“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
In the last year-and-a-half, I’ve changed a lot. I am no longer who I was.
In the last year-and-a-half I’ve experienced far more of the world than I ever thought possible. Certainly, I still have much more that I need to experience (Burning Man, first tattoo, publishing contract, etc…)
But the things I have experienced, they have irrevocably altered my existence. I can never go back to my old dimensions.
I am changed. So who am I now?
Somebody told me, once, that I would “change the way people see the world.” Apparently, in order to do that, God has to change the way I see the world first. And, boy, is He ever doing that.
I used to avidly argue that I would “never write contemporary.” Sci-fi/fantasy was the “only genre for me.” And, yet, in the last year I have gravitated away from that genre and have been compelled by stories with a contemporary depth and richness to them that matters and is sorely underrated. Stories about suicide, tragedy, romance, cancer, depression, oppression, bias, heartbreak – these are the stories that matter because these are the stories we need. Why? Because humans have an inherent desire to know that they are not alone. And stories like these – stories that so often say what we could never seem to articulate – tell us that we are not alone.
I used to be that person who would tell people struggling with their sexuality that prayer and abstinence are key to spiritual success.
What did I know?
In the last two weeks, though, I’ve learned that there’s more to it than that. It is, truly and deeply, possible to have genuine romantic affection for someone of the same sex. In fact, it really is no different than that feeling of falling love with someone of the opposite sex.
The religious world, though, is so disillusioned to this. They legitimately think that “pray the gay away” is a viable option for someone going through what I and thousands of others like me are going through.
So maybe I’m meant to change the way religious people see my world? Maybe I’m meant to be a catalyst which leads to the stretching of the Church into new dimensions.
That being said, I have a story.
It’s deep and it’s raw and it’s unfiltered and it’ll hurt.
But I truly believe that, if I were to endeavor to fertilize this story, it would blossom into something inevitably magnificent, a monument to both the religious and the secular world of altered perspective – of new dimensions of thought and spirituality.
But the thought terrifies me. Because this story would be my story. It wouldn’t be an objective tale – it would be purely subjective, raw and sewn to the fibers of my soul. How do I write a story where two guys fall in love and eventually kiss and redeem that for both the religious and secular communities? Why is it that religious folks are only okay with talking about the hard things as long as it’s not homosexuality? Why is it that entertainment companies like PureFlix can release stories about atheists and smokers and alcoholics and depression, but they remain silent when it comes to a struggle of identity that has existed since the before the rise of the Roman Empire? Why is it that homosexuality is one of the “untouchable” themes when it comes religious fiction? Why?
I’ve decided I am not satisfied with this. The world needs more than this from us. The LGBT community – or even Christians who struggle with their own identity like myself – need to know that we are not pariahs. We have souls, we have struggles, we have needs, and we need a voice.
I’ve decided that I will push the edge of these man-made boundaries and I will write what matters.
Because that’s what the world needs.
That’s what I need.