Oriented to Faith: A Preview

CASCADE_TemplateLast week, after some reflections on the first chapter of Tim Otto’s excellent book, Oriented to Faith, we promised you an excerpt. We are thrilled to share that with you today.  Oriented to Faith is beautifully written and heartbreakingly authentic. Tim’s story is powerful and offers a rare, precious, redemptive lens into the conversation on faith and sexuality.  We hope you’ll buy it, devour it, and talk about it with your friends and family.  Here’s an excerpt from chapter one we think you’ll love!

Remembering Pain

When I was six years old, I accepted Jesus into my heart. My parents were missionaries in Uganda, East Africa, and I would stand my mother’s accordion case on end, open the family Bible on top of it, preach loud ‘sermons,’ and recruit a parent, pet, or peer to listen. Waving my arms flamboyantly and conducting hymns, I loved playing “church.” This was also the year I discovered the game “doctor.” When other missionary kids would sleep over, I realized I had more interest in the bodies of the boys I explored than those of girls. Even at age six, playing “doctor” made me feel intensely ashamed. In this chapter I’ll try to relate what it was like to grow up gay. Continue reading

Sanctuary for Sinners

MondayMusingsIn this week’s Monday Musings, I want to share with you about a book I’ve been reading. Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships is written by Tim Otto, a gay, LGBTQ affirming Christian who has personally made a public vow of celibacy.  Tim is a pastor at the Church of the Sojourners, a live-together Christian community in San Francisco.

In the first chapter of Tim’s book (which you can preview here), Tim shares about his life growing up as a missionary-kid in Uganda, and moving back to the U.S. at the age of eight.  He speaks of his growing awareness of his same-sex attractions through his adolescent years, and of bullying and unintentional unkindnesses experienced from friends which kept him closeted, trying very hard to “act straight and cover up any evidence of being gay.” Continue reading

Finding Jesus at Gay Pride

DSC_0001I’m remembering our time at Gay Pride in Cincinnati this afternoon, and all our amazing volunteers who made the day such a success.  Was it really three whole weeks ago?  It was.

Gay Pride is one of our regular events at LOVEboldly.  We go in hopes of emulating the Jesus we love.  We go to hang out with the folks who are the least likely for church-folks to hang out with, to offer our friendships and love, to show kindness to those who have, perhaps, only been met with God’s anger or condemnation.

I’ve been to more gay pride events than I can count now, but this year was different.  Just two weeks prior to Cincinnati Pride, a man had entered a gay club on Pride night in Orlando and killed 49 precious folks like those we knew we’d be hanging out with.  He wasn’t a Christian, but many have conjectured that his killing rampage was religiously-motivated and, whether right or wrong, many have wondered how conservative Christian theology is much different than that which inspired his actions that horrible night.

Would LGBTQ+ folks even want Christians around at Pride, this year? Or would we just be a reminder of past pain and hurt experienced in religious communities? Would LGBTQ+ folks even want Christians around at Pride, this year? Or would we just be a reminder of past pain and hurt experienced in religious communities? Could we blame them if they were angry, if they lashed out?  Would our presence be healing, or would it just pick at an old scab that was not yet healed, causing deeper scars, more bad blood between us?  Would our hopes of helping bring healing to our divides or just inflict more hurt?

Continue reading