…I wrote that book when I was in my mid-twenties. Like a lot of people that age, I was wrestling with strong emotions and grappling with deep hopes and fears about the future. My greatest fear was waking up one day in my 60s or 70s, in an apartment by myself, having lived a deeply isolated adult life, without family and people with whom I could make a “home.” Much of that angst has subsided now that I’m in my early 30s, so if I were rewriting Washed and Waiting today, I’d be tempted to write more of an “It gets better” message for young gay Christians.
But part of me is glad that I don’t have the opportunity to rewrite it, because I think there’s value in recording those moments of pain and anguish. People have told me the book idealizes marriage—that marriage, in real life, is far less glamorous and fulfilling than my twenty-something self portrayed it in the book—and I’m sure that’s true. But, again, part of me is glad I wrote the way I did because I think one of the things the book does is show the evangelical church some of the consequences of an idolatry of marriage. I hope the book shows the church how hard it can be for a young gay person to hear all the evangelical praise of marriage and family and then, sadly, realize that if they’re going to be faithful to what the evangelical church asks of them in their sexual lives, they can’t have that.
Now, let me hasten to add that I want to say now to young gay Christians that they (we!) can find a home, we can find a family, in the church. We can love and be loved. But part of our challenge on the way to doing so is learning to reject the false promises of “home” and “family” to solve all of our fears of loneliness.