Welcome to My Coming Out Party

When I write about religion, mostly I sit in front of a blank screen with my cursor blinking back and forth.

Or I go to reference a Bible passage on the Internet, and find myself at Catholic Online, looking over at the “Most Popular” section where I see the headline, “The unrelenting ‘Gay Mafia’ has bullied A&E into suspending ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.”

Because the Gay Mafia is a thing. And it’s unrelenting. And it hates Christians.

“It’s not Robertson who is intolerant, it’s the activist gays,” it says.

“Robertson’s views are not all his own. They’re God’s. God made the rules, designed the plan for marriage – and He has not changed either. Homosexual behavior is a sin. It is abominable, just as every other form of sexual deviancy is.”

An ad from Farmers Insurance plays on the site in the background.

My brain. It short circuits. The cursor keeps blinking.

And I decide: I guess this is my coming out day.

I’m an activist gay.

Some things are easy for me because of circumstance. I’m white. I’m heterosexual. I come from a well-educated family.

And I’m Christian. As Christian as Phil Robertson or anyone else. I know it in my heart. It’s a thing between God and me. But if you want the credentials (which are unimportant, but I don’t want you to think that I’m a nonfat Christian and Phil Roberston is the whole milk version): I pray every day, we go to church on Sundays, we keep Christ in Christmas, K-Pants goes to Sunday school, I co-lead our church play group, Lent is this time before Easter that we love because it’s spiritually rigorous. We’ve been involved with God for a while.

And there are a few things I know to be true.

1. LOVE is the core. All caps, radical, boundless love. Some love is easy—our souls want it and want to give it. Some love is hard—loving our enemies, sometimes ourselves, often those who are different from us.

2. Anyone who tells you that you are going to hell has been caught in that insidious trap: hubris. We think we know the way to the Kingdom. And He has given us a road map. And we try to follow it. But here’s the thing: He’s the only one to judge. Not us, because we are all of us sinners. And we are walking this earth doing the best we can, trying to blow oxygen on the fire of goodness inside us. But boy do we love to judge others.

3. Sins are a choice. Adultery is a choice. Greed is a choice. Being gay is not a choice. Who would choose it?

I sat next to this guy in his fifties on the subway in New York City right after Ricky Martin came out. We were on our way home from work. My seatmate couldn’t believe that Ricky Martin was gay. In his mind, people were gay because their parents were Bohemian and thought it was cool to be gay.

This is not true. Bands of Bohemians do not raise future gay generations.

Random families across America do. And often these families are religious (and maybe think homosexuality is a sin) or at a minimum something they would never wish for their children. And then somehow, their child is gay.

But the world doesn’t end. In fact, most of the business of being gay is just going about your daily life, having to be more guarded than other people, finding the love of your life, growing your family, filing more complicated tax returns….

Randy Roberts Potts, grandson of Oral Roberts, does a great job talking about this.

You know who else does a great job following Jesus’ examples of LOVE and radical openness? These Christian organizations:

Faithful America, working to redefine Christianity’s voice in mainstream media, and petitioning for social justice

Believe Out Loud, a network of those who believe Love is the greatest commandment

Sojourners, celebrating 40 years of faith in action for social justice

So here I am. Long-winded. Coming out.

If there is a gay mafia out there somewhere, you can count me among your ranks. I’m straight. I’m Christian. I’m standing WITH Jesus and for LOVE.

***

You might also like “Cascadia Scouts: Portland’s Alternative to the Boy Scouts,” another piece highlighting groups who are breaking down discriminatory barriers.

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19 responses to “Welcome to My Coming Out Party

  1. Right On! What a lovely way to start the new year. I very much appreciate this post (as a heterosexual Jewish stay-at-home-mom!). So happy to be in the (503) with you! 🙂

    • Hooray and thank you, Beaverton Mama! I was so nervous posting this, not because of the content so much, as that I haven’t said it OUT LOUD. So I’m smiling ear-to-ear reading this comment. High five to you, and thanks!

  2. If I could “LOVE” this post I would. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

    • THANK YOU, Josey! I’m so glad you are following the blog, and I look forward to enjoying yours, as well. For readers: mycheapversionoftherapy.com.

  3. #1-3 Yes! And, because I’m a book nerd, I highly recommend these two texts: “God Believes in Love” by Gene Robinson and “Does Jesus Really Love Me: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America” by Jeff Chu. The last one is my favorite of the two because the author goes to great lengths to answer his question in many different spheres of Christianity, including the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Oh, and this piece of news is pretty interesting: the “Advocate” named Pope Francis person of the year. This was met with mixed reviews among the LGBT community. http://www.advocate.com/year-review/2013/12/16/advocates-person-year-pope-francis

  4. Thank you, as always! You are a voice in the darkness and it reminds me that there are people out there who can be both religious and tolerant. I appreciate you and people like you! My family and my daughter benefits from knowing people like you, Evelyn. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful and inspiring post.

    • Thank you so much, Rachael. And big hug and high five to you! 🙂 I also have to say that I’m very grateful for your presence on the web and sharing your family’s stories. Being a gay family is just being-a-family, and more people need to see that.

  5. As you know, I am not religious. I don’t believe in God and never have. As a non-believer, I find that I am bombarded with decidedly un-Christian messages that purport to come from God, and I find it off-putting and miserable-making.

    But then I met you, Ev, and I realised that the loudest evangelicals may be the most easily heard, but the REAL Christians are people like you: exploring their faith, developing their relationship with God, at times questioning their relationship with God, but absolutely bound by love.

    Some people mutter “God Bless” the way the person bagging my groceries mumble “Have a nice day!” Such rote messages roll off me because there is no thinking behind them. There is certainly no love.

    But when you, Ev, say “God Bless You!”, you say it so joyfully and emphatically, that I can’t help but feel good. When you keep me in your prayers, you bring me comfort. I think of you and the wonderful people in your church who make prayer shawls, and I love the idea that there are people united by their faith and their desire to make the world a better place and do so in a common creative hobby. When I wear the prayer shawl you sent me, I am reminded of the good things in this world. When I think of everything a Christian or a human being ought to be, you are the person to whom I compare all others.

    So, three cheers for coming out of your closet! Happy Epiphany indeed! LOVE YOU XOXO

    • Wow. Lauren, I am really thankful to you for sharing so honestly. And I’m very grateful for your friendship and flattered by your compliments.

      It’s interesting that often Christianity is associated with hatred and discrimination when the core of it is so opposite.

      And nice catch that it’s Epiphany! Many Christians wouldn’t have even noticed that! 🙂

  6. Ev, you made me so proud today! I am so happy to count you as one of my dear friends, no matter how little we’ve talked since college. I continually check your blog posts and if I haven’t posted a comment often please know I do read. I love seeing the amazing things you’re up to with your family.

  7. Ev, you made me so proud today! I am so happy to count you as one of my dear friends, no matter how little we’ve talked since college. I continually check your blog posts and if I haven’t posted a comment often please know I do read. I love seeing the amazing things you’re up to with your family.

    I just had to say something here though, because I’ve gotten really involved in the LGBT community online, most specifically with books. As you know I’m an avid reader, and recently I became a reviewer with a blog that reviews strictly LGBT books and also hopes to develop a section of posts dealing with issues surrounding the gay community. We’re in the middle of our re-launch right now and I absolutely had to share your letter here with all of them. If you’re interested… http://prismbookalliance.com/

    Thank you for being the amazing woman I know you are!

  8. Rock on, my friend. “Trying to blow oxygen on the fire of goodness inside us” — my favorite line. This Catholic girl is right there with you.

  9. It’s so lovely to see more people celebrate that you can belong to both clubs (Spiritual, LGBT) in equal measure and with accepting hearts.

  10. Pingback: Bloggerhood Etc. 1/13/14 | Fatherhood Etc.

  11. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. You are what all Christians should strive to be. Kind, understanding, and passionate. Wonderfully done my friend.

  12. Pingback: My Writing on Believe Out Loud | momsicle

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