There were three other panelists besides myself – a Wiccan priestess, a female minister from the United Church of Christ, and the male United Methodist minister.

Here are some of the questions that I remember in my words and not the words of the student who asked them. Overall there were about 10 questions and each of the four panelists gave their opinion on each:

  1. Is sex different for clergy?
  2. Does the Bible tell us the “rules” about sex?
  3. Do you think a woman can be liberated by “opening her legs to the world”?
  4. What do you think about same-sex marriage?

So how would you have answered these? I’d be curious to hear. I’m not going to share my answers here – if you are curious how I answered something, feel free to ask. What I am going to share is how I came across to the students. The professor did something very cool: at the end of the class period she had all the students take out a piece of paper and write to one of us – thanking us and giving us some feedback.

What stands out to me as I read these comments is the number of women who wrote their note to me. There were a lot of men in the class, but only one or two of these notes (including #2) were from men. The other thing that stands out to me is how much I was misquoted below. There was a lot of content during that hour and I’m not sure all of these notes reflect things I said or someone else!

These first seven are my favorites:

I would like to not only thank you full-heartedly for coming to our class and sharing your views, but also for your insight and articulate responses. I felt that you were by for the best panel member, and offered the most intelligent and thoughtful responses. I am not a practicing Christian, but your views seem very similar to mine. You are intelligent and I am extremely thankful that there are people like you out there guiding others (it helps to balance the crazies). 🙂

Thank you for your honest insight relating to the internet and how porn has created a false reality amongst young men/women. I had never really looked at it like that but it certainly makes sense.

Thank you for sharing your perspective with the class. I was most impressed with your discussion of the reality of sexuality; the longing for connection inherent in sexuality is not necessarily satisfied in the basic act of sex. This was very helpful to me.

You taught me that not all pastors feel the same about sex or the stigma surrounding pastors & sex –> the stigma that basically it is not talked about in religion. Thank you.

I appreciated your sentiment that the most important thing to consider is “Love God and Love your neighbor.” Thank you for being willing to put yourself in this interesting situation for our benefit.

Thanks so much for coming to our class. Your insight on your views with examples from your personal life really were great and made it feel like we were talking to our peers rather than someone from a higher standard. Thanks again!

I appreciated your openness and honesty. I feel like, though, we would disagree dogmatically. We are no threat to each other’s social or emotional security. This may sound very technical, but it is very significant to me, and I hope you can appreciate that.

I appreciated the openness you had and the more social approach you took towards the panel. You related your views to our demographic.

Thank you for taking the time to come to our class and talk honestly with us about some probably difficult questions. I appreciated your openness and learned a lot from what you had to share. Thank you!

It’s nice to see a church that is accepting of everyone and who embraces our culture as it is today, not how it was in the past.

I am so glad you were on our panel today. I truly valued your responses to the many questions and your responses really resonated with me. I also appreciate you being extremely open with us about your views and your personal life. You connected well with the audience. Thank you very much for coming and providing your insight.

I appreciate your openness to situations and different views. I learned that love and sex should be expressed through community and I agree completely so thank you.

I enjoyed how open you were. It made me much more accepting to hear what you and the other panelists had to say. So thanks!

Thank you for being here and being honest with your answers! Your honesty was definitely appreciated. Thank you!

I agree with your view that sex is an act of self-expression of the fundamental values you love in another person and of self-love as well. I agree that it is a physical act in response to mental values and love. Also, I agree there must be a meaningful commitment. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with my class – I felt you articulated your thoughts well. I think I would like to visit your church if you are a representation of the persons who attend. May you find a place in the universe today to glean hope.

Thank you so much for coming and putting yourself on the line. It was very insightful listening to you all! You have a lot of courage for talking about your beliefs and that of your church. You were a great speaker. Thanks again, very much appreciated!

When you were talking about what you get from the Bible and that it is not a list of what not to do – that really helped validate my feelings towards the religion I was raised with.

Good luck with your new church. Your enthusiasm is very convincing and powerful. Keep it up and you will see results. Be resourceful and good luck again.

Thank you for being so open and honest with our class. I feel you shared a lot with us that most people could not express. Thank you so much!

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