better than fair

I mentioned in “some of Tony’s story” that I’ve gotten really mad about being gay.

But I don’t really get that angry very often. I am, however, an intense person; I like to complain and whine – partly joking half the time – and I’m sort of a drama king. It’s mostly a humor thing for me, and I think (think) people find it funny. But I rarely get angry, except for this one time…
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I used to be pretty good at faking being straight, at least when it came to people asking me about girls. It’s not like I had an emergency “Homosexual Orientation Masking Operation” – it was more that I really would try to convince myself that I liked a certain girl. The guys around me talked about girls all the time, who was cute and who wasn’t, and who they want to date (or do other things with). I wanted to fit in, to just “be a guy” like everyone else, so I imitated them.  I would try to follow the “Christian dating script” because that was how my life was supposed to go, at least according to everyone else. And I really used to believe that I would follow the common pattern – find a girl, date her, and marry her – because I thought my gay attractions would just disappear. I figured it was merely a sin I chose to struggle with because that was the only description of homosexuality I was hearing.

So I would seriously try to convince myself that I liked certain girls. I duped quite a few people that I liked girls because I said the right things and dropped the right hints. I did all this because I didn’t have my own self – my own reasons for behaving. I didn’t really base my decisions on who I  was in Christ and what was actually best for my life; instead, I based them on what the surrounding culture was telling me I should do in order to fit in.

Once I started to face my gay attractions, admitted they were real, and became honest with myself, I stopped convincing myself that I liked certain girls, which in some ways was a huge relief because it freaked me out to think that I might marry somebody who I really didn’t feel like marrying at all, much less be sexually active with. Anyone who carefully watched the “interest” I had in a girl would realize that there was almost zero sexual passion from my end. In fact, the thought of kissing a girl kind of grosses me out a little bit. That’s probably weird for some of you to hear, but that’s how it is.

By my junior year at Wheaton I no longer had a girl I was “interested” in. Ask me what girl I liked, and I would probably hesitate, look befuddled, and stammer out the name of one of the girls who I am friends with…. “well, uhhhhhhh, I mean, what’s her face is cute and stuff, yeah.”

“So you gonna ask her out?”

“I mean, maybe, yeah…… sometime in the future, I dunno, I’m too busy and stuff, and….and…ummm…and… I don’t even know if she likes me. And it just isn’t good timing, you know? I’m way too busy for a relationship.”

“Oh, come on, don’t let practicality ruin your chance of a relationship.  Love is so much more important than that! Ask her out!”

“Yeah, uhhh, I mean, you’re right, maybe I will do that at some point.”

I’ve always felt so gay in those moments. There was one conversation of particular note that took place my senior year at Wheaton:

There were five or six of us guys all sitting around in the living room of  our house. I didn’t know them all very well, and only one of them knew I was gay. They all started talking about their crushes. I don’t know why I didn’t bolt when this started; for some incomprehensible reason I lacked the foresight to realize that they were going to ask me too.

“So, Tony, what about you, who have some of your CFAs (crush from afar) been?”

Crap. I was caught TOTALLY off guard this time, and I wasn’t prepared to lie or make up the name of a girl or anything. So I said the most self-conscious thing possible.

“Uh, no one.”

“Dude, come on! Tell us! Come on, we’re trying to build intentional, holistic community!”

“Seriously, no one. I haven’t really had a crush since sophomore year.”

In my head, all I was thinking, “They know you’re GAY! They’re all thinking it! It’s so obvious! You blew it! Cover blown! You’re ruined!” (they probably totally weren’t thinking this)

Thankfully, the one guy in the room who did know I was gay diverted the conversation and immediately started to talk about something else. Thank goodness for him.

I absconded  from the conversation feeling humiliated, isolated, awkward, different, and so very gay.

I went upstairs and cried.

The interaction triggered a flood of emotions. “Why do I have to be gay? It isn’t fair!!!! I should be able to have socially acceptable crushes and relationships just like everybody else!”

I went to bed feeling depressed, and I woke up…..angry. I was so angry. Angry that my life was different. Angry that I had to experience an awkward interaction.  Angry that I was never going to get married. Angry that I was gay. Angry that life wasn’t fair.

The same conversation-diverting friend and I talked later that night, and thankfully his loving presence and Christ-likeness took the anger and pain away.

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It  will probably not be long before I am once again angry about being gay. I don’t doubt that.

But I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay that my life isn’t fair and that I’m not some special victim of unfairness.

Is it fair that people are born blind? Is it fair that there are orphans? Is it fair that people die of cancer? Is it fair that children have abusive parents? Is it fair that natural disasters kill some people but not others? Is it fair that people lose their jobs even if they are the best at them? Is it fair that there are people in poverty? Is it fair that there are heterosexual singles who desire a relationship but never find someone?

No.

Is it fair that I’m gay? No.

All of us have to deal with something that is simply unfair. All of us have hardships. All of us have pain. Some people experience more unfairness  and suffering than others, and we should go especially out of our way to help and love these people…

But is life about fairness? No.

Was it fair that Jesus died on the cross for us? No. But He did, and praise God for that!

Life is not about fairness. It’s about knowing Jesus and His love for us, following Him because of that love, and giving ourselves entirely to Him and His redemptive plan. And when we do that, God will do something beautiful with our lives even if we don’t see it or don’t know what it’s going to be.

Jesus’ unfair death has saved countless lives.

And that’s why I trust God even though my life may seem very unfair sometimes. By following what I believe is His desire for my life (like not becoming romantically involved with a guy), He will provide me with something far more beautiful than I could have possibly come up with for myself. And that really is something to rejoice in.

Tony

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welcome to the family pt.1

This is a two part reflection on what the church can and should be for the gay Christian. I’ll begin with a story:

I loved the church I attended while at Wheaton – it was an exciting and nourishing blend of liturgical tradition, evangelical social awareness, and charismatic worship. During my final semester I decided to attend the Wednesday evening prayer and healing service, described as a time for people wrestling through darkness to come before the Eucharistic table and find rest. Each night the speaker briefly talked about specific areas of suffering and confusion that might be relevant to the fifty or so people in the audience.

My decision to show up that first evening in January was largely influenced by the topic of an upcoming session in February: Homosexuality. I was curious what they would say, and thought maybe I would find some unexpected answers to my vague questions. But I was not going to make my first appearance at the sanctuary on the day they discussed gay people. Please. So I went to “Attachment disorders,” and “Gender dissociation,” as warm-ups to throw people off. Sure, I struggled with both of those things, but at least they wouldn’t think I was gay.

That fateful evening in mid-February became more important than I would have imagined, and not because of the message that was preached. In fact, the topic was changed last minute to “Idolatry” and I daydreamed through the whole thing anyway (though I’m sure all the idolaters I saw showing up for the first time were listening well enough).

That was the night I realized the Church could be my family.

Earlier that week a nasty storm of emotional cross-currents began crashing down upon my hole-filled dinghy of mental stability. I was facing some relational difficulties with my closest friends, had reached a record imbalance in the ratio of thoughts-about-the-body-of-Christ to thoughts-about-the-body-of-Sam (my crush), felt increasing anxiety over my capstone thesis, was coming down with a cold, and was terrified by a resurgence of old lies I thought were defeated. I think at one point my roommate walked in on me curled up in a ball under my blanket with my head sandwiched in my pillow, shaking uncontrollably. Thank goodness I’d squandered my dignity long before that.

The last thing I felt like doing was dragging myself out of bed and going to the prayer service. But I did. Throughout the whole liturgy I was engaged in a yelling match with my brain, trying to figure out why I was feeling lonely again, why the dark fears about the future were taking root in my imagination after such a blessed span of peace. I needed prayer, and I needed it bad. Happily for me, finding prayer at a prayer service is like looking for a disappointing meal in London – discovery is inevitable (inedible?).

I don’t often have moments where I feel as if the Holy Spirit is actively trying to tell me something. When people advise me to listen for God’s voice, I only end up hearing things like “Simmbaaaaa.” But this time, this time I am convinced God was pushing me to receive prayer from one of the ministers around the room.

But I didn’t want to. I was shy, I was tired, I was beaten down by apathy, and I just didn’t want to try and explain all the relational things that were causing me angst. So God and I had a chat that legitimately went something like this (I am a weasel):

“Jordan, ask someone to pray for you.”
“Ummmm, wellll, the service is almost over, and…”
“That guy. He’s available. Go. Now!”
“Ehhhh, I’ve seen him around. Seems nice. Buuut…I don’t really like his sweater, honestly, and this song is ending. If there’s another song, I’ll go.”
Be Thou My Vision ends, Happy Day starts up manically
“Oh, darn, this song is too upbeat for a solemn prayer like I need.”
“Seriously?”
“Yea. And it’s probably the last one. Sorry God, I feel really bad about disobeying you,” (I did feel very bad about that)  “if there’s another song that is slower and more somber, then I’ll ask for prayer.”
Happy Day ends, It Is Well begins slowly and somberly
“#@^%$!!!”
“That guy. Go. I love you.”

I nervously walked the five, grueling miles to the man standing by the wall next to me, spilled my guts, was anointed with oil, prayed for, hugged deeply, and blessed. That was it. I still had a cold, my back still hurt, I still needed to talk to my friends, I still felt kind of awkward… but I had the goofiest smile across my face as I walked to my car. It was such a small thing, really, but it meant the world to me. The Church is awesome!

I realized I had never had to rely on the local church for my emotional and social welfare – my friends on campus filled that role for me. But much of my fear came from the awareness that, one day, I wouldn’t have these friends with me. The instability of my relationships at that time exacerbated latent anxiety about a lonely, partner-less future. Up until that moment, I guess I had never truly believed the local church could possibly be my family. But there I was. I had turned to the church in a time of desperate need and she had provided, by the grace of God.

My culturally standard vice of confining my vision of the local church to a two-hour, weekend ritual prevented me from seeing the full beauty of what it could be for me. A caustic medley of sinful terror had filled the empty space that should have contained a commitment to integrating myself into a church community. But I am fighting to reclaim that holy territory, and God has been faithful to redeem my imagination. As I continue to push into the local body, as they continue to welcome me in their lives and families, I anticipate great spiritual growth. And when my passion falters and I lose sight of the beauty of the church, I will hear God gently telling me,

“Rememmmberrrr…”

…ok, so maybe there are some things I still have to work on.

Jordan

looking to desire (plus we’ve updated some things!)

I’m sharing a week-old blog entry from Melinda Selmys, a Catholic woman with lesbian attractions. She does a great job articulating things Tony and I have been trying to get at recently. Here’s an excerpt where she rhetorically argues against the claim that all homosexual attraction is entirely sinful and to be totally repressed:

“But what if I make the act of will to redirect [my homosexual] desire, to use it as an opportunity to give glory to God for the beauty which He has made manifest in that particular woman? Or to meditate on my desire for the one-flesh union of the entire humanum in the Eucharist where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, slave nor free, woman nor man? Or as an opportunity to contemplate the relationship between the doctrines of the Communion of Saints and of the resurrection of the Body? What if, by an act of will, I take that desire and order it towards its proper end: towards the Good, the Beautiful and the True?”

I’m not sure how well I can do all those things in the moment I find I am attracted to someone, but it sure sounds nice!

The whole post is good. You can find it here. She loses ten points for saying “irregardless,” but she earns 45 points (45!!!) for quoting Gerard Manley Hopkins at the end. I love Hopkins. Her post is also nice because I’m sure y’all are tired of Tony and I talking about guys all the time. She provides a nice influx of X chromosomes.

Actually, most of the best stuff on the internet about the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality is from Catholic authors. It’s cool. They generally have a more profound and helpful conception of the place of singleness in the Church than Protestants do. There’s always some initial awkwardness because our sexual ethics are slightly different, but I’ve found my Catholic brothers and sisters have taught me so much about pursuing a holy stewardship of my sexuality. I hope her words are encouraging to you.

Jordan

Update: So we have added a resource page (which we wanted to call [Out]Source but decided not to) that has some books and websites we have personally enjoyed and found helpful. But wait! There’s more! We also revamped our “About Us” page because this blog is really all “about us” and our image and stuff! Check ’em out! Tell us what you think.

what’s in a word pt. 2

I completely agree with everything that Jordan said (in addition to enjoying his humor —- this blog would seriously be so dry and boring without him!), but I wanted to add a couple of thoughts.

I think the main reason why Christians get hung up over the term gay is because of all of the baggage and negative connotations that can come with that word.

Before I actually knew gay people, let alone admitted to myself that I was gay, the word “gay” would instantly bring these (now ridiculous sounding) cliché stereotypes to mind:

-people having rampant, wild sex with their own gender
-people dying from this rampant, wild sex
-people hating God
-drugs, drugs, and more drugs
-people going to Hell
-rainbows, rainbows, and more rainbows

Not really things any Christian would want to be identified with (besides maybe the rainbows). I am largely convinced that this aversion is the main reason why Christians do not want to associate with the word “gay.” I think this is true because…

(a)    Whenever I tell Christians “I’m gay” – 50% of the time the tension sky-rockets in the conversation and they get really concerned,  make a judgmental face, and start asking me if I plan on pursuing a relationship (euphemism for — so you will have/have had sex with guys?).

(b)   Whenever I tell Christians “I experience exclusive same-sex attraction” I almost always have a favorable response.

(c)    When I tell the person in (a) that I don’t plan on being in a relationship and all that I mean by the term “gay” is that I am exclusively attracted to the same sex, he or she suddenly stops being concerned and the tension in the conversation evaporates.

In all honesty, that’s why I didn’t use the term “gay” – because it made my Christian peers too uncomfortable if I did. I have found three major problems with this:

1.       I was motivated by “the fear of man.” I constructed my language in a certain way not because it helped me in my faith but because it made me feel more at ease with coming out to people. This “fear of man” was one of the biggest barriers to uncovering a holistic understanding of my sexuality because it distracted me from focusing on God and who I am in Him.

2.       I felt forced to talk about myself in a certain way because of a power differential. I believed that the heterosexual Christian cultural majority would treat me better if I talked this particular way, so I did. That’s a problem. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for Christians to have an opinion on how I should talk about myself, but I shouldn’t feel emotionally threatened if I do not talk that way.

3.       Even if I did admit to my Christian friends that I was participating in all of the cliché gay stereotypes or that I did plan on having sex with guys, I still shouldn’t feel emotionally threatened. Sure, my Christian friends would have good reasons to be concerned for me, especially if my behavior is dangerous to myself, but I should never feel emotionally threatened or less valued by them.

Granted, I do understand and have grace towards people if their reaction does feel slightly negative at first after I use the term “gay.”  I mean, for some of my friends, I am the first gay person to come out to them, and it’s difficult not to act weird about something with which you’re completely unfamiliar or about which you are ignorant. We’ve all been there, wishing the other person would have grace with us.

But I just can’t help but think that these people want me to avoid the term “gay” not out of some holy desire for me to nuance my language but because they are afraid of gay people, and avoiding the term helps them dissasociate me from gay people, hence making them feel better about interacting with me. And that’s a big problem.

I’m not saying this is always true; intuitively I just feel like it has been true some of the time.

So besides having reasons for not saying “I am same-sex attracted,” why have I landed with saying “I am gay”?

1.       I’m also lazy, and it’s easier.

2.       It isn’t a sin to be gay. Yes, my identity is in Christ and Christ does take away my sins from my identity in the present. But since I use “gay” to communicate “exclusive same-sex attraction” and nothing else, this isn’t something that is actively being taken from me becuase it isn’t a sin. It is a part of my existence; it is part of my identity, at least at this point in eschatological history.

3.       I want to defy the stereotypes of ”gay,” and I think it is helpful for me to identify with all gay people regardless of religious affiliation because we do share some common social realities simply because of our gay attractions.

4.       I think the phrase “same-sex attracted” should be reserved for those who are not exclusively attracted to the same sex but do experience those attractions in some way. If someone is exclusively attracted to the same sex, it would be easier to just say “gay.” “Gay” just makes the most sense to me if it means a “consistent sexual attractions to exclusively the same-sex.”

I hope this has helped.

-Tony

what’s in a word pt. 1

We’ve had a few people ask us why we would use the label “gay Christian” when it is so charged and controversial, and I thought I would give a brief explanation of why I personally have used that phrase:

I’m lazy.

That’s a big part of it, really. Out of all the possible labels, “gay” is the most convenient, and I can hardly muster the energy to type all the extra words every time to provide the proper nuance. (It should come as no surprise that I failed miserably at Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.) Saying “I’m gay” is immediate and effective. Aside from the two or three Shakespeare majors who will think I’m just having a good day, everyone understands what I’m trying to communicate: that I’m attracted to men. We can hash out all the little details throughout the conversation.

I do need to say that “gay” is not the only charged label. Saying that “I’m a Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction” is often perceived as code for “I really don’t want to be gay. I might try therapy. I probably have depressive tendencies. I find rainbows terrifying and plan to move to New Mexico to avoid them.” (Too dramatic?)

“I have SSA” (same-sex attraction) is a common shortcut that usually betrays a conservative ethic. But a lot of people have no clue what SSA stands for, and I usually just end up saying, “It means I’m gay.”

“I’m a Christian who is exclusively attracted to men” is clunky, but I have used it to initiate conversations when I wanted to avoid any possible political overtone. It’s the least charged of the options, but it’s about as convenient and time-efficient as a trip to the DMV.

I’m actually more or less comfortable with any of those. But be careful, there are some people who refuse to identify as gay (I used to be like that), and there are others who will be offended if a “less charged” term than “gay” is offered. Listen to how people talk about themselves. Let them guide your vocabulary. Be flexible, and slow to judge.

Now, there’s another massive question attached to all of this. Should we even call ourselves “gay Christians?” Why identify ourselves by our struggles? Doesn’t this take the focus away from what Christ is doing in our lives?

I will hopefully write more about this later, but being gay does not just raise moral questions;  being gay is a social reality. I don’t think there is any weighty, theological equivalence between sexual orientation and skin color, but there is definitely a social equivalence whether the church wants to acknowledge it or not. Though I do not align myself with the LGBTQ community per se, we share some common life experiences. A group of Christians who are all attracted to the same sex is not the same as a group of Christians who struggle with anger issues because the “angry Christians” haven’t been wrongly marginalized or abused for struggling with anger like gay Christians have been for their sexuality.

This is absurdly over-simplified, but I hope it’s making some sense. I am willing to, at times, say that I’m a “gay Christian” because it conveys a social existence that would not be effectively communicated otherwise.

It’s not like I wear this as a title that I always use to qualify my Christianity. Not at all. It is Christ and only Christ who defines my identity. I am being renewed and conformed into his image and by his overwhelming grace alone have I been labeled a son of God. That is my only essential identity. But, we live in a world where it is very helpful to have other identifiers, and I do not feel like I am cheapening Christ’s work in me at all by sometimes using those three letters.

I only say “gay Christian” when I am specifically talking about my experiences as a gay man or about the topic of homosexuality as a whole. It’s not like I see “gay” as its own denomination (but if it were we would never have taupe carpet, ever!).

I had a hard time writing this because I’m not sure it makes sense unless you’ve personally experienced being gay in Christian circles… but hopefully this helps somehow. I want to do justice to the very real social difference of being gay without making it essential to who I am in Christ. This usually means evaluating conversations moment-by-moment and trying to figure out the best way to express myself to whomever I am talking. It’s a tricky thing to navigate.

So most importantly I just ask that there would be a willingness to listen and not force meanings onto labels people use until they define them. The church, and society, have been unilaterally forcing meaning and stigma onto gay people for a tragically long time, and it’s always nice to have a little freedom from that pressure. See my previous post on listening for more about that.

It is difficult for me to speak in that tension between wanting to humbly accommodate the perspective of whoever I’m talking with, making sure they are understanding what I’m saying and feeling welcomed in the conversation, and wanting to be consistent in my own self-referential vocabulary. It’s hard, and can be really frustrating when people refuse to believe I can call myself a “gay Christian” without sinning, but I’ve found it is most important to communicate the astounding goodness of God and how my life, my identity, is fully caught up in his transforming work. I hope, at least, that I have accomplished that much.

Jordan

broadening sexuality

I rarely see gay couples.

Almost every local environment I’ve lived in has been conservative and homogeneous. Wheaton, although it is becoming increasingly diverse from its immigrant population, hosts mainly heterosexual, middle-class, white families, and even though it is probably one of those urban-legends based on unfounded statistics, people also boast that Wheaton has the most churches per capita in the United States. Not really the best place for a gay couple to freely express themselves.

Recently I was very near Boystown, Chicago’s gay-friendly neighborhood. I saw rainbow flags denoting welcoming places for LGBT individuals, advertisements for the upcoming gay-pride parade, and, not surprisingly, two guys who clearly loved each other romantically holding hands.

This threw my heart and emotions into a mess.

I wanted that. I longed for a relationship with another man, like these two guys had. This wasn’t really a sexually charged longing — it was an intimate desire to be known, to be in love, to wrap my arms around someone and have him mean the world to me. It felt so right.

The rest of the night was rough. I felt so conflicted inside and argued with myself about why a gay relationship might be okay.

“How could something that feels so beautiful and natural not be okay?!”

“Maybe God does want this for me. I mean, only good could come out of it, right?”

These thoughts and feelings aren’t new to me. I’ve had them many times before. And I’ve seen gay couples before (I hope to become friends with some). There was just something about seeing a gay couple this time that made my heart bleed the rest of the night.

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All of us want to be intimately known. We were created that way — not just to be in relationship with God but also to be in relationship with other humans. The only thing that God said “wasn’t good” about His creation was us being alone.

So we need human relationships.

But does the answer to aloneness have to be a sexual relationship? Since I don’t think God wants me to be married to another man, am I destined to suffer in aloneness my entire life?

Ask anyone to define the term sexuality, and most people will give you an answer that centers around sex. I define sexuality as our embodiment as human beings that allows us to interact with one another in meaningful ways. Genital-to-genital contact is only a small subset of this sexuality. Think of it this way:

I believe a sexual relationship is only one way God designed us to be intimately known by someone. And when we hyper-focus on relational fulfillment being about romance and sex, we miss out on the much broader vision God has for our sexuality. We take the “sex” circle and force it to fill our entire sexuality circle. We give sex way too much power over the significance of our lives.

It’s easy to have sex with someone. It’s easy to move quickly in a romantically charged relationship.

It’s much harder to build a long-lasting friendship and trusting bond with someone — what I call friendship love. What’s a common reason people get divorced? Because the relationship was built only on romantic love, and as soon as that died down, there was no friendship love to maintain the marriage.

I think our society has a problem with knowing how to build friendship love. And I think this is partly because we have hyper-sexualized everything. When two people start showing affection to each other, we start attaching sexual connotations to the affection. We have a relational script in our society that says if you become really close with someone, it means you should probably become sexually involved.

This script has both damaged many relationships and hindered others from becoming closer. I think it may particularly stunt male-male friendships. Two men, regardless of orientation, might fear being affectionate or emotionally close because this means people may start questioning their sexual orientation. Or perhaps a male-female friendship, that was mostly void of sexual feelings, is terminated because people start questioning their intentions. Society quickly conflates any emotional or physical affection with sexual feelings.

Our worldview has been shaped so that we think the only way to experience intimacy is through a sexual relationship. The problem with this worldview for Christians that uphold the traditional sexual ethic is that we can easily think that our lives are lonely and relationally unfulfilling just because we aren’t romantically involved. “If I could only find someone and get married, then I would no longer hunger for intimacy.”

However, being in a sexual relationship is no guarantee for relational fulfillment. Some of the loneliest people are in marriages. And even those who do find relational fulfillment in a marriage likely still struggle with loneliness and yearn to be better known. I’m not trying to downplay the beautiful unity of marriage, but sometimes I think we forget that no one except for Christ can ultimately satisfy our desires to be intimately known.

But still, no matter how close we are to Christ, we need people. I just think our need for people doesn’t have to be sexual. It’s just hard to build intimately close relationships that aren’t sexual in a society that equates intimacy with being sexual. But it’s possible, and I believe I’ve already experienced degrees of intimately close relationships with several of my friends. I am blessed to be able to say that I have had many nights of epic conversations and fellowship with friends where I have gone to bed feeling overwhelmingly loved without a hint of loneliness. It is those nights where I’ve seen my sexuality be expressed in satisfying, meaningful ways that didn’t center on sex.

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Jordan and I emailed back and forth that night as my heart bled after seeing the gay couple.

Here is part of what was said:

Jordan: Seeing those guys is just, you know, life. It’s like every time I saw Sam. I couldn’t help that I saw him, and I couldn’t really help the surge of emotions and longing within me. It’s seems unfair that it would be wrong to indulge, but that’s how it is. The Truth is life, you’re so right. It’s crazy that those particular moments where entering into a relationship with a man seems so right can overshadow the immense catalog of God’s faithfulness in my life, where truth won out and filled me with joy. I have a short memory, I guess.

Sorry for your suffering. I’m kind of down too. Sigh… let’s pray for each other.

Me: You’re right. God has been so faithful in our lives. We both know that. And we’ve both encountered his overwhelming love for us. The other reality is that everyone has let down in their lives regarding intimacy. Very few people actually have sustaining, intimate relationships — gay or straight. Plus, fulfilling relationships don’t have to be sexual or romantic. There are so many relationships out there to make us feel intimately known; they just aren’t meant to be romantic relationships. Glad that you know and get what I’m going through. And that right there is evidence enough that God will provide us with relationships without them having to be sexual/romantic. Anyway, I have to go to bed now, but I will pray for you!

I still went to bed that night feeling melancholy, but the email exchange also gave me a sense of hope. Hope in the assurance that God loves me, hope that I will continue to experience His perfect love, and hope that God will continue to put people in my life to show me His love.

-Tony

housekeeping

Hey there!

A couple things:

1) We would (really really really) love it if some of you would email us and let us know what topics you would like us to talk about or explore. We want this to be a resource for people seeking to gain a deeper understanding of both what it’s like to be gay as well as how to love gay men and women of all convictions. So please feel free to ask us things! We will either respond to you privately or write a post about it.

2) So as you might have seen, we have rocketed ourselves into 2009 by creating a Twitter and Facebook page. We are still trying to figure out exactly what we want to do with them, but we were thinking of using them to share articles and resources and mind-blowingly inspirational quotes that we were reading. If that sounds helpful or interesting, please “follow” or “like” whichever one you want. Once we have a few people we’ll probably start doing whatever it is we will end up doing (how is that for an easily fulfillable promise!). Stay tuned! If y’all have any ideas, let us know.

It’s probably a little annoying by now, but we would really appreciate your help in spreading this around the internet. If you think this is something that people should read and interact with, then please share it on Facebook or Twitter. We have received a lot of encouraging feedback from people who just stumbled onto the blog because someone else posted it. We’ve heard from people who have never personally been close to someone who is gay (as far as they know) and want to become a resource of love in the future, friends and relatives of people who have just come out, gay men and women who are just excited to see this being talked about more, people who are only “out” to one person and wondering what to do next, and some people who disagree with us about our beliefs (which, by the way, is totally fine so long as it’s civil! We are open for discussion!).

The feedback has been really humbling for us, and we want to continue improving the blog, making it a legitimate resource that people of every kind can use in some encouraging way or another.

A huge problem within the evangelical community, at least, is the silence surrounding homosexuality and gay Christians. It’s a good thing to be willing to talk in love about the “subject,” but it is a far more important and overlooked thing to actively display openness and love and a desire to be a safe person.

There are a lot of harmful messages being thrown around, and it is important to fight against those through even louder declarations of love.

We have felt unbelievably loved by you all, and would greatly appreciate your help in letting other people like us find acceptance and hope and joy, too.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling! Have a blessed day.

Jordan (and Tony, of course)