To Erik Thoennes, Donna Thoennes, JP Moreland, and Dave Talley from a Biola Alumni who struggles with Homosexuality.

A letter to these Biola Professors and why I am concerned and hurt they signed the Nashville Statement.

I want to start off by saying, I love the Church.  I love my Christian friends. I love my Christian family.  And I am trying to follow Jesus.  It is a hard calling.
I went to Biola and I loved it! Best times of my life happened there. I am 29 and I struggle with homosexuality.  I like to think Biola is what kept me founded on truth and love in my very complex struggle regarding homosexuality.  It helped me search for truth and taught me what the Christian life should be.  

Biola also taught me a couple of things concerning the Christian community and how it indirectly ignores Christians who struggle with homosexuality.  It taught me marriage is the relationship all Christians value over any other relationship, even over the Church.  I learned Christians don't really value Celibacy or caring for the singles.  I learned future Church leaders are going to be carrying on the idolization that sex, marriage, and family are.  And the scariest thing of all, Biola taught me many Christians are not willing to lay down their life for their friend, especially if they struggle with homosexuality, but they are willing to speak up against homosexuality.  

At first, I was frustrated with my friends, but I realized they are only following their Church leaders, their mentors, their professors, their Bible professors.  Biola even has a program called the Center for Marriage and Relationships. 

Any programs happening soon to promote celibacy and singleness for the sake of the gospel?  Do Church leaders really want to talk about this? It seems we avoid those parts of scripture a lot.

A good handful of my male friends were Bible majors or students who wanted to be in ministry.  Most of them all wanted to be like Erik Thoennes. Dave Talley, JP Moreland, Matt Williams, basically any professor who was married and played sports.  

They wanted to get a wife by the time they graduated college, have kids in about 3 years, and work in ministry.

They wanted to lead the Church.

Teach the Church.

Have sex.  Lots of it.

Feel loved.  Feel successful.  Feel like they made it.  Be like their professors, mentors, and Church leaders.

Besides, they had professors and pastors talking about how great sex and marriage is in all their sermons and lectures.  How their wife is the hottest wife around.  Every example of true love I heard at Biola or at a Church was how they met their “best friend” and married them.  

Eventually, this affected me.  As I was learning about what it meant to struggle with homosexuality, I realized Christians didn’t really know what to do when they met me.  They thought I was hungry for a penis all the time.  Or that I am always lusting or that I am called to Celibacy or that marriage was going to save me somehow.

Because marriage was going to do that for them.  Marriage fits the successful Christian life standard and they needed to defend marriage too!

Save it from the liberal gay movement.  

Because sex is for a man and a woman.  

We have to speak out against sexual immorality, but really speak out against the gays, even though all my friends made out with their girlfriends until they got an erection or started lusting.  

It’s like you can make out until it gets lustful.  Heterosexual standards are silly sometimes.

But for sure we know homosexuality is wrong.  

And Erik Thoennes, Donna Thoennes, JP Moreland, and Dave Talley signed a statement today to remind us that it is wrong.  

And this statement did the very thing that the church has been doing for the last 30 to 40 years.  

Reminding people like me that Christian leaders care about getting the truth out in the open but do not invest any time or energy to actually teach about how to care and love Christians that struggle with homosexuality.

As I was reading the Nashville Statement, I agreed with mostly everything, but the more I kept reading, the more I was wondering when is the Church going to come in?

When is the Church going to be responsible and do its job?  

As I read each article, hurt and pain started to build up……

Article 1 -  God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.

(This is interesting because I have many friends and Christians I know that are on birth control that are married and don’t want to have kids, but just want to be in love and not spend any time with Christian brothers and sisters but want to live that American romantic life)

Article 2 -  God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

(but you have thousands of Christian couples making out like crazy, cuddling, having very intimate physical moments with each other even though their bodies don't belong to each other.  Do we just want to ignore the fact that men get erections when this happens? is that not sexual? Will you address this? Is this a double standard?)

Article 8 - people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.
 We deny that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.

(And I want to know how do us Christians deal with this in the Church? Tell us, please.  Stop reminding us that homosexuality is wrong.  We already know it is, but tell us how to fit in a church that idolizes the nuclear family, spends all their time with their girlfriends or wives, doesn’t care how dating effects the community, doesn’t know how to care for single people.  Christians don’t even value celibacy or singleness.  Please tell me who can I call at night when I feel alone?  Who can I experience touch when I just need a long hug or a shoulder to lay my head on?  Who can I live life with if all Christians care about is being married so they can have sex and feel one with someone? )

Article 9 - sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality — a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.

(Are you guys ever going to discipline couples that cross these boundaries? Or can couples just do everything they can physically before they start using the sexual body parts? Doesn’t lust start in the heart? Why do you pick on homosexuality so fast?)

Article 10 - it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

(you bring up faithfulness here, but the Church doesn’t care about being faithful to those that struggle with homosexuality. Take the log out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of someones else’s. I can make a list of my fellow Christian brothers who struggle with homosexuality and share with everyone all the friends that have abandoned us because walking alongside someone who struggles with homosexuality cost to much.  We cost to much time, energy, we get in the way of their heterosexual plans)

Article 11 - WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his image-bearers as male and female.

(this is the most heart breaking statement of all, please tell me how you guys are doing this in love? How are you loving those that struggle with homosexuality?  Why are they leaving the Church in waves?  Writing a statement doesn’t do anything.  This isn’t love.  You say you see us as image bearers, yet we are treated like second class family members in the Church. Do you really think you guys are loving us by writing this? Really? 

Article 12 - the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

(Erik Thoennes, Donna Thoennes, JP Moreland, and Dave Talley is the church even a part of this?  Is sanctification just an individual experience? Isn’t the Church suppose to be a part of this process?  This is so dangerous to make someone who struggles with homosexuality deal with this between themselves and God. This is so much more complex than a systematic theology statement.)

 Article 14 - Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.

(Why didn’t you guys bring up the Church?  Is there no responsibility on the Church? Do you not see how this is going to have major implications on Christians that struggle with homosexuality?  Do you see how you guys put all the weight on someone who struggles with homosexuality to deal with this by themselves?  What happened to carrying your brother's burdens?  Feed my sheep? Is the church the hands and feet of Christ?  Do you think repenting of homosexual sins is the thing that will save them from their sin?  From a “lifestyle.”  Do you think we need more than just a personal relationship with God? Was I made to be alone with God?  Was it good for Adam to be alone with God?  If it wasn't good for him, why are you making me be alone?

Overall, do you guys not see that you pursued Truth without love? 

You used one hand to say “Stop, that's sin!”

and used your other hand to hide behind your back so you wouldn’t have to reach out and say,

“Please, come be a part of my life.  Let me be God’s hands and feet in your life.

 Let me be the person God will use to help you with your burdens.

Let me be the person who will hold you at night as you cry and mourn over this heavy burden.  

Let me be the person to hold your hand as you long for healthy same sex intimacy.

 Let my hand help you up when you fall.  

Let my hand be the hand that is holding a phone as you call and give me an update about your day to day life.

Let this hand be the hand that opens the door to my house as you stop by because you are family.”

Do you guys not see you just shut us out so you can say the “TRUTH?”

You wrote 14 articles, one of these articles couldn’t say one thing about the Church letting go of the idol of marriage and helping a fellow brother out?

I wonder if this statement should be applied to you guys.

"Woe to you theologians, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you won't lift one finger to help them." - Jesus  

This is serious stuff now.  The church and its leaders need to stop speaking for truth if it has no agenda to lift one finger to help.  

You wrote one statement, write one more about the Church being the hands and feet of Christ and talk about some practicalities now of walking alongside someone who struggles with homosexuality.  

Stop hiding behind systemic theology and use your hands to do something. Be practical now. Meet our needs and let us be a part of your lives. (look up the www.the4tsandthechurch.com)

Christians struggling with homosexuality are dying over here and you are just concerned about being right.  

Please, stop it now.  Change the story. Open up your homes and lives.  

Imagine if you guys wrote a couple of practical statements like, "Christians, we would be blessed to open up our homes, give our time, give those who struggle with homosexuality some good godly intimacy. Let's figure out what their daily needs are and pursue them."

The reactions to this Nashville Statement would be a whole different story.  You would have challenged hearts and inspired hearts. Instead, you drew a line and said, " Which side are you on?" And you forgot these statements that you apparently need to make on social media will effect my life and other Christians like me. 
I am not bitter, I am just a little angry, hurt, and afraid.

Afraid I will live under the umbrella of the idol called marriage that is controlling Church and I will be a second class person like I already am.

We just want to follow Jesus too! But you keep pushing us aside.

Why Gay Marriage is good for the Church

Why Gay Marriage is Good for the Church

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. - Jesus

In the last decade, or since the beginning of the sexual revolution in America, Evangelicals have fought for a definition of marriage they believe is historically rooted in the Christian tradition dating back to the Apostles.  

This became a culture war.  

A social political war that would define a Christian.  

As states defined marriage, courts overruling them, states approving of gay marriage, and the Supreme Court then making a national law, the Church felt like it lost a war for what true marriage was.  

As someone who grew up in the Church, went to Biola, and goes to an evangelical Church, 90% of the topics of homosexuality revolved around how sinful gay sex is, how it went against scripture, how gays are gross, how God hated fags, how marriage is between a man and a woman, how great straight marriage was, how great straight sex was, how great and intimate sex is, and how “God will judge our country for all the fags out there having sex.”

How they are wrong and we are right.

The 10% was if you struggle with homosexuality, you should trust in God, pray, be faithful to his word, fight your temptation, learn how to be single for life, because it is better to cut your hand off than for your whole body to be thrown into the lake of fire, really how it is better to cut your penis off so your whole body doesn't get thrown into the lake of fire.

Because one of the worse sins is gay sex.

and embrace this lonely struggle because that is your cross and God will reward you if you make it.

That was how the topic of homosexuality has been talked about in the Church.  

That is how Christians gave a tenth of their spices, their mint, dill, and cumin.  

That is how they followed the law.  

That is how they loved their brothers and sisters who struggle with homosexuality.

and that is still how they love their brothers and sisters who struggle with homosexuality.  

and this is precisely why many Christians who struggle with homosexuality become gay affirming and live a “gay lifestyle,” or really find a place to get their human needs met, although I am also arguing that sexual needs or not human needs.  Those are wants.  

The Church has not given, justice, mercy, and hasn’t been faithful or given fidelity to us Christians who struggle with homosexuality.

Christians have only been giving their spices,

not justice, mercy, and faithfulness

And so, why is Gay marriage good for the Church?

Because if we really want to save people from this sinful life that will lead them to hell, then we have to do way more than what we are doing now.

We have to redefine “our family” into the biblical New Covenant Christ-like definition of family.

If we want to fulfill the commands of Jesus and the Apostles, we need to actually follow the Scriptures.  

The same scriptures that say homosexual sex is a sin, are the same scriptures that say the family isn’t as important anymore.  

The Church family is more important.  

The same scriptures that say sin leads to death,

are the same scriptures that say “you are the hands and feet of Christ.”

The same scriptures that say stand up for truth,

are the same scriptures that say, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The same scriptures that record Jesus saying, “let no man separate what God has put together (referencing man and women)

are the same scriptures that record Jesus saying,

“You can’t be a follower of mine if you don’t hate your mother, father, wife, husband, sister, even your own life.”

“My brothers and sisters are those that do the father's will”

“You will be like the angels in Heaven who are not married.”

and from the Apostle Paul - “It is better for the sake of the Kingdom you are not married…..live as if you are no longer married.”

Gay marriage is good for the Church because it is making us rethink, reread, and question our hearts, our agendas, our willingness to sacrificially give and walk with our brothers and sisters who struggle with this.

This may mean we need more single men and women in the Church.

This may mean we need more families to open up their homes and ask other Christians to live with them.

This may mean we need to value friendship and keep friendships in holy covenants.

This may mean we need to start valuing and teaching and creating a space for the gift of celibacy for straight Christians so this gift can finally demonstrate the power and resurrection of our God and how it benefits the Church. 

This may mean those that are dating need to be more aware of how that changes their friendships and community. 

Have we been too concerned about being right and following parts of the letters of the scripture over helping and meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters who struggle with homosexuality in PRACTICAL REAL LIFE WAYS?

I created the 4TS and the Church so Christians can actually meet the needs of those that struggle with homosexuality.

I want to keep talking about touch, time, transparency, and teamwork because that is what we simply need.

So to my family,

To the Church,

To the married Christians,

To those I am in an eternal covenant with,

A covenant more profound than your marriage,

A heavenly and earthly union we are in that surpasses your temporary earthly union,

Ask yourself, can you possibly be one of these teachers of the law or Pharisees that Jesus is addressing?

Can you be partially fulfilling the law but missing the more important parts of the law?

The parts of the law of Christ that say bring justice - standing up for Christians in need of love and care from same sex friends in the Church, these Christians that are being ignored.

The parts of the law of Christ that say have mercy - giving mercy to Christians that will require you to step out of your comfort zone to meet their deep needs of touch, time, transparency, and teamwork.

The parts that say show faithfulness - being faithful to those that struggle with homosexuality in friendship, in being there for them, letting them be there for you, investing in deeper community and fidelity with them.  Remembering that they deserve committed brotherhood and sisterhood. They are important too just as your spouse and children are.  

As Jesus told the religious community,

“Can you practice the latter of meeting the needs in practical ways of those that struggle with homosexuality without neglecting the latter of standing up for the Truth?

To my family, let's stop talking about how gay marriage is sinful if we are not going to be living sacrificially for Christians who struggle with homosexuality.  

If the Church is going to make defending the definition of marriage the main priority and if it is going to make marriage into an idol,

the church will lose the war of loving and meeting the needs of Christians that struggle with homosexuality.  

So, Gay marriage is good for the Church because it will make the Church focus on what is more important in its mission, being the hands and feet of Jesus who meets the needs of humans.  

Besides, the Church is here to stay on earth until the return of Christ, so it will eventually meet the needs of Christians that struggle with homosexuality.

The question is, are we going to be the age of the Church that doesn’t meet the needs and just stands for truth, or will your children or their children finally solve this issue?  

And if they solve it, then be ready to answer Jesus on why we didn’t care for the important parts of his message.  

Let's give touch, time, transparency, and teamwork to Christians that struggle with Homosexuality.

Let’s show the world what true intimacy is.  Let’s show them that Church intimacy in the New Covenant of Christ is more intimate and pleasurable than sexual relationships.

Want to support Richard going part time for the 4TS and the Church?

About 2 years ago I created a website called the 4TS and the Church.  The website is about The 4TS and the Church which are Touch, Time, Transparency, Teamwork and how Christians can practically care for other Christians who struggle with homosexuality.  

I created this site because I saw a fixable problem within the Church.  The Church wants to help Christians that struggle with homosexuality, but it doesn’t have a clue on how to do that and sometimes it ends up doing more damage than good, sometimes life threatening damage.

Since the topic of gay marriage seemed to be one of the main priorities of Churches in the last decade, it sort of forgot what was more important,

Loving and meeting the needs of its own that are in the church that struggles with homosexuality. 

Now that Gay marriage is legal, many churches are becoming gay affirming, and Christians that at one point struggled with homosexuality, are now accepting a gay identity. 

The Church sort of seems like it is losing.

It has been a rough couple of years. 

But now this is where the 4TS comes in. 

In my life, I have been blessed to have male friends go above and beyond “normal” friendship to meet the very complex needs that are in my life because I struggle with homosexuality. 

There have been ups and downs and lessons that have taught me very important truths about society, the Church, sin, redemption, and what it means to be a Christian that struggles with Homosexuality. 

And those truths get summed up within the 4TS and the Church. 

A couple of years ago at Biola University a group of gay affirming students started a community that was putting pressure on Biola to change its stance on gay relationships.  The editor in Chief of the Biola Chimes covered this group, but she also covered my story.

Here is the story.  Please read it.

http://chimes.biola.edu/story/2013/may/09/biola-student-same-sex-struggles/

She was such a good listener of my experience being a Christian who struggled with homosexuality she was able to identify 3 words my friends gave to me that were very important to me.

TOUCH, TIME, and TRANSPARENCY.

As passion started to build within me for the Church to actually be a place where Christians who struggled with homosexuality can get their needs met,  I wanted to start something for heterosexual Christians who want to help Christians that struggle with homosexuality.  A place where Christians can finally say, “Oh, I can practical meet the needs of another brother or sister who struggles with homosexuality. I don’t have to vaguely “love them,” I can actually love them, care for them. Give them the godly, healthy intimacy they need.“

This site isn’t directly for those who struggle with homosexuality, but I know it does help them. 

But my passion is for the “straight church.”  The Christian communities that want to get their hands and knees dirty and actually love and offer deep intimacy for those that struggle with homosexuality.  And it will get tough.  Caring for a Christian who struggles with homosexuality isn't a walk in the park. See it as you being Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord and you end up getting hurt in the process, but this hurt increases your faith and trust in God. 

I thought of the importance of TOUCH, TIME, TRANSPARENCY, and TEAMWORKand how these 4TS gave me hope that I can be a Christian who struggles with homosexuality and have my deep longing for male intimacy met in healthy godly ways.

I can still be a part of the church and care for the Church as the Church cares me.

It is my home.

Since I have started this site, it has been taking off.  I receive emails every other day.  People from Italy, France, South Africa, Australia, and of course the United States.   I have been able to talk to 3 churches and a men's small group (all that attended that group struggled with homosexuality) about the 4TS. 

Even though these words seem so simple, I actually dive into the very complex realities of these words.  For some Christians, the 4TS will be very challenging, sacrificial, it may show them their own selfishness, and for some, it might bring up pain and sadness in their own lives as they realize they may be lacking the 4TS in their life, even if they don’t struggle with homosexuality. 

I talk about how long periods of touch from men are important and healthy for a Christian like me, so we have to talk about touch.  Ways to touch, experience touch.

I talk about wow quality time is important.  This gets complicated because we then have to talk about how Christians use their time, especially when it comes to marriage and family. 

We talk about transparency. Spiritual and emotional transparency, and the most complex, physical transparency.  I talk about the importance of the locker room experience and how humans need to be known physically in nonsexual ways.  It is this area of conversation that we talk about what it means to be attracted to another same sex peer.

And I talk about how helping those who struggle with homosexuality needs to be done with teamwork or church community.  To some extent, everyone needs teamwork.  Even married folks.

The 4TS will stretch some Christians and take them to very uncomfortable areas they haven't been before.

Some of the blogs I have written are very detailed in regards to what same sex attraction is and how the desire of wanting to have sex with your friends actually plays out in my mind and why it does. 

Christians do not always have the most accurate understanding of this sin or fallen nature.  It isn’t just a sexual perversion, but a lack of communication on how Christians that struggle with deep same sex intimacy bond with the Church.

I have been able to do some writing, podcasting and one video.  Since then the site is becoming a little well known!

Here are a couple of emails I have received from readers and listeners

"Dear Richard,

Hey, I just stumbled across your blog and read a couple of your posts. As a college student who also struggles with homosexuality, I'm really thankful for your honesty and transparency. I've read a number of blogs, watched tons of videos, and listened to some podcasts, but your blog is the first I've seen to present such a unique solution to helping SSA guys in the church. I've never considered that it's actually alright (and even biblical) to seek affirmation/ affection from another man (especially physically!). I've always distanced myself from any situation that would involve physical intimacy with other men for fear of intensifying my homosexual desires and adding another scenario for me to later sexualize and fantasize over. My greatest desire has always been to just be "one of the bros," to engage in physical and emotional intimacy in a non-sexual way. Reading your blog has really encouraged me that my desire could become a reality.

That being said, if you're willing to respond, I had a few questions regarding this viewpoint and your thought process:
Do you find yourself only seeking help from guys you consider attractive? Would you ever ask for a hug from an unattractive man? Why/ why not?
Would you ever seek confirmation from a man who also struggles with homosexuality? Why/ why not?
How do you not sexualize/fantasize about physical closeness with another guy? Does it get easier the more you do it? Do you ask God for help?
Do you ever feel convicted about your interactions with other men? Do you ever feel like you went too far with someone?

Here is another email

I'm currently 49 years old. I am a mostly same sex attracted Christian man who grew up with a great father and mother. I had my first experiences of the locker room when I was 30 years old. I guess the thing I had feared the most all through high school and college was the very thing I had needed. Since then I've had many great experiences with men in all the 4Ts, but especially in transparency. One thing I try to get across to people is that pursuing transparency and the locker room is not only valid but important; even something to be excited about. It is basically filling in a gap left in lots of men's lives regardless of how they experience attraction.

I believe in traditional morality and sexuality from a Christian point of view. But I also believe men need other men and they need a comfortable and safe place to let their hair down and be intimate with room for awkwardness and goofups. The lockers provide this. I wish more OSA men knew the power they had in this regard. They could initiate tons of healing by creating experiences where SSA men could enter into to real communion. The locker room when approached naturally has such normalizing effects.

It's important to note that the 4Ts don't manifest the same way in every friendship. I have one friend for instance, I have some friends who are more Time or Touch, but not both. I have others who are mostly just one T to me. And one of my closest friends, the guy I do art with, is all 4Ts all the time.

And in closing, a quick message for you OSA/straight male friends. Thanks so much guys for being open and vulnerable. Thanks for your invitations to do life and intimacy. Thanks for seeing people like us as possibilities for friendship and not people to push to the edge. And thanks for sharing the 4Ts with us. You guys are the best!


I can't tell you how happy I was to hear the podcast on transparency.  I'm sure you are inundated with emails so I'll try not to be a bother, but if you or your podcast mates would ever want to share stories or hear mine I'd love to meet you guys. I realize it would be an email or social networking scenario, but I'm open to sharing. Also, for the record, I don't see men as gay or straight, just as men.

One more email

Hi Richard!

I just found out about your blog/site and have listened to a couple of the podcasts.  I totally relate to what you and the other guys are saying.   The 4 t's make so much sense.  It's really cool you have straight guys also speaking and sharing.  I'm an ssa guy who is 56 and only "came out" back in 2012 when my ex-wife left me.  I've had attractions to men since I was a teen but back then it was totally NOT ok to mention them at all." - (identity hidden)

Richard-
I came across your blog through Facebook and "Your Other Brothers" yesterday.
I listen to the podcast on the locker room and read through your writings.
I am 59 years old and it has taken me to this age to understand all the things you correctly share about ssa, men and the church. It has been a lonely journey for me.
I have always had ssa...had counseling for it... got married...raised a family...stayed married..never have been with a man...yet the attractions have remained. I am a Christian and have been active in the church and in a serious relationship with Jesus all my life. You are the first Christian guy that I have come across that speaks like he knows the me inside.
It was refreshing and encouraging for me to review your blog. It is like you know the me I keep hidden because it seems no one of my generation gets it.
Thank you for your transparency and courage to speak up with such directness (older Christian)


So...

 I can’t keep up with the writing, podcasting, videos and the many more creative ideas I have to give the church the necessary tools to love those that struggle with homosexuality because I work full time and have two other part time jobs.

I have been wondering for the last year if I should do this full time or part time. 

And now, I know I need to try this as least part time for at least 9 months. 

And I can only do this with the support of the Church, my friends, my brothers, and sisters. 

My desire is to cut my full-time job hours in half, do less valet, and stop being an uber driver in order to give 20 hours a week to this site and make this into something bigger and useful. 

I am hoping for at least 50 people to be committed to giving 30 dollars a month for 9 months starting in September and ending in May.  If I actually get more support than needed, I may go full time.

I will be reporting to 2 friends of mine. 

Matthew Hooper, who is the Dean of Students at Biola and walks alongside many men and women who struggle with homosexuality.  And my friend Kolby Atchison who is an Assistant Principal at a private school in Wheaton who has walked alongside me and has contributed intellectual dialogue, advice, and constructive criticism on how to improve the 4TS website and content.

And really, I talk to most of my friends about the 4TS so I am surrounded by many men and women who are always interested in how the site is going. So I have a lot of support and accountability taking place concerning this already.

At the end of the 9 months, I want to reevaluate the 4TS and the Church and see where it will be. 

If I should continue this or not.

Within the 9 months I want to create different content that explains the 4TS, hold at least 2 small conferences with Pastors and Church leaders,  write, and podcast more, especially with pastors and professors and start networking with Churches and Christian Professors to help them incorporate the 4TS into their church culture and lives. 

The reasons this will take a lot of time is because the 4TS is counter cultural.  There are a lot of conversations that need to take place in order for churches to understand homosexuality in a better way than just a sex sin.

Topics of friendship and marriage need to take place.

Topics about the human body need to take place.

It gets complicated and so this needs to be done well. 

I don’t assume God is behind this, but I pray and hope God blesses this.  With the amount of traffic and emails I am receiving, it seems to be touching many men. 

So I am asking you if you will be willing to journey with me on this. 

But there is a catch, I don’t want you to just donate and hope for this success.  I want you to be a part of it. 

I want you to write at least 4 blogs throughout the 9 months concerning each particular T.  It can be however long or short you want it to be and I will guide you on what would be the best topics to talk about when you write.  The reason for this is that I want the 4TS and the Church to be talked about, debated on, shared with as many Christians as possible. 

I want to use social media as one of my main platforms, but I would love for the Church to be the main platform for this conversation. 

The 4TS will only be successful if people take it to their local churches and bring it up, talk about it, teach it, discuss it, debate it, etc.

I will publish your specific blog post on the site and social media.

This is all I got for you right now.  If you decide you want to support me for 30 dollars (or more) for 9 months, please email me your concerns, questions, challenges etc.  I want to hear anything you have to say.

This is serious stuff.  I’m not just raising money to pay my bills and be lazy.  I realize the importance and potential of this conversation and the need the Church has for something like this.  I plan on contacting every Pastor and Christian Professor in the So-hcal area during the 9 months. 

Many people are killing themselves over this, getting diseases over this, crying in agony at night alone over this, accepting a gay identity over this. 

I want that to change.  I want the Church to be a place where humans who have deep same sex longings can actually experience that in healthy Christian brotherly and sisterly ways. 

I want the church to offer them TOUCH, TIME, TRANSPARENCY, and TEAMWORK. 

“Many men who have high same-sex needs eventually decide: “Being in the gay lifestyle is better than being in the church, Because in the gay life, you go into a bar and everyone hugs and kisses you. You go to a church, you don't get hugged and kissed by anyone. Some of them, the more artistic, the more politically astute, or maybe the more sensitive ones will do it......Christians are talking heads or praying heads. They can't get down to where you really need to be. Your skin is your largest organ in your body and they are afraid of it. They are afraid to touch, they are afraid to love, they are afraid to sacrifice, afraid to get messy. “Oh my god, what do you mean it's going to take 10 years for you to get better? I don't have time that kind of time.” So the gay life appears to be a whole lot more love, acceptance, and laughter.”- Tim Timmerman, A Bigger World Yet.

For those of you that have decided you can support me, I created a PayPal account that you can donate monthly too.

I asked those who want to support me if they can donate 30 dollars for 9 months from September to May.  

Here is the account email for PayPal the4tsandthechurch@gmail.com

If you are not comfortable with making a transaction through PayPal just email me back your concerns.  We can work out another method for your donation.  I would like to keep all the transactions in one account so I can keep track of it for taxes (that's right, I’m paying taxes for this) which is why I want to use PayPal.

Paypal is a safe monetary transaction company that my current job uses for its own transactions.  

If you feel comfortable donating to me please let me know if you haven’t already.

If you are comfortable, you can find the account on PayPal.  

If you can donate by the 15th of each month that would be great so I can know how much time I can invest in the 4TS before I add more valet shifts or Uber shifts to my life.

Again, thank you so much for the support you have given me.  It means a lot.

In the next week or two, I will be emailing you the specific plan I have on where I want to try to take the 4TS and the Church and how you can be involved as well.

I am excited for where this can go, hopefully, it can change the narrative of the Church and its relation to Christians who struggle with homosexuality.

Please email me if you have any questions, concerns, etc.

Your brother in Christ - Richard Padilla

When you struggle with homosexuality, and friends that love and know you move away

“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.” - Henry Nouwen

The 4TS and the Church are something I have been writing, talking about, and sharing with others in order for them to help anyone that will come into their life that struggles with homosexuality.  Often times I write because I am inspired by events that are literally taking place in my life at that time.  

And this summer has been a summer of sorrow and sadness.

Last year two of my closest guy friends got married and I was able to experience so much fun, love, and acceptance through their weddings and marriages.  

Getting kissed by the bride and groom, Lindsey and Jeremy.

Getting kissed by the bride and groom, Lindsey and Jeremy.

living up to my shortness

living up to my shortness

I actually wrote a blog about it.

Throughout this past year, I have become closer to another friend and his family. He has an amazing sharing and caring wife and 3 fun kids!