I was watching an episode of ‘America’s Got Talent’ recently and I thought to myself how wonderful it must feel to have a talent that receives the kind of applause and affirmation that many do on that show. Few wouldn’t want that feeling!
Now, imagine the reverse: Imagine something that is intimately and beautifully a part of who you are that inspires disgust, rejection, and even hatred from countless others. Imagine the fear and shame and hopelessness you would experience if such treatment was justified in the name of the very God you love. Sadly, this is all too common an experience for many of us.
Most people know this, as I am don’t keep it a secret, but I am bisexual. It took me many years to embrace this part of who I am, not as an aberration or deviant perversion, but as a part of how God created me. Being in a “straight-passing” marriage to the woman I love has protected me from some of the worst aspects of what I described above, but not completely. And at times, the assumption that I was “straight” meant that people I loved said some extremely hurtful and vile things to me. That they didn’t know my sexual orientation changes nothing- their words were inexcusable and devastating.
Some of you are going to be inclined to argue with me, ask me to justify my theology, rebuke me. I want to be clear: this post is not for that purpose. Any comments like that will be deleted. No, that isn’t silencing dissent or any such nonsense. You have your own Facebook wall to say whatever you want. It will not be allowed on mine.
Some of you might unfriend me, both virtually and in real life. It wouldn’t be the first time and I am sure it will not be the last. It grieves me that people who I’ve loved like family have cut me and my family off for this but that was their choice. My hope is that you won’t do that. If you do, feel free to send me a private message (or not). Again, don’t use this post to comment on it.
I respect your right to disagree but that does not mean I respect the belief. You can frame your difference of belief in the most loving terms possible (and that is appreciated) but if you hold to a “traditional” view on this topic, no amount of framing can take away the fact that I will be hurt by your stance. There is no way around it. That’s not an attempt to manipulate, it’s just stating a fact that needs to be stated.
Remember that there are other people involved here too. My wife has suffered greatly because of people’s assumptions about me, her, our marriage, etc. My parents, brother, in-laws are inevitably impacted by my openness about this. Some have already paid a price. The reactions of others have even impacted my children in ways. So remember that this touches many lives, not just mine.
Over the last several years I have pastored many LGBTQ+ through the suffering of trying to reconcile their sexuality, gender identity, etc. with their faith. Most were not even part of my church. Many were pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders. I even had one pastor from the deep south of America write me in the fear that he would be lynched if anyone (including his own wife) ever found out. And this from a man who had never acted on his same-sex attraction and was entirely devoted to his wife. Almost all of them have been severely damaged by the church. Hear me:
WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
Finally, if you want to learn more, understand my perspective and my experience (and that of countless others), let me know. It will take commitment- that is time, energy, self-discipline, etc.- but it will be beneficial, even if you don’t change your mind. If you have genuine questions, let me know. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there (i.e. Bisexuality doesn’t mean I’m into threesomes. Yes, I get asked that a LOT by hetero Christians). If you genuinely want to understand (and you are not just asking me to justify my position), then ask.
So, there it is. I am a bisexual Christian man, created in the image of God.