Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I do not know where people have gotten the idea that life is supposed to be easy. Perhaps it is from fairy tale endings that we begin to believe that there is an answer out there that will take all the pain away, that life should make sense, and that things will all work out in the end. Christ himself fully embraced the painful death that he would face and spoke of it often. The Gospel of John records one such instance with these concluding words:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 ESV)
Jesus meant that we are not only to find our identity in him and the work that he would do, but that we are co-heirs with him as his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:5-19).
This past summer (2009), inaugurated by a conversation on Twitter, I became friends with Aaron. A heated conversation about alleged “humility of doubt,” he suggested that we needed more than 140 characters to continue to have intelligent conversation on the subject. What follows the first piece of correspondence I exchanged with him:
Thanks for the chance to dialogue a bit via email. Firstly, I have a personal vested interest in the substance of the church’s message to the world as I am a worship leader (and sometimes Sunday School teacher) who sees his role in singing and planning services as primarily a teaching one with a close secondary creative one. I write music on occasion and my congregation sings that music with some regularity. Because of my passion for teaching and my responsibility to plan services as a mere 27-year-old, I take words very seriously…not to belittle others, but so that the glorious news of Christ will not be shrouded by anything that God Himself hasn’t shrouded it with.
Given recent events in my life and the shift in readership of this blog, I have found the need to lay a different sort of foundation for my thoughts and this forum. It has occurred to me that I have kept many of my thoughts buried for many reasons, not the least of which was fear of being alone in my position and fear of being rejected by those in my faith community.
However, circumstances be as they may, I have come to a place where I must either make the leap or pack up and head home. And I have not been one to pack it in. What follows is largely a private journey that I have been on for more than the last decade. It began as my faith and worldview began to be deconstructed in the course of college classes, oddly enough at a private Christian university. My journey had led me to places where I have had the honor of rubbing shoulders with schizophrenics, prostitutes, and criminals as well as “Christians,” atheists, and the spiritually apathetic. In the course of the last several years I have come to the firm belief that we all have much more that unites us than separates us.
In the course of seeing life for myself, I have come to a very controversial and potentially alienating conclusion: the church is dying. For a time I did not want anything to do with it, but never have recanted my faith. What follows are some of my candid thoughts about the state of the church, its (our) sins and my hope for its redemption.