Sometimes I forget. I don’t mean to …. it just happens. I forget the powerful feeling of being trapped, with no space to ask questions, wrestle, consider options, or simply honestly reflect on one’s experience and faith journey. I forget because I know so many gay Christians who have already made the difficult journey to internally and externally come to terms with their sexuality. Some of these friends are deeply committed to traditional views and to living a single celibate life with a sense of both serenity and adventure. Some of these friends are living authentically in a mixed-orientation marriage where they love their spouse, their family and are navigating the rhythms of grace. Some of these friends are dating or in a committed relationship with a same-sex partner. Regardless of the manner in which they are integrating their faith and their sexuality, these friends no longer live in fear, dread or paralysis. They have disclosed the reality of their same-sex orientation. They have wrestled with diverse perspectives and have identified and own their core beliefs and values. And they are putting the supports and encouragement in place such that they will live in alignment with these beliefs and values – just like any other Christian person prone to wander and live inconsistently.
With the variety of resources and conversations that can be accessed anonymously and for free, most of the folks I encounter are beyond the worst in terms of their own fear and dread. Perhaps they’ve spent some years quietly reading, absorbing and processing in the privacy of their own home prior to actually connecting with me. And while some are still living with quite a bit of tension and with quite a few questions – they are fairly calm about it most of the time.
So it is easy for me to forget. To forget how utterly painful and isolating it is to be in a place where there is simply no space. No space for honesty – or at least it feels that way. No space for questions or dialogue – or at least that is the expectation. No space to figure things out without rejection or judgment – or at least it is perceived as such.