A Litany of Resistance, Addressed to the 45th President of the United States on Behalf of the People

A Litany for the Resistance, In the first year of the rule of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, and Michael Pence, 48th Vice President of the United States of America, During the 115th Session of the … Continue reading

The Close of a Season

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Today is my last official day of work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

For the last 3 years, and the previous 2 years as a student, I have labored in partnership with the movement to see the Kingdom of God established on the University Campus.

We spent these past 5 years together in deep communion. My character was formed, my spiritual life developed, my relationship with the Holy Trinity deepened in intimacy out of a deep well of abundant life giving water.

As a family and community in Christ we bickered and argued as much as we loved and served and blessed one another.

We also fought together. We fought to see the love of God and his kingdom brought to every corner of the campus. We fought to see racial reconciliation and restorative justice brought to the forefront of our mission. We fought to see intentional  communities established. We fought to see students become world changers – who would be driven to see their own lives and the lives of their peers transformed and the campus renewed.

We fought together to see revival. We fought together to see students propelled into mission. We fought desperately because we heard the urgent call of the gospel, its invitation into radical abandonment of our own lives and we chose in. At times we chose into poverty, at others we chose into rejection, at other times suffering, but we also chose into favor, and grace, and blessing, and sanctification, and an experience of the manifest glory of God and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our ministry.

I thank you, InterVarsity, for sharing your life and the movement with me. 

Leaving raises some intense emotions in me. The future is ambiguous – even as I prepare to begin new ministry in the Salt Lake City and begin my M.Div. I feel like I’ve left a part of my heart and a piece of my soul on the campus and with the ministry. I gave my life to this campus and these students and they blessed me with their’s. Leaving the ministry is like leaving a family behind. To say farewell to a place that felt so much like home, to then go and sojourn for a time without the certainty of where I will land. I feel much like Abram, invited by the Lord to leave behind the comfort and security of Haran and head off the Canaan – to the unexpected, to the unknown, and yet to the promise.

I’ve come to believe that the invitation from the Lord is to always to consider how we might participate with him in being a blessing to the nations, that through us all the nations of the world might be blessed.

My spiritual director two days ago invited me to consider how the next few days might be an experience of the death and resurrection of Jesus. I look forward to a renewed experience of his passion and resurrection today and in the days to come. I pray that in the next few days you would join me in prayer and in experiencing this very thing as well.

As I prepare to spend the next few weeks sharing and dreaming with my ministry partners, I am excited for what God has in store for the University of Utah campus and for Salt Lake City and for the world. God is still on the move and is still narrating a story for us and for all of his beloved.

To you, InterVarsity, I now offer farewell;

I offer a grateful farewell to you, InterVarsity, for the ways you grew me, formed, and led me to Christ;

I offer a prophetic farewell to you, InterVarsity, that we both would press into the vision of heaven and the Kingdom of God and how we might bring that reality into our present reality;

I offer you a you an expectant farewell, that together we would wait on the Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

I offer you a loving farewell, that in all things we continue to share the love of Christ, and the zeal of the King who is relentless and passionate for his children.

Would we continue to compel the lost into the Father’s house, teach the truth of the Lord, prophesy justice, reconciliation, and restoration; would we continue to shepherd and love well for those under our care, and go to every corner of the earth ambitiously preaching Christ where he has not been preached; would we be relentless in spreading the story of the one who left heaven to declare, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”

Grace and Shalom,



Coming Out as Gay and Christian: Reflections on National Coming Out Day 2015

Just to get it out there – I’m not one to blog. However, today I feel compelled to dig up and dust off my old wordpress account to put some words on the screen.

Today is National Coming Out Day – founded in 1988, “National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement.” You can thank wikipedia for the conciseness of that explanation.

Coming out should be a moment of freedom – a moment of self acceptance and recognition of, “this is who I am.” I believe that it should mark the beginning of a journey of discovery and liberation. Lies are destructive and breed emotional and spiritual death. Whether you’re lying to yourself or to others, it produces a venom that is ruinous to the self. Coming out is the beginning of being free from all of that – free from living and perpetuating a lie.

However, even with all the movement and change in today’s world, coming out as LGBT has got to be one of the most terrifying and debilitating experiences an individual can go through. Coming out is such a decisive moment in an LGBT person’s life. It is a decision that is potentially dangerous, undignifying, and ostracizing. Putting it lightly, it’s not a moment many look forward to.

That being said, coming out as LGBT and Christian is quite possibly one of the most confusing and weakening experiences an individual can go through.

How do you, on the one hand, explain to those in your world the reality of your sexual orientation – that you had no choice in the matter, that you would so desperately change if you could and yet, here you are. How do you explain to your loved ones that you feel so ashamed and lost in who you are – that you don’t know what to do with the weight of all of this, that deep down inside you just want to know that you are loved, but as much as you try to convince yourself, you are left with the paralyzing longing of aloneness, and the excruciating pain of feeling irreparably damaged and unclean.

How then, do you articulate to that same world of yours, your Christian faith – that you are unreservedly in love with Jesus, that intimacy with the Father and communion with Holy Spirit are your top priorities, that you hold the authority of the Bible and Church Tradition with the highest esteem and reverence. How do you explain, that even in the darkest night of the soul, you are wholeheartedly committed and unwavering in your pursuit of the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom of hope, of light, of freedom, of unconditional, ruthless, reckless, extravagant, deep and desperate love.

When someone figures out how to navigate this intersection, please let me know.

The first time I came out in a Christian context, I was in my 4th year of college and had just recently became a Christian. I had been attending a weekly small group on campus that was studying John’s Gospel. We had come to chapter 9, where it is written,

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:1-3, English Standard Version)

I had been really excited about following Jesus up until this point. Having gone from growing up and living in primarily nominally/culturally Christian circles, I had entered into what felt like a community of people trying to authentically follow Jesus. It was refreshing to be around people who took their faith, but not themselves, seriously. I felt challenged, energized, and motivated by this new family in Christ. When our small group got to this passage, my heart sunk. I knew that deep down inside I was still wrestling with what I knew to be the traditional dogma of Christianity – you cannot be both gay and Christian, your sexual orientation is divorced from your identity in Christ and so, you must get fixed, you gotta pray the gay away. However, I believed my small group to be family, and family means loyalty where I come from, so I got real for a minute with all of them. I came out to my small group that night in October and I inquired of these seemingly more astute Christians, what this text meant for my reality as a Gay Christian. How might the works of God be displayed in this inner anguish I was experiencing in secret?

Their response was as profoundly loving as it was extremely clueless. We were all clueless. Quite frankly, I still feel clueless.

The next few years were inundated with a whirlwind of questions and practices that left me feeling more helpless and clueless than when I started. Questions like, “Are you gay and struggling with your Christianity, or are you a Christian struggling with sexuality.”  My answer: well, both, obviously. Out of the same aforementioned love and cluelessness, people hoped to help me pray or date away the gay. Often people came to me saying that they received a word from God in prayer about my future wife, about how I would be getting married soon, I would have the kids I wanted, the family I desired, how it was all promised and ultimately, I didn’t have to be gay anymore.

Coming out Gay and Christian was to open the floodgates of Western Christianity’s obsession with fixing everything they perceived to be broken instead of inviting Jesus into the picture to speak His Words of Eternal Life. It was to open the doors to scrutiny and suspicion. I quickly felt like I became a project for Christians who felt more concerned with my witness of Christ than His abiding presence in me:

  • Some have been adamant that I need to marry a woman devoted to Jesus, have children, so that I might be a prophetic witness to the world of Jesus’ ability to “cure” the gay in me
  • Some, on the other hand, have strongly advocated that I marry a Christ following man, adopt children, and have the family I’ve always wanted, that I might be a prophetic witness to the Church that same gender relationships can be filled with the Father’s blessing and the presence of Holy Spirit
  • Others have been quick to call me to a life of singleness, so that I might be prophetic witness to both the world and the Church that life long celibacy is life giving and fulfilling

A concern for the credibility of my witness of Jesus has seems to have been made primary, my wellbeing and the state of my soul has been secondary. I don’t blame anyone for this – we are in the midst of a culture war, both within and without the walls of Holy Mother Church – and we are all grasping for dominance in the conversation surrounding dogma and theology and practice. We all want to make claims to the right way of responding to LGBT Christians coming out, but my hope is that we would beat our swords into ploughshares, unclench our fists and together follow Jesus as the only way.

My hope is that we would create real, authentic, loving, safe places for LGBT Christians within the Church, to voice our experiences, our pain, our hopes, and our dreams and how they might all be reconciled to the Father in Jesus Christ.

My hope is that no matter how clueless we all remain, we would hold fast to the love that first found us, wooed us, and saved us.

In this journey of coming out, I have found plenty of Christian friends, pastors and mentors that are willing to just simply walk this pilgrimage with me, to discover how the works of God might be displayed in me. I am indebted to their faithful witness of Christ – one that encourages me, challenges me, calls me out and calls me higher; a witness that is ultimately about a ruthless and extravagant love that tore open heaven, dwelt among us, and conquered sin and death that we might all be free.