I couldn’t do it.
No matter how much I tried, how much I prayed for the opportunity that presented itself, I could not force out the words to my small group Bible study.
Two words that would radically shift the dynamics I think of our Bible study. As much as we talk about trust and love and commitment to each others’ spiritual well-being, at my heart, I’m scared and I’m proud.
I spend a majority of my growing up years in the Bible belt. I’ve seen the ebb and flow of how the fundamentalist perspective of homosexuality has shaped and formed the evangelical understanding of “gay people.” I always get this smoldering vision of pitchforks and “pray away the gay camps” and all sorts of anathema.
But I’m proud too. Being open and honest here means that I’ll lose the affirmation and approval I get from my fellow Christians. I know a lot of theology and I more importantly, I’ve experienced so much of God’s grace and mercy. When I open my mouth, people do seem to acknowledge that I speak wisdom. Telling Christian people that one is gay has a pretty predictable side effect of them no longer regarding anything “spiritual” or “religious” that I say as legitimate. (And I need that approval apparently.)
Of course, I say all this with the full disclosure that I’m always wrestling with the insecurities that I’m a coward (Rev 21.8) and offensive to God in my pride (Prov 3.34).
Really these two fears aren’t all that distant from each other. Now that I think about it, perhaps the opportunity wasn’t given to me. I did try to force the issue, trying to prove that I am not distrustful of my group and that I can be as open and as honest as the rest. We can talk for hours and hours about the richness of God’s grace or the passionate love that backs His judgment and wrath. We can laugh and joke in the fellowship we share. But when it comes to confession, the baring of our hearts with each other… I feel that I’m hiding so much and it’s not fair to my small group or to myself.
But that could just be the shameful ravings of an individual who’s at a loss presently. I really should have been able to do this, but I just could not.
Ah well, there’s next week, right?