Still Waiting

I have not written here in so long and a quick warning, this is not a thought through post, but merely a spewing of thoughts. This past year has been absolutely brutal. With every month, the weight of staggering through life alone has weighed heavier and heavier. I started going back to therapy recently and it seems as though I am hitting the point where I am having to simply acknowledge that there simply is no seat for me at the table in the evangelical/Protestant world. I have tried for so long to get people to understand, to see from a new perspective or to even simply acknowledge that the state in which the church is at in regards to the gay community is not acceptable.

I read every book that is published, follow the blogs and explore the new podcasts. Despite this, I have yet to find hope for someone like me. What future is there for us? Is it merely to survive the rest of life alone?

Attempts at sharing this struggle with those in my church usually end up putting others in a state of defense. They say they love and care about me, but grabbing coffee once a month simply cannot count as true community or relationship. I continue to receive the typical responses and suggestions: you shouldn’t focus on myself as much, it’s an addiction issue, or you just need to find the right girl.

God has gone silent. Nothing. Call it my dark night of the soul. I feel as though God has abandoned me, just like everyone else. I can’t settle for Christian cliches and empty encouragements. I want to truly know him and love him. He has to be real, nothing less.

Church, where are you in this conversation? Do you see those of us who are part of the body and yet are completely neglected? Do you have solutions for us or is our calling just to grind it out alone?

If they only knew…

Today, I am wrapping up a pretty significant role I have played in our church for the last year. In so many ways, I am extremely glad that it is finally over. I never knew how even more isolating it can be a public leadership figure in the church. Every time I was in the church, people would approach me and act as though they knew me simply because they saw me on stage or in the video announcements. Being in a position where everyone knows your name but truly does not know a thing about you, put me in a new state of loneliness. It is almost better to be able to walk in and out of church without anyone noticing you. Instead, I had to maintain a persona, engage in the small talk, extend myself to the brink of exhaustion, only to go home to the demons that awaited me.

I wonder what everyone would have thought if they knew who I truly was and what I struggled with? If they knew about my regular failures and sins. The last few months have shown me a side of the church that was new to me, and I didn’t like it. It revealed an unfortunate reality that even for those who are connected, rarely is anyone honest or genuine. I seldom experienced vulnerability or honesty. The church had to be a business in so many ways that those in leadership or on staff really had no one ensuring that their Christian walk was healthy. Even more so, in order instill trust with the congregation, everything had to be planned and thought through. There was so much strategy involved in communication that by the end, it seemed more like propaganda than meaningful updates.

I recognize that all of this is a necessary component to keeping a larger church going. Not everyone needs to know everything and in addition, there is far too little grace shown from the congregation to the church staff. Still, it made me hurt inside to see yet another environment that I could not step into if I revealed my true self. I just don’t understand if there ever will be a time and place where I can belong to the body of Christ, without the layers I hide behind.

I Just Need To Write

I don’t know what I am going to write about or why. I simply need to get something out of me, because I have been stuck today. I woke up around 8:30am this morning and I knew certain tasks that needed to get done. I simply could not get myself to do them. I have laid around, on and off social media, to the fridge, back to bed for almost 6 hours now. I have though about reaching out to others, but I am stuck. I don’t really have anyone I can call.

I just read Taylor Zimmerman’s post on forms of attachment for gay men. It was good to actually see someone explain why I am the way that I am. I feel as though I could be several of the forms (as he states, it is a spectrum), but primarily the preoccupied/ambivalent style definitely is me. Zimmerman writes “One of the deepest insecurities for these adults is being seen as pathetically unlovable and one of the deepest dreads is being abandoned.” Man, that is spot on.

As I sit here on a Saturday, without really anyone to call or hangout with, the feeling of abandonment sets in. I have plenty of people I know love and care about me, but they simply cannot manage to incorporate me into their lives at a relational level that allows me to feel secure. More and more, I sense the burden that I place on people…

To be Needy in the Church

I regularly face the need to curb my expectations of what it means to be the church. In my own neediness, I desire so much more from the body of Christ and yet I constantly feel others implying that I am the problem, not the church. As a result, the last few years have been a journey of trying to lower my neediness and change my attitude. I haven’t let others in and I have kept my neediness as much as possible to myself or the few friends who have committed to walking along side me. Deep down though, despite all efforts to convince myself that I am the one needing to change, I cannot help but feel the conviction that the body of Christ is failing.

The implications of this can’t only hit someone like me dealing with SSA but it must also hit so many other individuals who are in difficult, lonely or isolated circumstances. I recently finished the book “Is God Anti-Gay” by Sam Allberry and though I wasn’t too impressed with the majority of the book (it was pretty basic), his commentary on the church had a few good points. Allberry writes regarding the church,

Key to our witness and credibility… is the quality of life together, and the clarity of our message… With that gospel clarity needs to come relational credibility. The New Testament often connects the effectiveness of our witness with the genuineness of our love for one another.

Allberry also writes specifically about the church’s response to those who come out as being gay stating,

We need to love them more than their gay friends do, and we need to love them more than they love their homosexuality. Only then can we begin to point to the greater love that God has for them.

I walk in and out of church not truly feeling actively loved by anyone. I think about how week to week I can go without a single person telling me “I love you” let alone putting that into actions. While I know that many individuals “love” me, without a tangible reminder and experience, my self image, self esteem and self worth are never reinforced.

I’m afraid to show how needy I really am. I am scared to let others know that deep down I just wish someone would sit next to me, be present, put their arm around me and let me know that they are there… that I am not fighting alone. I hate that I desperately desire physical contact since I can go weeks without even a simple hug. I need reminders that people actually care and love me. Even greater, I need people to bring me back to the truth that God loves me. I know myself, my short comings, my continual failures and I cannot help but feel unloveable. Sometimes I need the church to be the hands and feet of God, to pull me back in when I want to walk away and to walk alongside me on this journey that will most likely be a life long struggle.

In Between But Not Yet

I read Wesley Hill’s post today and truly resonated with his comments on Holy Saturday. I can only imagine how heavy of a day it was for the disciples as they encountered one of the most excruciating days on Good Friday and to be sitting and waiting. The doubts going through their head must have been overwhelming. I’m sure they questioned whether they had spent the last three years following a man who was a complete charlatan.

Holy Saturday is a day where I recognize and resonate with my current state. The sacrifice has been made for me, but I am still waiting for the true fulfillment of God’s salvation. My time here on earth is the period in between where I am patiently waiting my full acceptance into the kingdom. It weighs so heavy at times that it is hard to realize the hope and glory that will be brought about in the end. Trying to hold onto that hope… trying to know that promises have been made… trying to believe that there is something greater than my current circumstance. All of this is reflected in Holy Saturday. I simply cannot wait till the glorious completion that will be brought in the morning. However for now, I simply remain in the in between, but not yet.


Living a Life Divided

It has been so long since I have posted a blog. This blog hasn’t been the only thing I feel has been neglected; I haven’t really journaled, I haven’t sat still, and I really haven’t dealt with much of myself in a long time. Out of the fear of being alone and facing my temptations, I have crammed my life full of work, church and activities. While in some ways I keep myself out of trouble, in other ways I am not in a healthy place at all.

This past week I was suppose to take a trip to the Midwest for a wedding. Due to several circumstances, the trip was canceled and I didn’t end up going. However, before canceling the trip, I had reached out to an old high school friend, since he lived in the same state, to see if I might be able to crash at his place. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in close to a decade but he was more than willing to let me stay a night.

The thing about this guy is that in high school we fooled around a bit. It wasn’t as though we did anything that crazy and I don’t even think he is gay. Still, the thought of seeing him again and the remotest possibility that perhaps things could turn physical clouded my mind for days. Realistically, nothing probably would have happened.

Deep down however, I really wanted something to happen. While I feel as though I try hard to deny myself and to pursue God, if a moment where I could engage in a physical relationship occurred, I honestly do not believe I would extract myself and say no. I don’t know what to do with these feelings.

I am sure most people would simply tell me that it is an easy solution, that I need to get my life together and have more self-control. I am not trying to deny the fact that I will always have a choice. I just don’t think that most people recognize how difficult it is to make the right choice when I have gone years with practically no physical interaction, affirmation or affection. I am really not even referring to anything sexual, simply that there is zero physical touch that occurs.

Having my trip get screwed up maybe was the best circumstance for me. I didn’t have to go through that trial and see how I would have done. Deep down though, I know that my person and character has not been proven to be honorable to God. It is as if there is a separate part of me that remains dormant. I seek and pursue God daily. I do what I can to live a life holy and pleasing to him. It is extremely frightening to know there is another side of me that can rear up at any moment if the opportunity arose. Am I simply trying to keep the sinful beast chained up and quiet inside of me or am I actively facing my demon and regardless of how painful it may be, working to overcome a side of me that more often than not, seems to be my natural self?

Caught in the Middle

My favorite online comment this week has been the observation that everyone’s news feed looks like a Skittles factory went to war with the Confederates. As the decision was made by the Supreme Court, all of a sudden the issue of same sex marriage has erupted all over the place and as a “side B” Christian, I feel caught in the cross fire.

Deep down it is painful to see how many individual’s comments are not simply regarding the ruling on same sex marriage, however they are yet again strong opinions directed towards anyone in the LGBTQ community. Sometimes I see glimpses of grace shown, but more often there seems to be a mentality that all hell has broken loose in this country and the gays are to blame.

As much as it is painful to see many hurtful comments from Christians, I have also been thrown off a bit by many Christians who were eager to throw on the rainbow filter on their profile and express their support for the “side A” view. I think it saddens me because as I view each of those individuals, I realize that I wouldn’t have their support in the decision I have made to live my life celibate. In their eyes it is foolish to make God a priority over my own feelings or attractions. They are quick to elevate the individual and express their viewpoint in how conservative Christians are hypocritical, contradictory and archaic in their view of scripture. I realize that I could never expect any of them to walk alongside me, supportive and understanding of the choice I have made. All of this leaves me further isolated.

There is a bit of anxiety building up in me as I see the polarization of the issue expanding into the church. I feel as though many of us who are actually struggling to live a pure and holy life with same sex attractions are going to be completely overlooked. We are becoming the unicorns of society, as it becomes harder and harder to maintain the “side B” view and lifestyle. It worries me that the church is going to get lost in the cultural battle and never recognize the true ministry that needs to exist in its own body. Christopher Yuan recently stated that the issue of homosexuality cannot even begin to be discussed in the church until the church recognizes a true biblical view of singleness. One of the major arguments for the Supreme Court decision rested in how a gay individual’s “hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.” I know that more and more, the life of a single individual is only identified as one of isolation and loneliness because the church has strayed so far from the original intent of the body of Christ. The church has yet to offer a satisfactory solution and until they do, it only makes sense that an individual in the LGBTQ community would want marriage as an equal right.

When We Notice the Dirt

“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” -C.S. Lewis

Our pastor used this quote at church this morning and coming from experiences I had the previous night, I felt as though I was covered from head to toe in shit. I feel as though I have never had an issue of seeing the sin in my life. It has always been there. If the pursuit of my same sex desires is sin, then on a daily basis I fall. Maybe God is present more than I realize, but lately I just feel dirty.

I was up till 2 in the morning trying to fill the void in my life through video chatting with other guys. It is disgusting how low I stoop and the psychology behind how all the men interact is deplorable. Yet, time after time I come back because it is the only interaction I have where I am desired by someone. I go from one guy to the next, both parties hoping to score someone who is out of our league and stooping to whatever pathetic behavior is required to keep them on before they ditch me in their search for their ideal person. Occasionally I get a guy who I am not that attracted to but he knows I’m better looking so her tries really hard and will do whatever I tell him. The person I become at that point is so far from who I really am…

The isolation has reached the point where I hit a weekend and I honestly have no one to call or hang out with… week after week go by where I am living my own life and no one is there checking to see how I am or to share my life in some form or another. I am still serving at my church but the power of the gospel is so far from reality in my life that I feel like a hypocrite trying to share about Christ when the power of the Holy Spirit, the community of the church body and the redemption from sin seem non-existent for me. There is no way in hell I would want to invite anyone to church because I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to deal with the miserable experiences I have had trying to get connected. Unless they were a married couple… then come to church, you will fit in great and I am sure you will be invited over to dinner immediately.

Our pastor spoke this morning on how we need to engage the gospel not by focusing always on what we need to do but continually focus on what Christ as done. I’m not throwing in the towel yet. While I have pretty much given up on the church body, I am still praying that Christ my Savior will be enough for me right now. My eyes continue to turn to the shit that is all over my body and trying to figure out how to clean my self up. I’m going to have to come before Christ and pray that he can still embrace me, as filthy and disgusting as I am.

The Self-Defeating Sexualization of Gay and Same-Sex Attracted Christians

Check out the full blog.

This sexualization harms us (and our churches) in a lot of ways.

It makes gay or same-sex attracted people afraid of intimacy, because every close relationship with someone of the same sex could be a temptation to sexual sin. It leads us to doubt God’s love for us, because we’re set apart from other Christians, treated as eternal outsiders no matter how much we strive to prove ourselves. (It can make our relationship with God and with the church become all about proving ourselves, or proving our chastity, rather than helping us trust that God and church are there for us when we fail.) It can lead us to ignore other sins and temptations we experience, such as temptations to despair or to self-righteousness.

It reduces us to our sexuality, which is dehumanizing.

via The Self-Defeating Sexualization of Gay and Same-Sex Attracted Christians.

Old and Alone

I went again to the support group this past weekend and myself and one other gentleman seemed to have been the first to arrive.  The priest mentioned that we weren’t the first but another individual had accidentally come an hour early because he had mistaken the time due to daylight saving time.

Daylight saving was a week ago.

This individual who is probably in his eighties, had gone an entire week living life an hour off because he was so isolate and unaware of the time change.  His interactions with others were so limited that there never was a need to recognize that he was off until a week had passed.  Later on during our time of sharing, the same individual mentioned how “sometimes when you get old, you wonder if anyone loves you anymore”.  These two incidences were absolutely crushing.

I joined this group in hopes of hearing older individuals who had learned how to live life well.  Sadly I am seeing and hearing stories about how this is not the case.  For many of the men, the only community they have is with other men dealing with SSA.  While it is good that they find some form of community amongst each other, seeing their lives, it makes me see such a huge void that the church needs to see.