I once was invisible, closeted you might say, but now I am not. It happened in stages, much like the grin of the Cheshire Cat. Not really invisible, of course. But part of me had yet to appear. All that anyone could see was what I cared to show. So, this is a coming out story. But not what you think. Exactly.

 Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some… don’t ever want to. ~ Cheshire Cat

This has to start back in the 1970’s for me. Back when Christianity’s poster girl, Anita Bryant, took on the Dade County, FL, anti-discrimination ordinance. She said if homosexuals were allowed to teach the children, it would be a moral disaster. And I was a new Christian, so I believed her.

Some years later, I wanted to prove that homosexuality was as bad as I had been told the Bible said it was. So, I went to the library. I checked out “Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?” by Scanzoni and Mollenkott. It is the seminal work on the subject.

I found the book interesting, but I didn’t quite understand it all at the time. Still, it opened the door a crack and let in some light. Especially regarding the meanings of some of the Greek words the Apostle Paul used, and the meaning of the Levitical prohibitions in the Law of Moses.

A few years later, this time questioning what all the fuss was about over homosexuality, I read a book by Mel White, “Stranger at the Gate”. This man’s story blew me away. It was so honest and so compelling. At that point I began to see that being homosexual was not an evil thing, and was most likely natural.

But of course I quickly learned to keep quiet about it. It seems the mindset of “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it” does not allow for asking if God indeed said what we think He said. Or did He possible say something altogether different, and the Bible translator’s ideas changed what God actually meant?

As the years went by, and issues like abortion overtook the concern about homosexuality, I concentrated on my own life and problems. I was so unaware of the whole issue that I didn’t even know who Harvey Milk was until the movie came out in 2008. And I didn’t see the movie until I watched DVD the summer of 2011. Needless to say, I was deeply affected. I wish I had seen it sooner.

So, the questions were there. Furthermore, I did not like the increasingly strident and hateful attitude taken by Christians toward both abortion and homosexuality. What I was seeing was not, well, very Christ like. Perhaps they were wrong…

By the turn of the new millennium, I was online and my searching became easier. One day I found a book by a woman who was a lesbian, a Christian, and who pastor of a church in California, Elaine Sundby. I contacted her and she sent me a copy of the book, “Calling the Rainbow Nation Home”.

Her testimony is beautiful and awesome. Any Christian would know immediately it was genuine, if you left out the part about being lesbian. Unfortunately, if you leave that in, most Christians would say she wasn’t really saved, since she is a practicing homosexual.

I was well on my way to total acceptance of homosexuality. When I returned to college, and got my Bachelor’s degree in 1996, my major was psychology. I learned that homosexuality was no longer considered a psychological disorder. My women’s studies course further broadened my views. As did the biology of psychology. Clearly the biology of sexuality and gender is much more complicated than most know.

Since I was online, I eventually became involved in Christian forums and groups. There, I quickly learned that I still had to keep quiet about accepting homosexuals. Most Christian forums don’t even allow you to promote the viewpoint that homosexuality is not sin. You will be warned or flat out banned, and will be called evil, unsaved, false teacher, and anything else they can think of. You will not, I assure you, feel the love.

Enter the age of Facebook. This is more to my liking. I can now finally be myself. Whereas I can’t express open support for gay Christians in forums, or in my church, I can on my Facebook page. And I have control over the content. Abusive people can be “unfriended” or blocked. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

I did eventually leave church, but not over the gay issue. My experience online and on Facebook led me to grace teaching (i.e. the finished work of Christ) and that changed my life. It also opened the way for unqualified acceptance of homosexuals, transgendered, and the intersexed.

Not that I’ve really gotten it. There will be stumbling blocks. Some things will surely still offend me. And I struggle with being judgmental about those who are judgmental. But love wins!

Now, after having read many personal testimonies of gay Christians, their horrible struggles, how they were treated by the churches, and how God brought them through it all, I am solidly a supporter.

One powerful story, and not for the easily shocked, is a book titled, “A Life of Unlearning”. It’s by Australian Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God evangelist. He was found out as a homosexual and was forced to confess publically. He was married with two children.
I have a few gay friends, mostly online. One is local and we have met and talked, and an awesome testimony of God’s love and acceptance was shared. All the arguments in the world can’t shake one good testimony! I could literally feel the love, the joy, the peace.

You have no idea how freeing it is to just be accepting. Judgment and condemnation sap your strength. Neither is from God. Both operated out of fear and performance and are based on laws and rules.

So, the Cheshire Cat’s grin has been followed by his tail and his body. Is he complete? Most likely not. I think he is changing even as I write. He is perhaps rainbow hued…..