I have not chosen the easy way.
Following Jesus to the place where I affirm and advocate for my transgender and gay and bisexual and lesbian and queer friends has been one of the most challenging and at times painful things I have ever done. It certainly hasn’t been a “feel-good” path.
And I am not where I am because I don’t really know the arguments against same-sex marriage. A member of my family literally wrote the book on those arguments, and I made them myself for many years. Sincerely, and with a desire to be both faithful and loving.
I am also not here because I think I’m smarter than the Scriptures. I’ve sought a good education in the Bible and theology – from a highly respected conservative seminary – and my respect for the gift God has given us in the Bible has only grown. So has my awareness of the assumptions we bring to it, and I want to do my best to engage what’s been given to us on its own terms rather than mine or anyone else’s.
I do believe I know things now I didn’t know before. I’ve met people, loved them, and lived life alongside them. I’ve realized that many things I once believed are only partial truths – there’s more. And I know there’s more than I know now. The more I learn, the more aware I become of how much I don’t know.
Life was simpler before, and easier. But also smaller.
There are many people I love on the path I chose to leave, and I know they don’t understand. The thirty year old me wouldn’t have understood either. I would’ve thought I understood – that this me was rebellious or at least deceived. That this me had to have lost the faith to stay faithful. There was no other explanation. Looking at where I am now, I would have thought I must have sacrificed truth to emotion.
I get it. I do. Which doesn’t mean it hurts any less to be judged in that way.
I wish those who do not agree or understand could trust my love for Jesus and my relationship with him. I wish they (you?) could continue to trust the work of God you’ve seen in my life all along, even if you can’t understand how it’s brought me here. I wish you could trust the fruit of the Spirit in me – the increasing love, joy, peace, faith. The shalom – wholeness and integration – that has blossomed. The way that as love has grown and expanded in me, fear has diminished.
I wish you could see, but I understand why you can’t.
Just know, it wasn’t the easy way.