Nobody Needs To Know

Nobody Needs to Know2

If we’ve talked much in the last year or so, I’ve probably gushed about my favorite musical (which I have, on at least one occasion, also called my favorite anything), The Last Five Years.  It’s the story of a couple’s doomed relationship, how they meet, fall in love, and fall out of love over the course of five years.  It’s sad and funny and beautiful and if you haven’t seen it, you should.  Anyway, I was watching a scene and crying (as I am wont to do) and this song, which I’ve never really paid much attention to struck me tonight.  The song, Nobody Needs to Know¹, is sung by the husband, Jamie, and is basically his excuse for cheating on his wife.  That’s the story I always heard and I was disgusted by his selfishness, but tonight, hearing the song again, I saw some of myself in it.

All right – the panic recedes
All right – everyone bleeds
All right – I get what I need
And nobody needs to know

Jamie is able to overlook his own infidelity because he sees it as a necessity.  His needs aren’t be met by the woman he married and so he thinks it’s OK to go outside those bonds and find fulfillment elsewhere.  I sometimes find myself thinking of my desire for romantic partnership as a need.  Whether it’s a result of cultural influence or just my own selfishness, I’m not sure, but I think it’s pretty clear that no one needs to be in a romantic relationship.  No matter how much expectation is placed on us, no matter how lonely it sometimes gets, no matter how much it seems like we’re the only ones who are alone, there are other ways to satisfy our desires for companionship.  The song then finishes with these lines

And since I have to be in love with someone
Since I need to be in love with someone
Maybe I could be in love with someone
Like you…

Like Jamie, I often think I have to be in love with someone.  Not that I go out looking for it (it finds me just fine on it’s own), but when one of these crushes comes along, I find it so hard to avoid imagining a life together.  The desire is so strong it begins to look very much like a need.

I recently had a difficult, but important conversation with a friend in which I confessed my most recent dude crush.  I knew that any chance of a relationship with this guy was improbable and impractical, no least because I’m still very conflicted regarding same sex relationships, but, as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants.  Anyway, I called my friend to ask for her help in talking me out of it and she did her job well, maybe a bit too well.  By the end of our conversation, I was thoroughly versed in all the ways this crush was ridiculous and the thought of anything coming of it was gone, but even more than that, I was beginning to resign myself to lifelong singleness.²

I’ve tried very hard to keep hope alive since my desire for a genuine connection/relationship/partnership is extremely strong, but maintaining that hope in the face of so much disappointment is extremely hard at times.  In those times, I think it may be better to stop imagining the typical life of two people together.  As has been suggested by Wesley Hill and many others, it might be time to think about life in community rather than couplehood.  I’ve definitely considered this approach before, but one of the reasons I’ve always been hesitant to pursue this as my sole source of relational fulfillment is that it seems like so much work to try and maintain multiple friendships and make sure that I’m spending adequate time with each of them.  I’m already in that situation, but it always seemed so much easier to have one primary person to maintain a relationship with and have the others on the periphery.  Of course, we were never told the Christian life would be easy.  So, I guess that’s where I’m at currently and once gain, I’m ending a post without a real conclusion or wrap up or anything so…yeah…



¹ I really like the name of this song and how dramatic it seemed to use it as the title for this post despite the fact that it doesn’t really accurately reflect the content.  Deal with it : )

² It should be noted that the conversation also had several uplifting and hopeful moments and my friend did a good job of being supportive despite the fact that I kind of make her out to be the bad guy here.

Differing Levels of Gay in the Eyes of Conservative Christianity


My last post was a little on the heavy side so I thought I might do something a little lighter and more fun this time around (well, that’s the goal anyway, it may not have ended up that way.  Oops).  I started this a while back, but never got around to finishing it until now.  So without further adieu, here’s a post on how Christians view various categories of gay people in the church.

While the conservative Christian Church can sometimes be pretty anti-gay, there are still various levels of respectability within the umbrella term of “gay.”  I’m attempting to separate out the various groups and organize them by how acceptable they are to those who hold  a traditional sexual ethic.  I don’t think I really have a point to make here, I just thought it would be an interesting exercise.  So here’s my list ranking from the most accepted to the least:

1. Ex-gays

This group consists of those who were once gay, but no longer identify that way, usually as a result of conversion therapy.  Most in this group spent at least some time engaging in same-sex activity at some level, but eventually turned to Christ and, with hard work and prayer, have come to a place where they no longer consider themselves gay.  For some, this means they report no longer being attracted to the same sex and sometimes even express feelings of attraction to people of the opposite gender.  For many, it simply means that they have maintained what they believe to be a sufficient level of sexual purity to allow them to forgo the use of the term gay.

2. Single SSA Gays

This refers to those who, for various reasons, don’t use (and often never have used) the word gay to describe themselves and instead, employ the term same-sex attracted.  This can mean that they believe the word gay is inextricably tied to being sexually active or simply that the word makes them uncomfortable or doesn’t fit with their image of themselves.  Many conservative Christians applaud those who eschew the term gay because, to many, it expresses an acceptance of ones attractions and an unwillingness to change them.

3. Mixed-Orientation Married Gays

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a mixed-orientation marriage (MOM) refers to a heterosexual marriage where one spouse is straight and the other is primarily or exclusively attracted to his or her own gender.  I, personally, have a huge amount of respect for those in mixed-orientation marriages as it adds a massively disruptive component to the already complicated sacrament of marriage and shows incredible dedication to living out one’s Christian values.  The reason I believe this is viewed as less acceptable than people who identify as as SSA is due to the fact that those in MOMs typically self-identify as gay and aren’t necessarily working towards changing that aspect of themselves which, as previously mentioned, is something traditionalists often disapprove of.

4. Single Celibate Gays

Like the previous group, single celibate gays often receive disapproval because they self-identify as gay rather than SSA.  Again, this is often seen as a way of accepting a gay identity which many believe should be overcome through prayer and therapy.  People in MOMs are seen as making strides towards heterosexuality through their marriage, however, celibate gays, though often committed to life long celibacy which can lead to difficult bouts of loneliness, are sometimes viewed as complacent in their attempts at living a holy life.

5. Gays in Celibate Same-Sex Relationships

It takes at least a moderate if not progressive theology for someone to be accepting of any type of romantic gay relationship even if those involved refrain from sex.  I imagine that many Christians are skeptical that two people who are, presumably, sexually attracted to each other, can engage in a long term romantic relationship without consummating said relationship (which, really, should be between that couple and God, but I digress).  However, whether they believe claims of celibacy or not, the mere fact that a romantic relationship exists is viewed by many as a rejection of the Bible’s condemnation of ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai, translated in some version of the Bible as “homosexuals” and in others as “men who defile themselves with men”).  The belief that those in this type of relationship are ignoring God’s law in favor of satisfying their own desire for companionship can lead those on the more conservative end of the spectrum to express feelings of antipathy towards those in this group.

6. Gays in Sexually Active Gay Relationships

Finally, those who are in consummated same sex marriages are typically the least accepted group of gays in the Church.  Many who have dug deeply into scripture and studied the language as well as the cultural context still interpret passages such as 1 Timothy 1:10 or 1 Corinthians 6:9 as condemning all sexual activity between two people of the same gender even in the confines of marriage.  As a result, there is often widespread disapproval of such couples in conservative churches which results in a distinct feeling of unwelcomeness and discomfort when they visit such a church looking for a spiritual home.

My hope is that wherever an LGB person falls on this list, they will be fully loved and supported in the Church.  When I say support, I’m not necessarily asking you to adjust your theology regarding LGBT Christians and how they live their lives, but merely suggesting that we can still worship alongside, love, and be a family to people with whom we don’t necessarily see eye to eye.  Remember, sexual identity and it’s Biblical implications is a hot button issue right now and is therefore a subject where it’s easy to identify disagreement.  For every Christian you know, there is probably at least one topic on which you and that person passionately disagree.  Don’t let this subject be one that divides and weakens the Bride of Christ.  Love each other in and through our disagreements.  And while the idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin” makes sense in principle, the rampant misuse of it has led to severe harm and a widespread call to retire it (for more info on that, see Beth Woolsey’s post here).  As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Is Being “Safe” the Best Course of Action?

For a few years now, I’ve been at somewhat of a standstill on my quest to discover God’s desire for my sexuality.  I grew up believing that any type of same-sex relationship, love, or physical intimacy was inherently sinful.  It seemed to obviously say so in scripture and that was the belief that virtually every Christian I knew held so there was no reason to ponder it.  When I started to identify as gay and explore how this might influence my life and God’s calling for it, I did a lot of reading, research, podcast listening, praying and so forth and found many compelling arguments that the Bible had nothing (positive or negative) to say about a loving, committed relationship between two people of the same sex.  I won’t go through it all here, but if you Google Matthew Vines, read chapter 14 of Justin Lee’s book “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians Debate,” or read one of Justin’s posts here, you can get a good idea of that viewpoint.  However, believing that the Bible doesn’t address this issue didn’t make me feel that I was now free to pursue a relationship with a man.  For one, it’s hard to change a belief you’ve held for decades and that is still solidly held by a majority of the Church.  Also, it seemed to me that if I were really pursuing God, I shouldn’t be concerned with fulfilling my own desires, but rather with trying to live a holy life and to please Him with my every action.  As a result, I’d come to the conclusion that whatever the Bible did or didn’t say about committed same-sex relationships, it would be better, safer, to remain at very least celibate, if not single.

Recently, however, I have been listening to the aforementioned book by Justin Lee and found that the chapter in which he talks about Biblical arguments for and against same-sex relationships spoke directly to this view of being on the “safe side.”  Justin uses a passage from Galations 5 in which Paul speaks against circumcision for Gentiles to address this issue of being “safe.”  In Galations 5:2-6, Paul writes:

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised,Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Lee believes this idea, that to put ourselves under the law which Christ fulfilled through His death on the cross is rejecting the gift of His suffering, can also be applied to trying to live by other Old Testament laws including the laws forbidding a man to lie with another man as with a woman.  The thought is that this law may have been one of the cultural laws meant specifically to set God’s chosen people apart and that it is no longer necessary for Christians today.  The argument that we can ignore this law isn’t new to me, but the thought that I might be offending God by pre-occupying myself with it was something I’d never considered.  In order to do my due diligence, I decided to study the rest of Galations 5.  Verses 5:13-14 say:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Here, Paul is echoing his words to the Romans (13:9-10) where he says that all of the laws that must be kept can be addressed by loving our neighbors.  He does place one stipulation, though, which is that we shouldn’t indulge “the flesh.”  The question then becomes, what is meant by the flesh?  Luckily, despite claiming that the answer is obvious, Paul explains what he means in verses 19-21:

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere.  Sexual immorality is an “act of the flesh” so that could be a sticking point, but does all sexuality between two people of the same sex constitute sexual immorality?  I looked up the Greek word used here (porneia πορνεία) which Strong’s Concordance translates as “fornication, whoredom” (whoredom is a  fun word, isn’t it?) and HELPS Word-Studies describes as “a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.”  It seems like all too often, the Bible uses the term we’re trying to define in the definition.  “Avoid sexual immorality by being sexual pure.”  Well, that’s not a lot of help here, but since that’s not really the point of this post, I’m going to refer back to Justin Lee and Matthew Vines for the rest of that argument and instead ask, what if I were in a committed celibate relationship with another man?  If we’re not having sex, it can’t possibly sexually immoral, right?  However, at that point, I fear that I, personally, might still have an issue with Paul’s prohibition against idolatry.  Now, I’m not likely to start bowing down and worshiping a guy that I was in a relationship with, but considering how strong my vague desire for a partner in my life is now, if I had a flesh and blood person in front of me to be the object of that desire and he desired me back, I don’t think  I can say with any certainty that it wouldn’t veer into idolatry territory.  On the other hand, though, I think this begs the question: Are gay relationships more prone to this kind of behavior than straight ones?  Many people have suggested that aside from having our attractions aimed at the same sex, gay people also love differently.  Whether or not this is true, I don’t think we’ll ever know since it’s pretty impossible to compare the intensity and quality of a person’s love.  Before I wrap this up, I want to jump back up to verses 16-18 where Paul says:

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

So, it sounds like Paul is claiming that by walking in the Spirit, we can avoid the desires of the flesh.  The desires of the flesh and those of the Spirit are contrary to each other.  So then, it seems the best course of action is to allow myself to be led by the Spirit and hope that this desire I have for male companionship will somehow reveal itself to be of Spirit so that I can pursue it or of the flesh so I can reject it once and for all.  I’m still really searching through and studying this so any comments/questions/suggestions/ideas/etc are welcome.


For many years, I’ve tried to be self-sufficient in as many areas of my life as possible.  I think this is rooted in a few different parts of my personality.  First, my strong sense of justice chafes at asking someone for something without offering anything in return.  I don’t like my relationships to feel out of balance; at least I don’t want to be the one feeling indebted to the other person.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want other people feeling indebted to me either, but I prefer to feel like I give at least as much as I get in a relationship.  This ties in to the second thing which is that I tend to treat my friendships as delicate and fragile and I’m afraid that if I’m not careful, they’ll shatter.  This makes me hesitant to rely on people because I’m afraid if I’m seen as a burden, it will irreparably damage the friendship that I value so much.  Finally, I think pride plays a big part in it.  I want to be strong enough, wise enough, hardworking enough to prove that I don’t need anyone else.  I want people to see me keeping it together no matter what life throws at me.

Unfortunately, as a result, I often feel closed off from others.  I don’t often let people in on my struggles and worries, I don’t let them see the tears when I’m hurting.  It’s a difficult place to be because as much as I like looking like I’ve got a handle on things, I’m not ashamed to talk about my weakness, but as previously mentioned, I don’t want to be a burden.  I don’t want to bum people out with my sob stories; it’s so much easier to just stick to surface level topics and keep the mood light.  It’s also hard because I know, in most cases, there’s nothing my friends can do for me and I personally hate that feeling of helplessness when a friend is experiencing trouble in their life, but there’s not one thing I can do about it.  I want to get in there and fix the problem, but when that’s not an option, it can turn into an exercise in frustration and futility.

I think, in a way, this need to be self-sufficient ties in to my singleness.  My default mode is co-dependency, I want to care for someone and have them care for me and to be so wrapped up in each others lives that we can’t imagine another way to be.  Without someone to fill that role, I’ve shut myself off decided I have to be completely independent, but what I think I really need is a balance.  I need to find a way to rely on friends, share our burdens with each other, but still be strong enough to make it on my own when push comes to shove.  My prayer today is that God would help me find that balance.

Love: Simple and Yet Infinitely Complex

I’ve been thinking a lot about love over the last couple weeks.  It’s such a simple idea that even young children, soon after learning to talk, can verbally express love.  Yet, at the same time, when you think about it, love is a very difficult word to define.  I think that every single person you ask would have a different way of describing this concept that is so central to our everyday lives.  On top of all that, there are so many different types of love: familial, romantic, social, etc. and the lines between them can be so easily blurred.

What got me thinking these thoughts is that I recently began to feel something the seemed a lot like love (no, not the Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet romcom, blech).  I felt intense feelings for this person and repeatedly imagined what it would be like if we were together, but at the same time, my logical mind realized that there was no basis for this fantasy relationship, no shared experience, no reciprocated feelings of affection, none of the elements that make up a relationship.  On top of that, there were so many obstacles to anything coming of it that the thought we could be together is almost laughable.  Despite all of that, it took several days of conditioning myself and grieving before I was finally able to let go of something that was never really anything to being with.

I frequently and easily fall into what some people would call love, but I don’t think that’s an honest description of these feelings.  I meet someone and very quickly feel a connection to them, often based on the smallest shared interest or experience.  I then seek out more information about them inevitably leading to more connections and then I start thinking about how good it would be to spend time with that person.  It very rapidly turns into something approaching obsession, but in reality, it’s a desperate desire to be known, cared for, and wanted.  I have often had to acknowledge that I have an intense fear of being alone for the rest of my life and this fear often results in me filling that empty space in my future with idea of anyone who seems like they may fit.  I think a better exercise would be to fill those spaces with the friends and family who are already in my life and also by seeking God and allowing Him to speak into those places and alleviate those fears.  I think I could also stand to cultivate an appreciation for alone time and practice the discipline of solitude.

A Father’s Love

People have come up with a lot of theories on why some people are gay, some are straight, and some are in between.  It’s been attributed to biology, sexual abuse, parental relationships, and countless other markers.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I’m gay and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably never know and that I don’t really care because the why of it isn’t really important.  However, in pondering this question, I did think a lot about my relationship with my parents, particularly my dad.  As seems to be a trend with many gay guys, my dad and I didn’t have a great relationship when I was growing up.

When I was a kid, my dad was under a lot of stress: my family was struggling financially, my parents’ marriage was on the rocks, and my dad was spending every day at an unfulfilling job, watching his future slip away.  I didn’t know any of this at the time which made it impossible to understand why he was so upset and standoffish.  At that time, I saw my dad as a source of fear, definitely not a beacon of love and support.  Looking back and analyzing him through the idea of the five love languages, he definitely never expressed love through physical touch or words of affirmation and quality time and acts of service certainly weren’t his forte.  However, recently I’ve discovered that my dad had been showing love the whole time through gifts and sacrifice.

I wasn’t aware of it back then, but now, when I consider what my parents were able to provide with so little money and how much they gave up for my brother and me, it speaks of an enormous amount of love.  I found out fairly recently that my parents love to travel, but I don’t think they went on a single real vacation the entire time I was growing up.  No matter how tight things were, my parents always made sure their was food on the table, clothes on our bodies, and gifts under the tree at Christmas.  People don’t just give up the things they want unless it’s for something they truly care about and I wish I had been able to appreciate the full measure of my dad’s love instead of being upset that he wasn’t expressing his affection in the way I wanted.

All of this leads me to wonder if these facts have influenced my relationship with God.  The way I’m used to experiencing love is through gifts, through receiving what I want.  I think sometimes I don’t feel God’s love for me because He rarely gives me what I ask for.  It’s hard for me to feel His love in other ways: the words of affirmation through the Bible seem to be meant for someone else, the quality time seems insignificant when it lacks physical presence and verbal responses, and obviously anything involving touch is off the table.  Acts of service seem to be the primary method God has used to show His love; He sent His son to live and die for us, but again, He did it for us, not for me.  I’ve heard it a million times, “even if it was only you, God still would have sent Jesus, He still would have suffered and died because He loves you,” yet somehow it seems so hard to internalize.  Sometimes I think it’s because I’ve heard it so many times it’s lost it’s meaning.  I hope that I am eventually able to understand God’s love for me, but I think I need to grow in wisdom and my understanding of love.

Let’s Talk About Eunuchs

I think it’s a pretty common occurrence, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less I care about sex.  When I was a teenager, I thought having sex was one of the most important things in the world; I lusted, I obsessed, I dreamed about it.  In my early twenties, I still thought of sex often and I still desired it, but it had lost much of its mystical importance.  Now, as I’m approaching thirty, I’ve realized that I hardly care about it at all.  If some magical genie appeared out a lamp or whatever and gave me the choice between having all the sex I want for the rest of my life, but having no romantic attachment or having a loving celibate relationship, it would be a no brainer.  I think this is why, at this point, I’m very open to either a mixed orientation marriage or a celibate gay relationship; in both situations, physicality is going to take a distant back seat to the emotional part of the relationship and that’s more than OK with me.  Now you maybe be wondering what this has to do with eunuchs.  Well, I’m getting to that.

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”  -Matthew 19:11-12

When I read this passage, I find myself wondering, “Am I one of ‘those to whom it has been given?’ Can I ‘accept this?'”  To really know that, I need to determine what “it” and “this” are and for that, I need to have a full and accurate description of the word eunuch.  I looked up all the instances of it’s use in the Bible and virtually all of them seemed to use the word interchangeably with the word servant, sometimes seeming to imply a certain type of servant.  I read through several definitions of this word from various Bible dictionaries and though most of them associated the word eunuch with those unable to have sex, many also suggested that was merely the origin of the word and that it was also often used to describe a person in a position typically held by someone who had be castrated.  This leads me to conclude that Jesus is likely referring to someone who will serve Him without the interference of sex.

The next question, then, is whether the benefit of a sexless servant is in the lack of sex or the foregoing of romantic attachments.  From the aforementioned research, it sounds like the primary purpose of making someone a eunuch was to ensure that the servant could be trusted around women (primarily the king’s concubines) which suggests that lack of sex drive was the primary motive.  I also found it interesting that many of the definitions I read, when talking about eunuchs, inextricably attach sex and marriage.  Strong’s Concordance go so far as to describe a eunuch as “someone who abstains from marriage (sexual relations) to be solely devoted to God.”  Notice how “sexual relations” is used parenthetically after marriage as if you can’t have one without the other?  With all this in mind, how does Jesus’ metaphor apply to our situation today?

To me, it sounds like any type of celibate relationship would not have been considered a true marriage, though that is, admittedly based only on Biblical resources with no actual biblical citations to back them up.  It seems that two people in a committed relationship (no matter their gender) sans-sex would still be considered “eunuchs” in Jesus’ eyes.  Is this conclusion accurate?  Who knows?  Does it matter?  Probably not.  Did I go off on a huge tangent for no apparent reason?  Yes.  Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Over and out.

When Fiction Helps You Realize You’re Being an Idiot

Growing up, my mom and I were always pretty close.  We confided in each other and for the most part, I felt like I could tell her everything.  This continued into college when my mom worked at my school (protip: having a parent work at your school can get you a fat discount) where I also later worked.  I would often visit her and we would complain about our respective jobs and encourage each other to persevere through our various trials.  When she stopped working, we saw each other in person significantly less, so she tried to supplement this with regular phone calls which, for some reason, bothered me.  Well, I know the reason, it felt like she was checking up on me because she expected me to be failing at life.  Or because she was overly eager to hear news about non-existent love life.  In the first instance, it seemed like a distinct lack of trust in my ability to be a successful, productive adult which I felt like I was doing rather well.  In the second, I felt like I was disappointing her with my singleness.  The chaffing feeling caused by these regular phone calls increased when I finally came out to my parents and I now had the added bonus of knowing that my mom was in constant fear I’d go full gay and end up in a pride parade or something.  Eventually, I asked her, in no uncertain terms, to stop calling me so much.  I know this is a terrible thing for a child to tell their mother and, while I tried to do it as nicely as possible, I know I still hurt her.

Cut to a few years later, I’m listening to Marilynne Robinson’s book, Home, and agonizing over Old Bowden’s feelings towards his son Jack.  He constantly worries about his son and, no matter how many times Jack fails, his father is still there loving him and wishing the best for him.  I found myself wishing that I had a parent like that and it finally dawned on me that I do and I pushed her away.  What I saw as her being overbearing and not trusting me was actually just her showing me love and attention and while, at some level, I knew this to be the case, all I could see was how it affected me and what I felt about it.  One major difference between my relationship with my mom and Jack’s relationship with his father is that Jack, objectively, made some pretty huge mistakes in his life so it makes sense for his father to worry about him and to question his choices and actions.  Conversely, I’ve pretty well avoided making moral or ethical mistakes in my life (not to brag or anything) and have chosen to keep all my bad decisions squarely in the realm of indecision and lack of effort (go me!)  Anyway, to sum it all up, I was a jerk to my mom and I need to find some way to invite her to be a bigger part of my life again.

Taking a Leap

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.

Marriage: A High and Lofty Goal

Recently, I find myself inexplicably, yet understandably, pissed off.  I’m not really sure who I’m angry at, but I think it’s a mix of the Church, American culture, and myself.  For whatever reason, I’ve developed into what is generally known as a hopeless romantic (a cruel phrase really, as it implies someone who desperately desires a romance that they have no hope of obtaining), but to an absurd degree.  I fawn over the romantic relationships in every piece of media I consume, the more “real” and “raw” the better.  While I recognized this about myself years ago and have tried desperately to curb this tendency, I still find myself day dreaming about someone (anyone really) coming along and showing true interest in me, desiring my company, making me a priority in their life.  I wonder what it would be like to have someone in the passenger seat on a long drive (or better yet, to be in the passenger seat while someone else drives), to show up at a friend’s wedding and not feel awkward and isolated, or to come home to a family instead of an empty room.  I try to convince myself that these things aren’t necessary, that I can still have a good life and I really do believe that’s true, but I can’t shake these intense desires for companionship and that’s what makes me so angry!

I’m not the first to point out how the Church has elevated marriage and set it as the ideal for all people.  Sure, people will say that being single is good too and my married friends often express jealousy at my nearly limitless freedom, but that doesn’t change the fact that the church bulletin is full of announcements about family camp and marriage seminars and how to a better husband/father workshops.  When it comes down to it, I’m not upset that the church caters to couples and families since they are the majority of the church, but I am frustrated that I was raised to believe that marriage and family are inevitable.  I wish it had been clear that some people’s lives don’t go that direction so that I could be better prepared for a more solitary kind of life.

Popular culture has also promoted ideals of love, though not necessarily marriage.  So many movies revolve around two people who just aren’t happy and whose lives aren’t fulfilling until they meet and then they spend the rest of their lives together and everything is perfect.  Even films that try to avoid this cliche end with the protagonist alone, but with their dream job or some other prize that still ends up feeling like a consolation or sometimes with a feeling of, “it’s gonna be alright.”  The truth is, I don’t want just alright.  I want to flourish and not simply spend my days on this earth waiting to die.  The trouble is, I’ve been so programmed to focus on love, marriage, and relationships that I have a hard time not planning my life around it.  I need to work on forging my own path and living a life that makes my Creator proud.