When I think about what you might want to hear about each month, I think about the events Kinship leaders have organized, the updated website, the projects that are important for our mission and the amazing things happening in Africa and elsewhere around the world where Kinship members are making a difference for our community. I also want to share things that offer support and encouragement.
What’s on my mind at this moment is our annual Kinship elections. Each year, we search for members who feel a desire or call to contribute to Kinship by running for one of the open positions.
COLOMBIA XXI Pride Parade
Representatives from SDA Kinship Columbia joined thousands who marched in the XXI Pride Parade in Bogota, Colombia last summer.The theme for the day was "EstadoLaico,Seres Libres" (Secular State, Free Humanity,) with organizers calling for a greater separation of church and state.
Of course, many of our relationships end more quickly. But I would remind you that the heterosexual record is not especially to be envied. One in three marriages terminates in divorce. Many heterosexual couples break engagements and "steady" arrangements. My point is simply that we should not be more critical of gay relationships than a factual comparison with heterosexuals warrants.
Gay couples separate for the same reasons that heterosexual couples break up. Perhaps the choice of a partner was inappropriate in the first place. One or both people may have been too immature or insecure to maintain the level of mutual responsibility and commitment that a relationship requires.
The annual LGBT TaskForce Creating Change Conference was held in Washington, DC from January 24 to 28. It is the largest gathering of our community in the United States each year.
Approximately 4,000 were in attendance, including both members of the LGBT community and many allies from dozens of organizations. For the second year, a Spiritual Care time had a room available for those who wanted to have a chance to visit. The team, including Church Relations Director, Dave Ferguson, was available throughout the conference. The definition of spiritual care included both traditional religious groups, nativist groups, non-Abrahamic faiths, and those no longer professing a religious affiliation.
Personal behavior occurring day after day usually fills a need. Being finite, our life on earth requires planning the use of our energy wisely. An underlying theme is the development of our love for God and all that He represents.
This includes love for ourselves socially, physically, and spiritually. Achieving and maintaining a strong relationship to this highly personal goal is a lifelong investment. God's infinite wisdom and love has given each of us access to the open road of life. Each day we make decisions about our lives and develop a wise expression of our love towards Him. Substance abuse in any form does not allow for optimal expression of love toward God.
The Day After
by Jerry McKay
After years of suppressing relationship longings, fearing and over-analyzing every thought and feeling, my world seemed different the day after reading the Ministry magazine interview; even the sunlight was different. Naming my experience instantly altered my perception of the world and divided it into before and after. While most prior themes remained and/or evolved, new themes emerged. Overnight, I became preoccupied with changing my orientation.
At the same time, I felt driven to seek out other LGBT people as a means of understanding myself. Not all new themes were pleasant. I would slowly learn what others—church members in particular—thought of "the homosexual"—of me. My circumstances notwithstanding, I was as naïve as any heterosexual about the broader experience of LGBT people. I had no idea what was ahead of me. I had just eaten from the reparative-therapy tree of knowledge of good and evil, so I would have to experience all the consequences for myself.
The Year of Before and After, Part II
BY JERRY MCKAY
It was midnight when I finished reading the Ministry interview and headed home. The familiar residential streets of Tokyo seemed different that night. My trance-like walk home was broken once by a brief exchange with a passing policeman whom I knew. I remember this odd detail because his greeting jolted me back into the present. Although my head was filled with the hope of healing from homosexuality, when I saw him I was once again aware of how attractive I found him.
This left me feeling uneasy. Once home, hoping not to wake anyone, I slipped into bed and tried to sleep. That was impossible. It is said that just before you die your life passes before you. Mine passed before me many times that night. I replayed events from childhood and with male friendships in high school and college. I recounted my long “relationship” with Donna and my three prior years in Japan. I spent most of the night reassessing every event through a new lens—the cause and cure of homosexuality.
The Year of Before and After, Part I
BY JERRY MCKAY
As my graduation approached, I should have been contacting conferences in Canada for a pastoral internship position. I was not. Instead, I returned to Japan, the only place I felt I could serve God and avoid the stress my yet unacknowledged orientation was creating. While my return was an acceptable option, it did not come from a place of strength. Distress was a common private component of my life. However, this trip to Japan would be unlike any other. Halfway through my two-year term, a life-defining moment occurred.
I arrived in Japan just in time to attend the baptism of a dear friend. During my final year of college, Mitsuko wrote to tell me of her decision to give her heart to Jesus. On August 3, 1980, Mitsuko was baptized in a beautiful, tree-lined mountain stream an hour west of Tokyo. English teachers, church members, her husband, and I gathered as she waded into a pool of water with the pastor to seal her commitment. I was thrilled to be part of this celebration because I never expected to be there. The day after, I rushed off to Osaka. Although my heart was in Tokyo, I had reluctantly agreed to start my work in Osaka because they needed a teacher.
By Jerry McKay
PUblished November 2016 in Connection
Despite everything that was going on internally, I made wary attempts at dating. My very confused state of mind affected everyone around me including Donna who continued to hold out hope for a relationship. But her hope was constantly frustrated. I was all over the map when it came to Donna and other female friends. A seemingly insignificant event could ignite my fight or flight response.
One evening, for example, a considerate faculty member sent me into a panic. A few minutes before a worship service was to begin, I sat down next to one of my professors. Shortly after, he noticed Donna approaching. Because there wasn’t room for her, he stood up and offered her his seat. I remember this incident because of a sudden almost overwhelming surge of agitation—even anger. I appreciated his gesture, but in my mind, his action implied we were a couple. Taking place in church, this felt too public. His gracious offer brought reality too close. I couldn’t manage being seen to be in a serious relationship. I wanted to get up and leave.
Finished with Colleg but Not My Orientation
By Jerry McKay
Published September 2016 in Connection
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you are reading my story for the first time and you feel you are missing some context, I suggest you start at the beginning with the May 2015 issue of The Connection. Why I am writing my story in such detail? In short, I am answering questions while hoping to educate. Over the years, I have been asked the same questions over and over by friends, family, and church members. The answers to those questions are found in different decades of my life. I'm grateful to the Connection for giving me this space to share my story. Publishing as I write is a great motivator! –Jerry McKay
By Jerry McKay
Published June 2016 in Connection
In the introduction to my story, I mentioned that people have asked how my faith and my orientation intersected and collided. During that first year at CUC, there was a spiritual “event” that conspired against me to create great expectations on one hand and disillusionment on the other. Those expectations intensified my internal conflict and would carry forward to the time when I was in reparative therapy. Because my spiritual formation was profoundly influenced by that event, I will explore it at some length. Bear with me, as I
get a bit theological.
Missionary to Japan
By Jerry McKay
Published January 2016 in Connection
I finished high school in 1974 with better grades than expected and more confidence in my academic abilities than when I started. I attribute that to an environment in which I felt safe and content. There was no comparing my years at Kingsway to my first year of high school back home. Graduation, however, did not mean I had to relocate to continue my studies. Because Kingsway offered the first two years of a bachelor in theology, I started my degree in Oshawa that fall.
By Jerry McKay
Published November/December 2015 in Connection
You and Your Health is a three-volume set focusing on concerns and questions related to health. I don't remember the first time I pulled it off the library shelf; but, when I did, I did so surreptitiously to avoid being asked what I was reading. I know I looked at it several times during high school and college. Browsing through it was not a good experience. Before I look at the article, I have two questions.
High School Years at Kingsway
By Jerry McKay
Published August 2015 in Connection
As with my childhood, themes characterize my high school years. The things I did as part of my spiritual discipline at home continued and evolved. My orientation was always present; and, like before, there were many times when it forced itself into my awareness in ways I could not ignore. In high school, naturally, the expectation to date increased; and I tried.