As a backstory for this post, I went to a private Christian university. I was openly gay and accepted by most of my peers, professors, resident directors, staff members, etc. I tried to start a club where LGBT students felt their were acknowledged and not alone on their Christian campus. The club application process was going well, and since the club chartering process is student-led, it really looked like the club would go though. Then, the VP of Student Development said that the administration would shut down any club centered around sexual-orientation. The story picked-up national news, and everyone was wondering what action I would take. So I wrote this article.
Why was BridgePointLoma originally started? Let’s go back to my April article in the Point Weekly.
What is making that unbelieving student want to learn about our faith? Or that struggling gay Christian to say, “I still want in on this thing you call Christianity”?
From this impeding loneliness, I felt questions, and I didn’t know where to go with them. I knew that when I signed up to go to this university, it did not support the homosexual lifestyle. To my dismay, I still wanted to come to a Christian university because I had this passion for God, yet I still had an innate desire to kiss a guy over kissing a girl.
As these questions sat on my heart, it never seemed okay for me to ask them, at least without fear of losing some friends in the process. After a long and gruesome process, I made it to where I am today.
7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be
Where can our experiences be heard without the questionable smirk on her face or the reprimanding glare in his eyes?
In spite of this fear I had overcome, I put together BridgePointLoma. I didn’t want students — who were encountering my same sorts of feelings — to have to go through the same frightful process I had to. I wanted to form a respectful community. So I made BridgePointLoma, where
we hope LGBT students at PLNU can share their neglected stories, lingering questions, and increasing trials with their Christian comrades, and together, we can learn what it means to practice listening to and dignifying your political or theological enemy and actively learning to live and love in real-time. We hope to seek reconciliation not based on a change of belief system but rather from a commitment to live in relationship with opposing worldviews while seeking to understand and dignify the humanity of the “other”. – From the BPL Mission Statement
1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Too often, people point fingers and make their claims, but BridgePointLoma is not about making — or even reaching — theological or political claims. We are not trying to change a belief system. We are not trying to figure out if homosexuality is a sin. Our sole focus, our foundation, is that there is an overlooked population and to better engage with them we need to hear their stories and experiences along as share ours with them.
24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
Through the mumbo jumbo of numerous individuals and a nationwide game of “telephone,” I fear people are losing this purpose of my group, founded on and continuing through withholding judgment and asking questions.
I don’t believe that advocating for BridgePointLoma is causing PLNU to compromise its theological beliefs. I am not asking it to. The group is not asking it to. I am advocating for a place that can be shared across PLNU’s campus, where “we can learn what it means to practice listening to and dignifying your political or theological enemy and actively learning to live and love in real-time.”
Amidst the temporal forums that PLNU puts together, these suffering students need something more sustaining. Yes, they can get a counselor to constantly share their stories with, but what I needed more than anything was friends who would listen to my story — friends, the people expressed love with me on a day-to-day basis. Their perception of me is what was important. The random members of a book discussion or a forum could no provide me with that. Hence, BridgePointLoma.
So when people say that BridgePointLoma is contrary to the beliefs of Point Loma Nazarene University, I look at them puzzled because I wonder why the university is against seeking reconciliation through “a commitment to live in relationship with opposing worldviews while seeking to understand and dignify the humanity of the ‘other’.”
Friends, I am not trying to tear down the university. I am trying to build a bridge between two hostile communities. BridgePointLoma. Since the news entered social media, a lot of what has been happening feels much like bridge burning, thwarting my original intentions. I feel the petition – although something I would like to see happen – is too radical for the goals I would like to accomplish through BridgePointLoma.
PLNU is still a fantastic university, and although administration and I disagree on the importance of BridgePointLoma, we are both staying in touch and continuing this two-way conversation through their methods with minimal pushback. I admire your support, family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Thanks you for hearing my words, but we all know this is much greater than I.