• I said I would probably regret this. I already do.

    January 19, 2012

    I always go into these discussions thinking surely by now we can all be civil in our discourse about this stuff. I mean, this issue has been out there for a while. It’s not new. Surely by now we’ve thrown enough grenades at one another. Apparently, we have a few left in our arsenals. I cannot tell you the nastiness I’ve heard in the last couple days. Well, really just the last 12 hours. Things started out fine, and I thought we were actually going to be able to talk about this sensibly. Guess not. Right now I’d kind of like to exile myself to a tiny island somewhere away from all people and not leave a forwarding address. Seriously, how can people–on both sides of this–be so awful?

    A few things:

    1) The friend whose email I quoted is not a former staff member or congregant of my church in Blacksburg–in fact, they don’t even live in Virginia–so whoever has been sending mean and accusatory emails and texts to staff members at my former church needs to fess up to it. Seriously, you need to go to the people you’ve slandered and apologize. Totally unacceptable behavior. Why would you even assume the person I quoted was a staff member there? I have only good things to say about those folks. They remain my good friends, and I was just up there recently to visit them.

    2) The friend whose email I quoted reminded me of something I’d forgotten. In the chain of emails we exchanged, once it was clarified that I was not in a relationship with a man and not pursuing one at the time, the offer of dinner was put back on the table and I declined. I should have made that clear in my post and would have if I’d recalled the email. I should have reread our entire email chain before posting my last website entry. I can totally see how this friend felt I misled folks in the way I wrote my post, and I apologize for that. It certainly was not intentional in any way. I didn’t remember the dinner offer being put back on the table I guess because in my mind at the time, it really didn’t change anything. Dinner was contingent on my agreeing with this friend’s understanding of the Bible. Questioning that understanding was not an option. If at any point in the future I decided I was okay with being in a relationship, which seemed likely, I was going to get the 1 Corinthians 5 card again. Still, this friend’s point is well-taken: I should have included the re-offer of dinner in my post. I regret not having done so.

    3) There were many reasons I decided to leave Virginia and return to my old stomping grounds of North Carolina, most of which had nothing to do with this issue. No one at any time, explicitly or implicitly, expressed any desire for me to leave. Anything else you may have heard or dreamt up is wrong.

    4) Today, I received the following email, again from someone I know, though a different someone than the someone from before:

    Gay is not who you are…it’s who you’ve decided to be. And whether you want to admit it or not, it is in direct opposition to what God says. Your words were “I share my views confidently, having arrived at them through much reading, prayer, and life experience…” I have to ask to whom were you praying? To arrive at the answer you say you’ve received, it must have been to a god of your own understanding, not the One True Jehovah God, Creator of the universe and Sustainer of all that is. God is very clear in His Word. He doesn’t mince words and He doesn’t contradict Himself. There are times, especially when I want to rationalize my own sin, that I wish He were more gray in certain areas but He’s pretty much black and white on most topics. When it comes to sexual sin, ALL sexual sin…not just homosexuality…it is clear that it’s an abomination to God. This is so in both the Old and New Testaments. Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 is only one of many examples of God’s view on
    homosexuality.

    There is so much wrong with that email, it would take a while to address everything in it. I must say, though, after today, I’m not sure I even care to continue this. The whole point of the blogs was just to share with people how my thinking has changed over time. I had no idea it would devolve into this.

    Posted in: The Gay Posts

Recent Comments

  • Justin said...

    1

    Matt, as a Christian who believes the active practice of homosexuality is wrong, my heart goes out to you for all the venom you’ve experienced from these other “Christians.” Despite our disagreements over this issue, I have plenty of gay friends, and if I knew you any better I would gladly count you as one of them and have you over for dinner any time. These Gay Posts have been some enjoyable and insightful reading and I hate that you can’t express yourself without it devolving into what it has, from so-called Jesus-followers no less. I feel like you still have a lot to offer on this topic and my hope is that you’ll keep on posting, regardless. God bless.

    01/19/12 9:58 PM | Comment Link

  • Wayne Wager said...

    2

    I don’t do Facebook much. Wandered into your pain here tonight. I should be in bed really. But whatever is true about this universe, the grief you take and endure is out of proportion with justice and kindness. If God is real, He is much, much more wise and warm of heart than the people we know—including ourselves. We have that going for us.

    01/19/12 10:44 PM | Comment Link

  • Ryan said...

    3

    Matt,
    I would have to agree with Justin- I feel like you have so much to offer- insight that I am most definitely eager to hear. I am truly sorry for the responses you have gotten over the past few days.
    I am thankful for your boldness and the ability to speak what is on your heart and mind.

    01/19/12 11:19 PM | Comment Link

  • Tarish said...

    4

    🙁 Boo to people being mean to each other! Matt, I find your posts to be encouraging, inspiring, and thought-provoking. I hope you continue this thread, but I understand if you need to keep yourself & yours safe from harm. Thank you for talking about this topic and sharing your thoughts & feelings with us!

    01/19/12 11:20 PM | Comment Link

  • Jason P - Burkot!! said...

    5

    I feel similarly as Justin – this is one area that, as you mentioned in your very first post, we more than likely will have to agree to disagree in the end, but that in no way is going to change my opinion of you. The posts are great, introspective reading, and I hope you will continue as well. If I were you I would simply disable readers’ ability to comment, citing that the privilege was abused and I am left with no choice. Take care Matt.

    01/20/12 5:04 AM | Comment Link

  • j.ro said...

    6

    please don’t stop writing matt. i’ve really enjoyed reading your story as this is a topic that i’ve been very interested in. if you do decide to stop you’ll just have to blog to me personally ;o)

    01/20/12 6:17 AM | Comment Link

  • Sara B said...

    7

    When people get frightened they lash out. I’m sure they believe anything they are saying to you is for your best and they want to snatch you back from the fires of hell (I respectfully disagree with this but that’s my opinion). Emotions run high and it’s hard, seemingly impossible, for people to agree to disagree and allow someone to express their thoughts, even in a forum of their own creation. Let the man speak people!

    I really respect your desire to share your views and I always look forward to your posts. However, I want you to protect yourself as well. I wish I had an island to direct you to, but since we live in reality I will just remind you that you have a lot of friends, acquaintances and strangers that love you and support you. I hope that can comfort you a bit.

    01/20/12 6:58 AM | Comment Link

  • Keitha said...

    8

    As I said before dear friend; not everyone is going to have an open mind. You’re up against thousands of years (random est of time) of interpretation of the bible. Some will listen and chew on what you enlighten us to; some are going to defend their beliefs and their foundation of their beliefs (the interpretation they’ve embraced). You are in for a very challenging road! The deliverance of your findings/revelations will not be a easy task. Really tho, how many quests does God send us on are easy or without moments of fear/regret/challenge. This is as much about you and HIM as it is the ultimate journey purpose which may remain unseen. Please dont let someone’s OPINION run you off from your mission. My prayer is that if nothing else evolves that Gods plan is to remind his children of two major commands; “love one another”, “judge not less ye be judged”, and “let one without sin cast the first stone”. I will be praying. I will be following your posts with an open heart and mind.

    01/20/12 7:27 AM | Comment Link

  • Jessica said...

    9

    Hi Matt,
    I just wanted to encourage you to keep on posting. I have an uncle who is gay and lives with his partner in DC. They go to a church there and the relationship they have with each other is inspiring. They have a lot more respect for one another than most married couples I know. This topic is of great interest to me and I really want to understand it better. I think you have a lot to offer and I have great respect for you. I know that when you say you have put a lot of thought, reading and prayer into this that you mean it. We miss you here in Blacksburg.

    01/20/12 7:37 AM | Comment Link

  • Michaela said...

    10

    Sorry to hear about how judgmental and mean-spirited people are being. I have enjoyed reading your posts – the one about gay marriage you put into words so well – very much how I feel on the topic. Anyway, I hope you continue to blog on all this, but more importantly I hope amidst the attacks you know that you are dearly loved by God and so many of us who know you. I hope that others find a little humility and are reminded that God is the judge and if we are His followers we are called to love one another as He loves us, not judge one another. I hope through your searching you find peace in whatever it is God reveals to you. God bless friend!

    01/20/12 9:04 AM | Comment Link

  • Angela said...

    11

    Matt, these are such terrific posts! I appreciate your honesty and open discussion of a topic that is unfortunately “off limits” for so many. This is such an important discussion, though, for all Christians, gay and straight. My church in Peoria went through a horrible split just a few years ago over these same issues, resulting in an awful lawsuit and hurtful actions. Though our experiences are different, I can really relate to the evolution of your views on homosexuality (and really sexuality in general). It has been so interesting to read how your considerations on these issues have developed and changed over the years. Your insights are thought-provoking, and I really hope you will keep writing. Next time I am in Charlotte, I would love to meet up with you for coffee or a glass of wine and talk!

    01/20/12 9:39 AM | Comment Link

  • Mark R said...

    12

    Matt,
    I also want to encourage you to continue posting, and keep in mind that there are and will likely be many many more that read this than those that write hurtful or comments or try to demean you or others. I am a Christian, I do NOT believe that the active practice of homosexuality is sinful or wrong. I belong to church and denomination where at least in the US that is the prevailing position. I believe in the bible as word of God, but at the same time it does require interpretation, can be conflicting, at times, and our understanding of it can change with time(Slavery comes to mind). To me Jesus was more about inclusion than exclusion. Much like past issues of discrimination and judgment only through discussion and engagement will either side be able to gain understanding and peace.

    01/20/12 10:39 AM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    13

    I would enjoy that too, Angela. Let me know when you’re in town!

    01/20/12 10:56 AM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    14

    Thanks, Mark! You kept up with your running through the years?

    01/20/12 10:58 AM | Comment Link

  • Mark R said...

    15

    Yeah I have thanks for asking. Not every year but I am glad to be back into it.

    01/23/12 2:13 PM | Comment Link

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