At the recent inaugural “Explore Deeper” small group meeting, I had an old experience in a new way. I’d come out as a gay person years ago and dealt with all sorts of reactions to that over the years, from those who disassociated from me to being embraced for who I was.
But I realized as we all spoke of our own experiences Thursday night that I was now “coming out” again as a non-believer. Others in the small group spoke of the same process of revealing that aspect of themselves to others, although they might not have seen it as I did, as a coming out process.
But it’s quite similar: it starts with the recognition that we’re different from others. There may be some personal concern as to whether being different in this way is really OK—if it’s safe to tell other people that this is who we are. Then we get more comfortable with our own reality and go out into the world, living our lives as different people in a world that can sometimes be less than welcoming to such a difference. But if we take the risk and share our reality with others—as a group of strangers did last Thursday in that small group meeting—we discover there is a common ground we share, and that there’s plenty to learn from those who’ve traveled the path longer than we have.
Am I speaking about being gay or being someone without a God concept? Well, there’s not much difference between the two, at least in my mind. One way or the other, don’t we all have something to come out about?