Josh Noblitt

Min­is­ter of So­cial Jus­tice Saint Mark United Methodist Church

GA Voice - - Ga Voice -

When and how did you come out?

I came out dur­ing my first year of sem­i­nary at Emory af­ter a long dis­cern­ment process with my faith, and re­fram­ing the word “gay” for my­self, be­cause it had been used as a deroga­tory term to­ward me grow­ing up.

Once I met other peo­ple of faith who were openly gay and liv­ing lives of in­tegrity and love, and em­braced the term “gay” as a con­nec­tion with an amaz­ing com­mu­nity of peo­ple like me in­stead of a term that was meant to make me feel bad about my­self, the rest was easy. I busted out of the prison that was in my own mind.

How did re­li­gion play a role in you coming out?

I was for­tu­nate to have had a great ex­pe­ri­ence in church grow­ing up. I had lots of men­tors in church who cared about the needs of the poor and op­pressed and taught me that lov­ing God in­volves find­ing out who is op­pressed in any given sit­u­a­tion and mak­ing sure I’m stand­ing on the same side that they are.

In sem­i­nary, I had the op­por­tu­nity to study the orig­i­nal lan­guage that the scrip­tures were writ­ten in, as well as study the evo­lu­tion of Chris­tian thought ... and re­al­ized that the cen­tral mes­sage of lov­ing God, self and neigh­bor was a con­stant, whereas cul­tural norms were con­stantly chang­ing but seemed to be evolv­ing to­ward in­clu­sion of all peo­ple as chil­dren of God.

Once I fi­nally came out of the closet, I felt a huge weight lifted and knew that em­brac­ing all of my­self was in­deed an act of lov­ing God, self and neigh­bor.

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