A few years ago, I wrestled with my beliefs on the issue of homosexuality and what my faith had to say on  it as well as where I thought the church had missed the mark on how we dealt with the issue.  And like a good evangelical, once I figured out what I knew, I believed the issue done.  However, what I believe—or think the Bible has to say on a matter—doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  We balance our orthodoxy with our orthopraxis.  Which brings me to Lucien Soulban, Dark Faith, and Mo*Con.

Lucien Soulban.  Lucien and I have been friends for seven years or so.  He, John C. Hay, Richard Dansky and I formed a writers group called the “Bastard Sons of Mort Castle”.  Lucien’s also gay.  Because we’re friends, and thus free to push in on each other’s lives, we’ve had numerous conversations.  One time when we were at lunch at a World Horror Convention, I thanked him for being a part of my life.  It’s easy to come to some position, achieve some theological point, it’s another thing for your “position” to have a face.  So when people would come up to me and ask “What are we going to do about ‘so and so’?” (aka “the gay person in our church”), all I could think of, all I heard was, “what are we going to do about Lucien?”  And I only had one answer for that:  figure out how to love him better.

Dark Faith.  We got over 600 submissions for our anthology.  I saw the anthology as an extension of what we do at Mo*Con, that is, have conversations.  So when we invited authors to write their takes on faith (or art or race or sex or any of the other social justice issues we’ve covered under the umbrella of faith) the ones that resonated most with me came from a real place.  One of the things we noticed was how many stories turned on the idea of homosexuality, more specifically, religion’s stance and/or handling of the issue.

Mo*Con.  All sorts of folks come to the convention from all sorts of religions and worldviews to discuss issues.  I never get tired of listening to people’s stories.  I’m always especially curious to know what kept them from or drove them out of the church.  So many stories have the similar echoes:  rejection from the church when they found out what they wrote; rejection from the church when they found out they were gay.  Condemnation and shame were the lessons they took home from the church.

A pastor friend of mine called the issue of homosexuality and the church the “apologetic issue of the day.”  I’m sure we will be having a continuing conversation, on my blog, at Mo*Con, and beyond.  We’ll wrestle with the issue within the writing community and within the religious community.  But I figure it never hurts to have a conversation, build some bridges, and be a part of each other’s lives.  Put some orthopraxis to our orthodoxy, and figure out what it means to love one another.  As we continue to be in relationship with one another, talking and challenging one another, I’d say it’s worked so far for me and Lucien.  So we’ll give it a shot at Mo*Con.