Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


“Why are some people gay?”

This is a question that remains confusing and unanswered for many. However, answering it satisfactorily will carry us a long way toward finding the harmony in the church that has eluded us for a long time.

The answer in Scripture is clear:

For it was you who formed my inward parts; 

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

There is nothing in Scripture or life that says Psalm 139 belongs to some of us but not others. Each of us is formed by God, whether we are white or black, male or female, gay or straight.

For those of us who are straight, that God made others of us gay can be hard to understand. At times, it can be even harder to accept for those of us who were made gay.

Time and again, when GLBT people share how they came out to themselves, to those they love, and to the world, they speak of an emerging self-awareness that is often grudging because it runs contrary to their own expectations of themselves and their loved ones. We all start out with the cultural presumption that everyone is heterosexual, including ourselves. Realizing and accepting difference from the presumed norm is an amazing and difficult personal journey. A wonderful range of testimony to this experience is available in the book, Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America.

In my own experience, GLBT people often speak the way a college professor friend spoke the other day when she told me at lunch that she knew she was lesbian when she was thirteen years old. In the same vein, my friend Chuck Nichols, who died suddenly last year, spoke of knowing he was different when he was five years old. When he reached adolescence, he realized that the long-recognized difference was that he was gay.

Chuck, a wonderful Christian, used to declare emphatically, “God made me!” For the GLBT faithful I know, this realization and acceptance kindles the gratitude to God expressed in Psalm 139. They know they are fearfully and wonderfully made.


Reverend Janet

4 Responses
  • Donna on April 24, 2010

    From my early teens Isaiah 43:1-7 held a special place in my heart. It was so before I came out, but moreso after.

  • Janet L. Bohren on April 24, 2010

    This is a really nice concise piece about how wonderfully we are ALL made. I like and agree with your interpretation of Psalm 139 and have used your general argument many times in conversations. I am glad to be reminded of this specific reference. I too have friends who knew they were different at an early age of 5 or 6. I wish your arguments above could convince those against full inclusion for ordination in the PC(USA) (my denomination), those against marriage equality and all those who put up barriers for LGBT teens and adults that they are wrong. God’s love covers us all equally. Thank you for all the work you do to support LGBT full and equal rights in the church and society.

  • Janet Edwards on April 24, 2010

    Dear Donna,

    I can completely understand why Isaiah 43:1-7 holds a special place for you and I see the way it has a theme similar to Psalm 139. For those without a Bible near, here are a few of the verses from Isaiah and I hope you seek out the whole passage:

    Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,
    they shall not overwhelm you;
    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
    Bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth–
    everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.

    Deepest thanks for sharing this beautiful passage of assurance with us.

    Peace, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on April 24, 2010

    Dear Janet,

    You are very welcome and back at you with thanks for your effort to stand for God’s love for all!

    I have come to understand that we are not so much engaged in an argument as we are in demonstrating what God is doing among us. Because of the courage and grace of GLBT people like Chuck and Kat, whom I mention above, we are just showing that Psalm 139 and other Bible passages apply to GLBT people. We are giving to people the opportunity to see where they once were blind.

    Convincing is a matter of demonstrating, not arguing, don’t you think? Peace, Janet

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