On the 5th Sunday of lent the Orthodox Church remembers St. Mary of Egypt. Her life is read during the Great Canon of St. Andrew during the previous week.
St. Mary of Egypt has always been one my favorite saints of the Church. For years her own story and celebrated place in the life of the Church gave me hope that even with my own struggles with sexuality I might still belong in the Church. For those of you who may not be familiar with the life of this 5th century saint you can read her entire story here. I’ve been wanting to share just a few reflections from her life for some time now and I can’t think of a better time than the 5th Sunday in lent which is dedicated to her.
Anytime someone brings up the role of women in the Church I always think of St. Mary. Read More
Four years ago through a moment of terrified bravery my home became safe.
Four years ago I confessed to my sophomore roommate that I struggled with same-sex attractions. It was almost 2am on a Saturday night and we were up late, as we often were, chatting until the early morning. I’d been friends with my roommate for over a year and we, along with 4 other friends, shared two dorm rooms our sophomore year of college. For several months I’d been wanting to tell my roommate about my deep struggle with my sexuality but for various reasons it never happened until that night in October. He could sense the weight of what I told him and offered to come along side me as a brother and friend, to defend me should anyone speak against me. More than anything he allowed me for the first time to feel safe.
A brief update!
Copyright 2013 Gregg Webb
Almost two weeks ago I began a three year Master of Arts in Counseling program at Covenant Seminary here in St. Louis. It’s a seminary in the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) one of the more conservative Presbyterian groups. My father received his Mdiv from the same seminary over 35 years while he was still a member of the PCA. I’ve been blessed to know several friends from my undergraduate who attend as well as several alumni who are now Eastern Orthodox. The school is known for their counseling program in particular and has provided St. Louis and many other cities with hundreds of gifted counselors. I knew going in that It would be a challenge interacting and engaging with a reformed protestant theology on a daily basis as an Eastern Orthodox believer. However, I truly believe that God has used my time in an Evangelical Presbyterian campus ministry to help prepare me for these next few years as well as my parent’s long history in the same community.
I am very blessed to attend school with many Godly men and women who are all seeking to dedicate their life to serving Christ. The professors have a deep, deep love for their students and for scripture and their pastoral care runs deeply throughout the school. In addition to the school’s foundational theology class I am also taking an Introduction to the New Testament, Intro to Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. This semester I am also auditing a class on “Unholy Matrimony” which looks at various challenges to marriage. Homosexuality has already come up and I and several friends are looking forward to engaging the subject as well as a discussion of singleness with the rest of the (mostly married) class. Another perk of Covenant is its growing community of side-B Christians and the school’s welcoming, graceful and humble approach towards men and women with same-sex attractions.
I am also continuing this year to volunteer as a co-group leader with a local ministry helping to lead a men’s Same-Sex attraction support group. My involvement with the group over the last year has had a deep impact on me and I’m excited to continue learning from their stories and living life along side of them as they work through many difficult questions. It is incredible to think that I as a former member of the group am now able to now offer something back!
So as you might imagine things are pretty busy! In my free time I’m continuing to develop my friendships and community here at school in St. Louis and across the country. I hope to continue to occasionally post on here as well as at Spiritual Friendship and you can always keep up with me on Twitter! Thank you all for your prayers and support and I look forward to continuing this conversation!
I have a guest post up over at the Spiritual Friendship Blog on my time in the Boy Scouts. Also, spend some time enjoying the many great posts they’ve got over there!
Today, the first Sunday after Pascha, the Orthodox Church celebrates St. Thomas. We remember his doubt, his touching the risen Lord, and most importantly his declaration, “You are my Lord and my God.” The hymnography for this feast commemorates both Thomas’ doubt as well as the Lord’s revelation of his resurrection in the flesh.
“Today it smells like springtime, and new creation is dancing. Today the locks are removed from the doors and the disbelief of Thomas the friend who cries out, “You are my Lord and my God.” -Exaposteilaria for Sunday of St. Thomas
“O Thomas, according to your wish, handle Me,” said Christ to him. “Put out your hand, and be cognizant that I have flesh and bones, and an earthen body. Be not one who disbelieves. But rather with the others be confident.” And he in turn cried out, “You, O Jesus, are my Lord and God, and my Savior. Glory to Your resurrection.” -Praises from the Sunday of St. Thomas