“I Was A Christian Mime. That’s Just F***ed.”

Letter of the day:

I’ve been loosely following you on Facebook posts for awhile now; I’m particularly drawn to what you have to say about being gay and Christian (and what a cluster-fuck the church has made of this issue). [Note: I never actually written the term cluster-fuck. I think. I hope. Oh, fuck it; I probably have: I, the Comfortably Cursing Christian.]

Today I started digging deeper into your blog, and reading more of your posts. I wanted you to know that I’m sitting in bed with my laptop, crying. I just read your post “Is the Devil Making Me Believe in a ‘Liberal’ God Who Isn’t the True God?” That post is the summation of my life so far. I had to reread this bit several times:

“I’d bet my house and everything in it that your problem isn’t that you’re torn between a harshly judgmental, condemning God and a loving, benevolent, forgiving God. I’d bet that you’re torn between a loving, forgiving God, and the single, illusionary entity in your mind that consists of a combination of your parents and the God they helped inculcate you with.”

I’m a gay believer who has been gay, ex-gay, then gay again. I come from a very messed-up Charismatic church background, with a deeply disturbing family life. I’m adopted. I’m 44. I’m alone. My parents don’t accept my homosexuality. My dad’s latest pronouncement to me was: “I will always love you, but I will never accept your homosexuality.” (Really, Dad? Way to be unconditional.) I’m in therapy, and have done a lot of work in that regard. But what I want to scream from my blazing hot tar rooftop is: I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED. PERIOD.

In all the work that I’m doing, I am AMAZED (and frankly, pissed) at how nauseatingly consistent the voices of my parents and my broken self-worth play on the 8-track of my mind. (I read your recent article about self-esteem and how you somehow were born with the ability to know when something was NOT YOUR FAULT. I must have missed that dose.) Although I’ve made many advances, lately I’ve felt disappointed and sad that I’m not further along and happier. But I think I just may be cutting off some seriously painfully arteries that link me to my past.

At any rate, I wanted you to know that I am a fan of you and your words. I love that you are a straight guy who ‘gets it.’ I appreciate the spirit and the heart behind your musings, and I’m encouraged today. I’m glad you have the balls to put this stuff out there; I know how nasty some close-minded Christians can be. Keep being fearless and a solid voice for people like me, who long for Truth and no-longer buy the frozen-dinner meatloaf that was served to us growing up.

Thank you for following your passion.


P.S. I was a Christian mime. That’s just fucked.

Dear Michael:

That is the greatest P.S. in the history of after-thoughts. I will be cracking up about that for the rest of my freakin’ life.

I’m totally sorry for all you’ve had to go through. I deeply admire you actually going through it; so many people, of course, pretend they’ve got no issues, that everything is fine, that life is good, that their parents were loving people who meant well — and not, in fact, demented emotional mutants you wouldn’t trust alone with a cute dog. But not you. You hurt; you say you hurt; and — and God bless you for this, my brother — you insist the blame for that shit lies with somebody else, and not you at all. And you’re perfectly right about that: your emotional suffering is somebody else’s fault, of course: Your dumbass parents. (If you missed it, please read my Unhappy? Reject Your Loser Parents.) Bravo to you for taking that truth by the horns and wrestling it to the ground, where it belongs. That’s how you win. That’s how you become better than anyone ever told you you could be. That’s how you make your own world: one in which it’s not just okay to be you, but kind of a drag to have to be anyone else.

And what a shameful freakin’ nightmare that Christianity wasn’t any more there for you than it was. If you’ve read much of my blog (and thanks for the kind words about it, btw), you know how often I hear from LGBTers about how Christianity has been unto their lives like lead boots to a swimmer. What a depressing, awful, ongoing indictment that is of a whole system of faith that’s supposed to be grounded in the richest, purest kind of love.


Sorry about that.

Thanks to people like you, and so many of the wonderful people who read and write on this blog, and the vast legions of folks out there who every single day go out into the world to fight the best possible fight, before too long Christianity will be something that doesn’t make Christ shake his head and wonder how what he did and stood for could have ever gotten so thoroughly kadoinked.

Thanks for the role you’ve played in helping us all heal. By sharing your pain as you have here, you’ve made it okay for us to feel our pain.

One step at a time, right? Thanks for reaching out to us as you take your next steps — and for helping steady us as we, joining you, take ours.

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  • What a depressing, awful, ongoing indictment that is of a whole system of faith that’s supposed to be grounded in the richest, purest kind of love.

    Indeed. What a mess. John, have you seen Albert Mohler’s recent post on “clobber verses”? Sad.

  • melissa

    Dear Michael,

    You are so wonderful. Thank you for writing this letter. Michael, you were adopted once, so how about being adopted twice. My husband and I are childless, and at the age to be grandparents. We would love to take you in and love you like our own. You are beautifully and wonderfully made and deserve to be loved just as you are. Please let these words be healing to you. You can find me on fb melissa striegel Chamberlin. Friend me and get some loving. I will jump aboard your support system.

    In His pure love, the love that you are created in and belong, no change necessary.


  • “P.S. I was a Christian Mime. That’s just fucked.”

    It doesn’t get any more honest and real and perfectly said than that.

    I loved your letter, Michael, and I love you. Period. As do a host of other people out there whom you have never met, but who love you just because and because they can identify with your pain and your story and the fucked-upness of it all. And I love John for giving you space here so that we can all hear your voice and you can tell your story….. because…..there’s healing in that.

    The maps we were given as a child often don’t match the ground we tread as adults and we have to choose to either keep trudging forward getting more deeply lost or stop and ask for new directions. John’s page is a lovely rock cairn on the journey to a new way of seeing. Where a compassionate soul will find a gentle way of saying, “Darlin’, maybe if we turn this map right side up, and, yes, here’s one in your native tongue that might make more sense.”

    And John….this is the priceless, invaluable part of what you do. Taking dirty wretched lies by the shirt and kickin’ their ass so that the truth can set people free. I am humbled by that kind of ass-whooping.

    Thank you both for your boldness.

  • ps. Yes, Micheal, that is fucked. Loved your letter. Read the “reject your parents” post linked in John’s email.

    Is it wrong to wish more Christians would become Mimes?

  • Lee Walker


    from one gay, then ex-gay, then gay again, Christian performer to another… I can’t tell you how my heart soared out to you in every line you wrote. I don’t know John’s policy about including or suggesting helpful links here in the response section, but I’ll try anyway because you need them. They are literally life savers and I’m not exaggerating. (John, you can slap my hand later).

    www. canyonwalkerconnections.com — Kathy, who writes this blog, is another straight ally like John. She’s been gifted with enough love and compassion for all us gay Christians to go around the world a dozen times. (And she’ll adopt you, too!)

    http://www.gaychristian.net — over 15,000 gay christians from around the world are on this site, commenting, praying, encouraging and loving (and yeah, occasionally fighting too… bleh). They also host a big conference every year where you can meet hundreds of gay christians face to face in worship and seminars. It’s amazing.

    Grace and peace to you, brother!

  • Just becoming acquainted with your blog, via bookface. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far. But today you used the word “katoinked.” You have just achieved galactically heroic status. I fear I have become a fan.

    Mime on!!!


  • “Galactically heroic status.” Nice!! Thank you.

  • Wow. Wonderful. Thank you, Christy.

  • Superb.

  • Ric: No, I haven’t. I’ll go check out the Mohl man.

  • Ric: More Christian Mimes!!! I cannot possibly imagine a better … mime meme.

  • Mindy

    Michael, you are awesomeness, personified. I am a straight ally as well, wishing and hoping that the world will “get it,” sooner, rather than later. I’m in awe of your letter and several of the responses here, especially Christy’s – her map analogy will stick with me for a very long time. Hang in there – know that you are not ever alone.

  • Insomuch as Christ hasn’t yet seen fit to show back up and start loving on people, its up to Christians to do it for him. As usual, John, you make an excellent modern-day example of the way Jesus put his arms around the people who needed him and rejected the dogma of the Pharisees. Michael, thanks for the laugh-out-loud moments in your letter to John. You have a delightful way with words – and even through the laughter I can sense your pain and hurt. I hope you know just how very much you are loved, right now, forever and always. God loves you, perfectly and unconditionally. Accept that you ARE worthy of that perfect love as you learn to shut down those voices that try to convince you that you’re not. You are an amazing, creative, funny, smart and beloved child of God.

  • Allen

    Hang in there, Michael, you’re doing great! It’s like you’re Mary Richards, just moved to Minneapolis (she was originally escaping some personal demons, but they wrote that part out) and John Shore is your Rhoda Morgenstern/Lou Grant support system. Well, okay, it’s not much like that, except that you’re finding support and getting past some shitty stuff. I bet you could turn the world on with a smile.

    As a gay Christian, although I had a significantly easier time than you did as far as parents & church are concerned, I was floored once again by John’s ability to sum things up: “Bravo to you for taking that truth by the horns and wrestling it to the ground, where it belongs. That’s how you win. That’s how you become better than anyone ever told you you could be. That’s how you make your own world: one in which it’s not just okay to be you, but kind of a drag to have to be anyone else.”

    It’s not just okay to be you, Michael — that’s who God made, and it’s kind of a drag to have to be anyone else. There are lots and lots of people in this world who don’t have any problem with who you are, why hang around (mentally or physically) with people who hold so much judgement and disdain? (Hello, does your father know how lucky he is to have had a son? Hello??)

    love, prayers and good vibes (I live in San Francisco, good vibes are a local ordinance)


    p.s. Glad you’re no longer a mime and are finding your voice. And I am now thinking about the shades of difference between Christian Mime and Liturgical Dancer — there’s a good deal of overlap, and the latter is held in fairly high regard in some circles. It’s all in the packaging :.)

  • Kenton

    “Is it wrong to wish more Christians would become Mimes?”

    Now THAT is classic.

    Dear God-

    Please help me avoid using the retort “Have you ever thought about becoming a Christian Mime? The world needs more Christian Mimes.” in angered frustration.


  • Wow. I knew John was going to post my letter, but I didn’t expect to read so many thoughtful and loving replies. Thank you all. I think I may just need to choreograph a mime to express what I really feel.

    …. after I finish reading these posts. (Thanks, John).

  • This blows me away. I will look you up, Melissa.


  • Allen – thanks for your kindness. And believe me, I’ve done my share of liturgical dance too. Complete with streamers and silver lame’ flags.

  • Oh believe me, Christian mimes are EVERYWHERE. You just don’t hear much from them.

  • Debbie

    Freakin awesome story and freakin awesome reply!!! Just beautiful.

  • Thanks, John for reaching out and responding to my letter. I’m moved by the heartfelt responses – particularly Melissa’s offer to adopt me again. That blew me away. I’m tempted to find my make-up kit and put on white face so that I could perform for you all. But that would be fucked up.


  • Lili C

    Hi MIchael – I can’t add much to the lovely, eloquent resopnses others have shared here, but I wanted to add my love and support to the pile. I hope and pray that you will continue the brave journey you’ve been on until you are at peace within your own skin (minus the mime make-up – your PS made me chuckle out loud). I do hope that you will someday come to a place where you can love and accept your parents without buying into their damaging prejeudice, but unitl that time comes (and it may take a while) if you need to keep separate from them by all means do it. I’m really glad you found John’s blog, and I hope the support you find here helps you realize what a wonderful, precious child of God you are, just as you are, without changing a thing.

  • Robyn

    Damn! Dancing with streamers and silver lame’ flags? So the church is okay with THAT, and then turns around and condemns us for being GLBT? Duh! And just WHERE do they think the streamers and flags CAME from?

    …not to mention disco!


  • How do you type “heart” in blog speak? <3

  • Oh Robyn, how you made me EL OH EL!

    PS. The church is filled with wonderful gay men and women who haven’t had the love or support to live their authentic selves. So we find whatever means we can to celebrate our dramatic flair – even if that means doing “Spiritual Warfare” with streams and flags whilst running down the church aisle!

  • Thanks, Lee. I will have to check out Kathy’s blog. And I know about the Gay Christian Network.

  • Michael- As the father of a gay son, I say “hang in there”. It took the wife and I about a year to acknowledge our son’s gayness. I came from an evangelical, conservative (bordering on fundamental) church. I was a deacon for 17 years, and all that stuff. In less than 10 years, my life has turned completely around. All thanks to my son! He sent me on a search for answers to questions never asked in the church. Today the wife and I fully support our son. He was totally poisoned to Christianity (and I understand why). We never for a moment considered asking him to leave or disowning him for his gayness. It just took a while for us to see the absurdity of our stand on homosexuality. I love you unconditionally just as I love my own son.

  • *misting up*

  • the. best. ever.

  • Barbara

    I was a Christian Mime, too! My high school youth group had an outreach mime team – we’d get made up, perform funky mime stuff set to music, and other would use that as a basis to evangelize. I loved the dress up, the dance skills, the performance, the comradery and the excitement.

    It wasn’t until years later that I understood how much damage they also did, by their fundamentalist leaders who loved us conditionally, taught unrealistic and harmful standards, and helped push me to feeling nothing but tremendous fear, guilt and shame when I went the normal teenage course of growing up and making mistakes.

    Years of repeating the same, but bigger, mistakes and plenty of therapy later, I would finally call myself a sane and happy person. But I am still conflicted emotionally about the role of that youth group in my life — they filled a crucial emotional need at a vulnerable time in my life, but at the cost of not teaching me how to learn the right lessons.

    Michael, I hope you can continue to find positive role models who don’t push conditional love on you. You are an amazing person, just how you are. You just need to figure this out for yourself.

  • Annie

    Michael, you were a damn good mime and dancer. Love you, friend xoxo

  • Annie

    Thank you for loving my dear friend. Michael is something super special.

  • I wish people (no matter what their stance is) would just make a real effort to listen to this and put themselves in those shoes!

    Reality is: there are plenty who’ll be way more upset with the language of the letter than the pain that is caused every day by the attitudes described.

  • A’isha

    Bwaahaahaa! “You just don’t hear much from them.” That’s too classic!

    Hey Michael, add my love to the rest here. Thanks for writing to John and allowing us all to share in your experience. This is one of the places online I started feeling okay about being a lesbian Christian.

  • A’isha

    That Mohler article was horrific. I think he really believes it *is* his job to judge everyone and do it loudly while pounding a Bible over their heads. Maybe that helps the osmosis??

  • This post made me cry, then laugh, then cry, laugh, repeat several times over.


    I went through this struggle you have faced with one of my closest and dearest friends. I stood with him while his parents disowned him, while his church castigated him: while the people who you expect to be your “rock” shackle themselves to your leg and throw you in the river. I cried with him, I held him, I tried everything I could to show him how much he was worth and how much he was loved.

    This experience has never left me. As fucked up as you feel you are, know that you are dealing with this in a way that is healthier than you know. Know, as well, that you are never alone.

    The comments of the other posters on this thread make me see an entirely different side to the Christianity that I left in disgust so many years ago. You are all doing a beautiful thing here.

    In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends- Martin Luther King Jr.

  • I’m glad you were there to hold your friend. Sometimes that’s the only thing we need.


  • Dropping the occasional f-bomb can be very therapeutic. Especially for a former mime.


  • My friends and I have discussed creating a support group for former mimes. If we could get them to talk, it might be a good thing. Thanks for your words, Barbara.

  • Thank you, Don. You and your son are lucky to have each other. I’m glad you came around. My story is complicated (aren’t they all) but I somehow need to give up the hope that my parents will change. Not in a hopeless, sad way, but in a way that RELEASES me from trying to change in order to get their approval. They don’t get it. And, honestly, we’ve been battling this for 20 years now, so I don’t *really* expect them to.

    Having said that, I was reunited with my birth mother and her family (sadly, she recently lost her battle with cancer) and THEY are a GIFT. They love me without question. And they shake their heads each time another layer of my story unfolds.


  • Anya, the feeling is so mutual. You were the only woman I almost really wanted to kiss!

  • Barnmaven, you always say the most totally awesome, wonderful things.

  • Brett

    Michael’s letter is touching.

    But my hunch is that Michael already is loved by many… by his friends… perhaps by his biological family he’s possibly got a fantastic connection with… by his many many co-workers over the years.

    So his “I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED. PERIOD.” statement is likely not entirely true. He is likely already loved.


    I feel for Michael, for I get a sense that the torture he puts himself through lies entirely in the power he gives to those who don’t accept him rather than taking complete and utter joy in the many others who do accept him.

    And I sense that many of us are just like Michael. We obsessed on very minor few who don’t or can’t give us what we want or need *rather than* feeling 100% fulfilled by all that we do have given to us by so many others.

    Why do we discount or discredit the love of thousands for the “un-love” of a few?

  • Brett, I can assure you that I am not obsessed, and yes, I am loved by many. The reality of walking into the complete KNOWING of that and CONFIDENCE of that is no easy task. My point was to thank John for speaking to issues that so many others avoid. And for THAT I’m quite grateful. Michael

  • I figured most Christian mimes would be female. You know, since they can’t speak in the worship assembly anyway.

  • Monica

    Well, I think in my case(Micheal, I am not really sure so you can tell me if I am wrong or whatever), but when it comes to the people who raised you, loved you, and taught you the tennants of the faith that you TRY to follow(I gave up)…suddenly to find you as something like the gum on the bottom of their shoe, is akin to having your vital organs ripped out all at once and being told to “fix it”. You can’t completely “fix it”. But you try so damn hard. You go through the motions, alternating between the desire to fit their very narrow viewpoint and the very acute heartache that comes with the chronic feeling of rejection.

    When people say that it is obsession or not worth it, it makes me wonder if they every had their father figure look them in the eye and call them either a f** or a cum bucket(my stepgrandfather did the last one). Or have the woman who was like a mother to you(or a literal mother) demand that you close off a very important part of yourself(yup, sexuality. I’m Bi..I think I said that ten thousand times already) because the fact that you dare to love someone of the same gender is an abomnination.

    I don’t know if it is the shock that got me or the fact that I had to deal with the thought that maybe my family is more imperfect than I’d like to admit. Or that a person would put so much time and effort into me only to give up when it isn’t quite to plan. It makes me feel like a failure.

    It is like having your foundation ripped from under you. To say that it hurts is an understatement. I love my mom, grandmother, and stepgrandfather. I can’t stop myself from that. But the fact that their love hinges on who I call God or who I love is a bit sad.

    And for me, as a non-believer, I feel as if I had my soul raped, to put it bluntly. I had(still do) abandoment issues and a complete feeling of being unlovable. And to be offered God as a panacea, I honestly thought it would work. I believed that I would not yearn so much to be loved by fickle humans. That I wouldn’t have to cry myself to sleep at night. He was literally my everything. I sought him as a cure-all(as I was raised to do) and held on tight until I thought my family, friends, and church family would be better off without me. So I acted on it and failed.

    I’m 29, and I’m just to the point now where I can slightly imagine someone loving me. I’m trying to learn how to love myself, and let me tell you, it’s very very hard when you are taught JOY which means Jesus, Others, and then Yourself.

    Sorry Micheal for totally showboating. I wanted to let you know that I know how you feel even though I’m younger, and kinda get my poison out too.

    I was a Christian Drama Member, Praise Band Member, Youth Leader, Children’s Church Teacher, Part-time missionary, and former minister in training. Oh, and I used to love Carman. Now THAT’S fucked.

  • Annie

    xxxxxxx 😉

  • Monica, you have no reason to apologize. I get what you are saying, and think you have something here: “I don’t know if it is the shock that got me or the fact that I had to deal with the thought that maybe my family is more imperfect than I’d like to admit.” As for Carman, I can’t really comment on THAT 🙂

  • Don Rappe

    Mohler is an organization man, a politician. Like any politician, his words are intended to create an effect and that is pretty much their only purpose. What does truth have to do with it? Nothing, of course! I do not think it is useful to think about their meaning, only about their purpose. He depends for his power, such as it is, on gay haters and ignorant people in general, so, he panders to them. It is wrong to draw any conclusions about his own beliefs, if he has any. IMO.

  • Don Rappe

    Ha! I’d like to see that.

  • Don Rappe

    It’s probably good that I have no idea what a Christian mime is. I thought mime was an art form.

  • Monica

    Dude, I couldn’t help it! I thought that was the man God had for me. Granted…I had a crush on Rebecca St. James and Jaci Valesquez….

  • Jeannie

    Hey, I wonder if being an ex-gay Christian mime is anything like my trying to be a liturgical dancer to “prove” I was healed of cerebral palsy. I wasn’t any more ex-cerebral palsy then you were ex-gay. I probably did it for the same reason you did, I was just trying to be accepted. As one straight supporter of gay people and your sister in Christ, let me just remind you that you are loved. You are worthwhile.

  • DR

    Well this made me cry. And then laugh. You know when you’re reading something online and you have that rare moment that what you’re reading is special? This is one of those moments.

    Michael I’m so sorry for what you went through. We as a church should have been your safety net when your parents didn’t, or couldn’t. We should have done more to educate your parents. We robbed you of years of being loved by God. As one of those people, I take responsibility for how we abandoned you. We need to be better. I mean – SO much better.

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing this with us in such a lovely way.


  • Kevin

    Michael, your letter seemed like a therapeutic way to deal with your family’s problems and I hope it helps you. I think the phrase that showed me how long your struggle has been was “the 8-track of my mind”. No-one should have to live through the pain of cassettes, CDs and MP3s, too. :o)

  • Even when that relationship is clearly broken, the parental bond and the deep-seated need many people have to be unconditionally loved by their parents is a lifelong struggle. If the people who are supposed to love you the most limit their acceptance of you, its difficult to accept yourself. Its not impossible, of course, but its harder – MUCH harder.

    Of course Michael is loved, and of course he knows he is loved by many worthwhile and wonderful friends. But that doesn’t remove the pain of feeling rejection from his parents and his church.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this post, as written by both authors. Bravo to both of you!

  • Kara

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who had a crush on Rebecca St. James.

  • denver

    i was just wondering how one would pronounce “katoinked”: Kah-toinked? Kato-inked?

    PS, I agree, that was the best PS ever. ^_^

  • denver

    Thank you for posting this letter, John, and thank you for writing it, Michael. Stuff like this, I think, helps those who may be struggling with similar issues know that they are not alone in the world, and that others love people like us. 🙂


    A 32 year old lesbian who just recently realized that just because her parents never gave two shits about her, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve love from other people 😉

    PS – really, John, you should donate your DNA to science so they can study how to give kids your innate “this is bullshit and not my fault” armor! Instead of anamantium bones you’ve got anamantium skin (I have no idea if I’m spelling whatever Wolverine has in him correctly… animantium?).

  • Soulmentor

    Yes. He was going thru the motions. Get it now?

  • Well, I’m sorry to admit, that yes, I do remember 8-tracks. Barely.

  • I couldn’t have said it better myself, Barnmaven. Thank you.

  • You really saved my skin with this ifonmratoin. Thanks!

  • Eiffelman

    I understand too well. I wish I knew someone like this man with whom I could be friends, hang out, and maybe talk about this stuff together.

  • Pamela Ivins Dobuler

    Michael – I want to hug you! Also – my thoughts – God made you the way you are!! (and all of us of course) So, to dislike you or not love you because God made you a homosexual is an affront to God!

  • Let’s get serious

    I am not particularly religious but am interested in it for the damage that it is causing.

    It seem to me if everyone is an image of God or one of God’s creation, then that would include you, Muslims, me, and EVERYONE.

    So it would also seem to me that diversity would not be accidental.

    Perhaps it is a test. It is easy to love people who are like us and who are easy to understand. It is a challenge to love people who are different.

    It seems that loving those who are most different and are often more difficult to love would be the manifestation and demonstration of His will. Those who use His words to harm others in His name would be failing the test badly.

    Anyway, while I am straight, I have been around my share of unhealthy people. It is best of let them go and find others who love and accept you for who you are. Their problems are not yours. You may never change to meet their needs and that is not what you are here to do. Live your life freely. Learn who you are and find your voice. (You are no longer a mime.)

    PS: By keeping the destructive people in your life close, you leave less room for the good people. By letting them go and moving on you will have plenty of room close to you for wonderful people and they will appear. And one final thing, when you let them go, let go of the hard feelings and hate. The energy they brought needs to leave with them.

    Wishing you the best.