Rebooting the Pastor’s Corner
Time at last to pick up and resume our Pastors’ Corner writings! It’s been on hold for a while, as I was held back by three great C-words: COVID, Conferences, and reCovery from it all. (Pastors, you know how important it is to alliterate, even if you have to fake it!)
When last I wrote here I was working a very extended topic: Homosexuality and transgenderism. My purpose in the Pastors’ Corner is to distill today’s complex topics down to manageable, organized, summaries. I knew that was going to be a challenge this time, considering how complex these issues are. I was right — which is a further reason we haven’t finished off the topic yet. The good news is, it’s back on track again!
Simplifying requires organizing — and preferably in advance! Here I’ll let you in on a secret every writer knows, but maybe not every reader: Sometimes a writer sets out to write on a topic knowing exactly what he’s going to say, but as he digs into it, he discovers he really had something else to say instead. Maybe he notices his logic was skipping a step, and he needs to work it through, to sure the missing step isn’t serious enough to kill the whole point he’s making.
I’ve had that experience, where in the process of writing that something was true, I’ve discovered it was false. One article went bad on me last week when I got halfway through it and saw how it was leading toward “a whole ‘nother” point I could make with it. I tried to fit both points in, it didn’t work, and I lost time retracing my steps on it. It’s a learning experience, anyway!
All that process ends up being invisible to readers. No one knows but the editor, if the writer lets it reaches the editor’s desk, or more likely the spouse. My wife will attest to the struggles I had structuring my last book, Too Good to Be False. My problem there was different: Too much to say, wondering how it all fit, and finally deciding reluctantly I had to leave some of it out.
You won’t see any of that in a finished work like a book, but you might when the writer puts it out a piece at a time – as I’ve been doing in this portion of the Pastor’s Corner. I’d say that what I’ve written on it so far is relevant and I hope helpful, but fitting it into a simplifying framework is another matter.
Now I have that framework, and I think I can keep it from wrestling its way out from under me now. It was there in an article I published in May, Understanding the Five Questions of Homosexuality, except now I’m adding transgenderism to it.
- What’s so wrong about homosexuality and transgenderism?
- Are Christians terrible people for not approving of it?
- How do we live faithfully in a pro-LGBT world?
- How does one live faithfully when he or she is attracted to the same
sex or thinks he or she is in the wrong sex body?
- How does a pastor, teacher, friend, or helper answer all these hard
questions in actual ministry?
There’s much more we could talk about, but if we get this far we’ll be in good shape. Going forward I’ll link here to articles on these topics. We’ve covered a lot of this already at The Stream. Some remains to be written. The next topic to come will be number 2, “Are Christians terrible people for not approving of homosexuality?” I’m not placing a “Pastors’ Corner” label on that one, since it’s for a broader audience and by itself it’s not what most pastors would call “preachable.” When the summary of it all comes, though, you’ll see how it can help reach people in your church with the truth about sexuality and morality.
When I finally arrive that concise summary, it will rely heavily on links to articles, providing details that no summary could or should include. You can expect it to a blend: half summary document, and half table of contents pointing to previous material.
So that’s the plan. I’ve pulled back the curtain here and given you more of a behind-the-scenes look than usual, but after such a long break it seemed worth spelling it out for you, so you would know that in spite of a significant interruption in progress, we’re back on track again.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.