God's love can give everyone freedom the way Rev. Wilson experienced it.
Rev. Wilson has spent a lifetime in this polarized Christian debate on homosexuality. From as far back as Wilson can remember, he’s known two things about himself: he has a natural gift for preaching the gospel, and he is gay.
Wilson grew up in a devoted Christian family. He started directing the choir at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Oakland at age 12. By age 14 he was preaching from the pulpit. As a kid, he knew he was special, and he knew he was different, but he never thought his sexuality was a sin until he was 12 years old, when he heard his minister say, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
By high school, Wilson was tormented by the division between his sexuality and what he was being taught about it. He prayed for deliverance.
“I would say, ‘God, take this away from me. I don’t want to be damned’,” he said.
Preaching quickly became an avenue for Wilson to repress his burgeoning teenage hormones.
“I thought, if I’m this way, you can’t damn me if I preach your gospel and I’m the most knowledgeable on your gospel. I felt I had to compensate to get into heaven,” he said.
Wilson described himself as a sexist and a homophobe in college. He tried to form a ministers’ association on the campus of Howard University but was denied because he wouldn’t allow women. He said it was a sin for women to preach. Eventually, he was overburdened by the weight of his denial.
He remembers sitting alone behind the dormitories for an entire weekend, fasting and reading scripture. He finally came out of the closet to a professor whom he considered a mentor. Wilson said his mentor simply told him that God loved him. Soon after, he started to reinterpret the scriptures, he said, finding love rather than sin. And he embraced the love he found.
“That feeling of God’s love gave me freedom,” he said.
Click here to read the rest of his story from The Berkely Daily Planet.