Meet the Team of 10: Jeff

Though I consider myself from Pennsylvania, I’ve lived all across the country from South Carolina to California. I grew up as the new kid, often feeling isolated from my peers in multiple senses. Although I understood that I was gay from as early as 13, I lived in such a hostile environment in the deep south that I believed my sexuality was incompatible with my faith. I was told at church and at school and even in my family that being gay made people unacceptable to God and unable to be part of the Christian community. That kind of statement breeds such a fear, especially in a kid who already believes himself to be an outsider. It took me many years, and a lot of struggle and hardship to be able to accept myself; to gain peace with who I am.

I finally came out during my junior year of college. There I was able to reconcile my beliefs with who I was. Being gay didn’t mean being isolated from my friends or from God. In fact, accepting myself made my relationships stronger: for the first time in my life people were able to get to know the real me. I was able to get to know the real me. In 2010 I earned my Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Religion from Lee University and applied to come to Fuller to get my PhD in Clinical Psychology.

My struggle took a long time. I understand the hesitancy of many Christians to engage with the LGBT community, and I understand why LGBT people feel unsure about dialoguing with the Christian community. I’ve been on both sides. But there is a place for both at the table. There is space to bridge the gap; to come together in love, understanding, and grace. I want to use my experiences to show what that journey can look like. We grow by learning other perspectives and through our diversity we can better represent the true body of Christ.

I work with OneTable because I believe we need a place to grow together. For the LGBT Christians who don’t know what it all means, for those who think they do, for others who think it’s impossible, OneTable means forming bonds, sharing our stories, and learning together. I’m proud to be a part of OneTable and believe that through the relationships I have with the people here, we can all grow as a reconciled community.

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