Lately I’ve been spending much of my free time devouring the words of people I wish I had discovered about 25 years ago. Some of these people were just 2 years old then… just starting to put words together and beginning to learn their voices.
I am 40 years old and I have lived more of my life with an inward battle than without it. The struggle has been scary, lonely, voiceless, oppressive, repressive and ominous. While I recognize that the effects of this battle have hurt many loved ones along the way, the one it has hurt the most is myself.
I am gay. I am a Christian.
I spent way too many years of my life in suppressed silence and agony over the fact that I was attracted to women and also desired to live a life that honored Jesus Christ. Every message I received affirmed that these two things could not live simultaneously. I read articles. I heard sermons. I listened to the words of family and friends. I volunteered and worked for churches and organizations.
If I had only lived silently that would’ve been bad enough. It’s with deep regret that I confess that there was a season of my life where I became part of the problem. I believe this was a way to work really hard at convincing myself that being gay was sinful. If I could pretend to be superiorly conservative then I would really come to believe it. Fake it till I make it.
I never made it. Instead I slowly and quietly imploded.
I still don’t have all the theological answers. But, I am confident in 2 things.
- I am attracted to women (one in particular… I am beyond grateful to have the most gorgeous and loving wife.).
- I believe in Jesus Christ.
These 2 life statements no longer feel like they are at war with each other. There is peace.
As I read the words of these wise leaders, I feel even more certain that we need more of these voices who are making a difference in my life. We need straight Christian leaders affirming the lives and gifts of LGBTQIA. More vocal allies please. But we also need more LGBTQIA Christian leaders to rise up and be a voice… a role model.
I’m still on my journey. I’m healing. I’m learning. I’m seeking. Though I may still wrestle from time to time, I no longer feel like I am battling. I’m starting to really love the person I’m becoming.
Julie Rodgers – Julie works for restoration within communities that hope to learn from those on the margins. She has served as an advisor to sexual minorities at Christian colleges during a time of tremendous cultural transition, and she’s been transformed by the youth she’s served in low-income communities. More than her own story and the wisdom gained through advocacy, personal relationships have shaped her vision for how we will heal.
Megan DeFranza – Megan DeFranza is a Christian theologian, liberal-arts educator, author, speaker, and peace-maker. She facilitates education, conversation, and reconciliation around controversial issues for churches, Christian organizations, communities, and colleges, particularly around issues related to sex, gender, and sexuality.
Rachel Held Evans – Rachel Held Evans is a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Faith Unraveled (2010), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012), and Searching for Sunday (2015). Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee—home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925— she writes about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.
Believe Out Loud – Believe Out Loud is an online community that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) equality.
Reconciling Ministries Network – Reconciling Ministries Network mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.