It has definitely been a while since I posted.  Life has been very crazy, to say the least.  I will have to take a couple of posts to get updated.  The big things are that I have a new job and have moved out of my former home.  But today’s post will focus on the backlash that I have experienced in coming out over the past month.

The end of December and beginning of January was a roller coaster of negative backlash in my life.  For a while, it seemed like every day brought a new negative response from people in my life.  It was a VERY emotional time for me as I dealt with the pain of tons of anger and rejection.

The backlash began with a friend stabbing me in the back.  I won’t go into the details here but suffice it to say, this friend was upset with some of the decisions I was making with my life.  The ensuing fallout with the friend got very ugly and even spilled over into the new church I am leading.  The wounds of a friend cut deep, to be sure.

Additionally, my former boss (senior pastor) found out about the truth of my new life much faster than I had planned.  His response was typical of conservative Evangelicalism and I am pretty sure by my phone call with him that I am now considered to be the spawn of Satan.  While I would love to repeat some of the things said to me for shock value, I will choose not to do so in this forum.  I will say, though, that I am very glad to be out of conservative Evangelicalism and will never look back after what I have experienced in the past couple of months!

Finally, I have experienced a great deal of backlash from my kids.  At the moment, none of my kids want to see me nor are any of them speaking to me.  This, by far, has been the most painful thing that has happened in the past month.  Though my marriage has really been over for a year, the fact that I am already in a relationship even though my divorce is not final has not gone over well with my kids.  Ultimately, I understand their feelings and know that there is no way that they can walk even for a minute in my shoes.  So I just have to be patient with their process.  I miss them like crazy and hope that they will be able to forgive me someday.

It feels like I have lost a lot in this process.  I know there are probably still some relationships that will be lost as the news of my coming out touches more and more people.  Though there has been a lot of backlash and pain in the loss, I am positive that I have done the right thing by being honest about who I am.  Change couldn’t possibly happen without backlash and pain.  But on the other side of things, I am now happy and content.  Hopefully over the next year, things will calm down and I will be able to rebuild the trust and love that I once had with my kids.  And I imagine that I will find out who my real friends are in this process.  But in the process, I am boldly taking one step forward at a time…knowing that my happiness and destiny are now beginning to come to fruition.

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Comments
  1. Sean says:

    My heart really goes out to you right now. Having been born an raised in conservative Evangelicalism myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to come out as a pastor.

    Reading this also terrifies me. Is this what I’m headed for no matter what I do?

    I’m praying for you man. Hang in there.

  2. Ron says:

    I was Holiness for the first 20 years of my life, then Evangelical for 20. Uhh, I’m now 60 so that leaves out a few years. 🙂 I’m ordained in the UMC. I decided to get another job for which I am professionally qualified in 2010. Sadly, the UMC dropped me immediately. They don’t even know that I’m gay! I’ve had a soft landing so I don’t have much to say except – be a non anxious presence for your kids. I think they may come around. Mine think that I’m Superman — and I have 11 of them 🙂

    Ron Spirit11@verizon.net

  3. buddy bear says:

    A very brave post in the face of such difficulties! I hope that your children will eventually come back into your life. Your former church is like poison in your life and you are better to be away from it, despite the enormous cost.

    Your experience is such a contrast to my coming-out one year ago in LGBT – friendly Canada, at least in my social circle. My gayness was accepted fully, and in some circles celebrated by everyone. This includes my three teenage children, parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues, all of our friends (including my my wife’s friends), my mother-in-law and all of my wife’s relatives. All of them are highly supportive if me and of my family.

    Even my wife has accepted that I didn’t know I was gay when I got married and is treating me with concern and respect. I hope and pray that “things will get better” for you too!

    • Paul says:

      Change is sure a catalyst for strong reactions. Sorry to hear about the backlash you have gone through – church, friends and family. It is tough about the kids.

      I got into a relationship as I separated with my wife and surprisingly I have experienced much acceptance despite my evangelical background. But, after over 2 years, one of my kids has not come around. At least I was able to talk with him a bit at his sister’s wedding a few months ago. The best advice I can give is not to worry about it and move forward.

  4. Bill says:

    My prayers continue to be with you. Unfortunately the history of the church is filled more with condemnation than grace, starting with the Pharisees…. but it still always surprises us! Remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God (Rm 8). The level of backlash reveals more about the giver than about you.

    As to your kids, do your best to be honorable towards your wife, and then respond with gratitude to any overture they make to you and let every rebuff fall away (“shake the dust off your feet” might mean don’t let the rejection wound your heart). Time doesn’t automatically heal everything, but is often necessary to get perspective.

    May times of worship in your new church bring healing and hope. May the taking of the Bread and Wine be strength for your soul. May you find Shalom

  5. John Thomas says:

    I have been reading your blog for sometime now and it seems that we followed similar paths. In my attempt to “deny the flesh”, I too studied the ministry for a major evangelical denomination at one of their universities. I spent 7 years as a youth pastor before I started to realize I couldn’t do it. I disagreed with their judgementalism and the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude; but most of all, I couldnt’ continue living this lie. I left the ministry, my marriage failed a few years later.
    The backlash that I experienced was inflicted by my ex-wife. She felt she had to tell EVERYONE in our small town exactly why I left the marriage; so I was outed everywhere… the workplace, community organizations, the church, and stores. People who I thought were my friends, avoided me. Things got to the point where I transferred my job to a nearby town and moved there. Nobody here knows me in my “former life” so there arent the appalled glances when I’m shopping with a friend (romantic or otherwise). My kids are teenagers, so they seem to be ok with the reasons for the divorce and they have actually liked the one boyfriend I’ve had thus far. **They were even sad when we broke up**

    I don’t know if your ex will be as spitefull as mine was, but be prepared.

  6. Pomo says:

    Was the friend who stabbed you in the back someone we both know?

    Were you able to finish your severance with the church?

    I never trust Evangelicals to be true to their word or be rational. A sad reality that they create for themselves.

    I’m sorry it hurts. You will move on though. I think you’re already seeing that. Someday most of those people (minus your family) won’t matter anymore. As for your family, we can only pray that they eventually come to terms with this.

  7. Dan Sloan says:

    I feel your pain. My experience with conservative Evangelicalism wasn’t as deep as yours; I was just a student at Azusa Pacific. Still, once I came out, I went through the same experience you did. Lots of rejection from people I loved unconditionally. Mean, hurtful things said “in love”. Even phone calls and books from “ex gay” groups. I felt like I had disappointed the people I loved, and, ultimately God. I carried a lot of guilt in my early 20s, but time (and God) heals wounds.

    Hang in there. There are lots of people holding you in prayer. You aren’t alone.

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