Legacy

“It’s never too late to start doing what is right.”
Charles Swindoll

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy the last few days. With the death of my wife’s grandmother and being reminded of her loving and Godly life, I’ve been transported back to memories of other Godly people in my life and the impact they have left on my life…their legacy. Those lives were marked by the uncanny ability to sense the will of God in how to live their lives and an ability to fearlessly live it out in different locales and situations. A seemingly unshakable faith in their Heavenly Father to always know best and ability to always provide for the basics of life. Grandparents and parents have directly and powerfully shaped me.

Although there have been bright spots in my life where I “had it together” more than others, in general I’ve been somewhat of a poor steward of that faith and legacy. In fact, one could say that I’ve blown it.

But, it’s never too late to start doing what is right.

I’ve reached the half-century mark. I keep telling my wife that I’m going to live to the age of 100. So, I truly hope that the last half of my life will be more legacy-building than the first half. My legacy will include three main components:

* Faith – the last couple of years, my faith has been in a deconstruction/reconstruction process. I’ve told people that I’ve “thrown out the bath water but kept the Baby (Jesus).” My faith now contains some basic essentials about which I won’t compromise, and only a few things that are important to my personal faith journey but not necessarily essential to my faith in Christ. That means that I’m much more fearless in my conversations with others about life and how faith plays a part in one’s life, a fearless confidence in Christ and His life in me, and a life that embraces more hope on a daily basis than I have experienced in the previous years of my life. I want my legacy to be one that will be remembered as one which engaged and walked with other people on their journey of faith…exploring and discovering together the power of Christ.

* Family – if you read much of my blog you know the devastation that my actions introduced into the fabric of my family. My family is the most precious series of relationships I have on this earth. It is also the most precarious…and if I’m not careful, it can be eternally destroyed. I am determined that my legacy will be a fully faithful and more engaged, happy, and supportive husband, father, and grandpa than ever before.

* Ministry – since I’m not only a PK (preacher’s kid) but also a minister with 20+ years of experience in local church ministry, I know how to “do church”…and how to do it well. But, that’s not really what I want my legacy to be. I want it to be transformative. I want it to be the sojourning of souls on an exploration and discovery of faith and community. My life experiences, as partially displayed in the words of this blog, provide a unique door through which some powerful ministry can take place. I want my legacy to be to lead the church into a more loving stance to the LGBTQ community and “by all means save some.”

It’s never too late to start doing what is right.

Doing it.

-Trevor

The Conversation Begins

As a quick refresher, sometime back, after 20+ years in local church ministry, I lost my ministerial credential as the result of having an affair with another man. I spoke of this heartbreaking, vow-breaking, and nearly family-destroying affair in Worm Thinking. Throughout the time since then, I have been blessed with the awesome grace and forgiveness of my wife, my family, and my Heavenly Father. In the midst of all that, one fact has continued to be my companion…my divine call to ministry. I answered that call at the age of 13 and it is still with me to this day. In spite of my horrific transgression, God has not lifted His call off of my life. Early on in this current journey, I was reminded that I needed a place to call “home”…my ministry home…and lately, I’ve been feeling an even more acute sense of God’s call as I wonder if anyone would want me to minister to them. I am volunteering at my local church, but this “call” is for something different. It’s just there…the call is there…it won’t leave…He keeps calling me.

And that’s where the conversation is beginning.

Yesterday, I had coffee with my former denominational supervisor. He was very gracious in our conversation as he told me that, at this time, there is “no way” for me to be restored to a credentialed ministerial status. That wasn’t a shock, I expected that answer. But I wanted to hear more, to pick his brain, to see if he thought I had any value to the denomination as a minister. He affirmed my value and stated that he believes that the denomination’s stance is in need of change. He confirmed what I had heard – that others feel the same way and am told that conversations are happening in other places and venues. People are beginning to see that it is wholly unlike the grace of God to allow a minister who had a heterosexual affair to regain his credential and not allow a minister who had a homosexual affair to regain his. I was encouraged by our talk and I walked away with a heightened sense of hope.

I have told other people many times that the LGBTQ community is a gift to the Church (the Body of Christ). The church (organized denominations, etc.) needs to find its voice in expressing its love for those of “us” who are already a part of the Body…and listen to us and let us lead the way in ministry to our friends and family in the broader LGBTQ community.

Here’s to hoping the conversations continue.
Here’s to hoping that they come talk to me.
Here’s to hoping that the Church becomes more Christ-like in the process.
Here’s to hoping that I will find my place…my home…the fulfillment of my calling.

Maybe the second half of my ministry life can be even more redemptive than the first.

I have hope.

-Trevor

Stand Up, Straight Christians, It’s Time For You To Come Out Of The Closet.

Love. Wins.

john pavlovitz

Key in Lock


“I’ve been a Christian my entire life, and I’ve never been able to ask these questions, because I feared how I’d be treated in my church. Reading your writing today gave me permission to push back, to start conversations, and to ask for better answers than I’d been given.”
– A reader

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that I’ve read a variation of these same exhausted, religion-weary words from people all over the world, from every denomination, every theological tradition, and every church setting.

And though the language and the story and the circumstances may change slightly from person to person, one idea has surfaced over and over and over again; a familiar melody reprised nearly every single day: permission.

Straight Christians, many of whom have spent the entirety of their faith lives unable to address the nagging, persistent, terrifying questions about the way the Church and her theology has laid waste to the LGBT…

View original post 931 more words

Leave of Absence

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
(Psalm 116:15)

My wife’s grandmother is slipping away from us. A dear saint of God, a sweetheart of a West Virginian, the loving matriarch of a large family. She has always loved each one unconditionally. She has always shared everything she had with all of us. Even the “ex” family members and ornery ones were always welcome in her front room and around her table. She always treated every human being with the utmost respect and dignity. As you can imagine, this is an emotional time for the family. But, she has lived a good, Godly, and full life. And at the age of 92, she is ready to meet her Savior.

Why would the death of a person be something special to God? It certainly wouldn’t be some kind of sadistic pleasure in death itself. That’s not the God I know and follow. No, it must be something else.

I believe that Christ finds the death of his saints precious because it means that his love and sacrifice to reconcile mankind to himself has now been completed. Scripture talks about the process of “being saved” from evil ways and “being reconciled” with God. As long as we walk this earth in this human form, we will always be “in process.” But, when we take our leave of absence from this world and enter into His presence our ticket is stamped with the word “COMPLETE.” Christ’s work in our lives is now complete. And Christ rejoices in that completed work.

I also want to believe that Christ’s rejoicing also involves a home-coming. Jesus promised that He is preparing a place for all of his saints (John 14:2-3). For many decades now, Granny’s home has been ready and waiting for her. The only problem is, that under her nameplate has been the sign “Reserved.” Soon it will replaced with one that reads “Occupied.” I believe that one of Christ’s favorite things to do is to take his saint by the hand and walk them through the front door of their new homestead…show them every room…hug them tight and welcome them home. This world has never been her home, she has always lived for somewhere much better. Home Sweet Home.

Granny – you’re all packed and He’s waiting. He’ll  stamp your ticket and walk you home.

Leave of absence.

Indefinitely.

-Trevor

Living

“Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20, The Message)

I’m not looking to impress you. It’s not that you aren’t important to me, but, simply put, you are too much like me. Too human. Too apt to love me one minute and hate me the next…appreciate me in one setting and ignore me in the next…support me then abandon me.

I’m not looking to impress God, either. It’s not that He isn’t important to me, but, simply put, He is God and I am not. He can’t be impressed, even with all the ingenuity that I can muster.

I have identified with Christ. He lives in me. And if He lives in me, He knows all about me. Why would I try to impress him when he already knows the unvarnished truth? Why would I not simply rest in a secure relationship with my Savior?

I have life because I am actively putting to death (crucified) all the crazy junk that would make the meaning of life emanate from my own being. I don’t have that power. I know…I’ve tried…and it was a miserable experience. So, the truth is that I must allow my identity with Him to impact every area of my life.

To you I may not be very impressive, I may be some kind of religious nut, I may look like I have way too many struggles and issues to be a Christ follower, I may look like I haven’t prayed enough or have strong enough faith. To you I may look like a failure or a sinner. Understand that my faith is not about your definition of my faith, but about my life in Him. He is the only one who writes the definition of my faith.

There are many ways in which my life reflects a “crucified” stance. In the context of this blog as a gay Christian man in a mixed-orientation marriage, here is one powerful way – I am living in sexual purity before God and in my marriage. I am resisting the powerful temptation to do otherwise.

That’s what “crucified with Christ” looks like.

It’s not some mystical occurrence with signs and wonders. It is simply living life, ordinary and day-in-and-day-out life, a life of obedience to Him and restraint of my ego.

He is in the wisps of my day.
I treasure Him.
He is life.

-Trevor