Traveling Inward to Come Out: Part 1

Political Discussion, Uncategorized

“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”


― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Right now I want to set politics aside. Honestly, there’s been something weighing on my mind for a while, (much longer than an election cycle or a handful of years). This weight is something I find horribly uncomfortable to bring up formally, despite the fact that I have come to accept it. Yet, I think the fact that it makes me so uncomfortable means that maybe it’s something I should spend some time discussing… So I’m going to set my fear and anxiety aside…

Ever since I’ve been aware of who I am, I’ve always felt on principle that a huge proclamation should not be necessary; in fact, the precedent of such proclamations still angers me. Yet, I feel pressed to follow suit. (If you’re not good at reading between the lines, I’m admitting rather publicaly that I’m gay.)

On principle, I should not have to come out. My life (love and all) is a private matter, one meant for my heart, not yours. Yet, I’m sick and tired of the anxiety it has caused me. I’m literally sick, and physically tired of it remaining an unsaid truth/suspected secret gallivanting freely through my personal, public, and professional life.

And while I have developed tactics to ignore gossip and ill will sent my direction (I’ve had practice my whole life), I’m more than fed up with the harassment I’ve experienced, especially at work.

I want to be clear, I’m not tired because I’ve been lying or hiding (in fact, I’ve made no effort to conceal who I am, although, I will admit that I’ve made a conscious effort to resist having to come out on principle.) Truth is, “coming out,” as a phrase, disgusts me. What exactly am I supposed to be emerging from?

Some might insist darkness, and that’s actually what I want to discuss.

I’m tired of people, good Christian people, assuming that my life and existence[1] is one steeped in blackened moral turpitude. I’m tired of the capital C “Church[2]” using moral arguments to justify their treatment and isolation of others like me.

For clarity:

  • I am gay

  • I am a Christian

  • I am okay with God

  • I have come to terms with the fact that Christ accepts me

  • I do not believe that I am living is separation from God

  • I do not believe my existence is an abomination or that my life is a sin

  • I do not believe that my life will lead me to eternal damnation

Before you stop reading to start typing your response, please give me time to justify these strong proclamations. Especially those that I grew up around, and those closest to me, I beg for your patience. Please read what I have to say over the next couple of days… you owe me at least that much.

First, let’s take a look at my life and personal experiences before we jump into specific biblical arguments because I want to point out something that I feel needs to be addressed whether I’m right or wrong about the acceptance of gay Christians.

I spent my whole life growing up in a small private Christian school and church. Not a single day went by without me stepping foot inside the building for one reason or another.

I’ve always been sensitive and extremely perceptive; because of this, I can clearly remember the small bursts of concerned looks from loving adults every time I did or said something outside of the expected gender norm—preschool teachers expressing concerns that I play with kitchen toys instead of cars or trucks—elementary teachers looking at me queerly when I gestured strangely or refused to play with the boys—and most of all, I remember the not so subtle comments and looks from my PE coach while playing kickball, or when I picked up the habit of doing continuous cartwheels instead of running my laps around the field. What was part talent and part flaw was my ability to overhear things that adults and my peers said about me without them knowing; and much of what was said was negative, and not at all encouraging. Let’s just say, I remember playing “smear the queer” on the field and always getting smashed. Before I knew what queer was, I knew it was bad, and I knew people thought it applied to me.

Because I was treated differently, I retreated into myself. I became quiet (really, it was more like developing a fear of being noticed than being shy). I will admit that I was a hard person to deal and get along with; I was bitchy, shy and a little more than a bit self-righteous. None of this helped me socially. But all of this was what I could do to set up a wall around me. I zeroed in on becoming the best student I could so that people had positive things to say about me, and probably so I could prove my worth.

I’m not saying my childhood was all bad. I look back on these years with a mixture of emotions, and I think of the people who made me who I am today with great love and fondness. And my parents were always wonderful and encouraging even when they didn’t know what to do to make me feel better. But the looks from people, the silences from teachers, the isolation and social stigma surrounding me was painful.

Because I felt different and because I was treated different, I remember more than anything, the constant feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t understand how I could love and hate a place so much; and if I’m being totally honest, the feeling returns whenever I step foot in or around that building.

I’m not blaming anyone, kid or adult, for how I was treated, yet there was, and is, something very wrong about having to grow up feeling the way I felt. It’s not a problem I can only blame on my specific environment. In fact, I feel that it’s a symptom of a larger cultural issue.

The fact is, I can admit that I have a big problem with how Christians see and treat people like me. I have a big problem with feeling and being isolated by people before I ever had the chance or opportunity to do or be what people assumed was wrong with me. I have a big problem with my art teacher (probably the one lady I respected the most throughout middle school), telling other students that I was gay but I just didn’t know it yet. Forget the fact that she ended up being right; no child should feel that the whole world knows something about them that they don’t know yet and/or that people are conspiring to isolate them because of it. Fact is, I had done nothing wrong but I was still treated like I was wrong or broken. And even though I do not believe that being gay is a sin, even if, even if that is the argument, I was treated like a sinner before I ever thought about or conceptualized that lifestyle for myself.

And while I don’t believe that being gay is a sin, if common knowledge or practice treats it as one, I still can’t understand why the Church has zero patience for homosexuality. Why the stigma around homosexuality when the Church accepts that Christ openly forgives lying, cheating, over-indulgence, addiction, or even murder, and that, as Christians, we should also forgive?[3] What is so egregious about the love between two people of the same sex that pushes it further into the recesses of acceptability than murder? And if sin is sin, where no sin is bigger or greater than the other (James 2:10, Matthew 12:31), and if “the wages of [all] sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ,” (Romans 6:23), why then are people like me condemned by conservative Christian society before any act (sin or not) is committed? If all have sinned, and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” (1 John 1:8-10), then even if homosexuality was a sin, LGBTQ people are, at the very least, no better or worse than anyone else.

The fact is, if the Church, if the average conservative Christian[4], treated every sin (or supposed sin) like it treats LGBTQ people, we would have to disown each other, disown our two-year-old children the very second we think they might lie (not even the very second they actually do lie); we would have to isolate, deny, shame, and reject our children upon first offense. This, of course, is ludicrous; How can we train up a child to know and love Him without accepting and working through their sinful nature?

To be clear, I accept that I am not blameless because I accept Romans 3:10 to be true, which states, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.’” I also acknowledge that nothing I do in and of myself can save me. Still, I am not a sinner because of my inherent sexuality.

If we accept ourselves and our salvation through the promises of verses like Romans 3:24 that says we are justified freely by His grace, then we have to allow ourselves to accept that others can, and are, justified freely by the same grace, mercy, and redemption.

But I’ve already been long-winded enough; we’ll leave it at that for now.

Please, friends, family, and strangers, join me again tomorrow so that we can discuss exactly what justification through faith looks like, and more importantly, what it means for LGBTQ people like me.

 


Footnotes:

[1] And LGBTQ people like me

[2] Capital C Church refers to the body of Christ as a whole, not individual churches. Refer to 1 Corinthians 12

[3] Adding insult to injury, there was a member in our congregation that admitted to having killed somebody and he was a beloved member of the congregation (as Christ says he should be). Yet, I was subtly and not so subtly stigmatized on the grounds of mere suspicion.

[4] I acknowledge that there is a Liberal sect of Christianity, I’m not ignoring them, I’m just speaking to the truth of my childhood environment.

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2 thoughts on “Traveling Inward to Come Out: Part 1

  1. This is so eloquently written. I’m so sorry you have dealt with any negativity about who you are, and I am hopeful that I never made you feel badly. If in my ignorance, I ever hurt you, I am so sorry.
    I commend you for the courage it must have taken for you to not only write this but also for sharing it. You’re loved!

    Liked by 1 person

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