Remember when I said I didn’t ever want to hurt another kid like I hurt Travis? Well, I failed; I ended up hating myself, calling myself the stupid terrible person. I hated my attractions, my un-masculine features, but most of all where I was headed. Living in the place where I was constantly fighting and condemning my sexual and emotional desires was utter darkness. Even now when I think back on those times I become anxious and my eyes tear up. I don’t know if it was because I had terrible self-discipline, or because it was inevitable, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from acting on my attractions for forever.
I realize now much of the fuel for my self hatred was the teachings I had learned from church.
Just like my friends and I thought we were being clever and full of justice destroying Travis, the church has so long felt it has been championing love and righteousness by its crusade against homosexuality. But, the teachings about homosexuality espoused by most conservative Christians had me hating myself and wanting to die. That doesn’t seem like love to me.
I am glad to see many straight Christians recognizing this disparity and changing the way they approach gay people, it can very refreshing. Often it’s also very confusing, many seem to say, “Oh we love you, we want you to be part of us,” then cringing as the queer folk walk up, “Uh, just please dump your spouse and become celibate, otherwise you can’t preach teach or lead, and also we are afraid you might go to hell if you don’t,” awkward smile, “but we love you!”
So, knowing that the radical opposition approach has only caused devastation, Christians are trying to find another route, the problem is it’s very close to the same message of rejection as before, it’s simply slathered in butter-Jesus frosting. Many Christians don’t want the gay man or woman as a part of their congregation, they want a neutered version they can understand, one that doesn’t make them question the way things have been, or are done.
One major difficulty for many Christians is that the traditional interpretation of scripture has long shown homosexuality to be wrong. Jesus says we can know people and teachings by their fruit, what has been the fruit of the traditional teachings of homosexuality? What is the fruit of other interpretations?
After my decision not to commit suicide, I had no fight left to resist my attractions, and I began to see and taste the fruit from both sides.
Because I felt that homosexuality was wrong, I pursued contact with other gay men secretly. I figured I would get a taste, see how bad it was for me, and then go back to resistance. A lot of gay men enter the gay world this way, and it encourages a surreptitious culture of hooking-up. If and when these men do decide to come out of the closet, they do so having learned habits of sexual pursuit rather than a relational pursuit.
That was what I unfortunately dove into, but even though I went in search of sexual gratification, something else began to work in my life.
After a few months of cautiously exploring the gay hook-up world, I met an older man, Dane, and we clicked. We began a tumultuous relationship, tumultuous because every day I spent with him I would feel guilty and shameful afterwards. But I kept going back, and I don’t think it was simply because I was lust filled and rebellious (or whatever else gay men and women have been called).
Looking back, it was because Dane showed me love; it didn’t matter what I did he was always ready to listen, comfort, and hold me. He would tell me I was beautiful and I would cry because it began to pierce the place in me where I felt like the ugliest man known to God. Dane was constantly speaking truth into my life and lifting me up. I began to start seeing myself as loved rather than loathed, and precious rather than worthless.
As time went on cracks began to form in my beliefs; if what Dane and I were doing was so wrong, why were good things coming out of it? Why was I starting to understand what it meant that God was a loving God? Why was I starting to learn how to love myself?
Confused by something? Disagree? Leave a kindly comment .:)