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.

Every Man Has A Woman To Love

I attend a men’s Bible study at my church that focuses on defining a man of God and the necessary elements in his life to make him be complete.  One of those elements is that every man has a woman to love.

Obviously being a single, celibate gay Christian, this statement bothers me.  When I question how this statement applies to a single man (not even a gay man), I am told a woman to love for a single man is the church, as modeled by Jesus.  I am still exploring this thought to see if there is any true biblical basis for such a statement.  Every time I am told this however, I cannot help but become frustrated and bitter towards the church.  Am I truly to consider my bride to be the church?  How can this be when my so-called bride doesn’t even acknowledge my existence?  Can a spouse truly feel apart of a relationship when their significant other does not even acknowledge they are in a relationship?  

As the church makes this statement, I equate it to the level of frustration that exists for women when told wives should be submissive to their husbands.  While I believe this to be biblical, as an isolated statement, it misses out on the entire meaning of the passage and ends up being used in an abusive and controlling manner.  The responsibilities of the husband are just as important and any man who tells his wife she must be submissive is clearly ignoring the sacrifice that he is suppose to make as a loving husband.  A partial biblical truth can be damaging if the full scope of the biblical passage is not given or if only part of a command is utilized.  Is it justifiable for the church to tell a single man that his bride should be the church, despite having never spoken to the church regarding their responsibilities towards singles?  It seems like an easy way out and an incomplete view, ultimately allowing the church to escape responsibility. 

If the bride of a single person is the church, what is the responsibility of said bride?  All pressure cannot be placed on the single person whom is already isolated, without family, and generally viewed as incomplete by the church. 

I would love to hear some thoughts on this topic.  Has anyone else looked into this idea that a single man’s bride is to be the church? How does that sit with your understanding of the scriptures?

Do I Lie?

My current roommate is getting married soon and as a result I am back to the painful task of finding a new roommate or a new place to live.  With the disconnection that I have been experiencing added with the fact that pretty much everyone I know is already married, finding a roommate seems to be a nearly impossible task.  As I have been looking around online for apartments, I decided to check out the roommate-finder websites as well.  As I set up a basic profile to be able to search through the list of other individuals looking for roommates, I quickly realized that most guys looking for roommates explicitly list that they are only interested in straight men for roommates.  So what do I do? I am gay. I am not pursuing any form of a gay relationship. I recognize that most guys wouldn’t even know I was gay unless I tell them.  Do I lie or simply omit the very minor detail that I am gay?

At this point I am tempted to find a small place for my self, pay the ridiculous $1100+ for a one bedroom and attempt to live alone for the first time.  I know living alone is not the healthiest option for me.  At the same time, I know in the inevitable future I will be living on my own so perhaps now is the time to tackle this and learn to adapt.

A New Year, Unfortunately Not A New Beginning

I was really glad to be over with 2013.  Obviously both good and bad happened through out the year, but I was done with it by the end.  Sadly, despite the year changing always seems to create a mental illusion that I am getting to step through fresh doors into new opportunities, changes, and a clean state, the reality is that today started off exactly where I left it yesterday in 2013.

It is  hard for me to find hope anymore.

With every year, I am actually surprised at how much more difficult my circumstance become and in the end I feel ridiculous for allowing myself to be caught off guard.  That is the scary thing about hope; when you hope, you allow yourself to be vulnerable to being let down as well.

While I hate to start off 2014 as a Debbie Downer, the reality is  I am more isolated, alone, and lonely than I have ever been in my life.  I feel helpless to my situation.  My efforts to find friendship and community has left me hanging dry, bitter towards the church, and somewhat depressed.  The desire to give up on the celibate Christian life is stronger than ever.  While I have not gone there in action, I know my mind has been dwelling there for quite some time now.

God I need you now, more than ever.

Back To Work

It has been good to get back to work again.  I never would have imagined not liking vacation or my time off… but it really wasn’t healthy to have so much time alone.  Thankfully I had a pretty good week… or maybe it was more that I didn’t have a bad week for once.

I am in such a weird place right now.  With everything in my life up in the air, I really don’t have much to hold onto.  It is strange, but I am not feeling overwhelmed by my situation.  At least in this moment right now.  I feel as though I am learning to lower my expectation in life, towards people, and even for myself. I am far less likely to be hurt, disappointed, or frustrated if I can learn to curb my expectations.  It is hard though… I want to expect more in life.

It seems to be a fine line between lowering my expectations and letting go of what little hope I have for the future.

Of Course I Can Ruin Vacation

I have had the last two weeks off from work.  While it was nice to have a vacation, I quickly realized two things: 1. Not being paid for two weeks sucks. 2. Having two weeks off as a single guy sucks as well.

Thankfully I had a good time the first week going on a road trip with my sister up north, however this past week being alone with no one around has been really rough.  All of my friends happened to be gone and so I literally spent most of the time alone.  I hate the fact that at my age, I am already looking ahead to years of vacations spent either alone or scrambling to find anyone else at all who is able to get away from their significant other.

I know I should be thankful for the time I have right now, where I can go anywhere and do anything that I want, without too many strings tying me down.  Of course, all of my married friends keep telling me this.  However, I don’t think anyone recognizes how lonely it can be.

Upon returning from his vacation, one of my good friends told me about a conversation he had with his wife about the future plans.  He told me about how they dreamed about what they wanted to do in the future and where they might move to…  It became abundantly clear that no matter how good of friends I may be with my guy friends, when it comes to their future plans, I don’t factor in at all.

I have been struggling with this thought over the last couple of days.  I know that my need for community has been a major factor for me returning to Southern California.  I don’t think I would be where I am at now, had it not been for the people that I knew I would be seeing on a regular basis.  However, to know that in a couple of years, all of those friends will be moving on to fulfill whatever dream they have with their spouse, really is difficult to deal with.  Simultaneously, it makes me wonder if I should release myself from my attachment to these friendships.  I clearly value the connection I have with them far more than they ever will and as a result, my life is being directed by such relationships far more than it should be.

My desire to leave has begun to kick in again.  Knowing that my friends would never stick around because of me makes me want to move on.  I feel caught because am aware of my need for community but at the same time I feel as though I am only setting myself up for a lot hurt down the road.

When A Friendship Hits The Ceiling

One of my biggest fears with my friends is that at some point they will reach their point of limitation in our friendship where they cannot go further.  I have had enough people come and grow through my life that I don’t expect people to stay around.  Despite an incredible amount of grace that has been shown me, it has taken me quite some time to learn to trust even my closest of friends.  No matter how much I have forced myself to go beyond my insecurities and trust others, I live with the dread that it will eventually end.

I reached one of those points of limitations with one of my closest friends.  It hit me harder than I ever imagined.  He was someone that has walked with me for quite a while now and I am closer to him than any other friend.  To feel as though I reached the limit in that friendship was devastating.  A lot of hope I had in being able to develop solid male friendships has been lost…

I am really struggling to understand the balance between relying on God completely as well as having support from friends.  I know how easy it can be to become emotionally dependent on a friend.  At the same time, I feel as though God does use people in our lives to help us get through tough times.  I want to believe that a person like me can have a substantial, solid, and deep friendship with other guys.  I desire to hold onto the hope that there is a place for a single guy like me.  It is just so hard at times… I don’t feel as though I stand a chance in view of most guys getting married, investing in their career, or simply being emotionally/relationally stupid.

Why not do a baby toss?

Wedding season is here.  Bleh.

I always have mixed feelings about going to weddings.  While I want to be supportive and excited for my friend getting married, I can’t say that I enjoy going to weddings all that much.  In all honesty, I am one of those guys who takes advantage of the open bar at weddings.  A wedding without alcohol is a an event one step shy of hell for a person like me.

I am already trying to prepare myself for the barrage of comments regarding my singleness and how someday I will meet the right person.  I told my friend that I will be trying to sneak away during the garter toss, as I will be one of five sorry souls having to stand in front of everyone, shamefully admitting to our singleness.  Unfortunately, my friend has threatened to call me out on the PA system… so not exactly sure what’s going to happen there.

I told him that he should start a new tradition of calling out all the married couples without kids to the dance floor.  They then could take a baby doll and toss it over their head and see who catches it.  My friend told me that as funny as it would be, it wouldn’t work out because some couples are unable to have kids.  I told him some people are unable to get married…