Sex in America: A Conversation with Suzy Spencer on Sex, Religion, Honesty, and Connection
Having said that, my entire family doesn't know yet—people I mentioned in the book. And I may face condemnation and rejection from them when they do know. But I hope even that will be easier because I will know and will no longer be living in fearful limbo. Fearful limbo—is that the Southern Baptist version of Purgatory?
So is that the lesson that we can carry into society? That the truth will set us free? I think so, whether it's the truth or The Truth. Either way, in this day and age of the internet, text messages, and video cameras everywhere, there are no secrets. It all comes out some time, some way, some day. And I guess that's what I wish society would learn—one might as well live a life of honest truth, because, eventually, the truth—be it good or bad—will be revealed.
That's a religious teaching we cling to as well; for better or worse, our choices will some day stand in the light and we'll have to account for them. In the writing of the book and in becoming more than just an observer to your topic, I noticed that you were constantly reflecting on your faith. Where do you find yourself now in the way you think about your faith? Where do you find yourself on moral issues like sexuality? What does Jesus think about your book?
Recently, I watched an Anne Rice video about what she believes. As I'm sure you know, for decades she was an agnostic or atheist. Then for several years she returned to her Catholic faith and wrote a couple of novels about Jesus. Then she forsook Christianity, but not Jesus (if I recall correctly). Now she has pretty much forsaken Jesus and simply believes in a higher power, but what form or name it takes, she's not sure.
All of that is a way of saying that in the video Anne stated that she believes you're either born to believe or not, and there's no changing that, no matter what. To some degree, I tend to agree with that statement, because there are days that I don't want to believe—Jesus doesn't make sense to me, the Bible doesn't make sense to me. My life would be so much easier if I didn't believe, because it seems to me that if you're at either end of the belief spectrum—devoted non-believer or rightwing believer—life is easier. It's black and white and you don't have to make decisions. You just believe (fill in the blank) or you don't.
But I seem to fall into the middle. (Does that mean I'm lukewarm and God wants to spew me out of His mouth?)
So as much I don't want to believe, I can't. It's who I am. It's what I am. For better or for worse, I am a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. I'm sure I disappoint Him every day, but I pray that I make Him happy in my trying . . . trying to teach and live in love and tolerance, to show grace and mercy. And to me, that's what Jesus and belief is all about.
I may be wrong, but I won't fully know until I get to heaven.
And because I don't fully know, I don't know what Jesus thinks about Secret Sex Lives. But as much as I've prayed over it, I still pray that I wrote the words He wanted me to write.
In regard to sexuality, my beliefs are constantly evolving. But I go back to the very first true crime book I wrote, Wasted. Wasted was about the murder of a lesbian. And while I was interviewing one of the best friends of the murder victim—a gay young man—and while tears of grief were pouring down his cheeks, I asked him how he coped. He said, "The love of Jesus Christ." Right then, I thought, how in the world can Jesus reject someone who loves Him so much just because of the gender he sleeps with? I couldn't fathom that Jesus could—at least not my Jesus. And right then is when I changed my attitude about homosexuality.
Greg Garrett is (according to BBC Radio) one of America's leading voices on religion and culture. He is the author or co-author of over twenty books of fiction, theology, cultural criticism, and spiritual autobiography. His most recent books are The Prodigal, written with the legendary Brennan Manning, Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century. A contributor to Patheos since 2010, Greg also writes for the Huffington Post, Salon.com, OnFaith, The Tablet, Reform, and other web and print publications in the US and UK.