I’m flabbergasted

Well, I stumbled upon this today. A bit of background. Back in the mid-80’s when I was working as a campus pastor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (my alma mater), we sponsored a “concert” on campus with Christian comedian Mike Warnke. Warnke was very funny and made all kinds of claims about being a former Satanist, etc. He was well known within American-Evangelicalism.
We had the concert in the University’s basketball arena, and despite a bad snowstorm on show-night, we still attacked 5,000 or so people coming from as far away as Chicago. The University administration thought it was going to be a bust. After all, who in the world comes to see a “Christian” comedian.
Anyway, in the planning stages we were looking for an opening act. The pastor of the Assembly of God church that we worked through at the time had a very good friend from Indiana who was a struggling contemporary Christian musician that was just about ready to hang-it-up. Reluctantly, we agreed to invite him to be the opening act. His style of music didn’t quite fit-in with our idea of what college students might want to hear. He performed before perhaps the biggest crowd in his life at the time, and he did well. There just so happened to be a Christian music record label person in the crowd. He introduced himself, and this musician’s career took off. We had a little part in his terrific success.
So, on the Web today I came across an link to a story in the Washington Blade about this singer/songwriter who has sold more than 4.2 million albums. If you know about the Washington Blade, you will know that it is a newspaper focused on the GLBT community.
Well, Ray Boltz is gay. I’m flabbergasted. Here is his interview with the Blade.
The pastor of the A/G church in B.G. was one of the first people I admitted to that I struggled with this particular issue. Of course, at the time I still believed that there was no way that a Christian could reconcile his/her orientation with his/her faith. Through the incredible struggle, I simply believed that at some point I would be healed, married, all happy like in the image of the American dream. I just never married, had a family, or waited as long as Ray did to admit to myself that no matter how much counseling, prayer, struggle, faith, Bible reading, more therapy, and anguished nights that I wasn’t changing.
I don’t know whether the pastor of the A/G church continued his friendship with Ray or not. Ray became a big star, so who knows. But, if they did I wonder how the pastor is taking this news. They were very good friends at one point. If they still are, it is certainly a challenge to the tradition line on homosexuality that most A/G (most of Evangelicalism) take.

He’s right

Considering the post before this one and my general attitude while trying to figure all this stuff out, my former seminary roommate commented, part of which is below. I’ve been thinking about this.

“…I think, and I say this with love, sometimes you are so focused on those extremes that you leave little space in your writing for those closer to your position that still are not in total agreement. (I write this knowing and confessing to my own blind spots as well, many of which over the years you have highlighted for me.) I think some attention to the blessings and grace that still do occur in our church would strengthen your writing even more.”
God’s Peace,

He is right.
The other thing I’ve been realizing is that as I continue to obsess over trying to find a way forward in salvaging this jewel of Anglicanism that I am still discovering (and I know I have almost no influence) from the forces that whether intentionally or by consequence seek to make this Church into their own image even if they destroy it (fundamentalism), I descend into a negativism that really does no one any good. But, that’s what I do. I try to figure things out. If I were smart, I suspect it would be a lost easier.
“The joy of the Lord is my strength…” How easy it is to allow the affairs of the world, even within the Church, to rob us of joy – and the strength that comes through the freedom we have in Christ.