(Quick note to readers: as we get used to working with the new Disqus system, I want to share with you that some of you are having your comments shunted to the spam folder, even after I have approved them. It’s crazy, and I don’t know why it’s happening. Please e-mail me at rod — at — amconmag — dot — com if you think your comment has slipped into spam. It’s also the case, I’ve found, that a few people simply aren’t seeing their comments pop up at all. I don’t know why. Point is, please don’t assume that I’m suddenly spiking your comments. We are actually seeing far fewer acceptable comments being shunted by the software into spam than under the old system. As ever, personal attacks on me or others, as well as calls for violence, profanity, racist or bigoted slurs, and things like that will get your comment spiked — and possibly get you banned. Also, comments appear under the main post, as usual, but you have to scroll down a bit farther to see them.)
I have received two really interesting e-mails from gay or same-sex attracted Christians, based on the Seminary Confidential post. I appended the first one to original post as an update, but now that I’ve received a second one (and permission to publish it), I’m going to post them both here.
Here’s the first one:
I saw your article “Seminary Confidential” and I had to send you an email in response. I know that you come from a conservative Catholic/Orthodox perspective. I definitely don’t agree with you on a lot, but I have observed the same Christo-Marxism taking over religious institutions, and it is very concerning to me. To give you an idea of who I am – I was ordained by a progressive Christian network, but now I serve as a priest within Independent Sacramental communities. I am also openly gay, and the progressive Christian network that originally ordained me dismissed me for showing a “lack of support for the LGBT community” because I would say things such as – “you should wait until marriage to have sex” and “the church’s standard should be monogamy”. Stuff like that. I have also seen these same issues play out in seminaries just as you described. It is very concerning.
I am not sure if you realize this, but a great many female and LGBT clergy lean orthodox and/or evangelical. There are also many LGBT people who believe in celibacy. A small poll was done recently with LGBT seminarians in the Episcopal Church, and they found that most of them support a more traditional Anglican theology and liturgy. (I happen to be a huge fan of the King James Bible and 1928 Book of Common Prayer myself.) I understand that you probably consider something like women’s ordination to be already “liberal” or “progressive”, and I would disagree with you there. (I would see it as firmly Biblical.) But I don’t want this to be about our disagreements on theology. I want to show that many of us “minorities” are being steamrolled by the Marxist-leaning “allies”.
In fact, Pew Research found that the liberal leadership who push social justice tend to be overwhelmingly white, straight, university-educated, and wealthy. They are the people with the privilege and yet they come after everyone else. In the independent churches I work with, I know many, many LGBT conservatives who went to the liberal mainline churches and were expelled for wrong-think (i.e. orthodoxy). This is a problem that doesn’t just affect conservatives or traditionalists within these religious institutions. It also affects those of us on the other side who pushed for inclusion and got Marxism and/or Unitarian Deism. I appreciated how in your update to the article, one of the responses involved a female pastor who leaned more traditional, and the issues she has been going through. I have been going through them too, and honestly, at this point I am scared to be more open about what I actually think about the issues because I am concerned about more false accusations or the loss of my ministry. I cannot imagine what some of my colleagues would do if they found out I am a Republican and don’t consider Donald Trump to be the next Hitler.
If you happen to read this email, feel free to share some of my comments, but I would appreciate it if my name and contact information weren’t shared. Once again, I really don’t want to deal with another suspension because I “lacked support” for the community I am a part of.
Here’s the second e-mail. In both cases, the writers asked me not to use their names or identifying information:
Rod, reading your last post (“Seminary Confidential”), I wondered how aware you are of the celibate gay Christian movement (also called Side B Christianity, or Side B theology). The best public face of this movement is the Revoice Conference, which only just put on their second annual conference (https://revoice.us/). The other best resource is the Spiritual Friendship blog. The movement overall is decidedly evangelical (and leans Reformed), but Catholics and even a few Orthodox are involved. As far as I know, the only mainliner who is with us in a really public way is Wesley Hill.
All that to say: I’m increasingly convinced that people like me and my friends are the best weapon against the Sexual Revolution, if for no other reason than liberal mainliners like the ones you’re describing in that post simply don’t know what to do with us, and the option they seem to be taking is pretending we don’t exist, or being patronizing and condescending when they’re forced to say something. Though I’ve experienced full-on hostility. I’m a recent college grad, and I went to an uber-progressive liberal arts college. Three years ago, my Christian campus ministry was anonymously reported for being “homophobic” after my campus minister preached a sermon on homosexuality in which he said that he believes gay Christians are called to be celibate, or enter into opposite-sex marriages. After being reported, we (my campus minister, another campus ministry staffer, and me as a student rep) were called into a meeting with the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. The chaplain, a liberal mainline Protestant woman (who knew that I am gay), was clearly more upset even than the student who reported us. After a lot of pleasantries and talking around the obvious elephant in the room, she point blank said, “I need you to tell me where you all stand on homosexuality. And I DON’T want to hear it from you!” She looked directly at me. I was not confident enough at the time to argue back (I was scared of my favorite student group getting kicked off campus), but I later realized how utterly absurd her statement was by her own standards. She’s a straight woman, telling one of two actual gay people in the room that I am not allowed to share my opinion on homosexuality! Experience and feelings are the only source of truth, until they’re not, I guess. All that to say, the commenter who wrote about “being incorrectly gay” resonated with my experience deeply. In my experience, most mainliners seem hostile to Side B Christians (a group of local affirming clergy in St. Louis wrote a letter condemning the Revoice conference in its inaugural year; mostly from the mainline), and within the evangelical world, the small wing of progressive evangelicals just ignore us (I’m thinking of the Jen Hatmakers and Sarah Besseys of the world). It makes me angry, because all of their stories of becoming affirming always appeal to an emotional situation in which “they finally started listening to their gay friends.” But again, it seems that only the correctly gay friends are worth listening to. See Sarah Bessey’s latest blog post for an example of this.
Your comments welcome.