I went to ministry school with a girl who had been “delivered” from homosexuality. She went on to marry a guy from our program who became a youth pastor and she was determined to act just like any other heterosexual spouse of a youth pastor would, but she was secretly miserable as hell. It’s been several years since her first marriage was dissolved, but our friendship has remained.
My friend has slept on our couch and eaten at our table more than once. We are her regular stopping point any time she travels from the Midwest to the Florida coast. In her new relationship with her beautiful partner, my friend is cherished and respected. They are friends and equals, neither one forced to hide behind the unrealistic expectations of any person or institution. I love seeing the way she supports this woman and their children, loving her partner as Christ loves the Church. I have never seen my friend more happy and whole than she is now.
For years, I have said my struggle is not knowing what I believe about homosexuality and Christianity. But that’s a lie. My struggle has been more about my own fear of being kicked out of fellowship in the Bible Belt for being willing to defend gay people.
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I have been afraid to come out and say I believe all people were created by a God who loves us all the same. My struggle has been admitting that what you do behind closed doors in the privacy of your own bedroom with someone you love deeply and are committed to is none of my business.
I have been a coward. I was more concerned with my own acceptance and belonging in the local church than with saying yes I do love and accept and even affirm the gay community. I secretly rejoiced when SCOTUS ruled in favor of homosexual marriages last year in the same way that many whites in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, secretly celebrated school desegregation in the 1960’s. They were called liberals then, too.