Reclaiming God, Reclaiming Ourselves

“We’re very clear in our teaching. We believe every single person born on this planet is created by God out of love . . . in the image and likeness of the Holy One. And so our struggle to understand and accept gay people is a human problem, not some flaw or error in God’s creation. ”

Dr. Chris Michaels, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living-Kansas City

When I was a little kid, I was totally into God, but it was made clear to me that God would never be into me. When I got that it didn’t matter how I lived, I was doomed because of who I was, religion lost its grip on me. I got a bit blasphemous. I loved turning Christianity’s words against the espousals of its adherents. Turns out saying stuff like, “We are all made in God’s image, therefore we must all be divine,” not only felt deliciously scandalous, it took root in my consciousness and became my new belief system when I wasn’t looking.

I did not know that I was gay back in high school. Even though there was nothing and no one in my environment talking about homosexuality out loud, I can remember a couple of things that popped up through “the sleep and the forgetting” of my childhood. Once in junior high, I called a boy a “fairy.” I have no idea how that word came to me; I have no idea how I knew it was bad. I had no idea what it meant. But there it was–that word and not some other. Even younger I remember seeing two high school girls blazing anger at each other at a ball game and I knew that the intensity of that exchange revealed a relationship that went beyond simple friendship. We know without knowing.

We have always had ways of finding each other. I remember going to the Art Institute in Chicago to see the Gauguin exhibit in my early 20’s. A girl of about 10 was at the sink when I came out of my stall. I recognized her right away. My friend said something to me as she exited her stall. The girl glanced up in the mirror and saw her. Then she looked over at me, then back again to my friend. Then she nodded her head in confirmation of her own knowing, already aware of her place in the secret club.

Dr. Chris’s quote above introduced a guest speaker that Sunday who talked about being gay and knowing it from a young age. It was only later, in junior high or high school that she got that what she felt made her different from most of her peers. Fear and shame took hold, leading her to pray to God to “change her heart.” And that is exactly what happened. She woke the next morning knowing that she was exactly who she was supposed to be, and that was fabulous.

Now that is an answer to a prayer. I am claiming it for myself. I’m claiming it for everyone who wishes they could believe it. We are exactly who we are supposed to be, and we are needed here, as is. It is time to abolish the secret club and make our home in the whole wide world. It is time to stand up and celebrate life, love, community — a world where every one of us living in it knows without a doubt that we are at home wherever we are, that we are deeply loved, and that we are beautiful. This is a God I am grateful to have met.

Contributed by Jamie Mayo

Originally published in the blog Holy Shit: Growing a Life,, on 13 July 201 4

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