If you’re a Covenant College student, you may have heard by now that Covenant applied for and received a Title IX exemption granting the school permission to legally discriminate against LGBT students. As a Covenant grad I’ve got a few things I’d like you to know. To the straight students, whatever you may believe about the morality of same-sex relationships or attraction, or about gender identity, please remember this. Some of your friends and classmates may be hurting and feeling unwelcome at the school that they call home because of this news. You may not know that the friend you eat breakfast with or sit next to in class is one of those students. Be sensitive and compassionate in what you say because you don’t know who you could be hurting because of your words. Whatever your theological beliefs on this, remember that Jesus modeled love and compassion for the marginalized. To the LGBT students, whether you’re out or not, whether you believe that this is a temptation you have to struggle against or you’ve decided that it’s something you can embrace, know this. God loves you, and no matter how constraining the Covenant bubble may feel, there is a whole big world off the mountain. I’m not saying that what you’re feeling and experiencing now isn’t hard, because the stuff you go through in college is very real and when you’re in a closed bubble everything is magnified. It can definitely suck big time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, no matter how much Covenant and the PCA can feel like all there is, there are so many options out there for you. If you need to get away from the bubble for a while to maintain your mental health, don’t feel bad about[…]

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Link Roundup: What others are saying about the continuing saga of my alumni update

I would be lying if I said that the continuing saga of my censored Covenant College alumni update hasn’t been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I try to pretend that things don’t bother me, but the truth is that from getting my copy of the View and finding my update censored, to the communications I’ve had with Covenant, to the stress of wondering what kind of reaction I’d get to going public, it’s been a long month or so.  Thus far, Covenant has been silent in response to my post, I suspect that it’s going to remain that way. Covenant isn’t Michael Farris and Patrick Henry College, with their unique talent of responding the exact wrong way, they’re far more skilled at PR than that. Other people have picked up the story though. My friend Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism mentioned the censorship in her post It Matters Too Much Not to Speak, about the importance of speaking up against homophobic comments, though since at that time I was still holding out hope that Covenant would reconsider, it’s mentioned under a pseudonym. When I decided that I needed to go public, she volunteered to repost it at at LJF, which I greatly appreciate. My original post is also reposted at Believe Out Loud. Many thanks to them for that. What’s more than a little bit surreal and mind blowing to me is that the story got picked up by major gay blog Towleroad. It was kind of crazy to wake up and check my site stats and see that I was getting a bunch of hits from there.  And, last but definitely not least, fellow one-time PCA kid Evan Hurst covered the story for Truth Wins Out. Hurst gets it like only someone who grew up in the PCA could. And, in what is entirely coincidental,[…]

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Covenant College censored my alumni update

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8, KJV When I was asked at the start of last spring semester whether I would be interested in assisting on research for an amicus brief in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court later that spring, I jumped at the chance. Not only is it something that I’m personally and professionally proud of, as having the opportunity to play even a miniscule role in a major case is something that most people don’t get, it was something that I believe as a Christian was the right thing to do. Do justice. Love mercy. The brief I worked on dealt with the way that the laws negatively affect children raised by LGBT parents, and how those laws negatively affect LGBT youth, their sense of self and their ability to imagine a future for themselves. More specifically, I worked on a team with several other law students to coauthor a survey to capture the voices of LGBT youth and young adults, and our paper is cited in the amicus brief. The responses that poured in were heartbreaking. Kids sharing their stories of growing up and realizing they were different, and the fear and worry about whether their future relationships would be treated as legitimate by the government, feeling that they were lesser because of the law. Yet, in all that, hope that someday things might change. Kids daring to dream that there might be a future where they could build a life for themselves as equal citizens. I worked to provide justice for those kids. As you can see, my work on[…]

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Can you go home again?

Next week I’ll be heading back up the mountain for Covenant’s homecoming. It’s my 10 year class reunion and the first time I’ll have been back up the mountain since I graduated. For the longest time I never really had a desire to go back, I think because even though I loved my time there and it helped shape me into the person I am today, by the time I graduated the Covenant bubble had started feeling like a too-small echo chamber. I needed time and distance and the haze of nostalgia to soften the edges of my emotions. Covenant was my home for four years. My professors influenced my thinking in so many ways, something I’ve been reminded of this semester as my Social Justice Lawyering class keeps covering territory made familiar during my time at Covenant. That emphasis on justice that I picked up there, from classes to chapel to student clubs, is something that I’ve since realized is unique for conservative Christian colleges. Some day I’m going to write more on that. Also, oddly enough, given the stereotypes about conservative Christian schools, the longer I’m at UF the more I appreciate just how much Covenant fostered an environment where differences and oddities were celebrated. UF feels constraining in comparison.  As I think about heading back for homecoming, I’m excited, but I’m also more than a little bit nervous. For as much as I say that Covenant made me who I am, teaching me how to let my faith influence all of my life, I’m not the same person I was when I graduated ten year ago. So much has changed in my life, I’ve changed so much, and while Covenant set me on this path I had no idea a decade ago I’d end up where I am[…]

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I’ve had no desire to head back to the mountain since graduating from Covenant, but lately I’ve been feeling nostalgic about visiting. I think if the timing works out I might head back for homecoming in the fall. Is that what being out of undergrad for nearly a decade does to you?

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Guiding Gay Evangelicals Out of the Campus Closet

Guiding Gay Evangelicals Out of the Campus Closet At a number of evangelical Christian colleges, gay alumni are pressuring their alma maters to be more accepting and offering help to the closeted undergraduates there. ——– This article is relevant to the paper I’m trying to finish. It’s also relevant because I feel like there needs to be some sort of resource like this for Covenant College students, if only so that current students know that they’re not alone. The Covenant bubble is great in many ways, but there’s also a big world out there off of the mountain with so many wonderful things to do and amazing lives to live. Contrary to what you might hear in the bubble, you don’t have to be straight to do  those wonderful things or live that amazing life. If you’re a Covenant student who’s clicking through tumblr tags and you want to talk, drop me a line. I’ll be glad to chat about the olden days at Covenant or about life once you get off the mountain.

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