For Parents Everywhere


Did you know that there are homeless kids living on the streets of America? Or are you like me. Did you hear this once and think, okay, okay, no. C’mon. There has to be more to this story. There has to be.


Did you know that, statistically speaking, LGBTQ people make up roughly 7-8% of the population (not counting, of course, the closeted) and that 20-40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ? What is the story here? There has to be more to it. Must be. Right?




When I came out to my parents, I didn’t know how lucky I was. I was held close to my family as others were shoved out the door. Homeless. Orphaned. Wandering a world they aren’t ready for.


This doesn’t just happen.


The Gospel Coalition and Denny Burk and Franklin Graham perpetuate it; they might not know it, but they do. As does a particular reading of the Bible, the lazy literalist, quick google search kind, an approach that has a history of leaving other minorities bloodied up in it’s wake. And then there is the loss. The swift death of dreams, of weddings and holidays and grandchildren; a jolting adjustment to a future that looks different. That looks less than ideal.


LGBTQ people today are coming out so much younger in life- meaning: they are still under their parents’ roof. And with that comes the beautiful and painful tension flaring, making all things new. Hard hearts are being made soft. The bonds of family are strengthening. No one ever knows how much love there is until the unforeseen bomb drops, and everyone stays.


My parents knew they could never understand what it was like to be a gay Christian, but they wanted to figure out how to be good parents to one. They held the Bible in one hand, me in the other, trapped in a paralysis of unending questions and no understanding to be found- anywhere- from anyone.


When my mom emailed the Marin Foundation, it took them less than ten minutes to email her back. She called and they answered. They invited us down to Chicago. They took us in and listened and loved us deeply.


They connected my parents to other parents of LGBTQ kids. They built a community around a couple feeling isolated.


And now they have done something incredible. They’ve compiled a contact list of parents of LGBTQ kids for parents feeling beyond alone. Parents in the south, for example. Or parents in stuck inside fundamentalism. Those who disagree with their kid or with each other or with the church or with themselves, searching for some kind of path that cuts through.


The official announcement of the list came first on the Marin Foundation’s blog, which I’ve reposted below. If you’re a parent feeling alone, drop a line, to my parents or others.


Often, I talk about how we sexual and gender minorities are waves crashing and shaping the church into something new. But that’s nothing to say of our folks. These people are our protectors, our defenders, our activists and our listeners.


And they are only one call away.


From the Marin Foundation:


If you are a Christian parent of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) child you may feel alone. You may think that you are the only one who feels this way. You might even believe that no one else could understand your journey. But…


You are not alone.


The Marin Foundation has put together a a list of Christian parents who have LGBTQ children and have volunteered to share their experiences with you. They would love to listen to your story, talk with you, cry with you, laugh with you, and come alongside you. Most of these parents are not counselors or psychologists; they are simply fellow pilgrims on this journey. They don’t have all the answers. They may not have their theological positions all figured out. But these parents know what you are going through and want to help.


To see this list and some other resources for Christian parents of LGBTQ children, Click HERE.


The parents on this list come from all different backgrounds, Christian denominations, and beliefs about this conversation. They may not have the same theology as you or feel the exact same way about this topic but they will listen and give advice with compassion and understanding. While these parents are not official representatives of The Marin Foundation and may not reflect a particular theological position (whether conservative or progressive), we have heard their stories and know them to be great resources. What they have in common is a desire to love their children and stay true to their Christian faith.


We hope this list will help you in your journey.


Much love,


The Marin Foundation

Ten Seconds (Writing on Andrew Marin’s blog today)



When I first came out to family and friends, there was one blog that we read religiously, Andrew Marin’s. Him and his book and his foundation have been a Godsend for me and those in my corner- so, I was really really really honored when he asked if I would be a monthly contributor to his blog on Patheos. He is trying to create a space where we can tell our stories and our perspectives and create an environment for dialogue to flourish. I feel so blessed to be a part of this. Here is my debut post!

Ten Seconds

I should start at the beginning and stop short there. It’s important to look at those small squares throughout the tape of memory. Those short significant moments in their every detail. True healing, I have found, has to come through something of a slow visitation. A breaking apart of the past, picking up small shards of where things went terribly wrong. Facing them. Saying them. Saying them out loud.

I need to use a magnifying glass and see the short breaths where big things happened. In this case, I want to talk about ten seconds.

Read the rest at Love is an Orientation


Love is an Ability


In one of my favorite movies, Dan in Real Life, Dan is telling the boyfriend of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Marty, that he should stop seeing her; love, after all, can be such a dangerous feeling.


“Love is not a feeling, Mr. Burns. It’s an ability.”



The other night, as many of you know, I spent two hours in a severe tongue lashing from a fellow Christian brother who lamented over the fact that some folks, like myself, were openly questioning Church tradition regarding same-sex relationships. I asked him what his thoughts were on how he should treat his gay or lesbian neighbors and he replied with this. You can probably guess it before it’s even said.


“I love the sinner, but I hate the sin.”


I found myself laying in bed that night thinking about what people truly meant when they said it, and furthermore, what it really means to love.


And my mind wandered back to Dan and Marty.


Love is an ability.



Most of the time, an ability is not given, it is grown. You have to feed it and nourish it and work like hell to make sure it thrives through each and every season. Love is no different.


I am convinced that saying you love someone doesn’t count as love. I am also convinced that willing your mind to love someone that you’ve never reached out and touched, doesn’t add up to much.


Love cannot exist merely in the mind, it has to have legs and arms and kisses-to-give in order for it to be real. Feelings are fickle and don’t reflect love, because there are so many people in my life that drive me mad, but my love for them never ceases. Feelings are far away from ability.


Love cannot choose ignorance. It doesn’t describe a five second Google search of “homosexuality + Bible verse” as a true study of scripture. It strains the soul through prayer as it pleads for divine revelation. Love looks deep into the wisdom of others. It applies the mind in understanding the text by digging into cultural context, church tradition, the aim of the author and consistency of scripture.


Love is born through deposits of affection. It is intentional. It takes effort. You cannot love someone until you know someone and there is a clear-cut difference between knowing of someone and really knowing someone. You can put people on pedestals, but you can’t love them until you know them. You can leave the word love as the lasting residue of your rant, but you don’t love the folks you’re talking about, not really.


Love needs more time, likely more than the minutes you have to offer it. You need to sacrifice some schedule space for the other if you want it to be real. Love gets up at the crack of dawn because the other has classes and work, leaving them with little time to talk over coffee. It prioritizes the other person. Love makes the other matter more to you than the frivolous things of this life.


Love wears a cape. It arrives before it is even called upon. Love surrenders its shoulders to runny noses. It holds no pre-requisite for its remedies and it does not ask for that which is inappropriate. It comes without strings and is abundant in grace. It just wants to sit, just wants to listen, just wants to nod and stay until you’ve said all you need to say.


Love doesn’t dip into your past like a paintbrush to create an idea of who you must be today. Love asks questions and honors how far you have come. Love doesn’t whisper about you- it converses with you. The most unloving words can be said in the name of love, when the person of discussion isn’t present at your Bible Study.


Love is the two-minute response my mom received from the good people at the Marin Foundation regarding her endless list of questions. Love is the calls that were answered on our way to our first Living in the Tension gathering. Love is Laura who waited outside the Church building for God knows how long until our taxi pulled up. Love is the hug she gave us when we went for the handshake.


Love dwells. It doesn’t stop by on its own terms and convenience. Love is born into the dumpster of poverty. It snuggles with the shipwrecked instead of rolling with royalty. It goes off the map into dangerous territory because there’s a woman at a well that needs to know something. Love selflessly dies for those indifferent to its sacrifice. It rises three days later, because it never ever fails.


Love is engagement. It is entering into polar opposite worlds. It lives and moves and breathes, and is only real if it exists in both the heart and the hands.


Growing in love is messy and exhausting and tedious. But little by little it gets easier. Our jagged edges get sanded down. After all the stumbling and tumbling and screw-ups along the way, it will become an essential part of how we live. We will experience it in one another without thinking or trying. We will live to love. Truly.


And it will be as easy as breathing.




A Person not a Position


Last night, Andrew Marin and Michael Kimpan stayed over at my parent’s house. Yes, you read that right. The two are here to speak at my brother’s church about the work that the Marin Foundation is doing and how the congregants can join in the effort.

Their timing couldn’t be more perfect. Minnesota is still reeling from the exhausting and absurdly poisonous “dialogue” that took place leading up to the November Marriage Amendment ballot initiative. I voted against it for the same reason many of my peers did- we wanted to give dialogue another shot. We recognize that we still have much to learn from God and one another and it would be shame if we effectively cut out a whole group from the conversation.

Over coffee this morning, Michael, my brother and myself, spitballed about how to facilitate a conversation between the church and the gay community without letting all hell break lose. At my brother’s church, they had already tried this over the marriage amendment issue. It didn’t really work out that well. The attendees had come to throw bombs, not extend hands.  Some folks showed up with their opinions literally Sharpied all over their shirts.

It’s important to note, Michael explained. This is the most emotionally charged issue of the day. Defusing those emotions can only occur if we change the way we relate to one another.

He relayed to us how he could see the avid intensity behind both sides. You hear a Church is talking about building bridges with the gay community and a conservative Christian may feel the need to bring a Leviticus 18 sign, in the name of slowing down the slippery slope and out of love for his church. But the mom of recently out gay kid may going to go to try to find some affirmation of her son’s sexual orientation, out her love for her child.. Get those people into the same room armed with prepared talking points and close ended questions, and the beautiful reconciliation bubble may burst.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said,

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

Michael reminded me of the purpose of this foundation in the first place. So often as Christians, we look to the definitive answer on this issue through books, pastors, culture and the wells we drink from. Rarely do we ever simply sit back and watch Jesus walk. He was a relational being. There was no place he wouldn’t enter and no person he wouldn’t touch. He lived and breathed reconciliation. The end result of his journey was to square us away with Him. For eternity.

If we start removing the weight of the issue, the insult of difference, the mark we place on those who disagree, the names we call them, where we make them sit… when we finally stop projecting our own fears and prejudices against the other, we may actually get somewhere. We may start seeing the person instead of the position.

Our discourse has become so dysfunctional.

But it’s a wound that I know Jesus can heal.

If we let him.


Runaway George


Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Among many things that have captivated my attention in this book is it’s handling of Christian theology in relation to slavery.

Here we find George, a runaway slave. In this scene, his former employer, Mr. Wilson, recognized George inside a hotel lobby and promptly approached him, asking if he would accompany him to his room to have a little chat. Mr. Wilson is a good man, but he fears that George is going against God and country, and thus requires his guidance.

First he tries logic.

Then he tries scripture.

“But you know how the angel commanded Hagar to return to her mistress, and submit herself under her hand; and the apostle sent back Onesimus to his master.”

“Don’t quote Bible at me that way Mr. Wilson,” said George, with a flashing eye, “don’t! for my wife is A Christian and I mean to be, if ever I get to where I can; but to quote Bible to a fellow in my circumstances, is enough to make him give it up altogether. I appeal to God Almighty- I’m willing to go with the case to Him, and ask Him if I do wrong to seek my freedom.”

“These feelings are quite natural George,” said the good-natured man, blowing his nose. “Yes, they’re natural, but it is my duty not to encourage ‘em in you. Yes, my boy, I’m sorry for you, now; it’s a bad case-very bad; but the apostle says, ‘Let every one abide in the condition in which he is called.’ We must all submit to the indications of Providence, George,- don’t you see?”


George stood with his head drawn back, his arms folded tightly over his broad breast, and a bitter smile curling his lips.


“I wonder, Mr. Wilson, if the Indians should come and take you a prisoner away from your wife and children, and want to keep you all your life hoeing corn for, if you’d think it your duty to abide in the condition in which you were called. I rather think that you’d think the first stray horse you could find an indication of Providence- shouldn’t you?”


I resonate with George’s story.

That’s not to say that I think slavery and homosexuality are parallel tales of misunderstood scripture.

But I’ve got my fair share of Bible burns.

They tell me, “but both the New Testament and the Old Testament speak against homosexuality”

I say, “I understand, but there are others who view-“

“1st Corinthians 6:9-10, 1st Timothy 1:9-10, have you not read this?”

I’ve been reading and rereading these since I was in the sixth grade.

“It sucks, but you know what? It’s God’s word, and Christ calls us all to sacrifice in one form another.”

Usually my thoughts echo George’s response to Mr. Wilson.

The detachment from empathy is so palpable in today’s Christian culture when it comes to homosexuality.

In these rock and hard place moments, I just want to pull out every Bible verse that should convict them of the same charge.

Perhaps what Jesus said about the wealthy, or the proud or the judgmental.

But by now, I’m burnt out.

So I bite my tongue.

Beyond George, there are countless runaways out there, carrying the card of some form of Christian contradiction. Divorce is one. Just the other day, I heard one coworker open up about his sisters painful divorce. The listening, coworker, my sister in Christ, said something akin to, “A vow is a vow. It seems they didn’t try hard enough.” Unwed mothers are another. I’ve heard people say about a friend of mine, “I wonder how many baby daddy’s she has? So sad.” Or the poor, “Why should my dollars go to their drug habits?”

Our Christian culture has become a bag of wonder bread, and if you’re made of a different morsel, you’ve been misplaced. I know better than to generalize about a whole group of people, and I fully believe that there are those quietly keeping their cupboards locked tight.

But the trouble with tribes like ours is that we thwart any attempt at transparency. Tears belong behind closed doors. Support calls for a certified shrink. The Bible is a bludgeon, not a buoy. Dialogue destroys doctrine, leading us down that oh so slippery slope towards hell. Raise your hands high and give us that sweet smile.

A couple months ago I had the opportunity to attend one of the Marin Foundation’s “Living in the Tension” gatherings. There I was, surrounded by fellow travelers on a similar journey of my own. All of us came for the same thing, reconciliation between the scriptures and our sexuality. All of us, looking around, greeted each other’s eyes with an “I get it.” When the meeting came to a close, I was embraced, told I was loved and encouraged to keep searching and questioning. It was a transformative night for all of us. My mom, who went with me, said later on, “that’s what the Kingdom looks like.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Runaway George had a similar experience. Having reached refuge outside the grasp of slave catchers, and finding his son and wife there as well, he reclaimed his faith in the father. Looking around the dinner table at the Christians that saved his life, he reflected:

“This, indeed, was a home,-home, –a word that George had never yet known a meaning for; and a belief in God, and trust in his providence, began to encircle his heart, as, with a golden cloud of protection and confidence, dark, misanthropic, pining, atheistic doubts, and fierce despair, melted away before the living Gospel, breathed in living faces, preached by a thousand unconscious acts of love and good will, which, like the cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple, shall never lose their reward.”

When we roll up our sleeves and trade tales of our bruises, we deny the lie that we’re alone.

May our community become that “golden cloud of protection”.