Kingdom Church

Yesterday I got to spend time with some of my beautiful Kingdom Church STL friends. I also got to meet a lot of new friends and hear their stories. Person after person told me about how they’d only come to know Christ (or to sincerely start following Him) over the last few years. In fact, for many of them it was actually 2020 that was the real turning point – the time they radically encountered God’s Spirit at Kingdom Church and started learning to find themselves within His love.

It was so cool to hear how, even in the middle of a tumultuous time in our world, these individuals were experiencing real hope and transformation in their lives for the first time. They were set on a new course and grew to become seemingly entirely different people in just a few short years.

I was especially moved by the story of one precious young couple who had moved to America from a nation where it is illegal to become a Christian. A man from Kingdom Church prayed for the wife’s wounded leg on a college campus. She was immediately healed. The man started mentoring the couple right after that, and they recently joined the community at Kingdom. As they talked to me, they were beaming with joy, excitement and gratitude over how much knowing Christ and His followers has changed everything for them over a period of mere months.

I first went to Kingdom Church myself for their launch service on March 11th of 2018. I went home afterwards and posted a video of the worship on Instagram. The caption read, “I feel like the birth of this congregation is an answer to the prayers of those crying out for a move of God in our city. Something epic was just downloaded from Heaven to earth. I believe the whole Body of Christ in the region will move forward stronger because of the breakthrough this army is carrying. They are STARTING with some DNA and culture that is prototypical of what will one day be recognized as normal spirituality in St. Louis. The enemy has gotta be quivering!”
Continue reading Kingdom Church

Answering the Wrong Questions

Every once in a while when I’m driving around town I’ll see a little sign (usually in front of a Methodist or Episcopal church) that reads something like “You are enough” or “You are worthy.” The signs are nice, and they probably really resonate with someone out there who needs to hear an uplifting message. Nevertheless, they often personally strike me as sentimental and lacking in substance. I find myself responding,

Who says I’m enough?

How do you (random church lawn!) have any idea how well I measure up?

Sometimes I wonder if “you are enough” and “you are worthy” are answers to the wrong questions… 

Am I doing enough?

Am I moral enough?

Am I attractive enough?

Am I successful enough?

Am I strong enough?

Am I loveable enough?

Am I worthy enough of respect?

Answering these questions opens the door for only more questions…

By whose standards am I enough?

Can I lose my worth and value?

What requirements am I even trying to live up to?

Who really determines these things accurately, and how?

As I see it, answering questions of “enough-ness” and “worth” could potentially validate questions that don’t actually need to be answered to begin with. Instead of asserting, “I am enough!” – what if we started asking different questions instead?

What if I don’t need to be enough?

What if the universe isn’t rigged to favor people based upon conditions for our perceived worth?

What if our world was never intended to run fundamentally on the principles of good karma and meritocracy?

What if Heaven sends replenishing rain on the just and the unjust? (Matthew 5:45)

What if God’s own heart isn’t counting our trespasses against us (2 Corinthians 5), and is not in the business of weighing our personal sufficiency by our performance – on any scales?

What if in an ultimate sense there never was anything to prove in the first place?

What is there is no spectrum of “enough-ness” or “worth” to start with, on which I must find myself a point of location?

What if we are wasting precious time and energy trying to convince ourselves of the answer to a problem that, in the big picture, doesn’t actually exist?

Scripture teaches that we are loveable simply because we are children of God, made in the image of divinity and redeemed by unearned, undeserved, freely-distributed grace. The Lord does not give us conditions to fulfill in order to make those truths a reality. If we have any noteworthy righteousness at all it is found by virtue of being one with our flawless Messiah, without regard for our own ability to meet religious or social expectations (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are invited to forsake all other vain and faulty means of determining our status.

If this type of message is what these yard signs are designed to convey, then I give a hearty “amen!” But when my worth or sufficiency is brought into question, I prefer to respond more simply by saying, 

“Jesus refused to play this silly game, and I’m not interested in it either!”

At The Table


I spent so many years hungering, thirsting

Searching, reaching…

Striving after the manifest Presence

Getting my appetite whet

But living discontent

And wearing my restlessness

as a badge of honor.


…Until I just stopped

I gave up

And instead started feasting

Drinking to my full.

I began to learn what it means

to be satisfied.

Actually satisfied. Continue reading At The Table

How Grace Empowers Resistance to Temptation

It’s often been said that God’s grace gives us power to overcome sin. What exactly does that mean? Sometimes the answers we are given sound like little more than, “Well the Holy Spirit will remind you that you’re sinning, and help you feel uncomfortable with it!” Of course, that type of behavior-management technique usually provides limited assistance or empowerment (at best) to the average believer in the face of temptation.

Below I want to flesh out my thoughts on how the Gospel effectively counteracts temptation in our lives. Specifically, I want to address sexual temptation – the compulsion to participate in any sexual activity that Scripture teaches is illicit. I hope that this post will bring a bit of clarity to someone in need of it.

Resist the Fear of Punishment

Historically, the Church has often been guilty of using manipulative threats of punishment to try and scare people away from sin. 1st John 4:18 gives us confidence though, saying, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” In other words, we can draw near to God in confidence, knowing He will not hold our failures against us. Though He corrects us, there is no manipulative threat of retribution in His love.

That being said, when we apathetically put ourselves in a position to sin, it gives evidence that we in fact might not believe very strongly in the Gospel that we all say we want to cling to. This is not to say that there isn’t plenty of room for us to make mistakes along the way and exhibit weaknesses. It just means we might not yet know how to genuinely trust in and receive the grace that our hearts so deeply crave. 

As I see it, a false teaching usually does not actually water down what the Bible says about sin. On the contrary, it waters down what we are taught about the remedy for sin – God’s extravagant grace. Let me explain a bit further… Continue reading How Grace Empowers Resistance to Temptation

Peacemaking / Reformation

Recently I saw John Crowder post this quote from Thomas Merton;

“If I can unite in myself the thought and the devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and the Latin Fathers, the Russians with the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians. From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians. We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ.”

This reminds me of something else I once heard activist Jarrod McKenna say. It was along the lines of,

“I am Protestant. I am Catholic. I am evangelical. I am Pentecostal. I don’t want to separate myself from any of our rich heritage, or our responsibility to work on the ways we have collectively contributed to injustice.”

Further, I recall a quote attributed to Augustine (which I also can’t seem to find) that was something like, 

“Our theological errors are usually not manifested in what we affirm, but in what we deny.”

All these thoughts resonate a lot with me. I feel like in my own life, the reason I have often struggled to feel at home in any spiritual community is frequently related to how narrow the (sometimes unspoken) boundaries of that community are. At their core, they are often centered around wonderful values that I absolutely agree with. Yet I see so much of the Body of Christ that is unseen or unheard within each tribe. Pieces of the Body that I value and align with myself… Continue reading Peacemaking / Reformation

Looking Back

I did not choose to be awakened by the Gospel when it started becoming so compelling to me back around 2008/09/10/11…It countered the theology that had been handed to me, and was not a Message I would have gravitated towards easily. It was not very appealing to my pre-established (self-righteous) sensibilities. Rather, I was confronted. And I was romanced. And I mostly resisted — until slowly, but surely (over years), I learned to cooperate with the Spirit’s tender, persistent work on my mind and heart. 

I always take comfort in looking back on that.

And on the ways I was prepared for that season.

And on the ways transformation has unfolded further for me since those initial, sweet, bewildering days of discovery. 

I did not chart out this path of my own initiative. It called out to me. 

Seeing how clear that is frees me from false responsibility. I do not have to waste time defending the path I am on. Nor do I have to figure out exactly where it is headed. I trust that the same sovereign Lover who wooed me in the first place will continue to confirm His will, direct my steps, and lead me to green pastures. 

And He will bring forth fruit that speaks for itself.

#AsburyRevival Observations

A few weeks ago I was listening to Lindy Conant’s song “Another Wave.” She sang the lyrics, “Here comes another wave of revival. Can you feel the earth shaking? The time has now begun!” As I listened, there was a freshness to the song. I sensed the Spirit was underscoring the words of the song, saying, “I know you kind of believe this, but I’m serious. Here comes the next wave. Pay attention.” 

I’m so impressed by what I see and hear is happening in Asbury lately. I hope to visit soon if the gathering continues, but I’ve been observing a lot already from afar. And a few things about this move of the Spirit are really standing out to me… Continue reading #AsburyRevival Observations

My Recent Trip to Iowa

Last week I had the privilege to share some of my life’s story at a gathering in Iowa for Christians who wanted to learn how to more effectively connect with and dignify queer people. I was on a panel with one of my favorite authors, and we were interviewed by my absolute favorite podcast host. Needless to say I was über nervous going into it! That is, especially because I wasn’t sure if my voice condition (spasmodic dysphonia) would interfere. Thankfully, everything went smoothly and the crowd gave fantastic feedback on that part of the event.

As any statistics you look at will make abundantly clear, the Church historically hasn’t been a super hospitable environment to people who don’t conform to heterosexual norms. Over the last year or so, that reality came a bit closer to home for me. It increasingly seemed to me that a lot of Christians I knew were disinterested in developing a more open-hearted, missional approach to relating with queer persons. To be at this conference though in the middle of rural America… filled with hundreds of believers who were sacrificing time and finances to try and rethink how they navigate these relationships… it was such a breath of fresh air. 

Many of the people in the room were over the age of 60, leading and participating in very conservative evangelical churches. When they spoke with me it was clear they had truly tender, humble hearts. It gave me a boost of hope for the Church to be surrounded by hundreds of individuals who were actively and intentionally learning to embrace Christ’s own posture toward those who have been misunderstood.

The next day when I returned to St. Louis I went to a prayer meeting. In the meeting one of the men present received a phone call from his wife that he decided to answer. She was calling to tell him about a dream she’d just had that morning. In the dream, God spoke to her and said that a significant part of the Body of Christ is hidden within the gay community – carrying gifts of joy and freedom that the rest of us really need. And, the Lord added, “they have a greater revelation of their true identity than a lot of other believers actually do.”

Needless to say, the whole week was a great reminder that there really are people with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” the Father’s own perspective over His children. Despite our slowness to respond, He is committed to – one way or another – helping us rightly recognize, esteem and care for one another.

May we too be committed to His reconciliatory work, for the long haul.


Shoutout to the Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender for all you do for the Kingdom!

Taking the Bible For What It Is, As It Is

My Theological Evolution

My theology has shifted in different directions several times over the years. When I was a teenager and stopped believing in the pretribulational rapture, it was because I was convinced by scripture that my previous perspective was not what the apostles actually taught. In my early adulthood, when I dramatically changed my theology of identity and sanctification, it was because I became convinced that my own Protestant tradition was articulating those doctrines in a way the Bible itself does not. When I went through deconstruction in my late twenties, I re-examined the notions I had about fundamental doctrines like original sin, atonement theory, Hell, and even the nature of scriptural authority itself — precisely because I was trying to more seriously wrestle with the Bible and be honest about the conclusions its authors intended to lead me towards.

Throughout this whole, ongoing process, I feel like I have grown more confident not only that my theology is more properly grounded in truth than it used to be, but that it has become something filled with beauty. It has become more Jesus-centered. It has become something I actually want to share with people — and not just because I’ve been told it’s my moral responsibility to do so.

In my 30’s, I started more deeply rethinking my theology as it relates to my own sexuality. I committed to follow the same pattern that I’ve always followed. I looked at the scriptural texts. I learned everything I could about how they were translated and what they communicate when pieced together. I did my best to acknowledge where the authors confirmed or challenged the perspective I already held, asking the Holy Spirit to help me discern the Lord’s will through it all. Continue reading Taking the Bible For What It Is, As It Is

Your Will Be Done

Nothing is more reassuring than knowing you are in God’s will, where you’re assigned, led by His input, in His timing.

Knowing with clarity that you’ve heard from Him and gained His approval in your decisions gives such confidence. It’s incomparably better than trying to force your own poorly informed dreams and plans for your life to work.

To join Christ in saying to the Father, “Not my will be done, but Yours” — is such a source of joy and security. It is the only way to guard our hearts from regret.