It’s Time

I have attempted to be private about the details of my divorce and what led to it. I hope I have done right by protecting my former husband and by not airing laundry the world did not need to know. And yet, our marriage was very public in many ways. For those of you who have known me for years, you remember when we were writing publicly about Brian and I’s mixed orientation marriage. You remember seeing me post pictures at Pride Parades, having countless LGBT-friendly gatherings in my home, and may even know we were on track to writing a book on the subject. In my mind, I was trying to create a bridge between the two worlds I found myself in: the gay world filled with many people who were dear to me and the conservative Christian world I was raised in and continue to choose to align myself with.

And since all of that was very public, I’m sure many of you have wondered where I stand now. How do I look back on it all? Would I endorse the positions I held and wrote about back then? Do I agree with the ways we conducted ourselves? How do I feel about controversial events happening on a national level, with the Nashville Statement coming out this past week and LGBT issues in the news constantly? How do I feel when I see the kinds of views my ex-husband is posting publicly and everything he now stands for?

Well, I’m going to answer those questions to the best of my ability while continuing to preserve discretion where I can. I think we were wrong. Not for getting married, not for attempting to stay married, not for pursuing Christ and forsaking all others. Those things were right and I wholeheartedly believe our marriage could have survived based on that foundation. But we were wrong to embrace “being gay” as an identity. We were wrong to move away from the gospel and to move towards figuring out some new way to exist. When I look back on what we wrote, I think, “dear Monica, run to Jesus. He is ever and only the answer. There is no other way. Don’t succumb to pressure, don’t give in to what feels comfortable and more palatable. Cling to God and truth.” Brian slowly, inch by inch walked away from faithfulness to the Scripture. Our hearts can only serve one god, and he chose identity in his sexuality above all else. He eventually sacrificed everything on that altar: his relationship with God, our marriage, and our family.

When I read the Nashville statement, all I can think is “YES. Thank you.” I wish this was written twenty years ago and that I had never begun to depart from it. I obviously bear responsibility for allowing myself to be moved on a variety of topics, but I felt helpless to do otherwise. Like many, if not all of you, I had heard that because I did not personally experience these issues that I could not have a voice in the discussion. I trusted Brian. I trusted him to lead me and our family, and so I often deferred to his judgment. When he said “we don’t like what so-and-so is saying” I agreed. I didn’t bother to read for myself or figure out how things were lining up with Scripture. I planted my flag in the ground, defending him at all costs whether I fully understood why or not. That is my fault. I should not have done that. Now as I read the people that he did not endorse, I can see why. People like Rosaria Butterfield and Christopher Yuan. People who were saying, “No. It doesn’t matter what your experience is, Jesus is the only answer and finding hope or identity in anything other than him will not work.”

I cannot say it any more clearly or emphatically or with as much authority as Rosaria Butterfield did in her recent blog. She is someone who has a legitimate voice in the discussion because of her sexual orientation. I am incredibly grateful for what she wrote and follow it with a hearty “amen.” I literally felt sick when I read the response to the Nashville Statement in the Christians United statement along with others echoing their sentiment. Because you cannot get away with calling sin “good”, just because it feels more loving. Because I know where attempting to find a middle ground leads. I know because I watched it happen first hand in the person I loved more dearly than any other in this world. I watched this man who loved Jesus turn into someone who I do not recognize. There is no middle ground. There are only two ways to live — towards and for Christ or away and against Him. I choose the former.

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16 thoughts on “It’s Time

  1. It was very brave of you to share your heart regarding such a controversial topic, especially since it comes from your personal experience. When you and Brian were married I saw posts and pictures posted by Brian (you and I weren’t Facebook friends yet). I was confused about where you guys stood on the issue. It didn’t make sense to me. I wholeheartedly agree with your current stance on the issue. I can see why you believed the way you did. You wanted to stay married while navigating this tricky issue.

  2. Thank you for your honesty and humility! Clinging to Christ alone is a battle we all fight, and we all slip when we try to do it on our own strength. May your recent marriage remain grounded on the Cornerstone.

  3. This is beautiful. Your last statement, ” I watched this man who loved Jesus turn into someone who I do not recognize. There is no middle ground. There are only two ways to live — towards and for Christ or away and against Him. I choose the former.” is something I can relate to on a very deep and personal level. This was very much the problem at the heart of my own divorce. Thank you so much for being a much-needed voice in this.

  4. Thank you for your openness on this subject. I know homosexuals who are so kind and I feel unloving to say…I care for you BUT. It is kind to love but speak truth…in love.

  5. I grieve for you and Brian both. Having never been through a divorce I can’t imagine how painful it must be. I’m sure Brian never meant to harm you and I only wish the Church would stop trying to push gay people into heterosexual marriages without understanding the difficulty that is inherent in such a relationship. I’m sorry that so much pain has come from well intentioned, but misdirected efforts.

    • I doubt either Brian or Monica would support your assumption that “the church tried to push gay people into heterosexual marriages”.

  6. Dear Monica,

    I’m so sorry about your experience. I’m sorry that Brian betrayed the bonds of your marriage and I’m sorry for the personal pain that you have experienced. I’m sorry, also, for the anger and rejection that you have likely received from many communities in your life for seeking to be loving towards all.

    I am a Christian who was raised in a southern, baptist church that was and is gay accepting, long before it was politically popular to be so. My church was and is full of members who found their way to our doors because they were raised to think same sex attraction was a lie, a choice, or reserved as a soul’s punishment for sin. God revealed their miseducation, often through their personal experience or the experience of their family, and finding no refuge in their home churches, they came to ours.

    I regret – profoundly – that you were made to choose between accepting your husband’s attraction as okay and feeling that you could genuinely follow Christ. I do not find those values to be in opposition, just as I do not find Romans 1:27 to condemn those who are naturally gay.

    I think you’re right that Jesus is the only answer and that we have to abide by scripture. Those I worship with now feel the same; they find the Bible’s seeming endorsement of straight relationships to be similar to its seeming endorsement of slavery. But I might be wrong – and I know that attempting to draw together ideas in opposition to one another leads to profound stress and pain.

    I know that God hates sin. I do not find homosexuality within the bonds of a covenant marriage to be sinful. It would be sinful for me, who was made straight, but I do not find it sinful. I do not believe God finds it sinful.

    I know that for many people reading this, I am expressing blasphemy. I know that there are false prophets and I know that there is heresy, including the idea that giving in to every urge and desire is something to be celebrated. I think there are plenty of anti-Christian ways to endorse homosexuality. I agree that feeling loving doesn’t make sin “good.”

    My guess is that my prayerful stance on this matter is one that you would find to be against Christ, growing away from Him. That grieves me, for I do think there is ground on which strong Christians can stand, apart from secularists and those who gleefully embrace sin. I am not sure that my ground would be acceptable to you – and I think that trying to square your theology with your husband’s orientation was very brave and very difficult.

    I’m sorry about that, and I’m sorry for the behavior of so many who agree with me. I do my best to encourage them to acting in a loving manner, and am often unsuccessful in that encouragement. I hope that you can do the same – for there are many who use their interpretation of the bible to justify violence against those who were born gay, such as in Chechnya, or in this country (http://www.news9.com/story/36074615/gay-oklahoma-town-clerk-files-federal-discrimination-lawsuit). We can all stand against such hateful, wrathful acts.

    I pray that you and yours are safe, loved, and held within the light of God. I will continue to discern on this front, and appreciate your testimony here.

  7. Thank you. I cannot image the pain of your journey- for both of you. But it is not for nothing. Your story is not finished. Neither is your ex-husband’s story.

    Thank you for sharing this. Your post shines like a bright light in SUCH a foggy world. Actually, your post is you opening your painful story and letting the LIGHT of Christ shine into the fog. The only Light as you so beautifully and compassionately communicated. I love your last line. May we step on – towards Christ.

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  9. If you had said everything differently, the results would have been the same. Nearly all mixed-orientation marriages end in divorce. So be encouraged. You tried your best.

  10. Monica, thank you for your clear witness to the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Grateful for your powerful testimony, born in the seeds of adversity.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. I feel I went through something similar on a much smaller level with someone I loved. We now seem separated by a chasm… thank you for your strong statements.

  12. “Because you cannot get away with calling sin “good”, just because it feels more loving.” You hit the nail on the head.

    Praise God for abundantly providing wisdom and love. Your testimony is truly encouraging.

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