Vicky Beeching admitted in her recent YouTube interview that we live in a twenty-first century world where you would think that admitting that you are gay or lesbian would be blasé – though that is not the case. After struggling with her sexuality for 35 years, she has finally come to grips with her same-sex attractions and admits that she is gay.
You have to understand that Vicky Beeching’s “coming out” announcement is a big deal. She has been a Christian rock artist with international fame and popularity, particularly in the US and the UK. Coming from a British background, however, she still found a home among American Christians, and Beeching’s songs have been sung in churches all across the USA for the last several years. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology at Oxford University and is strongly committed to her love of God and church.
And in such an atmosphere as the conservative Bible Belt in the United States’ Southeastern region, having a favorite Christian artist such as Vicky Beeching admit her sexuality does not conform to the traditional Christian teaching on the matter is something that just may get Christians to talking about a taboo subject that is a temptation that is “common to man” – just like infidelity, lying, stealing, and drunkenness are temptations for many.
There are a few things that we can take away from Vicky Beeching’s announcement, however.
Christians are not invincible to sexual temptation
Growing up in the Bible Belt as a semi-conservative Christian (I say semi-conservative because I disagree with the conservative stance on women being denied the right to be pastors, or teachings that exclude women from preaching in church pulpits or leading pastoral and church-wide teaching ministries), I was taught a similar message to that of Vicky Beeching: homosexuality is one of the worst sins in the Bible, and that the only way to handle it is to “pray it away,” to ask God to take away one’s desire for same-sex attractions.
There are a number of Christians who have written posts about Beeching since she made her announcement just a few short days ago, but there is one thing that can be taken from it: Christians struggle with the same temptations (including sexual ones) as those who are not Christian. In this sense, humanity is truly of one blood – and Christians can check the apostle Paul’s words in Acts 17 about all of humanity coming from Adam and Eve.
The focus should be Vicky Beeching and Christians who struggle, not the Bible
I realize that this section may actually get me thrown under a church, but it’s true: in times like these, when a Christian believer comes forward and says, “I’m gay” or “I’m homosexual,” the first thing conservative Christians do is turn to the Bible. A new post on Vicky Beeching’s announcement spends 80% of its time defending the Bible and what traditional Bible doctrine says.
Unfortunately, the Bible, while important to the debate regarding the announcement of a Christian believer, is not what is most important here. Instead, the focus should be on Vicky Beeching, her struggle to understand herself, her 22-year struggle with her sexuality, and how she felt as though the only way to live with herself was to come clean and admit her same-sex attractions.
Beeching made her announcement public in order to be a voice for those who are both Christian and have same-sex attractions. She wants to give a voice to those individuals who are worshipping in our churches, leading our praise teams, singing in our choirs, writing our church hymns, playing instruments in our churches every Sunday, who also struggle with same-sex attractions and are afraid to come forward for fear of how they will be perceived and received.
Her stepping forward is a sign that there are more hurting souls within the Christian church than the church has ever known. Instead of pointing to the Bible and condemning her same-sex attractions, we should first realize that same-sex attractions affect more people than Vicky Beeching. She is not the first, nor will she be the last.
For conservative Christians who hold to the Bible as their source of authority, please keep in mind that Jesus’ first words to the woman caught in the act of adultery in John’s Gospel were not “let’s get you straight about your fornicating relationship and your five failed marriages”; instead, Jesus talked to her as a human person about human things, and, when the time came for her to admit her sin, Jesus inquired about her husband instead of pointing a finger at her and quoting the Mosaic Law. He is God and yet, knowing her sin, He did not point it out to her immediately.
Vicky Beeching may feel freedom in admitting her same-sex attractions, but she is hurting because of the last 22 years in which she covered it up. She has been battling this day in and day out, with sleepless nights, fears of being rejected and hated, and despised because of “this thing about her” that would not go away. The last thing we need to do is grab the Bible and start beating her (or anyone who battles same-sex attractions) with it.
Vicky Beeching is a test case for heterosexual and homosexual Christians alike. Even now, there are some in our churches who are battling the same thing – and if we blow off Vicky Beeching and jump straight to the Bible, we will do nothing more than isolate them. Even when a child has done something wrong, he or she needs to know that their parents still love them. Vicky Beeching has struggled with feelings for which she is not guilty: she did not ask for them, did not pray for them, and did not spend time cultivating them. If anything, she has spent time pouring her heart and soul into God’s music to heal others and bring them closer to the One who saves. Should that not count for something in the Christian approach to Beeching’s announcement?
If her work for God does not count for anything, then those who sit and condemn are nothing more than Pharisees who, like the Levitical priests, would rather go and serve at the temple instead of serving the man who had been beaten by thieves and left for dead. The Good Samaritan took time to serve the immediate need; how about us?
This post is not discussing the issue of whether or not Vicky Beeching is wrong according to the traditional view of marriage and sexuality in the Christian Bible. There are lots of posts on that subject, and you can feel free to debate with the writers and commenters all day long if you would like.
In this post, however, I wanted to tackle the subject of Christian compassion, to shed some new light on Beeching’s announcement. Whether you agree with her announcement or not, keep in mind that she has already had to confess this to God, so the Lord knew about her coming out before anyone else – and He has loved her since before she was born, after she was born, and after her announcement. This post is designed to tackle the Christian approach to someone who comes forward and says, “I’ve struggled with such and such sin for so many years.”
Vicky Beeching is broken, but so are we all. If you were in her shoes, battling your sexuality, how would you want someone to respond to you? If there is one thing that the Christian Bible speaks about, it is about compassion and mercy. This does not mean that Christians should turn a blind eye and override their convictions about Romans 1 and other biblical texts – but it does mean that, in response to Vicky Beeching, fellow believers around the world should “hug her” with their comments, prayers, cards, emails, and other correspondences. She is still a believer who loves the Lord, and the Lord has great plans for her future. If she did not love the Lord, she would not have expressed a desire to remain with the Church in the first place.