Tuesday, 2 September 2014

What Vicky Beeching means to me

Oh look, it's time for my annual blog post! Also, high time I moved that last one down a page, it was getting a little embarrassing stuck there as the first thing people see.

Plus, I have something new to comment on! But we'll get to that soon. First: Vicky Beeching, and what she means to me.

Part of me would like to say that she played a pivotal part in my conversion experience, but this story isn't quite that exciting. Her music, though, has been very popular in the church I have attended for the last four years - and I am pleased to say, continues to be. Many of her lyrics strike deep chords with me; one of her songs even played at our wedding, as we were signing the vows.

More recently, she has been vocal in her support of women bishops, and a subject I have visited a number of occasions here, that of same-sex marriage, and the acceptance of gay Christians within the church. before, one way or another. So, she doesn't know this (and why should she?) but Vicky Beeching is something of a role model to me as I find myself as a Christian woman.

And so I was probably a little more surprised that perhaps I should have been when she was interviewed for the Independent a few weeks ago.

I have debated homosexuality and Christianity at some length - not least with myself - and while some things are less clear-cut than others, one thing I am sure of is that a lot of the gay-hating I've read from (especially American) Christians is not very... well, Christian. Which sort of puts me on the side of gay Christians everywhere by default. The fact that this is now being levelled at one of my favourite Christian musicians and someone who, let's face it, seems like an awesome woman of God not to mention an all-round nice person (at least based on her twittering), just doesn't sit well with me.

But, while I congratulate Vicky (yes, we are on first name terms, at least for the duration of this post) for having the cojones to come out, her doing so did confuse me somewhat.

You see, when I first became a Christian four years ago, God very clearly challenged me about my sexuality, and how I was using and abusing it in various ways. And one of those ways - one which I have not mentioned in this blog up to now - is that for a couple of years prior to that time, I only dated women.

Ok, you at the back, stop looking at me like that. And no, I'm not jumping on Vicky's bandwagon to be an out lesbian Christian because it's cool now; if anything I may be doing the opposite, and this is what slightly bothers me.

God said to me I should not be dating women. Not only that, He gave me the strength to do so (or rather, not to do so), and later gave me a man to love instead.

So why, I ask myself, would He not have given Vicky the ability to turn away from women when she, by her own admission, begged Him to do so? Was I wrong to think God told me that? After all I had no real idea who this God person was at the time, whereas Vicky Beeching... well, she wrote The Wonder Of The Cross, for goodness sake. She is clearly a woman of God.

So then... why? Why do we both get completely opposing answers to very similar questions from the same God?

Well, we didn't. Not really. Truth be told, I'm still attracted to women. If I had to define myself by my sexuality, I would have to say I am bisexual - but I generally choose not to. I'm a married woman, and that is all anyone needs to know about my sexuality. And that leads me to why God told me what He told me; I had to stop dating women in order to date the man who would later become my husband. Maybe as a baby Christian I wrongly took that to mean the homosexuality/bisexuality was always naughty in His sight.

I still know it is wrong for me. I try not to think about women that way; they can tempt me in ways no man can. But I am, and intend to remain, faithful to my husband, because he is the one God planned for me to be with.

I really hope, now that I've got all that off my chest, it doesn't read as if to suggest that somehow Vicky is wrong and can still be 'cured', or to belittle her experience in some way - except in the sense that I hope once the dust settles she doesn't forever get labelled 'gay Christian musician' or something equally lame and can get on with life.

So, what does Vicky Beeching mean to me? Everything she ever did, and then some. That a Godly woman can - and should - be ballsy at times. That not everyone is the same, but everyone is loved. That I still have a lot to learn about God.