This week, I took what could be a pretty big step in a new direction for my life. I met with the youth pastor of my church to talk about what I could do to be a support system for the gay youth at our church and I think it went really well. I feel like I was able to convey my position about the issue well enough and he seemed comfortable with it which is a good first step. It’s an interesting place to be in since I’m still in the process of coming out so this is the first time I’ll be taking on a role where I could be considered a representative of the gay Christian community which is exciting and also a little scary. I hope that I can represent my position well, I hope that I can convey love alongside a desire to devote myself to God and I hope that I can be accepted and welcomed not just in spite of this part of myself, but because of it. I hope that people can appreciate the struggle that living as a celibate gay person can be and that I can point towards the ideals so often discussed at Spiritual Friendship. I really haven’t heard much discussion of homosexuality at my church so I don’t really know where people are at with it. If I had to guess, I’d say most people would be pretty comfortable with the idea and I doubt there will be anyone getting up in arms about it.
Apparently a student has recently come out to his parents who are, understandably, surprised and upset. The youth pastor has suggested that I might meet with him and/or his parents to talk about my experiences and possibly counsel him through this situation. I find myself excited at this prospect and I hope the parents take this opportunity. When I was in high school, I would have killed to have someone who knew what I was going through to talk to so I hope they don’t let fear affect their decision. It’s also hard because I’m trying not to feel like a creeper wanting to talk to young gay boys; that’s really the furthest thing from my mind, but I’m sure that from the outside, it could look a little suspicious. As a (nearly) 30 year old single man, I often worry about what parents think when I’m around their children, but that’s a topic for another time.
I’ve been thinking about what I’ll say to him and that part is a little scary. I don’t feel like I’m in a position to offer extraordinary wisdom and I definitely don’t have all the answers. What I most hope to do is help him understand that he’s not alone, not a freak, not uniquely damaged or sinful. I’d also like to warn him away from some of the mistakes I’ve made: primarily, pursing a particular relationship goal too single-mindedly. Though it may not seem like it, there are a lot of options open to gay Christians, even those choosing to pursue a traditional Christian sexual ethic. All of these options (mixed orientation marriage, celibate same-sex relationships, and singleness) have worked for different people. People have lived, loved, and flourished in a variety of lifestyles and I’d like to convey the hope there is in that and encourage him to keep an open mind because he’s still young and has a lot of time to make a decision. Though I’m not so young anymore, hopefully there’s still time for me too.