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

The Prayer

I watched this. I cried a river.

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

I Remember, Part 5

I need to address something less pleasant today.  It has been eating away at me for 4 years, and I need to share.

Last year I embarked on something of a journey of memories, trying to make sense of some of my past.  They are just little memories that I had hoped would help me see a bit more clearly and hopefully give me a connection to someone out there who might say, "Yeah, you are not alone.  I felt that too."  You will find all those entries here:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; and Part 4.

But now I need to address Part 5:

It was September of 2004, over four years ago, when I made a decision.  Thirty years old.  Surfing porn--mostly the gay variety--in my tiny apartment.  Isolated.  Lonely.  And about to attend the wedding of my final college friend to be married.  Earlier in the year, I had had a fascinating conversation with a work friend about the wild oats she had sown over time, and that while she was much more restrained now, that she really did not regret what she had done.

So I made this decision: I was going to go experiment sexually with guys.  But the precondition was that it would only last for 4 months, until the end of 2004, and then I would stop.

I find myself regretting that decision, and yet it is hard to explain why.  Somewhere in my mind was this idea that I was still going to be married to a woman someday, and have children, and a simple life in the suburbs.  It was going to happen, and I just needed to continue to trust and wait on the Lord to bring her along.  And I also held pretty strong convictions about sex before marriage, in that I was not going to go there.  But somehow I rationalized that if I messed around with guys, it did not really count and I could continue to carry around my virginity as a prized possession.  

So I started using websites heavily, no longer just looking at guys but attempting to contact them.  I quickly learned that not all guys where what they seemed, but I managed to find some super nice guys--two actually--who where patient and understanding with my inexperience at everything sexual and helped me along a bit.

Since you did not stop by here for a homemade porn story, I will skip over the juicy details.  I never did anything which made me uncomfortable.  For the first time in my 30-year life, I had experienced naked closeness with another man.  And at risk of plagarizing or even defiling the creation story, "It was good."

Yes, I had some guilt and shame.  No, I couldn't tell ANYONE what I had done.  But it wasn't bad, and I actually fell for one of those guys and suffered through my first real broken heart (another long story for another post).

I am so stuck with that idea that I made this 4-month decision 4 years ago.  I promised myself I would sow some wild gay oats for 4 months, and then head back to the straight and narrow.  I broke my own promise.  What if I had kept my promise to myself?  What if I had decided to head back to Straight-ville?

My words are not doing me justice right now, because I am having trouble expressing my true thoughts around this.  I think I am asking, Would a person with a gay sexual orientation make such a promise to themselves?  Or is this more indicitive of a person with a straight sexual orientation who "wasn't gettin' any?"  Was I playing the system, holding onto a straight orientation but cheating myself in the process?  Was I confused?  Did giving myself license to "gay it up" for a while lead to all the heartache in my head and in this blog?

I have said before that I was not with all these woman for my entire life and then decided to go fool around.  In fact, I have been on very few dates in my life, I have never steadily dated a woman, never had a girlfriend (the hand-written will-you-be-my-girlfriend note I passed to Rachel in 9th grade does not count), and honestly, I have never even romantically kissed a woman.  Not once.  Not in my thirty-plus years.  How pathetic is that?

I spend so much time arguing with myself that if I had just dated girls, and kissed them, or if I did now, that the confusion over my orientation would fall away because I would see that girls are not so yucky after all.  I would have the confidence to go be straight.  And suddenly my desires for a woman's body would bloom.  Maybe the Journeyman doesn't know what he's missing?

But do straight guys honestly cuddle up with another man and think, "Wow, this quiet masculine moment between us is amazing.  I could stare into his eyes for a long time, and touch his face, and run my hands through his hair, and dispense with anything overly sexual involving genitals and be really really content and at peace right now?"

So I am lost between a homosexual world that I do not fully understand, which is marked with trouble and prejudice and even a sense that I may never find a man for me, and a heterosexual world that I have never experienced in the first place, perhaps out of lack of desire or perhaps out of lack of confidence or perhaps even just plain fear.

But my 4 month experiment has now stretched beyond 4 years.  Has it brought happiness?  Maybe some.  But has it brought confusion?  You bet.  And hurt?  That too.  And perhaps a sense of hopelessness?  Yeah, that came too.

I'm going to stop here, but I think I need to root around in this subject a bit more in another post.  Thanks for letting me think out loud.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not to worry; Still here

Not to worry; I'm still here.

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.