God Made Me This Way
It includes celebrities (Ellen DeGeneres, Ricky Martin, Clay Aiken), politicians (Rep. Barney Frank, Gov. Jim McGreevey, John Berry), and Christian artists like Jennifer Knapp and Ray Boltz. It is the growing group of high-profile people who have broken the silence about their homosexuality. Many of their stories share telling similarities.
They knew they were different at a young age. Throughout life, they struggled to hide their feelings and appear normal. After years of enduring rejection, low self-esteem, and depression, they learned to accept homosexuality as part of “who I am.” Eventually, they went public with their “true” identity.
Take Chely Wright, a country music artist and professed Christian, who “came out” last year.
Confessions of a country singer
In an editorial for the Huffington Post, Chely writes about growing up in rural Kansas. As a young girl, she developed a love for country music and a love for God through the influence of her Christian home and community. It was also as a young girl -- aged nine, as she recalls -- that she realized she was gay.
At age nine? When I was nine, I had some knowledge of the physiological differences between boys and girls, no knowledge of sexual orientation, and as for same-sex orientation . . . you’re kidding, right? Anyway, by her telling, that was the beginning of “the most difficult chapter” of her life.
Chely recounts the bewilderments of being a gay Christian farm girl with aspirations for a country music career. She confesses to “committing repeated crimes” against herself. She doesn’t reveal what those crimes were, except to mention, with some regret, settling for accomplishments in academics, athletics, and music as substitutes for “real love.”
In time, Chely learned to accept “that God had made me exactly as I was supposed to be.” But when she fell in love, years later, the torments of her hidden life became too much. After spending days in bed with a gun in her mouth, she prayed to God for peace. Then, as she remembers,
Something happened. Peace washed over me and warmed me from the inside out. I immediately knew that I had been given a massive gift of mercy and an understanding of what I believe God had been whispering in my ear for a long time. “Stand up and speak.”
Her takeaway? Be proud of your sexuality, embrace it, live it, and share the good news of homosexual liberation with other LGBT folk.
Confessions of a Christian singer
More familiar in Christian circles is Ray Boltz. After a two decade career of no. 1 singles, gold albums, and Dove awards, Boltz tired of living “the lie.” The lie? Despite a 33-year marriage that produced four children, the Christian music superstar was gay. Says Boltz,
I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, “I’m still gay. I know I am.” And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore.
Boltz talks of years in the hidden life, enduring depression, undergoing therapy, taking various psychiatric medications, and becoming suicidal. Then, on December 26, 2004, he disclosed the lifelong secret to his family.
It was at that point, Boltz recounts, “I accepted my sexuality and who I was.” It was also the point where his marriage crumbled. Within a year, he and his wife separated; three years later they divorced.
Boltz eventually moved to Florida where, he says, he could be himself, free to date and live a “normal gay life.” “If this is the way God made me,” Boltz reflects, “then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be. . . . I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
Common to Chely Wright, Ray Boltz, and gay advocates, in general, is the belief that our desires are fundamental to our essence, part of our God-wiring, as it were. Since that is the way God created us, they reason, satisfying our desires is not only not sinful, but sanctified.
The truth is another matter... Continue reading here.
Continue reading here.