My name is Michelle. My aim is to promote liberation and transformation that leads us all toward flourishing. My writing primarily engages LGBTQ inclusion within Christian spaces. I am available to speak, preach and teach, as well as consult with church leaders and groups about engaging inclusion discussions and processes.
The work I do is energized by my own story as a queer Christian.
I am a person who wants to move toward shalom – flourishing at its fullest, the realization of God’s desire for all of creation. Another way of saying this is, I am someone constantly praying, “Our Father in heaven… your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Here’s the good news: The kingdom of heaven has come near! However, there is also pain and suffering, injustice and oppression. The kingdom is already, but it is also not yet. As I feel this tension each day, I groan along with the whole creation, awaiting redemption. Nevertheless, I am most alive and hopeful when I am connected with and contribute to new creation. This is what I mean when I say I am a Christian.
I am also a queer Christian. But those two things – queer and Christian – did not always peacefully exist with each other.
The first time I encountered the story of Jesus, I was 15 and had recently admitted to myself that I was attracted to girls. In the small Southern Baptist church where I “gave my life to Jesus,” the core message I internalized can be summarized like this: In order to be lovable, I must be forgiven for my shameful sin; in order to stay loved, I must not sin again. Shaped by this particular telling of the “biblical” story, I constructed a faith that required I abandon pieces of myself, most especially my sexuality. To be good, to be right, to be faithful, to be saved – I had to not be gay. So I tried not to be gay… for over 15 years.
It wasn’t until my early 30s that I finally admitted I was barely surviving the wounds of all the parts of me I cut off, kept numb and starved. A wise friend encouraged me to wrestle with my sexuality and theology more honestly than I ever had before. For two years I studied, prayed, worked with a therapist, met with my pastor, and processed with trusted friends. In 2013, for the first time, I reconciled my faith and sexuality. All the pieces of me came together – integrated. With that wholeness, also for the first time, came peace. I am flourishing now more than ever before.
I live in California with my wife and three fur babies.