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.