For Christ’s Sake and in Jesus’ Name Come OUT!

Yes for the sake of Jesus and Christ’s church I implore you to come out of your closet!

My heart breaks over meeting scores of people every month who live half in and half out of the closet. They have a thousand reasons (some quite valid) for keeping silent about their gay orientation, but they silence themselves at great cost.

At Church Madrid, Spain

At Church Madrid, Spain

Yes I know the risks. I too lived in the shadow lands of the closet only revealing to a select few, mostly on-line, that I was gay. I felt terrified at what I felt certain I would lose. I feared death, the death of vital relationships with family and friends. I worried about expulsion from church, Christian college, jobs and housing.

Some of that did happen, but the reality is that the greatest opposition I faced was internal.

When we choose to remain in public denial about our sexuality (ie in the closet) we impoverish ourselves, the church and the world around us.

We deny our churches the opportunity to grapple firsthand with “the gay issue.” We deny them the gift of our sexuality and all the discussions and dilemmas that gift brings to faith communities.

We deny ourselves the chance to live in integrity, integrated, whole. Instead we have to act shifty, dishonest, expending tremendous energy cloaked behind screen names and avitars. We stifle a part of ourselves, a part that fills our thoughts and on-line discussions and that fills our prayers.

We deny ourselves dignity and respect, and by acting ashamed of our sexuality, we give others permission to treat us shamefully.

We say, It’s no big deal. It is only a tiny part of me, but it is a part connected to the whole that in keeping silent has infected many of us over the years with secrets that weigh heavier and heavier as they spread to include other areas of our lives.

Instead of walking in the Light, we live to please others. We don’t want to make waves. We cowardly live for man and not for God, and in so doing we die by inches.

Looking Out from a Church Ruin

Looking Out from a Church Ruin

As Jesus called out to Lazarus after days of rotting in the cold dark tomb, we too can heed Christ’s call to “Come Out” of our tomb-like closets and let others unwrap us from the stinking shame-filled grave clothes that constrict us.

We don’t have to come out “gay” like all the other gay people we see in places like The Advocate Magazine–we can come out as ourselves–women and men who choose to follow Christ, who happen to be lesbian, gay or bisexual, who have all sorts of interests and gifts to offer and enjoy.

This message may not be for you. If not, than move on in peace. If so, I pray the gift of discomfort in that closet of yours, that soul sucking chamber of lies. Come to your senses and come out in Jesus’ name.

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This post has 4 Comments

  1. Brian on October 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm Reply

    Amen.

    It is not necessarily easier and it’s not necessarily the path I would choose for myself, but it is necessary and life-giving and life-saving.

    I spent the past few days on campus at Carnegie Mellon doing a mix of non-violence workshops with ALLIES and thorough conversations with Christian students opposed to LGBT identity and relationships.

    The message I found myself repeating over and over again was that this was not a message of identity politics, but instead in order for the other parts of my identity to be affirmed, appreciated, and included; I needed to accept and liberate the queer part as well.

    Journey onwards Peterson!

  2. Caz on October 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm Reply

    Brilliant stuff Peterson! I’m in the process of coming out at my church, I won’t lie if I am asked, but I am not shouting it from the rooftops either (tho from my appearance I don’t really think I need to!)

    Thanks for this inspiring post!

  3. Yuki Choe on October 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm Reply

    Coming out as a transsexual female means everyone knows. There are of course its implications and hardships, but there is a sense of satisfaction that I find fulfillment in just being me. And as a Christian, I stopped grieving the Holy Spirit by lying about who I am. In coming out, I find personal growth and spiritual faith. I come of age. And the awakening is priceless.

    Peterson is right. If we do not come out, we lose the chance to live in honesty and integrity. We also lose time in living as we are made by Our Father. He will have plans for us, as He had shown in countless of us who had come out. Be gone, self-loathing and dear. Arise peace and loving ourselves!

  4. lower case paul on October 31, 2008 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Hmmmm. I am out to those I deem important, and then to just regular folk. For instance, I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and bought a gay book. When I was checking out, I confessed to the guy behind the counter that I was buying the book because the author is “cute.” I pointed out the pic to the guy checking me out and he smiled, and though surprised, agreed. Frankly, my attitude is I don’t care who knows I am gay.

    On the other hand, I don’t invite abuse. I’m not always in the mood to fight, I just want to be. So, I guess I do both. I’m not always up to providing a target for random Nazis.

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