Meet My Same-Sex Attracted, Evangelical Christian, Seminary Student Friend
This week’s post is a guest entry from my friend Stephen Moss, an evangelical Christian who experiences same-sex attraction, and whom I have come to admire greatly for his conviction and courage. Stephen currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a recent graduate of the MDiv program at Covenant Theological Seminary. More about Stephen can be found at his blog or on twitter. Stephen would also welcome direct communication at firstname.lastname@example.org for those who wish to learn more about his story, part of which is posted below. Enjoy.
FROM STEPHEN MOSS:
What does it mean to know someone—to truly known him? Certainly it’s more than knowing a collection of facts about a person, but it’s certainly not anything less.
If you know me, you probably already know the basics: I grew up in Panama City Beach, Florida, the only child of two parents who love Jesus. I grew up attending school and church in the same building, and my faith has always played a central role in my life. I majored in journalism at Samford University in Birmingham, and after college, I served on campus ministry staff with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I’m currently a student at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, pursuing a call to full-time ministry. When I have free time, you can usually find me writing in a coffee shop, hiking the nearest mountain (no easy feat in Missouri), or following my Florida State Seminoles (ditto).
That’s the short biography—facts you could probably gather from a glance at my facebook page—but as I’m sure you could say for yourself, there’s a lot more to who you are than could ever fit in a blog post. Knowing facts about someone doesn’t mean you know him. However, for much of my life, being known—truly known—is exactly what I wanted to avoid. For me, the basic facts were safe. It’s what lay under the surface that seemed way too messy to share.
You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been same-sex attracted.
What does that mean? Again, like what it means to know me, it means a whole lot more than I could possibly fit into one blog post…but I will try.
First of all, and maybe most obviously, it means I’ve always been more attracted to guys than I have been to girls. It should go without saying that I didn’t choose this. There was never a point of decision for me, but rather, it was a slow process of realization.
I believe, as I always have, that the marriage covenant, as instituted by God, is designed for one man and one woman. The Bible is clear that sex is a gift reserved exclusively for covenant marriage. Thus, it is my firm conviction that there are only two options for me to honor God with my sexuality: I can either marry a woman, or I can remain single and celibate. Either way, single or married, I will need strong friendships and intentional, Christ-centered community. Either way, I know God has a perfect plan.
This isn’t my first time sharing this part of my story. That’s been a long process too. The first person I ever told was my RUF campus minister during my senior year. As I began to process what all this meant for me, his compassion and encouragement were so important in keeping my eyes fixed on my Savior. In the years that followed that first conversation, I’ve been able to share this with a growing number of friends and family…personal conversations, whether in coffee shops or living rooms, that have each brought me great encouragement.
So why have I decided to share something so personal and potentially confusing here, in such a public setting?
You see, I’ve grown up wearing a mask. You probably did too. We all have parts of our stories that have brought us shame. We all have things that we try to hide. For me, my mask hid the fact that I was attracted to other guys. It was a mask I crafted carefully, and I guarded it obsessively. For years, my deepest fear was that someone might discover the secret that lay behind that mask and my life would be over. Yes, I was loved–loved deeply, loved well–but I could never really believe it. “Surely they just love my mask,” I told myself. “If they knew the real me, it’d be a whole different story.”
The terrible lie I had believed–that my family and friends wouldn’t love me if they really knew me–was sinister enough, but far worse, I started to believe the same thing about Jesus. See, I believed that homosexuality was one of the worst and wickedest of all sins. I knew Jesus had died to save me, but how could Jesus really love me if this was what I struggled with?
So this is why I’m sharing my story: Jesus has done some crazy awesome things in my life, and I want to be able to talk about them. He’s given me this story; who am I to hide it under a bushel? I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do have a story to tell. It’s a story of a Christian kid growing up in the Church, a kid who’s too scared to talk about what’s really going on, a kid who believes deep down that no one could ever love him. It’s a story that’s far more common than you may think.
God has been so gracious to me. He has provided me with loving, encouraging friends, a wonderful family, and a seminary community that reminds me every day that Jesus loves me. He has called me into full-time ministry, and my heart and passion is to share the good news of Jesus with college students, especially those students who believe that no one could really love them…least of all God.
Jesus is Lord, my friends. There is nothing in this world which he does not declare, “Mine!” He calls us to follow him with every part of our being, and that includes our sexuality. Jesus is Lord. That may be hard for us to hear sometimes, but here’s the thing about our Lord: He’s good. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “All who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The old hymn “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” has been particularly meaningful to me in the past few years, especially the last lines of the last verse. “I came to Jesus, and I found | in Him my Star, my Sun | and in that light of life I’ll walk | ’til pilgrim days are done.”
These are indeed pilgrim days. The journey may be long and incredibly difficult, but he gives rest. I may be weak, but “a bruised reed he will not break.” I don’t necessarily know where I’m going, but I know who I’m following. Because of Jesus, I don’t have to be ashamed to tell my story. In fact, because of Jesus, I can share my own story of redemption, one small story in the grand Story of Scripture, the story of Christ redeeming his Church and his Creation. Walking in this light of life, I can find healing in the community of believers, and I can be a part of other’s healing as we walk together.
Mine is a story of brokenness, redemption, and ongoing repentance. Really, it’s a story that’s more about Jesus than it’s about me.
Grace and peace.