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Where There's Brokenness, There's Beauty
"The Church's response to homosexuality is culture's litmus test to the reality of our faith. Where we fail to love homosexuals, we fail the Gospel” (Brian Pengelly).

Brian Pengelly attests to an emotional and tumultuous childhood, which he was forced to overcome by seeking help on his own. Pengelly struggled with his sexual identity and lived most of his childhood in complete terror of being rejected by God and his family. This kept him secluded and broken inside. Not wanting these feelings, he sought God desperately praying, "If I would just be good enough, will you please take it away?"

Brian Pengally

All throughout his adolescent years, Pengelly felt as if he had failed God because feelings of shame and guilt continually overcame him. He forced himself to reject these feelings, which became increasingly difficult and overbearing. It wasn't until he met a counsellor at Moody Bible Institute that he began to attain resources to help him deal with his sexuality.

After a few years, Pengelly found himself at Tyndale Seminary where he enrolled in the MDiv program in counselling and graduated in 2007. His passion and natural gift was in working with the youth. He enjoyed his life at Tyndale where he appreciated the ethnic diversity because it helped him with his cross-cultural skills. Pengelly lived on residence for five years where he spent a lot of time with first-year students who were youth ministry majors. He ran small groups, provided mentorship, and tried to equip the students with the skills they needed to help others. Pengelly became the loving and welcoming person that the young people looked up to and turned to for direction. Pengelly had become the person he longed to have in his own life as a youth.

At "New Direction," a para-church ministry, Pengelly disciples youth that are struggling sexually. The youth that he works with are terrified; they continually fear rejection from people and God. He seeks to equip the Church to embrace and accept such persons. He says, "The reality of discipleship is that it's long and it's messy. The first thing that changes in their life is not sexual ethics, and if the Church can't be safe place for them before they get to that point, then something is wrong with the Church." God works in unique ways in shaping and forming people to become who He wants them to be.

Pengelly challenges Christians today, "The Church's response to homosexuality is culture's litmus test to the reality of our faith. Where we fail to love homosexuals, we fail the Gospel." If we are indeed a religion about love and acting in love as Jesus did, we need to stand up for these social issues; we need to understand what it means to embrace everyone, no matter what struggles they may be facing.

God can uplift even those who struggle sexually. God is gracious to all who live in this fallen world. Pengelly's testimony is one that touches all who have faced struggles that seemed almost impossible to overcome. God's love and mercy can overcome all and Pengelly can attest to this, "I used to feel like I wasn't worth anything, that I was weird and didn't belong, but God has given me a new identity: I belong to Him now, and that is the best thing in the world."

Bina Hwangbo is former Alumni Assistant at Tyndale University College & Seminary.

Originally published in Connection, Summer 2008.




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