I got this in yesterday evening (the bolding—emboldering? emboldenment? bolderizing? phatted-up?—is mine)
Thank you and bless you. I am not an American, in fact, I live on the other side of the world in Asia.
I thank God’s blessings that I stumbled upon your website. Your posts have been always very enlightening and somehow I feel like I understood Christianity and Jesus better when I read your posts.
You know, you have given this struggling, closeted lesbian educator living in a conservative environment some hope in living and knowing that there is a kinder version of Christianity somewhere out there. You have given me some peace after struggling with so much guilt, shame and depression with my present circumstances. I just wish that there are more people like you in this place that I am in who can provide people like me with more resources on Christianity. Even though there are increasingly more gays speaking out in Singapore, it is not easy to find a straight Christian who is willing to go against the conservative hierarchy here. I could especially relate to your post on a lesbian struggling with her sexuality and viewing of pornography because I am too in the same situation. Your article and comments in the post have helped me understand myself better and have allowed me some space to deal with these issue at hand. So, really thank you John. You have been a true blessing to people out here even beyond the shores of America. God bless you and your family.
I don’t get thousands of such emails every day, or anything; I do, however, get enough of them to … well, for one, keep me at this work. But I never really share them here on the blog, since I know doing so can’t help but seem self-aggrandizing.
On the other hand, what we do on this blog is important—so it always feels weird to keep such testimonies to myself. Because that we is everything. No one ever writes me stuff like the above without saying how much the comments on my blog mean to them. For readers of this blog looking for solace, respect, open-mindedness, support and/or love, I know the comments are often if not always as meaningful to them as whatever I write.
When, just two-and-a-half-year ago, I started blogging about the relationship between Christians and LGBTQ people (my first such piece, first published on February 2, 2010, was What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?; just about all my posts on the matter are here), I was the only Christian I knew of blogging on that issue. I’m sure there were other Christians bloggers out there advocating for full inclusion of gay people, but safe to say they few and far between.
We’ve come so very far in such a very short time. It’s so fantastic.
And I know that as far as my little cyberspace soapbox here goes, none of it would have happened without the compassionate, thoughtful, good-natured, non-logically-challenged, often amazingly articulate “comments” contributed by my readers. I’m not prouder of anything in my life than I am the collective of “commenters” that has gathered, grown, and continues to grow around this blog. And together—in real time, in real lives, in real hearts and minds—we’re making a difference.
So here’s the thing: this is the fifth or sixth letter I’ve received, in the last six or so months, just from Singapore. Increasingly I get letters from people all over the world who are in some way dealing with the issue of sexual orientation and its relationship to Christianity. (I just now started a list of those countries from which people have written me in the last year, and I quit. There were just too many of them. It felt stupid, just going, “Ireland, England, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Italy, France …”.)
Doing whatever good we do via this blog takes me, the people who comment on my blog, and the people who read my blog who may or may not comment on it, but who definitely support it by sharing it with others. (Oh: and it also majorly takes dedicated Wed Jedi Dan Wilkinson. And far be it from me to overlook the Admins o’ Excellence at Unfundamentalist Christians.)
It’s a pretty nice network. And I just wanted to take a moment—particularly, perhaps, on this most meaningful and, frankly, emotional Thursday of the Christian year—to thank all of you within it for taking this journey with me, and for doing me the honor of using my blog to help people all over the world receive the message that the God we know through his manifestation here on earth as Jesus Christ loves them, exactly the way they were born.