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First Fruits: The Giving of the Harvest
As 2005 became 2006, I came to a sudden realization: I have been reading Whosoever for close to ten years now, and making a contribution every issue now for seven years. It never ceases to amaze me how time flies, as it seems like only a couple of years ago that I was blessed with finding this safe haven for LGBT Christians in cyberspace, as well as blessed with the opportunity to share my faith from a unique perspective, and most importantly, blessed with the joy that can only come from giving.
I recall vividly how I found Whosoever. I had recently found God and Christ, and had joined a liberal church after many years of no real sense of spirituality at all. Even though the denomination I am a member of was "Open and Affirming," there was not much talk about what I knew I was, a bisexual man; the "B" word was very rarely mentioned or talked about. I had only recently come out as bisexual at the time, although I knew I had been bisexual my entire life. I was finding few people at the time who understood. I ended up leaving that church (due to a relocation to a new city for work) and finding a new one, which was also Open and Affirming. However, once again, there seemed to be little talk of the "B" (or for that matter, the "T") in LGBT.
I was going through a difficult time, struggling with issues of both spirituality and sexuality, and praying and searching for acceptance and support, I remember being online and thinking about Matthew 7:7, "search, and you will find." I typed in the search terms "Christian" and "Bisexual," and the first thing that came up at that time was this website, and an article called, The Holy Leper And The Bisexual Christian written by someone whose name I had seen in a collection of writings from people in the Bisexual community before. I was shocked. I was not the only one, after all! The other link that came up was the link for the Whosoever Main Page, and it advertised an "online news journal for gay, lesbian and bisexual Christians."
Now, I had seen Christian websites which were Gay and Lesbian friendly, but Whosoever was one of the few that was not afraid of being inclusive of the "B" and "T" in "LGBT," and openly, unashamedly and non-judgmentally represented Bisexual and Transgender Christians as well. I decided to investigate further, and was able to find a few articles written by people who had experienced the same struggles that I had and who had come to terms with who they were and with God. I was particularly moved by several testimonies and I was a faithful reader of Whosoever for a long time without actually writing.
One day I happened across the "topics" page and I saw the sentence: "Wouldn't it be great to see an article that focuses on God's saving grace for bisexual persons that is aimed directly at them and not mention as a side note in a paragraph written for and directed primarily at gays and lesbians?" and suddenly, after agreeing wholeheartedly with that sentiment (while there were some writings by bisexuals or specifically addressing bisexuality at the time, I did not find many), a thought occurred to me: Here was an opportunity for me to share, and reach out to others who were in need who may have dealt with some of the issues that I did. It was a way of showing my thanks for all of the blessings God had given me, and in doing something I love to do and have a passion for: writing.
I had been doing some writing and sharing about my faith in God and my understandings of Christ and Christianity at that time for the new church I was attending, but had shied away from talking about my unique perspective of what it is like to be both a bisexual and Christian, as well as some of my thoughts and feelings about that and what bisexuality and Christianity were to me. There was a lot I wanted to share, but most of all I wanted to write about how I had applied Biblical concepts and spiritual ideas to my own life and found hope and inspiration in the Bible where others had found rejection, condemnation, and fear. I felt safe writing and sharing here and made my first contribution to Whosoever for the first issue of 1999, When Hope Is Hard To Find. That was seven years ago, and I have tried my best to do at least a little something every time. I was, and still am very grateful for the opportunity to share. The next day, I recall looking at the site to read all of the other new articles as well.
One of the issues I had been struggling with and praying about at that time in my life was the fact that bisexuality for me means that I feel the need for and have two intimate relationships in my life, with both a female partner and a male partner, and I had been told consistently by others that this was not acceptable. I understood why those with more conservative and traditional views and beliefs would feel that way, but in my heart, I felt and believed that it was not wrong, so long as everything was honest and everyone in the relationship was agreeable to this and it was entered into reverently and with equal respect for everyone involved - as it is in our case. I had been hoping and praying that maybe there was someone else out there who had dealt with similar feelings and issues and had found a way to reconcile it. I had seen a few things written by others on message boards, and these were helpful to an extent, but I was still praying for some kind of reassurance, some other person who understood how I felt.
The very same issue that my first article ran in, entitled "Hope," there was an article called Room To Grow which was written by another bisexual person who had dealt with the same issues I had, and had been blessed with a sense of self acceptance, a knowledge of being loved and accepted by God, and with a successful loving marriage to both an opposite and same gender partner. To read another's testimony that was so similar to what I had struggled with and that God had helped them through it and helped them find their way literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. Not only was someone willing to share their story so openly, and a story which spoke to the things I had been dealing with, but here was an LGBT Christian Community in Whosoever which was willing to be open to varying points of view and that was inclusive of another bisexual like me. I will never, ever forget that as it was an answer to many nights of long prayer and the "mustard seed" that really drove the point home, and made me think that maybe no matter how different I was, God loved me just the same and was not ever going to give up on me, no matter if anyone else tried to create the illusion that I was unacceptable to God or unworthy of God's Love.
I found myself filled with an ongoing sense of gratitude for what I had found which carries on today. Since then, there has been an abundance of blessings that contributing and reading Whosoever has brought into my life. There were a few columns in the Seeds of Hope section, some of which were answers to prayers of my own. I met other bisexual Christians who understood how I felt and who also were faithful to two partners, and who shared their stories with me personally, and gave me hope, encouragement and support. I found other online resources for those bisexual and Christian and who were in successful relationships similar to mine. And of course, with each issue, there were all of the testimonials from other LGBT and a few heterosexual but LGBT friendly Christians, all with varying points of view that have given me food for spiritual thought in each issue.
I have received letters from people saying "thank you" for sharing my story and my thoughts, because it gave them hope - and I think that is worth more to me than anything - not for any type of personal satisfaction, but knowing that sharing part of my journey, no matter how few may actually share the same path, has given hope to someone else and given them that "mustard seed" that they need to carry on in their faith. Just to know someone might be suddenly made aware that God Loves them just as they are and has a plan for them, and they can feel hope, touches me.
I admit, sometimes I feel a bit like the "odd man out" when I write and share because while I feel there are more than a few who may share some of my less radical spiritual ideas and concepts not directly related to reconciling being both bisexual and Christian, I don't know for sure if there are a great many bisexual Christians out there reading, let alone those who are in non-traditional forms of relationships or marriages or who can relate to my perspective. I am not out to try to assert that what I have found to be true in my own life need be truth for anyone who does not wish it to be. The only Truth which I feel to be Universal is that God is Real, God is Love, and that God was alive in Christ and still is alive in His Spirit that dwells in the heart of all those who are open to it. I'm not doing this to change anyone's mind about how my own partners and I live our own lives, but to offer hope to those like me who want nothing more than to know that maybe, just maybe - that mustard seed of faith is real and there, that God loves them just as they are and there is a way.
Perhaps the one thing which I felt touched me more than anything at all, however, was just recently. I was looking at the page of quotes of "What People Are Saying About Whosoever" and ran across this one:
I don't know for certain if it was anything at all related to anything I have ever written from a bisexual perspective that gave this person hope, and it doesn't matter who or exactly what it was that did. But that comment brought everything back to me about the joy I felt when I first discovered, contributed to, and felt welcomed by the online ministry of Whosoever.
I think back to the times many years ago when I could not seem to find hope. I think back to times when I too felt suicidal and unacceptable to God, thinking I had to choose sexual orientation, and then thinking I had to choose between one of two of my partners when I didn't. The only choice I needed to make was the choice to have faith and to seek the best I could to live the truth of who God made me to be in a way in which was respectful of others trying to do the same. And I think of how grateful I am for all God has done in my life to let me know that I have a place and a purpose, no matter how unacceptable who I am may seem to some people in this world and all I want to do is pass that hope on to someone who might be in need of it.
I think about how, over time, I have grown in my faith and grown spiritually, and how much both reading and writing for Whosoever has assisted in that. I feel so blessed and grateful that I did that first Internet search close to ten years ago now, that I decided to answer the call for contributions, and that I continue to use the gift God gave me to express myself to possibly reach out and offer a possible "mustard seed" of faith to others or make them open to the possibility that God is there for them if they only believe. Even if just one person finds life a little better because of something I shared that made them aware that God Loves them Unconditionally as they are, to feel that God used something I shared to speak to someone else in need - that is the greatest blessing I think I could ever know.
What I think is most wonderful of all about Whosoever is that this is truly is a place where all of us, however diverse in thought we may be who identify as LGBT and Christian can share our journeys, our stories of faith, our personal beliefs, understandings and ideas about God without fear of judgment and learn from one another, agreeing that no matter what our individual beliefs may be that God is Love and that Christ spoke for God, and agreeing to disagree on the particulars where need be.
God gave me a gift not only to know myself, but to express myself, which I am very grateful for. When I contribute, it is about showing my gratitude that all God has done for me by passing on that love to others who were where I found myself at one point and who might need it. It was through Whosoever that Hope was restored to me at a time when I felt hopeless through the sharing of others, and I want to offer that back to others whenever and however I can if I can.
I realize and understand that my perspective is a unique, perhaps even a controversial one to some but if I have reached out to just one person who felt as lonely and afraid as I once did and given them hope and the openness to the possibility that God Loves them as they are and is there for them, then that is the greatest gift of all to me as it meant the world to me when I received it.
Writing for Whosoever is truly a labor of love for me, and a small part of my giving thanks to God for such a wonderful, inclusive and accepting ministry - one where I feel truly accepted and not merely "tolerated." It is a blessing and an opportunity I remain constantly and eternally grateful for. The privilege, opportunity and gift to share my faith from my unique, possibly controversial, and different perspective in such a loving, non judgmental environment as this, is one of the greatest gifts and blessings in my life and truly an answered prayer.
No matter how small or miniscule the number of people who may share my perspective is, if it makes a difference to just one person who struggled the way I did, then it means a lot to me to know I have reached out to and somehow helped someone in need, made just one person feel accepted and loved by the Majesty and Mystery that is God. And perhaps even provided them with similar "mustard seeds" of faith that in time will blossom and extend branches of hope to others in need of them, whoever they are and wherever they are in their journey of faith.
Copyright © by the author