A pastor emailed me the other day. A sermon had been preached in his home town by the influential preacher at the mega-church in the area. It seems the online recording was making its rounds by the word of mouth encouragement to listen. When this pastor listened, explaining that he had recently read “Torn” by Justin Lee and was currently reading my book, he was unsettled by the sermon. It seemed too simplistic to him. And he wondered if someone with my experience and expertise might listen to it and offer some sort of response.
Yesterday was a snow day, one of those cozy-up-in-a-quilt kind of days. A perfect day to listen to a sermon – all 58 minutes of it. The sermon began with the preacher reading an excerpt from Matthew Vine’s recently published book, “God and the Gay Christian.” He read Matthew’s account of his friend Stephen and his experience of profound depression and heartbreak in the aftermath of falling in love with a friend, seeking to remain committed to celibacy, and the eventual break-up of the relationship. And while the preacher read the piece with a somewhat detached tone, I immediately recognized the story of my friend, someone I know, someone who I’ve been connected with and journeyed with for a few years. And I had the sinking feeling that this was going to be a tough one to listen to.