“What man doesn’t wonder about what it would be like to have sex with a man?” While dining at Cracker Barrel late one night, I asked the question of a friend. Before I could even begin to muse about my own question, Don Fulton looked at me in my eyes and declared, “I’m gay.” In the revelation of the moment, we found a joint love of God that we had never experienced before. In the darkness of the night, we were both afraid. Anyone who was a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary knew the consequences of questioning the demanded sexual orthodoxy, but there was something emboldening about knowing that I was no longer alone.
While trying to make it, Don and I supported each other. Consistent questions and sheer determination were our only other allies. Life is both difficult and tragic when you hold such a secret that can destroy the life that you think you want. Though we heard Jesus knocking at the door of our closets, we only cracked it far enough to engage each other. In time, we graduated and learned to open wider the door.
The years have grown us. Through various schoolings and jobs, Don and I have learned to love and respect each other no matter the choices we make. Presently, Don serves as a Captain in the Chaplain Corp of the United States Army. I serve on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest consortium of pacifists in the United States. Don often remains fairly traditional in his theology. I write queer theology and get called radical from every end of the spectrum. Don has rejected the concept of heterosexual marriage for his life. I fell in love with a woman and have five children. We are different…and yet we remain the carriers of a unique common history. When we get together, we have learned to lovingly both push each other and stand with each other in love. When I survey the landscape of my life, I can say without hesitation that my friendship with Don is one of the queerest relationships that I have.
Presently, Don and I have linked back up at the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering. Early this morning, Don looked at me and pondered, “Can you believe we are here?” I had to think for a second. When compared to other denominations, the Alliance of Baptists is a progressive place. Unfortunately, Christian denominations are woefully unprogressive and inadequate to address the various crises in our world. “On some level, I wish we were going to something a little wilder,” I responded. “Maybe us two queers are it,” Don replied.