Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm spending some time with the parents and getting restless as usual.

I wish they could understand. I wish I could just explain things without hurting them. I wish I didn't have to shatter their expectations for me. I wish we could hope for the same things. It's one thing to just be a little different, but to actually say "Hey, I'm going to run against your deeply held, religiously (mis)informed prejudices" is quite a shocker.

Not that I'm anywhere close to telling them these things. But, so many other things we talk about intersect with my sexuality without them even knowing it. To them, it makes no sense that I world work far away from home. They do not understand why I would distance myself from the denomination in which I grew up. They do not understand why I do not want to come home. I can offer many reasons, but I'm sure they all seem silly since deep inside I know the real reason, and I know they cannot handle such truth just yet (if ever).

So, I am torn. Should I suck it up and try to end up somewhere reasonably close to home? Or, should I suck it up and come out? Either way, it's a huge risk. If I chose to work closer to home, it's possible that I come upon a supportive community, but it's very possible that I'm just miserable and in a religious environment that makes me want to puke. OR--I come out and risk total estrangement from the family.

Since both of these options, I have elected for things to remain simply as they are. I don't know if that's best, but it's all I can muster up at the moment.

I hate being sent on a guilt-trip.
I hate being misunderstood.
I hate lying to people I love.

I think all of this is why vacations at home tend to SUCK. I'm forced to deal with these demons.

Anyway, I'll probably be writing more this week as I have not much else to do. TTFN.


naturgesetz said...

Man, that's rough. It sounds like an almost untenable situation.

And one further potential problem: if you get work in a supportive community close to home and you're out to them, word could travel back home more readily than if you're far away.

I was fortunate that my Catholic mother and Unitarian father did not freak out. It helped that I was able to assure them that I was celibate and intended to remain so. And dad was willing to pay for the psychiatrist to try to change me. You won't have those alleviating (in their eyes anyway) factors.

I don't know you or your family or their denomination. But at this moment, my feeling is that in the long run you will probably be less stressed if you let your parents in on it. But they will be much unhappier. Is there any hope of gradually softening their views, or even the denomination gradually softening its views, so that they won't be so upset if you come out later?

I don't envy you having to wrestle with this.

Anonymous said...

Erik Erikson, the famous psychoanalyst, defined young adulthood as a developmental period of intimacy vs. independence. The concept does not just apply to romantic relationships, but to any adult relationship where you struggle with just how much to care what others think of you.

At some point you will realize that if people want to judge you they will, and there is nothing you can do about it. The antidote is to let the judgment punish the judge, rather than punish you. If your parents feel pain because you are gay, then that is because of choices they have made, and you cannot protect them from that pain. There is pain in any path you choose, just like you said your parents feel pain because you don’t live near them, and because you left their denomination. You should not feel guilty or allow yourself to be manipulated into guilt over YOUR independence, its your responsibility and your job to create your own life.

Every day that you are a gay preacher in a gay hating church, leading your congregation to further their hate is a tragedy. If your congregation finds out about your sexuality, they will see you as dishonest in addition to being cursed with gay demons.

Of course there are finances to think about before you make any decision about coming out. If your financially dependent on your parents and\or church, if you have student loans, or other personal debt, then its time to think about a second income stream. You may even need to think about getting some extra training for marketable job skills in case you are found out without coming out.

See if you can watch this video demonstration in its entirety. What parallels can you see with your own life? Not a great deal of difference is there?

rp said...

I think you'll be much happier in the long run if you come out, but how long the painful period will last, I don't know. How worthwhile is your parents' and your community's love for you if it's not unconditional? In some ways, you really don't have much to lose, and you have a lot to gain.

JX said...

It seems that you all are pretty much placing your best bets on the go ahead and get it over with and come out side.

naturgesetz: I'm sure it's possible to soften their views, but I can't seem to even communicate them minor theological/political differences at this point. They seem to have formulated their opinion as to what kind of person I am, and far be it from *ME* to change that. I'm probably not doing a good job and trying, however.

Anonymous: I like this... very interesting. When I'm back in civilization and on broadband I will watch that video. I still just hate the idea of blowing up their world and causing them pain. By the way, I'm not a senior pastor, and my congregation does not for the most part hate the gays--I honestly think I would have a way easier time with my church than with my family.

Randy: Damnit! Why does that have to make so much sense? :-)

David said...

a little late to this particular conversation (via Father Geoff's site) I'd suggest a couple of things:
it's essential not to lose sigith of the fact that the Holy Spirit is very much with you, even in this fearful agonizing, so work with Her. Ask yourself- again and again if necessary, just who it is the living God created, and what that same God wants for you God's child.
then I'd pray you the grace to claim that blessing.

as to your parents, I'd suggest that much of what you're wrestling with is not your burden, but rather the result of a lifetime of internalized guilt over being born gay.
the real issue in the end is the works of transformation that same Holy Spirit is more than ready to work in all of your lives.... so when you're ready, with prayer and loving support you can chose your words carefully- i.e. being gay is primarily not about sex, it's about the shape of your immortal soul, the vocabulary of your heart and the palette of special gifts you bring to your life as a minister, son and friend.
you didn't make this particular conversation with either your family or your parish- God did; so I'd encourage you to put both the control of the schedule and the outsome back into the hands of that same Loving God.
you'll have my prayer and love both