Members of Haven, the marginalized LGBT student group at Seattle Pacific University, will be meeting this afternoon with school administrators to discuss the club's status. Meantime, the letters keep coming:

Dear Dean Jordan,

I know that you are likely receiving a bit of mail regarding the folks who make up the group Haven at SPU. I don't attend SPU but I have been to a few of the Haven meetings over the years and I have become friends with several of the folks that have been involved in the club. I'm writing to share a bit of my story and to encourage you to find a place for Haven on campus.

I became a Christian when I was in my late teens. It was a decision that changed my life. It wasn't long after becoming a Christian that I felt compelled to begin considering the possibility of a vocation in the ministry. God meant everything to me and I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life other than sharing that with other people. I also knew during that time that I was gay. Despite believing that God had met me and that I was compelled to pursue a vocation in sharing Christ with others, I wondered if the feelings I was experiencing for people of my sex would exclude me from the kingdom of God. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt about it and the words I heard about gay people from the Christian community often compounded that guilt.

It took me a few years before I could muster the courage to talk to a pastor about my struggle. I felt like I was at the end of my rope and had no where else to turn. He and I began talking regularly and he offered a variety of suggestions to cure my homosexuality that ranged from praying more to getting married. A couple years went by and I didn't feel any closer to being cured than I did when I first became a Christian. I was discouraged and frustrated and I began distancing myself from that pastor. It wasn't long after that when my roommate came to me one night and told me that our pastor had begun telling people that I was gay. I was absolutely crushed and humiliated. I had so much shame wrapped around this subject and I had never told another person before talking to my pastor. I went in defensive mode and called my closest friends who were part of the church and began telling them my story. It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced.

After that experience and the fall out it caused in my life, I spent many years angry, hurt and self destructive. I turned away from the church and the faith that used to mean so much to me. At the time I didn't know another gay person and I didn't know that there was even a discussion happening about what it meant to be both gay and Christian.

It's been nearly 15 years since I was outed by my pastor. Today I'm less angry and hurt but I don't think I'll ever fully recover from what happened to me. However, I can't help but wonder what my experience might have been like if I could have connected with a group like Haven back then. Just being able to meet with someone who understood a bit of my experience, someone who didn't immediately rush to verses from the book of Romans and 1 Corinthians, would have made an incredible difference.

I'm sure there are people who attend SPU who today are where I was 15 years ago. While they may not have told a soul yet that they think they may be gay, they worry what it might mean to begin talking about
it. I think it's unreasonable to expect SPU to fully open its arms to gay and lesbians right away. Across the world the church is either wrestling with or running away from wrestling with the subject of homosexuality. However, I do think it is reasonable and possible for SPU to engage the subject of homosexuality more specifically and more openly. Gay and lesbian people are not going away and, no matter how badly some in the church may wish we would and try to push us out, we're still going to be standing at the door knocking. I hope that SPU will lead the way in opening that door.

Thank you for your time, Dean Jordan.


Roy Culver

(Campaign web site here, back story here, contact info for Dean Jordan here, and you can copy me on whatever you send him here.)