‘I’m A Gay Christian’: Guest Post.

Alex has written a stonking book called ‘Walking with Gay Friends’, which I highly recommend. Tomorrow, she’ll look at how we can support those struggling with their sexuality.

But for now, here’s some of her story:

“There was a girl in two of my classes when I was 17 who unknowingly showed me without doubt that I was a lesbian. Though I hardly spoke to her (girls I fancy have always caused me to lose the power of speech and make me into a bumbling idiot), I was very aware of how clever, creative, funny and pretty she was. I was very aware too of the effect that that had on my emotions and body. Yep, definitely gay then.

So by the time I left for university the next year, I had plans about some of the things I wanted to do once I got away from my parents and old friends, and had the opportunity to reinvent myself. I wanted to see what it was like to be out. I wanted to see what it was like to get past the bumbling mute faze and actually land myself a girlfriend. I couldn’t wait.

It was just my luck then that one of the first people I got to know was an evangelical Christian, which made her far from the woman of my dreams. I had to admit though that she did not fit with my preconceived image of an evangelical. She wasn’t all socks and sandles, nice but dim and smile-Jesus-loves-you. She was actually intelligent and funny, and…normal. She did things I considered ridiculous like reading the Bible and believing that a bearded man in the sky could grant her wishes, but I did actually really like her and she became one of my closest friends.

Though I came from a family where crucifixes were worn around necks and babies were christened, I had given up any thoughts that there was anything worth acknowledging about Christianity when I read my freebie Gideon Bible that I’d been given at school. Flicking down the index, my eyes were drawn to the words Sexual Immorality, in the same way that one’s eyes tend to be drawn to the rude words in the dictionary when you are innocently looking up the word vagility (actual word). What I found there made me close my Bible and vow never to open it again. It described ‘homosexual offenders’. I knew I was gay and I also knew I had never chosen it. I discovered it about myself but there was nothing I could do about it. To find a book that described me as an ‘offender’ was enough to make me dismiss the whole thing as out of date and bigoted. It did not fit with my reality.

Now though, I was faced with a friend whom I respected, who lived her whole life according to this book. What would she think of me if I came out to her? Would our friendship survive? We had regular discussions about her beliefs but the sexuality issue hadn’t come up until one day she told me that we needed to ‘have a chat’. The chat consisted of her telling me that she knew that I was gay (she later told me that the fact that I was the only person who was in an all-female hall by deliberate choice was her first clue. The second was the dungarees) and still loved and accepted me, and that by the way, I was going to hell.

In reality she put it much more sensitively than that, making it very clear that my sexuality and my eternal destination were not in any way linked – being gay didn’t send you to hell, but not trusting in Jesus, whether you are straight, gay, male, female, anything, was a dangerous state to be in. The only message I really picked up though was that she seemed to be rejecting me. Even though I didn’t believe in God, I was still extremely offended by her suggestion that I did not have an automatic ticket to heaven. The whole thing was pretty much a closed subject to me from then on.

Fast forward to a year later when my friend once again started beating the God drum. Her Christian union were putting on a week of lunchtime talks and she invited me every single day. This was extremely annoying and I figured that the best way to shut her up was to dutifully attend. The fact that they had free food also helped. Each day I told her politely how interesting it had been but that I was not interested in discussing anything further. Part of the reason for this was that the content of the talks was getting under my skin a bit. Some of it made more sense to me than I wanted to admit and it had set me thinking more than I felt comfortable with. The final talk came on the Friday, asking whether Jesus was just a good teacher or something more. By the end of the talk I was convinced that Jesus was God and that my need for his forgiveness was greater than any desire I could ever have for anything in this world. I realised that having a relationship was what I desired most, but was also incompatible with a life with Jesus as King. I became a Christian. I was utterly devastated.

Looking back to that day nearly 14 years ago now, is still painful. I truly believed that I had nothing left to live for. I knew that the Bible said that gay sex was wrong. I also knew I could do nothing about my gayness and the thought of being alone and celibate for the rest of my life with no hope of a different outcome meant that almost every dream I’d ever had for myself was shattered. I read in the Bible that day that “The LORD is close to the broken hearted”. It was a comfort to me that day and on many others since, as I felt literally broken on the inside. I was desperately unhappy and lonely, and often longed for death. I felt this way with little relief for many years.

It’s always tempting when giving a testimony to tack on the happy ending where Jesus makes everything better and life turned into a Disney narrative. I am always very suspicious of those stories. What I see in the lives described in the Bible, and what I see in the authentic stories of Christians around me, is work in progress. In the same way that buildings being built are covered in scaffolding and you can’t see what’s behind the rusty poles and the builders’ bums, lives are invariably messy, but hearts are being slowly changed. I am now not the lonely despairing Christian that I was for a long time, but nor am I a walking victory, free from all forms of sexual temptation and converting strangers with my Christ-like smile.

The good (wonderful) things are that I’ve learned that God can redeem friendships that have gone astray, no matter how far. He’s a God who makes broken things new again when you give them to him. I’ve experienced friendships like David and Jonathan’s – real, loyal, life-affirming love that is intimate and vulnerable and yet not sexual. I’ve learned about loving friends without having to possess them. I’ve been invited into other’s families so that I can share the joys of their children and then go home again and have a proper night’s sleep. I’ve learned that I have a bigger identity than my sexual orientation – I am a beloved daughter of the King and he delights in me! That enables me to accept myself as I am because that’s what he does. I’ve learned to trust that his ways are best and so choose them with a willing heart after years of fighting and screaming at him for taking things away from me.

I am still broken on the inside. I still get bitterly jealous of couples both gay and straight. I am sometimes pulled up short by an aching heart and sudden tears when yet another friend tells me they are pregnant. I still get lonely among Christians especially, where single, childless women in their thirties and beyond are an alien species and no-one really knows quite where to put us. I am still hurt and enraged by some of the things that I hear and read Christians saying about gay people. I am still sad and sorry for the things that I hear and read gay people saying about Christians. I am torn between two warring worlds, never fully feeling part of either.

But I am a work in progress. My story is still being written, and that is true of all of us. My struggle is my sexuality but I stand shoulder to shoulder with those whose struggle is anorexia, depression, mental illness, physical illness, doubt, envy, pride…there’s something for everyone. But in our weakness we can also say all the more clearly that Jesus is brilliant because the brilliance clearly doesn’t come from us. And that, I guess, is the gospel”.

24 thoughts on “‘I’m A Gay Christian’: Guest Post.

  1. A friend shared this on Facebook and I’ve just ordered it. Sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you.

  2. We are all works in progress! What a beautiful testimony, Alex, bless you for sharing it. Your hope shines through in how bravely you tell your story…..people need to hear this. So many going through this struggle, they need to know that life is where Jesus is not in anyone or anything else! Lori

  3. Really powerful post – thanks so much for your honesty. It’s given me a lot to think about :) I’m actually writing up someone else’s story for a Christian woman’s mag – her story ending is different as she is now married, but I think the heart behind her sharing is the same. I’d love to be able to contact you when I start work on that article as I’m really struck by your ‘work in progress’ phrase and think it is so important – please do ask Emma for my email and email me if you are happy for me to do that…

  4. I read ‘walking with gay friends’ today. I think the book is poorly written and the arguments are very poorly constructed and quite vague. The ridiculousness of the ‘author’s disclaimer’ speaks volumes as to the literary merit of this book. While it is quite clear that the author has very good intentions, as is often the case, religion has caused an otherwise normal and well meaning person to behavior in a disgustingly immoral manner. To suggest that personal religious beliefs are an adequate basis for the judgment of other people’s sexuality is incredibly stupid, irresponsible and utterly inhuman. Oh but your not judging, you just want to help gay people ‘struggling’ with this terrible affliction, right? Utter babble and self perpetuating delusion.

  5. Hi anonymous,

    Your wrote:

    To suggest that personal religious beliefs are an adequate basis for the judgment of other people’s sexuality is incredibly stupid, irresponsible and utterly inhuman.

    Is it possible that it’s your personal religious beliefs that are forming the basis for your judgement of Alex (and Jesus’) views on sexuality?

    It seems to me that Alex is merely laying out the way of Jesus as clearly set out in the bible. You are free to disagree with the way of Jesus as regards sex and relationships but it seems intolerant of you to engage in these kinds of attacks simply because you disagree with an ancient and widespread view of human sexuality.

    What do you make of Jesus? Do you think he’s worth listening to?

  6. Hi anonymous

    Thanks for commenting. Our sexuality is such a massive and controversial issue – which is one of the reasons why I love Alex and her writing. The book is written from a place of vulnerability and compassion, not judgement or arrogance. She outlines the Bible’s teaching, not as someone who finds it easy or has it covered, but who loves Jesus and is trying to work out what that means in daily life. I haven’t walked this particular path but as another broken person (as all believers are), it speaks powerfully to me of hope and grace.

  7. Hi Glen,

    I have no religious views, however, yes it’s more than likely that my views about religion in general have affected the general tone of my comments.

    Yes I am judging Alex, not for her views, which are none of my business, but for attempting to propagate them with a complete inability to back them up with any rational arguments despite the fact that they encourage the judgment and persecution of other people for actions that are absolutely none of her business.

    I find the suggestion that the bible is literal fact utterly ridiculous and I therefore find it insulting to my intelligence that, implicit in your comments, is the unquestioned assumption that the bible is fact. That’s OK for you to believe, but do not say or even imply that its wrong for someone else to not believe that.

    Yes you’re right, I am being intolerant, because I feel that spreading hate in the name of religion should not be tolerated.

    What do I make of Jesus? Do I think he’s worth listening to?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think what you mean by these questions is ‘Do you think the stories in the bible have any value to humanity?’ I would say yes, the bible has many stories that can be used to teach principals of love, peace, tolerance and even open-mindedness. Using the bible in this way is a positive aspect of Christianity. Believing that the bible is literal truth and judging those who don’t conform to it is stone-aged, dangerous and disgusting behavior. Again it breaks my heart to know that religion can make a clearly rational, thoughtful and mature person like yourself behave in such a manner.

    Hi Emma,

    the above statement very much applies to you also. Your comments, like Alex’s book, are a long winded and vague way of not even really saying what it is clear that you want to say. That you believe that the bible is fact, you believe that the bible says that homosexuality is wrong and so therefore homosexuals are bad people. I wonder if you even have the courage to come right out and say it like that? Alex clearly doesn’t.

    To be honest I find it a little creepy that you even care how and with whom other people have sex.

    Yes my comments are a little bit aggressive, but that’s because I’m tired of being calm and respectful within religious debates. Religion doesn’t deserve respect nor tolerance.

    Thanks.

  8. Hi anonymous,

    If hatred is being propagated then I suppose that’s cause for vocal disagreement. But I can’t see Alex, Emma or I doing anything of the sort. And nothing you’ve said has demonstrated hate-mongering on anyone’s part. The only emotive language being used by anyone is by yourself.

    It seems to me that you’re aggressively opposed to two perfectly respectable views:

    1) The way of Jesus as regards sex and relationships is to reserve sex for life-long covenant union between husband and wife.

    2) Jesus is the Son of God risen from the dead.

    Both views have billions of supporters worldwide and down through history. Both views can be well supported with evidence from Scripture, experience and empirical study. Once again, you are free to disagree with these views but to oppose the *articulation* of them sounds to me like the kind of dogmatic fundamentalism you accuse others of.

  9. In my opinion suggesting that homosexuality is wrong because it contradicts what you believe is dictated by the bible is hate mongering.

    No, those two views are not respectable, they are laughable. They are childish and pathetic.

    How dare you suggest that the notion that someone died and came back to life can be supported with empirical evidence without naming one source. You are insulting me and yourself.

    Surely there are enough genuinely positive Christian causes that you could follow that don’t involve supporting the persecution of others? (BTW these don’t include other favorite Christian pastimes such as genocide, torture, child rape, spreading of aids, oppression of women or child genital mutilation).

    I’ll be happy to read your response but I wont be posting again.

    Thanks.

  10. Anonymous, neither you nor I have cited “empirical evidence” because neither of us have called for it. You’re the only one here using inflammatory language (laughable, childish, pathetic, How dare you, favourite Christian pastimes such as genocide). Yet your gripe is that I’m the hate-mongerer with a childish worldview.

    Any time you want to engage in mature, reasoned debate based on truth not emotion, come by my blog: christthetruth.wordpress.com

    God bless.

  11. You write so amazingly! Thank you! I am struggling at the moment, would appreciate someone who understands to talk to.

  12. Thank you Bekah. Would love to help if I can. Let Emma know your contact details and I’ll be in touch.

    Alex

  13. Hi Rebekah, if you go to the contact button at the bottom of the page, you can send me your details and I’ll put you and A in touch. Emma

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