“I don’t identify as ‘gay’ because I believe there can be a difference between what one experiences and the life that God offers. I'm a cracked vessel held together only by God's power. And I'm more sure each day that only Christ can make broken people whole."
A. It was a set-up - an entrapment by a wicked gay former evangelical to embarrass and shame him.
B. It was an "accident" - because, you know, boys will be boys.
C. Merritt was abused/molested as a child.
D. Merritt is gay and "struggles" with his homosexual orientation.
E. It is evidence of "The Fall" and further evidence that if you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, you can "follow the right path" to redemption and salvation (read: Get rid of 'Teh Gay' - because, you know, it's a "choice").
F. All of the above.
"It's bred compassion in me towards others who wrestle with the baggage they carry in life. People like me who passionately pursue God--on His terms and not ours--experience incredible times of struggle along the way. I know what it is like to experience periods of depression, frustration, and confusion. And that's why I live out my calling the way I do, as best as I can, sometimes stumbling along the way."
Although I was unable to choose when I would share some of these painful memories, I am thankful for the opportunity to share it now. I'm thankful that I am able to make better decisions about how to handle a difficult situation. And, I'm thankful that because of grace, I can identify with those who have dealt with similar situations. He said he remains “committed to living the life God demands for those who follow him,” including “the Bible's unambiguous standards for sexuality.”
"Exposing this truth of Jonathan’s sexual orientation is not an easy decision for me. I take no pleasure in doing this. As I type this my stomach is turning because I know of the backlash he will receive. I have thought about what all of this will mean for him and for me. I base my reasoning in the importance of living an authentic and honest life. We must have radical honesty in the character, intentions and identities of our leaders.”
We're are all, as Merritt says, "cracked vessels held together only by God's power". We need to be "glue" for each other's brokenness - not using Scripture verses to clobber each other into shattered pieces, only to be put back together into the image others have of us. Rather we need to be about loving someone into being the person that is the image in God's eye when they were created.
That includes Jonathon Merritt.
I hope he continues to "passionately pursue God" on God's terms - and not those imposed upon him by either the Southern Baptist Church or the LGBT community - so that, when he stumbles again (and I have no doubt he will at least be seriously tempted to "stumble" again), he will know that God's hand will always be there to pick him up, dust him off, and place him back on the path that leads to Truth.
We call that "Grace".
No matter where that Path of Truth leads any one individual person, it's an intensely personal journey between a human being and God.
And, that "choice" is one we all have to live with - whether or not anyone else considers that a "sin".