On Monday at lunch, I was sitting with Breanne and the crew from the Women’s Volleyball house.
Breanne had been telling us through tears how she was pretty sure things were over between her and Lori. “I asked her if she’d come back to Soulfire with me, and she said she’d think about it. She hasn’t called me since.”
Ian approached the table as we consoled Breanne. “Oops, sounds like I’m interrupting some girl talk,” he said.
“No, no, sit with us,” Breanne said, wiping her eyes. “I’ve been wanting to thank you for what you said the other night. That God loves me. I guess I always believed He hated me for being gay.”
“He does love you,” Ian said. “So you’ve been thinking of coming back to another meeting?”
“Does it matter that I’m still attracted to women?” she asked.
“I’m still prone to overeating,” Ian responded, gesturing to his overloaded tray of food with a wink. “Grace means that God meets us where we are at. You don’t heal yourself before you go see the doctor, do you?”
“No, but …”
“Listen, I’m starting a small Bible study in my room on Thursday nights,” Ian said. “Maybe the smaller setting would be more comfortable for you to ask questions.”
Breanne came with Brad and me to the Soulfire meeting the following week. Dwayne Jurgen and Becky Burke led on the topic of loving our neighbor. Drawing from my reading in the Loving Others book, I had plenty to add to the discussion and felt energized and chatty as the meeting ended. A social butterfly, I flitted from Kirsten and her freshman friends to Ewan and Rhys Finley to Breanne and the volleyball team and finally back to Brad. Although I was on clean-up duty with Ian again, I followed Brad outside to continue flirting as we said our goodbyes.
I came back inside to find Ian talking with Becky and Dwayne instead of cleaning up.
“Well I for one am so glad she came back,” Ian said. “She’s really hurting and seeking answers. Where better to find them?”
Becky said, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that she’s seeking God. We just need to be careful about how we handle this.”
“Are you guys talking about Breanne?” I interrupted. “What do you mean, how we handle this?”
Dwayne answered by quoting Scripture, “It’s like what Paul said in 1st Corinthians, not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.”
“Yes, Dwayne,” Ian said, “but I believe that in the very next verse, Paul goes on to clarify that the instruction didn’t apply to unbelievers, but to those who claim to be believers yet still indulge in any sort of sin, not just sex.”
I remembered the verses. “With such people do not even eat,” it went on to say. What would people in CSF think if they knew about my growing addiction to romance novels and online erotica? I’d be shunned for sure. Good thing I’d ignored that little voice urging me to share my struggle with someone. I’d just have to work even harder to break the habit.
“So as long as Breanne is just seeking, we can welcome her to our meetings,” Becky said. “What I’m worried about is what happens next. What if she eventually makes a public confession of faith, but still identifies as a lesbian?”
“Right,” Dwayne said. “Are her motives in coming pure, or is this just some sort of stunt to make CSF look ridiculous?”
“I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves,” Ian said. “We have to trust the Holy Spirit.”
“Yeah, let God do his work so we can do ours and get out of here,” I said, picking up a chair to stack. The whole conversation made me uncomfortable.
Brad, Breanne and I were the only ones to show up to the Bible study in Ian’s room Thursday night.
Breanne came armed with a list of questions and articles printed from pro-gay websites. “Weren’t David and Jonathan gay?” she challenged.
“It’s a common question. Let’s dig into the text and see what we can find out,” Ian said.
We looked up and read aloud and discussed related passages out of First and Second Samuel.
“’I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women,’” Brad read. “Sounds pretty gay to me.”
“It does to me too,” I admitted. “But I wonder if that is just because we’re hearing it differently with modern ears?”
I expected Ian to jump in with the correct explanation. Instead, he said, “Thanks for bringing all these materials, Breanne. I think it will be a fascinating topic for the rest of this semester. I’ll dig up more information on the cultural context and what commentators think, and we can keep discussing this next week if it’s all right with everyone else?”