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Monday, August 29, 2011

Back Again and some background info...

After a lengthy hiatus and some false starts I have decided to return to blogging. In order to provide some context and generate some feedback I thought it best to give some perspective on the last few months of my life and also to talk about the thesis which is slowly making progress.

Because of the lengthy gap between my last post I thought a little bit of background would create some context for my blogging and other writing.

I am 43 and live in Newcastle, Australia. I am English and moved here in 1998. I married an Australian in 1998 (we met in UK) and separated at the beginning of 2009. I have active shared care of 3 awesome boys aged 12, 10 and 5. The middle one has aspergers and I have him 5 (sometimes 6 nights a week) and care of the other two boys 3 nights a week.

I work 30 hours a week as a Business Development Manager for a Health Services Company. I look after Sales and Marketing. I am a former Baptist pastor and was ordained in 2004.

I do not come from a church background. I had a bout of severe depression in late 2004 and then two bad church experiences in 2005 and 2008. This, along with my questioning mind, eventually led me to move away from attending church. I no longer attend a church and, at this time, would consider myself a spiritual person with an active belief in God but I find it difficult to call myself a Christian with all the language and ideas that I see emanating from the church.

In 2004 a friend of mine came out from the UK to stay with my family for a while. We went out for lunch and she told me that she was gay and in a relationship. I always had questions about the official policy of my Bible College on this issue but this lunch meeting prompted me to do a lot of reading and research.

To cut a long story short my journey led me to attend a gay church in Sydney which I visited many times. I have made a lot of friends in the gay Christian community across the world. I have attended two gay Christian conferences and become a firm advocate for Christians in the Church.

I started a coursework-based Masters Degree in 2007 with a Christian college and was going very well and had completed 3 subjects out of 8. The last two subjects were a long-paper and I decided to be upfront and plan ahead and look to do subjects that would be useful for the long paper. I approached my tutor and proposed a long paper looking at a favourable response to Homosexuality from a Christian perspective. After going away to consult on the topic I received an email telling me that under no circumstances could the college support such a proposal.

This left me in a quandary. Should I continue with an acceptable topic and at least complete the Masters or should I look at other options. I decided to pull out of the course and was not sure of my choices when I had a chance meeting with an Anglican in 2008 who informed me that the University of Newcastle had started a Theology Department and had appointed a professor from Edinburgh University.

This meeting led to me having a conversation with Professor John McDowell who graciously gave me an opportunity to apply for the MPhil at Newcastle University. So here I am working on my Masters Thesis with the hope and belief that I can do enough work to move onto a PhD.

I will do a blog post explaining the range of the thesis but I thought it worthwhile to give this background. I am hoping, through the blog, to make more friends and to get feedback and advice and encouragement for the thesis and my journey to support GLBT Christians.


Martyn - Being Free said...

Ahh great to have you back Les. Really enjoyed this. Sounds like you are on a difficult, winding path of doing some amazing work for good. Wishing you all the best with it, am always good for an opinion on any view.

MysticalJase said...

Bless you Les.

Oli Harris said...

Hey Les, Interesting post. I think we might get on! I'm not meaning to promote my blog here but i genuinely think you may find two of my posts interesting:

This one has some videos you may find interesting at the bottom including an incredible film based on being both christian and gay:

This one is simply one about beliefs that may also be interesting:

Elirowlo said...

Hi Les, i came across your blog on a random search for new coast mcc.

as far as they i know i think they aren't functioning at the moment.

about your blog, as a gay man that came from a severely christian home, it is comforting that you feel passionate about this.

congratulations on your masters, it is probably ancient history now,