An Open Letter

Dear Heather,

Your letter was a gift, filled with such genuine kindness and layered with such vulnerability that I wanted to give back so I am writing this letter to you.

The truth is that I do have a fear of Christians. It seems silly to say that aloud when, intellectually, I know there are many good ones in the world but there is such a loud chorus from those who use their faith to deny others the respect and dignity they deserve that it is easy to forget that.

I grew up in Kansas, part of the Bible Belt, a state where people still teach creationism. I was baptized in the Baptist church before I understood what it meant and despite the fact that my parents weren’t particularly religious. In junior high school, I read the Bible cover to cover because I thought I should, because I thought doing so would make me “good” –  though I admit to getting lost with all the begetting. I have family members who are born again Christians and some of them have accepted me and some of them have not. After coming out, there were people who stopped speaking to me and wouldn’t acknowledge Luisa and used religion to justify their response.

In college, I took “Women in the Bible” because I wanted to understand how feminists could be Christians and then took “Christian Scriptures” because I wanted to study the verses that were so often used against people like me.

For most of my life, Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there.

I have seen what has been done in the name of Christianity and, while I know that it is a distortion, every time I meet someone who identifies as a Christian, I become guarded and prepare to defend myself.

When we met in August at BlogHer, I immediately felt a connection to you. It was a brief conversation but we laughed and there was that particular energy that makes you say to yourself, “Yes!” and do a little fist pump. I felt like you were someone I would like to get to know, someone with whom I wanted to work.

I came home and immediately went to check out your blog and the first post I read was one in which you referred to yourself as a Christian and talked about your faith in God. I felt that ominous whisper behind me once more and wondered what this might mean for us. I wondered, “Does she know I’m a lesbian?”, “Is she conservative?”, “How will I find the answers to these questions?” and “What will I do with the answers?”

But I never had to ask the questions because every word exchanged between us, every moment shared since our first meeting made me realize that the way I felt about you when we first met – that was the truth and the fear and worry had nothing to do with you.

Dorothy Allison wrote, “I would rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me.” I think of these words often because I want so much to be seen in all of my complexity. That is one of the reasons I write – to show that I am more than all that society ascribes to me because I identify as a lesbian. Now, this quote makes me think about you too, about the assumptions I made and the fear I felt. We are both shedding the coats the world has made for us and, as we do, there is such beauty in the raw, naked truth.

Of course, this is bigger than both of us. We live in a world in which people make assumptions and judgments about others constantly based simply on race and culture, religion and class, gender expression and sexual preference. With so much anger and frustration in the world, I often wonder how we can build community and create a culture of respect and I always come back to this: sometimes, we do it one person at a time, with honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable.

So, thank you. Thank you for your words and your faith and all that you do in the world.

We are going to do amazing things together.

With love,

Vikki

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121 Responses to An Open Letter
  1. An Open Letter — The EO
    November 9, 2012 | 8:02 am

    […] can read Vikki’s response to me on her blog, Up Popped a Fox} Cancel […]

  2. Heather
    November 9, 2012 | 8:10 am

    well. I cried again.

    thank you, Vikki. just thank you. this is just too big for me to have the right words.

    when you talk about being startled and then turning to see if no one is there. It’s so freaking profound. I used to fear that happening. So I wouldn’t turn around. Even though I grew up with God in my life and always trying to figure out how to be “good”. I wasn’t “good” I was just Heather. Both good and bad like everyone. But I was taught so much about being good, about It being about what you do and don’t do and I knew I could never live up to it so I became afraid and shrunk away for a long time. Shrunk away? that sounds weird. You know what I mean. But then, I broke free of that feeling by way of vulnerability, especially in the rooms of recovery meetings, and I started to feel this gentle presence behind and beside and in front of me. OH, there you are. That’s what it felt like. Like I was seeing the real Thing. And now He is more like a guy sitting in a circle with me and less like a guy in the pew behind me, waiting for me to screw up.

    See? I told you I could go on and on forever. We’ll keep talking. I love it. And you.

    Peace.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 8:32 am

      But let’s get serious here…what’s with all that begetting in the Bible and how did people live to be 300+ years? ;)

  3. GrandeMocha
    November 9, 2012 | 8:25 am

    Sounds like the begining of a beautiful friendship!

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 8:31 am

      I think so.

  4. Shannon
    November 9, 2012 | 8:33 am

    What a lesson we all can learn from the two of you about openness to the hearts of others, and about giving people a chance to surprise you.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 8:37 am

      So very true.

  5. GrandeMocha
    November 9, 2012 | 8:36 am

    I remember asking my CCD (Catholic religious ed) teacher about begetting and she REALLY did not want to discuss it!

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 8:37 am

      It’s a weird word. Begetting makes me laugh.

  6. Alexandra
    November 9, 2012 | 8:41 am

    I always think of Gandhi here: “I love your Christ, but not your Christians.”

    I, to, learned the hard way that being Christian doesn’t mean being kind. I’ve heard people preach on how following Christ means no tolerance for anything that is outside of the written words of the bible. But I’ve met people who have since shown me what I know Jesus would have been like: friend to all, heart open to all that is just and kind.

    Heather is one of those people.

    It’s a sad state when I meet someone, like them so much, and am surprised when I find myself thinking, “Wow. Why can’t everyone be like that?”

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:24 am

      I am a big fan of all those with open hearts.

  7. tracy@sellabitmum
    November 9, 2012 | 8:49 am

    This “For most of my life, Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there.”

    …is so helpful for me to help me explain my feelings to my family..because I’ve never said it right.

    Love yous to pieces. xo

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:25 am

      That line came to me in the shower, proving once again I do my best writing without paper or laptop. I should just stay in the shower all the time.

      Love back to you.

  8. Alison
    November 9, 2012 | 8:56 am

    You and Heather – it’s a friendship meant to be.
    I have the same fear of Christians. For reasons you have explained far more eloquently that I ever could have.
    (wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that several of them have tried to push me headlong into their churches)

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:26 am

      You and I just need to find more of the good ones.

  9. Deb Rox
    November 9, 2012 | 9:02 am

    There is a very gentle peace in here. I feel like you both let us into the cup of your hands as you pass a beautiful book back and forth. Thank you for posting this.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:25 am

      Reverence.

  10. Becky (Princess Mikkimoto)
    November 9, 2012 | 9:12 am

    I’m straight and grew up Jewish and I’m also sort of afraid is Christians. Not the open minded loving ones like Heather and my friend Liz, but the scary close minded full of hate ones.

    Anyway, this is a long winded, nonsensical way to say you’re not alone and welcome to the LTYM family.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:28 am

      As I was writing this, I realized that I have no fear of Jewish people or Muslims which was a powerful realization.

      • Lukayna
        November 11, 2012 | 8:46 pm

        Vikki,

        That’s interesting, because I was about to say that just as there are radical Christians out there full of hate, there are radical, hateful people of multiple religions who are close-minded to people of differing faiths. I don’t think that 9/11 was caused by Muslims who love those who pray differently (or not at all). But, it would dreadfully wrong to ascribe to the entire Muslim community their hatred. It’s something that is easy to get pulled into if you are fearful that your way of life is somehow threatened. I’ve received the similar disgust and derision from militant atheists who can’t fathom how one can be stupid enough to fall for the lie of religion. I’m not saying it’s right or it’s acceptable or anything; I think it’s something that we all have to deal with in our dealings with each other.

        I will come out and say that I too self-identify as Christian and it KILLS me to hear the absolute holier-than-thou attitude of “Christians” who believe that their faith is something they have a right to force on everyone, and that just because a person happens to love someone of the same gender, they are a blight on society and less than human. It makes me wonder if it was worse to be African-American in the pre=Civil Rights and Civil Rights era, or gay right now. The complete disregard for humanity truly upsets me, and I too have had to battle with those fellow Christians who distort Christ’s message of grace and love for all, period.

        I sincerely hope that you and others who have had bad experiences with Christians have the opportunity to meet with Christians who instead of spewing forth hateful messages, instead welcome friendship with you with open arms as a fellow human being deserving of respect and love, without judgment, condemnation, derision or fear.

        I do believe that in the next generation or so, the debate over gay marriage will be one we look back on and say, “My God, what was everyone’s problem? Did people really think that about gay people? What were they so afraid of?” just I and my friends did when we studied the Civil Rights Movement at school.

        I can only control myself and my actions, and I’m happy to know that should my daughter approach me and my husband when she is older and suggest that she believes she is gay, we will love her and help her in any way we can, even if it means kicking someone’s butt that threatens her safety and happiness.

        • Vikki
          November 11, 2012 | 8:57 pm

          Yes to all this and your daughter is lucky to have you :)

  11. TiffanyRom {SITSGirls}
    November 9, 2012 | 9:27 am

    I hope you are a hugger Vickki, cause I am. And, this is my cyber-hug until I can offer the real thing.

    As Heather beautifully said, “I really believe I’m here to know stories and love the people behind them no matter what, always.” <—THAT is my truth as well.

    I want you to know that I voted this week with your rights overshadowing my more conservative fiscal views. Your right to live and love without fear and in full acceptance matters to me more than taxes ever could.

    I know you and Heather will put together an amazing show. I just might have to make the trip out there, cause I am pretty sure the energy in that room will be incredible.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 9:31 am

      Thank you! And I will definitely take hugs.

  12. Val
    November 9, 2012 | 9:32 am

    These posts have me crying. What a beautiful, honest and amazing relationship you guys have built already. It is exactly how friendships should be. Truly all human relationships. Love and respect should always win.

    I have read the paragraph that starts with “Of course this is bigger than both of us” about 20 times in the past few minutes. So true and beautifully written.

    You guys will do great things together.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:08 am

      Thank you Val. It does seem we are off to a good start!

  13. Ann
    November 9, 2012 | 9:34 am

    I’m just overwhelmed. And wearing too much make up.

    And this made me LAUGH

    though I admit to getting lost with all the begetting

    As I said on Heather’s blog–this right here is the world I want to live in. And help create. (Added that last part just now upon further thinking.)

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:12 am

      There had to be a little laughter in there somewhere – begetting seems to call for it. And yes to creating a better world.

  14. Jessica
    November 9, 2012 | 9:42 am

    This, your words and Heather’s words, are what this world should be. I hope that some day, when our children grow up, they read back on this time with shock that there was ever a day that people were not treated with the equality and respect they so deserve.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:13 am

      Our kids will look back on this and say, “That was a thing? Really?” The next generation is going to be amazing.

  15. sarah kajander
    November 9, 2012 | 9:44 am

    this is all sooo good. i am beyond excited. i have been reading her blog for the past couple years…since i found her “my name is heather” post… and yours, well, since the beginning! :)

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:14 am

      Crazy! I think it must be kinda wild to see two bloggers you know meet and share words. Very cool.

  16. Dr. Ding
    November 9, 2012 | 9:54 am

    This was freakin’ sweet.

  17. Elaine A.
    November 9, 2012 | 10:09 am

    “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy”, (hee hee) but I already like you A LOT. Any friend of Heather’s is a friend of mine. And you are going to do great things together. This Southern girl wishes she could beam herself up to see you all at LTYM!

    Also, this letter is amazing and here is my favorite part: “I often wonder how we can build community and create a culture of respect and I always come back to this: sometimes, we do it one person at a time, with honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable.” BOOM!

    Thanks to both of you ladies for these amazing words…

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:15 am

      Great Elaine…now I have Call Me Maybe in my head AGAIN. That is most ear wormy song ever!

  18. Megan
    November 9, 2012 | 10:12 am

    Classy with a “c” and not a “k,” ladies. Beautiful.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:15 am

      Thanks, Megan. And of course classy is with a “C”. “K” is reserved for things like “Kountry”, right?

  19. Lara
    November 9, 2012 | 10:26 am

    Hi Vikki,

    You have no idea how much reading this exchange warms my heart. The idea that we change the world one open heart touching another open heart at a time really resounds with me. And yet, the busy business of life keeps me from putting my open heart out there, sounds like a big excuse actually. You are putting yours out there, boldly, vulnerably, and you are engaging everyone who reads your words in the change that results. That is Amazing (I don’t care what Anthony says.) And courageous. And I love you for it.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:57 am

      You do lots of good in the world Poog and I’m glad that you are in my life. Love you too.

  20. Sherry Carr-Smith
    November 9, 2012 | 10:32 am

    This is a conversation that my husband and I have often, not because either of us identifies as a lesbian, but because we live in a very Christian conservative area of the country. I’m a Christian and he isn’t, but I’m a Heather kind of Christian. Every time he lumps all Christians together as one crazy bunch, I ask if that’s what he thinks of me. Anyway, I love these letters from you and Heather, and I can’t wait to get to know your family better.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:58 am

      I’m glad your husband doesn’t identify as a lesbian. ha. Did you ever watch the L Word. They had a man on there who identified as a lesbian and it was hilarious.

      Anyway…thanks of reading and commenting and for being a Heather kind of Christian.

  21. Jen @ CraftyMisAdventures.com
    November 9, 2012 | 10:39 am

    Heather and Vikki,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I was so impressed/touched by your posts today that I just had to share them on my blog.
    http://www.craftymisadventures.com/2012/11/time-out-for-love.html
    Thank you for setting an example of love and acceptance from your corner of the blogging world. Hugs from my corner.
    Jen @ CraftyMisAdventures.com

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 11:00 am

      Mind? No way. Thank you for sharing them. The more people having this conversation the better.

  22. Trish
    November 9, 2012 | 11:22 am

    Reading the letter to you at first created anxiety but soon turned to avid curiosity, which then turned to admiration, respect and hope.
    Reading your response was like reading about my own story, about my own fear and my rebellion to being swaddled in a coat that isn’t mine and doesn’t fit.
    My heart has grown cold to a ‘loving’ God although I seek that connection. Perhaps this glimpse of love and acceptance that I have now had the pleasure of being exposed to 3 times in just a few months will allow the small crack in my shell to begin healing with light.
    Thank you so much… both of you, for sharing your vulnerability and what I predict will be an amazing friendship.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:59 pm

      In such a flurry of comments, I realized that I didn’t respond to this one because I had to think about it. So, I am coming back to do that.

      I feel honored to have given voice to something that feels like your story and I do hope you can find that healing. I’m still searching too.

  23. Jester Queen
    November 9, 2012 | 11:48 am

    What an awesome dialogue. I apologize for not saying something more significant, but you’ve both left me speechless.

  24. Stephanie Precourt
    November 9, 2012 | 11:51 am

    I needed to read this, hoping it’s similar words a friend or two has for me, too. I think it would be. Thank you.

    Steph

  25. Nichole
    November 9, 2012 | 12:41 pm

    I’m a Christian, and some Christians scare the daylights out of me. I this letter and Heather’s. What a beautiful gift to give one another (and the rest of us).

  26. Meredith
    November 9, 2012 | 12:50 pm

    As a follower of Christ (I much prefer this to “Christian”), and a huge fan of Heather and a huge fan of LOVE in all of its millions of forms, I want to say that Heather has once again given voice to my heart. And the great news is that there are more of us out here- lots and lots more. We’re just quiet. And we’re trying to love like He does. Every once in a while we respond to a blog just so you know we’re out here and we’re listening. Nice to “meet” you Vikki!

    • Another quiet voice
      November 11, 2012 | 8:02 pm

      Yes, there are more of us out here, but some of us aren’t as brave as Heather and Meredith. Some of us are scared of our fellow Christians, and so we are quiet. I’m so sorry I’m not braver. But there are more of us out here who love Jesus, who are trying to find the courage to raise our voices.

      • Vikki
        November 11, 2012 | 9:03 pm

        You know…I think a lot about bravery so something about your comment really struck me. I truly believe that bravery comes in many forms and not everyone can raise their voices. In that way, it is like GLBT people who don’t come out. I don’t judge them or think they are cowards. I am in no place to judge the risks involved. So be kind to yourself. You raised your voice here and that means something to me.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:01 pm

      Thank you for listening and keep on loving.

  27. Robyn
    November 9, 2012 | 12:53 pm

    I read Heather’s letter at my desk over lunch hour, and started to cry. Not just a few tears, but broken sobs of relief from a burden I didn’t even realize I was carrying.

    Sometimes I am so busy fighting for my right to be seen and heard that true kindness and true goodness takes me off guard.

    Vikki, thank you for bringing Heather to the rest of us.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:05 pm

      I can’t speak for Heather (though I suspect she would say something similar) but it was a relief to me to have this conversation with her too.

  28. Galit Breen
    November 9, 2012 | 1:26 pm

    Oh you two are breath taking. Truly. So very proud to call you both Friends. xo

  29. Ellie
    November 9, 2012 | 2:00 pm

    These conversations have me in grateful tears.

    Vicki – you don’t know me but I’m a good friend of Heather’s and I’ve been a big fan of yours since I heard you read your stunning piece at BlogHer12.

    You are right- the two of you are going to do amazing things together.

    You already are.

    Thank you.

    -xoxoxo

    -Ellie

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:06 pm

      Thank you and no worries – people rarely spell my name right ;)

  30. Ellie
    November 9, 2012 | 2:01 pm

    Sorry. I knew your name was spelled Vikki. Hard to type through tears… :*)

  31. Tone
    November 9, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    I am sorry – as a Cristian I want to tell you I’m sorry for all the pain “we” have given you. How deeply we have failed at showing the love of God to everyone – and I’m so sorry you have to feel scared of us (and I understand why you do)

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:07 pm

      No apologies needed. None of us should be held responsible for anything other than our own actions in the world. And, I’ve learned so much from all of this.

  32. Anne
    November 9, 2012 | 2:29 pm

    Oh dear. Luckily I’m not wearing any makeup. This exchange between you and Heather is taking ‘blog reading’ to a whole new level. So moving, so incredibly touching and requiring a lot of breaks for nose-blowing.

    I’m awestruck that the two of you are baring your souls here and feel the privilege in getting to know you Vikki beyond the depth of what I’ve read of your twitter feed.

    I’m also glad to be a witness to this public discussion and overjoyed at what I hope this election proves- that a seismic shift is indeed happening in our national conception of gender and gender roles.

    Because my kids, still in and past college, grew up in NYC, it seemed likely that they and their friends’ attitudes might not be the norm. But maybe they are . To a great extent, they’re gender-blind; in their conception of roles, in their expectations and in their attitudes about anyone’s sexual preference. The most bitter fights we’ve had in this house in the past few years have been over their perception that we’re still mired in the Dark Ages – (Hey my husband is 75.) He occasionally tries to get off the hook with ‘that’s the way guys are’ or I’ve been known to sink to the depths of unconsciousness by suggesting an earlier curfew for a single 20-year old ‘girl’.

    Bringing your own very personal experiences and fears out into the light makes this ‘issue’ so easy to feel, so easy to understand. And airing it all out seems like the best possible recipe for change. Thank you both for your courage to do that so publicly.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:10 pm

      I have to laugh because I am such an utter goofball on twitter and then there is this conversation as well as some of the other pieces I’ve written lately.

      So much of this is generational I believe. I will say that I cannot believe the progress that has been made in my lifetime. I can say without a doubt that I will legally marry my partner someday. My 21 year old self would have never believed it possible.

  33. Anne
    November 9, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    woops… tried to italicize one little phrase : “maybe they are” guess I didn’t do so well with the big stab at code…

  34. erin margolin
    November 9, 2012 | 2:35 pm

    I am even wiping my eyes after reading this exchange. You ladies are the bestest! LOVE and HUGS to new friends and finding each other and opening the door to such wonderful conversations!!!

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 9:10 pm

      Love and hugs back to you. #winewithoutice

  35. Justine
    November 9, 2012 | 2:49 pm

    Vikki, I don’t blame your reservations when you meet a Christian at all – I feel the same way, although like you, I know that they’re not all “that way”.

    Thank you for publishing this beautiful, honest response to Heather’s amazing letter. Right here, you guys are showing us (and not just preaching about) just how this living in harmony thing is done. Bravo.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:08 pm

      Thank you. The response has been so touching.

  36. Ellie Perez
    November 9, 2012 | 3:57 pm

    I found Heather’s letter before reading yours, and I have to agree with EVERYTHING she wrote! I especially resonated with her saying that she’s so caught in the middle…I always feel like this! I’m so glad that I live in a “blue”state and have the right to vote, but it’s almost like I have to do it in secret! If I ever said my true feelings, my fellow Christians would even turn on me for just thinking differently! People hear that I’m Christian and automatically lump me into a category of how I should think and vote, and more importantly, how I should be judging others….its truly sad. I’m so very glad to have read both your blog posts and I’ll be sharing them! They sound like the beginning to a great friendship! Love and hugs to both of you!
    Ellie

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:10 pm

      We all judge. The best we can hope to do is be accountable for it and work through it. Thanks for reading and love back to you.

  37. Love
    November 9, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    vikki…i’m so thankful that you and heather shared this with the world. fills my heart right up and i hope the world takes note. THIS is what life is about. LOVE.

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:11 pm

      Thank you. I do believe that love conquers all.

  38. Playful Karen
    November 9, 2012 | 6:11 pm

    It’s a beautiful thing to be able to hear such solidarity for love and respect and kindness. I also have found myself bracing when I hear someone is “Christian”, or even simply “conservative” — I apply all manner of meaning to those terms that are not necessarily there — and may be just as ‘judgemental’ as the Christians I am bracing against. I thank Heather and Tone for being a stand for love, and I am grateful to you Vikki, that you didn’t turn away from Heather based on her description of her beliefs. LOVE ROCKS!

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:11 pm

      Love DOES rock!

  39. dusty earth mother
    November 9, 2012 | 6:36 pm

    Vikki, I just wrote a really long comment on Heather’s blog which I’m not going to repeat here, but I hope you will read it and feel just a little bit of the love and respect I feel for you. xo

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:11 pm

      I will definitely go read it!

  40. Shosh M
    November 9, 2012 | 7:34 pm

    I can’t breath right after reading this line. The beauty of understanding someone we never thought we needed or wanted to understand floors me. More so, the knowledge that for all the assumptions thrown at US, we sometimes have to take a deep look at our assumptions about others. As you said, “We are both shedding the coats the world has made for us and, as we do, there is such beauty in the raw, naked truth.”

    • Vikki
      November 9, 2012 | 10:12 pm

      Gotta love Dorothy Allison. That quote has always resonated with me.

  41. Amo
    November 9, 2012 | 7:51 pm

    This really is something I’ve needed to hear (or read, I suppose) and an excellent expression of things that have been weighing heavy in my mind for the last couple of years. Thanks to both of you. x

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:47 pm

      I’m glad that we put it out there. As with all these truths that we name when we put them out there, it’s great to know when it means something to someone else.

  42. Brenda Kula-Pruitt
    November 10, 2012 | 12:06 pm

    I just found your blog through She Knows. Your words here are very compelling, and I admit feeling a bit like you have. I am not a lesbian, but have had things happen in my earlier life that made me question those who labeled themselves “Christians.” I like what you said here, and I think I shall attempt to look at life this way. One at a time. Thanks for this.
    Brenda

  43. HouseTalkN
    November 10, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    The letters between you and Heather are so touching. That is the answer to your question. That is where we start to build community.
    Thank you both for these lovely words.
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  44. Stuff I’ve Been Reading
    November 11, 2012 | 6:36 am

    […] from two friends. Heather King wrote a lovely letter to her gay friend Vikki, and Vikki wrote a stunning reply back. It is a joy to me to see friends remembering that issues involve […]

  45. Marta
    November 11, 2012 | 4:29 pm

    It’s strange because I have that same initial fear. When I see in someone’s profile that they list so strongly their religion as the most important part of themselves. When they write about God well it frightens me for some reason. And on some level I suppose I discriminate against them because of it. Because I assume (and one should never assume) that this means they will not like me. Because I have friends who are gay and transgender. Because I drink and I’ve done drugs and I had sex well before I was married. And somehow I just assume they will judge me and judge the people I love and so I judge them first. Except one of my best friends was one of the most religious people I knew. Except he wasn’t in your face about, he wasn’t the people you see on TV picketing abortion clinics and proudly voting yes. He believed in Jesus and God, but never as tools to use against people. And he went to church every Sunday and played the church organ, but he never used his religion as a way to alienate and cast judgement over who was good and who was bad. And so yes you are right you can’t judge people by the coat the world has given them. Because so often you are wrong.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:49 pm

      It is so easy to judge others and we all do it for a host of reasons. Those coats made for us are tricky things.

  46. Karla Archer
    November 11, 2012 | 5:36 pm

    All of this is very beautiful, and I believe in my heart that this exchange between you and Heather has transcended the two of you and is healing a lot of other people as well.

    Thank you.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:49 pm

      I hope so. Thank you.

  47. Sarah Bessey
    November 11, 2012 | 7:46 pm

    Powerful, beautiful, vulnerable. such a gift. Thank you, Vicki – and nice to “meet” you through Heather.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:49 pm

      Nice to meet you too!

  48. Mare
    November 11, 2012 | 8:00 pm

    I’m so sorry the Christian church has hurt you. Christians are not perfect (sometimes not even nice), just forgiven.

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:51 pm

      I’m not sure the Christian church has hurt me as much as shaped me in a way that has made me cautious. I’m one of the lucky ones – I have never felt conflicted about who I am. So, this is the only way I can be and I have to deal with the world as it is. And no, none of us are perfect.

  49. Randi :)
    November 11, 2012 | 8:20 pm

    Thank you (both) for your openness.

    I am a Christ-follower & a true believer that the world would be a profoundly different place if we had close relationships with our “neighbors” (even if that’s geographically far sometimes because of our social media now)……those we agree with & disagree.

    I learn more & more it’s so easy to hate from a distance. So hard to hate up close.

    I don’t know where I stand on these issues…. but I do know where I stand on love & grace so for that reason I can appreciate this conversation.

    Thank you :)

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:53 pm

      I’ve said before that another reason I blog is to be a face for lesbians and lesbian families because I do believe it is harder to hate people that you know. I am willing to put my life out here to be The Lesbian for those who don’t know one or have anyone gay in their lives.

      • Randi :)
        November 11, 2012 | 8:58 pm

        interesting mission.

        you certainly have me thinking.

        I liked that you put “The Lesbian” with capital letters – not sure why but that made me laugh.

  50. Leslie
    November 11, 2012 | 8:37 pm

    Ok…weighing in on the begetting! I think it’s in there to point out that some very real and flawed people were chosen to be in the lineage of Christ, which gives me real hope. :)

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 8:54 pm

      Good answer. Now, can you explain why people lived to be 300+ years old in the Bible? That stumped me too :)

      • Randi :)
        November 11, 2012 | 9:07 pm

        I’m not sure if it’s a serious question or not but I’ll give it a try :)

        prior to the flood (Genesis 6 – 8) the earth’s atmosphere was extremely different than it is now. more dense atmosphere creates way better seasons, climate, diet that would be better suited for longevity before all the geological upheaval caused by the flood.

        when the flood came from waters that God had separated, confined during Creation (Gen 1:2,9) (2 Peter 3:5-6) — it drastically changed the atmosphere & makeup of our skies & earth both. aka the atmosphere emptied itself of the water – that changed everything.

        and that will continue to worsen until all things are put back into their right order & reign under Jesus.

  51. Another Round of Free Writing - Lundie's Life
    November 11, 2012 | 8:59 pm

    […] at her blog The Extrordinary Ordinary, to her friend Vikki, a lesbian woman who writes at her blog Up Popped A Fox. Now THAT’S what I’m talking […]

  52. Krista
    November 11, 2012 | 9:21 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Thank you for this post, and Heathers too. I was raised as a conservative Christian, but I have always struggled with “believers” not loving and accepting everyone. Whenever I disagree with typical conservativism I am looked at with judgemental eyes like I am not as informed or I’m on a slippery slope to hell. Sigh!
    Just want to say thank you for sharing your life through your eyes. It is compelling and encouraging and confirming. And it deeply saddens me to hear your pain that the world and the church have inflicted. For that I’m so sorry.

  53. Chloe Jeffreys
    November 11, 2012 | 9:47 pm

    “I would rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me.”

    I LOVE that. I feel the same way.

    I am a Christian but feel so disenfranchised. It as though my faith has been taken over by an alien force that says it speaks for me, but it does not.

    My faith has nothing whatsoever to do with your sexual behavior, or mine, which I promise you is probably more deviant from any so-called norm that being a lesbian. Just because it is with a man doesn’t mean that other Christians would approve of it anymore than they would approve of yours.

    I don’t know where we got off thinking it is our place to “approve” of anyone anyway. That isn’t the message of the cross by even a large stretch. And I am sorry that others have used the cross to bash you over the head. Honestly, I really think they have no idea what they are doing.

    • Jen
      November 12, 2012 | 2:31 pm

      Chloe,
      “I am a Christian but feel so disenfranchised. It as though my faith has been taken over by an alien force that says it speaks for me, but it does not.”

      Totally true for me, I got contacted by a pollster after the election asking me who I voted for, asked me about the “big evangelical” issues and my personal believes then asked me if I was a Christian and just like that I get lumped into this stereotype that if anyone knew me would know is not me. I love this conversation between Vicky and Heather. It’s high time all of us said “ENOUGH” and just had real conversations with each other, without labels and shame.

  54. Tell Your Story : These Little Waves
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  55. emily
    November 11, 2012 | 11:08 pm

    i want to print this, and read it over and over.. i am heartbroken by those who represent my faith, i am thankful you’ve seen one who doesn’t.. i feel so caught in the middle – it’s scary to step out against the “conservative christian culture” no matter what “side” you are on.. however, i can not align myself with something so blatantly hateful towards God’s children… In Jesus name we are to care for the poor, love our neighbors more than ourselves, seek His Kingdom, and love Him.. i love the lord, deeply – i love the way He has literally rescued me from a pit of despair, and set my feet on level ground.. i HATE that my older sister, can not have those same opportunities within the majority of church settings..while God can work beyond His broken people,I hate, and grieve the misrepresentation.. those who say I love you, but – do not follow God’s word- they have transformed it into something that allows them to stay sheltered in ignorance.. God is love.. We all have areas we fall short, He doesn’t ask us to point them out for others -He asks us to walk closely with Him..
    i 100% believe if Jesus were to return today, we would not find Him at a baptist church, or probably in any culturally christian location. i pray those who have been deeply wounded by the missteps of Christians would find God to be loving, and healing – exactly who He is.. i pray God would drown out the white noise BS taking place, and protect you from the figurative stones being thrown by those claiming to be His people. why He doesn’t just roll back the clouds and strike them down? i have no idea.. i think part of what I am seeing is that He loves us all, including them. His love knows no bounds – has no prerequisites, and really isn’t controlled by our doing..i am so sorry for the wounds you’ve experienced.. i love this letter and will look forward to reading more of your thoughts in the future…

    emily

    • Vikki
      November 11, 2012 | 11:14 pm

      Thank you Emily.

  56. Jennifer
    November 12, 2012 | 1:32 am

    I read the letter you and your friend shared through Jen Hatmakers blog. I am commenting before reading any other comments. I hope they have been positive. I think your letter was AWESOME. I am a Christian. I know that sometimes “my people” {grin} treat anyone we don’t understand or to be honest do not care to understand with fear and/or contempt. I’m sorry about that. I wish I knew why. Sometimes I think it is fear. I’m not sure what the fear is of exactly but I think it is based in fear. Sometimes I just think that Christians think we are better than other people. I’m trying to do better about being loving and kind. Your letter helps remind me to keep trying. Thanks for being transparent.

    • Vikki
      November 12, 2012 | 9:30 pm

      All of the comments here have been supportive. It turns out that I took less of a risk than Heather did.

  57. Mark Allman
    November 12, 2012 | 10:10 am

    “Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there.”

    I hope if my Christianity calls out to someone that when they turn around I am there saying hello.

    • Vikki
      November 12, 2012 | 9:30 pm

      It seems like you will be.

  58. Steph Groutas
    November 12, 2012 | 1:03 pm

    Vikki- Please know you are loved. I’m sorry that the Christians who use their beliefs to defend their judgement are louder than those of us that simply love everyone and long for everyone to know love in their lives. I’m sorry that people who refuse to understand your life actually have the ability to decide whether you get to enjoy the same rights as themselves. Keep writing and keep working to make this world a better place. I’m standing with you.

    • Vikki
      November 12, 2012 | 9:31 pm

      Thank you. It will actually take allies to bring equality. That’s the way it has always worked.

  59. […] stirred up by my friend Heather of the EO’s letter to her lesbian non-Christian friend, and her friend, Vikki’s, gracious letter in return, as well as the responses and repostings I’ve witnessed. 0 /* /* In […]

  60. Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie
    November 13, 2012 | 5:32 pm

    Wow. Tears flowed and flowed and flowed as I read the exchange between you and Heather.

    I have two friends who have come out since graduating from the conservative Christian university we attended together. They were afraid of what we, their friends, would say once they admitted the truth and afraid of being rejected.

    I am proud to say that NOT ONE friend turned away or rebuked them. If anything, we gathered closer to them as they struggled with being ostracized from their families – and we adopted them into our own families.

    There are many, many Christians out there who do accept gay people – not just tolerate them or pretend they aren’t there – but truly accept and love them. I am heartened to see that love displayed between you and Heather in such a public forum.

    Love love love love love this. It does get better.

    • Vikki
      November 14, 2012 | 6:32 am

      I am so happy that your friend had friends like you. Keep being awesome!

  61. Rebecca
    November 14, 2012 | 12:19 am

    I have struggled with this for a few years… when I finally came out of the closet I lost so many friends and it was so disheartening. These women I broke bread with I prayed with I taught Bible Studies with and suddenly I was shunned. Family members stopped letting me be around their children, friends would have nothing to do with me and it really took me a lot of years to come to terms with the fact that their opinion may have changed but His never did He still loved me. So when i was brave enough I wrote this post “And out of the closet came the lesbian that God Loves” I lost a lot of readers on my blog because of it but it is moments like this on the internet when I see such an outpouring of love that I am rejuvenated and hopeful! Thank you for your bravery!

    if you want to read the post I wrote it’s here : http://www.punkerdoos.com/2011/03/and-out-of-closet-came-lesbian-that-god.html

    Thank you again!!!!

    • Vikki
      November 14, 2012 | 6:33 am

      Thank you for sharing your story here and I am glad you are finding peace.

  62. […] wrote Vikki (who happens to be a lesbian) a letter and she wrote back to me. We made it public in hope. We hoped. Well, we hoped to show what a loving conversation can look […]

  63. Heather
    November 14, 2012 | 9:52 pm

    I just wanted to say that I am ‘one of them’, I guess. I’m a conservative Christian. Possibly even Evangelical, though I’ve never been entirely sure who Is and who Isn’t when that word comes into play.

    But even as ‘that’ person…I am love. I have gay family and friends, and I love them. And I want them to be happy, and to have rights, and to not be hurt by the masses, day in and day out. WWJD and all.

    It seems this conversation has helped some people to see that Christians aren’t all the same – we aren’t all shouting and picketing and hate-spewing – and I’m glad for that. But I wanted to say, too, that conservatives aren’t all like that, either. In fact, very few of the ones I’ve ever known ARE like that – it’s just that Those Kind are louder. Most of us make it our business to mind our own business and to just love and we do so quietly – too quietly, perhaps.

    Just as the flag wavers at the gay pride parade attract more attention than the couple at the grocery store, the hate shouters detract from the love[ers]. {lol} We as a society have allowed that to happen. We’ve allowed our media and our politicians and our pastors to divide us, to make us feel that We are Here and They are There, and there is a Great Divide between us…and this saddens me. Because I truly believe that Christian or not, liberal or conservative, we all want mostly the same things. And left on our own, I truly believe we could come together and work it all out.

    Thank you for conversations like this which remind us of that possibility.

  64. Weekend Link Up | This Sisterhood
    November 17, 2012 | 6:02 am

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  65. […] and, while I know that it is a distortion, every time I meet someone who identifies as a Christian, I become guarded and prepare to defend myself.”“Why it’s like they were just making stuff up, scaring people for their own personal […]

  66. Commonplace Links 11/18 « The Nest Egg
    November 18, 2012 | 5:25 pm

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  67. […] Letter #1 and Open Letter #2 about Christians and the LGBT […]

  68. Lori
    November 28, 2012 | 1:32 pm

    Bravo! Just read Heathers leatter and I cried and now read your letter and I am crying. I want to hug you and tell I have the same struggles with the christian community as you do even though I am straight. “For most of my life, Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there.” The cry of my heart is to love Jesus with all of my heart and to obey his command to love others. I hope that when people turn around that I am there with the hug and encouraging smile. Every day my prayer is to be Jesus with skin on to my family and whom ever I come into contact with in person or over the great big world of the web. God bless you and yours!

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