First off, let me say how much I appreciate the encouraging comments—it means a lot, more than I can explain. It’s a bit strange laying out the most intimate parts of your life for strangers to comment on when my parents have no clue.
The comments have started to degrade into he should find a gay friendly church vs. homosexuality is a sin vs. oh no it’s not!
First, I’m not the ambassador of the gay community or the Christian gay community; my story is unique as all our stories are. I’m not here to advocate for anything other than being merciful and kind to those who struggle with this sin because for some reason it’s taken more heat and generated more fear than most.
Second, all of us who struggle with homosexuality have this agreed upon silence. We have become members of the fraternity of the Hidden and because of the masks required, we do not know who is a fellow brother or sister. We cannot see each other because we have learned to be invisible.
Now some have said, “Be brave, come out! We will accept and love you.” And that’s great—honestly, it is—but most of us are not ready to live a life of Fight Club. We do not want our lives to be full of conflict and fear. What if we sign up to watch the kids in the nursery? What if we help out at youth group? Join the basketball league and have to share a locker room? We have to be ready for a punch to the face at a moment’s notice, figuratively and sometimes literally.
We have to be ready to don our leper robes and ring a bell, “Unclean. Unclean.”
And this is such a small part of our lives—as my friends will tell you I struggle with pride and anger much more than homosexuality.
Sometimes I’ll come out to someone and they will say, “I know the perfect woman for you. Let me set you up.” Let me just say—if dating the opposite sex helped us not struggle with homosexuality, eHarmony would be bursting at the seams.
But this division, churches who are involved in the gay culture and cheer and then those who think that part of your life “course” is to get married, have two kids, and a house is both a sham and not the purpose of the Church. I’m not saying either is bad, but it’s not the Bride. Once a church centers itself around anything but Christ, it’s counterfeit.
So I lead this celibate life and I invest it into the church and my friends. I’m available to help you move and see a movie whenever you’d like. I travel a bit and attend conferences. I’ve lived overseas and I have a full, full life. I do come home to an empty apartment and I will not be anyone’s first choice. But I’m Jesus’ first choice. And I know Him. So while yes, I’m broken, I’m redeemed as well.
I ask that we not stand on our hermeneutics and shout. I ask that we do not point and say how others should do this or should do that or that we demand how someone gay should behave—can we just not throw stones? What I ask is to love those, gay or not, who are on the periphery, the outskirts, and the fringe and be their friend.
If you are wondering, how to find people like me in your sphere of influence, here’s how:
First, be very open so that you wouldn’t care if a person was gay, you’d love them. And love them because God loves them, not because they are gay, or think they are gay, or this or that. When we love for a reason that is not because God loves them, we tend to have these variations of acceptance and then it just gets complicated.
Second, challenge the negative gay bashing talk. “Hey, that’s not cool. People I love are gay.” When people challenge me on this, I say, “OK, next time you pray, use the word you just used in talking to God.” That clears up the situation real quick.
Third, if someone tells you that they are gay, let them talk it out. And when they are done, look them in the eye and say, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not telling anyone. I’m your friend and I love you.” It’s what I hope to hear when I tell someone.
Fourth, you’ll have a million questions. Maybe ask two. And when you get together, don’t make every time some kind of Oprah Q and A. We will tell you as it comes up.
Five, just love us. Invite us over. In a marriage-based church culture, where couples get together, single people are left kind of on the margin. We like restaurants and movies; we like your kids. We will help with dishes. We go home to an empty apartment; we like the warmth of your place.
Hug us often and don’t interpret it as anything other than a hug. Celibacy is a hard road for the sake of the cross. Human contact is a rare treat.
So share my story if you’d like. People need to know that we are out there. We serve communion, and we pass the offering plate. We play on your basketball league (We crush you. Be aware of that.) We are your friends, or at least we want to be.
Know this: Christ loves us. You. Me. And I long for the day when I look back at this life in His Kingdom and laugh a bit; I’ll laugh at the foolishness of it all and that it won’t be like that anymore. And all of us, we’ll gather for awhile. I’ll shake your hand. I’ll give you a hug. We will know each other deeply.
And one day we get this white stone with a new name on it. A new name. A name only God knows. (Rev 2:17) And all the other names, even the one on my driver’s license melts away.
So if anything, this thorn I have makes me a better friend, more loyal. And it makes me long for Jesus and for home.
[Thank you to Adam McLane and Jon Huckins for encouraging me to do this. I am in your debt.]
**This post is published anonymously at the request of the author
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