Scott Williamson is one of the most positive individuals I have ever met. His amazing ability to see the glass half full is unparalleled and makes him well-liked by anyone who knows him.
Despite some less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding his life, Scott remains upbeat and committed to his favorite verse of Scripture which says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Scott grew up in Clarkston, Michigan with his parents and two older sisters. They attended a Church of Christ where his father eventually became a deacon and served on the Board of Elders.
Scott's journey in reconciling his faith and sexuality began while he was a student at David Lipscomb University. Scott loved his college years. While Lipscomb wasn't exactly an affirming college for GLBT students, he loved the fact that he was taught to look at the Bible critically.
According to Scott, "They want you to explore your faith, to question it, so that it no longer would be your family's faith, but your own. I loved it!"
So Scott began searching for a deeper faith. He met with professors, he asked questions, and he immersed himself in study. Oftentimes that meant he looked to the original Greek and Hebrew words of Scripture and most importantly, their context. He soon realized that not only could he apply this research method to verses about Christ and salvation, but he could also apply them to the verses of Scripture that been used to condemn him and his sexuality.
While Scott was still a student, and despite this new insight, he still felt if he could find the right Church of Christ girl, his feelings for men would eventually disappear. So he developed a relationship with a girl and was engaged for two and half years. When he graduated, he moved back to Michigan and found a job while his fiancĂ© finished her last semester at Lipscomb.
During that last semester, she fell in love with another man and mailed the ring back to Scott in a big box uninsured. Thinking it was a big care package from his fiancĂ©, everyone at work gathered around him as he opened it. It didn't take long for those gathered to realize the unfortunate news ahead. According to Scott, "To this day, my father says I am gay because of the hurt she brought into my life."
Shortly thereafter, Scott's parents retired and moved to Kentucky. Scott came with them and found a job as a teacher at a Christian school.
"Of course, the biggest problem about living in a small town in Kentucky is that as a young single man, everyone in town who knew anyone single brought them over to Mr. Williamson's class," says Scott. But Scott threw himself into his faith and became completely uninterested in dating anyone.
At that time, Scott was not out to his family. However, at night, since his parents had a computer, he would go to their home and chat with people on line.
"One night, I didn't log off from a session, and my Mom came in and started chatting with the same guy I had been chatting with...so, at the age of 27, I was outted. It was the best and the worst day of my life. I kept hoping I could come up with a lie of some kind, but before I knew it, out came the words, 'Yes, I'm gay,' and I immediately tried to shove those words back in my mouth. My mom cried. My dad was gagging like he was going to throw up."
The emotional level of his father escalated to the point that his mother had to ask him to leave.
"I went back home and laid on the floor in the fetal position and cried hysterically for hours. The one saving grace was my cat Nixon who never left my side."
In the process of trying to understand their gay son, Scott's parents reacted very differently.
"My mom asked a lot of great questions in the beginning but seemed more concerned how others would treat me and how rough my life could be. My father has a tendency to ignore what he doesn't agree with. So for years, he would point out a variety of attractive women."
Following this, Scott again began to turn to the Scriptures for strength. He went back to his college days of looking at the original Greek and Hebrew words and what they meant in that context. He also found www.ChristianGays.com.
According to Scott, "I affectionately refer to the woman who runs it as 'momma.' She is the one who really showed me that even though I am gay, I can still have a relationship with Christ, that I can still love God. I see my sexuality as part of who God made me to be. I never saw it as a gift, but now I accept it and embrace it. Who I am, my whole being, is a gift from God...not just part of me."
In early 2007, Scott and his partner Brian moved to Nashville so Scott could begin his job as a guide at Belle Meade Plantation. In September of that same year, Scott had a life-altering surgery. Since birth, he only had partial hearing in his left ear. Scott could hear high pitches and low pitches. But common, everyday sounds like the human voice, or music were not heard.
Brian felt it would be a good idea if Scott's parents were here for the surgery. So he put them up in a hotel without their knowledge of his good deed. The visit was going well. Everyone was laughing and having a great time.
However, as Scott was coming out of the anesthesia, he could tell his father was having a violent reaction, but had no idea what could be causing it and due to the anesthesia could do nothing about it. Later he found out the reason. Brian had been holding Scott's feet as he was coming out of anesthesia. His father felt they were "flaunting their sexuality in front of him." It was "sick," "disgusting," and they were going to hell because of it. Scott's father became so enraged that he threw Brian into a near-by curtain.
The anger Scott's father felt had apparently been building because what set him off was the fact that on the way to surgery, Brian hugged Scott, again, "flaunting" their sexuality in front of him. Scott also hugged his niece and parents. But there was apparently no sexuality flaunted there.
Scott's parents were so upset they said he and Brian were no longer welcome in their house. Brian responded with "I share this house with Scott, and you are no longer welcome here either." Later, Brian regretted saying those words.
"On the way out of the hospital, my father turns to me, pointed his finger, shaking like a leaf, eyes glassed over and said, 'You are going to hell. You know you are going to hell!' and he left. Those are the last words he has spoken to me," says Scott.
This Christmas, Scott and Brian were not invited to Scott's parents. However, Scott's oldest sister did invite them over. According to Scott, "My oldest sister doesn't agree with my 'lifestyle,' whatever that is supposed to mean, but she says Brian and I have always been respectful and we could come to their house for Christmas."
Fearing any further backlash from the parents, they opted to remain in Nashville. True to form, his sister did receive some flack from the parents, but she responded with, "Scott is my brother and I love him no matter what."
Since then Scott has offered to sit down with his parents to look at the Scriptures together.
"Come with your questions, I'll come with mine. We can look at it all together," he says.
They refuse. They say he will only "twist" the Bible to mean something else. Of course, the Bible can be twisted in more ways than one.
Despite the negativity surrounding Scott, he remains positive. He says, "I still love my parents. I respect them for their interpretation of the Bible because that is exactly what I want from them. That is the core of Christianity. Our job is not to change people's hearts. That is God's. Our job is to shine the light of Christ and love people where they are. Jesus takes us right where we are, but He also loves us enough to not leave us there."
"I know they may never come to a point of acceptance, but God will still have a blessing in it for me. My job is to continue loving them. I have to let go and let God love them...and that always works out for the good," says Scott.
As Scott recovered from surgery, he was anxious to return to Holy Trinity Community Church where he is a member. Think about it. Since birth, Scott had never heard music in stereo, the way most of us hear it every day. Never before had Scott heard the full force of congregational singing. The day would prove to be a memorable one.
"I wish there were words to describe what I felt that first Sunday back in church. I literally cried through the entire service! It was like seeing everything in black and white your entire life and all of a sudden seeing everything in Technicolor. It was then that I realized my hearing loss had been a huge blessing. Had I always heard out of my left ear, I would have never had that moment...and I think that moment was a small glimpse of heaven."
I think Scott Williamson has set a standard that many of us, gay or not, Christian or not, would do well to strive to attain. He has a beautiful ability to see the silver lining in the midst of some frustrating and intimidating black clouds. Scott truly lives with the confidence of knowing God will give him a prosperous hope and future no matter what.
by Allen McAllister
posted 02/01/2008 in "Out & About Newspaper"
Used With Permission