Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We must take sides.

The Novel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Delivered by Elie Wiesel is Oslo on December 10, 1986

And then I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did not know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must takes sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national orders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must--at that moment--become the center of the universe.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Read this...

Click here and read a thoughtful and appropriately challenging post by pF2.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Next year!

I'm usually not a big "new years resolutions" kind of guy, but this year, i think I'm going to give it a shot. While I have several personal goals, certain ones I think are most appropriate for this blog. They are as follows:

- Construct my very own "defense" for my sexuality. A lot of people have done a lot of work on these sorts of things, and I will draw heavily from their work. However, I feel that is important to articulate it for myself since I supposedly have a theological education, AND I feel like there are few resources that explain the issues in a way that will fly for conservative people who take the Bible very seriously (or at least think they do). If I am ever going to be real with my family and many of my old friends, I am going to have to be very sure about what I believe and why I believe it and be able to converse about it in detail.

- Develop friendships with those in the gay community. As of now, most of my interactions with the gay community have been online through blogging or various other means. Wherever I end up with my career, I want to get plugged in with a group of people with whom I can be myself around even if every other social circle puts up barriers.

- Come out to my close friends. If one of these resolutions is to fail it will be this one, yet it's the one I would like to see happen most of all. I suppose that means it's the riskiest one. I have a couple of very close friends with whom I share much of work and life. At this point, I feel like I am being dishonest with them by not letting them know about this HUGE part of my life.

- Fall in love. No, I don't necessarily mean dating or finding someone to spend my life with, etc. I just want to have a major crush of the Jr. High variety. For so long I have denied that part of my being and I find it hard to be vulnerable to love and romance. I want to get past that and encounter someone that makes me giddy and nervous... someone that will occupy my mind incessantly; someone about whom I can imagine lots of crazy things. For once, I want to feel fully human.

Right now, I cannot imagine what life will be like a year from now. So much has to happen between now and then, and it frightens me. I've never felt so clueless in my life, and I guess it's finally time that I practice what I preach and learn to trust the surprising winds of the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

About the previous post

I never paid much attention to this song. I just figured it was another sappy Christmas tear-jerker that everyone wants to hear in or order to get their warm, fuzzy feeling, climaxing at the big flashy high note at the end.

However, it occurred to me that this song is about much more than a romanticized, irrelevant story--and so is Christmas more than that! It's about... the thrill of hope, the breaking in of a new and glorious morn, it's about a God who struggles with us--in all our trials born to be our friend. Jesus was not born to condemn the broken and save the "perfect"--he was born to befriend those who suffer, and to suffer himself: He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Wow.

There are many times I stop believing. Having faith is a constant struggle. But, this year, after sorting through the facts about who I am, I have begun to find great hope in my belief. When I imagine the reign of God, it is not some abstract theological concept that has nothing to do with me. It has very real implications. It's something about which I can vividly dream. It's something I can pray for and it's something I can fight for. It's a phenomenon that, at times like Christmas, I feel has already begun.

Everyone (I think) has a very real struggle--mine happens to be homosexuality. I now believe that until we accept that Christ can redeem and make beautiful whatever keeps us down, we will never know what a "new earth" may look like. May we all march toward that dream and find ourselves thrilled by hope this season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

His law is love and his gospel is peace.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Behold your King.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Biblical marriage" is a farce!

Here's a great article:

Thanks to Scott Jones who mentioned it on his blog.

This makes a great case for two points: the conservative American ideal of "traditional" family is NOT a biblical notion, and it's hermeneutically irresponsible to suggest otherwise AND homosexual relationships are not addressed in scripture.

I think all of these things are pretty obvious to anyone who conducts a level-headed investigation upon the subject. The problem is we're not having this conversation, and can get away with such statements like "The Bible defends marriage between one man and one woman." Really, now? it's time to call BULL SHIT on these kinds of statements--wether you are straight or gay.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Paul Revisited

I realize these sorts of ruminations are boring to the vast majority of readers. However, for those gay Christians wishing keep their faith and remain in the church, I believe it is necessary to forge ahead with new careful and constructive interpretations of scripture. So, let's look at 1 Corinthians 7.

Many Christians, especially baptists and evangelicals, as far as I can tell, are settling on the position that, indeed it's not likely that homosexuals can change their orientation. However, it is still not accepted, and it should be viewed as sinful behavior, just as alcoholism, gluttony, greed, etc... you know... each person's particular vices. (Though, to suggest that someone's hyper-affiinity for chocolate is akin to sexual orientation is absolutely insulting. Anyhoo...)

So: you can't change it, but you can't accept it; it is your cross to bear and you must resist that temptation in order to remain faithful to Christ.

***You know, maybe I'm inclined to agree!

Paul said something similar to this. He said:

“It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” (7:1)

"I wish that all were as I myself am. [single]" (7:7)

"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am." (7:7)

It's pretty evident that Paul believes chastity is best. But, Paul does grant a spirit of limited freedom in sexual conduct, because he says:

But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (7:2)

Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (7:5)

But if they [the unmarried or widows] are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. (7:9)

So, Paul sets a clear standard: remain single. But, he is not at all legalistic about this and offers options in order that everyone can remain pure.

The argument many moderate and conservative church leaders make is this: homosexuals should remain celibate. Paul's statement was this: heterosexuals should remain celibate.

How interesting that we can be on an equal playing field? This tends to clarify the issue. Would heterosexuals be willing to scrutinize--and even deny--their sexuality in the same way they demand of their homosexual sisters and brothers, in order to remain pure?

Paul says they should--the standard is celibacy. Marriage is to preserve purity for the vast majority who would certainly fall into promiscuity without sex in a marital relationship.

So, if straights have the same tough standard as gays, why should straights get a "get out of celibacy free" card while gays are left to deny who they are in spite of the very real possibilities of immorality?

The issue of what to do with homosexuals in the church is not "apples and oranges," we're dealing with the same thing: human sexual tendencies and relationships. Is it possible that the apostle Paul, living in 2008, would be outraged that gays and lesbians are given no options and are virtually set up for moral failure (as is evidenced by all of the gay people who play straight and marry someone of the opposite gender, only to be tempted with cheating on their spouse later on)?

I am convinced, by a conservative reading of this letter of Paul, that we, as gay persons, being honest about our impulses and abilities to control them, should be given the option of living as the sexual beings we were created to be in a way that is positive, godly, moral, pure, and life-affirming.

Please deconstruct this argument in the comments below.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Leave me the hell alone!

Just when I thought I was past the point of any serious set ups with women, my sister-in-law discovers someone who is probably the absolute perfect match... except for she's a woman, of course. So, when I go home for thanksgiving and every force on earth is trying to get us together, how exactly do I react?

"Sorry, I'm not dating right now."? I've been saying that forever and I'm not getting any younger.

"I'm just not the marrying type."? And dash all of my parents' hopes and dreams for more grandchildren?

"No, thanks, I like boys."? Yeah, way to ruin thanksgiving.

I'm probably going to be expected to go no at least one date with her. I can't believe I'm back in this spot. I swore I would never again go through the hell that is dating women... at least those who are strangers who are actually expecting me to want to fuck them.

I'm not at home very often. The only times I ever kinda want things to be generally like they always were is when I go home. I really wish this would go away, I wish people would leave me alone when it comes to setting me up, and I wish I could just be honest about it so these predicaments wouldn't come up in the first place.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby envy?

Do gay men have the same sort of maternal urges as straight women that cause them to want children? You know--baby envy.

I've always wanted to adopt and raise children--though more from a sense of ethical responsibility, living out the gospel and a love for children than anything else. However, today I've been seeing babies with their parents and have felt almost a jealous incompletion. To look into the eyes of such a beautiful little human makes everything else in the world not matter for a moment.

Once today, I even closed my eyes for a second and just imagined laying there with a sleeping baby on my chest and felt a vivid sense of love and self-giving as I rarely can conjure up in my own imagination... Then a friend came by and knocked me out of the trance.

Gosh, how weird is all of this... I rarely get so.. sappy. The shitty thing is that all of that has to wait! It has to wait me deciding to burst out of the closet and get on with life and to do what is right in a world that says to me, "no!".

Today.. I get it. I get why many gay men will marry women in order to have this dream of a family come true. I get why the struggle for marriage is so serious. And I absolutely do not get why anyone would deny someone the right to love and to raise a child.

The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days.
Oh may Thy house be my abode and all my work be praise
There would I find a settled rest where others go and come.
No more a stranger, nor a guestm but like a child at home.

-Isaac Watts

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something freakin' happen already!

I hate how trite this sounds, but I just wish there were someone who would listen!

The closet is killing me at the moment. I know there has to be someone around who can understand but I don't know how to find them because their closet is just as shut as mine.

The church has sort of carved out this whole track my life has been on ever since high school. I have come far, and could go even farther... so long as I continue to fake it.

If I could just have ONE certain affirmation that anyone in my day-to-day life is gay (I do believe lots of folks are, it's just a matter of being sure which ones) with whom I could share support, I would imagine things would be so much easier. If that does not happen, my only hope is to get AWAY to a new place and get into a secular career. The thing that keeps pulling me to stay is that I do have a great love for the people with whom I minister, yet the greatest pain is that they can't help me. They can't even know there's a problem. That is such shit.

I feel like I need something to happen, even if it is drastic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


(Rambling ahead)

I can be such a tool. I'm a tool to the system I'm in, to the people I'm acquainted with, and I'm a tool the very facades I build around myself.  When have I ever really been myself??  ..and I'm not just talking about sexuality. In an effort to avoid sexuality, I've altogether avoided life. Not that I don't think my work counts as life, but here lately I'm been realizing inept I am at networking. I keep very loose ties with folks in the past with whom I was associated. People who could be very important in my life, I keep at arms distance and never really take advantage of those relationships.

I have a few friends who, around me, always seem (for some reason) to be comfortable talking about who they think is gay, and what these people are doing and the crowds they're doing it with. All I can think of is, the closets of these people we're talking about have to be just as deep as mine, so how are they supposedly finding a "crowd"--even if it's still in secret? If it weren't for blogs, I would assume I'm the only homo on the planet!!

It's not like I'm a total loner. I have friends. I like them, and they seem to like me. But the people I spend the most time around, I'm afraid their friendship is played out in front of the background of the very facades I mentioned. 

I feel like I need to just "let loose"... To be free from obligations for a short season... To feel what it's like to live in the moment and explore mere humanity.

Maybe some day that will happen. Or, perhaps I will always be a slave to my work. Most days, this work is very fulfilling, but some days, like today, I just wonder if it really is a flimsy, thin facade.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Tale of Three Churches

Today, I had a particularly acute glimpse of how broad and dysfunctional is the body of the Christ.

Early on Sunday mornings, when I'm on the way to my own church, I often listen to services from a large church in a nearby major city. This church has often been somewhat of an epicenter of Christian fundamentalism. Their services are these tacky, mind-numbing, loud, evangelical-traditional, happy-clappy sorts of things which tend to always amuse me. Anyway, it comes the preachers turn to the mic and then he starts sputtering some arrogant nonsense about what he believes to be hell--which turns out to be a very convenient place to which he can damn all of the people that he and his flock do not care for.

Then I arrived at my church where I spent the rest of the day and most of the evening. While I could go on about the things that annoy me about my own church family, I do love them and they seem to love me. We are an odd and peculiar bunch of folks, all with different problems and different gifts to bring to the table. The thing I love most about this congregation is the absolute lack of pretense in any of the things that we do. Most of us are genuinely concerned for each other and earnestly trying to discern what we are to be doing as a church. I long to fully be a part if this group--to be as transparent with others as many have been with me. I wish I could call for help with my own burden while I'm trying to help others with theirs. I wish I could break the silence of all the people who cannot speak in this congregation, and to unveil the eyes of these people who don't even realize the hurt they allow to happen in their own community.

Then that brings me to the last church that I observed in action today. It was a glimpse of of hope for me--hope for the Church, and for the world. It happens to be a large "gay" church in the same major city as the first church I described. Its worship, which I often watch online, is also loud and rather happy-clappy (relative to other churches in their denomination) with a certain evangelical feel to it. However, it is VASTLY different from the first church I mentioned in that the congregation is mostly gay and they are totally affirming of gays and lesbians and their relationships with each other.

I often watch the services from this church, but the thing that caught my attention in today's service was the baptism of two baby girls who along with a young boy were the children of two gay men. One of the most beautiful pictures I've seen lately was the image of a lesbian pastor standing between two gay men, giving a blessing to them and their young family. Here are three beloved individuals who have been broken and crushed by society, yet have survived to lead a congregation and to raise a family. Here were three living witnesses to the dignity and worth of the redeemed human soul! As soon as the baptism was finished, the congregation sang this beautiful, simple song that was a perfect proclamation of God's love and healing for a broken people:

O tender Mother, hear our prayer,
as we your children gather near.
We offer you our wounded souls,
for your caress can make us whole. (Michael S. Piazza)

Then, at the end of the service, the hundreds of people in the congregation joined hands together to sing a song that Christians all over the globe--gay, straight, conservative, liberal--sang on this day:

"How great is our God.. sing with me, and all will see how great is our God!"

But for some reason, I really believed these people when they proclaimed that when they sing together, the world will see the greatness of God. That greatness is so often clouded by the ones singing it--by hatred, oppression, ridicule, ignorance, and exclusion. I don't believe in much of anything these days, but, for a moment, a group of complete strangers, hands held high, showed me something great to believe in.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Moderate" Christians and the prying friend

It has become incredibly difficult for me to blog lately. It takes such a great deal of energy to really focus on the kinds of things I write about here. Tucking away things that happen during a normal day is burden enough. However, an email from Adam from the blogosphere ( encouraged me to keep going with this. I would also like to give a shout out to Dave ( with whom I have made communication quite a chore. I intend to correct that soon--blessings to you in all the many stressful things that are going on in your life!

I have 2 topics to write about tonight...   a) "Moderate" Christians who ignore and/or reject gays and lesbians and b) a friend who is prying

"Moderate" Christians

Lately, it has been incredibly frustrating hearing both the ignorance and the silence towards gays by those Christians who label themselves "moderate."  Those who talk about it tend to have absolutely no clue other than their own perceptions and biases, and those who don't talk about it would probably affirm us, but they are waiting for some magical "right time."

Yesterday I heard two people with whom I work very closely insist that folks "decide" to become gay because it's a "cool" thing to do. Where the hell is this fairy-tale world that they're living in??? Because I would love to be there! This is one I haven't really heard before, but they were absolutely convinced that it happens. Of course, I had to sit there in silence rather than speak up for myself and the many others whose deep pain and frustration is trivialized and mocked by this safe attitude that homosexuality is some sort of "fad," like crocks or Hannah Montana. I say this is a safe attitude to them, because it depersonalizes the issue and lowers it to a place where one thinks she or he can just tell the person dealing with it to "get over it" and "snap out of it."  When will people realize how bad this hurts, how NOT cool we think it is, and how dehumanizing it is to speak of gays and lesbians in such terms. Loving our neighbor implies that we should not mock them or trivialize their gravest struggles.

The second infuriating statement I heard recently was today and it was made by a gentleman who very much disdains Christian fundamentalists, or "fundies" as he so pejoratively calls them.  This is a man who has spent much of his life fighting for the freedom of the Christian individual and the individual's competency in sorting out spiritual matters for his or her self. This is a man who has fought against institutions who wished for its members all to conform to one particular religious and moral standard.  He would proudly call himself a "moderate" Christian.  But the he also proudly states that he walked out of his church because some members and the pastor (whom he immaturely mocks in the process) were open to gays in leadership positions! Way to go, you old fart! You showed them not to mess with the status quo and you showed them what happens when they do: you'll take your money and run along with a whole bunch of other folks!

I'm sorry, but I have no respect for those who think it's somehow righteous for them to consciously destroy unity in a church because some precious children of God have been led to the conclusion that they can live truly as the person they have created to be--and they can be that person in the church.

Why is it that secular institutions must consistently lead the way in civil rights and equality? How embarassing, and how utterly impotent as a moral and ethical influence is the community who follows Jesus Christ.

I more and more feel led to be an advocate for the many people who who struggle to be heard and acknowledged. I feel like someone needs to breaking the silence and speak out against the complete lack of options given by the Christian "center."  I am sick and tired of the cowardly approach that we should give the issue some time before really staking out a position.

I am torn because I feel that it would be right for me to speak out against these things, yet I am scared silly to loose family, friends, reputation and ministry over it. The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. from his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" should disturb and provoke those people of whom I speak, but actually, it disturbs and provokes me:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

The Friend

I have a very good friend. We both do the same kind of work and we're both damn good at it. We work together on many projects and feed off of each other's contrasting personality types very well. When we're together we come up with some ideas that are almost dangerous.

Today the conversation turned to future career/ministry moves and the issue of my singleness came up. THEN, the question of what to do when someone involved in the hiring process asks, "So, you're not married. Are you gay???" to which I pretty said I would reply, "it's none of your damn business!"

I am nowhere nearly being out to this friend, however, this conversation, coupled with some other remarks he made earlier, along with the very confident answer I gave to his question of what to do in that hypothetical interview situation make me believe that he may be on to me. Should I just bite the bullet and let him know? I do feel somewhat guilty for being not totally honesty about myself with my close friends. But, as I felt before coming out with my one friend who knows, I fear that this would make our friendship awkward, or, worst case scenario, end it.  The difference here is that he is male. I have no kind of romantic or sexual attraction to him IN THE VERY LEAST but I would not want to introduce an 800 pound gorilla to our relationship.

In conclusion, I am mentally exhausted by all of this along with the hum drum of work and school. I yearn for a community who understands me and can accompany me along this way, as I do the same for others. I would be so grateful to hear one person in my world say one thing remotely hopeful about the situation of gays and lesbians. I also long for the courage to be an advocate and support for freedom and acceptance for others in my situation. I am in the same place I have been for several months now in that I simply DO...NOT...KNOW what to do.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ray Boltz

If you know his name, then read this article and you will likely think it is a big deal.

Monday, September 1, 2008


So, now that life is back in high gear, I have less and less time to think about such things as I discuss on this blog. I suppose I'm back where I started--doing my own thing and ignoring my sexuality and hoping the "gay thing" never comes up in a real life conversation.

What's interesting, among those formerly conservative Christians who now call themselves "moderate" is how reluctant they are to bring up homosexuality in a discussion.  These types will debate nearly anything but they don't want to go anywhere near homosexuality.

My best guess as to why this does not happen is because they know where they would land if they actually thought it through.  So, then, why is this so much more difficult to let go of than the myriad of other issues they have come through? (i.e., gender roles, the role of women in ministry, Biblical innerancy, creationism, Republicanism, anti-environmentalism, etc.)

So anyway, I'm sort of in a period of waiting at the moment. My posting has become, and will continue to be, more sporadic as there is just nothing to say at this point.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Matthew Mitcham Wins Gold

I pretty much never get excited about any sports event, but I must say that Matthew Mitcham's win is a great inspiration for anyone who believes normal people who are good at what they do and happen to be proud and open about who they are, can change the world and make it a more life-affirming place for everyone.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"where there is hatred, let me sow love"

(Note to self: NEVER again watch the Olympics with my family.)

DISCLAIMER: This post is an example of the "pissed off" and angry version of me. There will be some foul language utilized. :-)

I've been unusually blog happy in the past couple of days. I blame it on UTTER BOREDOM. I am home with my family this week, which has resulted in way more downtime than I need, and when I get bored, I start thinking, which is always dangerous.

Anyway, I think I'm figuring out why I don't enjoy coming home and why I have such a hard time communicating with my parents: I am exactly the kind of person they hate!

Now, they don't really know this, because I usually keep silence on most any controversial topic in order to maintain the peace. But I realized that when they make snide, hateful comments about the kinds of people they make snide, hateful comments about, that I happen to be one of those people!

It seems like the conversation ALWAYS turns into how ridiculous are blacks, Africans, Mexicans, Chinese, democrats, liberals and gays. Oh, and let's add to the list 1) anyone who cares about any of the above people or 2) anyone who cares about the poor.

WHAT IN THE FUCKING HELL DOES THIS ATTITUDE HAVE TO DO WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST? How in the hell can these supposedly good, god-fearing, red-blooded Americans reconcile hatred with ANYTHING to do with Jesus? It's blasphemy and evil.

They have no idea that I feel this way and I have no idea how to go about telling them that I do. This is not even about the gay thing--this is just generally how I think and live life. The gay thing is SO beyond them that I wouldn't even dare bother. I just would like to see them NOT thinking they are infinitely better and more dignified than everyone else on the planet!

The ethnocentrism and hatred absolutely tear at my soul. I don't believe I have ever felt so hopeless in the condition world.  I have never been so frustrated at my parents. 

So, basically, this is starting to feel personal. When they make such biting comments about certain types of people, I feel as if they are saying those things about me. When they talk about how silly it is for some "do-gooder" to think she/he can do any good in the world with the disadvantaged, or when they talk about "N****r-lovers", etc. I feel like it is a slap in my own face and it makes me want to stay far away from them.

Not that I am doing some great good in the world, not that I'm really a champion of justice and peace--but, damnit, I hope I can be humble enough to realize that I'm no better than my sisters and brothers. And I pray that my disdain for such attitudes does not turn into my own self-righteousness.

But, what can I do? I hate to be one to just run away from the problem, which is in essence what I'm doing now. I just can't stand to be around it and I surely do not want to plop myself right in the middle of it indefinitely when I choose a full-time job. How can I lovingly encourage them to open their eyes? How can I be a presence of peace and love where there is such hatred and evil pride when I can barely even speak a word?

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Truman Show

Being at home, I've had a little time to brainlessly flip the tv remote looking for something somewhat stimulating to watch. I happened to run across The Truman Show! The Truman Show has always been one of my favorite films and it has been so for many reasons, one of which i did not realize until today.

On the outside, it appears that Truman has the perfect life. He should have no worries: a beautiful wife, a decent job, a car and a house in a flawless, safe community. However, it so happens that Truman is stuck in one gigantic CLOSET. Though his life seems perfect, in reality, it is all a big act. Truman has been told who to love, how to think, and what to fear, yet he does not honestly love his wife, he cannot pursue his own dreams, and he has been kept from doing anything about it from irrational fears that others have forced upon his life.

In the same way, gay people live under a lot of rules that others have set up for them. They are expected to marry someone they don't love and to ignore their sexuality for fear of damaging the status quo, and they are trapped in this way of life because of the religious and social fears that are thrust upon them.

In the movie, Truman has a hunch that there is life outside of the artificial world in which he lives, and he does not stop until he finds it. The power of true love compels him to leave everyone he knows and everything that is secure to face his fears and go into a strange, new world. 

I won't go through all of the parallels, I'm sure you all can find them on your own, but I was really inspired by this movie today. A perfect life is nothing compared to a life that is free and authentic!  May we all find that door that opens up our true, authentic selves!

What to do?!?!

Within one year from now I will be (hopefully) out of school and making a huge career move.  I have been at home with my family this week, and have come under pressure to find my way back close to home when I go to a full-time ministry job. 

However, I have no desire to work in this area (the deep south). There's no way I can find a church that is supportive and it would be no fun to go "covert" in this area--there's just no scene at all and no gay-friendly organizations.  The only reason I would ever want to work here is to become that support and role model that is missing for people in this area.  But.. am I ready for that? I have not fully realized who I am myself, how can I help other people come through it?

So how horrible is it to stay far away from family?  I love my family, I just don't want to live where they live. What happens when they eventually get sick? Am I going to be the jerk sibling that is no help and is never around?

I'm also getting a little concerned about how I'm going to handle the decision of wether I should "don't ask, don't tell" or to seek a welcoming and affirming church when looking for a job. It comes down to a very practical matter which I wish wasn't an issue: student loans...

I would love to take a very well-paying job for a few years to pay off loans and save a little. Then, I can do what I want to! However, there aren't many W&A churches, particularly in my denomination, that have big budgets or big membership rosters. Those things are absolutely not important to me.. I just want to be "stable" before I launch into any sort of activism.  So, it's looking more and more like I'm just going to have to fly under the radar for a few years when I go into full-time ministry.

Ugh... Is there any other way? Maybe I should be just a social worker or a school teacher or something!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coming out #1

Ok, so here's the recap. If you don't want to read the whole big honkin' thing, the short story is: I told her, we're still friends. :-)


Coming home requires quite a long drive, so I had lots of time to get extremely anxious and nervous about what I would say yo my friend. I pretty much decided I would get it over with as soon as possible so I wouldn't have to stress for the rest of the evening. So I knock on the door, and she greets me in this really insane way that is very typical of most of our interactions. After all of that, I go in and sit down, and she has her purse on and is super hungry and ready to go eat. So, we had to go immediately and I wasn't going to be able to tell her just yet.

So, as we were driving to the restaurant, there were so many strange comments like "Wow it feels to weird to see you in person" (it has been a few months since we've seen each other) or even "yeah, what's up with your hair? It looks kind of GAY!"(LOL!) or "GAAAH, why are you walking so fast?!" (I was nervous as hell), etc. Anyway, it felt like she knew something weird was up and I was having a hard time just playing it cool.

Anyway, so we sit down at the restaurant (where the service was exceptionally crappy) and I decide I'll wait til we get dessert and then I'd tell her. (I didn't want to ruin the meal, so I figured eating something comfortable like key lime pie would be a good thing to do during the coming out moment!) Well, in a nearly empty restaurant, they sit a bunch of people right beside us! It sucked big time, I knew this wouldn't work, and I was getting very frustrated.

So, we leave the restaurant without even getting dessert. As soon as we get in the car she starts with these sort of probing questions that she has been asking lately. I took a deep breath and said, "Go ahead, hit me. I'm ready." So, the very first question was "so if you don't talk to ME about your sexual feelings, then who DO you talk to them about?" She asks this because I typically refuse to talk about anything to do with dating or crushes I have had, etc. I knew this kind of question would come up. So, I tell her that I'm about to tell her something that will answer many of her questions all at once, and it's something that is confidential and very personal and I will need her support in this, etc.

So, I'm navigating rush-hour traffic, and I drop the bomb. Obviously, this was a big deal so I was rather nervous and shaky and she was like "Are you sure you should be driving now?" LOL (Probably not but I continued.) I issued a few more details why I was coming out and briefly outlined by journey. We became silent for a while.

Then, she kind of broke down and threw a screaming, cussing fit. I was like, "Are you ok?" and she goes "Yes, I am SOOO FUCKING PEACHY RIGHT NOW!" (HA! I couldn't help but laugh at her choice of words.) She continued, "I know this is supposed to be about you right now, but my life SUCKS" and basically said that she was hoping that I would eventually come around to falling in love with her and that we would get married and live happily ever after, etc. I knew she has felt this way before, but I had no idea that she was not over it. I was like, "Oh, shit. I was afraid this would happen!" So we kind of mourn together for a bit, and I even suggest that I go with her to see her therapist--almost like couples counseling but not at all! LOL (I ended up leaving before her appointment, however.)

So after she had a good cry and my nerves kind of calmed down, things starting to become alright and somewhat normal again. We went to see a movie to kind of take our mind off the pain for a few moments.

When we got back to her place, she decided that she can now comfortably get my opinion on wether or not her swim suit shows too much cleavage, which was a bit awkward, but at least she is getting used to the real me. :-) Then, she suggested that we sleep together in her bed isntead of me using the air mattress or couch! I was like, "um, no" and she's like "what's the big deal??" That was pretty insane, anyway, I told her I was not quite ready for that so I demanded the couch. lol So that was my very strange evening.

So this whole revelation about me was a total suprise to her. I am very glad I choose to tell her now and not years later when she was still seriously wanting to marry me. I am also grateful that I have a friend like that, who can know such an intimate detail of my life and support me. She's not totally cool with the idea of me dating or having gay relationships, but that is based on loose Biblical interpretations, and I think once she has some time to think it over, and after I share a few resources with her, she will come around on that.

Anyway, I feel very relieved that someone from my "real world" knows. It's not that everything is perfect now--there will still be awkward moments between me and her, and I still have no idea what my next step it. But, *someone* knows and I don't have to keep any new experiences or questions I have to myself.

This is a long post, and a very scatterbrained account. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and, as always, I love to hear the experiences of others.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tomorrow... !

So tomorrow (Monday) I am going to come out to someone from my "real life." It's my good friend from back home who happens to be a girl--who I have written about in past postings.

I have been planning to do this for a while, but, in the past couple of weeks, I have debated whether or not it was really the right time. Well, tonight, in our phone conversation, while we were talking about whether or not her swim suit showed too much cleavage, she tells me that I'm her "non-gay, gay friend" meaning, she's comfortable with me, which she thought was so strange because I'm "not gay."

Well, tomorrow she will be able to take out the "non" part of how she describes me, and I believe this is indeed the perfect time because she already has me pegged. I no longer have to worry about uprooting any unspoken desires she might have that we should be together. She already has the appropriate take on our relationship, so I might as well finally be honest to her.

So, here... we... go...

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm stuck

I just had this crazy thought.

I am 25 years old. Many of my straight friends have been married five years or so by now. Many others my age have done the dating and relationship thing for perhaps ten years. By repressing my sexuality, have I missed out on something? I know for certain that I am indeed immature and inexperienced when it comes to dating, but do I need to make up for lost time?

I have completed a hell of a lot of education and have had meaningful wok and ministry in my short time as an adult. But, since I've ignored such a huge part of my life for so long, I feel like I need to make up for lost time.

Now here is the crazy thought... Is it ever a good idea for a person to jump in head first into a new thing and experience ALL of it to the fullest? This thing is gay sexuality. Why NOT go through a season of unreserved, full force experiencing and discovering. Is this the kind of thing I would really regret?

I have gotten myself to a point where I am extremely dissatisfied with life. I was happy with things for a long time because there were certain areas of life I never thought about. Now, I've "pulled the plug" and there seems to be no turning back.

I am so ready to live fully and authentically and sometimes it seems the best option would be to shirk all responsibility and "live it up." Perhaps I am impatient. Or, maybe it's just that I have no idea what my next step should be.

However, it is getting very difficult to balance the split life that I have. I feel like I'm being mediocre and getting behind in work and study. Most of my time is spent wallowing in shallow thought and coming up with something to waste time so I can avoid doing anything truly productive.

I don't know what to do. I can't be who I really am and now it has gotten very difficult to be the person I pretend to be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I guess everyone has to be blue now and then

I hate it when I have time to think.

Seriously.. I am usually always extremely motivated and energetic and I never have a lack of self-esteem. I feel like I'm here to save the world and I'm invincible!

Then the dust settles...  I come upon those rare times when I'm no longer urgently needed, when there is no one left to lead, when there are no more favors I can do for friends.  Then I feel silly for believing that I have it all and that I can do everything by myself.

I'm at an "in between" spot at the moment. I've come out of a busy summer and am going into a busy fall.  But, there's not so much to do now. I am overwhelmed with what is to come and I have no energy to even think about it. The one thing I long for--a desire that comes only in these in-between moments--is someone whom I can love deeply and freely who will love me back.

These times come at other junctures besides in between seasons.  For instance, after a great performance in which I am involved, or an exciting program is executed perfectly--whatever it is, it happens, and then I go home and realize no one really knows what those experiences mean to me. There is no one with whom I can share the sheer joy of creating and leading. Any good that I can do is sort of trapped in a moment in time and all I can do is come home and hope that it had meaning in someone else's life. 

I want share in the joy of what makes someone else get up in the morning. I someone with whom I can unpack my true motives and concerns. I want someone with whom I can sit with in silence and simply be.

I have given all I can and I need some time for my soul to be filled once again.

I may be able to give a shot at repairing some of the problems of the world, but I can't fix myself.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Planning my first real coming out...

My best friend that is a girl has lately been very intent on knowing more about me.  We've known each other for many years, but she feels as if the relationship has been one-sided and she doesn't know who I really am.  Of course, this involves many questions about many things which include dating, crushes, etc., and the questions are getting more and more probing.  I tend to change the subject or insist that it is not something I want to talk about over the phone. Though I never give say anything obvious about being gay, I'm sure the ambiguity of many of my answers has caused her to wonder. 

So, I told her that I will be more comfortable answering her questions and talking about my own life when I see her in person.  She is in another state, many miles away, and I only see her a few times each year.  However, next week, I will go on vacation and make my way through her part of the world.

I've pretty much decided that she will be the first person in my "real world" to whom I will "come out" and I'm pretty sure, unless someone or something convinces me otherwise, that it will happen next week when I see her.

This is huge for me, because it will be the first time that someone who knows other people I know will know that I am gay. She also knows my parents, which is the most nerve-racking part. Who will she tell? Will she be able to keep it a secret? Will she go ballistic and call my parents?  

I feel like I can trust her and that with her knowing, she can better support what I'm going through the way I have supported her through many issues in her own life. I'm just a little concerned that she could absolutely refuse to accept it and end our friendship or talk to others about me.  

If anyone has any advice on how to make this coming out thing work, I would be very grateful. I would also love to hear your thoughts as to wether or not you think this is a good idea or if it's too risky.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gays and the females they associate with

Something that seems pretty universal among gay men is a close friendship with one or more girls--a "fag hag" if you will (though I don't think I care for that term).  We all have that special girl with whom we form a deep bond, and that person is often the first person to whom we official reveal our sexuality to.

Well, I also have a "BFF" that is a girl. We've known each other for around 8 years, and even though we are now geographically far apart, we still keep in touch. She is the one I have always felt most comfortable around, and I am that same person for her. We're both quirky and adventurous, and I am grateful that I have had someone that understands me so well... all except for one thing....

For some reason, she recently decides that our past conversations have been too often about her own problems, and she is prying to get to know me better, which means asking lots of really serious, probing questions.  Of course, the issue of romance comes up...

The strange thing is that, even though I've NEVER felt a romantic vibe between me and her,  even though we are very close, she reveals that in the last couple of weeks she had a crush on me. I think she has gotten over that (I may not have given her the most sensitive of responses). But there is one question she keeps asking and I keep refusing to answer. She says that I know all about every crush she has ever had, but she doesn't know anything about my crushes. She wants to know which of her friends (female) I have had crushes on. She also keeps wondering why I never talk to her about "the girls I meet." I always have smart-ass responses, but she keeps prying, and I just might think it's time to tell her why I haven't been talking to her all that much about girls.

BUT... here is the problem. Though she seems to usually have an open mind, she is a member of this this super conservative church, and since going there, she has become very reluctant to question what they teach. I'm pretty sure her opinion of homosexuality is that it's sinful, God wants to fix it, and until it is fixed, one should pray harder, read the Bible more, and not pursue any gay relationships.

BUT... she has never had any close friends come out, especially anyone as close as I am. And, she is a very smart person. She would listen to everything I have to say. She might even be accepting. BUT, then again she might not be so accepting. What if this pushes her away? What if she insists that I seek some kind of quasi-spiritual brainwashing (i.e., ex-gay ministry) or decides she wants to pray that I would be "healed" of this. What if this becomes the only thing our relationship revolves around? What if... the worst thing of all... she, in an effort to move the process along, lets my parents know.

I have come a long way in the past few, short month in dealing with my sexuality, and I want more than anything to come out to a friend. She would be the perfect one to come out to first. She has opened up a conversation that would be the perfect opportunity to discuss this.  And, I might see her within the next month in person, which would be the perfect time. 

Should I do it? Is it too risky? If not her, then WHO?  I feel so strongly that she is the right one to tell, but there is so much that could go terribly wrong!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just me venting a bit...

I am so sick of:

1) suggestions that my life would instantly be better and less stressful if I went out and "found me a girl"

2) everyone assuming that the only reason I'm single is that I "haven't found the right one yet" and to "just wait..she will come along"

3) questions like "was she hot?" or "did you see her? why don't you go talk to her?"

4) being set up

5) being told that I'm being prayed for that I will be matched up soon.

What if those who pray such things had their prayer answered and it looked much different than they had imagined? Would they still consider that an answer to prayer? What if I say this is who I am, who God created me to be, and I have been led to accept this--would they deny my own spiritual conscience and assert that they somehow know the ways of God better than I do?

What if those who truly care that wish for me to be happy knew who I really was. Would they wish the same things for me?

I wish I did not have this issue looming over me. It was much easier when I suppressed and ignored it. I have some many other things on my mind and this seems to bully around all of the other urgent things that I need to get done. Sometimes I wonder what more I could accomplish if I were a "normal" man who happened to be straight.

Monday, June 30, 2008

So, speaking of meeting new people...

I really wish someone would write "Meeting, Talking to, Texting, Calling, Myspacing and Emailing Other Gay Men, While in the Closet, with the Possibility of Hanging Out Again or Even Maybe Dating, FOR DUMMIES" or something.  

So, continuing my experience in the previous post, I met this guy. He asked for my phone number, and I got his as well.  On the way home, I send a quick text basically saying "nice to meet you."  I get a text from him in the morning that asks if I made it home alright, etc. I honestly didn't expect to ever hear from him again and we ended up sending several random messages throughout the day and finding each other on myspace.  Then, I had to leave the country.

On returning, I send another message, he sends another one back, then not much else happened. All of the messages have been light and slightly humorous. In the course of the previous messages, we casually stated that we should hang out again sometime.

It's getting late, and I haven't really done a good job of describing what happened in a linear manner, but here are my questions:

How much is too much texting? I don't want to be the weirdo stalker who won't leave the other person alone. I'm not anywhere close to being that person right now, but I'm itching to keep communicating. But then I get freaked out about communicating too much and I wonder if I'm giving off the perception that I'm not interested at all... AAAAH, it's madness!  Was he saying "yeah, we'll hang out sometime" in the way that really means "ok, I'm going to ignore you now forever" or did he really mean it?  Do I need to instigate or does he? 

I have SO little experience in straight dating, much less gay dating. I resonate with many other bloggers who I have read who described themselves as pre-teens when it comes to their dating maturity.  We just don't get a chance to work those questions out until later in life when we then have to stress out about it like adults!

The inexperience is another thing. I don't want to "use" the right person who comes around and looks interesting to be my guinea pig. But then again, one has to start somewhere.

I'm pretty sure that the person in question is not disgusted by me. He did say complimentary things the night of the first encounter--but then again, everyone had been drinking. 

Hell, I don't know.  This post is so scatterbrained. Does anyone have a clue?

A derailed train of thought

So, I started this blog and it appears that I immediately gave up.  Actually, I've been out of the country for a bit, but I am back into civilization and have resumed regular internet access.  

I don't have much of a point to make, just a few rambling recap of an encounter I had a couple of weeks ago.

So a few days before I left for the trip out of the country, I drove to a nearby big city to hit up the clubs. I go basically go to clubs to just sort of watch and observe--to see what real live gay people look like! LOL  The only reason I do this particularly in bars is because I don't really know of anywhere else to do such a thing. It's not that I'm all that interested in bars--I don't even go to straight ones. It's just all I can come up with.  Anyway, this is a new thing for me, with this being only my third attempt in the third city. And, it so turns out that this would be the second time that I actually ended up talking to a real person in a gay bar.

I was almost ready to call it a night. I only had a couple of drinks, but the scene seemed to be pretty dead--it wasn't a weekend night or anything, so I didn't expect much. I just basically wanted to scope out the scene in that particular city. I happened to be in close proximity to a group of guys who were very drunk and seemed to be having a good time. They were of various shapes, ages, and colors and there was only one dude who looked particularly interesting/"my type" (around my age, clean cut, classy, not dressed flamingly).  I was just sitting there slowly sipping on my beer (perhaps looking pathetic?) when out of the blue Mr. Particularly Interesting comes up to me and introduces himself!  Holy shit! This was the first time someone other than a bar tender has initiated a conversation with me--and it was actually someone I would want to be chatting with!  After we exchanged pleasantries he then introduced me to his mob of friends, which was extremely uncomfortable experience being the center of attention in a gay bar...

Well, after all of that was over with, in my head I'm thinking "Shit! What am I supposed to do now? Go back to my seat and be a loner again? Stay here in the group and act like I'm having fun? Aaaaaaaahhh! Awkward!"  That's when the bomb dropped, or the shit hit the fan, or the dove from heaven came down--hell, I don't know how to describe what it was, but it happened:

Mr. PI: "Are you a Christian?" 

Me: Mind races, heart sinks... "Wow, is it SO obvious? Am I *that* tense?  Laughing nervously

Then, his response, which I unfortunately don't remember exactly, but was something like:

"It's your spirit! I see the light of Jesus shining in you. It's not often I meet other Christians in places like this."

OMG.  Here I am in a gay bar having a spiritual experience like I rarely if ever have in the "real" world. Here I am in a gay bar experience fellowship with another believer!

I was totally floored. I've never had anyone say anything like that to me in the "real" world, and here I am in a place trying to make sure no one in the room knows me and someone comes along and instantly recognizes me as their spiritual brother.  We talked for a little while longer and found out we had a good bit in common. I mingled with his group a little more. We all had more to drink... and most of them had a bit too much. Finally, we all went our separate ways (since it was a work night, after all) but I got a name, a new friend, and a cell phone number out of the experience. But, there's one more thing I got from this experience...

 For a while I've been dealing with the question of, If I'm supposed to deny myself to follow Jesus, does that mean denying my sexuality as well and living as celibate or straight acting or... anything but gay? Through this bar incident, I have found resolve to this question. YES, I should totally deny my whole self to follow Christ... AND I should NOT offer a self to Christ that is a lie and a fraud.  Jesus wants us to offer all of our being for radical discipleship.  To offer excuses or disclaimers, or to hold certain things (like our sexuality) back is not to deny one's self, but to squander a part of us that is made by a God who creates in God's own image and who declares creation "good."

Who woulda thunk I would find Jesus right there in a gay bar?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A theory (gays who marry straight)

There are insurmountable obstacles that many GLBT persons face in choosing whether or not to come out: family resistance, religious intolerance, career security, etc. However, I think the strongest force in keeping the doors shut on many closets is the large number of gays who have chosen to marry someone of the opposite gender, have children, and live a "straight" life for many years.

When I think of several acquaintances, whom I highly suspect are gay, that marry women, I feel very sorry for them. My own trappings seem horrible, but it is certainly nothing like admitting such a deep lie to a spouse and potentially breaking up the very family you helped to create!

And that is why I think most religious leaders are hesitant to affirm homosexuals. If they personally accept homosexuality for others it forces them to deal with their own lies. Once they come to a place of acceptance for others, it is certainly much more difficult to keep up their own theatrics of straight life.

I would never minimize the difficulties of leaders in civil rights and women's liberation, however, in those struggles, at least we knew who was what. Homosexuals often experience silent, invisible injustice, and I predict this will be a struggle that will not quickly come to an end.

I hurt for these people and I and thankful that something kept me from going down the same path, for I could have just as easily made the same decisions. In a way, I don't even want to think of advocating for gay rights because of the intense hurt that it will inflict on so many. However, the hurt will only be prolonged if we don't confront this now. In the words of M. L. King, J.r, "The time is always right to do what is right."

Have mercy on us.

My coming out (well, sort of...)

This is not a true coming out--it is done under complete anonymity--but it is me adding my voice to the many others out there on the blogosphere who use their blogs to share stories, seek help, offer encouragement, and to express thoughts that can't be expressed out in their "real world."

Who am I? A few of the things that identify me are: student (in a seminary), minister (in the Bible belt), and progressive evangelical (in a not-so-progressive church). I am also gay, which makes every other facet of my life considerably difficult.

I have resisted the acknowledgement of this part of my life for a long time--initially rejecting it and then accepting it but ignoring it, hoping it will not ever be an issue. But, as I read, experience, and think, I am having to acknowledge that I am called to help others in this situation. I've never cared for the term "calling" but this I feel more strongly than perhaps any other calling on my life.

So, here I am. I am desperate to hear from others in similar situations, or even those in very different situations who care or even those dissent with my positions. I will be sharing more thoughts from time to time, and I look forward to hearing your stories as well.

Blessings to you!