I am a Christian. I am a gay man. Here is chronicle of my symbolic journey west, toward adventure, challenge, mystery and ultimately peace.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Prepare yourselves. You are about to head toward territory that I have taken you to before. I ask for your patience.
I remember finding the underwear sections of the Sears catalog hot.
I remember vacationing in Phoenix when I was in junior high. At the hotel pool, this Adonis of a man arrived and soon stripped down to a white speedo to catch some rays. I was awestruck.
I remember the first time I rented gay porn--which was a trick because I had to find the right store to rent from.
I remember spending the last 60 minutes surfing porn. It literally just happened. Like literally in the hour. What a waste.
All these memories become baggage. They become heavy items which I lug around, perhaps as some self-imposed penance for my attraction to the male body. The load, however, becomes too much at times.
I can be quite agnostic about many things, resisting the idea that I can know things for absolute certain. There is always some doubt. Always. So for me to arrive at the "I'm gay" conclusion and then just get on with my life is a very very large piece of baggage. I find myself asking, "How can I be sure I am gay?" Pinning my sexuality on which photos I liked (ie, Chippendales) and which I was ambivalent about (ie, Playboy) seems like a lousy way to arrive at conclusions about my sexuality.
But it gets worse...I know one of the reasons I struggle so much with accepting about myself what is often so clear to others is that I find so much of the gay culture disheartening. I am not a party boy. I am not a social activist. I am not a social butterfly with the hippest clothes. I do not want another Craig's List hookup, because I have done that, and then been just sick about it. I just find guys more attractive than girls.
There were not lots of guys in high school and college that I crushed on. Sure, Ian the tennis player was so cute, and Mark the pre-med student was built. But I never thought to myself, "Hmmm...I would like to date him" or "I think about him day and night" or "I wonder what he would be like naked in my bed." (Ahem!) Instead I just surfed porn in the corner of the library, usually finding my way to male underwear models.
And then sometimes I am just not sure. I saw the movie Milk last night, and I wondered if I was supposed to be attracted to the guys in the movie or turned on by the gay intimacy therein, but I was not. But when I saw the movie Marley & Me on Christmas Day, I also wondered if I was supposed to be excited when Jennifer Aniston got naked. Which I also was not.
The burden of being gay is too much for me knowing that (1) it's sometimes not all that clear and (2) what is out there does not hold much appeal. Many of the stories I hear about gay people is that they just could not hold back any more. Being gay was such a part of them that they had to go public. I don't feel that way. I feel like I could just go on being single and alone for a long time, because then at least I wouldn't have to feel the brand of society, especially in my part of the country.
But then again, I have to consider the couple times in my life where there was close intimacy with another guy. And it was wonderful. To just hang out with someone, to make dinner with them, to cozy up on the sofa to watch TV, to plant butterfly kisses on his head, to buy small inexpensive gifts which actually held much sentimental meaning, to go on a date. It was all pretty great. Like really great. Like, wow, holding a man that I really care about or having him hold me is amazing. And falling asleep with a guy....sign me up.
My words are failing me today, I can tell. Sorry gang. Perhaps this is what happens when one trudges over the same territory day after week after month after year. Perhaps my assumption is this: The weight of being gay and dealing with the stigma and pondering if God finds it acceptable and wondering if I will find someone to love is so heavy, that I occasionally wonder if I should just go try the ex-gay thing and see what happens. It has to be easier than this life of mine now.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
If you like Celine Dion (I do) and Andrea Bocelli (I do) and ballads (I really do), check this out.
Of the many prayers I could offer on Christmas, this one seemed best. Merry Christmas, friends.
I pray you'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe
La luce che to dai
I pray we'll find your light
Nel cuore restero
And hold it in our hearts
A ricordarchi che
When stars go out each night
L'eterna stella sei
Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c'e
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe.
Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternita
La forza che ci dai
We ask that life be kind
E'il desiderio che
And watch us from above
Ognuno trovi amore
We hope each soul will find
Intorno e dentro a se
Another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Just like every child
Needs to find a place,
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe
E la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salvera
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I have been buried under just a bit of emotion, but mostly under Christmas shopping and work and school and a small home remodeling project and some unnerving job news. Overall, I'm hanging in there. Hope to be back soon with more tales from the journey.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have really had to wrestle lately with the damn closet door, and how open I want to or care to be. Remember, I still struggle with my sexuality at times, and yet I want to live authentically with the people in my life. For several years, I have quietly and subtly pulled the door shut from the inside, almost able to hear the creaking in the unoiled door hinge. Most times, I have no appetite or strength to defend myself or "my chosen lifestyle." I just want to say, "This attraction to guys thing is a part of me" and not get berated or tossed into the middle of a laying-on-of-hands ceremony. (And yes, that practically happened to me once when I miscalculated and came out to someone not prepared to hear it.)
Yet, because I have pulled the door shut to an extent, I have lost many friends anyway. This is not because they explicitly rejected me, but rather because I snuck off and saved them the trouble. I made assumptions about how they would react and idly watched the friendship die.
So....to what extent is the closet killing me and my relationships?
Some people know about my sexuality, but I have been quite calculating lately about who knows what. Or at least I have convinced myself I have control of who knows what about me. On the other hand, someone who is my age and has never brought a girlfriend around might be fooling fewer people than I think. So I am not in an air-tight closet all alone; I trust a lot of people around me. But I have a big challenge coming out to those who are left, which is a large group of church folks and some family that occassionally has a hay-day telling gay jokes.
One thing I have heard other gay folks say is that they feared coming out because it was almost something they could not take back. Once it is said out loud, publically, for anyone to hear, there was a sense that they had been labeled and assumptions made about them.
To be called on the carpet and be told I am going to hell and that I need to read Romans 1 (always said as if I obviously have never even heard of the Bible) are not going to be pleasant for me to handle. I do not want a fight or a debate or a lengthy time answering closed-ended questions. I am not up for a fight; I am up for an honest friendship.
So I am left swinging on this trapeze, my knees hooked over a bar swaying back and forth over the arena, knowing that I cannot stay here for too much longer. And I know the way off is to let go of the bar that now holds me up, and fly though the air un assisted, hoping the person promising to catch me by the wrists and swing me over to the safety of a secure platform will really do so. Or will it be a lengthy and horrifying drop to the floor, with the impending reality that the approaching collision with the ground will cripple me?
Thankfully, I had coffee with a great friend today who I usually see once a year. I share a tremendous amount of my doings and feelings, and he helps me process them. He tells me I am different every time we talk, each time for the better. He says I am becoming courageous in my decisions and in my progress on this journey. Today, he said the same thing. And I think even the mere authorship of a post like this should tell me something. I am debating doing the "publically out" thing.
Attractive guys turn me on. Intimacy with guys is something I like. The touch of a man is wonderful, and the masculinity of being held or holding in a quiet moment is hard to capture with words. These things I know. Since forever, I would stop in the mall kiosks selling next-year's calendars and walk right past the scantily-clothed girls draped over cars seeking the Chippendales, hoping no one would notice if I picked it up and looked at the shirtless hunks on the back.
Do I explain that to someone? And how? Is there really freedom outside the closet? Or is there just a lot more people with a lot more questions which will make me feel like a second-best citizen? For those of you who made the journey, what happens on the outside of the closet? Was it painful? Honestly. Tell me. Even if there was joy in being open and authentic, was it all pain-free?
Here comes the audience participation; this is an All-Play. Raise your hand and hit the Comment button. Your turn....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
We have not spent a great deal of time together lately. I found other things to occupy myself, mostly because I am scared. I am scared that you don't like me very much. I am scared that you care for me only because you have to. I mean, isn't this in the rules somewhere that God is supposed to do things for people, regardless of how much they deserve it or are grateful for it?
Those guys who represent you on TV seem to imply I don't have much going for me: gay; not much of a church guy; lonely; don't pray very much; don't tithe. They spend an extraordinary amount of time begging me to sow a seed--which is always to them--so that I can open the doors of blessing in my life. Is this how it works, God? Are you like a cosmic jukebox? I insert my money, and great things come? And they say I have lots of "flow-blockers," a term I heard repeated in person by one of my former pastors. Because I have low self-esteem and I occassionally surf porn and have not picked out that root of homosexual attractions--like it is an awful planter's wart--that you can't do much for me. I blocked the flow. I'm sorry.
Amazing to me is the idea floating around Christendom that so much of how you relate to me happens because of what I do and don't do. That's strange to me. If you are all-powerful and all-wonderful and all-loving, then do you honestly wait for me to make a move before you do something too? That's a lot of pressure on me, or at least I feel like it is. And that's why I scared of you. Because I don't think I am holy enough or reverent enough or hetero enough or (insert your own adjective here) enough to bring a smile to your face.
I am scared that I am going to lose my job soon, but we have been over this many many times. I am scared about being a loser. I am scared about my car that needs $1,300 worth of work. I am scared about having trouble setting goals. You have seen me try; I know you have. You have seen me set out on my Believe Project to get some of these things done and make some direction for myself. But setting goals does not come naturally to me. I can do what I am told, and do it well, but deciding what to do? Way harder. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it, but I need some direction.
I even struggle with tiny things in life, like socks and decorating and heat. Between you and me, God, you may have given me an attraction to guys (though whether that came from you or from elsewhere is still a bit of a mystery), but I did not get the expected accompaniment of interior decorating skills or ability to select nice clothes. I love free T-shirts. I hate $100 pairs of jeans. So my home is sparce and my closet desperately needs a visit from Tim Gunn or maybe the Queer Eye guys--ALL of them.
I need to update my resume, but I don't know how. I need to buy some black pants but I cringe at the thought. I need new tires, but they are a lot of money.
And relationships. God. Hello. Are you serious? I have zero idea what I'm doing here. I spend enough energy being comfortable with me, and then some guy happens by that I really enjoy, and I get totally discombobulated. I could put a good foot forward, but I know I will never have a solid relationship unless I can be 100% honest about who I am and the struggles I have, no matter how embarrassing. For all the talk the gay community often does to the straight world about acceptance and diversity and uniqueness, I am not as sure the gay community wants diversity WITHIN its community. Better to have a bunch of hot jockster models in a 6-page Mens Health spread. But me, a stocky guy with nice eyes but hair on my chest (gasp!!) and a weak chinline (oh the horror!!), I don't feel so much like I belong.
So I'm trying, God. Sort of. I'm not trying to get to church, but I am trying to reconnect with you. When I started figuring out I am gay I had to throw away sooooooo many assumptions about you and religion and Christianity. I had to start over, and it was tough. But maybe I will make it through, maybe. Once I get the car fixed and the resume done and some goals made and the clothes updated and something on my walls and some idea why my furnace runs too much some new socks and some idea of what a relationship would be like....then maybe.
But could I make a small request? Could you show up a little before I get all that figured out? It is too much for me right now.
How I long to crawl up into your arms, find that spot on your chest where my head would fit nicely, and nuzzle up under your chin, listening for your heartbeat, and knowing it beats for me. I don't know if it is reverent for a gay guy to think of You like this, but it would be nice.
Maybe I am not as bad off as I sound. Day-to-day, I am doing OK? But I feel the pressure building, and I sometimes wonder if I can keep up. But so long as you keep appearing in strange places (like you did this weekend, in my kitchen), then I will try to keep going.
I need to go now. Maybe to write a resume and maybe to the mall to look at shoes (you know I haven't purchased shoes of any kind for at least 3 years.) But if you hear this, and aren't too disappointed in me, I would love to hear back.
Thanks, and Amen.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I re-read an e-mail conversation with a dear friend from my church family that took place over 3 years ago. (How could it possibly be that long ago?) Though I was in a terrible emotional place then, I did have some profound--and controversial--things to say about myself, God, faith and church.
They're worth repeating, because I still see true wisdom in what both of us wrote, and I wanted to share. That's me in the black text, and her responding in blue. (And no, the photo is not us!)
I'm so very hard on myself. I administer pretty regular mental and emotional beatings to myself. I think so little of myself. I've had 3 gay friends independently say to me recently "You've got to start realizing what a great guy you are. You are WAY too hard on yourself." I feel like a complete failure most times. I'll do OK, but it's still a daily battle that I don't think I'll ever win. People who have gone before me tell me this is very normal and even familiar to them. They tell me it eventually gets better. Let's hope so.
You are soooo hard on yourself. I know that you are an amazing person as well as everyone who meets you. I am so glad though that you are not hiding (well as much as you used to) and you are being proactive about just figuring out who you are and what God is going to do with your life.
I'm challenging myself so much with regard to my faith and my church. I'm realizing how much tradition has short-changed the church and dumbed-down the gospel. I hope not to be struck by lightning, but I'm beginning to think the gospel is not the sanitary neat outline-driven academic exercise the church has made it into. I think of our church: For a few moments we sing about how amazing and beyond comprehension God is, and 20 minutes later hear a sermon proclaiming God's absolute truth on this or that. If God is so huge and beyond comprehension that we don't get Him, then how do we get to a neat outline about the unquestionable truths about Him? It's like a strange infomercial: Boil down the unfathomable into 3 points in 20 minutes. The offering plate will be by soon to take your $19.95. Free shipping and handling.
Can't we simply say we don't get it all?
I love your thoughts on faith. I think that faith is never neat or tidy. Just look at the church body for the most part..it's messy...why? because people are messy and untidy. The thing is that God continues to move in us even with all the mess. That my friend is grace, love, and hope.
Then I asked a question about her reaction to my sharing my gay orientation, and she wrote...
I don't ever want to put a label on you. Because you are more than just being gay...there is soooo much more to you. You are a wonderful friend and a great listening ear. You love and cherish people for where they are at rather than what masks we put on for the day.
You are important to me. I am proud that you seek God in all of this. That you struggle and that you are communicating with people who want to love you,whether or not they are struggling with the same thing. People who hate"homosexuality" have no clue what that means or what that looks like. Most of the time they don't even know anyone who is gay. You are not the first friend I have had who is gay and I don't think you will be my last.
Some tremendous people have been part of my journey. I am thankful for them all, but today, especially for this particular woman of beauty who walked with me when I really needed a friend.
Nevertheless, here is a very well-said piece from Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. I'm not his biggest fan by any means, but this commentary is very well done and worth 7 minutes of your time.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
To explain why I am crying is a bit embarrassing and even a little convoluted, but it relates to this portion of my journey which is headed somewhere new.
I express emotion quite easily, and this time it was manifest while watching a YouTube video...one from the Shamu show at SeaWorld, of all things. You see, I have been to that very show in person twice in the last year, and I am perfectly capable of sitting in the bleachers at that show and bawling my eyes out. While the mother next to me removes cotton candy from the hair of her 4 year old and the camera-laden tourist takes enough Shamu pictures to fill an encyclopedia, I cry.
If you have been to this show, then you know it is more than an orca whale jumping around. Actually, the whales do little more than that, but while Shamu leaps and splashes in his pool, the stadium fills with music and fancy video displays which tell the loose story of a small boy kayaking into the ocean for an encounter with a killer whale. And the deep voiced narrator takes you though "the moment in everyone's life when you begin to BELIEVE."
And that's about the spot where I could no longer subtly keep the tears in my eyes and I began to cry.
I was outside in the sun, a place I love.
I was watching a beautiful, powerful, graceful creature swim, a sight I love.
I was listening to music, a sound I love.
I was inspired, a feeling I love, but unfortunately have truly experienced far too few times. That was months ago, but watching it on YouTube brought it all back.
This week, I began a project, with the name quite shamelessly swiped from Shamu himself, simply called BELIEVE. The project represents my desire--and more importantly my need--to be restored and to move foward and to be whole and to begin believing again. There is so much to this for me, so much at stake, yet my project remains somewhat unstructured on purpose, allowing it to evolve and grow and change.
I keep coming back to that word: BELIEVE. Packed within are so many levels of change:
Believe in my story.
Believe in God.
Believe in change.
Believe in progress.
Believe in this journey.
Believe in me.
This is no school project, yet I am giving myself homework: There will be some real honest and tangible products that will come out of this for me. I am working toward several goals, some emotional, some spiritual, and some physical, all inspired by 7 sequenced letters which have been floating around within me for months and even years. BELIEVE. I don't even know what all will come, other than to say that today I have a little bit of hope and a little bit of courage and I'm going to run with it for now. That hope came from some incredible friends who don't even know they gave it to me yet, and from a killer whale who will probably never know.
I know some of what is coming, and that may just unfold on the pages of this blog. I will try to chronicle what comes next. For now, I will....
come touch the face of a mystery,
call in your heart to live,
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
It's an amazing thing, this voting that we do. Every time we vote, but especially during the presidential years, I well up with pride at our country and the way we govern ourselves.
Today as I wandered around my city, I saw so many people with small oval "I Voted" stickers on their clothing. And that made me happy. All day long, I have been considering that millions of my fellow citizens are standing in line, darkening little ballot bubbles or punching out chads (wow, I hope that isn't done any longer) or touching screens to voice their opinion on who should represent them on the local, state or national level.
It's amazing to me, that the people I work with, the people I ran past, the people on the bus, the people I pass in traffic all get a voice today. Hopefully an equal voice. This is the way we govern ourselves, and I am impressed.
True, I will not agree with how each person votes, but I will take pride in the idea that many people do. The system is flawed in some ways, and I have heard of local allegations that some unusual votes may have been cast here. But the idea that we get a voice, that we are allowed--even encouraged--to express that voice just excites me.
What we vote on sometimes confounds me. That some are going to vote to remove rights in California, and write that into the state constitution, in the form of Proposition 8 confuses me. I do not know that it is appropriate to vote on rights. Our democracy tends to value and protect the rights of the minorities; we ought not allow a majority vote to determine rights. And that is as far as I care to go on voicing an opinion on the issues.
So thanks, America, for making me proud today. Regardless of whether the outcomes meet with what I hope for, I am amazed we can express our voices in this incredible way. What an honor.
Monday, November 03, 2008
So never one to pass up some fun little thingy like this, I created a Wordle based on this blog. I would not have even posted it here, until I saw an incredibly beautiful theme come through using the three predominant words in the center: Still Just Love.
If you know me--and one or two of you do--you know this is me. I don't have it down pat, but I sure do try.
Still Just Love.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
OK, gang, I'm still here. It got a little crazy there for a while, and at one point I had given up. I honestly hung my head so low that I had given up any shot at happiness or closure or comfort. I just assumed it wasn't meant for me.
Fortunately, the sun came up about 3 days later and I'm trudging again. It will all come out soon enough. Just stay tuned.
For the moment, I need to just be frivolous and light-hearted, so I pass along this quite disappointing Olympic news from OutSports: Beach volleyball: Guys, keep your shirts on
I love the Olympics. I love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. Expect to find me parked in front of the TV for the next two weeks cheering on the best athletes in sports, and even some of the not-so-best who are there simply to show they can proudly complete. I am watching for those magical stories birthed only in the Olympics. There are guys like Derek Redmond, who finished last in his 400m track heat in Barcelona, but came away with one of the greatest Olympic stories ever, finishing his race with his dad.
Or there is Eric Moussambani, who literally swam alone in his 100m heat in Sydney, while the crowd coronated him an Olympic hero, with a time more than double the medal contenders.
I am ready for a little inspiration. Bring on the Games.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In his most recent post, he writes about going to a gay wedding, and concludes with these words:
On a personal note I admit that part of me is still uncomfortable with being gay. And with all the gayness I was surrounded by. I mean I spent almost 7 years in exgay ministries trying to change and thinking how horrible homosexuality is. That's alot of residue to deal with. And i'm not just going to change over night. I wish I was alot more comfortable. I wish I was more secure in my relationship with Jesus over this stuff. So I haven't arrived yet. I'm still a mess. And i've got to work on the negative feelings I still hold towards homosexuality. But what I saw in that wedding was beautiful. And I hope that it becomes alot more common place in the future and more people get to see how wonderful love can be.
I get that! I know appreciate those feelings and many days wonder if I will ever come out from under them. Though I did not spend a signficant amount of time in ex-gay ministries, the rest makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks, Pomo. I really appreciate you.
Friday, June 06, 2008
There have been a busy couple weeks for me, and I have had some small but very neat victories for me in my personal life in areas completely unrelated to sexuality. (By the way, I love the word neat. I think it is very much underused!)
In the meantime, just know that I am thinking. I am very good at thinking, and analyzing, and pondering, and wondering, and probing, and analyzing some more, and turning over, and then doing it all over again. Once I find my voice, I will be back with more.
Take care, my friends.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
But after one or two pretty bad reactions, I bolted. I was told that I would have to submit to several men in the church and have them hold me to a very high accountability level for my feelings. (Mind you, at this point, I had not done anything that would even remotely be considered acting out.) That was odd, because previously I had asked three official office-holding leaders of that church to be a mentor to me; each of them met with me twice, and there was no more mentoring or discipleship. Until, that is, I said the GAY word, at which time the warning sirens sounded. I was told pretty much everyone under the sun was going to know about me and I would be removed from all volunteering and I would have to meet weekly with these three older guys, etc, etc, etc. I found myself actually pitying the people at that church, because they essentially overreacted, not knowing themselves how to deal with someone who is gay.
I went home and cried myself to sleep. I asked the empty space in my apartment where I was supposed to turn, when my church could not (or would not) care for me. I remembered all those conversations with people--mostly youth--about their pain. The son who told me his dad did not love him; the child who closed his bedroom door to drown out his parents' daily fight; the kid who slept on my couch during a winter storm because he had just been kicked out of his house. I had cared for them; now who would care for me?
The one place that was supposed to be safe.
It was not.
And so I left.
I left and went somewhere else for church. I wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere but "there." It has been years since I quietly left that church, and to this day very few people know the pain I left with. I cringe to even think about going back. And weighing most heavily on me: I have a great deal of anger toward the people "there."
I don't want to be angry, but I also know I cannot go back. It just hurts too much. My opinions of churches changed quite dramatically during that episode, and I am only beginning to unpack my feelings. I have not landed at a perfect church, and I do not know that I would be affirmed by my current church as a gay man. But I have found some grace, some love, someplace to be real, even if only with a very few people.
Churches are odd like this: Getting hurt is painful in a rotten way. Learning to be vulnerable is similarly painful, but somehow leads to beauty. My journey continues, learning how to do the latter without the former.
Friday, April 04, 2008
I seem to have stablized just a bit, and managed to get in touch with some long-lost friends with whom I really shared my hurting heart and I feel much better. And I am working toward some professional help with my depression.
There's a pattern here: I get stuck and the pain gets bad enough that I reach out to people. Then I try to be strong and resolute on my own and I get stuck by myself once again. Someday I'll learn.
So thanks, friends. It pretty much blows my mind that people I have never met (and may never meet) stop by my little piece of cyberspace to show their care.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I feel like one of those kids who begged and pleaded and groveled for a goldfish and promised to take care of it and love it and feed it daily and clean the tank and
...then it dies.
It hasn't been for lack of things to write about that I have been away. My mind is clipping right along sorting through every imaginable thing to think about. The thought process I am dealing with now goes more like this: Perhaps if I just resign myself to my plain existence where I eat, sleep and work, then I will no longer be disappointed in myself. Quit trying to make sense of it. Quit trying to work it out. Quit hurting other people. Just quit.
It is a dismal feeling, but one I cannot stuff back into the tube from which it escaped. And for better or worse, I am growing ever more OK with the idea of just eeking out an existence rather than truly living.
I read other blogs, and I am so excited for what I see there. For guys working this out, and getting better, and learning more about themselves. I am not so sure I am making similar progress, and that gets me down all the more.
I spent a *lot* of time alone now, a *lot*. I spent my birthday alone; I spent Easter alone. And as much as I know some of your are pounding your hand against your mouse shouting, "Then get out and meet some people and do something about it," I also know that being around other people really wears me out. I'm an introvert to the core.
So for now I'm stuck. I hope it passes; I really do. But for now, I'm just plain stuck.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
How long as it been since you Googled yourself? Admit it, everyone does it. I tried about two weeks ago, and I could not find myself. Honestly!! How poetically humorous! Someone with some fame, or at least enough fame to have his own website, shares my name, so most Google searches result in several links for him. As for my blogging screenname, there's the NBC show Journeyman, which I actually have never watched. Perhaps everyone wants to share my name.
Monday, February 11, 2008
I declare myself to be a Christian, but I’m not so sure any more. Yes, I believe there is a God. And yes, I believe I am not God. For which you should all be thankful. I cannot even keep my own life in order; I don’t want to be in charge of all of humanity. Not today, anyhow. I spend almost no time reading the Bible. I pray, but it is half-hearted at best, and even then usually at the request of someone else. I go to church…sometimes…but less recently. Does God even want me anymore? I certainly haven’t given Him the time of day lately. Of course, I doubt God needs me to give him the time, as if he is a pedestrian racing down the sidewalk without a watch. Time spent with God is not all that important to me.
It has created a crisis of faith for me, because I know how to be compliant. I know what is expected of me. The Sunday school answers roll off my tongue, as do the happy little sayings that Christians are supposed to put on the changeable sign out front and say in church and to each other. You know...
“Seven days without prayer makes one weak.”
“God never promised an easy journey.”
“What a service. God really showed up.”
Let me back up. I know some people who say those things and have a heart of honesty and genuine care for the people in their lives which they love. I hope not to be mocking Christianity with this post. For me right now, however, those phrases seem disingenuous for me to be using. I really do not think I have followed Christ very well lately, nor have I earned the right to say such things.
I have stayed away from God because I figure I am a colossal disappointment in his eyes, and if I back away, then he won’t have to push me away. I can spare God the trouble. Besides, a lot of television preachers (and for as distant as I feel from God, I sure watch a lot of television preachers) say things like, “God can’t use you if you aren’t speaking to him,” or “God cannot hear your prayer if you are sinning.” I wonder if anyone told Paul that while he was killing Christians. Next thing you know, God blinded him, talked to him, and set him on course to be the writer of a significant portion of the New Testament.
Perhaps part of why I have walked away is because I am scared of what God might expect of me. Buried deep deep down in me is this sense that talking with God will require me to do or be something impossible, something I will most likely fail at. God will ask the impossible of me. Oh, I know what comes here: Another catchy church phrase about how God specializes in the impossible or that God will not give me more than I can handle. I get it. I really do. But if God asks the impossible of me, and I cannot do it, then how could he possibly be happy with me?
Could God ask me to give more money? Maybe to watch more television ministries if preachers in fancy buildings who say God wants my money. Perhaps I will have to come out as gay. Or become accountable to some people in my church. Or be straight.
I already feel like a disappointment to most everyone around me, God included. Why would I want to try something else and fail at that too? Why would I want God even more mad at me? According to a lot of folks, God already burns in anger over my physical attraction to guys. Then fine, He can just be mad. He can boo me just like the evangelicals boo John McCain. At least then I will not be living under the illusion that I follow him anymore or fit into the expected mold of some of his most fervant followers.
I’m scared. Scared of God. Scared of the impossible. For all my attempts at authenticity here on this blog, I am no longer authentic before God. Based on what I have witnessed of some of his followers, I’m not so sure I care. And that frightens me all the more.