I’ve mentioned before that I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I’ve also mentioned that I was from a fairly small town with strong Catholic roots. My Christian upbringing revolved entirely around the efforts of my mother. My dad went to church only for weddings and funerals…and he often skipped the wedding ceremonies themselves but attended the receptions. Mom went to Mass every Sunday. She has, for the last 10 years or so (since before my coming out), been very heavily involved in the church.
The Catholic Church is changing – slowly to be sure – but it is changing. During my upbringing however, the biggest (and only) change was allowing parishioners the ability to “come as you are” to church. In other words, we could wear jeans. What a scandal! Divorce was completely taboo. Gay was a word that meant “happy”. Now, the church still frowns on divorce, but the way it handles it has changed. Divorcees are welcome to services but cannot partake of the sacraments. We’ve all heard a great deal about gay scandals involving Catholic priests and also about dialogues within the church regarding homosexuality and LGBT related issues.
When I realized that I was a lesbian, having had such a religious upbringing, I was very tortured. I was actively involved in our Lutheran Church. I was married to a fine man. I had (have) a wonderful son. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the facts of who I really was. I tried very hard to be the good wife and mother. My husband, God bless him, saw right through me. He let me fight my feelings out within myself for a while but then one evening he sat me down and he laid out his thoughts. We decided then that our best course of action would be to divorce. He wanted and deserved a wife who wanted to be all of the things that a wife should be. Though I did love him, I couldn’t give him all that he needed.
The rest of my story has been mentioned in bits and pieces in my posts of the last month or so. I pursued a lesbian lifestyle. I’ve dated women. I’ve settled down with a woman and we’re now legally married (not in our own state, but, I digress). After much soul-searching, I’ve left the church. As I’ve previously mentioned though, I haven’t left God, just organized religion. Will I find my way back to the church? Possibly but I can say, without doubt, that it won’t be the church of my youth or the church of my first marriage. I’ve undergone a major shift in thinking. Those churches, for the most part, have not.
Christopher Yuan chose a different path. The book he and his mother Angela Yuan wrote together, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope., details his journey from a very sexual homosexual lifestyle to a life focused on Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and his mother’s journey to reach out to, understand and accept her son. Chris is still gay. He’s realized that he can’t change his true nature, but he has made a conscious decision to remain celibate and live a Christian life as he perceives Christianity for himself.
This is an uplifting story of hope and forgiveness for those who are struggling and who are trying to choose. I, personally, chose differently but I found value here nonetheless. Parents especially will find hope for their gay and lesbian children within the covers of the book.