Hello All! Greetings from New York!
Now I’m sure some of you are wondering “what in blazes is Paul doing in new York? Doesn’t he have school and work to focus on?” You’re absolutely right, there is a lot, no make that A LOT of assignments to complete before the end of the semester, and I’m going to be swamped. However this Proclaim retreat, “Vamos Tod@s!” is incredibly important because it is helping me to find my voice in ministry, find out ways to better my chances of getting a first call, and learn how I can minister to all those I meet in a kind, compassionate, and inviting way.
Now, I’m sure some of you are also wondering “What the heck is Proclaim, and why is Paul a member?” well see this is the hard part to answer. I know a lot of people (like my Wartburg classmates and family) already knows about this retreat and organization. For those of you that don’t know, here’s a link to info about Proclaim. To quote the webpage, “The Proclaim retreat is a gathering of publicly identified LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians for a time of renewal, community building, and professional development.” For those of you not into the whole acronym thing, LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. That’s right, I am a child of God who is gay.
For some of you, this is already well known (again, like my Wartburg classmates and family). Others are probably saying “well DUH!” and still others may never have known. Despite what category you may fit in, I want you to know that I am the same person you have always known. You may have known me for my whole life, several years, a couple years, several months, several weeks, several days, or whatever. I am still the same Paul Andrew Johnson, child of God, who has been called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ a (hopefully) be an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
I understand that for some of you, this may be very confusing. For that I am sorry. And I encourage you to comment on here, talk to me in person, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or whatever. I know that some people feel this doesn’t have anything to do with my ministry, or should that “private things should be kept private.” However as being a member of an amazing organization like Proclaim clearly demonstrates, this is still a major issue, and therefore needs to be addressed in the church, in the community, and in the world. I can’t keep silent for fear that others may not find the support they are looking for. I can’t risk being silent and have someone else see that and think that that is how things are supposed to be. I am a child of God, and I am gay. Nothing anyone thinks or does is going to change that.
As always, my Brothers and Sisters, God Bless!