Vicky Beeching
Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free from Shame
HarperCollinsOne, 2018

ISBN-13: 978-0062439901

 Undivided1

 

"The reason that stories like Beeching’s need to be told is because when you read a story like this, you realise that something like homosexuality is no longer an 'issue'. Seeing it like that makes it too easy for us to distance ourselves from the people in the centre of it. This is about real people with real dreams, hopes and goals for their lives."

Vicky Beeching was the darling of the Christian pop music industry. Her worship songs were sung in churches by literally millions of people. She sold out venues wherever she played, and was a household name in both her native UK and across the Atlantic in the US.

There was just one problem that no one knew: Vicky Beeching was gay.

Her book, Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free from Shame is the story of Beeching’s life, including her childhood through to her teens when she first realised she was attracted to girls instead of boys, through to when she came out in 2014 and her music career collapsed, and her new life since then as an advocate for the LGBTQI community.

Beeching’s story has triggered multiple responses. Millions of Christians abandoned her overnight when she made her dramatic announcement, while many others continued to support her, whether or not they liked the fact that she is gay.

Whatever your view of same-sex orientation, this book is a human story. It is a story of struggle, confusion, marginalisation, hope, love, joy, faith and perseverance.

The reason that stories like Beeching’s need to be told is because when you read a story like this, you realise that something like homosexuality is no longer an “issue”. Seeing it like that makes it too easy for us to distance ourselves from the people in the centre of it. This is about real people with real dreams, hopes and goals for their lives.

Readers hoping for a theological framework for same-sex orientation from someone who has personally struggled with it will not be disappointed either. Over several chapters, Beeching lays out her revised views on what she sees as a Christian interpretation of what the Bible says about homosexuality. She does in a manner that is easy to understand and helps the reader feel her own struggle as she wrestled with the Biblical texts that speak about homosexuality.

This is one of the attractions of this book; it lays out this theological framework alongside Beeching’s own story. Her theological views are not just theory; they are carefully thought through in the context of her own daily struggle. As a result, they allow the reader to see the struggle and angst that same-sex oriented people go through. They make the story relatable. For someone who has always loved God and just wanted to serve Jesus, as Beeching always has, it can help you sympathise with her struggle.

Part of the dilemma facing Beeching from a young age was the belief that her very identity as a same-sex oriented person meant that she was fatally flawed and sinful. And when Beeching talks of being sinful, she doesn’t mean it in the sense that we are all sinful to an extent, but in the sense that she couldn’t be loved by God. Beeching’s issue went to the very essence of what shame is, that debilitating sense that there is something wrong with you and that nothing you do can ever change it.

This is perhaps the most convincing aspect of Beeching’s story. The fact that she tried everything to not be gay, to remove her orientation (including submitting herself to an exorcism), will be enough to convince many readers that this is not something she chose; it is something she struggled with from a very young age. It caused her deep agony until she accepted that her orientation was as natural as heterosexual orientation is to most of humanity.

Listening to Beeching’s story can help us understand why so many same-sex oriented young people commit suicide. It is also why so many Christians who are same-sex oriented feel ostracised by a church that either willingly or through ignorance, doesn’t understand what they are going through.

Beeching knew that when she eventually came out, her music career would be over. What is remarkable about Beeching though is that, despite the rejection she has endured, she still loves God and the church just as much as she has her whole life. She is a woman of remarkable grace; grace which comes out of her deep love for God.

Upon finishing this book, you get a sense that this is by no means the end of the story. Beeching’s new life as a popular spokesperson for the LGBTQI community, including in the church, has already provided an invaluable bridge between evangelical Christianity and the homosexuality “issue”.

If you are a Christian with same-sex orientation, I would recommend this book. It will provide comfort and encouragement as you relate to the story of a woman of strong faith, hope and love. You will see that you are not alone in your own struggle.

And if you are a Christian who is not same-sex oriented but who wants to know more, this book is also for you. Be warned though, what you read in its pages just may change your views on what is such a hot topic for millions of Christians the world over.