My 11 year-old nephew was driving with me in the car two weeks ago. He plugged his mother’s pass-me-down iPhone 5 into the stereo. Periodically looking at one another with smiles, we bobbed our heads in matching rhythm.
He rocked a Justin Bieber snap-back while I waved my hands in the air.
We both adore one another and this is a glimpse into the sweet spot we’ve co-created over the years. We just let one another be. His child-likeness reminds me how to be genuine, and I give him the freedom to be authentic when I enter his world matching his energy.
In between Toby Mac and Flo Rida, my nephew turned down the music bringing us back to reality. “My mom said that you might marry a man. Is that true?” he asked me.
Advocating for the inclusion of all people-and all versions of love-I replied with a normalizing, “Yes, I might.”
Learn - Art - Drink
“Can I marry a man, too?” he questioned. Again, with a normalizing tone, and the pressure to aid in the construction of his shame-less worldview, I replied by giving him freedom to be authentic one more time. “You can marry whoever you fall in love with. The trick is to follow your own heart,” I told him.
After he understood that he was free to love whomever activated his heart and body, he turned up the volume, this time with Daft Punk:
“Every body will be dancing and will be doing it right…
If you lose your way tonight
That’s how you know the magic’s right.”
I couldn’t help but think that only when we feel lost are we truly secure. So in the way of losing a safe heterosexist way of life- and an appeasing version of myself to present to the world-do I know that the magic is right. Feeling lost is the course correction that points me home and I know I’m on a spiritual journey (Matthew 10:39).
Daft Punk reminded me of Richard Rohr who penned these words, “People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery.”
A “genuine spiritual experience” is an awakening that feels like the rug has pulled out from underneath your feet. Those proverbial rugs are the pillars of false security by which we name ourselves and rely on for temporal sustenance. While steadfast, pillars of false security keep us from discovering the authenticity inherent to God's creative design.
A hidden sexual identity or calling one another sinners are true pillars of false security. Hiding and judging can surely be the trap of shame, yet the refuge protecting you from ridicule. What a false version of acceptance to which we’ve become accustomed.
When it’s a true spiritual experience we realize what we 'didn't know' about true security- the security that is reinforced from within, not by other's approval. We also don’t know where we’ll land. In these moments, we’re humbled by the mystery of God’s love- the liberating love that perpetually invites authenticity.
What a brilliant way to demonstrate creative authority and unconditional belonging. Makes sense to me. No artist wants to see their masterpiece hanging upside-down or tucked behind protective walls that force its secrecy.
But sometimes you have to dance with an 11 year-old who loves you to death to remember that being intentionally diverse was the sovereign plan all along.
For many Christians my words will sound offensive and flat-out heretical. How can a bisexual uncle talk so openly and comfortably about homosexuality to his 11 year-old nephew? How can a Christian encourage homosexuality?
I know the voices of my critics very well. Their critique of my diversity helped cultivate the shame that spoon-fed me the message, “I am a broken boy.”
But I’ve also lost my way and found the magic that points me toward God, which means I ultimately find myself over and over again.
Self-discovery is never about latching onto pride so that we can feel confident by our performances that keep others happy. Self-discovery is about humbly making peace with our diversity- the diversity that let’s God’s creativity be true, even if it’s knit into our biology, temperament, gender, or emotional cravings (Psalms 139:13).
I wonder, what would happen to our world if we started referring to God by the name of Diversity?
Would we respect others more? Would we then understand freedom and love with more depth than any generation before us? I believe so.
If we could see Diversity as God’s face shinning on this planet we would be less inclined to conform and judge or more connected to the true confidence of ‘I AM' (Exodus 3:14).
This is our work at iAmProject: reshaping the way I AM shines on earth by remembering the basics of God’s creative design. iAmProject is here to reclaim God’s diversity so that we can all love ourselves first, so we can love our neighbor fully.
As a means to launch this brand new baby, iAmProject, we are offering a free launch party on May 7th at the Holiday Theatre on 32nd and Clay. We’ll have a live art demonstration, live music, and a FREE cocktail hour! For more information visit us at ThisIsiAmProject.com.