Part 2 – “who put YOU in Charge?”

Part 2 – “who put YOU in Charge?” August 26, 2009

Here are points 3-5 in answering yesterday’s question, “Who put YOU in charge?”

3. There is no other national voice doing or saying what I am. This is not to say that there are not other people around the country talking about this topic! I am not being cocky with this statement. There are plenty of ex-gay ministries (and conservative churches, universities, organizations and blogs out there trying to talk about these topics), but the broader GLBT community won’t ever listen to them solely because they are basing themselves from an ex-gay perspective. There are also plenty of GLBT ministries (and churches, organizations, blogs and “liberal” straight Christians), but the broader conservative world won’t ever listen to them solely because they are basing themselves from an all inclusive perspective. Ultimately by default, or, by me putting myself out there over and over again, sticking to my bridge concept while living in the neighborhood and vocally partnering with GLBTs and conservative evangelicals around the country, here I am (and rising others I have previously partnered with like Eric, Jeff  [see Jeff’s comment from Part 1 of “who put YOU in charge] and Jimmy – I know there are others, this is just an off-the-top-of-my-head representative of all groups: gay, ex-gay and celibate).

4. I am not going anywhere. Every word I say or write is scrutinized, hated, loved, etc. I am here. I am not going anywhere. This is what the Lord put me here to do, so here I will be. I love my neighborhood, I love the GLBT community, I love conservative Christians. It’s not always pretty (who am I kidding, many times it’s not pretty), but it’s my life. This blog is another extension of that. I have been honored to have this blog with you all to work through many hot button things with all of us. We do it together. Since March 2009 there has been an average of almost 8,000 of us per month. That’s a lot of people, a lot of voices, a lot of experiences, a lot of difference and a lot of people not commenting but just taking it all in seeing how we’ll all handle ourselves. Scary. And it’s all part of the process.

5. I’m not trying to hoard the topic. I just happen to be one small, lone voice in the public now. But believe me, I know that will not last forever (me being a lone voice, and, me being in the public). I’m just trying to be a good steward of the platform the Lord has given me at this moment in time. I find it funny that when people ask me “who put YOU in charge” in a sarcastic or angry tone, I say:

“No one. Do you want to do it? If so, then pick up your life, don’t look back and go and do it. It’s that easy.”

I left a very cushy job to do what I’m doing now. At the time, 99% of the people I knew thought I totally lost my mind (Christian and gay alike, family and friends). Recently, most of those who have said yes to my response have already come and gone. It’s a hard place to be. Ultimately it’s an easy thing to critique, but it’s extremely hard to persist in living it out. And you have to give up waaaay more than you might ever think. Especially support! Many will quickly turn their back on you. Many won’t support (financially, emotionally, spiritually) you. I still haven’t “made” it. I went from making a great salary to qualifying for food stamps for the first two years of The Marin Foundation’s existence because I had nothing. I gave it all.

This isn’t some hero complex of mine of why I’m saying this.

It’s a reality of what it means to keep going in the face of very few thinking a bridge is possible. And here I am pressing forward. Not with much that the world deems a success, but with an underground movement spreading like wildfire doing significant things for the Kingdom, and the culture war.

So all in all, who put ME in charge? Doesn’t matter because I know Who is in charge. I continually thank the Lord for picking me up by the seat of my pants and flinging me through many thick brick walls along the way. Even though I lay dazed on the other side of the crumbled wall with little yellow birdies flying around my head, a door has been made where by all human standards, a door could never have existed.

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  • Andrew said: "Do you want to do it? If so, then pick up your life, don’t look back and go and do it. It’s that easy.”

    Yes, brother, easy to just make a decision to take up that cross. Not so easy to do it daily, as it never was meant to be. You clearly have a divine call to do what you do. You are tough enough, thankfully, to take the heat from all sides and keep on going, as God is your provider.

    I want you doing this kind of ministry. We need someone to take point on this. My call is a bit different, but we intersect in vital areas. As I've said before and will say again, it was your book that really pulled me forward and got me to leave my comfort zone and to reexamine my paradigms. God, then, opened other doors to meaningful dialogue for me that further broadened my vision and compassion.

    God knows your heart. Thanks for sharing it with the world. Be encouraged.

  • Br. Michael C. Oboza

    Preach Br. Andrew! You are learning about faith that differs from sight… Amen.

  • Kristi Kernal

    Andrew, you are hugely inspiring to me. I want to apologize for any and all who have asked the question, "Who put you in charge?". They know not what they do and say. Thank you for living it, in a way that challenges us all to do the same, wherever God's placed us, called us, and given us influence.

  • Thanks Debbie! I am not asking everyone to do what I did as it is a "unique" thing, and I understand that. Though the principles are accessible whether that is moving into the neighborhood or individually with your family member, friend or co-worker. That question was for those who question 'my voice' in why I am the one who is heard and not them (in their own minds).

    Each of us has a special place in this journey together. But the key component to this whole thing is what is done not in public (Matthew 6:3-8, 16-18 –…. The lives, stories, families and journeys that are impacted forever by someone (from either community) going somewhere they don't belong and then staying committed. Tangible love. Stuff that makes a difference.

    Thank you all so much for your kind words … they honestly mean the world to me. Much love!

  • Andrew, I appreciate the positive mention, but if I read correctly, I noticed that you reference me as a representaive of the ex-gay perspective. I don't use that label myself, nor affiliat estrongly with those who do. I might say that I am a Christian who struggles with homosexuality or same sex attraction, who does not believe that same sex relationships are within God's will for a Christian. I fell in love with the woman who is now my wife, believing that God desired me to marry, and believing that in God all things are possible. I desired to be sexually intimate with her as my wife in marriage, even though it was a MAJOR step of faith in my life to marry. God did bless me, but even today 17 years after we got married, I still experience to attraction to men but have remained faithful to my wife. So I do not take on the label "ex-gay", but I do believe some who deal with same sex attraction and desire to marry can do so. As I stated in a recent blog post: "Do I recommend dating and marriage, if they desire it, for any men who struggle with homosexuality? Only if they have a real desire to marry and have children, only if they (and their spouse-to-be) face it with the realism that attraction to men may possibly continue or resurface to some degree, only if they do not see marriage as being better in God’s eyes than being single, only if they have shared about their struggle with same-sex attraction in detail with their potential future spouse, and only if they have a strong expectant faith that in God all things are possible. Even then, it is a major decision to make, but as Jones and Yarhouse point out in their findings, change in some form is possible for some people. I am one of those people."

  • Eron C

    Thank you. Plain and simple thank you for your ministry. It is directly affecting the ministry I have today. I'm very grateful for all that you do and i'm doing what I can to build bridges so you don't stay the lone voice for long. So all I can say is

    thank you

  • pm

    Psa 3:6

    I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me

    on every side.

    Psa 27:3

    Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though

    war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

    Psa 27:12

    Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false

    witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.

    Psa 36:11

    May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the

    hand of the wicked drive me away.

  • Jeff, thank you for that clear definition of who you are in Christ. Bless you and your wife. You and I represent many strugglers who are on that spectrum of transformed lives as we allow ourselves to be sanctified in holiness. I am one for whom the "ex-gay" label fits, by the grace of God. I am daily inspired by stories like yours. I can only imagine to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant," at the end of one's life is without compare. This is a race we must run to the end.

  • Audrey

    I think this blog is creative and that this work is necessary. Anyone can go out an be an ally of anyone really. I often stick up for my conservative friends when they are being bashed by liberals, for example. I talked a group of angry gay men out of riping up a bible on the streets of West Hollywood. That shocked me more than a typical gay party night at the club!

    I ger embarassed at how badly people can treat other people in public. I most certainly treat any straight person who walks into one of our bars or clubs with kindness, and I buy straight guys drinks. We all can be welcoming to well meaning people. Just think how kind African Americans are to white people, after all we've done to them historically. I feel the most loved in black communities in big cities compared to the coldness of a wealthy white suburb, for example.

    So, I think it is admirable that some young energetic straight guy is dedicating time to being there with the gay male community. It's needed, and we all know that straight white men are now the most hated group in America. Even I have to restrain my constant anger at them. They just are toooo easy to insult 🙂 So when they do something good, we should be happy.

    Let's hope the next generation is as creative and hardworking as this guy.