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Showing posts from March, 2020

In Anxious Times

Doug Kelly is the Senior Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. I can’t remember how I landed on his church’s website to begin with, but what I found there was hopeful and it has been helping me think about some healthy steps our church can take to keep things moving in a healthy direction.

Bethany’s leadership team first started talking about LGBTQ issues in their church two and a half years ago. Those early conversations led to wider congregational involvement over an extended period of time and then eventually to a decision to remove a long-standing Holiness and Leadership Statement. While Bethany stopped short of affirming same-sex relationships, their new statement did open a door for those in homosexual relationships to be involved in leadership roles in the church.

(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.)

Early in their process, Bethany’s lead…

There is No Shallow End in This Pool

It’s January 23, 2018. Things are moving at such a rapid pace right now that it’s becoming difficult to stay on top of all of the conversations I need to have with people. I realize it’s only been a few days since I last sat down to write, but it feels like several weeks have passed.

It’s another early morning after an incredibly late night as a result of a Board meeting that went on past 11:30pm. One of the more challenging things about trying to lead our church through this season is that there are still so many other needs that require attention for the broader health of our congregation. We had to review our year-end financials and set a budget for the new year, as well as hammer out some details related to our facility-sharing partnership, but the bigger conversation was looming and I could sense that we all just wanted to get on with it.

(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 …

Rainbow-Sprinkled Donuts

We had parents of Youth from six families show up that night, as well as one of our Board members. For the next couple of hours, we had an open conversation about what Eric would be sharing and the implications for the Youth and for the church as a whole.

Our Youth Pastor bought some donuts for the meeting and broke the ice by saying that he had considered getting an entire box of rainbow-sprinkled donuts, but thought it might have sent the wrong message. It was just what we needed—an acknowledgement that if we had any hope of making it through this together, we would have to be able to laugh a little. But that was pretty much the height of humour over the next two hours as we dove into what would become the first of many difficult conversations with people who had genuine concerns about what all of this meant for our church 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 Tremblin…

The Captain of a Ship That's Going Under

Today is January 19, 2018. Last week, our church’s Youth Pastor sent out an email to parents of highschool-age youth informing them that one of their leaders would be sharing a story that would include his “coming out.”

How do you think that went over?

My hope is that this writing I’m doing will provide an honest account, not only of the things that we’ve done well along this journey, but also of the things we’ve done poorly. And believe me when I say that the past week has been an example of something done poorly. For the most part, I believe we’ve mitigated much of the initial shock and have prevented any long-term damage, but only time will tell.

(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 two weeks ago that our Youth Pastor, Graham, sent me a draft email that he was hoping to send out to parents that night. From time to time, one of our Youth leaders would sit on “…

Down the Rabbit Hole

In the 1999 movie, The Matrix, the character of Morphius reaches out his hands to the protagonist, Neo, and offers him a choice between a blue pill and a red pill after an encounter that has left Neo’s head spinning: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

For some time now, I’ve been aware of the deep “rabbit hole” that this topic is leading me into. The question of how Christian faith intersects with the experience of LGBTQ+ people provides no simple answers, regardless of what you might read online or hear on a Sunday morning. Anyone who claims this is a straightforward issue is either trying hard to keep you on their side, or they haven’t given it much thought.

(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.)

I’m not q…

Facebook Conversations Are the Best

It’s December 28, 2017—another early winter morning, although not nearly as early as the day I started writing. Truth be told, I have my wife to blame for this one. Last night, we had friends visiting from out of town, and just before midnight, as the conversation was winding down, Melissa let them in on what we were about to walk through in our church. And so it was a late night conversation that shook my pastoral responsibility awake from it’s post-Christmas slumber and that now has me up early on a morning when I would have otherwise stayed in bed.

(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.)

Ben and Sarah are long-time friends of ours and people we’ve walked deeply with in life and ministry over the years, so midnight was really the only barrier to engaging in this conversation with them. But there’s something about raising this conversation that feels different for me now…

A Journey Mentality

It’s just a few days before Christmas 2017 and a package arrived at our front door courtesy of a certain online bookseller. My twelve-year-old son got excited, guessing that this mysterious package might be for him, being so close to Christmas and all, but I assured him it was just books for Dad. There was nothing for him to be excited about, but he asked me anyway: “What are the books about?”

“Just work stuff,” I replied, and that was where his curiosity came to an end.

(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.)

A few days earlier I had ordered four books to start building a small resource library for our congregation. Trying to stay a few steps ahead has become a mantra of sorts these days, so I’m reading articles, listening to podcasts, and ordering books to stay on top of the sprawling theme of same-sex attraction and Christian faith. I want to learn from the experiences…