My Story – Part Five: Coming Out Poly, Queer and Kinky

 

Throughout the summer, I’ll be posting how I learned to be the most authentic version of me while holding onto my Christian faith. Six posts: how I came out as queer, polyamorous, and kinky. I started with Part One: Coming Out Queer. I suggest you read that first.

When I embraced my sexual side: with my friends with benefits and in my open relationship, I felt like I started a new life. I was still me: someone that wanted to pet every furry creature she saw, and prayed out loud when hiking. I still daydreamed constantly, worried my curly hair looked goofy, wrote ridiculously long emails to loved ones, and sang out loud without noticing. But I was self-aware in new ways. To put it bluntly, sex caused me to grow up. I learned what kinds of help and harm, love and selfishness I was capable of.

I questioned whether this new me could still be a Christian. I questioned whether I needed to choose. I grew up believing that only my future husband deserved to experience my body and that was the only sexual relationship God would approve of. So even when I grew closer and more in love with David, in part because of our sexual closeness, I worried that I was displeasing God because we weren’t married.

The same doubt flooded each experience and relationship I had. Online dating brought a whole new realm of excitement, and at times I was mostly motivated by lust.  When I realized I didn’t always respect the people I was flirting with or even sleeping with, my actions became ammunition telling me the lifestyle I was immersing myself in was not nearly as spiritually healthy as a celibate or monogamous one.

Then there were moments like I had with J, a female friend I occasionally slept with. After one of our first sexual encounters, we texted each other saying how healing it had been. Neither of us can describe the healing except to say that sex with a woman was nurturing in a different way than sex with a man. All healing, all love, is in some way tied to God to me.

A few years ago, I had a dream. I was wandering around a large parking garage when I came across a bus and inside an orgy was happening. Beautiful naked bodies pressing sensually against each other. I wanted to join in but something told me I needed continue on. I wound up in the sanctuary of the church I had attended as a kid. In the middle of the room were two women who had been like grandmothers to me and have long since passed away. They were shining, their small still elderly looking bodies illuminated, and they were smiling. Together they told me God loved me as I am, and with those words a huge weight lifted from me. I felt exuberant. And I ran back to join the orgy.

What I most search for is peace that as I travel a path that feels authentic to me, that God still loves me and is proud of me. As I continue to pray and keep the line of communication I have with God open, I’ve learned to believe whole-heartedly that God loves me and is proud of me, but I don’t believe I’m doing everything right. I don’t believe I’m the best person I can be. So I have a reason to keep searching for God’s answers.

I believe in a faith that requires consistent humility and willingness to change. I believe that I need to spend more time listening for God. I do this through meditation and reading. I’m trying for more solitude. I’m asking God more questions when I journal, when I’m praying while driving or walking along the lake at night. I believe in resting in the mystery of what I don’t know and only believing that the mystery is loving. In his book Lever and a Place to Stand, A: The Contemplative Stance, the Active Prayer, Richard Rohr writes:

Alongside all our knowing, accompanying every bit of our knowing, must be the humble “knowing that we do not know.” That’s why the great tradition of prayer was balanced by both the cataphatic, knowing through images and words, and the apophatic, knowing through silence, beyond words; knowing by the empty spaces around the words; knowing by allowing God to fill in all the gaps in an “unspeakable” way. This latter, more mystical way was almost lost in the West after the dualistic conflicts of the Reformation and the headiness of the Enlightenment. It became impossible afterward to have any appreciation for the freedom of not knowing and the spaciousness of not even needing to know! We needed to be certain about everything, because now there were enemies on all sides. Strangely enough, this unknowing is a new kind of knowing. We have a word for it: faith, a kind of knowing that doesn’t need to know and yet doesn’t dismiss either, a kind of knowing that doesn’t need to hold everything itself because at a deeper level it knows it is being held. 

“I know that I am held by a God that not only understands but fashioned this crazy mind that dreams of going to church then joining orgies. I am held by something so much bigger than me and any belief I’ve ever been taught. I know that I am loved.

This doesn’t mean, however, that trusting in the not knowing is sufficient. I still care about the theology that makes sense of non-monogamy and kink and queerness. And I’ve found it in bits and pieces. The theology is heady and not a part of my coming out story. It’s important to me to not have to provide an intellectually sound answer for who I am, because this kind of logic can always be debated. It’s most important in these personal posts to share that my peace comes through the Spirit.

Continue to the next post in the series

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