Tales Of A Former Advocate: A Farewell

I began this blog in 2010 to document my own experience as a Christian lesbian who had a heart for loving discussion between the Church and the LGBT community. I felt that fire in my belly to reach out, to live in the tension, to make a difference. Friends, I cannot do it anymore.

I never imagined I would be writing a “farewell” post to a group of people I hold so dearly. But the truth of the matter is I can no longer put myself through this emotional turmoil. Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level, it’s been one letdown after another. My friends, family, long lost relatives, and strangers have come out of the woodwork to exclaim how terrible, sinful, and perverted the LGBT community is: How we are ruining the sanctity of marriage, how we are not worthy of a place at God’s table, how we are the moral decay of the nation. Things have only been made worse by the fact the recent Kim Davis fiasco has been unfolding near my hometown. (I canceled a trip home on Labor Day, because I could not bear the thought of being around that kind of hatefulness.) Some of my own family members are calling this the Christian Holocaust. I cannot even wrap my mind around that kind of ignorance and selfishness. I still can’t understand why someone would think their religious freedom includes taking away the rights of other people. There is immense poverty, sickness, and death that plagues this world on a daily basis… and they are concerned that two people of the same gender getting married will somehow take away their 1st Amendment rights. It’s asinine.

I’ve been told that once people knew I was gay—someone they’ve known their entire lives, someone they love—they would learn to listen to the issues pervading the Church as a whole. Once I came out, this issue would (supposedly) be personal to far more people. Instead, I’ve discovered most people don’t want to hear my story. People see me differently once they know I’m gay. Yes, there are those Christians out there who love me for who I am; and oh my goodness, I am forever indebted to them! But these people who love me just as I am have already fought the good fight. I didn’t need to convince them LGBT individuals were worthy of love, because they already knew it. Friends, there are people out there who were created to be advocates for the LGBT community. But I am simply not one of them. I thought I was strong enough, but I’m not. I’m tired of sobbing. I’m tired of helplessly watching my partner cry over other people’s insensitivity.

I’ve been through hell and back to discover my heartfelt position on the issue of LGBT inclusion in the Church. I cannot spend one more minute giving my time to people who acknowledge the fact I’ve studied and researched this topic, yet still feel it necessary to make an itemized list of why they believe my life is sinful. We may not agree. Fine. But I will no longer accept less than the same respect I give them regarding their deeply held beliefs.

I do not wish to call myself a Christian anymore. I love Jesus and will forever have him written on my heart… but I refuse to outwardly wear the label of a group whose name has become synonymous with hate to far too many people. The term “Christian” wasn’t used until a few decades after Jesus walked the earth, and it’s a word that no longer has positive connotations for me, and for so many others. Ultimately, it is just a label, and I refuse to wear it. I have become a member of the Native American Church—a spiritual group who does not judge me for who I love, a group who encourages each individual to seek out a personal, profound, spiritual path. For me, it is where I choose to continue to live out my faith. For me, it is home.

To hate-spewing Christians, I will say the following: I hope the reconciliation movement continues to grow within the walls of your churches. Christian LGBT advocates are the only hope for the future of your religious institution. I hope you fully understand that because of you, countless LGBT individuals will never, ever know Jesus. But more than that, I hope you have a change of heart before it’s too late. Don’t judge the LGBT community; love on them. Would that really be so bad? And just to be abundantly clear: It’s not Jesus or the loving Christians who led me to abandon the Christian label. It’s you.

For those of you who’ve read my posts over the last five years: Words cannot express my gratitude to you. To have a support group from so many people I’ve never even met in person, it really meant the world to me. I appreciate all of you who shared your stories, who reached out in love, who fought for equality. I am forever indebted to you. Obviously, things are changing in our favor. The past five years have been crucial for the progress of LGBT inclusion. And things will continue to get better from here.

I’ve discovered for me, personally, I have to find ways to live my life without worrying what others think of me. When I separate myself from the kind of negativity that’s been going on lately, life becomes so much richer. This is a necessary season of refining, a necessary season of pruning. Because you and I? We’re on to better things. And a couple generations from now, we’ll be able to tell our grandkids we were on the right side of history… the side of inclusion and love.

Always,
Mandy

9 responses to “Tales Of A Former Advocate: A Farewell

  1. There is a time for every thing, and for the time you had this blog I needed it and am so grateful to have had this place to learn, think, discuss and express.

    I like what you said about there being more important issues to address than fighting against “gay rights” as well as fighting against those who fight against “gay rights.” And I understand the reluctance to take on the name “Christian.” I don’t refer myself as a Christian and I don’t feel ashamed of that. I am Josha, I am “gay”, and I seek the spirituality of Christ. I’ve been led to fight the poverty fight. I’m going full force in activist work with faith communities to understand poverty and learn how to help in a way that can make changes….more than just giving out food and clothing. One of the many things I’ve learned is that to help decrease poverty we have to talk about it and if we are talking about poverty then we have to talk about racism. So those are two areas of which I’m seeking the spirituality of Christ.
    Another area is pouring myself into serving the elderly. I married a 95 and 94 year old a few years ago (they had been boyfriend and girlfriend for 30 years, it was time to celebrate their love and that is what we did and it was beautiful. They still live in separate houses, the marriage wasn’t legal, however it was SO real and a most beautiful experience of love). The experience was spirit led and community driven. And most recent I made an hour and half movie with older adults. Again, spirit led and community driven and the hearts and lives that were touched brings me to a place of standing in awe of God.

    So, I’m in agreement. I’m not going to feel ashamed of not proclaiming my Christianity. I’m just going to seek the spirituality of Christ and allow God to proclaim God’s glory in the work that is done when seeking the spirituality of Christ. And to top it off, this is my way of doing activist work. I’m “gay” seeking the spirituality of Christ and amazing things are happening. Amazing things that can only be pointed to God. And I’m at peace about that.

    • You stated these things so beautifully. Thank you for sharing, Josha. I believe you are doing things the right way… pouring yourself into real action toward helping others. By helping the poor, the elderly, the homeless… you are truly being the hands and feet of Christ. THAT is what Christianity should look like.

      I have (finally) acknowledged the fact that I may be a better advocate for a cause that may not hit quite so close to home.

      I love your phrase: “the spirituality of Christ”. Yes. That’s what we are called to live out. Religion is just the package it comes in… and frankly, it’s become a bit of a dirty word.

      I’ve been thankful for you from day one, Josha! You’ve always been willing to share your stories and perspectives, and you truly live life fully. I hope that we can stay in touch every now and then via email. Let’s make that happen!

  2. Hi Mandy, having walked your journey, I feel your pain. This guy’s work has helped me a lot – just in case you haven’t come across him yet: https://www.facebook.com/nakedpastor?pnref=story. Thanks for sharing the road with us for awhile, and best wishes on the next phase of your journey. The tears do stop eventually🙂 Best wishes, and heartfelt thanks, Sarahjane

    • Sarajane, thank you so much. I appreciate the kind words, and the link to the material! I will most definitely be checking that out.

      I’m thankful that—as always—I don’t have to walk the road alone. There are people like you who’ve been there, too. I give you my deepest thanks. Best wishes on your continuing journey!

  3. Eventually, you just get tired. I too am tired.

    But there are the people of God everywhere. Increasing numbers of people are in favour of LGBT inclusion. You hear someone producing the blah- Leviticus 20; Jesus said a man marries a woman!; Paul- abomination- sin,,,

    and it is like the smell of a sewage farm in the background as you stroll along a river. The smell is ugly, but eventually harmless.

    • Thank you for those words, Clare. That’s a good thing to remember… ultimately, we know where this is headed. A few generations from now, this issue will be seen in the same light as the civil rights movement of the 60’s. People will find it unconscionable that discrimination of the LGBT community ever existed. Hate-spewing people will die out with each new generation. I just wish today’s Christian conservatives could see inclusion as a good thing, rather than a sign of the devil’s work. 😕

  4. But I only just found you! I hear you. I truly do. I get you. It’s where I’m at, yet I haven’t fought as long as you. But I’m wanting to review my whole faith and try and let go of the immense hurt and abuse from ‘the church’.
    I’m hoping one day it won’t hurt so much.
    Big hugs lovely, that was beautifully written xx

  5. Mandy, I’m so sorry you have been so badly abused! I understand completely your need to take a break from all the ugliness non-affirming “Christians” can dish out. Isn’t it wonderful how easy it is for people to get between you and God and tell you how angry God is with you, when they don’t even know you? As you said, there are some who have the stamina to stay in the fight. As the mother of a daughter who identifies as queer, I believe I am called to be one of those people. I can take the body blows and work to return a gentle but firm response, and stand for you, my daughter, and other LGBT Christians against the tide of ugliness that comes from so-called followers of Christ. Rest, heal, seek solace and love. You’ve carried the cause several steps closer to success. Others will carry it a bit further. Everyone’s efforts will get us there in the end. And God will bless it all, as we help the church to grow and learn how to love others a little bit better.

    And just remember: you are an awesome human being!

  6. I’ll admit, I’m disappointed you gave up the good fight, and quit… I just came to this website TODAY! Only to find a farewell letter… heartbreaking when you think you’ve found a place of understanding, acceptance and solace… I don’t condemn you…we all have to do what we feel is right for us and in alignment with our purpose, passion and mission here on earth. I pray your personal relationship with Jesus leads you to the conclusion it’s only between you and him in the end….not you and the “Christian” community or the LGBT community…you’ll always find nay-sayers, hateful people and those who either agree or disagree with you…that should not define who you are or what you believe. Praying that the God of all Love shines his Light in your life and the lives of those you touch. Be well, a struggling servant trying to find my own way ~
    Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life…<3

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