You retain the power of life and death in one choice

When I was first coming out to myself as gay (many, many years ago)—before I was telling anyone in my life—I was determined that nothing else in my life would change.

Everything else. Must. Stay. The same.

This was big enough—my realization that I wasn’t just “same-sex attracted, struggling with sin,” but rather a beautiful soul, blessed with a gay orientation, fully loved, supported, and affirmed by God.

And with that realization, coming from fundamentalist Christian communities, I had a lot to prove.

I had to prove:

  • I was the same person I’d always been, and “gay” was always a part of that

  • my being gay didn’t change anything else about me: not my faith, my Christianity, my belief in God, the political views with which I was raised—nothing

  • I could be the “model gay Christian” and live the most exemplary, perfect Christian life as a gay man, thus eventually winning over my fundamentalist and/or otherwise evangelical Christian family and friends, and the entire world of Christendom all together

  • Despite learning this big, new thing about myself that (I would later realize) completely shifted my paradigm of existence and how I understood myself, sexuality, and people, that everything else I “knew” about myself was 100% true and completely unchangeable—which would, of course, support my need to win over everyone in my life and save the global church from itself

NBD (no big deal), right?

After all, I was 24 and knew pretty much everything (all the big Truth stuff, anyway) I needed to know to accomplish this, plus I had an insatiable appetite for continued learning and growth.

That’s a big part of the fundamentalist mindset and culture—the belief that we had absolute Truth, and it was our job to preach it to the masses and save souls from hell. This paradigm carried itself into my gay-affirming Christian faith for a long time, too.

But what of the things I didn’t understand?

My initial transition (forgive the pun) into acceptance of my gayness wasn’t all that welcoming toward transgender or nonbinary folks—terms and people I hadn’t really had any exposure to, but would later feel super uncomfortable about.

Little did I know the Universe had a fun little gender journey waiting for me when it was time…

All this to ask…

How do you respond to things you don’t understand?

Things that make you uncomfortable?

Things you’re not accustomed to?

Things that perhaps go against what you’ve known or understood about life up until this point?

Do you, like most people, avoid “change” at all costs?

There are lots of things that are normal for us as human beings—fear or rejection of change, fear of public speaking, belief in stereotypes that create prejudice and the “-isms”—all because our brain does a great job at creating and retaining short-cuts and default settings based on our experiences, upbringing, close communities, media, and other forms of socialization.

And with every one of these shortcuts and default settings, we have the option to question whether it’s actually supporting us and those around us, or if it’s doing more harm than good.

Am I approaching this thing,
person, topic, idea, quirkiness,
eccentricity, etc., with

judgment

or

curiosity?

When a thought, attitude, or belief is challenged, ask:

Is my current (view, etc.) most expansive, inclusive, and supportive
for the greatest good of all, and harm to none?

Or, when I follow this to its effects, results, and conclusions, are people being
harmed, treated poorly, or marginalized in any way?

Does this create the energy of expansion, or contraction/restriction?

Stanley Maszczak