Wm. Blake Spencer

Teaching Elder, Ordained 1986.

Defining Choice

Yes, I am a person who has the freedom to choose.
For it seems choice is a firmly fixed element in our DNA, a topic of human conversation from the beginning of time.

Choices define, always have.  Always will.     

Tommy made a choice.
He chased me home after school most days, yelling at the top of his lungs for the whole neighborhood to hear, “Queer, I’m gonna beat you up!”

I did not choose to be bullied.
I did not choose to have effeminate traits that would cause others to hate me.
I chose instead to remain silent.

I was taught:
“Don’t let him know you are bothered.”
“Take the higher road.”
“Turn your other cheek.”
“Take it like a man.”

Choice advice.
So I became quite skilled in my silence.
It was best, not to let others in.
It was a safe choice, the only choice I thought I had.

So much of life hinges on the choices we make.
Bad choices create consequences.

Good choices birth responsibility.

In Junior High, I chose to go in the door labeled “out,”
a choice that landed me in detention hall.
“We labeled those doors for your safety young man.

Don’t go in the ‘out’ door you could get hurt.
Do you understand me?”

Yes, I’ve learned the dangers of coming out.

“It’s your choice. You’ve made a choice.”
“You have no one to blame but yourself!”

My friend made a choice.
In the storm of shame and blame that comes with being gay, Steve took his own life.

A parent would never choose this for their child.
Yet even at the grave some continue to say, “It’s your choice.”
“You’ve made a choice.”
“You have no one to blame but yourself.”

I did not choose to live with shame,
the force-fed kind that comes when others say you don’t  belong.

“You’re not fit to be a minister!”
Choice words she spoke to put me in my place.

Vote after vote we’ve sought the Holy Grail.
We gain.  We lose.  We argue.  We threaten.
Like Sarah we laugh at what can be.
Like Jacob we wrestle for what is.
Like Ruth we search to belong.
Like Paul we are temporarily blinded.

Along the journey I have chosen to remain silent.
Year after year I have chosen to fit in places, where I do not fit.

Shhhh.  Be quiet and they won’t notice.
And mostly they didn’t.

But many recognized the truth,
and thankfully they continued to love me.
My wife of twenty-two years loves me like no other has. Her love remains unconditional, pure, and real… as does the love of my parents and children, brother and sister and so many friends.
Their love woke me up to God’s voice.

Literally, in the middle of the night, God called out to me:
“Claim your story, use your voice.”

So this is what I HAVE chosen.

I choose to speak.
I choose to live, despite questions, fear, judgment or charges!

I choose to claim the beauty God has planted in me from the beginning of my life.
I choose to acknowledge and to speak my identity.
I am gay.
I am a homosexual.
I am a child of God, loved without condition.
I am man enough, strong enough, wise enough.

Yes, I am a person who has the freedom to choose.
I choose what God has chosen for me.
I choose to live with joy and boldness, laughter and love.

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