Over the next 3 years, Josh and I repeatedly succumbed to backfire as we discussed our respective views on Christianity (including homosexuality). In moments, he was tempted to write me off as a wacko and a fraud. At times, I was frustrated by his persistent challenges. We both came at our discussions with one purpose – to convince the other of our rightness. Our friendship could have ended – but it did not.

Around the 800th email, we reached a make or break point where it was clear: he had no “new and provable facts” that would change my position. Likewise, I had nothing “new and provable” that would change his view. Just at this point where backfire might tempt us to withdraw from the friendship, something happened.

You cannot share hundreds of emails without getting to know someone. Josh and I discovered that we both knew the pain of being called fag; of fearing conditional acceptance from family and friends; and of being judged by both secular and religious people. We discovered that we are both passionate and empathetic about other peoples’ pain. As crisis emerged in his life or mine, we prayed for and encouraged one another.

We discovered that absent an intersecting point – a place of mutual agreement – about homosexuality, we do intersect across many shared experiences, beliefs and hopes. The challenge continues. Josh’s faith has now evolved beyond orthodox Christianity. In his eyes, I am not growing. I worry how far he may move away from Jesus. These are real concerns, but we cannot control each other’s conscience. I have made my decision: he is my trusted friend and beloved brother. I cherish and accept Josh – just as he is – in Christ’s name. No matter what.

Join Lead Them Home over the next two (2) days as Josh shares his side of our friendship.

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