This discussion needs to be had. I have corresponded with homosexuals, atheists and those who are marginalized in numerous ways– people in the UBF community. Do you know “they” are among you? Today I share the first of what will be several book reviews on topics pertaining to the margins of society. My first book review is of “Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality” by Wesley Hill.
Warning: This is a random, rambling, ruminating reflection! I’ll start with a painful and shameful confession. For the first two decades of my marriage, I told my dear wife repeatedly: “Feelings don’t matter.” (OK, I understand if you want to throw stones!) I believed this because of my misguided understanding that as a Christian we need to do what we should do, regardless of how we feel. I based this on Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34 and Lk 9:23, since Jesus states explicitly that anyone who would follow him MUST deny himself. I extrapolated this to mean that “your feelings don’t matter…deny yourself and follow Christ.” It is only the grace of God that my wife did not leave me. For the record, today I tell her, “Your feelings DO matter. Please share them with me.”
In Part 1 I spoke of the lead up to my trip. This story is the story of my trip so I will begin with my initial impressions. When I last left Paul had spoken to Ben. My shepherd’s last words of advice to me were to be careful not to become married or introduced. He said Filipinos were “crazy for Americans” and that “it wasn’t my time”. With that I departed for the Philippines. Although I started the story and have proceeded chronologically I will depart from this to explain some major lessons from my time in the Philippines.
It is very hard to start this story, because in some sense my trip has changed me in remarkable ways. Maybe it’s best if I start at the start.
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Who are the top commenters here? Who has submitted the most articles? Someone who recently left a ubf chapter mentioned something in a comment that intrigued me. nb93 mentioned a rumor spreading about this website community, that ubfriends articles are “written by people that left UBF and are spreading rumors“. So I thought it would be relevant and interesting to post some statistics about who has contributed to the discussions here.
This past weekend, Hyde Park, Waterloo and West Loop UBF gathered for a combined Easter retreat in Michigan. It was fresh, spirited and joyful. It was planned, organized and led in its entirety by young leaders–without any interference from old folks like me! Perhaps, that’s why it felt spirit-led and spirit-filled, especially the spirit of joy and laughter that is rooted in tears of repentance. My longstanding conviction has been that young leaders who are called by God may lead in the forefront, while older leaders step back and fully support them in all ways possible.
It’s been a while. But finally I experienced an Easter free of guilt, free of shame and free of exasperation. Such guilt-laden memories are fading fast from my mind, and they can’t go quickly enough. This Easter was a weekend of family time, both with our children and with our extended family. A family egg hunt, a family meal, a family gathering and a family photo. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Easter than as a family-centered man.
This year, for the first time almost 30 years, I observed the Lent season. The Spirit made it clear in my heart what to abstain from: blogging. I love blogging and it feels good to be back! It was also healthy to abstain from blogging for the 40+ days of Lent. As I return to the blogging world and this virtual community called ubfriends, I would like to share my thoughts on why I observed Lent and what I experienced.
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I recommend The Third Day especially for those who like comics. This small book of 48 colorful pages contains the Bible text of Luke 22-24 (in the Holman Christian Standard Bible) with graphic drawings that illustrate the text with drama, detail, emotion and passion, which engages you and draws you into the Easter story. This picture is of Lk 23:23 showing Jesus before an angry crowd, held back by Roman soldiers, demanding his crucifixion.