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Showing posts from February, 2020

Ground Zero

Eric was the worship leader at our church over a stretch of three years. He was in his early twenties when he joined our team and his easy-going personality made for a smooth transition into the role and into our community of faith. The position was only half-time, however, which meant that we were in an unspoken competition with the other half of his work life—a teaching career. In time, we lost that competition. Eric resigned from his staff role in early 2017, but by the fall, found himself back in a rotation of worship leaders we had gathered together in the absence of having someone in a paid role. He had also become a leader in our church’s Youth group, so he was quite embedded in the life of our community. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) It was November 23, 2017—a Thursday afternoon—when Eric stopped by the church office after a day of teaching.

The Homophobic Church

There is so much that could be said about the ways my faith was being molded and shaped during my teenage years, and I expect that I’ll want to reflect a little more on this formative season of my life in the months to come. What I really want to get to, though, is the time in my life when I first started wrestling with the church’s approach to the question of homosexuality. Two years into our church plant on campus at the University of Waterloo, I decided it was time to tackle this hottest of all hot button topics. It was a university campus, after all, and one of the main features of our growing church was that it was a place where students could think about faith with critical minds and without being afraid of the consequences. In my preaching, I wanted to intentionally lead our church into challenging territory as a demonstration that Christian faith was relevant and could speak to whatever social issues you threw its way. So I set a date—November 27, 2000—and launched into my pr

First Encounters

I entered high school in the early ‘90s, at a time when gay rights was gathering momentum. I’m not sure how prominent talk about gay rights actually was, but I know that I got tired of hearing about it pretty quickly. The phrase “gay and proud” was making its rounds, and I remember wondering why on earth people were talking about this so much. I had only heard about one gay person in our high school and I was pretty sure I would have known if there were others. Bullying is frowned upon much more strongly today than it was back then, and while it’s shameful to admit, during those early high school years, I often played the role of the perpetrator. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) All of the “gay and proud” talk was getting to me, so I decided I would take a stand of my own. Always willing to go the extra mile for a little attention, I went home one day,

An Early Morning Start

It's 4:45 in the morning on December 8, 2017. Truthfully, it has only been a few hours since I first had the idea that I should start writing down my thoughts, so it’s not as if I've been wrestling with the idea for months, weeks, or even days. But the idea came late at night, and as most late-night ideas do, it refused to be tucked away by something as insignificant as a good night’s sleep. The idea to write came on the tail end of a meeting with our church board at which I informed them that a member and leader in our congregation had let me know that he is gay and that he was “coming out.” In the words of one of our team members, “This is going to be an absolute hailstorm of disaster.” Well , I thought to myself, if no one else has written a manual on how to do this, maybe I should get started on one. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here . Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling .) An early

Fear and Trembling

I first registered an account with Blogger back in 2011 when someone suggested I start a blog after visiting our church one Sunday morning. The fact that nine years have passed by with nothing to show for it speaks pretty clearly as to how comfortable I am with the idea as a whole. So why now? In 2018, the church where I serve as pastor went through an incredibly trying season. When a leader and beloved member of our congregation told me he was gay and that he was preparing to ‘come out’ publicly, I desperately wanted to know how other pastors had responded to a challenge like this without destroying their church in the process. I grasped for anything that could help me get through what I knew would be a daunting leadership experience with significant implications for our church’s future. While I was able to find a number of books written from different sides of this hot-button issue, the primary commentaries seemed to come from those who were not actually leading local congrega