Normally, the dating lives of writers don’t make headlines that much, because trust me, we can be pretty boring people sometimes. And the personal lives of people within the Christian culture don’t make headlines until something scandalous happens—or until they publicly trumpet ideas and behaviors that fly in the face of Christianity, in which case the media hold them up as the ultimate in Christian celebrity.
The latter scenario is the case of Glennon Doyle Melton, someone you probably haven’t heard of unless you paid attention to the recent headlines that she has emerged from her divorce to embrace lesbianism. Melton, who blogs at a site called Momastery, recently announced with great glee on her Facebook page that she is now dating soccer star Abby Wambach. From the Washington Post:
“Oh my God, she is so good to me. She loves me for all the things I’ve always wanted to be loved for. She’s just my favorite. My person,” wrote Melton, best known for her 2014 New York Times bestseller “Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” and 2016 memoir “Love Warrior,” an Oprah Book Club pick.
Not to sound terribly nitpicky or legalistic, but someone who falls in line with Christian orthodoxy isn’t going to lead off a public declaration by taking the Lord’s name in vain. And for one of her books to be “an Oprah Book Club pick” and to boast of glowing quotes from former pastor Rob Bell (who fell outside of mainstream Christian circles when he wrote a book denying the nearly universal orthodox Christian doctrine of hell) and Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert doesn’t exactly fit the resume of someone who subscribes to mainstream Christianity.
The Washington Post piece goes out its way to note that Melton “has reiterated for years her position affirming that same-sex marriage is not sinful and celebrating love in various forms,” a telltale sign to anyone (with the possible exception of the Post) that the author’s views are more liberal than that of most believers.
In fact, Melton has followed Gilbert into fashionable lesbianism; Gilbert herself announced her own girl-on-girl relationship in September, right around the same time Melton’s marriage ended. The Post details the friendship between Melton and Gilbert:
Gilbert and Melton met for the first time last fall, but Melton has long admired and been inspired by Gilbert. “For the past decade she has been a minister to me,” she said.
Note that Gilbert is not a Christian, though we’re led to believe that Melton is some sort of mainstream Christian hero. Yet Gilbert has “been a minister” to Melton? It just doesn’t add up.
The case of Glennon Doyle Melton is just the latest in a rash of Christian “celebrities” that have not made terribly influential contributions to the Christian culture but who are held up as major stars by the media when they announce their homosexuality. I remember not terribly long ago when Christian rocker Jennifer Knapp came out in 2010. She had been out of the spotlight for several years by that time, and her announcement coincided with a new release which, interestingly enough, contained profanity. As much as I loved her first three albums, her career in Christian music was spotty at best.
What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.
The media made Beeching out to be one of the most prominent worship leaders in the world at the time. Though she had experienced some international success, she wasn’t really a big star in the worship universe.
And then earlier this year, I saw several clickbait headlines about a “popular” Christian rock star who had come out. I clicked, and the guy’s name is Trey Pearson. I had never heard of him and still don’t know any of his music. His big announcement came in an entertainment magazine based in that hotbed of culture known as Columbus, Ohio, which may tell you something. According to Religion News Service:
“I never wanted to be gay,” he tells (614). “I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it was never an option for me.”
Nearly eight years ago, Pearson married a woman in hopes of achieving the kind of straight dream-life his community would support. Though he and his wife had two children, his hopes never materialized and Pearson realized he “was never going to be who my wife needed me to be.”
“I was not making it an option to be gay so I could be loyal to her and my children,” he told me. “But then I realized the only way I was ever going to be my best for them was to be healthy myself.”
Oh, and by the way, his post-coming-out “mentor” is none other than Rob Bell.
Not many people who make their living serving Christianity get noticed by the outside world. Believers who make a name in the culture at large without compromising God’s truth come few and far between. Let’s face it: the Glennon Doyle Meltons, Trey Pearsons, and Vicky Beechings of the world don’t make a dent in the world outside of Christian circles unless they make waves. And in all these cases, those waves involved compromising with the world. We should do our best to avoid emulating them.