SBC Pastor’s Kid Comes Out and Family Stands with Him UPDATE

Drew

Drew

UPDATE — MARCH 11, 2014 (I have the permission of Pastor Danny to relay this information.) 

Thank you to those of you who have prayed for the Cortez family and the New Heart church community as they navigate this issue. This is the official statement for the process over the next two months:

“As a result of an election held for its congregation on Sunday March 9, 2014, New Heart Community Church of La Mirada, CA, decided how to begin navigating the difficult issue of same-sex marriage.

New Heart’s congregation elected to establish an in-depth theological study of same-sex marriage, so that congregants for themselves might more deeply discern both their own theological views concerning same-sex marriage and their willingness, whatever their views, to invite same-sex couples into fellowship, communion, and leadership in the church.

A further vote—whether to maintain the church’s traditional view, take more time for study, or adopt a new position regarding same-sex marriage—will take place on May 18.

In the meantime, New Heart maintains the traditional position of its Southern Baptist denomination.”

Equal time will be given to both sides of the discussion – 4 weeks to investigate committed, monogamous, long-term same-sex relationships as approved by God, and 4 weeks to investigate  life-long celibacy for LGBTQ people including discussion of the possibility/need to change from homosexuality.

Several people have offered to their services to help educate and engage in transparent dialogue on the inclusion side. That is where it is now  - 4 weeks for each “side” and then another vote on May 18th. 

May dialogue with humble hearts become the living model of compassionately hearing the stories and spirits of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fellow Christians. May we look at all others through the eyes of Jesus. May we hear His direction clearly. Amen.

Pastor Danny and Abby’s emails: danilo.cortez@gmail.com and abbydcortez@gmail.com

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I recently met Danny and Abby at the Gay Christian Network Conference in Chicago. Danny has been the lead teaching pastor of a small conservative church for the past 16 years. He and his wife have four children, and one of them is gay.

Last fall, Pastor Danny was driving 15 year-old Drew to high school. The song ” Same Love” by Macklemore came on the radio. Danny asked, “Drew, who sings this song?” “Macklemore, why Dad?” “Oh because I like what he has to say.” Drew was shocked, “Really Dad? You like this song?” Danny replied, “Yeah, I no longer believe what I used to believe.”

A few minutes later, in the high school parking lot, Drew came out as gay to his pastor father.  God had been preparing Pastor Danny for several years. Four years ago, a lesbian in his congregation came out to him and asked that he watch “Through My Eyes”. The example of her Christian witness and life, and the stories of other young gay Christians on the documentary challenged Pastor Danny to reexamine the Scriptures about faith and sexual orientation.

This is son, Drew’s coming out story which he posted.

Abby & Danny

Abby & Danny

I have intentionally omitted (now updated below) the details about the location of the family, church and denomination. Pastor Danny, who has spoken to his Board of Deacons, is speaking to his congregation on Sunday, February 9th. After he does, I will link the sermon and the rest of the information.

[UPDATE #2 10:30 pm-- Sermon, Sunday, February 9th -- "Homosexuality."]

DIRECTLY FROM THE CHURCH OFFICIAL PUBLIC PODCAST: Decision time is at hand — the congregation will either keep the pastor and leave the denomination or fire the pastor and remain in the denomination. Pastor Danny, the elders and the congregation have entered into a series of open conversations, private discussions and prayer over the next four weeks.

Month-long process of decision:

Week 1: worship and prayer

Week 2: congregation speaks and nominates committee of 7 to join elders to investigate top 3-4 options

Week 3: communicate top 3-4 options to congregation

Week 4: prayer and congregation votes MARCH 9th.

In the meantime — PLEASE encourage this family. You can leave messages on Youtube for Drew. Here are the parents emails: danilo.cortez@gmail.com and abbydcortez@gmail.com

When I first led a workshop for parents at the Gay Christian Network Conference five years ago, there were four parents in attendance. This year, in Chicago, there were between 60 – 70 parents. Four pastor families were represented. I have been waiting for years for the parents of gay and transgender children to “show up” in the gay Christian dialogue. They are here!

The parents of gay and transgender children are beginning to speak up in their churches requesting that leadership engage in important conversations about faith and sexual orientation.  People in the pulpits are often fearful of change and even dialogue about faith and sexual orientation: will they lose membership? will the giving decrease? will the church divide? These are practical concerns and possible costs of simply engaging in open conversation .

The question should be — given what we see in the lives of gay Christians, is it time to revisit the Scripture for Holy Spirit revelation on this issue?

In the midst of these messy and scary places, God is raising up parents and pastor parents that are filled with unconditional love for their children, a reason to re-examine the beliefs they have held, and a burden to speak out for change in conservative churches.

With great parents, Abby & Danny

With great parents, Abby & Danny

If you are the Christian mother of a gay or transgender child and would like to connect with other moms that support their children, contact me and I will direct you to a private online group. If you are a pastor, I can connect you to other pastors; however, there is a need for a pastor/pastors of a conservative church(es) to create a safe online place for a nationwide group to support one another.

In my little place on the planet, three sons of pastors have come out as gay during this past year. One pastor-father has done a dreadful job in handling the process; foolishly, he even brought in an ex-gay speaker for a series.  The other two pastors are navigating the process far more graciously.

Christian parents of gay and transgender children are the “secret weapon” of love, grace and change sitting in every denomination, in most churches and in every area of the country.

Blessing upon your family Drew. Blessing upon you Pastor Danny and Abby. You have been willing to examine your beliefs before God, and love your son.

Others will follow your example.

 

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When Professor James Brownson’s 19 year old son came out, it challenged this conservative NT professor of a seminary to reexamine his beliefs. He then wrote an EXCELLENT book “Bible Gender Sexuality” — a MUST READ.

My book “Walking the Bridgeless Canyon — Repairing the Breach between the Conservative Church and the LGBT Christian Community” will be out Spring 2014.

Matthew Vines’ book “God and the Gay Christian” will be out May 2014
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Watch this video about the life and death of Ryan, Linda and Rob Robertson’s son.

Resource for Moms of gay kids “Mom, I’m Gay”

Kathy with The Robertsons & Cortezs at GCN Conf.

Kathy with The Robertsons & Cortezs at GCN Conf.

RESOURCES

AFFIRMING CHURCHES

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This post was written by who has written 174 posts on .

Tim A says:

Is there a “LIKE” button here someplace??

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Dennis Paul Carreiro says:

Dear Anonymous,

I’m praying for you. Obviously you are God, I mean, you are speaking for Him right? Telling Him what He can and can not have made? I want to address a few points that you have made here…but to be honest, I’m struggling with what to say to you, because you see, God hasn’t made me pure hearted, so I just want to use my sarcastic wit to rip you apart, but who is that helping? Well…it would help me to feel better.

First of all, I feel bad for you, because you’ve mentioned in both posts that you know the Cortes family yet you post as anonymous…why is that? Why pass your judgement from behind a monitor, if you feel so strongly about your beliefs….shouldn’t you stand and be counted? I mean, God is on your side, right? At least that is what you want us to believe. It’s been weighing on your heart to stand up…yet, you’re hiding. Hypocrisy is alive and well, I see.

Secondly, I have a problem with your statement to Ms. Baldock regarding her shameless self promotion….my response to that is “DUH”. You ARE visiting HER blog, She did just write/is writing a book, which is exactly about this topic…so what would you expect?

Your first post is so full of judgement and condescension that I don’t even know where to begin. So here’s the deal, I’m going to pray for you. I’m going to pray that you turn from your wicked ways, because after all, that’s what the Bible says to do. Since you are so full of judgement, I believe that is a sin as well and since the Bible says that all sings are equal in the eyes of God. Don’t blame me! I didn’t write it!

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Anonymous says:

I happen to know this family personally by relation, it’s been weighing on my heart to speak up and stand in defense of the living word, who most people find dead or changeable but I assure you it is not the word is the word and is it alive you cannot change the word to suit your lifestyle you cannot change the way people understand it you can certainly try to manipulate the word but the facts are the facts, now there is no doubt in my mind Danny loves Drew along with there other kids Derek dj and Alyssa no doubt, but trying to twist the words of the bible to suit his love for both God and his kids, that’s where he’s wrong. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 speaks that they will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, now it’s one thing to come out and repent and turn from those ways but it’s another to live in it and expect to inherit the kingdom, yes we’re all forgiven but you can’t stay living a sinner, I love this family very much and will be praying that Drew and his parents repent for what they’ve done and turn back to the God that has kept them strong cause wether they see it or not they are weak, the ways of the world got to them enough to change they’re beliefs and that saddens me, Danny’s liberal views have always been questionable ever since college and we were warned never to attend his church and I never understood why until fairly recently I’d say in the past 6 years everything is coming out, Danny has a lot of coming out to do himself I pray he reaches deep down in his soul and realizes it, blessing on your family, your gonna need it – a friend

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I appreciate your comment and want to tell you that an ever increasing number of Christians, my self included, strong believe that the Word has been inaccurately interpreted for the past 40 years. I have been doing historical work and think I am building a strong case that shows clearly the link between the horrible decision to merge faith and politics and the twisting of the Word to bring focus on the LGBT community in a way God NEVER intended.

I think you may find that if you opened yourself up to investigating this issue and listening to the Spirit, you would be found lacking in the dogma you know hold. It is sad that you are not taking this opportunity to learn and stretch yourself. I was where you are and understand it fully.

Please consider buying my book when it comes out in May. You may be VERY surprised at the information you lack in having made your decision.

I think Danny and his family will see the blessing of their struggle, courage and obedience. I hope the same for you — mostly I wish courage for you to face and risk being wrong, and in the end, not a friend — but a judge.

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Anonymous Reply:

Nice rebuttal for a shameless self promotion, I’ve been stretched beyond limits you can’t even imagine in my walk with The Lord and move in The Holy Spirit in ways you dreamed of, I for one will not buy a book that most likely tries to take the word of The Lord and construe it to suit someone’s worldly life style, what if people were to write books on how stealing, cheating, lying, killing and committing adultery were ok it says so in the bible you just gotta read and interpretate it your own way! No! Sin is sin and you cannot live in it . PERIOD ! You cannot change what the Word says, just like you cannot change certain forms of math 2+2=4 that’s it, not 3 not 6, 7, 8 , 9, but 4 no other way around it ! 3 might get jealous 6 and 7 might bully 4, 8 and 9 might team up and create a law suit and create laws but no 2 + 2 = 4. No man can live in sin, that’s why God created forgiveness, so we can repent and turn from our misconstrued lives I’m 22 and I know this !! This is coming from my heart I haven’t known the Cortes family that long but I know enough of them to know I’m speaking out of love for them, I just pray they snap out of what the world has brought them to, I pray they know that what the world has brought them to, God will get them though.

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Elle Reply:

Why are you hiding and calling yourself Anonymous? If I knew the Cortez the way you claim to know them I would have been nice enough to either confront them and express my dissatisfaction for their dilemma, but, I know I would actually feel compassion for them and offer them support.

Anonymous's aunt a.k.a Lila Reply:

Dearest Canyon Walker and anyone else that happen to read ” Anonymous’s” post on Your page,
I want to first say that this person isn’t so anonymous to me so I feel like I can speak a bit into his ignorance. I have known and loved him since the day he was born, as his aunt. I do agree with some of what he shared on your blog here. Yes, he does know the Cortez family but more as an acquaintance. Yes he is right Danny does love his children and yes, you cannot twist scripture to suit your needs. But to accuse Danny of this, well you and I know that that is wrong and Danny has done no such thing. If anonymous actually knew Danny, he would know that nothing was twisted so anonymous don’t get it twisted. We all must read scripture as it was written. With that said, we must also read scripture in its proper context and take into consideration the historical time in which it was written. Do your own research.
Let me speak now about the Cortez family because I do actually know them and have loved each of them and have walked 23 years of my life with this family so maybe I’m a little biased but at least I KNOW them. They are my family. I have loved and have a deep respect for both Danny & Abby and have loved each of the children since the day they were born and everyday since then. Gods word tells us that our fruits will be very telling of who we are right? Well I can honestly say that the Cortez family has produced good fruit throughout their lives. They are a true example of John 15. I can’t say that about anonymous. The Cortez’s are not perfect nor have they ever claimed to have it all together, this journey included. I know that this is a new part in their journey and they are navigating it as best as they can. They are doing it with love, care and respect for each other and truly wanting to discern Gods truth and Gods best for their family. The Cortez’s are not out to change anyone’s mind or opinions but they are encouraging others to search the scripture, get educated and pray for discernment. Thats it, nothing else.
Back to anonymous, I can assure you I too believe Gods word is alive and well and I know Danny feels the same way about Gods word. Which is why he studies Gods word so in depth. The issue of same sex attraction is something Pastor Danny has been studying diligently for the past 3+years, not just one side but trying to understand all sides. His journey into this in depth study was not the result of his son coming out. the 2 journeys just happened to coincide with one another. I don’t believe anonymous knows this. I also don’t believe anonymous understands the depth of the ramifications of his words of knowledge. This has brought shame and sadness to other members of our family that once looked up to him as their older, should be more mature, cousin. But I can’t totally blame him for his regurgitation. Its hard to shed the scripts we’ve been fed all of our lives. I do want to encourage him to get educated on the issue and if he is going to speak as someone who “knows the Cortez family,” then call Danny, spend time with their family and gather the facts before he goes on speaking as someone that ” knows” them, not to mention learning how to spell their last name will also add credibility to his claim of knowing them. ” As iron sharpens iron….” Well I also want to thank Danny as my Pastor. As someone who has not only been a part of his church but serves along side of him and the rest of our family, I want to thank him for being used by God to spread Gods truth and for helping me walk my faith, live my faith and fall deeper in love with my Lord. As for anonymous’s being “warned never to attend his church…” To that I am deeply hurt because if he had attended the church then maybe he’d actually be speaking from a place of knowledge. He would actually have seen Pastor Danny standing in defense of Gods word Sunday after Sunday and every day between. But no, anonymous only knows the Cortez family from a distance. Anonymous has not witnessed their journey or cried with them. He has not shared in their struggles or victories. I believe that where anonymous has failed is this, he has failed to speak the truth in love or from a place of truly knowing this family having lived life with them. I know this family not just by name but we have lived side by side for 23 years and even have dinner together at least one night a week for the greater part of 20 years. Gods word challenges us to not let unwholesome talk come from our mouths. I want to ask anonymous to please stop. Stop speaking on something you know nothing about. I want to encourage you to understand what it means to love your neighbor, gay, straight or otherwise. You don’t have to agree, just live in the tension just as Jesus did when he walked on this earth. Thats what Gods word challenges us to do. Learn what it means to live out Matthew 7:5 . Nothing about his post felt loving. I am deeply saddened by this and to equate this with the past 6 years, well the two issues have nothing to do with each other. That I know for a fact! Why that was brought here is beyond me. Anonymous doesn’t have all his facts together. For that I apologize to you and your readers.
And as to the ” shameless plug” for your upcoming book I say plug away and I’d be happy to plug your book on my social media. Nothing shameless about plugging your own book on your page after all this Is your page! I look forward to reading it.
Finally let me say this, Canyon Walker thank you for providing a platform such as this. You have created a space for dialogue. And while I know its content isn’t going to agree with everyone, it will at the very least, stir things up. Change is coming.
Anonymous’s Aunt
Aka Lila

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Oh my Auntie– what a lovely and thoughtful letter. I imagine I will meet you one day because I intent to stay closely in the Cortez ‘ life — they are a delightful couple. The Spirit of God is clearly operating in their lives. God could not have picked a better man and family to allow this controversy to rise thru. I am seeing this repeated over and over in pastor’s families. God is WORKING!!!

Thank you for investing time in a response and countering an unkind message.

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Elle Reply:

Anonymous is a mean old man. I am amazed at his capacity to see others sins and not his own. Speaking ill of others is a sin and that is exactly what he did in his bla bla bla. Anonymous says that he knows the Cortes’ family but the Cortez spell their name with a Z. He must be an incredibly selfish person which is also a sin. Please know how to spell a person’s name before passing your judgement. It seems that the Lord has given you His gable so that you can do His job for Him. Everything that came out of Anonymous’ mouth is poison. In the end, he says that God will get the Cortez. Well, if he is going to get them he will get you as well for your deceptions. Mr and Mrs. Cortez lived by the world of God as best as they could. Remember that Pastor Cortez was counselling people by telling them that homosexuality is not right and what happened? His own son came out of the closet. You in your condemnation of others, anonymous, will face your own condemnation. “A day will come when you’ll stand in front of the cashier with your wallet open and ready to pay.” I am not talking about groceries. It’s my best translation of a French phrase.

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Howard Carver says:

I just listened to Danny’s sharing message of 9 February to his SBC congregation about what he and his family has been and are going through over the matter of reevaluating the traditional scriptural view of homosexuality thru the lens of biblical interpretation and application in light of the time and culture in which Paul wrote the letter to the Romans and our day and age.

As Danny emotionally shared the details of Drew’s coming out and his struggle to come to terms about the subject matter it so touched my heart and the tears proceeded to stream down my face.

I understand the concern and the need for Danny to bring his changed views to his church family. It is the right thing to do, to be transparent so that the way forward can be discussed and considered by his congregation.

The last church board member who shared just prior to the end of the meeting is wise made his points about what is now on the table in moving forward in a very loving manner.

I will be lifting this church and their pastor up before the Lord to ensure His voice comes through loud and clear. I am very emotionally touched by all that was said.

Irrespective of what decisions are ultimately made, I pray that God’s plan for Danny and his family, including Drew, will shine through it all. There’s work to be done, whether it be through Danny’s current position at his church or somewhere else. May God’s voice be clear and certain to all hearts concerned and may whatever occurs come forth with a spirit of love.

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Howard Carver says:

I just read this story and watched Drew’s video about his coming out as gay. Thank you much for sharing this story with your audience and with the world. I am so thankful that Drew’s parents have been supportive to him and honor him for being who he is. I want to encourage you all for having taken on this journey together as a family. Your love and acceptance means a lot to Drew and other LGBT persons who need to be affirmed for who God made them to be. I too am a gay Christian man who can identify with what insight Drew shared about what he has struggled with early-on. Keep on keeping on with the message of God’s love and inclusion in His kingdom. Blessings and snug hugz are sent your way.

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JOyfully His says:

Wendy, I could not agree with you more!! You said exactly what I was thinking after hearing it all. I loved Danny’s message and wish I had turned it off before the 3 stooges came up to speak!! It was absolute torture listening to what they said and I know for sure it’s not of God!!

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Thank God for loving parents and the heart to re-think this huge issue. Drew’s video really resonated strongly for me and I hope that it will have an impact on young LGBT people.

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Wendy Danbury says:

I loved hearing Danny’s message, full of light and hope. The three elders’ comments at the end made me feel ill, especially because they managed to make it about themselves — they sounded like modern-day Pharisees, clinging to the law and their interpretation.

The first one patronized the congregation as sheep while he touted outdated views of homosexuality; he even talked about the “gay agenda” as if it were a real threat! His clever device of apologizing for not leading the sheep to still water, but to the turbulence brought about by Danny’s message almost masked his own superiority complex as he directed the sheeple’s blame to the pastor.

The second elder was publicly dealing with pain and abandonment issues, and seemed to foresee the breakup of the church because of Danny’s “bomb.” He made this situation all about himself and his family, not addressing much about the actual message, but more about his own reaction to Danny’s message.

The third was the worst; he used some of the same techniques and perspectives as the first two, and added the evil twist of questioning Danny’s leadership by not sharing his journey with them until a few weeks before his sermon. He started off sounding soooo sympathetic and emotionally supportive; yet, I started wondering why he kept inviting the congregation to sit with and “hold” the pain. Then, when he tried to keep them from thinking rationally, I realized what he was doing, and how his smooth, fake-warm presentation was designed to relax everyone before he plunged in the knife.

Insisting that they add the leadership question on top of the volatile question of accepting gay people not only complicates matters; it gives people an easy topic to turn to if/when they start to feel some of the uncomfortable truth seep in. Those three elders will make sure that the people’s focus stays away from the pain the church inflicts on others, and on the hurt that Danny caused by raising the issue. (Ugh, the number of times the third elder asks the congregation, “Does that make sense?” raised my hackles, and I’m not even in the congregation!) And directly addressing Danny’s son, imploring him to consider the potential blessings of a life of celibacy — does he honestly think that this would be the first time Drew has ever heard of or considered this option? Has he ever taken the time to sit with Drew and ask, rather than tell? And what ever happened to the “celibacy is a gift from God” idea? It’s not something your church gives you; it’s something you’re born with (like being straight!). Oh, and the third elder stumbled more than once on the word “fulfill,” changing it the first time as he publicly spoke to Drew, and using in a later sentence without stopping himself (Freudian slip, perhaps?)… It’s almost as if he instinctively knows that people with “same sex attraction” are fulfilled by having same-sex relationships.
Overall reaction to this audio: Is this really how conservative churches operate?

The sermon was like a spring of living water, a real breath of fresh air. The three elders’ responses managed to fill the air with a stuffy poison, making it difficult to breathe and get my head clear. I can imagine how much worse it was in person. I’m so often reminded why I left the church when I did; being a rational person with clear insight will make you crazy, in an environment like that!
Thanks for sharing. I hope Danny’s message will resonate in several hearts and minds. The sad thing is that the majority of the church will keep following like sheep, and will miss out on the big adventure that Danny and his family are now embarking on. The family are not the ones who need the prayers; they are going to be just fine, because they have made the right choice. The ones who need the prayers are the scared sheep who will obey the third elder and hold onto the pain and focus on “leadership issues” while their closeted brethren suffer.

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Ben W. Reply:

Wendy,

I agree with you. After my first read, I thought, man, you nailed it right on the head. You described exactly what I felt. You got it all right. But as I keep thinking about your response, I feel just as embarrassed, or ashamed, in the pleasure I took in reading your response as I didin listening to the elders.

I think the “stuffy poison” is when someone thinks they got it all together, and therefore they can negate and talk dismissively of another group or person’s feelings or beliefs. It’s when someone has arrived at a belief, and therefore, they are more rational than the others who have not. Is your response any more self righteous than what one of the elders said? This is what I mean.

” I’m so often reminded why I left the church when I did; being a rational person with clear insight will make you crazy, in an environment like that!”

Perhaps, this is where your clear insight is wrong.

The elders feelings do not matter. Although it’s beside the point, and it’s an overall red herring to the conversation, feelings do matter, and need to be acknowledged before you can have a “rational” discussion.

Wow. You can judge someone from a podcast and tell if the person is authentic or not? The third elder’s presentation was fake-warm? How would you know if you weren’t there, or didn’t know this person?

Another wow. “The majority of the church will keep following like sheep.” Do you go to this church and know the people here?

Last wow. Do you really think this how conservative churches operate? Do you think a conservative church would have even let Pastor Danny share?

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MikeC says:

Drew’s video will touch so many kids. I’m so happy that it turned out this way. I’m thankful how the parents reacted. Drew is quite so matured. He will be greatly used in the kingdom. No dint about that.

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