Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Process Begins

I think I am going to post these. They are a series of posts between myself and a person I met through a chat room. It documents my process of coming to an understanding of what it means to be not only a gay man but a gay pastor. Any identifying information has been changed.

Pastor Bill,

I have a question I want to ask you. First some background on me. I am a pastor in an ELCA congregation and am still new to my community. I have friends in the congregation and I have colleagues. What I don't have is a pastoral presence. This would not be bad except I am going through the process of coming out to myself and to those around me. As you know, the ELCA is not really cool with gay clergy. I am having difficulty in that I have heard the fundamentalist arguments for so long that I believe them on some level.

In reading your posts, you seem like a well balanced and compassionate person. What I would like is to be able to PM you with questions or concerns.

I would prefer to have someone here where I live to talk to but that is not really a possibility. I have a therapist, although he is great, he is also Jewish. We can discuss on one level but there are sill some areas we cannot discuss.

If you could help me, I would greatly appreciate that. If not, I can understand that also. Either way, I appreciate you time.

Dr. Benton Quest


I would be honored to help in any way I may be able. To give you some background, I am a pastor in a Christian Church. My denom recently voted at a General Assembly to reaffirm our commitment to a discernment process regarding GLBT persons, and although the congregation I currently serve is not open and affirming (they are don't ask don't tell) I consider myself to be an Open and Affirming clergy person.

Godspeed on your journey of discernment and liberation.

Yours in Christ,


1 comment:

Steve said...

hey, Doctor Qu....est,

Brothers in the ELCA, eh? I am a candidacy washout from LSTC in Chicago, after 5 years as a part-timer at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City (United Methodist, but ELCA-welcoming, if you will).

I wasn't ready to come out until I was "tossed out," so to speak. And you're right - while the ELCA leadership pays lip-service to celibate gay clergy, it never quite makes it to the level of either candidacy, assignment or call.

My own experience was that I found two gay Catholics - a former RCIA instructor and a Carmelite priest - who became my guides and mentors in the early stages of my coming out experience. In the recovery community, we talk about "sponsors" - folks who have been through the recovery process, who can offer their experience, strength and hope in the process.

I think that's critical for us, too.

Nice to at least "start" to meet you, Doc.