Rory Feek Will Host Daughter’s Gay Wedding: ‘I Choose Love’
Rory Feek opens up about some unexpected family circumstances that have really challenged his faith in his new book, Once Upon a Farm. The conservative Christian musician and writer reveals that one of his daughters is an atheist, while another came out to him as a lesbian in 2016.
Feek became an example for Christians everywhere in 2015 and 2016, when his wife and Joey + Rory singing partner, Joey Feek, was fighting a valiant battle with cancer. He documented her ups and downs with rare courage and candor in the year leading up to her death in March of 2016, and wrote a book about their life together called This Life I Live, which also chronicled his own journey from a troubled early life to a stable, happy family life with Joey that centered around their shared faith.
In his new book, Feek reveals that in the days following Joey's death, his second-oldest daughter, Hopie, came out to him, touching off a real crisis of faith. She told him that she and her friend Wendy had actually been dating for a year and were in love. She had carried her secret for so long partly because things had been turbulent enough, and partly out of fear that he would judge her. And in a brutally honest chapter in the new book, Feek admits that's exactly what he did, at first.
"What happened next, I’m not really sure. We talked. We talked for a long time. I said some things I shouldn’t have said," he writes. "Reacting. Trying not to react. The worst of it all, though, was my first reaction. My gut feelings down deep inside ... My conservative Christian faith was the first part of me to judge Hopie. To want to push her away. To withhold love from her. And she could feel it. See it in my eyes. And in that moment we had a conversation without any words."
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Hopie and her older sister, Heidi, were Feek's children from a previous marriage, but Joey raised them as her own when she married their father. (The couple also had a daughter of their own, Indiana, in 2014). Feek says they had wondered over the years about why she was so awkward with boys, even into her 20s, but had never really considered that she might be gay.
"We just kept praying that God would send her the right man, someone who would treat her well and love her for who she is ... And He did," he writes. "Only it wasn’t a man. It’s Wendy. "
Feek says there were many other difficult conversations over the next year-and-a-half, but he slowly came around to the fact that Wendy is a "great person. She’s not kind and good just to Hopie, she’s that way with everyone," he writes, noting that theirs is a "normal relationship."
He has had to "rethink everything I’ve ever thought when it comes to some things" because of Hopie, he admits, but he's come to the realization that "my job is to love her. She gets to make her decisions in life. All of them. I can approve or disapprove, but it’s her life, and she has a right to live it as she chooses."
In fact, Hopie's wedding is slated for sometime around this coming Halloween, and it will take place on the family farm where Joey is buried. "And I'm going to be excited about it," he says. "It will be a special day for someone who is special to me and her someone special. That is all I need to know."
In a blog post titled I Choose Love, Feek reveals that some Christian booksellers who carried This Life I Live have opted not to stock Once Upon a Farm. He believes it's because of the chapter that tells Hopie's story.
"In a different chapter of the new book, I share the story of how my oldest daughter Heidi says she’s an atheist and has no interest in organized religion," he shares. "For some reason, they are fine with that. But the chapter about how my middle daughter Hopie says she’s a Christian, but disagrees with some church doctrine, is somehow unacceptable. That seems so strange to me."
"I get it though, this is tough stuff… because they have their beliefs and want to stand by them. And I want to honor that," he adds. "But honestly, what is it that they would prefer I do? Shun my daughter? Or not share something that we as a family are going through, just because it’s challenging and divisive?"
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