There were two reactions in the room: sadness and shock amongst the students, and horror from the faculty and administration. After the event, the students flooded the stage to talk to my friends. For hours afterward, there were amazing conversations, the kinds of conversations that had never before taken place on this campus. Of all the administration and faculty present, only one professor approached us. He said: "I never knew the two of you were gay. I've never thought there were gay students here. I'm sorry if I ever said anything to hurt you or contribute to your pain. Please forgive me."
The tears started flowing, but only for a brief moment. The other leadership of the school had walked away in disgust. Neither I nor my two friends have heard a single word from that administration since, even though we have all reached out to them on multiple occasions in the past year. In fact, the single professor who had offered conciliatory words, the most tenured professor at that private seminary, was driven away from the seminary for "anti-seminary policy rhetoric."
Although this story is all too real, my experience suggests that stories like these are growing less common. Because of the courage of those two friends of mine, students from that seminary have come to Chicago to intern with the Marin Foundation. They're learning what it means to live as evangelicals and engage this topic in new ways, ways that could bring hope for a better future relationship between evangelicals and LGBT students.
Next week, I'll tell a few other stories, more positive ones, that show how a growing number of conservative evangelical seminaries are beginning to address LGBT students and their concerns.