Born Again This Way: Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next
By Rachel Gilson
Over the last decade, I’ve read a handful of books containing the testimonies of same-sex attracted Christians and have gained insight, perspective and wisdom from each. Yet, Born Again This Way: Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next took the personal testimony to a completely different level.
The title alone stood out to me because of culture’s response that people are born a certain way yet are entitled to claim their own identity and/or sexuality. But make no mistake – this book is not just another memoir coming from a same-sex attracted born again Christian. It contains much, much, more than that!
Gilson grew up as an academic atheist who began having relationships with other females as a young teen. Her world was shaken upside down when she attended Yale and found a community of Christians who also shared her love of academia. As a new follower of Christ at Yale, she battled the feelings of being attracted to those of her same sex while also striving to live a life rooted in biblical truth. Gilson always valued education and found that when she actively studied God’s Word it would positively change her life – inwardly and outwardly. There were stumbles along the way, as there always is for an imperfect person navigating an imperfect world, but she always found herself coming back to the unconditional love of her heavenly Father. It was a love worth living for, even if it meant dying to her self.
In the beginning of Born Again This Way, Gilson prefaces some of the common themes, messages and questions of those battling same-sex attraction but assures the reader she won’t stop there – she will apply biblical truth to true identity found in Christ while supporting God’s design for human diversity and uniqueness. For me, this was a completely different angle than the previous same-sex attracted testimonies I have read.
For example, Gilson spends an entire chapter discussing sexuality portrayed throughout the Bible. The differentiations between the male and female sex was not accidental and yet, both sexes bear the image of God and when physically brought together through marital unity are the only way to produce another image-bearer (i.e. human, life giving life). Gilson states, “diversity in unity is a major feature of God’s plan for humanity.” (pg.32) This was not a completely new concept to me, but it was the first time I had seen it used to dispute same-sex relationships and it was very thought provoking.
Moreover, Born Again This Way addresses the themes of:
- True love versus romance
- Biblical community
- And more…
“But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for He has promised this and will do what He says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.”1 Corinthians 10:13 (TLB)
Born Again This Way is rooted in biblical truth and is a refreshing memoir for anyone fighting to find their true identity. Whether or not you experience same-sex attraction or have someone in your life who does, there is value in reading this book. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to gain insight and perspective into same-sex attraction while also seeking to grow in their own faith.
SPOILER ALERT: Gilson eventually married a man and together they have a child. She uses 1 Corinthians 10:13 (above) to support her on-going struggle with same-sex identity. The biggest takeaway here is that sin will never disappear in a world that is full of sin, but with Christ, a person has the strength to resist temptation and fight against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12-13). Simply put – you can’t beat the “gay” out a person but with Christ, a person has the freedom, redemption and strength to live the life God originally intended.
God is so good, friend! No one is ever too far gone to be redeemed! Regardless of the sin that attempts to restrain, each person on earth was creating on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose!
Culture loves to excuse human sin and brokenness by affirming a person was born a specific “way.” Whatever that “way” or condition is, culture asserts, determines an individual’s identity and/or sexuality. While there is some truth that certain behaviors are more a result of nature rather than nurture, it does more disservice than assistance to encourage a lifestyle of active and continuous sin.
Over the last decade, I’ve been particularly intrigued by the idea of one’s sexual preference dictating one’s identity. Ever since my brother came “out of the closet” to me in 2011, I’ve taken it upon myself to study, research, learn and understand how someone with my same upbringing and genetics could identify as a homosexual. The wisdom I obtained brought me to this conclusion – my brother’s sinful attractions are no different than my own. The difference is that culture endorses my brother’s identity theft as something that is natural, normal, healthy, and acceptable while my sins are classified as selfishness, pride and narcissism.
It’s been fascinating for me to intentionally study the difference between homosexuality and same-sex attraction all the while witnessing my brother’s life and engaging in conversations with numerous individuals within the LGBT+ community (including those of faith and those without spiritual conviction). It never ceases to amaze me how the struggles these individuals face are so similar and all pinpoint to identity (or one’s lack thereof). Very much like my own sinful struggles, if I don’t expose them to the light and seek repentance from my Heavenly Father, then my sins tend to grow and feed on underlying insecurity. My sins will continue to feast and will only be satisfied when they devour my true identity.
The point here is the heterosexual person is really no different from a person with same-sex attraction because each human being is flawed and bent toward sin. In the LGBT+ community, sexuality defines identity though there is an important difference between those with same-sex attraction and those who identify as homosexual [click here to read my article for more information and an in-depth discussion].
At the end of the day, each human has their own unique story to tell and as a former journalist, I have always had a strong interest in discovering the many stories that make the world go around.