop.
HT: Tim Challies
God perceives the imperfections within us, and because of His love for us, urges us to grow up. His love is not content to leave us in our weakness, and for this reason He takes us into a dark night. He weans us from all of the pleasures by giving us dry times and inward darkness. In doing so He is able to take away all these vices and create virtues with us. Through the dark night, pride becomes humility, greed becomes simplicity, wrath becomes contentment, luxury becomes peace, gluttony becomes moderation, envy becomes joy, and sloth becomes strength. No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the Dark Night.
–St. John of the Cross, as quoted in A Beacon in the Darkness