I am a gay christian.
There are times that I say or write those words and pause. I look at them and reflect on the journey that they represent. The years of hiding, the years of shame, the years of struggle. These days, I say them with a nonchalant air.
Yet, there was a time that I couldn’t even utter them.
With those words, I find that I'm still evolving. I'm finding new words, new language, with the help of others. What does it mean to capture my experience in the world with language? I am a gay christian, but that's not all I am.
A year or so ago, I was browsing my twitter feed and saw the hashtag #faithfullyLGBT. As the days passed, I noticed more and more people using it. A proclamation of faith and of identity.
Two things that are often held in tension with each other coming together to describe an experience: queer people who believe. These are people who live in that in-between, at the intersections of sexuality and faith.
Little did I know at the time that this hashtag would become a movement.
Several months later, the creator of the hashtag, Eliel Cruz, reached out to me and asked if I'd design a logo and some teeshirts. He had a vision: to try to capture the complexity of and highlight the experiences of queer people of faith. All faiths. Diversity within diversity. And, so it began.
I've been reflecting over the past weeks, what does it mean for me to say that I'm #faithfullyLGBT? There's particularity here and yet identification with a larger body. It doesn't take much looking around to realize that many faiths hold a hostility towards those who are different. Christianity is not exempt from this. We preach "come as you are" but in the next breath say "leave that part behind." We claim the redeeming work of Jesus, but only to become straight.
Yet, when I say that I am Faithfully LGBT, that I am a gay christian, I am proclaiming that I am able to bring my entire being to the Table: every single part of me.
It is standing firm in my identity in Christ in order to fully participate in the kingdom work.
It means that those shame voices from the past can be countered by the radical love of Jesus who whispers I'm closer than your breath. I can look around at the people around me and see the Divine in them, regardless of who they love, or how they express themselves. It is a movement from a theology of fear to a theology of love.
I am no longer at war with myself.
I can bring my particularity, my sexuality, to church. Not as a second class citizen, but as a person who is being sanctified and redeemed by the presence of the Spirit. It is the removal of the idol of sexuality, the preoccupation with change, and having it replaced with an invitation into integration.
I am able to say "this is me" and hear Jesus say back "I know. Welcome home."
In the work that we are doing with Faithfully LGBT, we believe that the stories of LGBT people of faith deserve to be told. We have a hope that those who have been marginalized and oppressed at the hands of church leaders might have a place where we can come together and lift each other up.
We are doing this right now primarily through a photos and stories shared across the internet. And we need your help.
This work that we are doing is showing people from all walks of life that we exist. We are neighbors and friends. Click here to support our work.
I am a boy who likes boys who love Jesus.
I am a follower of Christ. I am not rejected, but welcome, and a part of this beautiful messy thing we call the Body. I am #FaithfullyLGBT.
Photo provided by #FaithfullyLGBT