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USA Soccer Star Abby Wambach Shares That After Childhood Experience in Church, ‘I Chose Myself’

Doyle also shared that she is drawn to Jesus because of his love for the oppressed and vulnerable. “What he did was ask those questions and then gather up those people,” she said, referring to tax collectors and prostitutes, who were the outcasts of Jesus’ society. “And he just ate with them and spoke out for them and he stood between them and those throwing stones at them.”

Wambach said that when she rejected Christianity, she turned to hardcore atheism out of self-preservation, but in reality she was a closet spiritual seeker. At one point after they met, Doyle told Wambach, “It’s interesting to me that you are fighting so hard against something that you don’t believe in.” Wambach said this led her to question why her atheism was “so righteous.” She realized it was because she thought she had to turn to atheism to protect herself. Now she believes she can be open to a God who affirms her sexuality.

Rachel Gilson, another guest who participated in the LGBTQ and the Church Podcast Series, has some experiences in common with Wambach, but came to a different conclusion about her own sexuality. Gilson is the author of “Born Again This Way: Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next.” She shared, “Early on, it was clear to me that the Bible said, ‘No,’ to same-sex lust and sexual relationships. And I’ve since learned Greek and Hebrew, and it turns out, it still says, ‘No.’ But early on, I struggled with, why does God say no to this?”

For Gilson, the answer to this question was not an explanation of God’s will or a set of rules, but Jesus himself. “You can’t only say, ‘No,’” she said. “You have to say ‘Yes.’ Yes to Christ the only strength I know.” 

Gilson also reiterated the importance of community when it comes to obeying what God calls us to do. “I think the number one thing that helped me [resist acting on my attraction to women],” she said, “was that I had a community of people who loved me and loved Jesus.”