Southern gospel singer Kirk Talley has the backing of his “restoration team” to resume a concert/ministry, according to an e-mail newsletter from the singer dated Oct. 6.
The restoration team’s announcement is vague about both the team’s goals and requirements and Talley’s progress.
As XGW has said before, Talley is entitled to some privacy. But the team decided to go public, and its public statements are entitled to scrutiny: The team declines to state whether Talley considers himself gay, exgay, or same-sex-attracted. The team declines to state what specific progress has been achieved. And the team declines to state any goal.
Specifically, the team says, “Kirk has met all the requirements presented by the team.” No requirements are disclosed.
The team says, “We have heard him share his testimony and was impressed with his truthfulness and his willingness to be transparent.” But while Talley may have been frank with the team, the team itself has been less transparent.
The team was originally led by Exodus exgay member minister Roy A. Blankenship. His departure from the team is unexplained. In fact, not one of the current team members is an Exodus-listed exgay minister — or, for that matter, a reputable mainstream therapist. Instead, the team members are affiliated with three churches possessing no apparent expertise in matters of sexual orientation.
The team concludes: “We ask you to continue to pray for Kirk as he continues his counseling and as he resumes his music ministry. We believe his testimony can be used to encourage others in their journey with Christ.”
Fair enough. But secrecy about sexuality may hinder Talley in “restoring” faith among his antigay former fans. The extortion crisis presented an opportunity for Talley to educate the squeamish Southern gospel music scene about sexual struggles; he has thus far forfeited that opportunity.
Southern gospel music blog averyfineline.com comments on Talley’s difficult position; his sister-in-law’s assent to an antigay slur at the Fan Awards; and fan discussions of homosexuality that may be fueled by Talley’s speedy return.