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His Love Destroyed My Closet

Truly, a very large number of people have supported and encouraged me since coming out. Former Exodus leaders, even some who are still in that type of ministry, have been a big (and sometimes surprising) blessing. Of course my close friends at Grace Church have been fantastic. They truly are safe people who have proven once again they are trustworthy and some of the most loving people I have ever met. Plus, there has been a large outpouring of love and forgiveness from the gay community. I am deeply grateful.

It’s been overwhelming (in a good way) and I plan to blog more about that in time. There have been plenty of really good experiences to process.Today however, I want to discuss some of the negative messages I have gotten the past couple of weeks. These messages repeatedly remind me of “the closet” that is a metaphor for the oppression and stigma that gay people have suffered for far too long.

For, me to be “in the closet” means (among other things) to literally not be allowed to communicate honestly with others or even ourselves; being silenced. The “closet” is made from nails of shame/manipulation and wood from the tree of condemnation. It is sealed tight with fear.

These messages have come from a number of people (religious and gay) who want me to go back into a form of the closet fashioned by the messages in the bullet points below. These are actual messages I have heard or received in the past couple of weeks:

  • The nails of shame/manipulation include: “You have disgraced the word of God.” “Satan has deceived you.” “You obviously didn’t consult the Holy Spirit throughout your ‘process.'” “You are narcissistic, a media whore, and desperate for relevance.” “You drove your friend to suicide so maybe you should consider that option for yourself.” “Don’t blame us for your neurosis not being healed.”
  • The wood of condemnation includes: “It would be better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and dropped in the sea.” “God’s love is conditional in that He will not tolerate your sin and you justthrew your relationship with Him away.” “God will not tolerate competing lovers. It’s either Him or your sin.” “You were among us but never part of us (the Body of Christ, Exodus).” “You’ve done irreparable damage to the Body of Christ.”
    • “You are destroying families and killing children.” <– that exact message, verbatim, has come from both sides.
  • This type of closet is sealed tight with fear: “You are leading people with unwanted homosexuality tototal destruction here on earth and in the afterlife.” “To protectmy own heart, I can no longer be connected with you…” “to protect my own interests Ican’t be seen supporting you.”
    • “You have betrayed us and will never have a place among us again.” “You should stay quiet and go away.” Again, these last two sentences (in this bullet point) have come verbatim from both sides.

Everywhere I truly deserve the nails of shame and condemnation, Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced on my behalf. I am certainly not Jesus, but everywhere my life feels encased by condemnation, I can remember that Jesus was surrounded and tortured with words of mockery and scorn coming from His own people, on every side. Plus, you can’t tell me He doesn’t understand fear when at one point He cried out  from the cross, “My God My God! Why have You forsaken me?”

He sees us, He knows us, He empathizes with us, He loves us.

He understands us not only from His perspective as God but also from having become one of us. Even with all that understanding of our frailties and sin, He runs to us. He never gives up on, or forsakes, us.

Again, I am a just a middle-aged guy with a kind of bizarre history. What I have gone through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. Yet, I have meditated on the fact that even as Jesus was tortured and murdered, He used His Voice to speak life. He did not waste time and opportunity with words of death, defensiveness, or accusation. He was not manipulated by shame. His purpose/mission was not thwarted by condemnation or silenced by fear.

And when our Heavenly Father whispered into His Son’s ear to awaken from death, it was His love for us … for all of us … that opened His Eyes. 

I don’t be believe Jesus rose from the dead for us to build new church closets from bloodstained nails and recycled wood from an empty cross. His Love destroyed every kind of “closet” …forever.

We no longer have to live in tombs built by our own, or other’s, hands.

I am content with resting in Christ’s love. I am secure in who I am in Him. Add to that the love and support of friends and my spiritual family, I will never see the inside of a “the closet” again.

Published inLGBT+ Christ Follower

21 Comments

    • Randy Randy

      Thank you Alan.

  1. C L DeRouen C L DeRouen

    I stand with you. I’m ashamed of the hate that comes out of the mouths of proclaimed Christians

  2. Don Sloan Brown Don Sloan Brown

    You know I’m going to start praying more for the folks that get so upset over the choices and decisions of someone else. God is in charge after all. Maybe we all need to let Him handle things. I call it Trust in Him.

    • Randy Randy

      Sounds good to me Don 🙂 … I will join you in those prayers.

  3. Great post, Randy. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Randy Randy

      Thank *you* Rick 🙂

  4. Randy thanks for being authentic and being the outgoing person you are. You are a lot of fun and I enjoy having you in my facebook feed, because you are uplifting and positive and make me smile :D. I think those who are saying the harsh things you mentioned in this post should reconsider, or, be more cautious about the words they use and how they speak them.
    One thing I have learned about disagreement on issues of law or scripture is that I am left with as many questions as there are answers at the end of the day. It is an ongoing process and sometimes it has taken me time to understand something or grow in awareness of God’s abounding love and wisdom. God through his grace allows me the time to process the tough questions in life, to be authentic with him and others about myself, to grow and realize how to imitate Christ more, to stand in awe of Him, to be more loving towards others, to be more generous with my words, to be more understanding of the experiences people have and how they are impacted by their past and by the world around them. This task of shedding the old self and becoming a new creature in Christ is a monumental task which Jesus promises to lift our burden not add to it.
    The real stumbling block in my life has been those who tell me to stop thinking, to stop questioning as if they have the answers already figured out for me, yet they don’t know me or what God is trying to accomplish in my life. I have found that some Christians are stuck using scripture as mantras or incorporating Gods word into repetitive rhetoric in order to prove a point. Yet isn’t Gods’ word meant to nourish us and the only way it will truly be absorbed within us is to chew on it thoughtfully. I ask myself is God’s word meant to be a placard to carry around or food which gives me life?
    The fear of being deceived is very real and I have to ask if those who accuse others of being deceived are doing so out of their own fearfulness of God? If you truly believe God’s love is conditional then yes you would worry about all of the aspects of the law, you would spend most of your time focused on the law and trying to figure out what is or is not sin so you could avoid it. But, is this how God wants us to live? And is this truly who God is? That is the question for each of us to discover because each of us are invited to have a relationship with Christ. When we talk about being deceived by the ‘enemy’, I have found the warnings of deception point to a warning about not being deceived about who Christ is. What are his attributes and qualities? Do they align with how you speak to others or welcome them?
    I would rather continue to point others to Christ and encourage them to seek Him first, no matter where they are at, rather than discourage them by saying they can’t know Christ until they change something about themselves or unless they conform to a religious practice. One of the results of that kind of thinking, which has yielded bad fruit, is that many Christians don’t have assurance of their faith! I wish I could explain to others how damaging it is to live in that uneasiness all the time when we don’t have to! Being real about yourself is one of the most important things we can do in our relationship with Christ and with each other. God is not looking to condemn us when we step out of that closet rather he is wanting to know us and love us. Many blessings to you and you continue on 🙂

    • Randy Randy

      Kathy, thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment and for sharing a bit about your life and process. I appreciate your focus on Christ as well.

      I also think that it isn’t just a religious condition of people getting stuck on “having all the answers” and not liking it when people are questioning those beliefs for themselves. It seems we humans really have a high view of our ability to judge ourselves and others when in fact I don’t believe we were never created for that (that’s why we kind of suck at it :).

      Thank you very very much for your thoughtfulness and encouragement.

  5. Andy H Andy H

    You’re a rainbow bursting through the dark clouds, Randy!
    I’m convinced that there are gifts, graces, talents, stories, life, blessings and insights into who Christ is that the world needs that can come ONLY through our LGBTQ brothers & sisters.
    We need you & your story, Randy! Thank you & Arohanui (big love) from New Zealand. – from a #str8ally.

    • Thank you so much for our encouragement Andy.

  6. Alison Ruth Defrese Alison Ruth Defrese

    Randy, you certainly didn’t destroy MY family or anything! I probably mentioned this before, but reading your stuff has really encouraged me as the momma of a wonderful gay son and a wonderful straight son. I’m not perfect, either, believe it or not! Keep up the good work. Reading your affirmations of faith help bring me back to what’s truly important, even though I have a terrible time worrying about what some family members think of me. Sometimes I wonder if they think I “made my son gay”. It is really hard to get that out of my mind, BUT, I have the two most wonderful sons in the world. They are both working, they are both finally graduating from college, they both have made plans for the future, and they both give me wonderful hugs.

    • I am very happy that I didn’t destroy your family :). I am also very happy for your son’s to have a great Mom like you and no *you* didn’t make one son gay. Family dynamics are complicated at best, even in the most ideal situation. I will pray as you come to mind for your family that you are worried about. Have a great day Alison.

      • Alison Defrese Alison Defrese

        Thank you, Randy, for your prayers. For a while I thought I was losing my marbles, but I found ’em again! I hear younger Christians today are not as conflicted as we older ones about homosexuality, so there’s hope.

  7. Barb Barb

    Wow! Great post. Things that were said to you make me sad.

  8. Randi I do appreciate your honesty and your authenticity about where you are in your journey.
    I also believe that Jesus is all about tearing down closets that are either built for us as a box or self induced.
    We are free by the cross to live as Christ followers, not free to engage in or continue bondage.
    We have neither liscence or legalism, but we have liberty. Meaning we are no longer compelled, but are inwardly bent in a direction to walk in the Spirit, not by the flesh. When we advocate that ALL lifestyles are good, we come face to face with deadly consequence. Our real freedom to to choose and live responsibly within the context of Gods protective guidelines for all humanity. “Freedom doesn’t lie in the excersise of choice; it ultimately lies in the consequences of those choices.”
    We must all learn when we are living according to the flesh and assume our responsibility for our attitudes and actions.

  9. Rev. Johnathan Stanley Rev. Johnathan Stanley

    Very beautifully written .

  10. Don Don

    Hey, Randog! It’s Don in Tucson. Like you, I’m conflicted about my sexuality. But I so agree with you. My identity in Christ trumps my sexuality. It informs all aspects of my life. i have read the Bible to survive the last 32 years. I’m so tired of professing Christians who say you can lose your salvation because of your behavior afterwards. When He died on that cross all your and my sins were future–past, present, and future ones. As Jesus said, it is finished. We exalt self when we think we or someone else can lose their salvation.
    When I visited you at your office back in October 2010, I recognized restlessness and fatigue at that point.
    You are an amazingly gifted by God communicator.
    I had a conversation with Alan before the 2012 election about gay marriage. I told him that God had impressed upon me that those protesting gay marriage were driving away from Him the very people He wanted to save. I truly believe that where we are today in this dialog is because in the past the church did not address same sex attraction or tried to sweep it under the rug or tried to use their Bibles to silence all honest questioning and real discrimination that has occurred through the ages.

    Love you, brother! All I really know is that because of being born again, I can’t and don’t find ultimate satisfaction being yolked to a non-believer whether that is a man or woman : ) My spiritual DNA was changed when I trusted Christ
    as my personal Savior!

    • Alison Ruth Defrese Alison Ruth Defrese

      I am with you on this, Don. My straight son, an agnostic and the King of the One-Liner, had this to say to me when our relatives decided my gay son was going to hell: “What? Didn’t Jesus hang on the Cross long enough?” To which I replied, “Yeah, He should’ve stayed up there one more day for the gay people.” (The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree at my house!)

      • Don Don

        Hi, Alison! For several years I thought it was my faith that saved me. I began to think I either didn’t have enough faith or that I had lost it. I was paralyzed as a believer. I didn’t share Christ with anyone. I didn’t want to bring the misery I was feeling at that point to others. But in the spring of 2010, I was reading my Bible and a lightbulb went on. I and any other believer is saved by grace THROUGH faith not BY it. Faith puts the spotlight on us, not on God who deserves all the glory. Grace is unmerited favor. We are beggars showing other beggars where to find the Bread of life. If we look at the latter part of Romans 4, we see that Abraham was trusting in God to do Himself what He promised. Neither he nor Sarah brought anything to the table. And neither do we : )
        I hope your straight , agnostic son will look at Jesus again. And please let your gay son know that God is not done with him or with you and me or Randy. If your gay son has accepted Jesus as his personal Savior , it is God who started that good work and who will complete it.
        Thanks for the encouragement , Alison!

        • Alison Ruth Defrese Alison Ruth Defrese

          Thanks also, Don, for the encouragement. I’m sorry to say the gay son is “agnostic, leaning towards atheism”. I pray for both kids every day and lean on that “train up a child in the way he should go…” Bible verse. I’m afraid the in-law side of the family’s facebook attack on my gay son and then on me for supporting my gay son turned both boys off to Christianity. They are very defensive of their little Eastern Orthodox Christian momma, and when the attacks happened, they both cut off that side of the family and also God! I’m sad about the fractured family, but absolutely sure that God wants me love those two young men unconditionally and show through my actions and being that God loves them the same way. Believe me, it’s not easy. After the attacks I spent $500 on therapy with a wonderful Orthodox Christian psychologist to get my head on straight and scrape me off the ceiling. $500 I really couldn’t afford – but I was so angry I was entertaining thoughts of driving my car fast into a brick wall, seriously, not kidding. Not entertaining thoughts about that now – I want to live to my mid-90’s at least.

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