Tag Archives: A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith

The Face Of Greatness – Guest Blogger: Janelle Norton

After a recent post here on my blog, I received a very kind reply from my new friend Janelle Norton.  What she had to say to me is posted in the comment section of the post entitled:  “I’m a PMGF.”  What she replied changed my perspective so deeply, that I wanted to hear more from her.  I therefore asked her to be my guest on my blog.
Here is a link to her blog if you’d like to read and know more about her:
Janelle Norton
Chet,   I just wanted to say a few things before you read what I wrote. I am so appreciative of the chance to share the voice in my mind with you.  Its stories like you that remind me of who I am supposed to be.  This past week, in a neighboring community, we had a very young kid (13)  bring a gun into his junior high.  He walked into the bathroom and committed suicide.  I have been nothing but broken-hearted over this. There are so many people who just want to feel love and accepted, to feel like their life has a purpose without feeling judgement.  I wrote this with him on my mind and with words from your blog in mind. 
    I grew up in church Chet.  (John and Star were my youth pastors, and wonderful amazing people.  Probably some of the best, down to earth, real “Christians” I have ever met.)  However, when I was about 20 I hit a “rough” patch in my life.  Started questioning everything. You know what happened?  Every single Christian friend “disappeared”.  Not one stuck with me, not one held my hand, or walked me through the rough times.  I ended up having a baby out-of-wedlock when I was 23 with my boyfriend  (I married my baby daddy a while later and we had two more kiddos and NONE of this I regret). I still have not found my way back to “church”  not sure if  I ever will, I have felt for a very long time that I “did not fit the pew” as one of your friends stated on your blog said.  I have gone through many years of soul-searching and figuring out who I am and what is expected of us a people, not necessarily as Christians.  We may not agree on everything (I hold very few conservative view points) but one thing I can tell you for sure is you will keep changing Chet.  
    I have over the years changed my opinion and have changed my world view, I do believe my view is evolving all the time.  I see the world so differently but I believe for the better.  I wouldn’t change anything I walked through. Those rough times, those hard times where I felt so lonely remind me of who I am supposed to be.  I hope what I wrote is okay.  So here goes…
The Face of Greatness
Great explorers of man-kind have always looked to the sky, to the wind, to the horizon and held a belief that there was so much more than they could see.  The great risk takers, looked at the world as they knew it and said there has to be more.  There has to be more than that this tiny street I live on, there has to be more than what I can see.  It really was not that long ago that people thought the world was flat, or that women were witches and burned at the stake, or that women held no place in society other than to birth children, or that people of “color”did not deserve the most simplest of what life had to offer.
 The thought of something new, something new being acceptable is hard to comprehend.  Hence, why life has constantly been a battle, a battle between what you feel and what I feel, between what this country wants and what that country wants.  What this group of people believes is acceptable and what the other groups believes is not.  Putting it simply: I am right, you are wrong.
We live in age and in an era where voices, opinions, media are pushed in our faces as we are driving down the road, blaring through our radios, and popping up on our phones.  It’s easy to adopt view points to take them on as our own when you surround yourself with a constant barrage of “people” telling you: THIS IS WHO YOU ARE, THIS IS WHO YOU MUST BE.  There comes a point in time, where we must all choose, choose to put down the outside voices and close our eyes and listen.  Listen to the quiet and listen to the peacefulness, listen to that quiet little voice reminding you of why you are here.
We are here to still notice the horizon, to still look out at the stars and wonder, to walk outside and feel the wind blowing through the air and think, What am I?  Who am I?  We are all human beings who at the core want love and acceptance.  It’s not my place, it’s not my job to tell you who you need to be or what road you should choose.  My path is my own,  your path is yours.  The difference being what will I choose to do?  Will I be the person who lives unfulfilled?  Will I be the person that holds onto to selfishness, anger, and hatred? Or will I be the person to forgive? Will I be the person who will go the way of the great explorers and risk takers?  It is time for all of us, as the human race, as fellow citizens, as neighbors to stand up and look to the sky and regain that courageous spirit, the spirit of love and kindness.
There is not one of my neighbors who does not deserve love, mercy, compassion.  It is MY job as a person to look to my left and to look to my right and say who am I?  I am no better than the next.  I believe that humility sparks change, that love sparks change, that compassion sparks change.  Look at any great leader and you will find those qualities, you will see those qualities before you see anything else.  The face of greatness takes a moment, takes a breath and does not rise up in hate but in love and respect.
The bottom line is, it comes down to your choice on your behavior.  You have been made you for a reason, you were born with your first and last name for something specific, you have been born with the endless possibilities of greatness. You have the capability to see, to hear, to feel.  You have the capability of change, to spark change, to create change.  You were not born to hate, to judge, to dictate to another what they should be.  You control you,  you set your course, you decide if you are going to pack it in or if you will put on that face of greatness that you were meant to.
The face of greatness, is to have the expectation of ourselves to rise to the occasion.  You can be the person, you can be the one, you can be the risk taker, the great explorer of the unknown and the uncharted territories.  You can be the one to start progress, to kick-start a change.  The face of greatness. I believe you have what it takes.  I am talking to you… the mother, the father, the preacher, the teacher, the liberal, the conservative.  This is my message and what I believe is a requirement for all of us: Take a risk to be the face of greatness and love your neighbor as your self.
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am a PMGF.

ImageOver the past several weeks, I have been stuck between the past, present and future.  You see… Being a gay man who was married for 14 1/2 years has put me in a category of society of which very little is known.  I have found myself angry, frustrated, mad, depressed, hopeless, sad, confused, bewildered and guilt-ridden.

Because I love my former wife and my two daughters so deeply, I still find myself upset that I am gay.  I want my family back, I want my house back, I want the dog, the cat… Ummm ok… maybe not the cat.  I don’t like cats.  I want to go places together and be recognized not as Chet, but as Chet who is married to Christa, his beautiful wife with two sweet girls that live in lovely suburbia in a beautiful home with beautiful wreath on the door,  a pool and great neighbors.  I MISS THAT… (and yes… I’m yelling).

Whatever uninformed, small-hearted, hateful, self-serving person that continues to tell me and any other “different” person that we CHOSE this… it is at times like this that I’d like to punch you in the neck for your insensitivity and downright stupidity. Image You sicken me with your bible thumping hateful opinions and misinterpretations of what Jesus really said… and somehow you simply forgot that you wear a rubber band bracelet with WWJD on it…  Take off your false advertising bracelets and your bumper stickers while you are at it.  You shame the God that you claim to represent.  (Wow glad I got that off my chest)

While some may debate me on this next issue, I would say that my life as a gay man who is formerly married is MUCH different from someone who has been gay their whole life or one who never married and had children.  I unequivocally accept that I am gay, but I am deeply struggling internally and externally with overcoming the guilt that I live with.  The guilt that overcomes me that I cannot explain at times. It is debilitating at times.  There are still days (while they may now be fewer) that I wish I had just gone through my plan of suicide. Everyone would be OK by now.  Instead I live daily with the wreckage that I have left behind.  (not reality, but somewhere in my mind.)

At the time of this writing, I am still not in relationship with my siblings and my relationship with my parents is cordial at best, but we may be making progress.  I’m told that this blog is in-part “responsible” for that separation. This simply adds another layer of complication and guilt that causes me physical sickness, emotional sadness and lots of tears.  I lost the support of my wife’s family through the divorce and I loss the support of my own family through years of hiding, guilt and shame and now being authentic.  In my mind, it will NEVER end and I need to somehow adjust… or “un-choose” my “lifestyle.”  Either way, I loose the real me.

So in response to my self-claim of “PMGF” (Previously Married Gay Father), I have taken to the internet to find as many PMGF’s as possible.  I have searched chat sites and other resources to locate those men, lest I go on feeling all alone and lest they go on feeling all alone.  In two weeks I have located and contacted 10 fathers in my area alone who are PMGF.  There are thousands more that I need to connect with.  Most are not blessed to have the support of their former wife or children as I am, but many have the support of their families, but somehow we usually feel alone.  Carrying guilt and shame of “destroying” our family for our “choice” of “lifestyle.”   So we will somehow, someway unite to support each other through what we feel is suffering in silence.  Another discovery is that MOST of these men are of Christian and/or religious faith and conservative politics and “values.”

Many of us (PMGF) wish to keep our faith and conservatism but feel that we must embrace the values bestowed  upon us by those non-faith and liberal gay community if we wish to be fully embraced by them.  So now we have the difficulty of hiding in our former life and again hiding in our “new” life. Over the past few months, I have personally been shamed by several in the gay community that simply cannot understand or respect my conservative and religious values. It has put me in a place of withdrawal.  So I’m attempting to be Rosa Parks, I will sit in the seat that I “chose” and I will practice my faith and conservatism.

I still continue to attend church (non-denom) with my former wife and children where on occasion I have to sit through a talk about my sinful “choice” and “lifestyle.”  I further have to re-educate my children on occasion when they tell me that their (church) teacher told them that they must love sinners and hate the sin of people who are gay.  However this is something that I have “chosen” to deal with as the education of my children is my responsibility and not that of a minister, pastor, deacon or teacher.  I do this in spite of the fact that I want to spit in the face of the “church” as a whole.  I gather myself and realize that most people in my church are OK with me being gay even though the “church” says differently.

So what about me being stuck between my past, present and future.  I am frustrated with myself about past of not being authentic and causing so much carnage.  I am stuck in my present because I am learning to navigate by my gauges only… the sky is foggy and unclear and I can barely see in front of my face. I’m stuck in my future because I simply don’t have a plan of where I am going yet.  I am simply circling around in my vessel trusting that I will not run out of fuel before the fog burns off and I can see clearly again and guide this vessel to safety.

namasteHuge, Mad respect to each of you who have reconsidered your belief system to show love and respect to Me, Christa and my girls.  To the rest of you… time is ticking and you are loosing valuable time with Me, Christa and my girls as you stand firm in your judgment, shame and hate.  It will not be long before the girls will be graduates and brides, and you will have missed it all.  All because their father is “different.”    The God in Me, Honors the God in you.


Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Raising Kids Towards Love And Acceptance (Guest Blogger, Mrs. Star Forbis)

Today I am pleased to turn my “voice” over to a dear friend.  It takes a lot to turn your “voice” over to someone, but after years of friendship, I have come to have a deep respect for Star.  She is first STAR, a Christ Follower, a Wife,  a Mother, a Friend and a lover of humanity in general.  You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would speak a negative word against or about her.  She is one of the most authentic people who I know.  10 out of 10 people love her.

I have been through several trials with Star and her sweet family and she too has been by me and my family through our trials.  She is selfless, holy and practical.  I could go on and on but you get the picture.  Thank you for giving me the precious gift of love and support in a very difficult situation.  You have a special place in the heart of me and my family.  I Love you!  MUAH!

Star Forbis

Raising Kids Towards Love And Acceptance

I am so honored to be Guest Blogging here on Why Am I Gay? A big Thank You to my good friend Chet DeRouen for giving me this opportunity. I’ll let you know later just how we know each other. Let me start by Introducing myself. My name is Star Forbis, I Blog over at Laughing Through Parenting. Yes, I’m one of those “Mommy Bloggers!” Only with a few twists, 1st my kids are a little older; I have 2 boys, ages 21 & 22, and Twin Daughters, age 15. 2nd I have been Married over 25 years to the Love of my Life, who happens to be a Pastor, a Music Pastor. We’ve also been Youth Pastors. So, needless to say, our kids grew-up in the Church world. But, being firm believers in the Public School system, our kids also grew up in a secular world. It’s been a Balancing Act to say the least. I’ve also gone from being a Stay At Home Mom for over 18 years, to now, working full-time. 

And if I do say so myself (and I do, often!) 🙂 I have some pretty great kids! Now, they are FAR from Perfect, trust me, but I’ve made a conscious effort to raise them to be Loving and Accepting of everyone they encounter. When Chet asked me to be a Guest Blogger on his Blog (& trust me, in the Blog world, it’s a pretty big deal to give Voice to someone else in your space, and I’m honored he Trusts me enough) he wanted me to talk about how I talk to & educate my kids as a Mother, as a Christian & a Pastor’s Wife about people who are different from them. Basically how I’ve raised my kids to be Loving & Accepting of other people. No matter how those other people look, act, live, where they come from, etc. I was amazed first of all that he thought I had! 🙂 

So I asked my kids “How have I raised you to Love & Accept people different from you, if of course, you think that I have?” They said things along the lines of “you showed me we’re all different & thats okay.” “Everyone deserves to be Loved & Accepted.” “We’ve all sinned & done things that are wrong, and God loves us! And He commands us in His Word to Love each other.” And I said “Wow! All this time I thought I was raising you to be Bullies!” 🙂 I’ve said on my Blog that I hope that some of how my kids got to be who they are was ‘Inspired’ by me, but I also know, that some of who they are is ‘Inspite’ of me! 🙂 

It’s really so simple; The Golden Rule, as found in the Bible says “Do Unto Golden RuleOthers As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” Which simply just means treat other people like you would want to be treated! I’d take that a step further & say treat other people how you would want your kids to be treated! What if your Child were handicapped, mentally or physically? What if your child were Gay? What if your child were different in any way from what is considered the “norm?” How would you want them to be treated by others? (We can overlook others mistreating us sometimes, but not mistreating our Children. Am I right?) Well, that is exactly how you should treat other people and teach your children to treat everyone with Love & Respect as well. 

We have known Chet & his former Wife Christa for many years. We went to church together. My Husband was the Music Pastor, & Chet sang with him, and was a Board Member of the Church. Christa & I helped to run Mom’s groups, and we all hung out together. They are fun people! We’ve known them as a couple for over 10 years. I remember one night hanging out & (one of my Vices) The Real Housewives of New York came up in conversation, and Chet joined in on the discussion, even knowing some of the Housewives by name. Later that evening while my husband & I were talking about how much fun we had, I said to him “you know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear Chet was Gay!” What straight man can carry on a conversation about The Real Housewives?! And as usual, I was right! 🙂 

Chet E-mailed us & other friends that after years of struggling to not be who he is, dealing with depression & thoughts of suicide, he had decided to be his Authentic self. A gay man. He & Christa were divorcing, yet would continue to parent their two Beautiful little girls together, and would remain best friends to each other. John & I immediately E-mailed Chet & Christa respectively to let them know this changed nothing between us. We Love them both & always will. And that we are praying for them as they go through all the transition & turmoil. And in reality nothing had changed. Chet was still Chet. The man we all know & love! He isn’t somebody different from he’s ever been. 
And since we run in the same circles, we told our kids about Chet coming out. They, as kids always do, took it in stride.  We’ve tried to make no subject Taboo in our house. We have really tried to always be open & honest with our kids, encouraging their questions. Who else would we want them to ask? Mixed Race Family I remember once when my oldest son was preschool age, (we’re talking almost 20 years ago) we were in a fast food joint & an Interracial family walked in. My son looked at them & asked “How come that little girl has a black daddy & a white mommy?” His question was not met with a “Shhhh, we’ll talk about that later.” No, my response was “Well, because they fell in love & got married & had a baby, just like me & Daddy! And when you grow up you can marry who ever you fall in love with.” He simply said “Oh” fully satisfied, it made perfect sense to him & he had no other questions on the subject. We try to watch Movies & T.V. shows together, & read books that feature people different from us. Or that could bring up topics for discussions, that we otherwise might never encounter. We talk about our Beliefs, Moral & Social issues & yes, even Politics & Religion with our kids. But always respectfully. It’s not acceptable to put others down, even if they don’t believe like we do. 

You see I believe with my whole heart that a Christian’s first response should ALWAYS be one of Love & Compassion. But all too often it is one of Judgement & Prejudice. That breaks my heart. Now, I don’t know what other kinds of responses Chet got to his letter, I’m sure some were very nice, I’m also sure others were not. And I do know it was the end of some of those relationships. But, we too have been on the receiving side of people’s  judgements, and we know what if feels like when the Church has seemingly abandoned you, and we have vowed never to purposefully do that to someone else. Jesus was put down when He was on earth for being a “Friend of Sinners.” In fact His only harsh words were reserved for the so-called “Religious” people who thought they were so much better than everyone else. The truth be told: we are all sinners. And we are all Loved by God. We are all created in His Image. None of us are better than anyone else. I’ve tried to make sure my kids have always known that. (Although to me they are the absolute best! As I hope your kids are to you) Who would want to live in a world where everyone looked & thought just like them? Not me! There is so much we can learn from each other & from other cultures. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of every opportunity to do so? 

I have been so proud to watch my boys do everything from open doors for people, to helping people move, to shoveling snow for neighbors without being asked, to Ministering to people in the streets & in homeless shelters in New York City after 9/11. And even to watch my girls this year trying to be there in support of a good friend of theirs who was loosing her Grandma, even while they were still hurting over loosing their own Grandma. But In all honesty, I haven’t really taught my kids anything profound. I believe all kids are born with a natural Love for all creatures. I think it’s Hate that is taught all too often. We pass down our Prejudice, our Fears & Ignorance. When we hear about Bullies, I’ve always told my kids “Someone must have hurt them extremely badly for them to act that way toward other people.” We were Youth Pastors when Columbine happened & my boys were in Elementary school. Needless to say It scared the crap out of us! (Yes, I said crap!) 🙂  I remember seeing it on TV as I was walking through the living room with a laundry basket of clothes & just stopping right there, sitting down on the floor & crying. I talked to my boys about teasing, that it might seem innocent & harmless, and even funny, but it’s not to the person being teased. And why would you want to make someone feel so bad just for a few laughs? I encouraged them not only to not participate in teasing or bullying, but to stick up for the person being put down. You never know that kid could one day snap & come to school with a gun, and just maybe they would remember you were the one who stood up for them when no one else did & spare your life. Again it’s as simple as treating people how you would want to be treated. Shouldn’t that be the norm? There are a lot of people in this world. And every single one of them have something to offer. I’ve always loved meeting & getting to know new people. And just because someone is different from we are, deep down inside, we’re really all the same. And in order to get Love & Respect, we, in turn need to give it. Hows that for profound?


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My First “Gay” Event

This past week was my very first all-out “gay” event.  Together with my boyfriend, I attended the One N 10 Fresh Brunch at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.  This was a huge step for me as I have only been living authentic for less than a year in public.

Just a short intro to what One N Ten is.  My favorite part is that they have a suicide prevention program.


One n ten is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. We provide youth with tools to improve self esteem and acceptance of who they are.

The youth we work with range in age from 14 to 24. We create a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Our weekly discussion groups cover a wide range of social, educational, health, and community issues. Youth with particular needs have the option to speak with peers or volunteers one-on-one, in a supervised setting. We offer resources for healthy living and making healthy choices, as well as social networking opportunities appropriate for developing leadership skills and having fun.

We are committed to working in collaboration with other valley and national organizations that help teens including, homeless shelters, suicide prevention crisis lines (some by teens for teens), Youth at Risk, Concilio Latino de Salud, Teen Lifeline, Peer Solutions, Gay/Straight Alliances, GLSEN, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and the Native American Community Health Center.

I was very scared to attend this event for multiple reasons.  1. I was a bit afraid to meet for the first time a friend of mine who is transgender.  2. I would be surrounded by people who, in my past, I had cast judgment and disgust upon.  3.  I would be now included and numbered with “those people.”

1.  I met my friend within minutes of arriving.  Truth be told, I was more comfortable with them now than I was before the transition.  It was beautiful and rewarding.

2.  It helped me to heal from my guilt and shame to be there to financially and symbolically support my new chosen family.  Mothers were there with daughters, fathers were there with sons, boyfriends were there with boyfriends, girlfriends were there with girlfriends, husbands with wives, boyfriends with girlfriends… on and on.   I was a bit nervous but never felt any sort of rejection.  Straight and Gay alike, We were all there to support the LGBTQ youth of our beloved City of Phoenix.

3. I was honored to be numbered and included.  Something I never achieved in my “straight” life.

Knowing that there is an organization that has created a safe place for teens to be themselves is comforting.  Something that I now wish that I had when I was a teen.  There is so much that I would and can say.  I will however allow this post to be simply about the organization.  I look forward to serving with the leadership of this organization in the near future.


Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why did you “Un-Friend” Me?

Friends madSomeone sent me an e-mail through Facebook this week with that question.  At cursory thought, I wanted to get on my high horse and tell them exactly why I “un-friended” them.  To be honest, I was offended and I wanted to tell them so.  Just as I was about to legitimately justify myself, my phone alerted me that Iyanla VanZant had just updated her post on Facebook.  I read the post and here is what I read, “We all have the right to make mistakes. Our fault is being righteous about it. When we fail to admit our faults, the faults become what everyone can see.”  Hmmmmm… God, for real.  You’re gonna speak this to me right now?  Honest?   c’mon.  Cut me some slack.  Nope.  Not a chance.  This was for me.

So to answer the question of why I “un-friended” you.  I’m not fully sure, but I made a mistake.  I posted a blog just before this one where I stated that I was not going to “tolerate” those who did not support me in being an authentic gay Christian man.  I further stated that If I felt like you were not supporting me that I would remove you from my friends list on Facebook.  Well… I went through my friends list and did just that.  I removed several people who either never communicate with me through this venue or that I felt was a “threat” to my authentic self.  I felt that this person fell into that category.  I believed that they stood in judgment of me, and maybe I was correct in that thought.  

I had recently posted a picture of myself with my boyfriend on Facebook (and yes… It is as awkward for me to type or say the word boyfriend as it is for you to read or hear it.) and this person made what I considered a derogatory comment about the photo.  It took me off guard that one would have the nerve to post that onto my wall.  So I “un-friended” you.

You see… I reacted exactly how I felt that they reacted.  I WAS WRONG.  …there, I said it.  Here it is a second time, W – R – O – N – G!  Do not get used to hearing that from me.  It doesn’t happen that often…  🙂

Here is my dilemma.  Most people who respond negatively to me (about being a gay Christian) in some form or fashion are the Christian, Mormon, “Non-Denominational”, Catholic, Republican and/or Conservative groups.  To date, I still identify with that group and culture to some extent.  I worship God, I am born-again, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and all those things that we connect with “religion.”  However, I am gay.  I have no romantic attraction to the female sex.  It’s not a choice like the above group believes.  If you believe that this is a choice, then you “choose” to become attracted to your same-sex.  Go ahead try it…  You can’t do it.  If I can “choose” to be gay, then surely you can “choose” to as well.  I would much rather be heterosexual and be deemed “normal.”  This is not the best spot to be in when you identify as a Christ follower.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked.

Wrong and rightMost Christ followers believe that there is ONE way to worship God.  ONE interpretation of the scripture and ONE way to be deemed “normal” or “christian.”  When you fall short of that ONE way, you are looked upon as “Jack”, “Back-slidden” and all the other names that I once subscribed to if a follower did not measure up to me and my belief system.  Most Christ followers can tell you “what the Bible says” on almost any subject except for what they themselves struggle with.  Then they can quote scripture after scripture of how “they” are either forgiven or exempt.  I know… I did the same exact thing for most of my life.

I know that I have multitudes of prayers from the Christ followers who want God to “show me the way” and to “clear my mind from the confusion” that Satan himself has forced upon me.  In their eyes and ONE belief system I am “jack” or “back-slidden.”  While I appreciate the prayers, I would rather they direct them to the thousands of Christians who live in shame, sadness, depression and guilt because God created them “differently” than the ONE true way.  I was at an extremely large gathering of Pentecostal ministers a couple of years ago (before I began to live authentic) and I was winked at, approached, touched (not sexually) and followed (with their eyes) by several MEN that I know love God and practice Christianity.  These men were gay, and it made me sad that they are likely in a relationship and profession in which they are truly miserable and defeated.  I know I was one of them.  We can see it in each others eyes.  We have a common bond.  Pray for these men.  Pray that they do not harm themselves.  They are in a very tough spot.

What about those scriptures of living happy, healthy, victorious and fruitful.  What about giving and receiving love.  Does your ONE interpretation of the scriptures only allow those scriptures to apply to heterosexuals or were those scriptures written for EVERYONE? Seems like a simple question, but obviously we struggle with the proper answer which is, YES!  All scripture was written for ALL people.  That means me.  I’m not exempt because I’m gay,  you are not exempt because you are straight, black, Asian,  Mexican  married, single, divorced, widowed, disabled or any of the such singularly or combined.

Wow…  how did I get off on that tangent?  Actually it’s not a tangent at all.  I was using that as a path to arrive at the crux of this blog posting.  Being happy.  As a closeted gay christian man, I was defeated, sad, depressed, suicidal and all the other horrible emotions that come with hiding and keeping secrets.  I wanted to be happy, joyful and all those things that the scriptures claim that I can be when I love and follow Christ.  I did not find any of that until I accepted that God had allowed me to be gay.

So why was I so upset about the comment on Facebook regarding the photo of me and my boyfriend?  Because it took so much courage for me to post that photo and I was so happy with him.  I didn’t feel awkward or weird with him.  I  had experienced the joy that the scriptures had promised me.  When the comment, “this makes me so sad” was posted on my wall about a photo that made me so happy, I reacted.  If you can’t see things my way, then I don’t need you.  Again, I did exactly what I accused the other person of doing. I reacted negatively to their belief system however flawed I believe that it is.

2012-11-30 13.36.29

Let’s start talking our talk and walking our walk.  If we believe that GOD IS LOVE, and that “we should love our neighbor as ourself,” then let’s behave like it.  We will never agree fully.  So there is your answer, I “un-friended” you because you didn’t believe the ONE way that I believed.  I made a mistake,  I own that mistake and I commit to dialogue with you as often as you like.  I will not attempt to change your belief system and I assure you that you will not change mine.  We will both evolve in our faith at a pace that is right for each of us respectively.  I commit to love and respect you for who you are as a Christ follower even if at times you do not believe that I share your same faith.  Lets agree that we both have faith.  How we work out our faith will be an individual journey.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Christmas Gift I Shall Never Forget

ImageAs many of you have been following my journey of coming out as a Christian Gay Man, some of you have doubted my faith, my belief system and my real intentions.  You have also read of me not being in relationship with some family and friends over my need to be authentic as a gay man.

As I have blogged and posted, I have been learning right along with you.  You see… much of this blog is not intended for you.  It is for me.  I have just chosen to let you share it.  I have learned so much about myself that I have run and hid from for most of my life.

As a new year approaches, January 1st marks the 1 year anniversary of the real Chet Lloyd DeRouen.  The Chet that God created to be whole, healthy and happy.  The Chet that God created to be a light.  A light to who?  Whoever needs light. Mostly to myself.  I have no agenda when it comes to that. I am God’s and He is mine.  The God in me honors the God in you.  Namaste!Image

With that said, I have been clear that my relationship with my parents has been less than desirable.  Not just because I am gay, but because I have not known how to love honestly, how to trust sincerely and how to live authentically.  I have mentioned in previous posts how I have been shallow, weak, hurtful and untruthful about some things in my life.  I have expected thing of others that I would never subscribe to myself.  I have not honored the God in others.

This Christmas-eve will be an evening that I shall never forget.  You see.. I had convinced myself that if I did not hear from my parents before Christmas, that the likelihood of me reconciling with them ever, would be slim-to-none.  I needed somehow to move on from the   pain that I was feeling.  I committed to leaving a space in my heart for them no matter what happened, but I was going to move on as best that I could.  Always realizing that there would be a hole but accepting that I could live with that.

So as I left Christmas Eve Service with my two children and my former wife.  Yes… we chose to celebrate together as a family…  We rec’d an unexpected phone call from my mother asking if it was OK to leave presents at the door for my children.  We have not seen them in months.  The answer from me was an immediate yes!  I didn’t even have to think about it.  I further stated that It would be nice if we were there to receive the gifts after we finished a Christmas Eve dinner at a restaurant.  She said that they were at our door.  I made a quick U-Turn and drove directly home. Dinner could wait, resolution and restoration could not.  We are not promised tomorrow.

As Christmas day was approaching, I had almost given up that I would see or hear from my parents.  God had a different plan.  I was not afraid nor was I nervous.  I have begun learning that If I want my life to play out differently, that I must behave and “show up” differently.

I showed up differently, I wasn’t the little boy who was scared, I wasn’t the teenager who couldn’t seem to find his place in society as a gay person.  I was a man, and adult.  I barely put the car in park and I jumped out of the car and embraced my mother first.  She was so much smaller and shorter than I remember.  Fragile in a sense.  I saw her like I had never seen her before.  She was not just my mother but a caring, supportive being that wanted to be in right relationship with her son.  We said nothing to each other but an occasional “I love you” was whispered back and forth.  We said nothing else, because nothing else needed to be said.  We continued to embrace and each kissed each other on the cheek.  I apologized for hurting her spirit.

I knew it was time to embrace my father.  I have been afraid of men my whole life.  I was deeply afraid because I didn’t measure up to their physical strength or masculinity.  So I did.  We embraced and I also saw him like I had never seen before.  I felt like a giant.  I felt huge and safe. I showed up as a man and not boy.  We embraced and I kissed him on each cheek with a holy, humbling kiss of reconciliation.  We cried together.  I apologized to him as well for being so angry, hurtful and mean.  He sincerely had no idea what he had done to harm is boy.  I believe him. We said nothing else other than many “I love you’s.”  Nothing else need to be said.  No explanation of how we hurt each other. No attempt to blame one another… that would have only brought further damage and harm.  Just hugs and kisses of restoration and reconciliation.

Over the past few months, I have humbled myself and have reconciled with so many people who I have intentionally and unintentionally harmed.  It was a step that I needed to take to become a healthy, adult-being and not a whimpering, whining-child.  Owning my faults it the first step.  Correcting and changing my shortcomings is the second part.  Recognizing a fault is simply that.  It’s like saying I am the way I am… and oh well… just deal with it…  Attending to that fault is what will bring change, reconciliation and healing.  I no longer care who is right and who is wrong.  There is no way to heal or restore when all we want to do is point the finger at who behaved MORE badly than the other.  ImageWe don’t have to go through the trash can and identify who’s trash is whom’s.  We simply must put the trash container at the curb and let it be REMOVED to the landfill with all the other trash.  There is no healing in owning trash.  We don’t have to peel the rug back and have each person identify whose dirt is whom’s.  Just remove the rug, sweep out the all the dirt. Mine and Yours…  we may even consider throwing out the rug altogether so that we cannot push dirt under there any longer.  Keep everything on the table.  Keep asking God to change us instead of the other person. There is no moving forward while tying yourself to your past.

I do not regret standing up for myself through my “coming out” process.  I had a wife and children to protect.  It was those steps that helped to bring me into an understanding of Mercy, Grace and Love for others.

I have become a fan of Iyanla Vanzant… actually, I have become a fan of owning who I want to become as a Man, A Father, A Son, A Friend, A Co-Worker and so on.  So I read Rev. VanVant’s post today on Facebook and it resonated deep into my Soul.

The third paragraph is my new mantra.  Image Happy Holidays To You Beloveds!

What a wonderful season we have entered! A season of new birth, renewal and regeneration. A season of rest and reflection. A season of holiness and sacredness. This is the season to get clear about how we will enter the New Year and how we choose to experience the new life that is resting just beneath the surface, waiting to be born.

This is the moment, God, that the old becomes the new and the fulfillment of Your Perfecting Presence is realized.

I now ask and open myself to be delivered, freed from and forgiven for entertaining fear, anger, guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness, judgment and dishonesty, in all forms whether directed at myself or toward others.
I now ask and open myself to receive your love and Presence in all the places within me from which these dark energies have been removed.
I now ask that you lift the veil of littleness from my eyes so that your Spirit and Presence will become the Governor in the capital of my consciousness.

I rest in Thee knowing that because I ask placing my trust in you, it is already done and manifesting with clarity.
I can hardly wait to see, feel and experience the good as it unfolds in me, as me and through me.

I let it Be.
And So It Is Now All that I call Good and God.

Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant


Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Gift of the Peacock – Namaste!



It is amazing how much change can take place in one year.  I know this to be fact.  I went from pretending to be straight/heterosexual to accepting that I, in fact am gay.  I went from being married to a beautiful, strong, stable woman to being in a relationship with a strong, stable, supportive man.  It will be one year on January 1st, that I chose to be honest with my wife of 14 1/2 years and honest with my children, myself, my family and friends.

I have said it multiple times before that If I knew that being honest, authentic and real would cost me so much, that I may have just skipped to plan “B” of suicide.  I am thankful to my God for keeping me from committing such a selfish, irreversible act.  I have found such contentment and happiness in truth.

peacock Yesterday I presented my boyfriend (and yes… it is just as awkward for me to say this as it is for you to read it) with a Christmas present that he has wanted for a long time. I had no idea that he has wanted it for over two decades.  He wanted a peacock for his yard at his historic home in downtown Phoenix that was built in 1920.  I knew that buying him a peacock would be destined for fierce innuendo.  Let’s just put that on the table. The innuendo almost kept me from making this purchase for him.  A peacock… really… you want a peacock?  Come on… fa serious???… couldn’t he have wanted a flamingo or something… at swan maybe. How about some ducks?  Something a little less “gay.” NOPE… He wanted a peacock. So guess what?  A peacock is just what he got.  Not a peahen… A PEACOCK.  Par for the course… a gay man giving his boyfriend a peacock.  Well… enough innuendo.  I gave him a beautiful bird that is graceful and beautiful.

St SebastianSo what does he name it… Oh the fun and innuendo continue.  SEBASTIAN.  Yep… that’s right.  He named him after the patron “gay” saint.  I had no idea that gay’s had a saint!  I was taught that all gays were evil… heathens who were part of satan’s team.  I have so much to learn…  So now we have a gay man giving his boyfriend a peacock that is named Sebastian after a gay saint.  Hmmmm…  What?…  am I just desperate for laughs and giggles.  I surely must be. Do I not have enough drama in my life?  I guess God loves laughter.

So where am I going with this?  I’m so A.D.D. that I almost forgot.  OK… now  I remember… So yesterday is the first time that I have been to church in a couple of months.  I gotta be honest, I am sick over how I have been treated (directly and indirectly) by my friends and family who are church-goers.  Notice I didn’t say Christian… I’ve learned to separate the two, ’cause to be honest, I just don’t know anymore.  I’m shocked at how unkind and passive-aggressive they have been.  Two people even deactivated their Facebook pages for “personal reasons” only to re-activate it after they unfriended me.  It is beyond hurtful.

I’m just hoping that these folks are as perfect as they believe that they are.  You know who you are and I now know who you are.  I know a lot of your imperfectness and I still considered you dear to me and a friend.  Only now I see that our friendship was not mutual.  I guess that our divide is too great for mutual friendship and respect.  Not on my part.  I recently sent my father a birthday greeting even though we are not in relationship right now.  I wrote to him, “I don’t want assume how you feel about me, and I don’t want you to assume how I feel about you.  Happy Birthday, I love you.  Nothing more, nothing less.”  Why is it that we assume how others feel about us?  I don’t want to live that way anymore. I am happy to report that he responded.  🙂

Now back to the peacock.  I was taken aback at how many negative and rude comments that people made on my boyfriend’s Facebook page when he posted that he had received a gift that he longed for over 20 years.  How in the world can you look at such a graceful, beautiful creature of God and only see that “those birds are so loud!?”  Are you kidding me… are you that shallow?  That is like throwing away your Mercedes-Benz just because it is loud when it starts?  It’s like saying you hate children or people who talk.  The bird is only communicating.  He is calling out for companionship and friendship.  How is that in any fashion UGLY or BAD.  It’s such a “cup-half-empty” mentality.  If you look for the worst, you will find it quickly.  You are better than that.  …And if you think for a moment that you are without fault, then please do us all a favor and move to the country of perfect…a land that doesn’t exist silly.

So as I went to church yesterday, I was reminded that I am far from perfect and that I have flaws.  A lot of flaws.  Being gay is not one of them.  I was reminded that I am light.  Light of God…and that is a perfect gift.

Later yesterday evening, a VERY DEAR friend who has been a mother/sister to me for years and I were texting each other.  She shared this with me: “My favorite thing is to be able to give the The Perfect Gift & that’s what you did for your boyfriend.  I read his comments on Facebook and know how thrilled he is.  I cannot relate to his desire to own one, but it is very beautiful.  I know his pleasure feels like a give back to you.  I love that feeling!”

She is sooooo right.  I replied back: “That is an Amazing feeling.  I hope that God feels that way about me…”

This is one lady that ALWAYS has water (or something) in her glass.  Why? …glad you asked.  Because even if she has just a drop… her cup is NOT empty.  It’s a choice.  She saw the beauty not only in the peacock, but in the response of my boyfriend.  His response of shock-and-awe was enough to not even care how “loud” the bird can be when he is looking for companionship and company, but to see one of his dreams to come true.  His appreciation was the BEST GIFT that he could have given to me in return.  Now he wants a peahen too… go figure!

The peacock Sebastian is not perfect.  He gets loud, he poops, shed feathers every year and can even peck you if he feels threatened.  But don’t be so cup-half-empty.  He is graceful and beautiful and is so relaxing to sit on the swing and watch him prance… like a good gay bird.  LOL.

Sooo…  We are all far from perfect yet we continue to act blameless and “better-than” when we shun others who are not “like” us or share a different belief system.  This my friend is so cup-half-empty.  I speak to myself here.  When I blog, I blog for ME, I have just chosen to share my life lessons with you. This is not “directed” at anyone in particular.  If you should choose to find value in my sharing, then please let me know.  If you find no value, please give yourself permission to stop reading.

So as I reflect back to the peacock who is quite a disturbance at times, the greater reality is that he is God’s light and creation.  I have an obligation to seek the good and minimize the unpleasant.

So I end my post today with a beautiful greeting:namaste

The God in me honors the God in you.

We are His Light. NAMASTE!



Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,