Dan is a blogger, speaker, and the Executive Director of The Identify Network, an organization dedicated to equipping and resourcing the church to take a better posture for a better conversation and ministry to sexual and gender minorities. Dan has a background in theology and philosophy and is a Ph.D. candidate @ Dallas Baptist University.
Dan grew up in Raleigh, NC and was part of a tight-knit Christian community, while living with the reality that he was gay. However, openness and confession were frowned upon and thus years of desperate quiet struggling became the reality. After years of trying to beg God for change and being offered only hell and heterosexuality from the church, Dan came out as a gay man. The church and the vast majority of Christians he knew further rejected him and this served to fuel a sense of marginalization from the very community he needed. Instead of liberation Dan’s identity only led to further questions and a growing sense of being created for so much more. Dan came to realize that God not only loved him but wanted him!
Finding a place in the church was not easy, and the ministries that offered help had poor relationships with the church and promoted orientation change as the foundation for ministry. Believing that the church was called to be a place of community and growth, Dan sought to be a part of local churches, ultimately finding a Church in Raleigh that understood grace and truth. God was gracious to put several men into Dan’s life that not only became lifelong friends, but also served as great mentors in the faith.
Dan experienced a sense of calling to ministry. While completing his preparation and education in college and Seminary, Dan met Casey. Having no real commitment or understanding of Biblical manhood, Dan began to date Casey and sought to change further through this relationship, only to find out that the opposite of homosexuality was never going to be heterosexuality. Dan and Casey fell in love and desired to experience the beauty of a deepening relationship rooted in Christ and covenant. After four years of dating on and off, Dan and Casey were married in 2004.
Dan and Casey have been married for 12 years and have six awesome kids (Zoe 7, Jack 6, Ezra 5, Evie 5, Abel 3, and Isla 7 months). Dan and Casey have grown in marriage and ministry together and convicted that the current discussion on the church and homosexuality is prone to extremes and is need of more nuanced conversation that considers the unspoken stories of many in the church. All things are possible under the Gospel, and a committed beautiful marriage is possible for those experiencing same-sex attraction and orientations. Dan and Casey would not advocate marriage as the best choice but certainly one of the possibilities.
While celibacy is most often the very legitimate choice of many gay Christians, Dan and Casey believe that singleness is not the only option and in saying this, they also do not promote orientation change as a goal. The church must offer gay and bisexual men and women a more compelling narrative than heterosexuality. Marriage is not ultimately about heterosexuality but rather it is one form of covenant that can be experienced, in a pursuit to honor Christ in obedience.
After years of praying and ministry, Dan and Casey launched The Identify Network in 2015, with a desire to be a ministry of the church and to the church. Identify seeks to equip and resource pastors and church leaders who want to be intentional about changing the current conversation from the theater of a culture war to one of sincere ministry with a posture of humility and grace. So much help is needed for churches, families and friends who long to love without reservation but have sincere commitments to the truth of biblical sexuality.
Identify desires to step into this need and be a servant to the church. You can access more information about Dan and Casey and The Identify Network at identifynetwork.org/about/who-we-are.