For anyone who has read my books, you know that I push boundaries and write about subjects that often are considered taboo or topics that are difficult and heavy.
I live in a world where these topics are my life. I’m a minister. This is normal to me, and quite frankly, I believe it is normal for everyone else too. No matter how much we prefer to avoid it. We are not unaffected by the realities of this world.
That said, I received a review for About Time. I swear to you, I did not go looking for this review. I’m having an issue with the publisher and got on the product page and there was this review. (The issue with the publisher is best saved for another newsletter.)
This review pointed out something that I have struggled with and lived with pretty much my entire life. So I want to talk about it. Not the review, but the issue.
Why are there different rules and expectations for clergy?
I am an ordained minister. I am a Christian. And I do evangelism on the daily. I like it when people think hard about their faith and others’ faiths. I like these deep conversations. In fact, I thrive on them. I knew I was called to ministry when I was fourteen years old.
Around that same time, I also realized I was bisexual (pansexual wasn’t a thing back then but probably more accurate). I was also a member of a church going through a church split, and I seemed to somehow find myself in the center of that.
I lived in Montana, and while I lived in the most liberal part of Montana. It’s still Montana and packed full of conservatives.
I am a bisexual minister.
I also curse (my secretary got me a shirt for Christmas that says “I love Jesus and I curse a little!”)
I also have sex.
And spoiler! I did not wait until marriage. (That may be TMI, but it’s relevant, I promise.)
The reviewer mentioned they struggled to believe About Time because one of the main characters is a Christian chaplain, who is gay, who curses and takes the Lord’s name in vain, and who has one-night stands.
This is the reality for us in Christian leadership. We are put on this pedestal where we cannot make mistakes, we cannot be human, and we cannot sin. (PS I don’t think cursing or sex is a sin, but that’s a theological discussion for another day.)
I love writing these characters. I miss these characters in books. I want these people in the books I read. Not the ones who have to decide between faith and their sexuality, not the ones who have to stand up to rampant homophobia in the name of Christ because some people are awful.
I want the flawed and real characters. I want the ministers and chaplains who are REAL people. We’re very much real people. We curse, we drink, we smoke, some of us do drugs (not me), some of us have premarital sex.
We are humans.
We also sin and fuck up.
I resisted ministry for a long time because of my sexuality and because of the trauma I experienced as a youth in a very unhealthy church. I wanted nothing to do with organized religion, although neither of those seemed to waver my faith.
I believe in God, and I believe in Jesus, and I believe in the Holy Spirit.
You can too, or you can not. I’m not saying you have to, and I’m not going to try to convince you one way or the other. If you want to talk theology? Hit me up in messenger or email. I love those deep discussions (and I mean real discussions. If you want to tell me how wrong I am, let’s just skip it.)
If you want characters who are of the Christian faith, check out these books I’ve written.
GRACE HALLING BOOKS