I’m coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
– Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out”
In speaking with the little bro last night he told me he felt that path I’ve been on is shifting, that he can sense a difference in the space where I am right now. I told him its because I feel I’m coming out of the closet…spiritually.
I’m not saying this tongue in cheek or to be scandalous; I’m saying it because it’s true.
The great mecca of internet research aka Wikipedia describes coming out as ” a psychological process or journey; decision-making or risk-taking; a strategy or plan; a mass or public event; a speech act and a matter of personal identity; a rite of passage; liberation or emancipation from oppression; an ordeal; a means toward feeling pride instead of shame and social stigma”. I can think of no better term to describe what is happening in my world.
The exercising of my faith has been a journey and process. I’m usually the last to clue into things related to me at times and even I can see that I’m not who I was. I am actively making decisions to align my life with the transformative person of Jesus and not lame ideologies or convenient “truths”.
And that, my friends, is risky as hell. On one hand seeking to be more like Jesus of the Bible (vs. Jesus of our own understanding or culture) is beautiful. I have the privilege of interacting with amazing people and engaging in thoughtful dialogue. The flip side is there are people I love who think I’m a heretic and question my faith if they bother to speak to me at all and I cannot begin to express how deeply this troubles me.
Religion can be stifling and the deeper I delve into this relational space I share with God, the less I care about looking a certain way or adhering to rules and the more I care about looking like him. And caring for those he loves. And embodying the fullness of what it means to be an image bearer of an eternal, divine person whose very name is Love.
This is my liberation.
This is my identity.
I am changing and I cannot tell you exactly what this means or who I’m becoming because I don’t know what my future self will look like. But I do know I am growing more sensitive to people. I am more troubled by things like abuse, injustice, inequality and the oppression/suppression of others. I care more about how the Church functions and is called to serve and how it fails to do so in my cultural context. I am more aware of the need to let faith inform your politics instead of letting your politics temper how you express God’s love to others. I am less concerned with propriety and more concerned with living an authentic, open life where my challenges are more visible because that’s the place where grace abounds and God becomes real.
So yes, in choosing to share what is happening with me, I borrowed a term from the LGBTQ community because it describes the triumph over fear, refusal to live your life in an inauthentic manner, trusting people to accept you for the entirety of your personage and taking pride in who you are and who you are becoming.
I am a Christian. No hyphens, subcategory or asterisk necessary. This means I am working on leading a life tempered by love and grace akin to that which I receive, even when that means speaking hard truths. I am a work in progress and am beautifully messy and I am unashamed of it.
This is who I am and I will not apologize for it.