When I worked as a youth leader, I had the pleasure of having a few of my youth come out to me. Having the chance to minister to them as a supportive, understanding adult was a blessing and a responsibility I did not take lightly. While it was certainly serious business, their coming out also led to some moments of fun and amusement between us.
I remember one kid in particular, a bisexual kid, who announced a rather interesting theology.
“I’m not half gay and half straight. I’m fully gay and fully straight, like the humanity and divinity of Jesus!” The kid was maybe sixteen years old at the time.
I was impressed (and a little proud) that one of my students had made such a connection between the nature of Christ and their sexual orientation. While I recognize there are some flaws to this logic, I must say that this is an idea I can get behind. As an out bisexual, I’m not half of anything. I’m completely and fully me.
When we think of Jesus’ life, it’s fairly simple to separate the human and humane acts he did from the miracles he performed. Forgiving an adulterous woman? Human. Multiplying loaves and fishes? Miracle. Speaking out for the poor? Human. Walking on water? Miracle. Being killed by the authorities? Human. Overcoming that death in resurrection? Miracle.
It’s very easy to divide things up. My question is: should we?
Jesus wasn’t a wise person who taught us how to best treat each other. He wasn’t a supreme being shrouded in mystery as he walked amongst the people. He was both. He was more. He IS more. We can’t split up the stories and moments of his life as if he kept changing hats.
When Jesus stopped the woman from being stoned, he drew on the ground. Was he thinking? Was he receiving a divine message? We don’t know. When he multiplied the loaves and fishes, he performed a miracle while also teaching the moral lessons of feeding those in need and making a way out of no way.
For being himself—always human and always divine—he was killed. In being himself, in being both if these things, he was resurrected. In being both, he gave us hope and a Savior.
If we can understand this dual nature of Jesus, surely we can understand the dual nature of bisexuals.
My student may have used “fully gay” and “fully straight,” but I’d like to change that to “fully same” and “fully other.” Bisexuals are capable of fully and truly loving those of the same gender and of other genders.
More importantly, that capability doesn’t just disappear based on how we’re dressed, who our friends are, or who we partner with. Just like Jesus, half of our nature doesn’t just go away because some other part of it is easier for someone to identify.
We are our whole selves, able to love in this amazing and special way because we have been blessed in this way. We shouldn’t be split into halves when we’re so great when we’re whole.
When we as individuals and the Church Universal recognize and celebrate bisexuals, we allow a new hope to spring forth.
We allow for new, creative understandings of Scripture and theology (as my student demonstrated). We lift up God’s creations and acknowledge that our savior isn’t an “either/or” God, but an “and” God, a “more” God, an “all” God. We open our hearts and minds to spiritual gifts of love that can further enrich the Church.
When we recognize folks as fully bisexual, we come closer to fully becoming the body of Christ.
When I came out, the first person I told at my church was my youth leader. I was an adult at the time, but our bond was as strong as ever. Her reaction was the most moving response to coming out I’ve ever had, so much so that I’ve saved that email. It was her acceptance of me—all of me—that made me comfortable and confident enough to be out with the rest of the church.
It was her acceptance that ultimately led to the story at the beginning of this post.
If one person celebrating the fullness of bisexuality had that effect, imagine how we could grow if we all did the same.
Image created by Believe Out Loud using photo via flickr user Alvin Trusty; Originally published in September 2015
Presbyterian Church in America