"When I was in my early 20s, I felt pretty lost. I had grown up in a conservative Baptist church. And conservative isn’t just an adjective—it was the actual name they called themselves!
And I also realized I was gay, and everything I had been taught told me that this was the part of myself that I needed to excise and kill. So I tried very hard to do that. I went to Exodus ministry and prayed and fasted on Sundays to not be gay anymore.
And it didn’t work.
So I was really struggling with life and faith, and a lot of self-loathing.
And I had some friends who were forming this little community in San Francisco. And when I was 24 I showed up, and said,
“You know, I’m a deeply committed Christian and I’m also gay. I have no idea how those two go together, but I’d like to try and figure it out with you all.”
And afterwards, this guy who was the conservative Baptist regional area director for missions—he was very, very conservative, kind of like the ideological watchdog—he comes up to me and says this:
“Tim, I don’t know what all I think about homosexuality. But I know that you are a gift. And I wonder if it isn’t a gift to you.”
And that was just a revolution in my whole thinking…"
We were honored with Tim Otto’s giving of his time to talk with us today. If you'd like to hear more about the gift of community, tune in below, or find our podcasts on iTunes under “Haven Berkeley”!