A friend I was talking to in the background said, “You must be really discouraged by the vicious attack by ###### and their whole seemingly obsessed realm! It must be very discouraging to have to hear the constant mischaracterization of you and Exodus.” And without hesitation I told them that no, I wasn’t “discouraged.”
I am grieved by some of it. Even then, the most grievous event in my life of the past few weeks didn’t come from a personal attack on me or Exodus at all. Plus, I don’t keep up with all of what is being said on Facebook so I don’t know if “they” are negatively obsessed or not. I still consider a lot of people allegedly in “that realm” as friends. The ones who have contacted me privately , that’s a majority of how I have gotten the information that I have gotten. And grief isn’t the same as being “discouraged.”
Definition of Discourage:
1 : to deprive of courage or confidence : dishearten <was discouraged by repeated failure>
2 a : to hinder by disfavoring. b : to dissuade or attempt to dissuade from doing something
I have prayed about this and believe I truly have abundant courage and confidence. While I am heart-broken over a few relationships, I have only been strengthened in Christ with regard to my calling and where Exodus is heading. I feel unhindered, not hindered, and more firmly convinced that we are exactly where the Lord wants us to go. It is definitely a peace that surpasses understanding. It is a genuine peace even in the midst of some relational grief.
I think in pictures and in prayer the other day I imagined myself on an immovable rock (Christ) in the midst of a tumultuous sea. The sea was in tumult from two conflicting winds driven by other people’s agendas. On one hand there were those saying I was on a slippery slope to hell (literally), preaching a false gospel, that I might as well confess I was gay or at least pro-gay, and how dare I abandon “truth” in the name of “hyper-grace.”
The other strong wind churning up the sea surrounding Christ and me, was another group declaring excitedly that I had entered into a NEW ERA of ministry and “closer” to embracing my true gay self. That somehow I had all of a sudden become “brave” and should take it much further to throw off the harm of the past and embrace an all “inclusive” future.
So while I was wet from the spray these two conflicting winds were creating, I was more than content to sit on that solid rock, at peace, and just watch. I prayed, “Lord, should I respond to everything?” and all I keep hearing Him say is, “Abide in Me.” In other words don’t jump off the rock to drown in currents of emotion or get thrown off course hang-gliding on other people’s hot wind.
And interestingly, both messages (winds) are doing the same thing, judging through the filter of their own hopes and fears. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people think all that much about *me* but there has been quite the tumult lately over some of my recent posts. To be clear, I am not “evolving” on anything or rushing to join a new “crowd” or doctrine. I am tired of the us vs. them mentality and am content in Christ to just simply do the next right thing, love Him, and to love others. Other’s labels don’t bother me, but I personally reject all sexuality labels, I am who I am in Christ.
Of course I am evaluating my history in ministry and life … that’s what a lot of men in middle-age do (I will be 45 in four days ). I trust God in the process and won’t short-circuit it with a new car though . Well, and I can’t afford one either
I have not abandoned any of my core beliefs but honestly, I am unhindered in that I am not writing or communicating with another group’s voice in my head. Before, I would only write on topics that were safe with a certain group and trying not to offend another group. Now, I am resolved to be at peace and abide in Christ without worrying what the voices swirling around me think I should say or emphasize. I’ve always been my own person but I am increasingly moreso. Wise counsel is *always* appreciated but I will move forward with the Lord and His love for people in mind. I will emphasize what He lays on my heart to emphasize.
So, I am the same old (increasingly old ) Randy, just with a new unshakeable confidence and deepened understanding of God’s grace.
If you want to join me on The Rock, come on… just bring some popcorn.