Orlando has heightened my awareness of the inexcusable acts of terrorism and violence around the world. Here is an ongoing list of such incidents that have occurred in 2016. We are barraged with the heart-wrenching carnage of human life displayed on various forms of social media. In my own community of Dallas, Texas we are mourning the loss of five fallen police officers. We must bemoan the injustices, suffering, and terrors of this life happening across the globe. In the past, I have intentionally avoided speaking out on socially and politically charged issues, remaining committed to sharing my journey of resolving my faith and sexuality—in part because I can be very reactionary. Additionally, I have learned to stop and question where the balance lies between my faith and social justice, and what my response should be.
Eight years ago, you would have found me speaking out about the tragedy of Orlando and promoting awareness of the injustice against the LGBT community and people in our world. You would also have found me participating in a local chapter of Black Lives Matter, because I have long believed people of color have been unjustly discriminated against. In the last seven years since becoming a follower of Jesus, political and social justice issues have taken a back seat as I have wrestled with resolving my faith and sexuality.
However, things are shifting for me. First, there is a very different drive forming within me over the last year. I feel compelled to proclaim the gospel to members of the LGBT community. . . to walk beside those who desire to take the journey to resolve their faith and sexuality. . . . to equip and educate the body of Christ on issues surrounding faith and sexuality. . . . to boldly proclaim my story. It’s not just a desire; it seems to be a mandate rising up within me. Orlando has also unveiled a deep heaviness within me. It could be defined as a heavy burden, but I think lament is a better-fitting word.
I believe what is being birthed within me is a deep-rooted compassion for LGBT people and those who wrestle with issues of faith and same-sex attractions. Douglas Groothuis has helped me understand what is happening within me in his blog post, Lament a Broken World: “Consider one often-misunderstood form of sorrow—lament. What is it? Frederick Buechner wrote that ‘Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.’ In that spirit, lament is where our deep sadness meets the world’s deep wounds. And this world has its wounds.”
My gladness is that I discovered who Jesus is: He is my Messiah, my Savior, my King. The greatest need in the world surrounding me is a Savior who changes lives from the inside out. In my own life, I have borne a deep wounding caused by my sexual identity. For decades it separated me from people of faith. It left no margin to consider that my deepest need was a Savior. And as I entered into the Christian faith I did so with grave caution, because I was conflicted about a “Loving God” who created me gay and condemned me to hell. I have since resolved that conflict and I reveal the journey in this blog.
The time has come where I must become more proactive. I fully recognize that the issues surrounding faith and sexuality are not readily accepted in our culture. Yet they are important and I believe I have a vital message to lend to the discussion. To be honest, I do not know all the details and for well over a year I have been hanging in the tension between “the now and the not yet.” In the meantime, I freely give of my time to individuals, family members, churches, Bible studies, and other events and organizations who want to discuss issues surrounding faith and sexuality or hear my story.
If you personally would like to discuss the issues surrounding faith and sexuality or have a group, church or organization who would be interested, I welcome you to contact me via the comments section or at firstname.lastname@example.org.