Karpf, Ted. “Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest”, Toplight, 2019.
Coming Out Gay as a Priest
In the 1980s in America, coming out as gay as a father and husband was difficult. Coming out as gay as a priest meant controversy, contradiction, and challenge. As he came out, Reverend Canon Ted Karpf faced social and romantic journeys as a priest of the Episcopal Church. Hos book spans the years from1968 to 2018, Karpf and he shares his memories, dreams and reflections on living a life of faith during a period of social and political tumult. His narratives are poetic meditations on lasting values and meaning in which we are reminded that “we are neither abandoned nor alone, and that forgiveness is a fulfilling way of living in a world of contradictions.”
Karpf’s journey was one of hope and through it we get a look at a man who was given every reason to abandon the God who loves him but still continues to mov forward. His faith neither leaves nor abandons God— it finds hope in the tensions that all of us have in common. His life evolved from unformed possibility, through great trials, to his remaining a loving, forgiving, contributing person. He pulls us into his life letting us accompany him on his journey through which we learn to introspect and that forgiveness is a way of life.
Karpf was the victim of child abuse who dealt with the painful process of accepting who he truly is “while married to a woman with two children and finding clarity for his religious beliefs in relation to his own personality and sexual identity.” I marveled at how he found his self-acceptance and his place in the world and that religion is so much more than preaching and Bible study. That inner power that so many of us seek is within each of us. We see that we can indeed integrate acceptance and love for the LGBTQ community.
Karpf’s conversational narrative is very real along with his blunt honesty about his failings, concerns, and his need to wrestle with the demons of his past. Karpf’sinvolvement with the Episcopal church as well as World Health Organization and the American government brought about awareness and programs that assisted those suffering from HIV/AIDS. We find here a man who has been able to rise above the obstacles in his path and this book is a fine way to see how to move through the adversities of life.