Ellen Page, most commonly known as Juno, burst out of the closet in her emotional speech at a Human Rights Campaign event supporting LGBTQ youth in February. I watched her speech a few days later. She was bold… yet vulnerable. It truly was emotionally stirring. For years Ellen lived in the spotlight of Hollywood, but made note to keep her attraction to women out of that spotlight. If I remember her speech correctly, she said she felt she needed to "be" a certain way in order to attain a successful acting career, etc. But over time hiding this part of herself grew to be a tiresome ordeal…. and on February 14th, in front of multitudes, she came out as gay.
I remember my own coming out. I remember the tremendous amount of freedom that came with the release of my biggest, darkest secret. The secret that I had always been so ashamed of. The secret that I had sworn to myself I would never let be discovered. Like Ellen Page, I eventually got to a point where I was just beyond done hiding this part of myself. I was done with pretending to like girls. I was done with trying to date girls. I was done with overanalyzing every conversation and interaction I had that I thought could lead to someone questioning my sexuality. Coming out was the best thing that I ever did in the first 20 years of my life. To this day, I am glad I came out. I believe I am where I am today in part, because I decided to be real with myself and everyone else about who I really was.
About a month after Ellen's coming out speech, she shared on her twitter account that while on a plane, a pastor slipped her a little note. The note said, "While God thinks it's lovely that you stood up for your beliefs, perhaps you've never had the loving arms of a father." And then he signed it, "Your Heavenly Daddy."…..lol. He really did.
Let's all just go ahead and have a virtual vomit over that.
Ellen responded to the note, on twitter, saying "2 da pastor who wrote me-Being gay isn't a belief. My soul isn't struggling & I don't want arms of Heavenly Father around me. A girls arms? Yes."
I remember the ooey-gooey things I would hear from Christians after I came out. Things similar to what Ellen heard from the "Your Heavenly Daddy" weirdo she met on the plane. I was well aware that many religious people thought my life was wrong…. and thought that I, as a human being, was wrong. Wired wrongly. Or something. My perception of the Church was a group of people who wanted to diagnose me and then tell me to do something I couldn't do-to stop being gay. I couldn't do that. And it angered me that I would even be asked to attempt it.
So Ellen, if you ever read this - which I doubt you will - but whatever - I get where you are. I've been there. But I'm not there anymore. I am attracted to the same sex, yes, but I am a believer in Christ. I know the weirdo pastor on the plane had good intentions in giving you his note. But he was off. Way off. So please let me try to say what I wish he would have said.
God loves you. You are created in his likeness, you bear his image, and He loves you. He really loves you.
I don't know what you're upbringing was like… I'm not going to try and diagnose your lesbianism as being a result of daddy issues or "never having the loving arms of a father." Besides, whatever way you were brought up doesn't really matter. Based on what the Bible teaches (pleeeeeease don't tune me out here. Drink some coffee. Take an Adderall. Do what you need to do… but don't tune me out, yet!), before your upbringing, before you even exited your mother's womb, sin had already affected you.
I'm sure you know the account of Genesis 3-Adam and Eve-well. As most people in America do… even if they just view it as a fictitious tale. I do not view it as a fictitious tale. I view it as reality. Our parents…"our" being ALL of us… every human to exist since their creation….failed to trust and obey their maker. Rather than trusting Him to be their wisdom, they sought wisdom outside of Him by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They willfully disobeyed his clear command to not eat of that tree-full well knowing the result would be death. And death is what came. First spiritual death, followed by a later physical death. And every one of their descendants…. all of us…. has suffered at the hands of these same deaths. We are all born spiritually dead to God; with a nature and a will that is opposed to Him and His ways. We are bent toward evil. We are depraved in mind. Look at any child…. no one teaches them to be bad. No one teaches them to be selfish, stingy, violent or angry. It comes to them naturally. It comes to them by their parents… Adam and Eve.
REAL QUICK! SIDE NOTE: Now before you cry out, "Not fair! I did not eat from that tree. I did not personally disobey God. Why should I suffer the curse?"… you may have not personally eaten from that tree. But your Father did. And your Father was your God-ordained representative. Adam represented you-and represented me-perfectly. God is perfectly righteous and infinite in wisdom….and He designed humanity in such a way that Adam, the firstborn of us all, would with 100 percent accuracy represent the way each and every one of his descendants would act when it came to obeying God's command. He did what we all would've done. We fell in Adam. We fell with Adam. And we have all willfully continued to participate in the same spirit of rebellion that Adam did.
We all, by nature, desire things that our Creator forbids. And sexual desire for the same sex is one of those things. Ellen, you're right…. your attraction to women is not a belief. It is a reality. A reality just as real as my attraction to men. We cannot escape it. It is in us. And believe it or not-this is exactly what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that sin is in us… and that it masters over us as we willfully and joyfully submit ourselves to it. We can't escape it… and we don't want to escape it. We love it. We love our bent-ness, our crooked-ness, our brokenness-whatever you want to call it…. even though it's killing us. As we relish in our sin day by day, it makes our hearts harder toward God. We know the Truth…. we do. We know that we are sinners and deep down, we are ashamed of it. So we run from God… just like Adam and Eve did in the garden. We hide. We cover ourselves with anything that will make us feel like our shame isn't exposed… things like religion, good deeds, success and fame. But at the end of the day it all fails….. we still are sinners, we still have shame. We need to be saved from our sin and from ourselves.
And thankfully, God is in the saving business. His Son Jesus lived a sinless life and died a shameful sinner's death. Why? To be your substitute. He lived the life that Adam, you and me should have lived and then died the death that Adam, you and me deserve to die. And then He offers to swap everything with us if only we will believe Him and trust Him. In His grace He did the work, and by trusting in Him we can have it all credited to our account. This is Christianity.
Christ saves sinners. He saves lesbians. He saves gay men. He saves religious people. He saves hypocrites. He saves anyone…. anyone who is willing to lay down the fig leaves covering their shame and admit their brokenness before God. He spiritually resurrects them and restores them to God…to the source of life. The source of joy. The source of peace, contentment, love, and everything else that is good and right and perfect. He gives them strength to repent and fight against the sin that remains in them….until the day that they receive a new body in eternity where sin is eradicated once and for all.
Ellen Page, that pastor on the plane was a goofball. But there is a true Heavenly Father- your Maker-and His arms around you will be far more life giving than those of any woman you will ever meet.
Matt Moore, your sinful fellow human