Man, this is a lot harder to do than I thought. How do I encapsulate four years and all the incredible experiences I had in that timeframe? How do I talk about how much I grew in God, how many wonderful, challenging, interesting, frustrating, infuriating, complicated, or downright fun people I encountered? How do I mention my shift in theology, and my oftentimes erratic relationship with God? How do I talk about the many, many mistakes I made, many of which weren't even hinted at on this blog?
It's true that this blog doesn't even come close to representing a complete picture of my life, struggles, views, and quirks. As much as I've tried to be authentic, when push comes to shove it simply isn't feasible to write about every time I stumbled, every time I was depressed, or even every time I was joyful and at peace. There is a lot that I've processed away from this space online, and as the years went on and the friends around me grew closer, the amount of personal things that I processed became less and less.
And that's how it should be. One of my biggest hopes is that, as the church and society become more tolerant and educated about the issue of homosexuality, people won't have to rely on online contact, which can only do so much in the development of strong Christian men and woman. It can do almost nothing compared to genuine fellowship and community with living, breathing people. Sure, it can be messy. There is a lot of false or potentially harmful information out there, and it is often mixed in with good intentions and sincere, honest people.
I am reminded of the recent passing of Alan Medinger, who wrote Growth Into Manhood, a book which pretty succinctly summarizes the traditional conversion model of homosexuality. It's a theory that I've spoken out against multiple times, and which has led to a lot of harm among families and men seeking to live out their faith in boldness and orthodoxy. I think it creates more ex-ex-gays than it does ex-gays, and it certainly has no scientific backing. Does that mean Medinger was a bad person or a bad Christian? No. Just a bad theorist.
The thing is, this journey isn't an easy one, and it doesn't have clear route markers or hurdles to jump. Some people are going to believe some silly stuff for a season, and then find that it doesn't work for them. Others might hang onto it for life, but then again, I'm sure I'll have some prejudices or dumb ideas still lurking in my mind when I pass from this life to the next, as well. The main thing is whether or not I genuinely love Christ and love truth, regardless of whether or not I get either of those things perfectly right all the time.
Does this mean that we don't continue to speak out against what is untruthful or potentially harmful? Of course not. But we also have to recognize shared humanity, shared journeying, and shared belief in Christ. An elderly woman in a small southern town may never resolve the prejudices about race which she was raised with, but that does not mean that Christ's grace, love, and forgiveness couldn't be expressed in other aspects of her life. We're human beings, and we're tricky. As I've grown more, I've realized that black and white is a horrible way to see.
And sometimes I have to stop and look and realize just how much I have grown over the past four years. Every stupid mistake, petty argument, broken relationship, irresponsible choice, and foolish endeavor taught me something about myself and my relationship with God. Every individual who interacted with me, online or in person, positively or negatively, did something to help make me a better person and show me a way to be, or not to be. I hope those whom I am out of contact with now see this and realize that, good or bad, I appreciate them.
There have been an amazing adventures over the past four years, and this blog only shows a fragment of them... Vacations, conversations, parties, concerts, books, music, movies... I really am losing coherence just thinking about all the fabulous things I have done, and I praise God daily for all the things he has shown me over the past four years. I've screwed up a lot, and realize that I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go on the path of sanctification, but when I take in everything, I am left with a sense of wonder and awe about how much He has done.
Now I am at a place where I really have no idea what is ahead of me. I feel I've defined my views on homosexuality here, and I will be leaving this blog up in order to encourage others. I have a new blog up, although there is nothing at all there yet. Feel free to subscribe to it, so when I do eventually post there, you will know. Until then, I would love for longtime readers and lurkers to say their goodbyes to "Adventures of a Christian Collegian." Even if I never blog again, I'll always be around to engage with comments and e-mails.
Until then, than you all for everything. Thank you all for being a part of the adventure. Thank the fellow believers for challenging me and encouraging me in my walk with Jesus Christ. Thank the nonbelievers for keeping me on my toes and challenging me. Sure, we never agreed, but it was great to engage in respectful dialogue and learn how to think about what I believed and why I believed it. I hope and pray that you all come to a full relationship with Jesus Christ, and I pray that you all enjoy the adventure, whether you're in college or not.
Also, enjoy my girl Florence's cover of the Candi Staton gospel classic. You knew I wouldn't just leave you guys hanging without some amazing music, right? Much love and peace to you all. I can't wait to see the comments.