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!

Quick story about a different “Ian”…

Earlier this year, a few months after I lost a ministry job, I went to spend some time at Teleo Coffee in Kirkwood, Missouri one morning. I was working on my laptop, setting up my new freelance business. Meanwhile, I kept noticing this good looking dude sitting near me with long hair and a “Jesus loves you” shirt on. After sitting there for some time, he got up and approached my table.

With a grin on his face he asked, “Hey, I couldn’t help but notice the Greek tattoo on your arm man. What does it mean?” I told him the word means “loved unconditionally,” and explained a little bit of the spiritual backstory as to why I got the tattoo in the first place. “I thought I got the impression you might be a believer,” he said enthusiastically, and we started to chat a bit about our personal histories with the Lord.

I told him we should get coffee sometime and connect more. He gave me his name (Ian) and phone number, but told me he was leaving town and wouldn’t be back in the area for a good while. Nevertheless, he texted me later that day to ask me if there was anything he could be praying about for me. I responded that the main thing weighing on my mind was my financial situation, because I was late on making a payment that I owed. He asked me how much the total was. 

A few days later Ian messaged me to tell me he just got a paycheck… and then proceeded to send me a big chunk of money via Venmo to cover my bill!

I was so moved that a stranger felt led to spontaneously invest in me like that. I texted him and told him he was too gracious, and he replied, “God is too gracious! In fact, that’s literally what my name means.”

It felt like a wink from Heaven.

That’s just one of countless stories I could tell of how people have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me in this chapter of my life — encouraging, supporting and blessing me in surprising ways. In other words, intentionally modeling Christ’s loyal love in an embodied manner, as the Church that He intended for us to be to one another.

We don’t always get it right in how we treat each other… But then again, a lot of times we actually do. Either way, God knows how to step in, show up, and continue in every season to be exceedingly gracious.

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

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”

A Bit About My Faith & Sexuality


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

A Healthier Approach to My Spirituality

My whole life I’ve had preachers tell me I needed to “crucify the flesh” within me in order to be close to God. “Yes, He is always present, but it’s His MANIFEST Presence that is cut off from us because of our sinfulness.” The solution? Lots of time in isolation crying out to the Lord. Continual pleading for forgiveness. Subjective experiences with the power of the Spirit that would hopefully, finally “mortify” at least some of the power of sin over my life…

A Broken Pattern

I bought into this kind of messaging and I put it into practice. I would hunger and thirst after the manifest Presence. I desperately spent endless hours confessing and renouncing my failures, asking God to cleanse me of every wicked thought or deed. And I chased manifestations of the Spirit like they were Pokemon… “Gotta catch ‘em all!”

Truth be told, there wasn’t much I wouldn’t do at that time for a spiritual high or for a reassurance that I was currently “right with God.” The problem was, it was all temporary. It was cyclical. I’d sin, or even just feel what I perceived was a temptation, and I’d be reminded again of my depravity. I was acutely aware of the apparent distance between myself and the One I wished I could better serve. Any security or assurance I had previously felt would escape me, and I’d be stuck in a mental battle with “conviction” until either 1) I started feeling like I was performing better or 2) I started thinking I’d had a revelation on how to get it right the next time the devil came to test me.

If I ever did seem to succeed at walking in obedience and in peace for a while, I was made to second guess myself by sermons telling me that I needed God to search my hidden motives all the more. After all, “nobody is perfect!” I wouldn’t want to get prideful!

My perpetual prayer was for God to transform me. To deliver me. Essentially, to fix me. All the while, I believed I was “legally justified” and technically in right-standing with God. I just couldn’t seem to get such ideas to bring me consistent comfort.

A New Message

Eventually, I came across some crazy grace-preachers who were preaching a message I’d never heard before… A message that struck me as heretical at worst, or “out of balance” at best. Like Paul, they taught that I was already thoroughly “dead to sin and alive to God” (Romans 6:11,14). That I am no longer “in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God is within” (Romans 8:9). That Jesus actually finished the job of crucifying my old self, and now “it is not I who live but Christ who lives within me” (Galatians 2:20). That, by some mysterious miracle 2,000 years ago, I “have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). According to these guys, I “have been made complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10)… Most confounding of all, they said I couldn’t be any closer to God than I already am, for “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1st Cor. 6:17).

At first it was hard for me to stomach these radical, absurd notions. Nevertheless, I quickly began to recognize that the depths of my being overwhelmingly resonated with such truths. In a variety of ways, the Spirit of God clearly gave His stamp of approval to these teachings over and over. Through Scripture, I further began to find that these concepts were not just “part” of the Gospel. My research revealed that these concepts were ALL over the whole New Testament (and in much of the Old) — infused in the entire proclamation of Christ’s work.

Slowly but surely, I began a serious, intense religious detox. I was “deconstructing” before it was ever a buzzword. All the while, I fell more and more in love with the person of Jesus and more convinced of both His utter goodness and His insane loyalty to me.

Laying aside my self-righteous piety, I broke up with spiritual desperation. I abandoned my BS repentance rituals. At last, I let go of my confused commitment to what I called “self-denial” (which was really just self-loathing and shame with a nice coat of paint on it).

Very New Results

And would you believe it, my sense of connection with God improved exponentially. I started becoming aware of His nearness and activity in every area of my life — every day. Even on my worst days. I started having many more wild and frequent manifestations of the Spirit and His gifts in my life too, to the degree that I had to get used to NOT having dry-spells anymore. Confoundingly, despite being told that my willful, ongoing sin would push Him away — I even felt close to the Father when I recognized I was practicing bad habits! 

Over time, this all helped me only want to invite Christ’s leadership into my decisions all the more… I welcomed His input on my choices, not because I was still afraid of what would happen to me if I didn’t do so. Rather, it was because I was genuinely confident that He was invested in my well being for the long haul, through thick and thin.

Somehow, all these changes further gave me confidence to become more authentically vulnerable with both God and with other people. I generally quit shying away from discussing my weaknesses, failures or embarrassments. Because of that, I started developing a level of intimacy in my friendships that I didn’t even dream was possible. In the process, I came to see self-acceptance and Christ-like self-sacrifice as working together in harmony (instead of being in tension with one another).

I still embrace the need to address areas of dysfunction in my mindsets and behaviors, of course. Nevertheless, I’m done trying to in any sense improve on who I am. With that, I’ve completely ceased feeling like I get out of touch with God’s nearness! My prayer-life has only been enriched, and with so much less effort than it ever took me in my adolescence…

No Barriers to His Presence

My point in sharing all of this is to encourage you to stop buying into confusing, self-contradictory, mixed-messaging. Give yourself permission to take a deep-dive into the unconditional love and unmerited favor God so freely gives to you. Further, carefully filter through any voices that tell you there are prerequisites or qualifications needed for you to experience oneness with the Lord. 

If we can just quit tripping ourselves up with traditions and arguments that deny the Finished Work of Christ’s Cross, we CAN experience a more substantial satisfaction and contentment in everyday life. Even on our worst days and in our hardest seasons! After about a decade of living this way, I can guarantee it is real and it is better than what much of the evangelical and Charismatic world portrays as possible on this side of the age-to-come.

Lean into the faithfulness of God. He is here, He is for you, and He is endlessly accessible. He refuses to define any part of you by your decisions, and there are no barriers or obstacles standing between the two of you.