Sunday, November 1, 2009

Real Open Talk For Life with WJC

“You Cannot Take Everyone with You….”
By: Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Houston, TX

…these were the words that my aunt said to me when I came out to her in December 2004. I had opened up to her because we had become so close since my mother’s transition in the year before and I wanted her to know about the ministry work that I was doing in the GLBT community as well as in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the African American community.
As I tearfully shared my story with her, including some of the painful experiences that I had endured in a relationship with a man who she had known to be a close friend, I remember her saying, “You know that Bible better than I do. So, if you are okay with who you are and you believe that God is okay, then I am okay. But, you have to know that you will not be able to take everyone with you on this journey. Everyone will just not understand.”

In Nehemiah 2 beginning at verse 11, the prophet begins to share with the reader his return path to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and to redeem his people. He specifically states in verse 12, “I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

There are times in our lives as leaders of the civic and political community, spiritual community and even as leaders in our family when God speaks a vision to us that gives directions, that when followed, will promote health and healing for a target audience. Due to our compassion for the audience and our excitement about hearing from God, we often rush to share this vision with others before we are even clear on the steps that are to be taken in order for the vision to be fulfilled. I have experienced this personally as I have far too soon shared visions with people who probably meant well for me but could not handle what God was giving me in that moment. I found that in those moments, those people had no words of wisdom or encouragement for me. Some even violated the vision by sharing it with others in a way that was far from what God gave me.

My prayer is that everyone who reads this article, particularly those of you who are visionary leaders, will seek God for a healthy support system that will provide listening ears, words of wisdom, comfort and accountability. It is because of my personal support system that I thrive today.

Since that December day when my aunt spoke those words to me we really haven’t discussed my sexuality anymore. However, she supports me with her presence, her prayers and her 7-up pound cakes every step of the way. For these actions of love and support, I am grateful.

Whether you are a pastor, community advocate, partner, parent or the responsible one in the family that everyone seeks out to solve the family madness, when God gives you an assignment always be clear on the following:

Ø Who am I supposed to share this vision with?
Ø When am I supposed to share the vision with the intended hearer?
Ø How am I supposed to share the vision with the intended hearer?
Ø Does the hearer have a role in helping the vision become reality, if so, what is that role?

Until next week…ROTFL with WJC!

Please contact me at for further discussion.

Today’s article is dedicated to my Circle of Support: Boyce, Ronald, Vallen, Gary, Kevin, Deneen, Fran, Jeffery, John, CJ, Drake, Amber, Cedric, Paul and Terry…you each make me better!

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