Wow. All I can say is- wow. I have stated before to people, when I conduct trainings on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identity, that every time that I come out as a lesbian, right before I say the words, I feel like I am jumping off of a cliff. My stomach churns, my hands shake, my voice trembles, and I am afraid. Then, I jump. And then, I let go of my fear on the way down, and always land ever so softly, like a big, feather pillow catching me.
The WOW is because last night, during a meeting of our worship committee at our Methodist church, where we have been members for almost four years, I came out. I didn’t come out and say, “I am a lesbian”, but I spoke on behalf of the congregation beginning a adult Sunday school class, to discuss the damage some churches have done to those with a homosexual orientation. I also showed them a copy of a movie I recently purchased, called “For the Bible Tells Me So”, which I want to show as part of the group. I said the words, and before I knew it, I was free falling through the air. Actually, the nerves begin in anticipation of the jump; but once I jump, once say the words, an overwhelming sense of calm and peace comes over me.
If this is not your life experience, that you have a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender orientation, then it may be hard to understand the fear. It is fear of reaction, fear of rejection, fear of fear of others. Many persons, when they come out, and some even before they come out, are rejected by their families, friends, schools, and churches. And, I think that churches have the potential to do the most damage.
Why? Because, the church, or those in it, claim to know what God thinks about this issue, what the Bible factually says about this issue. Now, let me be clear. My partner and I joined this church as members, along with our daughter, four years ago. We had her baptized in this church one year later. We feel safe, secure, and loved there, by our pastor and our church family. However, I know that the Methodist church at large struggles a great deal with how welcoming it is willing to be to homosexual persons. So, there is work to be done. Even on our local level, conversations need to be had.
And I am ready for those conversations.
The response was overwhelming positive. People thanked me for speaking up with the idea, and agreed it is a great idea. My pastor agreed that we need to start talking about this important issue, that we all need the spiritual growth. And, I believe it is my calling. Not to be self-serving, not to have my own agenda. But, I firmly believe that God, Jesus, they are calling me to my congregation to bring this to light, educate and inform, and learn a lot myself in the process.
One more step in my journey of self-actualization. I am on the road to full self-love, the road to further spiritual awakening and connection.
I am ready.