Dear Trinity community,
Can I express how much I love you? When I first arrived here in 2010 as a closeted 18-year-old who was deeply burdened by heavy rejection from other Christian circles, I wasn’t sure I would… but guess what? I do love you and I love you a lot. You’ve proven yourself over and over to be a loving tribe of people, full of compassion, acceptance, and graciousness, and I have been honored to count myself among you. However, as we all know, things have not been easy for Trinity as of late, with the recent story about Bethany Paquette being just one more example of the mischaracterizations many of us have had to face. Speaking as a gay Trinity student who loves this community wholeheartedly, I have a few things I absolutely need you to know moving forward as controversy continues to surround our school:
1) Never, ever, ever, EVER be ashamed of coming from TWU. The people who are going to judge you for being a Christian educated at TWU would just as easily judge you for being a Christian educated somewhere else. So, you don’t need to get caught up in trying to justify your attendance at Trinity by debating policy – you all know who Trinity students and alumni really are and more than that, you know any debate over any university policy is really just one little speck in God’s greater plans for the world anyway. Respond to people as necessary with grace and humility, but remember to keep your ultimate perspective and focus where it should be.
2) Sometimes people who know nothing about you will attempt to tell you what your opinion is. They will tell you that you must surely be a bigot or a homophobe or a fool or any other degrading thing they can think of, solely because you are a Christian or because of your connection to Trinity Western. Do not – DO NOT – get angry at these people. Often, these people are mad at perceived injustices on a scale that goes far beyond you and your simple conversation, and as a result, you have just been caught in the crossfire. Instead of anger, be at peace in your true identity in Christ and be thankful that only by the grace of God can you be something other than these false accusations.
3) Remember to prove your love for people through your actions, not just words or arguments or articulate defenses. While there is a place for words, there are so many people out there who have “heard it all before”. So don’t just TALK about how much Christians actually (fill in the blank here with good Christian verbs)… find ways to do those things! Don’t do these things to prove those negative people are wrong though – do these things to give the Holy Spirit more room to move and work in every place you come in contact with. The Lord will do the convicting and the changing; you just do the loving.
4) It is NEVER your job to silence your critics. Even Jesus had critics and he was perfect. It is only your job to love people.
5) And finally – patience. Patience, patience, patience. God knows what you’re dealing with and he is moving. So be patient. Find rest. Do not get riled up. And remember, whether or not things ever change one way or another, God is still the same. Draw contentment from that, and be patient.
I want you to know that as a gay Trinity student and soon-to-be alum, I love you all without hesitation. Like many other students who have passed through TWU’s open doors, I too have found a second home here, one I will doubtlessly cherish for the rest of my life. No, I don’t agree with everything everyone thinks, but is that really the heart of the matter? I would take being loved over being agreed with any day of the week, wouldn’t you? So do not allow unfair criticism and accusations to tear you down as the controversy around TWU continues into the future… God’s watching over you and he knows what you need. Much love to you all!