Exposed – An Imaginative Re-telling of John 8:1-11

Obvious but I‚Äôm gonna say it anyway: this is a creative re-telling of a Scriptural story. Please do not take my imaginative musings as Scriptural truth. haha. K thanks. ūüôā¬†


There was no escape now. The servant boy had snooped into things that should not have been his concern, things that should have been kept secret. The boy had notified her husband, who came quickly at the accusation. She would never forget the look of betrayal on her husband’s face – he had choked back an angry sob, turning away from the scene of impropriety.

As if suddenly repulsed by the woman who just moments ago he had so tenderly embraced, the man caught with the adulteress shoved her off of him. He scrambled to put on his robes and retain some semblance of dignity.

In the span of a few moments, the woman’s ecstasy had turned to panic. She managed to put on her own clothes before her husband grabbed her by the arm, digging his fingernails into her soft skin. It was then she realized with a stab to the heart that he could never, would never, love her again.

Her husband threw her to her knees in the midst of the religious leaders. He had taken her to the Temple, undoubtedly for her humiliation and punishment. Seething, he explained the situation, ending with kicking her mercilessly in the side. The woman didn’t cry out, or else it was indistinguishable amid her endless sobbing which had persisted since the scandal had been discovered.

“This is a perfect case for our new ‘prophet’ to judge, I should think,” said one Pharisee maliciously, wrinkling his nose in contempt at the woman before him. A bloodthirsty crowd paraded the adulteress into the presence of Jesus, who was in the middle of a teaching. By now, the woman was preparing herself for the pain of a humiliating death, likely by stoning. Jesus looked at the woman with compassion and turned to the leaders to hear their judgment.

“This woman has been caught in adultery. You know what the Law requires. What would you have us do?” one leader asked, lifting the woman by the hair, for she had been hiding her face in the dirt, identifying with it in her shame. The woman could not bear to meet the gaze of the Teacher, the Prophet that some rumored to be the Messiah. She closed her eyes in utter despair, tears still streaming down her dusty cheeks.

Wordlessly, Jesus came close, bent down and scrawled something in the dirt.

“What is that supposed to mean?” cried the leaders angrily, as the woman opened her eyes and read the message. She could not read, but somehow He had opened her eyes to recognize this one word. What looked like meaningless scribbles in the dirt to others who looked on, was a message meant for the eyes of one woman alone, the word: Emmanuel. God with us. What could this mean? New tears filled her eyes, this time of a wild, inexplicable hope.

As it seemed Jesus was not going to respond, the Pharisees pressed him again. “This is nonsense, you are playing in the dirt like a child. What would you have us do with her?”

Jesus smiled at the woman and then stood with the authority of a great Prophet, or perhaps something more. “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone!”

There was not one face turned towards the shameful scene that was unmarred by the ravages of grace. Again, Jesus stooped down and wrote another message on the dirt to the woman – what looked again like meaningless lines to the stunned crowd. But as clear as the bruises on her body from this fateful day, the words revealed themselves in the woman’s mind: I AM.

Suddenly both afraid and relieved, confused and confirmed, the woman threw her face back into the dust in a gesture of worship before Jesus. Jesus took hold of one of her hands and looked towards the crowd – but they had dispersed like feathers in the wind. Sobs were wrecking the woman’s body and heart. She was at the mercy of the only righteous Judge, the Great I AM.

She knew in her heart that she deserved death. Yet even if she managed to escape condemnation, could anyone possibly love her now? Her husband had not filled the gaping hole of longing in her to intimately know and be known, love and be loved. Every grasp at human affection had been tainted by unmet longings. It was why she had an affair in the first place (and only after a prolonged attempt to restore the spark that once existed between she and her husband.)

Perhaps if she ran off now in secret to another town, where no one knew or expected anything of her, she could be moderately happy. Perhaps given another chance in another lover’s arms, the longing in her heart could be satisfied. Men had not proved themselves capable of real love thus far. Maybe she was looking in the wrong places. Women, after all, had always been her solace, had always allured her with their beauty . . . in the arms of a woman, there could be mutual comfort and understanding, an intimacy so wonderful and —

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

The woman jolted out of her brooding thoughts. She still did not dare lift her eyes. “No one, sir,” she whispered in quiet astonishment.

“Daughter, look at me,” The woman rose to her knees. It was some minutes before she could bear to look at Him, but when at last she dared to do so, her desperation and shame were again met with Love in the eyes of the Teacher. “I don’t condemn you either,” He said, smiling with blessed assurance. “Now go and leave your life of sin.”

Hiding and Wholeness

At the time, it felt like I was trying to get God’s attention, but now I know it was the other way around.¬†I was taking a long walk in my neighborhood in the budding days of early spring, 2016. As is common for me, I was restless, wanting to go deeper in my relationships with my friends, yet not knowing how. Long have I had a tendency to idolize friendships. Simultaneously,¬†I have often felt unsatisfied¬†and discontent in the guarded vulnerability and brevity of commitment I have found there.

From the time when I was little and preferred sad movies like¬†The Fox and the Hound¬†to the princess movies other girls my age would fawn over, I began to feel¬†isolated. The forbidden friendship between Todd and Copper in¬†The Fox and the Hound¬†spoke to a longing in me much more than romances between¬†Befox-and-the-hound-2lle and the beast, Prince Eric and Ariel, Cinderella and her Prince Charming. In fact, I resented those romantic relationships, because each of those pulled the main character away from their friends. I didn’t know why this made me so upset.¬†My little heart didn’t even know I was hiding anything.

For the longest time, I stuffed all of the pain and confusion into a confined space in my mind, where occasionally I would hear it crying and pounding on the door trying to get out of the cell to which I had condemned it. I heard the pain weeping again, during that long neighborhood walk.

It’s time to unlock the door and let this part of your heart be heard.

fox-and-hound-3I felt the inaudible whisper in my soul. Interestingly, I felt a thrill of excitement, of adventure calling me. I felt ready. I simultaneously felt a whirlwind of fear and uncertainty. Was this some semi-conscious manipulative scheme I was formulating to attract compassion and comfort and deeper friendships? Was this really something I needed to bring up? I began to doubt my own motives.

But sometimes, you can’t wait until you have full confidence in your own completely pure motives. Sometimes you can’t want something completely before taking steps to explore it. Sometimes you can’t want to let go of addictions¬†before trying to do it¬†anyway. If I chose not to move forward in my warring motives, a part of my own humanity would¬†have remained ignored¬†until I reached a boiling point.

Back then, I was safer.

Now, I am in danger.

Then, my heart was incomplete.

Now, my whole heart is being allowed a chance to speak.

I’m allowing myself to fully experience a tension similar to what Tod and Copper experienced in their chaotic friendship.

fox-and-hound-1I thought by locking a part of my heart in a cell, I was doing my duty in restraining a monster. In actuality, I was ignoring a very sad, tender, isolated part of myself. I have come to embrace this part of me with simultaneous love, understanding, and grief.

Whatever you are hiding, Satan and yourself are going to tag team against you, telling you that it is not necessary to bring those things to light.

They’re right. It is not necessary to acknowledge the real, vulnerable areas of your heart. That is because¬†there¬†will be a time when the things you hide will come to light whether you want them to or not.

It is your choice: to confront your own heart or to wait until your heart confronts you.

I see you now, heart, in your desperation. I see your scared hound dog¬†of a self wanting something that seems for all the world to be good, but, like the song says above: “if only the world wouldn’t get in the way.” And I’ll add to that the more important aspect – if only God wouldn’t get in the way.

At this point, perhaps you’ve guessed it. But maybe you have not, in which case here is the big reveal:

For one year I have wrestled with God and with this part of myself.

I am going to define the identifier before saying the term, to minimize confusion.

I am holistically attracted (emotionally, socially, sexually) to women. As of right now, I experience nearly an exclusive attraction to the same sex. My feelings have been as such for at least ten years, but for those ten years I denied my feelings any expression, thereby denying any sexual or romantic longings in their entirety. Can you perhaps see how this was unhealthy?

Thus, at twenty-four years old, I have gone through those intense and inexplicable and chaotic and painful hormonal feelings of turmoil that the scientific world likes to call: puberty. The chaos has only been magnified by the fact of where my attractions are directed. The chaos has been magnified even further by the fact that I claim to follow Christ. I say this in all seriousness . . . this internal chaos has been my own personal hell. It has been hell even when, in comparison to most, the responses of friends and family have been overwhelmingly positive and loving.

I can honestly say that I would love to be in a committed, Christ-following, sacrificial, mutually encouraging, physically intimate same-sex relationship. I have a homosexual orientation. I am gay. There we go . . . I’ve said it. That is the identifier to which¬†my last 20+¬†blog posts have alluded.

I am not going to try to defend myself, my feelings, or the term I identify with to you here. I will leave the depth of such questions to face-to-face conversations . . . and I pray you will be kind and courageous enough to have these conversations with me.

However, let me explain why I am publishing this post.

To my gay friends and acquaintances, I am opening this part of my life in hopes that you¬†may be encouraged that you are loved¬†and you are¬†not alone, not¬†by any stretch of the imagination. Nor do you need to be ashamed of this part of who you are, wherever you are in the midst of questioning your sexuality. “Gay” and “Christian” can seem on the surface to be irreconcilable truths. They are not. I am living proof.

To my straight friends and acquaintances, I want to put a face to an “issue”¬†to which you may not have had a personal reference. I guarantee you that I am not the only person you know who is gay, but I might be the only person who has yet spoken to you about it. I want to encourage you to be especially careful with your words and your social media¬†posts in regards to anything LGBT-related. I want to encourage you to be a safe person for your friends wrestling with their sexuality. Safe people listen and empathize and love unconditionally.

To the Christian Church at large, I want to help bring the conversation about sexuality to the surface. Every topic, even and especially the most “uncomfortable”¬†of topics, should be discussed. LGBT people, like every other person in the world, need their stories to be heard.

To myself, I just don’t want to hide anymore.

In a world that is encouraged to “come out” in countless ways and a Christian tradition¬†that is encouraged to “conceal, don’t feel” in just as numerous ways . . .

It has become essential to see the real faces of the real people who all of this is affecting.

We must humanize the political rhetoric of the LGBT world, particularly in the Church. People’s lives are at stake.

I am passionate about this. I am sick-literally nauseous when I think about it-of hearing stories of people who are created in the image of God and who should be treated as such being demonized, ostracized from churches, and in extreme cases committing suicide simply because they have so bravely chosen to bring to light something that is a part of them: same-sex attraction.¬†Guess what? Gay people who are in gay relationships are also still human. There are much worse things I can think of than living in a loving and committed same-sex relationship. Can’t you?

Forgive my soapbox. I know people who have been severely harmed by the Church in this way.

If you want to know how I’ve personally chosen to live with this truth, you’re going to have to wait, because I don’t even know.

Meanwhile, how can you tell me you love me? Invite my story into yours. I welcome questions about where I am on the journey, but I ask you to respect my response . . . there may be stretches of time when I do not want to talk. There may be a whole day when all I can do is cry. A week may pass where all I want to do is answer your questions. I will tell you what I need, but only if you ask me what I need.

One lie I struggle not to believe is that I am “destined for loneliness” and that I will never have committed lifelong relationships in my life. This is not just a gay problem (though it definitely is exaggerated by this fact) but a fear of many single people as well. From my observations and my own personal experience, Christian singles (particularly of the same sex) tend to form their own little tribes of single support groups. But is that all we really need? As a gay single Christian, I seriously wonder if I will ever have a family. Part of this longing can be met by entering into the ordinary chaotic lives of my married friends…the errand-running, the screaming babies, the folding laundry. Unfortunately, the lives of singles and couples/families are often¬†segregated in Christian circles… I can’t help but wonder how much we are all missing. I ponder what it might mean that “God sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). But I digress.

In summary, this is the metaphorical crossroads I have been at all along: will I keep the seemingly reasonable option open of pursuing¬†a mutually loving and committed same-sex relationship or will I vow to remain¬†celibate for the foreseeable future for the sake of God’s will and in some mysterious way, supposedly for the sake of my own flourishing?