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ELEPHANT in the pew?!

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.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/exodus-international-rejects-reparative-therapy-for-gays-77413/

http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html

http://www.danoah.com/2012/04/a-teens-brave-response-to-im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html

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8 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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Please don’t answer that.

Please don’t answer the question “why am I gay?”  Its not your question to answer, its mine.  I have asked myself this question for as long as I can remember.  It is a question that I have been tormented with for decades and a question that may never, ever be answered on this side of heaven.  Yes, I believe in heaven.  I believe in God, His Son Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Faith and the Holy Bible too.  I’m certain I just ran more than half of you off right there.  See if you would have read about me (the blogger) in the beginning, you would know that I just say what I think alot.  You can expect that from me in future posts.

I will say things that I’m sure I may regret later.  But probably not.  I will say things that will upset you and me both.  I will say things that will shock me and you too, but I will say it nonetheless.  Some of the stuff I will say, I have NEVER said before.  I will process this question until I just can’t process anymore.  If I offend you, then stop reading, if I scare you, I’m sorry, if I help you in some way, thank me.  I will not however, accept crazy-talk, rudeness or profanity. I will shut that down.  This is my blog, and I dont like to joust about my life…if you want to joust, then attend your local renaissance festival.  I won’t tolerate stupid either.   I reserve the right to change MY rules at ANY time and I likely will.

Moving right along…

I have known my whole life that I was attracted to men.  I don’t remember NOT being attracted to them. I know a beautiful woman when I see one but I have no sexual attraction toward them no matter how much or little clothing they are wearing.  When my friends shared girlie magazines with me when I was young, very young, um… Like kindergarten or first grade, they were looking at the women and I only noticed the men.  No one taught Me, I didn’t choose to,  it was just a normal sexual attraction.  It didn’t even cross my mind that it was strange or different.  I eventually did, however become aware that this was NOT normal nor acceptable and therefore at a very young age I learned to lie, decieve, sneak and pretend to be something other than the real me.  I trusted no one and loved few.

This made me defensive, ashamed, scared, anxious, intolerant, hateful, foul-mouthed, mean, vindictive, angry, rude and judgmental towards others including my family and friends. I hated me, I hated who I was, who I was becoming and longed for the day I would die.  I planned to commit suicide multiple times as young as I can remember.  I knew my dad had a pistol and I knew there were bullets.  I would often get the gun and put it in my mouth and practice pulling the trigger.  I knew it would make a mess and I didn’t like messes so I looked for other ways.  I would ride my bicycle along the street and wish for a car to hit me.  I even faked a near-miss one summer as my family and I were camping at a campground with a large group of friends.  I went off the road with my bike on purpose.  I got some cuts and bruises and went back to the campsite to tell my story. I even tried to set the house on fire once but after lighting the kitchen curtains I chickened out and put the fire out with the kitchen faucet spray thing.  I lied about it and to this day I never told the truth…  Until now.  Mystery solved mom and dad.  I even attempted to jump out of a second story window, but quickly learned that I was afraid of heights. I would even devise plans to just go away or disappear to some other place but I could not think of another place to go.  So I would hide in the attic of our very old lovely home or climb the oak tree in the back yard as high as I could get. But then I would get hungry and that ruined my disappearing attempt.

I grew up next to the cemetary and would ride my bike there often and even had my plot picked out where I wanted to be buried.  I wanted so desperately to be dead. I was infatuated with death and dying.  While I was at the cemetery for hours, I would take apart floral arrangements carefully and then put them back together.  This is how I learned the skill of floral arranging.  That’s just funny right there.

The desire to be dead never ended until just recently when I came out as a gay man and decided that I wanted to live to help other men through this dreadful process of acceptance.  Acceptance of who we are and who we are created to be.  Please… Do me a favor, if you know someone who is gay or has gay tendencies, please be honest with yourself and honest with them.  Help them to get help.  PLEASE… Whatever you do, DO NOT encourge them to marry.  I will address this more later… Maybe. It’s my blog remember. 🙂

I am now 42 years old and approaching my 43rd birthday on August 11th. I do accept birthday gifts!  I am currently becoming “unmarried” to my amazing wife of 14 years.  As a matter of fact, it will be 14 years in just two days,  and as I write, my heart is in a million pieces.  I love that lady with all of me.  And that is why I must release her to be loved passionatley as she so richly deserves.  I will share later why we have both decided to not use the “D” word.  I miss wearing my wedding band and I miss not introducing her as my bride.  I miss being a normal family that used to get invited to normal family and friend events.  I have elementary-aged girls and they are both aware of their mommy and daddy’s very difficult decision to be unmarried.  They love that nothing has “changed” since we shared with them our decision. Except the fact that we have less friends and family to do normal things with.  We have grown stronger than we have ever been.  We love each others company and our home is our SAFE PLACE.

At this present time we intend to continue residing TOGETHER…  Yeas i said together… as a family of four in our 3800 square foot home in a wonderful, family-oriented, suburb just a little east of the 5th largest U.S. city in the Southwest known as Phoenix.  You are confused already….  I know, I know…  The whole living together thing?  I’m just as conflicted as you are.  Stay with me, I’ll have you thoroughly confused in no time.

So because this week represents the final year that I will will have a wife, my heart and emotions are in a million pieces and more.  I am sad, depressed, hurt, angry, anxious, scared, lonely, confused, conflicted, worried, ticked-off, pissed-off, tense and mad as hell.  See… I told you I would say some things that would offend you and me.

I am angry because I never asked to be gay, I never wanted to be gay and I sure as heck didn’t CHOOSE to be gay.  I didn’t any more choose to be gay than you chose to be straight, black, white, French, Spanish, right-handed, left-handed, blonde,  brunette or any of those other things.  And please, do us all a favor and save your scriptures and religious quips and quotes for someone who asks for it.  This is me processing my internal thoughts of something that has tormented me for decades.  Remember it’s my question to answer, not yours.  You are here because you chose to be and you can leave anytime you choose as well.  See…  I told you I could be snarky.  🙂

Im angry because my sweet girls will never have a “normal” family, but they WILL have a mom and dad who loves them to the moon and back.  I’m sure that at some point they will be told how weird their family is and that their father is a fag.  I will find that person and kick their ass too!

My heart is in a million pieces because I have asked God for years to take this away from me.  To set me free.  To release me to my wife and kids.  I am tormented because I cannot reconcile being gay with my faith.  I am sick to my stomach each week as I sit in church with my family to worship and feel like a hypocrite and a heathen who is far from his Savior.  Thanks to my amazing Pastor Dave who is meeting with me weekly to love me and to help me find some answers and process my confusion and conflict.  He has never once  attempted to “heal” me or make me feel less-than.  He is a model follower of Christ and I am endebted to him.  He is a true example of Jesus.

My heart is in a million pieces because my soon-to-be former wife (we have also made a choice to never use the word EX when referring to each other) is beautiful, kind, sincere, smart, intuitive, discerning, an amazing wife and mother of the year…  She is a complete knock-out.  No Man in his right mind would “choose” to live life without her at his side or in his bed.  Not by a long shot.  This is precisely why I, for purely selfish reasons, have remained closeted for so long.  And please… Don’t bother asking her or myself how come she didn’t know?  SHE DID. Rember the part about her being smart and intuitive.  She always has since the first time we met in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the airport.  I’m sure she had no idea the fierce battle that was raging inside of me and how it would all work out in the end.  I actually thought at that time that I had conquered the gay beast inside of me and as a believer in Christ, I wholeheartedly believed that I was doing the right thing by marrying.  She was gracious enough to believe that I was too.  She remaimed gracious and has loved me through this horrible nightmare known as “coming out.”. I had to do this to save our friendship and her sanity.  She even requested that I NOT leave our home.  Most women would have put me on the street and sued me for everything.  Reality is… In the divorce documents, I awarded her 100% of our assets. Nothing held back?  401k and all  It’s all for her and my girls as she deserves.   I am only being as kind to her as she has been to me.  I love you my lady.

So as I sit here on my couch (her couch actually) in the safety of her home in the suburbs of Phoenix, while my children and best friend sleep quietly after a long Sunday of playing in the pool and enjoying lunch with my parents who are also afraid and conflicted, I am shattered.  I have never hurt so much in my life.  Many of my friends and family have “left the building” for various reasons.  I now lean on those who may not understand but certainly care and provide a soft place to fall when I, my best friend and my children are in need.  I am learning a new “normal” and am sure that I will need to adjust that normal from time to time, but I will never stop asking the question, “why am I gay?”

I will seek to find the answer to why this Jesus-loving, God-Fearing, Holy Spirit-Filled, Bible College graduate, minister/reverend, father and former husband is and never has been attracted to women.

I will be blogging as often as I feel that I need to vent or process.

 
53 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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