Coming Out Christian – A New Blog at Patheos

What this blog is not:

This blog is not about debating scripture, except when it is. Since I am a Christian I must ground Christian dialogue in a great Book that has formed me.  But just as I regard scripture as holy, I do not read it literally nor is it the only source that informs me. Experience, reason and a plethora of great minds are my companions on this journey. Note: all strictly literalist arguments will fall short here, especially if they are not grounded in love.  I am not motivated to change your faith.  Pray, worship and study as your heart dictates but the time has come to fully live into our national separation of church and state – your faith has no place legislating my civil rights.

This blog is not about issues, except when it is. I am not an issue or simply a campaign of controversy. Though preachers and pundits love to debate the GLBT “issue”, I am not some caricature of a non-existant, monolithic lifestyle – I am a woman, a daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend, a writer, a Christian and a child of God.  That being said, I will not wait any longer for my civil rights in this country to equal yours.  I should not be afraid to hold my partner’s hand in my own city, neighborhood or church.  I should not be afraid to tell the doctors caring for our children that I am ALSO their mom – afraid that my daughter will receive less or no care in moments of critical need. I will not be denied the same respect as any other spouse of a fallen police officer if, God forbid, that day should come. I should not have to worry if someone will take my children from me because I am “too controversial” right now.  I REFUSE to keep reading of children taking their own lives because “good Christians” look the other way while their own children bully babies to death or worse when hateful hearts give parents special dispensation to abuse their children.

This blog is not about me except when it is. There will be many people who stop in to share a glimpse of their journey of being and becoming. Each life is a beautiful narrative filled with woe and weal, doubt and faith, fear and hope.  I am honored to be asked to curate these conversations at a time such as this when our nation is grappling with civil rights of LGBT people like me.    I am immensely grateful for the President’s verbal support of same-sex marriage last week BUT I am truly and deeply hurting as the hateful rhetoric about love spins up to a fevered pitch. I am exhausted by the polarizing conversation about my life, and the lives of real people I love, being used as fodder for the great political chess game. It is my prayer that you will read each blog as an encounter with a person – not an issue, not an argument, not a label – a person who is working, each in their own clumsy way, to fulfill the triquetra of the greatest commandment – Love God, Love Neighbor and Love Self.

This blog will never address hateful commentswe will delete them. If you act too ugly you will be uninvited from the conversation.  Please act nice, please treat one another with kindness and respect. If you’re not sure what that looks like I’m not sure this is the right dialogue for you at this time.

With God’s help, what this blog will be:

This blog is a place where real people with beating hearts and quick minds can gather to explore what for many people seems a paradox but for me has never a source of conflict – being gay and Christian in America.  And guess what?  As it turns out, there are as many ways this unfolds as there are ways of being not-gay and Christian in America.

What I know to be true is that debates do not change hearts and minds, people do, people and their stories.  As you get to know the people who share their stories here I hope you will hold an open place in your heart just as Christ holds for you.

And now a word about your hostess:

I’m not going to blather on about myself too much but since this is a space for sharing our stories I will get the ball rolling by telling you a little about mine.

I’m a mom. I am the mother of millennial, a 14-year-old young lady who is turning out to be a film maker and fine blogger in her own right.  I think she’s brilliant but of course I’m partial. I do believe she has an older soul than I and so I have a lot to learn by being fully present to her. I struggle every day to be fully present while living into motherhood in the 21st Century. I am twice blessed to be step-mom to a spunky 10 year old, the daughter of my partner.

I’m a southerner. South-easterner to be precise. Like my mother before me and my daughter after me I was born in Atlanta so I’m about as native to Atlanta as one can be. But I’m surely a different breed of southern than my mother and my daughter most definitely is a different breed than I.  I happily live in downtown Atlanta in a neighborhood inhabited with a beautiful kaleidoscope of people. I still listen to bluegrass, but dig nearly anything you can hear on Radio Paradise, I drink sweet tea (there really is no other iced tea y’all), I prefer biscuits & grits rather than yogurt for breakfast, I still say yes ma’am and no sir to everyone who might be 30 seconds older than me, and I cherish the sound of tires on a dirt road.

I’m  Christian. For the folks out there who may be drawing back that bow of “You can’t be gay and Christian” I will say this once, and likely a gazillion more times…if by Christian you mean one who has placed Jesus at the center of my heart and follows Him as the Ultimate of what God asks of us, a lamp unto my feet that shines justice for the oppressed, relief for the poor and love for the despised – then I am indeed Christian.  If by Christian you mean the bible beating (I’d really rather read mine – all of it, not just Leviticus), judgmental, nationalistic, literalist person who suppresses questions as heresy and insists that “salvation” is only for those part of some human-constructed, exclusive club then you are thinking of a different kind of Christian for sure.

I’ve had a long and winding faith journey.  Though my boundaries have always been permeable my center remains Christ. I graduated from Candler School of Theology in this century but I’m no more Methodist than the shoes you kicked off when you got home yesterday.  I was raised a Baptist. I’m still a dunker at heart and I believe that each person is competent to read and understand the Bible and insist that no other person or group ought to assume the right to dictate to others what they should believe – yup, that’s old school Baptist my friends. I attend a warm and loving UCC church in Atlanta that meets in a store-front in a funky little in-town ‘hood. Though I am a tad post-denominational I am happily seeking ordination in The United Church of Christ – not only because they are open and affirming, justice seeking folks but because congregational polity makes the most sense to me (see above re: Baptist).

L = Lesbian. Well duh, right? It took me over 30 years to come to terms with who I am, but here I am. My wife, a cop in Atlanta, and I met at our neighborhood Methodist church right before I entered seminary.  She’s the first and only woman I’ve loved.  She brought a feisty daughter to the relationship and we are doing our best to raise both girls as faithful, responsible women who can think for themselves and make a positive impact in the world.

Welcome to the conversation. I hope you will drop by once in a while, share your story and be open to the journey.

 

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addiction a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

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  • http://www.pflagatl.org PFLAG Atlanta

    Hello Kimberly,

    You may have heard of us, we are PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Atlanta. We are parents and families of LGBT sons and daughters and we support, educate and advocate for the gay and lesbian community.

    We would love to have you be a speaker at one of our 3rd Sunday meetings. If you would please get in touch with us, we would love to get to see how we could work together.

    PFLAG Atlanta

    • Kimberly Knight

      I would be honored! I have sent an email to the address associated with this post. I look forward to hearing from you.

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  • http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com Roger Wolsey

    Bravo! It is wonderful to see such an open and bold sharing of your faith commitments!
    On a related note, here’s my “coming out” story. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/07/70799/

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thanks Roger!

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  • Rev. Cynthia Hallas

    What a beautifully articulate beginning – I’m looking forward to the dialogue. God bless you and your family, and your vocation.

  • http://www.lethadawsonscanzoni.com/ Letha Dawson Scanzoni

    Kimberly,
    I thought you would want to know that I’ve chosen your new blog as our “Link of the Day” for tomorrow (May 24, 2012) on the EEWC- Christian Feminism Today website, http://www.eewc.com. I hope it will add more people to your growing audience, and I know it will minister to our own readership. I appreciate so much the spirit and tone of the dialogue you have begun — so needed today. Thank you. Blessings,
    Letha

    • Kimberly Knight

      Letha,

      Thank you so very much for your generosity! I deeply appreciate you sharing a link to this blog with your community of readers. Not only do I hope for more readers but for more voices to participate in the conversation.

      Grace and peace,
      Kimberly

  • kenneth

    I must say I was rather surprised and delighted to stumble across this new blog. I consider myself one of the foremost gay advocates on Patheos, and my specialty is taking the debate to the other side’s front lawn. I mix it up on the most conservative evangelical and (often) Catholic forums I can find! It’s a delight to do because the arguments “make themselves” as it were. It’s just such a slam dunk from any reasonable human rights, political, legal and spiritual perspective. I’ve become such a thorn in some of their sides that they frequently assume/accuse me of being gay myself. I simply laugh and tell them that the man at the recruiting station tore up my application, calling me an “inveterate slob”. :) If nothing else, I admire your guts. As a pagan and secularist, I live in a tough neighborhood in Culture War Christian America. As a gay Christian, you live in a tougher one!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Kenneth,

      I am so glad you found me and am grateful for your advocacy. Keep speaking up and keep reading. Lots more stories than just mine to share.

      Peace,
      Kimberly

  • Neil McQuillan

    Don’t know what to think about the whole gay and Christian issue so I thought I would check out you blog. Best wishes for its success. Neil

  • Kristen

    Well said. I’ve referred other gay Christians to this site. Best to you through this blog.

  • http://www.singingthejourney.com Susan Sevier

    Blessings, Kimberly. There are more of us out there than you might think…I am actually part of a welcoming Baptist congregation in DC…licensed by that congregation and moving down the path to ordination while completing a degree in Christian Formation at Virginia Theological Seminary. I add my prayers to yours, and wish you well.

  • Adam

    I’m also a born and raised Georgia native, from about 50 miles due west of Atlanta. Since you do have quite the background in theology, I was wondering if you might not be afraid to tackle something like hermeneutics in one of your posts. I’d like to better understand how you come to determine which passages from the old and new testaments you believe are still worth living by (“though shalt not kill”, for example) and which are outdated and no longer relevant to our lives today. There are so many different commands in the bible, that I really feel that it is important to have a consistent, solid framework for interpreting the bible, so that we don’t appear hypocritical to non-believers.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Adam,
      It’s nice to hear from another native southerner. Though I often love to dig deeply and spend a great deal of time doing hermeneutical gymnastics with people regarding how we pick and choose which scriptures to live by and which we can discard that is not really the focus of this gathering space. There are about a gazillion other theologians out there who are thrilled to unpack scripture one pericope at a time and play the pick and choose game. But I hate how elusive and dismissive that sounds so I will answer you this way – if we are talking about a consistent framework by which to interpret the whole of scripture for me it must always begin and end with a hermeneutic of love. If I try my best to read all of the bible through the lens of the greatest commandment, and all the words and deeds of Jesus then I feel confident I will not appear hypocritical to folk from any tradition around the world. Beyond my own reading of scripture I believe we are called to discern scripture, tradition and our own reason in community (I’m really not Methodist y’all). The constant question to apply to our discernment is, how well we are living out Christ’s ethic of love? In the end all I can do is just keep walking this path with God and others and pray every day to be a child of compassion and light.
      Peace,
      K

      • Cat Wolff

        I’m responding to this particular post because I’ve always been in love with the word hermeneutics. Being the product of an RC education, the last part of which was with the Jesuits (bless their humongous souls and intellects and socratic logic.) I cannot call myself a member of any particular faith anymore, in fact I prefer to see the face of Divinity as Feminine. Mothers seem far less distant than the fathers of my generation. Over the years I have pondered what the message of the Christian faith is and dusting off all the wall hangings, for me it is found in Matt25:31-46 and Mark10:17-24/Luke18:18-25. The rabidly “Christian Oligarchy” I see seeking power today has missed the whole point of those three pieces of scripture. The fact that their presidential candidate is a multi-millionaire who gives a pittance of his fortune to charity, pays ridiculously low taxes and wants to ax the few social programs that make life minimally bearable for the poor and hungry and naked I find appalling. I grew up believing that I should live and practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The contents of those two parables are the key to the compassionate, open and loving heart and soul and the birthing of a true God/dess spirit — I don’t care what you call yourself in your spiritual life — the shoe of compassion, love, and good works fits all. WE all need to wear it.

  • http://michaelsprayers.wordpress.com Michael Seewer

    I could NOT have said it better myself! THANK YOU for writing this and sharing your love and the love of Christ made known through your story with others. What an inspiration!!

  • Margret

    Greetings, Kimberly!

    Thank you for this. Two of your statements speak volumes to me: “It is my prayer that you will read each blog as an encounter with a person … who is working, each in their own clumsy way, to fulfill the triquetra of the greatest commandment – Love God, Love Neighbor and Love Self. …I believe that each person is competent to read and understand the Bible and insist that no other person or group ought to assume the right to dictate to others what they should believe.”

    This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? A personal relationship with the Lover of our souls. The more time I spend with Him and in His Word, the more I am convinced — and convicted — that my responsibility as well as life-long privilege is to be loving and accepting, nothing else. When I am in contact with those who don’t know the Lord I realize the light of His love is the only thing that will penetrate our differences. When I’m with those who know Him, I trust the Holy Spirit to work in their lives (as is also so necessary in my own) without my “help” to set them straight (no pun intended).

    Also, I know something of rejection, living the first almost 28 years of my life as a Witness then losing everyone when I could no longer accept their beliefs as my own. Half a lifetime later, with 23 of those years walking with Jesus, I realize I may again lose most everyone I’ve come to know and love simply because I so strongly believe we must walk in love and nothing else (see above). We’ll see. At least (best!) I still have the Lord and my wonderful husband of 17 years.

    God bless you, in this and every endeavor of your life; and God bless us all, as we continue to work our way towards what it means to walk in love as our Savior and Lord has done.

    all of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
    Margret

  • Papa

    Kimberly. Sorry I didn’t meet your criteria. I think we could have had some interesting discourse.

    • Kimberly Knight

      It’s not about criteria, wasn’t sure your post was real. Sounded a little like the gobs of spam
      I get on blogs since your comment didn’t address the content of my post.

  • Steele

    I’m glad to read this blog, and I’ll be excited to follow it.

    I’m a Christian, and I’m gay myself (though male) and it’s something I really love to read. I’m also often told (both by my fellow Christians and my fellow gays) that I have to pick one or the other. It’s heartening to read about someone else who doesn’t see a contradiction.

  • MikeJ

    Pity Patheos put you in the “progressive” ghetto. Why do they think you can’t belong to any other religious tradition and be progressive at the same time? And why do you want to associate yourself with people that intolerant?

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  • Don Milam

    Hi Kimberly,
    I want take a lot of your time but just wanted to say how much I appreciated your blog. I went to a fundamentalist Bible college and have lived in the world of evangelicals/charismatics all my life. I was never forced to deal with the issue of Gay and Christian until several years ago when we discovered that our granddaughter was gay. The story is long but we stood with her and supported her and have watched her grow into a lovely young lady. In the beginning days she wanted nothing to do with God and her journey has brought her into the arms of Jesus. I want to think you for your courage and the words you shared…

  • http://Facebook Deb Fuente

    I see you.

  • Norb Kumagai

    Hello Kimberly: I was also directed to your blog by Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow. Years ago, as our church was discerning the issue of having Gays & Lesbians be ordained to serve the congregation (Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.), I posed the following question:

    “For those of us who are Brothers & Sisters in Christ (without quoting scripture), someone needs to convince me why denying opportunities for some members of the congregation, based on a specific classification (in this case sexual orientation) is not discriminatory???” (my Mom and my relatives were interned in “American Style” concentration camps during World War II based on a specific classification, hence the sensitivity).

    Although no one ever took me up on my challenge, the blessing was being approached by several parishioners who quietly thanked me for finding the courage to provide them with a voice where they have none.

    My response was to thank them for sharing something very personal about themselves to a total stranger. Now that takes courage!!!

    Look forward to reading your blog. Thanks!!!

  • Rev. Jean Rollin

    Kimberly – As a Reconciling United Methodist Pastor, I have been working for years for full inclusion in all ways for LGTB folks in the church and in society. I am looking forward to reading your blog and reading the stories. I loved your intro of what it is and is not. Keep up the good work and hang in there. There are lots of allies out there, too. Hate will never have the last word! Blessings, Jean

  • Kathy Fox

    Hi, Kimberly,

    How cool are you? What fun to see you blogging on here! Blessings to you!

  • http://weddingsbyrevlaureen.com Rev. Laureen Batsford

    Thanks so much for your blog. I want to share it with everyone I know. So many of us will relate to your words, and I applaud you for sharing them with us.
    ~Laureen

  • Craig Thompson

    Being Jawjan (Georgian) is a choice. Nobody is born Georgian … wait hmmm I’ll get back to you on this..
    Craig in Washington State ;)

    • Kimberly Knight

      Craig, love ya already! Y’all come back ya hear :)

  • Bill Goff

    Thank you for your courage in starting this blog. I am a retired pastor living in (very conservative) Orange County, California. My own journey toward support of homosexual (LGBT) folks started by reading Stranger at the Gate by Mel White, my friend and preaching teacher at Fuller Seminary. I followed up with an intensive review of the Scriptures most often used to support the idea that homosexuality (or at least same sex acts) is a sin. I am convinced that the Bible has been tragically misused to oppress homosexuals. In my view one need not reject the Bible to embrace freedom for homosexual people.
    I wish you well and look forward to reading your blog.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Bill,
      Exactly – the Bible is my liberator as a gay Christian, not my condemnation. I can live fully as myself because of Christ, not in spite of. Mel White is definitely a critical voice lifting up his own journey of being gay and Christian and the work that has followed his teaching has been incredibly valuable to us all.

  • http://logicandimagination.com Melody H Hanson (@melodyhhanson)

    Welcome sister, I look forward to learning from you. I bless you for your courage and pray strength for your call both here and in the Church.

    Melody

  • Bob T

    It is sad, but true, that being gay and Christian in American “for many people seems a paradox.” To me (one whose worldview is perhaps colored by being a lifelong heterosexual and Presbyterian with a post-denominational heart), it is an imagined paradox. The real paradox, in my opinion, is that there are so many seemingly faithful Christians who strongly accept “homosexuality is a sin” as a part of Christianity yet reject or ignore more explicit and authoritative “[you name it] is a sin” statements in the Bible. The Bible never addresses sexual activity between persons of the same gender in the context of a lifetime commitment before God; Jesus expressly addresses divorce and remarriage as sin. Yet it seems the majority of self-identified Christians think the former is clearly contrary to Christian beliefs and the latter is perfectly acceptable. Now THERE’S a paradox. Unfortunately, many non-Christians also believe “homosexuality is a sin” is clearly a part of Christianity, that gay and Christian is a paradox. Some are quick to label a Christian as anti-gay (judgment can come from many directions). You understand one key solution – people and their stories. We get past judgment based on labels by being in relationship.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Bob you nailed it – getting past labels. I will be talking a bit more about the trap of labels and how both I and my partner live it our quite differently. Thank you for your support and for taking the time to participate in the discussion. Hope to see you back soon :)

  • Diane Pierce

    Let’s read more! Very encouraging, inspiring, and fresh. Way to speak your mind and the minds of many of us right out loud! UCC is a very open minded denomination – love ‘em. I’m an MCC’r, by the way. Question: what do you see as the most gay affirming Bible passage or story? Mine is where Peter discovers that God is no respector of any persons, when he is blessed to find Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit as did his fellow Jews. – Gentiles, as you know, were treated pretty much the same way by the religious community of Peter’s day as LGBT are in our day… Amazing what a little love and faith can do, eh? Here’s to living our faith out loud, amen? – di

    • Kimberly Knight

      Di,
      Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words. Great question too – I think the biblical stories that speak to me change over time. Having recently hear the story of the Eunuch shared again in church I heard it so differently and though I have long read it as wholly affirming of differently gendered with a different sexual orientation that the normative family propagating standard I heard it fresh in my faith community filled with gay and straight, male and female, young and no so young. Of course one of the most important snippets for me is, of all things something by Paul – Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Alright, a new blog for me to follow!

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  • Kimberly Knight

    Brian and Karen,

    Thank you for stopping by, I hope you will hang around often and add your voices to the conversation how ever it unfolds.

    K

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for giving another voice to those of us who are both Christian and part of the LGBT community and don’t always feel entirely understood by either.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Carolyn,

      You are so right – if is harder to come out as Christian in the LGBT community than many people understand. I’m glad you’re here and look forward to hearing more about your journey.

      K

  • Karen Bigham

    I was pleased to be directed to your blog by Bruce and am so glad to see your voice here. Best wishes! I plan to read regularly.

  • http://bmoles.blogspot.com Brian Moles

    This is spectacular. You write with grace and poise and a sense of calm that I envy. Thank you for doing this.

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  • Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Welcome to the Patheos crew! Looking forward to seeing what is bourn out of the conversation!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thanks Bruce, I am honored to be in such good company. Hopefully I have something worthwhile to say :)

  • Lora Mills

    Way Kool, Kimberly!

    I’m also UCC and a seminary graduate (MATS, not MDiv) from Claremont School of Theology in So Cal. I now live in a little gold-rush era town in Nor Cal and do what I can to open minds and hearts in this frightened, conservative place. Always looking for good discussions toward which to point our students from the Human Inclusion Delegation (HID) at Columbia College. Looking forward to reading more from you. Blessings!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Lora, so great to meet you! It sounds like you are on a wonderful if not tricky journey yourself. I hope you will hang around and contribute to the conversation here.

  • Anita Bradshaw

    Great start, Kimberly and a welcome addition to Patheos. Blessings on this part of your journey (as well as the rest!)

  • Kathy M

    Thank you for a wonderful opening to what promises to be a thought-provoking and heart-inspiring blog.

  • Jaime

    Best wishes! I sincerely hope your blog changes hearts and minds.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Jaime, it all feels a bit scary and way too big for me right now but I am grateful for the opportunity to share stories, mine and others, with folks out there.

  • Anne

    This is filled with wit and grace and light and truth. Thank you so much for writing with clarity and conviction.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Anne, I appreciate your generous words of support. I hope the conversations that unfold here will all be rich with warmth and truth.


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