Part 1: Seminary, My Lesbian Roommate and the Real Problem the Church Faces

Have you ever had a homosexual fall in love with you?

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Irony is profound.

While beginning my study on this topic I would like to preface this with a little story that was sparked by a simple bookmark I found in my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance while doing a word study this morning. I was studying a verse that God gave me for the circumstances that have just occurred on Friday with the Supreme Court Decision. The bookmark is an old negative film strip of the last roommate I would have but a  timely reminder for such a topic as this.

I went to seminary right after I graduated from a Christian College. I had a roommate there that I split an apartment with that was an old college friend of mine. We moved to this town together for the first time, knowing no one but each other. Obviously, that circumstance alone made us bond quite quickly. We were old buddies in a new town.

We spent much of our time outside of writing papers and studying Calvin and Wesley, exploring this new town by bike rides through downtown and taking runs through the slums of the city. We hopped trains; some moving, some not. We played in train yards and spray painted on condemned buildings. We were 22, young and just having clean fun!

After only a few short months of living together, I was getting ready for work one Sunday afternoon. As I looked outside my bedroom window after finishing getting dressed, I saw two males in their car performing sexual acts on each other.

As any 22 year-old would react, I went running to my roommate, “Come see this.”

She had no idea what to expect. And neither did I.

I took her to the window and showed her what I saw. She saw it. I saw it. And we were shocked.

She is a bold person. Very bold. She decided that she wanted to interrupt this “session,” by grabbing her basketball and me and going downstairs to “nonchalantly” walk past the car where these acts were taking place in.

So we ventured downstairs. They were done by the time we arrived near their car and they were walking into their apartment. She stopped them and said, “Hi! What’s your name?”

They responded and she started asking questions about them at this time. Innocent questions about where they went to school, where they were from, etc…

They went to the local Christian college. We weren’t surprised. They were graduating that semester. Cool. We shook their hands and that was that.

We went back up stairs, kind of dumbfounded at what we just experienced. And then she tells me, “You know, I struggle with homosexuality.”

My reaction . . not much, I mean kinda shocked, but I’m 22 at this point. I don’t know much of anything. I mean I was sad for her, but I still loved with her and our friendship only continued to grow because my reaction to her statement was, “well we all struggle with some sort of sin.”

And that was that.

But it wasn’t until the following year of living with her that I realized the depths of her pain.

She told me deep, intimate stories of being sexually abused by her uncle, between the ages of 9-11, while no one knew about it. She described them in detail as no one ever did to me. I hurt for her. I cried for her. I prayed for her. We prayed together. I wept when she wept about the tearing she felt, knowing it was wrong to be homosexual, but not being able to stop the desires. I grieved for the identity crisis she had in not knowing who she was, watching her make her painful journey through Seminary, truly trying to make sense of why she was the way she was. Receiving prayer, counseling everything that Seminary could offer her wounded soul.

But from her stories, the real pain happened not during the abuse, but when she opened up to her family about it when she was 16. She told her mom and dad about it. And they did nothing. THEY DID NOTHING.

No DCS reports, no excommunicating of this said uncle from the family who was the perpetrator, not a thing. And this is what the ultimate betrayal was: Her parents, the ones that were supposed to love and protect her, were sealed and static about the obscenity,defilement and wrongness of the incident. From then on, she wasn’t the same.

She went to a Christian college and was so on fire for God. I mean I was partying for years in college, dating bunches of guys, reacting out of my own pain from my past and she was the one urging me to get right with God.

After a year of living together in graduate school, almost to the day, we flew to New York to do a class at New York Theological Seminary. Church families were hosting our one month stay as we completed a Chaplaincy and World Religions course.

We get off of the long flight, arrive at our host’s house and are shown to our room. We are best friends by now after all we had been through, but there had been some tension for a while that I could pick up on, but couldn’t quite put my finger on. I had just got done dating a jerk back home, my heart was kinda broken over it and that was it.

So I thought.

Our host shows us to our room, gives us some final instructions and shuts the door. We start to settle in. No sooner than the first unzipping of the first bag, she says, “Can we talk?”

Me, “yeah, what’s up?” Really ready to get over whatever weirdness has entered into our friendship at this point.

She busts out crying,

I wait, quietly and listen for what is about to be said.

“I love you.” She bursts out. “I love you. I love you the way you love John. I’m in love with you and I know you don’t love me back.”

At this point, I am just heartbroken. Not mad, but oh so sad. She loves me and it’s sinking in that she loves me the way I loved my ex-boyfriend. The way I love my husband now. This is her love for me.

And I love her too. Just not like that. I love her so much. She is/was my best friend. She was the one I would sit on our kitchen floor with at three a.m. and eat cereal with and talk about the woes of papers and how hard it was living in our new town. I loved her because we spent hours, days, weeks, months listening to each other, laughing together, crying together, jammin’ around town listening to loud music together. We had adventures together, got into mischief together. I cry just thinking about how much I miss that friendship.

But I don’t love her that way. It wasn’t about morality or anything like that, I just didn’t have those feelings toward her. And my heart broke for my best friend who loved someone that didn’t have feelings for her back. The way I just did with this guy John that I was still heartbroken over. I loved him but he didn’t love me back.

It was craziest of love triangles.

She cried. I cried. We cried.

I was sorry. I couldn’t say much. I just hurt for her and for me. I felt betrayed. Like she crossed a boundary in our friendship that was never supposed to be crossed, that I never wanted crossing and that she never wanted crossing either.

We both knew it.

We were supposed to sleep in the same bed for the next several weeks and this was just not possible, for so many obvious reasons and maybe some un-obvious reasons. I mean, poor girl, she  just opens up to the person that she loves and tells me her feelings and she knows I don’t “swing that way” and the shear heart break that would cause …. ugh, that is just in-humane.

So, the next day, she does the responsible, mature thing and tells the professors leading this trip of all that has happened and after two weeks, they were able to make different arrangements.

But they were a tough two weeks. No fights, but lots of awkwardness. I mean, I can’t tell my best friend if I think this guy I am sitting next to is cute because I might make her jealous. I can’t talk to her about much and she can’t share with me either because all that’s on her mind right now is heartbreak. Her heart is totally involved. And I know it. And the whole thing just sucks.

Well, rumors start with these profs that she tried to sleep with me and have sex with me … none of it true. But it was sad. So sad that we did the right thing, yet people were infantile in handling a very delicate situation.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had been through enough jerks in my life that I had considered being a lesbian, but it just wasn’t me. And that was OK with me. In fact, therapists were astounded at the fact that I had no interest in girls after they would hear all that I had gone through with guys; rape, infidelity from a late fiance, then his suicide, abuse… you name it, yet it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

But within a month of our return from New York, we move out from what became our little home over the last year. I moved back in with my parents and she got an apartment on her own.

We both finished Seminary and we went our separate ways.

Fast Forward about 6 years… I am married with kids and she is excelling in her career as an artist and therapist.

About 10 months ago, God gave me a dream about her. So I found her on Facebook and asked for her address. She had told me that she had just entered into her very first lesbian relationship and had given up the “fight.” I was saddened, but not surprised. I thought back to the two camps that the seminary now fell into with that incident. How there was a divide over it. It was strange.

I wrote her a letter and sent her a photo of us when she came down for my college graduation, pre-seminary days. God gave me the words to write to her. And that was that.

We are no longer friends. not even on Facebook. I know I am the old flame that she never got over. I know I was the one that she would tell her future girlfriend’s about that she loved so much because she told me this. And this is why this situation is so near and dear to my heart. This whole thing about the Supreme Court decision but because of it’s length I must break it up in three segments.

I don’t judge her, I never have or any other member of the LGBT community because of that experience during those years. i love her. But I love her from a distance. I have to for both of our sakes. We both know it. I know in my heart homosexuality is wrong, but just like all sin, it can come from brokenness and pain turned inward. I also know that we all struggle with sin and no sin is different in the eyes of God. But the important question remains: Have you given up the fight or are you still fighting the sin?

She gave up. I don’t blame her. I know too much about her life and what she went through after that to know that the church was totally unequipped to deal with that scenario.

But it’s a scenario the Church was facing then and its facing now even more so after Friday.

And I know why.

I saw it played out in Seminary 12 years ago, so intimately and God showed me why her battled failed, and then later, how the Church failed her.

But that will come in part 2 and 3 of this series.

In the end, keep in mind, much of it has to do with Western American’s Church’s hypocrisy. But remember Jesus addresses hypocrisy directly and his answer came from deep love but wasn’t just simple “love” as many are screaming now…

There is much more to the problem, just like there is so much to this story than simple “love,” but I do know this, love always makes things more complex because I loved my friend and my friend loved me.

They were just two very different “loves.”

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One thought on “Part 1: Seminary, My Lesbian Roommate and the Real Problem the Church Faces

  1. Such a powerful story, because it is honest and true! I have never thought of this before. Do know the church is clueless so often. And it’s so sad that others’ sins against us can influence our relationship with HIM. Doesn’t seem fair. But His offer is not one of fairness. It is pure mercy.

    Liked by 1 person

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