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!