The son of author and speaker Brian McLaren, who is often identified as part of the controversial emergent church, married his same-sex partner this past weekend.
Trevor Douglas McLaren, 28, wed Owen Patrick Ryan on Saturday in Washington, according to The New York Times. The marriage ceremony was officiated by a Universal Life minister, and his father, Brian McLaren, led a commitment ceremony with "traditional Christian elements" afterward.
The elder McLaren recently recalled to NPR the time his son – one of four sons – came out to him.
It had just been a couple of years when McLaren shifted his thinking and abandoned the traditional view of homosexuality being a sin that he grew up with.
"I had gone through my change in this view before I ever guessed that any of my kids might be gay," he said on the radio program.
"I was a good kid, I believed what I'd been told. And as a pastor, I started having gay people come out to me and what became clearer and clearer to me is that their experience was not explained by the theology I inherited," he explained. "And that it would be unjust to continue to uphold what I'd been taught. Maybe I could say it like this: My call to love God and love my neighbor was in conflict with what I'd been taught the Bible required me to say and do."
Recalling the time his son came out to him, McLaren stated, "So I went through that shift in my own thinking. Couple of years after that, when I really in some ways come out myself as a person who no longer supported the traditional view and one of my sons came out to me, I just remember I cried and cried because my thought is 'Oh no, if my son has been going through the same kind of pain so many other people did and I didn't know it, I just couldn't live with that.'"
To his relief, he said, his son Trevor never worried about his parents accepting him.
McLaren is the author of A New Kind of Christianity and most recently Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?. Decades ago, he and a number of pastors had started what was called the emerging church movement to reach young people. But that later became divided as some pastors, including Mark Driscoll, left over theological concerns.
Matthew Schmitz, deputy editor of First Things, summed up McLaren's journey in an article Tuesday: "Brian McLaren started out wanting to reach the unchurched end up performing a commitment ceremony that stood outside the church not only physically (at the Woodend Sanctuary of the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase, Md) but also doctrinally - in contravention of clearly delineated Christian teaching on the nature of sex and marriage. His desire for a more authentic and less abstracted faith took him away from the concrete body of Christ."