behold the seedling

When you compare a seedling to a full grown tree, the two may appear to be quite different. One may have a grand trunk, roots that spread wide beneath the earth, massive branches that provide great shade, and countless leaves or even fruit to offer. The seedling, however, might be weak, bare, flimsy, unimpressive and easy to be trampled down. Yet the seedling is by no means any less a “real” tree than the bigger one. They carry the same complete genetic coding.

We are like that seedling. We need constant nurturing, maturing and ongoing growth… The truest thing about us, however, is not in what we are still seemingly lacking. It is that we are in union with the Holy One. He has already set us apart as His own and repetitively called us righteous “saints” all throughout the New Testament (62 times, in fact).

This is the core of who we are, the very essence we’ve been given… And nothing was required for us to produce it ourselves!

Your True Name is Stardust

Once I had a dream where I heard a voice tell me my true name was not actually Destin, but rather “Stardust.” I woke up and intuitively sensed I was being reminded that I am yes, mere dust — but also something more heavenly.

Since then, I have actually come across several different spiritual teachers who use the metaphor of “stardust” to describe our true identity. We were formed from the materials of our planet, but according to science our planet is made of the stars. We are but ashes which shall return to ashes (Ecclesiastes 3:20), and yet we are “born from above” (John 3:3). We are “vessels of clay” (2nd Corinthians 4:7) and also “partakers of the divine nature” (2nd Peter 1:4). Sons of man and sons of man’s Maker. Mortals carrying eternity in our hearts… Flesh animated with Spirit.

We are earthly, but with a bit of a celestial quality.

In Christ, this is true of all of us. We must learn to embrace our messy humanity along with our God-given glory. Our frail frames are awe-inspiring temples of the Divine. We have greatness inside of us, even while continuing to be real, normal, everyday people with the most basic limitations and needs. These two realities are not in conflict. Jesus embodied them both in harmony. By His grace, so can we.

Don’t shy away from your unavoidable averageness.
And don’t forget you are a wonder to behold.

Perspectives to Consider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of us who seek to honor the authority of Scripture in our decision-making processes, we know we shouldn’t be sloppy in how we interpret its words. I’d say that is especially true when it comes to issues that drastically affect peoples’ wellbeing and the trajectory of their whole lives.

With that conviction held tightly, I’ve been studying how to best interpret Scripture’s guidance on LGBTQ issues for several years. I continually find that there is more to learn about all of this than I previously realized. My older theology was often massively simplistic and shallow, and sometimes poorly reasoned. Nevertheless, it was all I was exposed to for a very long time in the circles I swim in.

Because my studies had only gone to a certain extent, I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know. The supposedly “plain reading” of the text could only get me so far. To my own detriment and to the detriment of those I sought to influence, I was responsible for my own lack of interest in actually taking a deeper look at what the Good Book really says and means.

In the past couple weeks I decided to revisit this subject once again and go another layer deeper in my own research. So I read these two books, both about how to discern what approaches Scripture actually calls us to take on navigating LGBTQ controversies. Continue reading Perspectives to Consider

a (semi-)quick update

I thought I’d give a little update on life since I came out and subsequently got fired from my job:

Originally, I thought I’d feel embarrassed after coming out. I figured I’d “recoil” — wanting to hide from the world for a while. I assumed I’d have to push fairly hard for a while to get past my insecurity, wishing I could still cover that part of myself (particularly around other guy friends who I want to try extra hard to fit in with). I was bracing myself to face some difficult emotional work to move through.

When I made my original post though, I felt surprisingly self-assured about it. I went to bed that night filled with the most tangible joy — but expected I’d regret my decision later after the dopamine high faded. Continue reading a (semi-)quick update

Addressing the Deeper Needs

I genuinely appreciate conversations about developing ethical sexual boundaries. However, I am much more interested in conversations about emotional and relational wholeness. Sexual boundaries make a lot more sense and are a lot more viable for those with healthy hearts and attachments. The God-who-is-Love generally prioritizes addressing these issues at the core of who we are, in my personal experience. To use Jesus’ metaphor — He cleans the inside of the cup, rather than merely polishing its outer surface.
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That being mentioned, I want to highlight two profoundly beautiful books that deal with precisely these topics. Both are written by Christian gay men like myself, who have had to wrestle through working to find a measure of meaningful intimacy and belonging outside of conventional romantic partnerships and nuclear families. Without painting an overly idealistic picture of the situation, both have also found that the Church can itself serve as a life-giving chosen-family that effectively provides much of these needs.
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Whether you’re gay or straight, single or coupled, or even whether you’re a believer or not — I think these two books could greatly benefit anyone who has unmet emotional and relational longings. The stories and essays within them are filled with the kind of precious gems of insight that are worth carefully mining and treasuring in reflection multiple times over.….
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No Longer Strangers – Greg Coles
Spiritual Friendship – Wesley Hill
Related Posts:

Repost: “Yield”

“The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!”

“You do you – live your truth, babe!”

These are exemplary of the sentiments I often hear when I discuss faith & sexuality with others. Honestly I find both of them to be pretty reductionistic. Neither go a super long way in actually helping one make responsible life choices or grow in wisdom and discernment.

For those of us who follow Jesus, we do not dive headlong into letting our fickle emotions drive our biggest life decisions. Neither do we throw our internal compass out the window and robotically comply with the modern evangelical standard of biblical interpretation. Rather, we give our allegiance to a living Person — who is very relational, respectful, dignifying, and process-oriented. That being the case, I generally think it is good to develop a deeper and more nuanced approach to sorting through decisions concerning things like our identity and destiny.

In light of the lively discussion some have had since I came out online, I thought it might be good to re-share this post I wrote back in early 2020. Hopefully it will give a good window into how I’m trying to navigate my own approach to life. Maybe it will even give someone else some food-for-thought in their own process… Continue reading Repost: “Yield”

RE: coming out

Since coming out to the world of social media the other day, I have observed a lot of people discussing what my theological and ethical stances are on sexual desire and expression. Some folks have asked me questions about this directly, and others have simply affirmed and honored me for stances they perceive I am holding. I generally welcome the feedback and conversation.

Nevertheless — as much as I think it is important to weigh our beliefs and practices against scriptural teaching, and to discern how to humbly follow Christ’s leadership in these areas — I want to be clear that I was intentional about avoiding the opportunity to define all my stances in one post. I have PLENTY of opinions related to all things at the intersection of LGBTQ issues & faith… There are a couple of those opinions I’m sure I won’t be quiet about forever. But all of that ultimately is not the hill I want to die on.

For one, I don’t want to always play into the silly culture war — if I can avoid it.  Secondly, I simply don’t need to tell the whole world what I think is right. I’ll more likely share about that with folks who share in common with me some fundamental assumptions about the very nature of truth. I can’t expect everyone to live the way I live when we don’t have the same core values or give allegiance to the same sources of authority.

Beyond that though, I could also just say this: It wasn’t an ethical or moral stance that made me fall in love with Jesus in the first place. And it wasn’t the tossing out of an ethical or moral stance that helped me figure out how to get more free from shame or how to grow more integrated as a person. I’ve long wanted far more clarity and resolution about all my “stances” than I’ve been able to find. But that has apparently never been a big priority to Jesus, in comparison to His own insistent pursuit of my simple trust. Our connection is thriving, and that doesn’t rise and fall on what an amazing job I do at managing my sexuality, coming to correct doctrinal conclusions, or identifying myself according to any expected criteria. Our relationship is covenantal, not contractual.

For the record, if you want to know if I’m “pure” or not, I can answer that in two ways: Continue reading RE: coming out

A Bit About My Faith & Sexuality

Hesitations

I’ve gone back and forth a few times about whether or not I want to talk about my sexuality much in public. I planned on making a post about it back in November of 2019, and I even had a specific date picked to do so. It was going to be a Sunday. The night before, the pastor of my church randomly called me out of the crowd and prophesied over me that the trajectory of my life was going to be forever different because of that weekend. That seemed like exactly the kind of overly-dramatic boost of encouragement I thought I needed. So I wrote an article, posted it on my blog… and shortly thereafter removed it, without ever publishing it to social media.

My life went on as usual.

All that said, I’ve shared this with a number of you in person or in my home group already. Nevertheless, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I still need to be more open about it. Especially with some of you that I’ve only come to know in the last couple years. God’s Spirit has seemed to be haunting me lately, regularly impressing upon me to more thoroughly address this subject. So rather than continuing to resist His clear prompting, I’m going to course-correct a bit before entering into 2022.

Here is the long and short of it… Continue reading A Bit About My Faith & Sexuality

What Does Consecration Look Like?

It’s common for a post to come up on my Instagram feed saying something like, “Avoid people who hold you back. Surround yourself with people who help you reach your goals.” It’s a popular sentiment, and there is definitely some super practical wisdom in it worth implementing.

That said, Jesus did not necessarily practice this philosophy very well. Continue reading What Does Consecration Look Like?

Some Thoughts on “Paradoxes”

One definition of “paradox” is “a seemingly absurd statement about two ideas that appear to be in tension, that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded, true and harmonious.” Paradox is real and it is mysterious and it is wonder-inducing. Growing in spiritual maturity always requires us to learn to sit with and explore the paradoxes of life. Much revelation is found from seeing how truth is revealed in ways that at first might make our heads spin for a moment.

That being the case, there are very common ways to speak about theology, spirituality and the nature of humanity that are not *paradoxical — but rather are pointlessly conflicting and self-contradictory. Further, trying to force these ideas to fit together not only might offer us no practical benefit… It often can actually make us double-minded. By trying to live out of such confusion, we could be interfering with our own ability to more effectively walk in integrity. Continue reading Some Thoughts on “Paradoxes”