Jess Lives in the Tension

I am blessed to be able to speak at quite a few college campuses (Christian and non-Christian), and I love it because you never know what’s going to happen! A few times a year I also have the opportunity to speak at Moody Theological Seminary. Each year during one of those times I bring with me a group of GLBT people from all different places within their journey of faith and sexuality to share their story of how their faith and sexuality have impacted their lives. This year I had two former Moody students share their lives publicly to the one place they felt they could never tell. It was a very intense night to say the least. 

This video is of Jess, who asked me to record her talk and post it as it is part of her healing process with her experiences in a conservative Christian world where she felt no support or love. The Marin Foundation is part of that support and love now as we’re trying to sprint towards the places that so many others like us sprint from.

Background: This evening at Moody Theological Seminary was part of the work done by The Marin Foundation’s Living in the Tension Gatherings. Jess, along with all of the other speakers, volunteered because they know the power that comes with Moody training the next generation of conservative pastors. As a straight conservative Christian myself, it is so important for me to try to expose other straight conservative Christians to real life stuff because it’s so easy for many to get trapped in their own little Christian bubble! The response to the exposure I bring isn’t always pleasant, but something that I faithfully know needs to be done. I would also like to acknowledge Moody Theological Seminary for stepping out and understanding the importance of knowing how to peacefully and productively build bridges with the GLBT community.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Heidi

    wow andrew and jess. thanks so much for sharing that!! it is stories like hers that take me back to the drawing board. all i know is we serve a God who is willing to walk with us while we figure things out….what a privilege to hear from someone who is in that spot with God. much food for thought. andrew/jess – thanks for being people who push us to think outside of our cliches.

  • Noah

    Jess – You are a very brave woman and, as a former Moody grad student and as a brother in Christ, I commend you for your openness and willingness to be so vulnerable.

  • holzer29

    I see no truth in that. The only thing I see, hear and translate, is a poor girl who has been given false hopes, and once again, been taken captive by hallow and decpetive philosophy. Truth has only one right and one wrong.

    This world is not about always being happy and living our "best life now."

    God promises us joy beyond belief but it is not "happiness" as the world offers. It's something far greater. I am sad for her depression, but giving into our human desires, trading in a life of purity for one of chasing after human lusts, only offers "happiness" for a short time.

    I do not think she is a terrible or bad person, but i know she is missing out on Christ's promises for her life. This life is not about us.

    God cannot contridict himself. He is not going to go against his natual design for relationships.

    Jess, if you are reading this, the road you walk is hard. But not fighting the good fight and putting aside what you know to be true about our Lord and Savior, is really just selling yourself short. Love in this life is great, but it pales in comparison to anything you may experience with Christ after this life. To long for our eternal home, that is our goal, and to share Him with as many people as He calls us to, that is our mission. Love along the way is lovely, but if it does not examplify Christ, it is love in vain.

    If you are truly seeking Him for your futur relationships, don't seek "man" or "woman" seek TRUTH. Ask Christ with an honest heart what that looks like. He will answer you. He loves you, and your heart has been heard by Him.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Thanks for sharing, Jess.

  • Sarah C.

    Thanks for sharing your testimony and experience, Jess. That was truly courageous.

  • http://thearchitectsgarage.blogspot.com/ Rob Turner

    Jess:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts having it posted online for so many to see. I recommend you do some research on Melanie Spinks. I heard her speak this past January and was moved by her compassion, authenticity, and reliance on Jesus Christ. Here is a link to a radio interview with her as the guest:

    http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2008/09/22/

    Best wishes,

    Rob Turner
    http://thearchitectsgarage.blogspot.com/

  • m.

    I went to Moody.

    I struggled with depression the whole time there. And I used alcohol to self-medicate during my entire time there.

    Jess, i have never been exactly in your place. But i have felt the emptiness of not being able to find community in a place where people are training for ministry, and it hurts. I don't know if i would ever be able to go back and confront it there like you did. You're one brave girl, and I'm awed at what God is doing in your life and the courage he gives you.

  • http://thislovelyhaunting.blogspot.com Kathryn

    So proud, Jess! So brave of you. Can't believe that was filmed in a Moody classroom. May God continue to love you and work in and through you.

  • David

    You are very brave, Jess. Thank you for putting yourself on the line and making yourself so vulnerable in a place that is obviously less than friendly. The truth is setting you free.

  • Kasi

    Jess, it takes courage to share that. Thank you.

    holzer29, I agree 100% with your comment. I couldn’t agree more. If we ignore God’s voice/Word for what seems like our own benefits, no matter the subject, then we run on empty. We should trust that God truly knows -the desires of our heart-, and stand confident in that faith.

  • Wes

    I do not believe that Jess is ignorning God’s voice or Word. Nor, do I believe that she is simply trying to live a self-serving life.


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