Anchored Leadership Conference—Letter to Caleb Kaltenbach
November 11, 2018
I first became aware of you when you published your book Messy Grace. While it was clear that your intention was to write with a loving and gracious attitude, you likely recall that I was not a fan of your book. I pointed out objections in my review of your book.
However,I thought your talk on Friday night at the Anchored Conference in San Juan Capistrano showed a great deal of growth since that book was published. You presented a more gracious, concerned, engaged, and empathetic voice, one of encouraging strength.
I appreciated your emphasis on a more authentic love that is based in acceptance, and not necessarily in agreement. There is far too much demand on specific performances imposed on LGBTQ Christians.
As you move forward in advising churches and pastors, I would encourage you to seek and interact more with LGBTQ Christians, and listen to their stories.
I realize the group of speakers and attendees last weekend largely held Sean McDowell in high esteem as the biblical scholar on sexual orientation and gender identity at the intersection of faith, yet, I find his interpretations, in particular, his lack of historical context, quite simplistic and limited. So many LGBTQ Christians who have dug into and investigated biblical texts associated with same-sex behavior for themselves have done far more extensive scholarly work in this area than has Sean.
There are many Christians who say they are willing to risk being wrong and perhaps even do a course correction in obedience to God if they see they are wrong. Unfortunately, I do not believe most of them are sincere. They believe they are sincere, but the cost to them may be too high in reputation, book sales, speaking fees, and jobs to actually take that step.
I don’t see that extreme resistance in you. I see authenticity and the heart of one who is willing to really seek truth and even risk rejection from your own community. Many of us who have walked this path know the truth of this price. Yet, I think you seek to do what is right. I believe this about you, Caleb.
I am willing to help you along this journey. I believe you will likely come to a fully affirming stance in time. And, if you do not, I will still stand alongside of you and encourage you.
When I left the conference on Saturday, I headed up to a retreat near Big Bear to join about 45 LGBTQ Christians through Sunday midday. If you had just sat, listened and observed, my friend, you might get a greater glimpse of what I see.
It is costly.
It is the gospel.
It is worth it.
If you need me, I am here.
Here is the group I joined after leaving Anchored. These too are the people of God.