COMING HOME, COMING AROUND
a guest post by Kyle Moeller • December 2014
[A note from Katie: Galileo Church is committed to deepening our collective discipleship of Jesus by sending representatives to learning events around the country. Last month we sent Kyle Moeller and Nathan Berry to the Reformation Project, a training conference in Washington, DC, that teaches Christian LGBTQ advocates how to articulate the biblical-theological warrants for LGBTQ inclusion in the church. This is Kyle’s reflection on that experience.]
Originally posted elsewhere, December 6, 2014.
Attending the Reformation Project last month wasn’t exactly what I was expecting; and to be quite honest, I’m not entirely happy about that. I’ve had a few weeks to process my experience and settle back into my normal routine. Except there’s a problem… I can’t settle down. And my routine is f**ked up. Or at least it feels that way. It no longer feels… acceptable. This definitely isn’t what I signed up for, and had I known then what I know now, I’m not sure I would have gone.
What I expected when I agreed to attend the conference on behalf of the church was that I would get some training on discussing biblical texts with non-affirming believers. Cool. I could use that. I expected to come back and report to the church what I learned. Great. Not a problem. The conference will train me to train the church. I expected to spread the word about Galileo at the conference. Consider it done. I mean hell, one person literally screamed, “SHUT UP!” when I told her I go to Galileo. (Alright, so that person has a personal connection to our church [through Jess S.], but seriously, what are the odds that we would run into each other and make that connection?) So yeah, some expectations were met. But some things happened that I didn’t expect.
I didn’t expect to fit in so well with most of these people (for one reason or another). I didn't expect to run into Matthew Vines (founder of the Reformation Project and an author I revere) at a bar; let alone expect him to know who the hell I was. And I certainly didn’t expect to hear Dr. David Gushee call anti-LGBTQ doctrine “a teaching of contempt.” Yet all of those things did happen. And all of those things are certainly terrific.
However, I also did not expect to witness the undying love and devotion a lot of these individuals have for the churches that have turned their backs on them. I did not expect to meet a 60-something, straight, white woman from Georgia who wants to teach her adult Bible study class about inclusivity of LGBTQ people in the church. I most certainly did not expect to be sitting at dinner, exchanging stories with some of the most amazing people I’ve met, only to hear something that completely shook my world: “I can’t know what I know and not do what I know how to do.”
Well, those are all great too, aren’t they? Maybe for you, but not when everything you didn’t expect suddenly becomes everything you absolutely have to fight for. Not when you had a life-plan and before you even know it, that life-plan has completely changed and you’re left wondering, “What the hell do I do now?” Not when you can almost hear God yelling, “Surprise, sucker!” as He shifts everything around.
So I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to piece everything together. I was comfortable with my life and routine. School, work, study, church, repeat. School, work, study, church, repeat. But that no longer feels okay. It doesn’t feel… acceptable. It’s no longer enough for me to feel at ease in my church and in my life, and it’s no longer enough for me to sit back as other churches turn their backs on God’s children. My plans got turned completely upside down.
I’m still trying to figure out where I go from here, but I know it’s not the same place I was heading just a month ago. Had I know that I would have to rethink my future plans, and had I known what I now believe to be God’s calling for me, would I have gone to the conference? Probably not. I wouldn’t have put myself through the trouble right in the middle of nursing school. I wouldn’t have wanted any more stress. Am I happy about all of this? Not entirely. Am I confident that God is calling me to fight this battle? There’s not a doubt in my mind.