Two weeks ago, if anyone had asked me who is Vicky Beeching, I would have said “I haven’t got a clue”, for such is the sheltered life I live. But recently there have been a number of news reports and Facebook posts concerning this remarkable young Christian women, who recently came out as being gay, having made the point in her “coming out” interview: “I’m gay, God loves me just the way I am“.
Checking Wikipedia, I found that she has managed to combine being a Christian rock musician that has appeared before thousands, notably in America’s Bible belt, with that of being a worship leader in events such as “Spring Harvest”, and these days she is quite often introduced as a theologian, writer and broadcaster, who has made several TV and radio appearances, on several quite different shows. She also posts on social media and has quite a following. I was drawn to write about this lady, not just because of her ability to influence others, especially young Christians, but due to her mostly mainstream Christian views and her interest in community activism and dealing with issues of poverty and social injustice.
I was interested in watching the discussion that took place between influential US anti-gay activist, Pastor Scott Lively, and Vicky Beeching. Scott Lively accused her of giving in to a lie and that she should and could overcome her lesbian inclinations with God’s help. Vicky Beeching retorted, that having had these since she was a child and fought her same sex attraction, spurred on by Christians she respected, including some who wanted her “delivered” from such tendencies, and it has caused her considerable distress (and this was evident in the discussion), she had at last come to accept her sexuality and can now see this as being a good thing and God’s will.
When I threw my hat into the ring 4-5 years ago, to look into the whole subject of homosexuality and how it related to the Christian message, I little realized the developments that would transpire e.g. the legalization of gay marriage and the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in society, to the extent those who don’t accept it are ostracized and deemed homophobic, and while many Christians have resisted these moves many have come to accept them. The pastoral implications that the church has been accused of failing to deal with adequately are much more realised nowadays, and Vicky is but one example of where this needs to apply. I have got to learn about other widely differing perspectives in society and the church, especially the gay perspective that up to then I was largely ignorant.
I have written down many of my thoughts in my book “The Gay Conundrum”, downloadable from this website, but realize every day there are new developments in the culture, especially the conflicts with orthodox Christianity over these issues. Twice in the past week I have taken conservative Christian friends to task for showing signs of a homophobic mentality and majoring on “this sin” rather than others, although in the past I have also challenged liberal friends for being unbiblical in their theology and woolly in their thinking.
I am increasingly finding myself saying when asked my opinion on a controversial subject: “read what I have written and let’s go from there”, and I do so here knowing how easy it is for one’s words to be misconstrued, and misrepresented by those who oppose. I like the Billy Graham quote on Vicky’s Facebook page: “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love” and I feel it to be appropriate here. While if I were to analyse her media contributions, there no doubt will be stuff I would disagree with, also there will be lots I would agree with (for she clearly is a good communicator who has thought deeply about many things and expresses herself well), e.g. what she shared on “Thought for the Day”, regarding homelessness, I found to be particularly helpful.
Besides rejecting feelings of envy when I discovered that more people followed Vicky’s blog than my own, my main reaction was one of compassion and wanting to be protective. While of the many people who have responded to her “coming out”, in discussion forums etc., most have been supportive, there have been some who haven’t. I wonder how her audience in the US Bible belt view her music now, and anticipate a maybe vitriolic, “Christian” inspired, anti-gay backlash. The signs are not favourable, although my guess is she will gain a new audience because of coming out and there will be those who will be glad she did. I wish her well in her intention to remain active in the church and to maintain a lively faith, as well as getting the church thinking about and responding to these issues.
My personal comment, regarding Vicky Beeching coming out, is that I will try to be / do / think / say what God wants me to be / do / think / say, and would urge Vicky and everyone to do the same, for that is what we should do. Like Vicky, I love the church, in spite of its many faults, and feel compassion towards Christians who are gay, but I know too that I have to be “speaking the truth in love“. For example, if pressed on the question “is gay sex sinful”, after having exhausted various caveats, I could not in all conscience answer “No”, which I know from past experience could well give rise to conflict with those who think I should endorse gay relationships.
Even though I believe human sexuality should find its fulfillment in heterosexual marriage or non fulfillment in celibacy, I know my own position has shifted on this matter to being more widely embracing, yet increasingly I realise my own weaknesses and ignorance and my need to know God better. We must love God and our neighbour, gay and straight, with a love that know no limits because it is from God, yet we can / dare not endorse that which God doesn’t.