I don’t have time to write a post today, so I’ll just plug my book some more!
The following is a conversation between Zoe (the associate pastor) and Kyle, with Kyle’s boyfriend Evan chiming in from time to time.
“When I first started feeling like I was really gay, I told my mom.” He said, “and she flipped out. She sat me down and she told me all about how good boys don’t become gay, how it’s something that only happens to evil people. And she told me I needed to repent and find the sin that made me gay and change it.”
“Jesus Christ,” I said, not knowing what else to say. I wasn’t taking his name in vain, I was honestly trying to invoke his presence.
“And I tried to. I really tried to. For a year, I tried to. I prayed and prayed and begged and begged and I did everything I knew how to, to be good. And I tried dating a girl. I tried kissing her. I tried to make myself love her. And the whole time I felt like what I was doing was so wrong. I hated myself, for trying to be someone I wasn’t. I used to be able to feel God in things, so long ago. I used to be able to tell that I was making God happy. But no matter how hard I tried to make God happy that year all I felt was this resounding emptiness.”
“A Godshaped hole,” I said with all of the irony of a girl who spent years in Sunday school talking about the hole that only Jesus Christ could fill.
“Then I met this boy, Milo.” Kyle smiled, “and the first time he smiled at me, I felt desperately sick. I wanted him so badly it scared the crap out of me.”
“Laugh all you want,” Kyle said, “but I think I literally crapped my pants.”
I suddenly felt a million pinpricks in my heart. Never had I felt what he was talking about. Rarely had I even wanted to. “And then what?” I asked.
“And then I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t stand hating myself. I couldn’t stand trying to win my way back into God’s graces. I couldn’t stand being in a church every Sunday where I knew that all the other parishioners thought that I was going to burn in Hell for a sin I wasn’t aware of having committed. They treated me like the plague, because if I was attracted to other boys that meant God had cursed me. And you know what?”
“What?” Evan and I said in unison.
“Every time I read the Bible the only people I see God cursing are the hypocrites.” Kyle choked back tears again, “and I wasn’t a hypocrite. I was a scared little kid that only wanted to please everyone else and never even thought of what he wanted, until I wanted Milo. And if I had to choose between a God that cursed me and a boy that looked like a god, well, what do you think a sixteen year old kid would choose?”
“A hamburger?” I said jokingly.
Evan laughed and Kyle shook his head. “In any case,” Kyle said, “I swore off religion. And I kept my word for a long, long time. And then a few months ago my mom died, and I went to the funeral and felt so out of place. Everyone else there was so sure of God, so sure of Heaven, so sure that my mom had finally found peace… and there I was, ten years later, totally empty. And still wishing I could make God happy.”
“So why our church?”
“My sister said, ‘just accept that God loves you and wants what’s best for you’. And then I saw that one billboard, the one that says, ‘God made you freckles and all’. And I thought, ‘maybe God made me gay and all.’ But I guess that wasn’t the message I was supposed to get.” Kyle laughed bitterly.
I could feel the remnants of my mochas wreaking havoc on my insides, but I swallowed that thought and motioned for us to get back onto the furniture. I sat down on the love seat and Evan and Kyle sat beside each other on the couch. “I don’t know who God made you to be,” I said to Kyle, “but I’m absolutely certain He loves you, which is all that matters. We are called to love as God loves, and God loves you, so we are beholden to love you as well. And maybe that means sometimes telling you when we think you’re doing something that could hurt you, but I see the way you and Evan look at each other and I think, ‘of all the things that could lead to death, a love like that is certainly not one of them.’ So, I won’t tell you to leave your lover. I will tell you to try to accept the fact that God loves you, though, because I think you need that. You need to know that God doesn’t want you to be destroyed.”
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