Sunday, April 27, 2008

Still Searching For Something

I find you watching me in that dull, dark place, behind closed doors.

I struggle to refrain as I see your loving face, so gentle so kind.

You whisper for me to put aside those lesser things.

I continue anyway.

I feel you breathing upon me, as I myself begin breathing more heavily.

I resist your nudging, urging me, pulling me away.

I continue viewing.

Those other bodies draw me in—my insatiable appetite never fulfills.

My pulse increases as my desires consume me.

I block you out of my mind completely; I force you away.

I remain in that dark, secret place.

When I've finally gone for as long as I can, to a point of shear exhaustion, I tire of my lusting.

I collapse in my own heat and sweat and begin wondering what it was all for.

Why did I block you out? Why did I view those things?

For what happiness does it ever bring me?

Oh, why didn't I listen to you, my friend, my brother, my Lord, my Savior, my everything?

Why couldn't I stop myself?

Why do these desires so utterly, entirely, so forcefully, envelop me?

I think of my own weaknesses, insecurities and struggles.

I see myself loveless, inadequate, guilt-ridden, and lonely.

I pray for forgiveness, but I feel that you've left me.

I keep expecting you to eventually forever forsake me.

But then I feel a hint of your love and my hope is renewed.

You raise my chin and tell me, “It's okay, my child.

I love you beyond words. I forgive you unconditionally.

Don't wallow in your self-pity any longer.

Fight it, resist it, you're my joy and my heritage.

I'll never forsake you or leave you to this.”

I go two days happy, maybe three at the most,

full of hope and new joy—a new commitment fills my soul and my mind.

I feel as though I'm floating above cloud nine, itself.

But then something happens.

I break and fall dangerously back downwards to earth.

And the longer I fall, the more I don't seem to care.

I close the door behind me once more, to secure my seclusion.

I power up the source and search wildly and endlessly,

craving something so badly I can't ever seem to behold.

I remember past lessons and attempt to go to Thee.

For I'm told you're the only one who could ever satisfy me so wholly.

But that doesn't seem to work. I can't make it work. Nothing seems to change.

And then I feel like I'm about to explode or go crazy,

so I run away from you madly, intently.

I come full circle again, back to my medication, my drug,

my quick fix to take care of that wanting so badly,

that which I know I cannot have.

Then the confusion sets in and my mind becomes hazy,

as the thoughts begin swirling about me.

I want something more, but I'm not sure what I want more.

Can't I have both? No, I don't think so. You tell me I can't.

But for how long should I struggle? For what answers will you give me?

What relief will befall me?

I want your love, but I want to be held.

I want someone to touch and to be with. I want companionship with someone.

And as much as I'm told that you'll fill that empty void, you seem to rarely come through.

Your love means so much to me, and I'll always choose you—at least in the end.

I know I can't escape you, no matter what I do.

You always bring me back to you.

But the other seems to always brings me back to it, too.

There's just no escape from either, no relief whatever I do.

Where is my other? Where is that special someone for me?

And if not he than she? Does this other person exist?

Do you have someone else for me?

When you took the rib from my body, did you create me a helper?

Did you make me a partner, a soul mate, a best friend and true love?

Or was it to no use?

Please tell me I'm not destined to be alone.

Don't leave me behind those closed doors, chasing shadows of strangers,

knowing those shadows aren't mine, and that I shouldn't be looking—

it's a poor substitute for something so much grander.

And it's that grander fulfillment I truly wish to require.

Please don't let this dream die.

I think I'd rather stay stuck in this cycle forever with what little hope I have left,

than to break free just a shell and all empty inside.

Something seems to be missing, Lord.

Something seems to be missing and you know I'm just trying to find it.

I'm just trying to find it. And the way I'm feeling right now, you know “it” is he.

If he's out there, lead me to him. If he's not, lead me away.

But lead me to someone or something, oh Lord,

because I'm so very tired of being locked behind these closed doors,

far away in that dark, drab place,

searching endlessly, desperately for what seems like will be forever in vain.

And I don't want to remain here forever, but I admit,

even forever right here, seems better than nothing or never—it's the next closest thing.

Perhaps what I really am after is a better me?

But whatever “it” is, please lead me to it.

Please satisfy this desire some way as only you can, Lord.

Please just take this feeling and do something with it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 25, 2008 is Day of Silence

I've never participated in the day of silence. When I was in school that was something that just wasn't ever observed. Living in a very conservative, rural part of the country, open homosexuality, particularly at a young age, just isn't too often heard of. But, even if the day of silence had been observed at school, I do not think I would have cared to join in.

I respect the mission and purpose for having a day of silence in schools. It's a good thing to bring to attention the need to eliminate hate and intolerance and prejudice. However, this particular method of bringing attention to these problems, in my opinion, is slightly misguided.

When I hear silence is to be observed, the first thing that comes to my mind is intolerance and closed-mindedness. To be silent and not speak to those who disagree with you shows a certain level of intolerance in itself for what anyone else would have to say or think. It's like you're being intolerant because you don't like it when other people are being intolerant of you. It just seems hypocritical to me.

Now, I'm not going to promote Exodus' day of truth, because I've never participated in that either, but the idea of it seems more to my liking. Reason being, there's room for discussion. It's a day designed for the same purposes in mind as the day of silence, but it's a day wherein people can openly discuss their thoughts and opinions and, to my mind, be more tolerant.

I think that's what we need more of these days. We need more tolerance for others. We need more openness. We need more discussion. We need more debate. We need a day where people can talk to each other and learn to build more positive and tolerant lines of communication with each other. I think our young people need this in particular these days. They need to be taught these things, and to know that school is a safe place for them and not some dangerous battleground.

I'd personally like to think that I'm an open-minded person. When people have a difference of opinion than me, I'm willing, and often eager, to hear them out. Reason being, I like knowing what the opposition thinks. And the reason for that is that I like to be challenged in my thinking. I'll admit I like to be right. But, I'll also admit, I'm often wrong about a lot of things. So, if I listen to others and they present new arguments or opinions I've never heard about before, and they make sense, I realize I might learn I've had the wrong ideas about certain things and will therefore change my opinion.

Point in case, in my last post I talked about Jason debating me on hate crimes legislation for homosexuals. I was once strongly opposed to the idea of that, but because of those conversations I had with Jason, he convinced me there's a need for such legislation (so long as it's actually hate crimes legislation and not thought control legislation—there is a difference there). Now, I know some of our debates got a little heated from time to time, but I always respected Jason and was eager to hear from him, even though we disagreed on certain matters. But the point is that we learned from each other. I learned from him, and I hope he learned from me. And we didn't do that by being silent, or refusing to listen to each other or by trying to silence each other. We talked and listened to each other, presented our arguments, and respected each other in the process. I never felt threatened by him and he never felt threatened by me. We were just two people discussing our differing opinions in a civilized, tolerant way.

There doesn't need to be silence. If anything, there should be more discussion. Rather than a day of silence, I'd rather see a day of discussion, when students can discuss their thoughts and feelings and (hopefully) in a safe environment. I just think to be silent is an expression of intolerance. So this day of silence, I say don't be silent, be vocal. Speak up and get people talking about these issues. Speak up and express yourself. Speak up and make a difference. And remember to listen while others say their peace as well. Be tolerant and open-minded and you may surprise yourself by learning a little bit of something you didn't know before.

Now, I'm not saying I'm opposed to the day of silence. I think overall it is a very good thing, and I have no doubt that it's probably helped a whole lot of people. The issue I have with it is the silence. It's the approach I dislike. The reason people tend to feel hatred or prejudice toward others is because they don't really know or understand those who are different from them. They're afraid of the unknown. And so, to talk to them, to attempt to share your beliefs, and to treat them better than they've treated you, to be a friend to them, I think is the better way to go. Don't respond to hatred with silence. Respond to hatred with love and respect and understanding. Yes, understanding. Learn to know that other person, and when you know why they think as they do, then you're better able to reach them to know and understand you in return. And those fears and walls of hatred get torn down.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Been One Year Blogging (Or: Post One)

Like with the very first post on this blog, this was not what I'd initially had in mind to write about. What I'd considered was a follow up to that first post. I thought I'd remind people that there are still some very sad and serious problems going on in our country and in the world today. But, I thought I'd save that for another time. Yes, there are many things wrong in the world today, but there are many wonderful and joyous things as well. This blog has been one of those things for me. So, I decided to describe how this blog came about and to also share with all of you what was originally intended to be the very first post on this blog.

Here's how it came about. Last year I met a guy online named Jason Huck. Some of you may know of him. He usually comments on certain other blogs. The two of us began writing back and forth to each other through email, essentially debating the policies of Exodus International, and giving our own viewpoints on matters concerning homosexuality. To tell you the truth, I think I may have honestly annoyed the heck out of him. I was just so desperate for answers and I really did want to hear what he had to say. I liked writing to him because he challenged me. He made me think about where I stand on certain issues. And if he happens to read this, I want him to know that he did help to change my mind concerning hate crimes legislation for homosexuals. I'm on board with that now. Reason being, if it's okay to have such legislation for Christians, it has to be okay to have it for homosexuals as well—as for any group that can be discriminated against or abused out of hate or prejudice. But it was Jason who pointed out to me Jay's blog “Adventures Of A Christian Collegian”. I had never known such blogs as his were even in existence until that time, and after reading several posts by Jay, and reviewing some of the blogs linked from his, I quickly became hooked. I wanted to join in on this little online blogging community. I wanted to share my thoughts and to read what others had to say. I wanted to be able to express openly what things I struggle with and to have others to talk to about those things. So, I started this blog.

The following was meant to be the first post on this blog. A school shooting at Virginia Tech made me reconsider publishing it at the time though, and so it got put on the shelf until now. Feeling saddened by those tragic events, I decided to instead evaluate how far our country and culture seem to have declined morally in recent years. I summarized an email I'd read, which to my mind proved some very concrete reasons for why our nation seems to be slipping so far away from God. I was looking for something that could explain why anyone would go into a school and begin shooting and killing innocent people like that. As I already mentioned, my initial intent for this post was to do a follow up of that first one. But I came to the conclusion that that first post still stands on its own. There's very little a follow up could add that isn't already made clear.

So, without further ado, here is the originally intended first entry for this blog.

Hi everyone. I suppose I should start things off by explaining the name of my blog. The last couple of years I have been on what I'd like to call a whirlwind journey. I've been on a journey of self-discovery, which began in May of 2005, when my brother told me, “I found what you have in your closet.” To which, I knew he'd found out my deepest, darkest secret. It was the secret I had hid from everyone in my life, that I had spent so much time covering up, lying and pretending, in order to keep. He knew I was gay.

I felt crushed, panicked, afraid, ashamed, humiliated, and angry all at the same time. How could my brother have invaded my privacy like that? How could he have gone behind my back like that? How could he presume to bring up something he had no right to bring up? What right did he have!? Who was he to “out” me like that?

Up until then, no one on this entire planet knew that I struggled with my sexuality. I had never come out to anyone. I had never hinted to anyone. I'd simply kept this struggle to myself. I'd bottled up years worth of feelings and emotions, and I'd thrown away the key to my heart. Very few people have ever truly gotten to know me. There are so many whom I've pushed away or distanced myself from throughout the years, just out of fear that they may suspect me of being gay. I'd learned never to open up to people.

After my brother found out I was gay (which I suppose I should explain the whole closet thing—no pun intended by that. I had a few recorded episodes of the show “Queer As Folk” locked in a two-drawer filing cabinet in my closet. My brother found the key to the lock, and the rest explains itself) I felt devastated. I'd already felt a lot of guilt about what limited homosexual activity I'd engaged in, and had already by that time, decided not to go looking for another relationship. Although I wasn't one-hundred percent opposed to the idea of some good-looking guy finding me and sweeping me off my feet. However, being a Christian, I knew that God's intent for me was not a life of homosexuality. I knew that the pornography I'd been looking at, the one homosexual relationship I had experienced, and all of it, wasn't right. I felt that in my heart as much as in my mind. As right as it seemed to be for me, it never felt right. I hope that makes sense. But I had never had the direction, the will power, or the understanding or support to be able to do anything about any of it. I had never heard anyone say, “You can change. You don't have to be that way. You don't have to give in to those things. You don't have to be gay if you don't want to be”.

Now I know some of you may take offense to the notion that “change is possible”, but I'm here to describe how my life has changed, not my sexuality (although we can discuss that later). In the last couple of years, I have been on this journey to change my life. And during that time, I've literally felt myself caught up in this sort of whirlwind journey of self-discovery. I am still on that great journey even today.

The purpose of this blog is to discuss my thoughts on all that I've learned the past couple of years, and am continuing to learn. But it is also to bring to light my struggles, feelings toward Christianity, and really, just to give people a place where they can talk about their own feelings. I want to welcome anyone who wants to post their comments on this blog to do so. If I've learned anything the last couple of years, it's that we need each other's help and encouragement. Let's support each other. I know I'm not the only celibate gay Christian out there. Feel free to drop me a line, and any prayer support is appreciated. Likewise, I'm willing to pray for any of you.

I am new to the whole blogger's world, so please forgive me if I ever break etiquette.

Well, there you have it. That was what was originally intended to be my first post. I suppose posting it now is better late than never—it's a year overdue.

It honestly is hard for me to believe that it's been a full year now since I started this blog. When I first started it, I honestly didn't expect it to last for more than a few months. And if not for a few things achieved through blogging, it would have only been that. But it has helped me so much just being able to write out my thoughts for this blog. I've learned to open up a bit more and not keep so much bottled up inside of me all the time. And for those who have been reading since the start, you've seen most of my ups and downs throughout the last year. It's helped me to read other peoples blogs. I've learned a lot from my fellow bloggers. I've become friends with some of you and I've prayed with you and shared my life with you. I've accepted your help and offered my help in return. I've gotten to know so many of you, and that's been the best part of all of this. I've made friends who have taught me just how much God loves and cares about me, and how others can love me, despite whatever hang-ups I may have. I thank God for all of you.

So, here's to hopefully another year of blogging, and a great many more to come. Who knows what adventures will lay ahead and what the Lord will have in store for us? Oh the places we'll go!

God bless.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Still Not Convinced

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. You gave me much to think about. But I'm still not convinced.

Several of you brought up the culture issue when interpreting scripture. I think you have a very valid point. But I think you fail to relate culture to all of scripture. You say that certain passages should be taken in light of the culture and society in which they were written, but you seem to fail to apply this to other passages. When the writers of the New Testament books tell us to abstain from sexual immorality, I have to question what they considered to be sexually immoral behaviors. At the time, I think they would have certainly defined sexual immorality by what is written of it in the Old Testament books. Among those things considered sexually immoral would have been gay sex, and very few people dispute the prohibition against homosexual sex as outlined in Levitical law. In applying culture, I think it can easily be reasoned that what was considered to be sexually immoral during the first century AD was based on the teachings of the Pentateuch. So when the apostle Paul or the members of the council of Jerusalem say we should abstain from all sexual immorality, I'd imagine they were talking about that which they knew as being sexually immoral at the time. Based on that, I do believe gay sex was considered a sexually immoral act to them, and that that would have been included in the list of things to abstain from.

Now is the question of love. Is it possible that love would excuse a homosexual relationship? I'll admit, I wonder seriously if it might. However, given that we are told to abstain from all sexual immorality, and given that the apostles more than likely viewed gay sex of any kind as a sexually immoral act, I find it hard to believe that engaging in gay sex, even out of love, would be okay. For if gay sex is considered sin, how are we loving God by giving into it? And even though we are told to love each other, and that that is to be our greatest commandment, I still don't think that would excuse this. For one, sex does not equal love in itself. It is an expression of love. And in the same light, love does not equal sex. Love is about so much more than sex alone. Love is about commitment, patience, kindness, and selflessness. It isn't prideful or boastful or uncaring. I have to say I find it puzzling how some people can say that two men can't love each other, even intimately, without ever having sex with each other. I'll refer to the story of David and Jonathan, which I'll say more about in a follow up post. Is it not possible that these two men actually just deeply loved each other in a Godly manner without ever having sex? I think it is. But I'll refer back to the culture issue with their story. Reading it, and applying it to today's culture and our society, yes, it seems very much so to suggest that David and Jonathan were perhaps lovers. But to see their story in light of the culture in which they lived, would it have been so shocking for two men to be affectionate toward each other and to show signs of love for each other? Such as when scripture says they kissed and wept together? Have we not seen heterosexual Frenchmen in our own time kiss each other as a sign of greeting or recognition? And aren't we told that Judas betrayed Jesus with a “kiss”? Have none of us cried along with our fellow brothers in times of distress or mourning, or had parents not approve of certain friendships?

David, from Resolving Realities, brought up one particular issue, which I hope I can give him an answer to, and that is “why does God not like homosexual sex?” I think if one seriously looks at how God created us, one can find that answer. He created us men and women. Our bodies are designed in very specific ways, and I'd imagine He meant for our bodies to only be used in specific ways. God naturally created men and women in a manner so that they could procreate. It's His design—that's all I can really say (and not to imply that procreation is the only reason for which to have sex). And so, I can see why He might find it offensive when we misuse what He created (our bodies). Think of it this way. A painter paints a beautiful landscape of people walking in a field during springtime. Now, lets say He gave life to his painting, and the men and women in that painting decided to change their colors, their clothing, their setting, until the point where the painters original intent for the painting is completely changed. No longer is it a painting of people walking in a field during springtime, but it's a painting of creatures starving to death during a cold winter. I think the same could be applied here with homosexuality. If it were not okay with God, I'd imagine it's because He didn't create us and our bodies with that in mind. And so to give into that sort of thing, we misuse our bodies—we use them in an unnatural way. That's the best answer I can think of for that question. I hope it makes sense. I'll still come back to the question though, might God be okay with homosexual sex, even though that might not have been His original intent for us, if love is involved? I'm still not sure. I will just add though, for whatever reason God may have against homosexual relations, if that is indeed how He feels, I know that His understanding is so much greater than my own. So, if God tells me that homosexual sex is wrong, I'll have to trust that it's because He knows better than I do. What I think shouldn't matter so much as what He thinks.

Now, I've heard some people mention that the Old Testament teachings no longer apply to us because of Christ. I disagree with that, in part. I think the two go hand in hand. Without the Old Testament, you don't have Christ. And even Christ affirmed many Old Testament teachings. So, I do believe the Old Testament is indeed still valid to us in many ways today. Now, of course, because of Christ, certain teachings of the Old Testament, in fact, no longer apply. I could get into describing traditional, cultural, and moral laws and such, but I'd rather not go down that road again. For those who know what I'm talking about, I would just like to ask if it's possible that the prohibition on homosexual sex could actually have fallen among the cultural laws, rather than the moral laws? If so, would we still be bound by it?

Some would suggest that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not due to homosexuality, and I'll admit, it may not have been. But I do think the men who approached Lot's house did indeed want sex from his houseguests, and probably by force. The reason I believe this is because it doesn't make sense for Lot to have offered them his daughters as a means to appease them. Why would he make such an offer if the men weren't after sex of some manner? What I get out of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is that those two cities had become so sinful that God had to destroy them less their wickedness carry over into other places. I think there quite possibly was rampant homosexuality in those cities, but likewise there was probably rampant murder, theft, adultery, and any other sin imaginable. What I mean is I don't think the two cities were singularly destroyed because of homosexuality (if that was a cause), but because sin of all types had become so prevalent. You might be able to compare the two cities to two literal hells on earth, and God destroyed them because nothing good could any longer come from them.

What about Paul's made up word “arsenokoite”? This term is generally interpreted as meaning homosexual. Some would argue that what Paul was actually talking about though was either male prostitution, some form of idolatry, or pedastry. However, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul already makes mention of those who engage in male prostitution and idolatry. If that were what he meant, he'd have been repeating himself needlessly. So, I do not think he was talking about either of those two things. I do think an argument could be made that Paul was talking about pedophilia (men having sex with young boys) though. However, I've read before that when Paul created the word arsenokoite, what he did was combine two words used from the passages in the book of Leviticus referring to the prohibition on homosexual sex. Joe Dallas makes this claim in both of his books, “Desires In Conflict” and “The Gay Theology?”. The two words used were man and bed, and used in a sexual context. The idea is that Paul was referring back to the prohibition against homosexual sex. If that indeed was what he was referring to, I will admit he did so rather poorly. He could have certainly been a little clearer as to his meaning.

Lastly, I know that not all sins are fought as hard against as homosexual sins a great deal of the time. I recognize this. However, that does not mean that those other sins aren't any less bad. Just because a great number of Christians aren't raising their voices more often against divorce, pornography, premarital sex (of any kind), lying, cheating, or even smoking, doesn't mean those things are any less sinful. Nor does it mean that just because those things aren't as heavily fought against should homosexual sins be less fought against. All sins should be fought against, and in equal measure.

So, that's my thoughts. I'm still not convinced. If any of you have anything you'd like to bring up or add, or try to correct me on, I'd be glad to hear you out. Comments are welcome, but the same applies as before—I refuse to get into any arguments with anyone.

God bless.