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Telling your story can make a difference

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2010

Sometimes we see news stories about courageous people – quite often heterosexual – who advocate for decency and equality in the very heart of conservative anti-gay theology, policy, and society. We know that such endeavors are not born of themselves, but we can fail to recognize that someone – usually someone unacknowledged – took a step that made it happen.

Novelist Jonathan Odell tells Commonweal Magazine (a lay Catholic journal of opinion) about an invitation to be the token sacrificial pro-gay speaker at an ultra-conservative college.

Last year I got a call from an administrator at a Midwestern seminary with a reputation for its “take no prisoners” conservative theology. He had permission to conduct a series of seminars on hot-button issues like abortion, stem-cell research, and gay marriage. His plan was to bring in a succession of speakers, one to take the pro side of an issue, followed by a second to present the opposing view.

I took a deep breath. I knew what was coming next. “We want you to take the pro side on homosexuality,” he said.

His story is an interesting example of what can happen if we lay down our presumptions, our hesitation, and our fear and just tell our story. Nothing can reach the heart of others than just being ourselves. And perhaps we will plant seeds that will grow into change.

Read Jonathan’s story here.

(hat tip to Matt for bringing this to my attention)



May 11th, 2010 | LINK

Your headline says it all. I believe that change will come through stories, because stories reach the heart. Fear must be dealt with, and even the most sound logic cannot do that. People whose hearts are changed will find a way to deal with faith issues. I’ve seen it time and again. Tell your stories.

Lynn David
May 12th, 2010 | LINK

That article rang so very true.

I got to wondering what university/seminary he was writing about and couldn’t shake the idea that it might be Bethel in Minnesota.

May 12th, 2010 | LINK

I almost cried reading Jonathan’s account. It described so many aspects of my own journey through the fundamentalist evangelical community. I’m thankful not to be alone as a gay man who survived that gauntlet with his faith in Christ still intact. I’ll continue to tell my own story just as he did. Personal relationships do indeed break through the stereotypes and cause people to think outside their chosen boxes.

Timothy (TRiG)
May 13th, 2010 | LINK

Well, we’re all different. The story didn’t touch me much. I find it difficult to respond to religious messages with anything more than a shrug, these days. The real world is so much more invigorating.


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