November 11, 2018
I attended the Anchored Conference in San Juan Capistrano last weekend.
First, I appreciated being there and listening to you, Sean, Caleb, and Jonathan. I also appreciated the short exchange we had in the doorway Saturday morning mostly based around our love of our mothers. I know you lost yours 14 years ago. Mine is sitting right in my office as I write this, watching a movie on Netflix with earbuds in and a snoring dog on her lap.
I think we could both agree that we care deeply about both youth in and outside the church, and that the witness of Jesus Christ be portrayed accurately to the world. This is likely what motivates each of us to the work that we do. I care about moving conversations and ideas along to greater godly truth, and it was to this end that I took the time to fly from Nevada to Southern California and invested almost 11 hours listening to your point of view along with those of Greg, Caleb, Sean, and those on the panel.
In his introduction of you, Jonathan said you are a speaker that is in much demand at youth conferences. I am assuming that your presentation was likely an accurate replication of the talks you give at youth conferences. While you were speaking however, I found myself thinking, “Does he realize who his audience is here today?” When you inserted an altar call at the end, I found it quite odd.
I was hoping your presentation would have more substance and insights as to the action steps you might have offered youth leaders in what they might do to keep LGBTQ youth in their churches and engaged and active in the faith. Rather, your talk seemed clunky in trying to fit “the LGBTQ issue” in in keeping with the conference focus.
Your discomfort and lack of expertise with the LGBTQ issue was glaring as you repeated many variations of L-G-B-T-Q. It actually for me sadly became quite comical as you said: LDBT, LDBQ, LGDQ, L-Chee-DB, and several other variations. When you said “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender,” you seemed to need to read it off your computer screen to get it right.
If you want to position yourself as an expert voice to leaders on how to reach LGBTQ youth, it would be both helpful and respectful to use the acronym correctly and consistently. You lose credence when you stumble through the letters L-G-B-T-Q.
You likely know, I do not agree with your stance of seeing homosexuality as sin. I wish I could give you a simple paragraph substantiating my position, but it is far more complicated than a few sentences.
I do encourage you, if you have the time and would like education on this issue, to invest time in watching some recent videos created from a teaching I did in Austin, TX. They are long, but they are filled with research, history and insights. Part 1 and Part 2.
I would hope you might choose to learn, investigate and do better. The lives of LGBTQ youth are at risk, great risk. Many of these children/youth are sitting in your presentations and hearing your shaming and ill-informed messages which wholly condemn them.
You can couch your words in love and empathy, but please believe me, that is not how they are falling on the ears, souls, hearts, and spirits of the most vulnerable.
Many of these LGBTQ youth and young people will in all likelihood leave the church and leave the faith under your teachings.
Know better and do better.
Incidentally, when I left the conference on Saturday afternoon, I went to a retreat hosted by Open Door, Evergreen Baptist Church, Rosemead, CA. This is the LGBTQ Christian group I was with until Sunday evening.
These too are the people of God, just as they are.