I promised in a recent post that I would begin to blog about my journey from childhood until now. I will keep that promise. Today I want to answer another pressing question that I have recently asked myself since January when I first openly shared with my former wife that I was in fact gay. The question I ask myself today and others have asked me as well is: “Why do you continue to attend church even though you are gay?”
My initial answer is: “Because I haven’t been asked not to yet.” Now that’s funny stuff right there. I just made myself giggle a little. So let me answer this in a bit more detail. If my CAJUN accent comes into play, please just deal with it. You can take the kid out of the bayou but you will not take the bayou out of the kid.
I attend church weekly for the same reason that you attend the grocery store as often as you do. HUH? Really! What did you say? Ok… I’ll say it again in CAJUN. Because I gitt Houngry! Yah sees?
That’s right! I get hungry. I am hungry for God. I am hungry for The Holy Spirit. I am hungry for Jesus, and I am hungry to Worship. My sexual orientation has no bearing on who God is. He is not shocked and He is not shamed. Trust me. I’ve been in ministry before and you know I’m not the only imperfect person in that building fa sho!
Just as you go to a restaurant or a grocery store to feed your body, I go to church to feed my spiritual body. It’s not about those around me, It’s not even about me. It’s about Him. It’s about Christ and his love for me. You see… I am reminded about a dear friend of mine who is a beautiful Christian lady who said this to me: “For every person who, in their small mindedness rejects your and tries to shame you, there are a hundred more wonderful people out there who will hear your story and not only respect you, but he helped beyond measure. …just like we wound others in the places where we remain wounded, we also heal other in the places where we have been healed.” I couldn’t have said it any better, so I didn’t. Thank you “P.C.” that was a defining moment for me.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “If you want to know where people have been wounded, watch where they wound others.” Now that’s good reading.
So big deal Chet… how does that answer the question that you posed? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Here ya go. I believe that the modern Church has gotten a bad rap. Yep… I said it. A real bad rap. While I agree that there are some churches that are still pretending to be perfect, they are far from it. They are fakers and secret-sinners at best. I’m not talking about “Jesus TV.” I’m not talking about cults. I’m talking about the modern church of which I am a part of.
I assure you that 90% of my friends on Facebook are professed Christians in some form or fashion. When I went public with my “gayness” I sent a heartfelt letter to some of my friends. The response was amazingly positive. less than 5% rebuked me and chose to “leave the building.” The rest who are Christ Followers stood with me. They didn’t all agree or condone me, they just loved. They did what Jesus would do…they loved and did not pass judgement in any form or fashion. You see folks…That is the TRUE church. The 90 plus % that attend church regularly. Not the fakers and secret sinners who pretend to be the church, but the real deals. I want to share an analogy since I haven’t done so in a while. This one is good.
Back in the day when check-writing was an acceptable form of payment at retailers across the U.S. (giggle) …back in the day… lol… There was a certain large retailer that decided that they were taking too many losses with bad check writers. They stopped accepting checks altogether at many of their stores. For whatever reason, the retailer decided to put pen to paper to determine what percentage of their guests were legitimately writing bad checks. The result was astounding… less than 1%. That’s right. They were essentially punishing over 99% of their guests for a poor performance of less than 1%. Needless to say, they began accepting checks again but required a photo I.D., credit card or debit card. …and now we have debit and credit card fraud…what to do, what to do?
I’m not even sure that story is entirely true, but the analogy serves my point of punishing the majority for misbehavior of a very minute, small-minded, fundamentalist, self-glorifying, fake, secret-sinners and punks who attempt to ruin in for the good ones. Associate yourself with the TRUE, sincere, flawed, imperfect Christians. Remember a rule of thumb with people in general. If they do it with you… they will do it to you. Be wary of those that always have the “dirt” on others. It won’t be long before they dig in your dirt and they will have no shame in sharing it. “for the good of everyone involved” I’m sure. Well… What if I punch you in the mouth in Jesus name? Does that make it right? See… I just giggled again.
I’m sure there are people who disagree with me being a gay Christian, but that is my issue. What is your issue? What is your monster-under-the-bed that your imagination has created? Another great friend of mine who has gone through a similar event as me shared this: “Instead of living a life strapped with ‘chains’ …you have the power to be you. If others embrace it…let them come over the boundary wall. If others don’t…then leave them outside the gate to educate themselves about perceived monsters…and by all means, don’t allow their words/myths to shape who you think you are or strap chains back on you. …be very careful who you allow to speak into your life.” Thanks “S.P.” You are a man of great truth.
A new friend of mine recently contacted me when he read my blog and it resonated with him. This is what he wrote: “I certainly didn’t ask for it [being gay], at least I don’t remember thinking I could really go for a healthy dose of depression, self loathing and disappointment for myself and loved ones… …I pushed away my family, my friends, my happiness, my life. …I could suppress what I was feeling and pretend like it was not real and try to build a [fake] life around that, or I could call a duck a duck and play the cards I was dealt. Wow “J.C.” that hit me right between the eyes. In a good way of course.
You see, you have no idea what people face day-to-day. You think you know, but you have no clue. You see… during my counseling I was told that I would not only have to give up my faith, but I would be forced to give up my wife and kids too. I was told that the divorce would be ugly and that she would get everything including our friends. I was told that I would not be accepted into the ‘church’ and that God himself would reject me. I was told that it was impossible to call myself a Christian and be gay. I rejected all of those “chains” and legalism. I have no better friend than my former wife, and my kids still think that their daddy hung the moon. …tell them differently and I will Kut U! Das Right… I – WILL – KUT – U! I broke stereotypes, I chose to believe differently, I will not allow the nay-Sayers to speak into my life about how I am damaging my children and causing them harm. Here is another good word from my friend and a mother of two now college-age children, “P.C” who dealt with this exact situation years ago with a former spouse. Notice I didn’t use the word “EX” spouse, because they too are best of friends who have children. Very aware and well-rounded children I must add who are both college students now. Here is the word: “…don’t believe for a minute that you are hurting your children. Your honesty and authenticity — and commitment to continuing loving as you figure this out — can do nothing but make them stronger, more loving and self-aware adults. The most damaged people I’ve ever met are those decimated [people] who have been drawn and quartered by religious fundamentalism. By liberating yourselves for an authentic life, you are also liberating your children.” WOW. In the words of my friend at King Burger… Owwwh…Is dhat what you had said? Thanks Bon Qui Qui. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkdcYlOn5M
Ok… so I said all that to say this. Stop focusing on the pitiful 1% to 2% of people who can make anything look bad. They are the ones who go to Disneyland and complain about everything. We all know that it’s the unsatisfied people who scream the loudest. Stop listening to them. Make a conscious choice to “inspect the goods yourself” when you hear negative things about someone or something. I would have missed out of a lot of love and snuggling with a little sweet dog that is the only dog on the planet that loves me in this house full of girls if I would have listened to what everyone else said about Chihuahuas. He is the kindest most loving dog I have ever had. Hee Hee.
Love people for who they are and not what they can do for you. Respect people, you don’t have to be in love with one to respect them. Treat others like you wish to be treated. Now get yourself together and make it to your house or place of worship and stop thinking it’s about you.
Here are a few links that I have read over the past few weeks. It’s like eating fish… Eat the meat and spit out the bones. Use what you can and set the rest aside for later… or just throw it out.