Came out, Now what?!!
It cannot be a mistake that my first day on-the-job as a pastor to the gayest church in America is on National Coming Out Day. I mean, come on! God has a wicked sense of humor, and she has been my own, personal “Amy Schumer” lately.
All kidding aside, I am especially aware of the importance of safe spaces for people who need to come out this year, since I manage one of the best. If you are looking for a place to come out, then, please, come on down to MCC of the Rockies this Sunday – we are waiting for you.
I wanted to write today, however, because of something that disturbs me about ‘Coming Out’ lore, which is to say that there is a common misconception that coming out is a one-time deal. While certainly the courage summoned to finally say to the world, “I AM ________ (pick your identity)!” is a milestone, it is step one of a long process of self-acceptance, self-examination, change, and progress in your life. The problem is that our community – the LGBTQIA+ community and the Church – do NOT do a great job facilitating that process of growth and maturity needed to match this monumental moment of courage and self-actualization.
So, as the institutions of importance in our lives catch-up, the work is on us. Sorry! Yes, shocking, that a pastor is asking you to do more inner work. Regardless, it is true, that coming out, whether you are doing so in the most accepting family on Earth, or in the dangerous center of a Red State, will require you to start to choose new ways of operating in the world, new ethics, and new norms. It can be scary, but you are not – you are NOT – you are not alone.
There are people, like me, who love you. We are praying for you. We are available to you. And, when we fall short, because we are human, there is a God who loves you in ways that your burgeoning soul cannot possibly comprehend. Welcome, sister. Welcome, brother. Welcome to you both. Welcome to your family, regardless of what it looks like. Welcome! Congratulations on coming out. Now, it’s time to start living.