God is Listening

On April 28, 2017 the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church ruled the consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto (a married and openly lesbian pastor) violates the clear language of the Book of Discipline (a book outlining the doctrines of the United Methodist Church) a “self-avowed, practicing homosexual” shall not be ordained in the United Methodist Church.
Countless pastors within the United Methodist denomination suffer silently from the discriminating practices of the denomination they have dedicated their lives to serve out of love for God. Many other pastors have been removed from positions of leadership and the pastorate because they openly admitted to being queer.
The United Methodist Church is undoubtedly at a crossroads. While the Judicial Council ruled the consecration of Bishop Oliveto violates the language of the Book of Discipline, the council did not rule Bishop Oliveto be removed from episcopacy. For now, Bishop Oliveto will serve as Bishop in the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
Although the discussion of the Judicial Council can be viewed as a small victory for LGBTQ equality in the United Methodist Church, queer pastors and congregants continue to suffer under the guise of biblical obedience. There is hope for the LGBTQ community. The psalmist wrote, “[God] will listen to the prayers of the destitute. [God] will not reject their pleas” (Psalm 102:17, NLT).
As the United Methodist Annual Conference season approaches join me in prayer for all United Methodist, queer and otherwise. May the love of God infest the United Methodist Church.

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A Restored Hope

I wish everything in life worked according to plan. I believe God wants you to enjoy life; to experience all the blessings this life has to offer. Sometimes it feels like your life is falling apart. Continue reading

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Ten Commandments Remix

God spoke these words:

Look! I’m your God! I’m the one who set your free from the bonds that enslaved you. Don’t shackle yourself again by returning to your old way of life, placing inanimate objects or ideals in my place. You can’t explain what I’m like; stop trying. Simply trust me. Quit using my name to get what you want, or justify your misunderstandings. Continue reading

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The Line in the Sand

These are uncertain times. Christians all over are wondering what God is up to. It’s obvious our world is filled with turmoil and unrest. We see news clip after news clip telliline-in-the-sandng us all is not right in this world. People feel threatened by the invasion of illegals flooding our borders. People are horrified by the incessant violence pervasive throughout the world. People are left dumbfounded by the senseless acts of murder plaguing our society. And now many Christians are aghast that same-sex marriage is now legal in Oklahoma (as well as many other states). Continue reading

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Life

Here is a poem I wrote some time ago. I thought it fitting at this moment; when hope is stretched, and darkness overtakes us.

Where is the hope? Children are dying.
The Earth trembles and quakes; children are crying.
Weeping and groaning we cry out, “Lord, why?”
Loss and pain…overwhelming! How can we get by?
Where are you in this darkness? What’s left for us now?
Continue reading

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Do You Know Who You Are?

identityOne of the more neglected topics openly discussed in the church is human sexuality. Throughout history the church has held a less-than-favorable view of sex and sexuality. More recently the church has begun accepting a healthier understanding of sex, albeit isolated to heterosexual marriage relationships. The church rarely openly discusses human sexuality and identity development. I have yet to experience a discussion on LGBT identity development in the church. Continue reading

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Discarded

discardedI have served on staff in United Methodist Churches since 1996 in children’s ministry, youth ministry, and young adult ministry. More recently I have been serving as a pastor. That is, until I went to my bishop to reveal I am gay. The responses I have received since coming out have ranged from love and support to hate and disgust. Long-time friends and forgotten enemies have reached out. The most devastating response has been from church leaders and religious authorities.

Continue reading

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What if?

I created this video awhile ago. I’m posting it here for you to interact with. What if you really did love God with every part of our being? What if you really did love others the way God wants you to? What if the others are LGBTQ persons? What if you really did love yourself? Go ahead and take some time to comment on those questions.

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Lost In the Church

churchI never really felt like I fit in at church. Even as a pastor I continued to experience a disconnect. Don’t get me wrong. The disconnect I felt wasn’t between God and me, although there have been plenty times I felt distant from God. It took me a long time to realize the secrecy of my sexual orientation was preventing me from connecting more completely in the church. I was strategically placing a barrier between the rest of the people in the church and me. As a result, I was lost in the church. Continue reading

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A Life-Impacting Encounter

Here is another excerpt from the book I’m working on titled Wide Open: a journey of faith through pain, oppression, brokenness and hope.

For most of my life I lived within a Christian sub-culture intent on controlling my behavior. I was continually reminded by Christian leaders to always be aware of my actions, and how disappointing or acceptable they were to God. If I acted in the right ways and avoided the wrong things God would be pleased with me. Even as I write this I’m reminded of the childhood song “O Be Careful, Little Eyes.” The lyrics go something like this: Continue reading

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