In college ministry you will have people struggling with homosexuality in your ministry. And, if they trust you and you have been paying the price of time and making sure people know you are a safe place, people will eventually share their struggle with you. But some people are just too ashamed or flat out scared to tell anyone, regardless of how they are treated and loved. But it’s important to make sure we understand what these people are feeling.
This is a letter written by a previous student of mine. I included it in a talk handout one night in midst of a series I did on homosexuality. I love this man. I don’t spend nearly enough time with him due to geography, but he wrote this while in college and I think it’s a powerful insight into the mind of a college student who is struggling with homosexual attraction. Here it is:
The Other Side of the Rainbow
So this is my chance to say everything that passes through my silent mind each day.
Maybe I’ll start with how I feel when I hear the word ‘faggot.’ Or with the fear that you won’t accept me, which leaves me too afraid to be honest. Maybe I’ll start with gay jokes over another meal with my ‘Christian brothers’. Or how I feel about the girl who claims she loves all ‘sinners’ yet people like me disgust her. The guy who is so insecure in his own masculinity that he has to make fun of every non-athletic guy, whom he assumes is a homosexual simply because he doesn’t fit the American ideal of “manhood”. My dad, who stopped hugging me. The living room, where I sit in silence, watching while my friends debate my salvation.
“Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a slap in the face. Who said words don’t hurt? Some celebrate homosexuality as though it was some beautiful blessing sent from Jesus himself. Then there are those, who are so busy preaching their doctrinal statements, that their ‘love’ is masked by awkwardness, and any kindness means tolerant pity. It hurts.
Some days I get so angry. Don’t you see? Don’t you see it’s me you are talking about? I never wanted this. Other days depression seems more an option… Ironic that ‘gay’ people often aren’t so happy.
As for myself, I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe isolation within celibacy will be my penance. I can’t reconcile my faith and being openly gay. I don’t want this. Maybe, to everyone’s surprise, my demons will flee from me, and I may wake up tomorrow a happy heterosexual. Maybe God will change me to the point I can get married. I live within uncertainty. So therefore I cannot pursue a lifestyle as though it held my confidence. Yet I long for assurance like everyone else. I want my white picket fence.
Those are a few of my thoughts. They are honest, but that does not mean they are innocent. I am sure some who read this will be all worked up, ready to debate their enlightened opinions. And curious gossips will try to figure out who is the faceless person behind this. So I show a fake smile, and shame through silence. Can you see my loneliness?
In my dreams, I’m free. From peoples judgment. From this sin that so entangles me. From fear of falling out of the closet. Or being swept under the rug. That I won’t be alone for the rest of my life. That I will never find my white picket fence, that I will still be accepted as a child of God. Men will learn that affection and love are signs of true masculinity. The church will be a sanctuary. And I will find freedom from silence.
They say dreams come true on the other side of the rainbow. I don’t think that’s really true.