Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pornography on My Mind

So much of the time my Dad just makes me feel like a failure. I feel like I can never live up to his expectations of me, and nothing I ever do is right by him. I can’t talk with him. Not about anything deep or emotional anyway. Every time I’ve ever tried I’ve ended up feeling as though he’s judged me. Lately I think he’d honestly just like me to leave and stay gone. There’s no intimacy with him.

My mom would just like to control me (along with everyone else in the family). I’ve spent the last few years in particular distancing myself from her. And in doing so, I’ve come to realize she really doesn’t understand me at all. I don’t really understand her either though. But I also can’t seem to live up to her expectations. And like with dad, I can’t talk to her. There’s no intimacy with her.

My brother has his own problems. But he shows little empathy for my own. I’ve tried talking with him about my struggles with homosexuality, and he never seems to understand. His views on certain aspects of religion are also different from mine. He’s probably the best friend I have right now. But, to be honest, if my brother wasn’t my brother, I’m not so sure I’d be friends with him at all. He shows me time after time that he doesn’t respect me at all; he constantly pushes me away. There’s some, but very little intimacy with him.

What friends I have, I’ve always found it incredibly hard to open up to them. Looking back, I realize most of my friends in high school never really knew me at all. Some of that was my fault, but some of it was that they never really tried to know me better. People I’d consider friends now, most of them never call me or invite me to anything. I feel more like my friends are just acquaintances sometimes. And I’ve found friends who I thought I was close to that never considered me as close a friend as I did them. Some friends I’ve not heard back from in a long time. Some people who I thought were friends turned out not to be at all. There’s very little intimacy with friends.

I don’t belong to a church family. I thought I did, but I was proven wrong. I went to my church for help and was turned away. I was neglected. My problems weren’t worth the effort, concern, prayers, love. I quit going to church for three months this last fall and not a single person ever once checked up on me to see how I was doing or to find out where I’d been. It’s been several weeks now since I’ve gone, and again, no response. Now, this is a church I’ve gone to my entire life. It’s like they don’t even care about me enough to find out where I’ve been or what has happened to me. There’s no intimacy at church.

I want so much to feel loved by God and to feel his presence with me. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. I’d love to feel God’s arms around me and to hear him say, “I love you, Brandon.” But so much of the time I can’t help wondering whether God’s abandoned me or what. I get so discouraged. I feel as though I can’t trust him or rely on him. I don’t understand God a lot of times and I just get so frustrated not knowing what he wants from me. I’m just not sure what my role is in my relationship with him. And because of that, it’s hard for me to feel like I can be intimate with God sometimes.

Where have I found intimacy then? More times than not, it has been by looking at pornography and living in a fantasy world. And what good has that done me?

A few days ago I was looking at pornography and I came across one particular model who I decided to follow. In a “behind the scenes” moment, the guy who he’d just been with was saying he was glad he’d hurt him during their sex act. I watched the model’s face literally transform the minute the other guy said this. He gained a sort of disappointed, empty look which could only say, “Oh, so that was the only reason you had sex with me. You just wanted to hurt me.” I literally felt like I was going to throw up when I watched that. And you know that’s the thing about pornography: the more you see it and let it consume you, and the more you begin to see or understand the behind the scenes processes of it all, the more you realize just how sad and tragic that whole industry really is. It’s pathetic, really.

But I struggle with pornography. I have for several years now. Sometimes I struggle less and can stay away from it for long periods of time, and other times I can hardly keep myself from it. I know the reason I keep going back to it though is because so much of the time I feel no source of intimacy. When I look at pornography, I can place myself within that act. I feel an odd sort of comfort and closeness to the men I see, almost as if I’m right there with them. I feel them holding me, looking into my eyes, telling me they love me. It’s strange really. I guess you could say that when I look at pornography I steal those other men’s counterfeit intimacy for myself. I see what I’d like for myself. And it’s not really the sex, but just the closeness. Having said that, however, I can’t help feeling sometimes like I have had sex with hundreds of other men. To feel the way I do while looking at pornography, that sort of makes sense.

The truth is my heart aches for them though. As dirty as I feel after watching pornography, I can’t imagine how dirty some of the models must feel after they’ve been filmed. I want so badly to be able to reach out to them, to be friends with them, and to show them there’s something better in life. I did contact a male model one time on Facebook, awhile back. He never wrote back to me, but to my knowledge he’s never been in any pornography since then. I really don’t know if that had anything to do with my writing to him or not, but I hope it did. It would thrill me to no end to find out he completely left that life behind and found Christ.

But I’d just like to know them. I find it so frustrating so much of the time that the only gay persons I ever get to see are ones online or on television or movies. The only people who ever seem to understand me at all are those who also struggle with homosexuality. You know, it used to puzzle me how gays in cities would form whole communities for themselves. Anymore, it makes perfect sense. When they do that, they get to be around those who understand them, to build friendships, family, intimacy. They find, at least to some small extent, the closeness they’ve been missing from others in their lives. And for a great many of them, that includes from the churches that turned them away.

I want to find intimacy through some other means than gay pornography. I don’t want to watch something fake. I don’t want to watch people hurting themselves. I don’t want to live my life in a fantasy, having sex with the shadows of other men. I want real intimacy (and I don’t mean sex). I don’t know how or where I’ll find it, but I know it can’t be found looking at pornography. Nor can it be found by having sex with other men.

May God forgive me for all the wasted time I’ve spent thinking it would.

46 comments:

jennypo said...

Brandon,

Though I am straight, I know what you are talking about. It is horrible what sin has done in our hearts and in our world. The truth is, we all feel, to some degree, that loneliness and the longing to know and be known. I run over and over in my mind, too - "if only that person had been what I believed they were, what they ought to have been..."

And then I remember that the person who lets me down the most is ME. I can't even count on myself - what am I doing trying to fill that gaping hole with someone else?

There is one Friend who never fails. Even in the pain He has chosen to allow us, there is purpose. He has first tasted the loneliness, and left us an example: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do... Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done..."

He is the only One who can set us free.

Janey said...

I am so sorry :(

I wish that I could stand in the gap and on behalf of those who have rejected you and given you false hope ... and to say I'm sorry.

I understand but I am also another person who knows from experience just about everything you've written.

And I think that there is a pain here that perhaps most people don't understand.

But Jesus, I sometimes look to what Jesus experienced on the cross when he cries out to His father,

"Why have you forsaken me?"

So, there is comfort to know that we do have an advocate to stand with us and who knows the pain to the depths that we feel.

And the hope of Christ crucified being raised up. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross.

I do pray that God would give you the grace that you need to stand and the courage to keep reaching out in relationship to others. And I do pray that your relationship with your parents and your brother might grow this year. And I also ask that God would send you friends who are healthy and who are able and not afraid or uncomfortable with sharing life with them, that you might be able to have that true and very real intimacy that you desire. In Jesus name. Amen.

Kevin said...

Hey man i've felt exactly as you do and the only intimacy that has ever filled me is God's love coming from other men. Lately i have been trying to find male friends whom I can be inimate with (in a non sexual manner) because alot of them are always busy now. So I guess what im trying to say is its ok to be a little uncomfortable here on earth for a season because we know our reward for pressing on in the faith of Christ.

Jeff S. said...

Good stuff. Just started reading your blog recently and I appreciate what you have to say.

Karen K said...

Brandon,
I am sorry things have been hard lately. I can understand that feeling of isolation and wondering if anyone cares.

I wonder if maybe there is a different church to go to. It almost seems like a fresh circle of people might be helpful. I know when I moved out of the house things started to improve between me and my parents, and also I have been able to find church communities that really support me and care. I hope maybe you can find some of that.

By the way, it looks like I will be moving to Kentucky in August to go to Asbury Theological Seminary. I would love to meet you sometime.

Janey said...

Hi Bradon,

I agree with Karen.

When I left the last church I told my friends to just watch because I doubt they'd notice if I were gone.

It took them 3-6 months to start asking where I went to. My friends were shocked to say the least and could finally see what I was telling them.

It's difficult to find a church that would be welcoming as specially for somebody making the choice to walk away from the homosexual lifestyle. We really do need a church fellowship that's ok with brokenness and process. And that's difficult to find.

I attended another church for about a year before the one I've just recently started to attend. What sets this church apart from every other church in my area is that is appears to be more relational. They welcome me into fellowship with them. When I make an effort to socialize with them they welcome me into the group.

And this has been a long time coming but I wouldn't have found this if I hadn't made the choice to look for a church fellowship where I would be welcomed in. It's sad that the church I grew up in really didn't welcome me to be apart of their fellowship other than for sunday morning church.

But making the choice to leave that particular church fellowship to find a more open and more welcoming/more relational church was the best decision I ever made.

Brandon said...

Hey all, I just want to say I appreciate your comments, and I'm taking everything into consideration.

I wonder, if so many people struggle with these things, why isn't anyone talking about it in church? What good is the church if it's not willing to reach out to people and help them with whatever they're facing or going through? I'm not mentioning these things necessarily to get a discussion going, but just to point out that if a church, any church, isn't willing to do as Christ did, then in my opinion they're not worth a whole lot. Church, for me, is about building relationships with other Christians, supporting each other, and to worship God together. I do believe that was the purpose of Christ's forming the church. I think some churches just forget about those first things.

Anyway, thanks everyone for responding. It means a lot.

jennypo said...

The reason I think most churches aren't reaching out to people is that most of the people going to church these days are going hoping that someone will reach out to them. There's hardly anyone left to do the reaching.

Is this what Peter meant when he pointed out that we are called to suffer?
"But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth'; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously..." 1 Peter 2:20-24

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:2-5

Regardless of the wrongs of those who call themselves Christians, there is One who has allowed - even chosen - for this all to happen to us. He gives us pain to do us good. When he makes us lonely, there is no human who can comfort us.

Lover and friend have you put far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness. (Psalm 88:18)
“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel - and God knew.” (Exodus 2:23-25)

Take heart, my friend. He is enough, and when you have been filled up by him, you'll be able to go to church with a heart full and overflowing. Like Jesus, you'll be free to love those who reject and despise you. He is full of mercy. He sees your pain and your loneliness - he measured it out before he gave it to you.

The trouble is, Brandon, you and I want too little. God takes it away so that we can realize what it the deep need of the human heart - something no human can satisfy. It is painful to hunger for Him, but it is Good.

Here's a poem that has meant a lot to me in my struggles with the dragons of loneliness and rejection:

"Thou wast alone through Thy redemption-vigil,
Thy friends had fled;
The angel at the garden from Thee parted,
And solitude instead
More than the scourge, or cross, O tender-hearted,
Under the crown of thorns bowed down
Thy head.
But I, amid the torture, and the taunting,
I have had Thee!
Thy hand was holding my hand fast and faster,
Thy voice was close to me
And glorious eyes said,”Follow Me, Thy Master,
Smile as I smile thy faithfulness to see.”'
H.E. Hamilton King

Don't miss His gift in this hurt. Remember that you are his dear child. He would never allow it to touch you if there weren't a real purpose.

Brandon said...

Thanks, Jennypo. Those are some great words of wisdom and encouragement, to say the least. There's hope.

God bless.

Tit for Tat said...

Brandon,

You dont know me at all, so take this advice with the intent that i give it. I know what pain is like and hope that you heal from yours. Firstly I would suggest you re-evaluate your belief system. Obviously trying to be a "Christian" and being who you are(gay) doesnt seem compatible. Do you actually think if there is a loving creator you would have to forgoe who you intrinsically are? Secondly you should stay away from people who are going to Judge you based on your sexuality. Those individuals dont care about you they just care about being right. Just watch their actions, that will explain a lot. Thirdly maybe you need a good counselor. It is important to talk with people who arent connected to our everyday lives, they usually have a much less biased view, which can give us better perspective. Your porn watching is just a way to help you lessen your pain, its really no different than any other addiction. Until you learn to heal and love yourself you will continue to use some form of distraction.

Brandon said...

Tit for Tat,

I think I could just about agree with everything you've written.

When it comes to changing sexuality, though, I'm really not so sure that's something too very likely to happen. And, in some ways, I'm okay with that, because I believe God still loves me. But just because this is something not likely to go away, I do not believe that makes it okay for me to act on the attractions I have. Some people are by nature prone to alcoholism, but does that make it okay for them to be fall down drunks? Not really. Alcoholism is something to be fought because it can destroy lives. It's sinful behavior, getting drunk. So, in the same way, I believe I should fight whatever urges I have to be sexually active with other men. I believe that too is sin. My point is that I don't think resisting whatever sinful desires I may have by nature means I'm not allowed to be myself. It just means I can't have everything I want. Not all the things I want are good for me anyway.

I appreciate your advice and input. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to comment anytime. :)

Tit for Tat said...

I wasnt suggesting you change your orientation, which we both know you cant. I was suggesting you re-evaluate your faith. If you really checked into what the bible has to say about Homosexuality, you might be surprised at how little it actually is. In fact most of the scriptures used to denounce arent even about homosexuality. Trust me on this, ignorance is not bliss.

jennypo said...

If you read back a few posts, Tat, you'll see that Brandon has been through this line of thinking. It seems you want to help, and your suggestion that counseling is a good option was a great one, but calling people ignorant without checking your facts is, well... not exactly fair.

seithman said...

Found you through a comment you left for Pomo. Hope you don't mind. ;)

Intimacy is a tricky thing, I think. It's hard to build and almost as hard to maintain. It requires that both people in a relationship remain authentic and open. That's a scary thing and something we find hard to at all, let alone for a prolonged period of time. I hope you find people you can build those kinds of relationships with.

As an aside, I can totally relate to you on the church thing. When I left the church I was raised in (and by the time I left, I was running the children's Sunday school and the youth programs and had even spoken from the pulpit a few times), hardly anyone said a word to me. My parents were still attending that church at the time and would occasionally mention that someone had said they missed me. One day, I finally turned to my mother and said, "You know, they know I still live with you and Dad. I find it sad they haven't come and told me so themselves." Mom could only shrug in agreement.

-- Jarred.

Tit for Tat said...

but calling people ignorant without checking your facts is, well... not exactly fair.(jennypo)

Im sure Brandon could correct me on this one, though Im not sure I would have read every post of his just to make sure. I was responding to the fact that this young man is struggling with how his faith does not seem to jive with his inherent genetic makeup. For the most part as you read his words you can see that he's on the outside looking in because he allows scripture to inform on who he is as a person. Now the thing is most scripture has little or nothing to say about being "gay" and the few areas people quote actually pertain to other nasty shit such as Rape, Pederasty, Prostitution and Idolatry. Now the thing is if you or others think that G-d is behind all this is not quite well informed, hence the reason I used the word ignorant. Which by the way, means: lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact. I just wish that people could actually get past the "fact" that the Bible doesnt always have exact answers to all our present day issues, and realize the cultural context of the writings of its time compared to ours. Thanks for you time.

Brandon said...

Tit for Tat,

I really wasn't for sure if you were talking about changing sexuality, but I did think you were implying I embrace my homosexuality and treat it as if it's okay for me to act upon my feelings/attractions. If I was wrong about that, then I apologize. If that was what you meant, then my statement stands. I understand your thoughts about scripture, but I can't agree with you. I've tried that and I've found that my conscience just will not allow me to believe that. I can't read the bible and come to any logical belief that scripture is talking about anything other than homosexuality, and it's stance is to condemn homosexual acts. I appreciate your advice and I guess trying to cheer me up some, but I just really don't believe homosexual acts are okay with God. Everytime I've tried to believe otherwise I've just caused myself even more problems. If you'd like to read where I've discussed this before, just look up in the archives, I think, the posts entitled "Convince Me" and "Still Not Convinced". As Jennypo stated, I really have done a lot of research and thinking about this. I just can't make it work. But I appreciate your advice and insights.


Jarred,

believe it or not, I've had that exact same conversation with my own parents. Literally, the exact same. I think it's sad really that a person can grow up in a church and the people there care so little about them. I'm sorry you faced this too. Oh, and please feel free to stop by and comment anytime. :)

jennypo said...

Oh, but the Bible does have answers for our present day issues - indeed, it has the only real answers I've ever found for the complexities of modern culture - however much these answers may have been warped and obscured by modern "christianity", and in spite of the fact that the Biblical writings are written from the perspective of a very different culture and time.

God has given each of us our genetic make-up, but that doesn't mean he expects us to do whatever we feel like doing. I teach kids in my spare time, and the most common statement I hear is "but I don't feel like doing it...". If accepted this as reasonable, I'd be leaving those kids in ignorance, slaves to their own whims. Instead I explain to them that one of the things that makes humans different from animals is that animals act based on instinct. What they feel like doing, they do. We humans, on the other hand, have a will that allows us to choose what we don't want to do. This seems difficult, but it gives us incredible freedom and power.

I am naturally mouthy and easily launch into a tirade if I'm in the mood. The personality behind that kind of a trait is not wrong, and can be good when it is controlled - I have lots of energy; I'll tell the truth, even if it's not popular; and I am expressive - but shooting off my mouth when I feel the urge is not good. It is destructive. God means for me to control my desires so that they can be used to build rather than destroy. I fail to do this sometimes, but the problem is not the God who made me - it's the me that wants what I want more than what is Good.

Is being gay very much different from being mouthy? God has given Brandon some qualities that are not wrong - they simply make him different from the narrow definition of what our small-minded culture allows to be "masculine". He has a desire for masculine intimacy, which in our culture is only acceptable in father-son relationships (barely) and sexual relationships. The Bible does not say that such traits or desires are wrong. It does say that the far-too-limited prescription of ways in which we are encouraged to satisfy them are wrong.

I know that the Bible has been used over and over again to further the agenda of the power-hungry. It has been twisted and mis-quoted and de-contextualized until its truth is all but obscured in the wrangle of words. I don't blame you for hating the way it has been used to bludgeon, guilt, and threaten people into subjection to the powerful. But to those of us who have known the tyranny of Self, and tasted the freedom there is in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible is yet a book full of reality and hope for today. It is neither easy nor comfortable, for it refuses to leave us slaves to our desires, but it is relevant.

Tit for Tat said...

Brandon

Im going to assume something here. If I am wrong then you need not listen to what I have to say. I am going to assume that you are not attracted to men just for sex. I am going to assume that if given the choice you would love to have a committed relationship with a man. One that includes sex but more importantly has loyalty, caring, sharing and all the other qualities that any heterosexual union would have. Imagine being born into a world that does not have ideas about G-d that start out with a doctrine that you are a wicked piece of shit(sinful). Imagine a world that has support, nurturing and committment to developing our young into vibrant, nurturing, loving human beings who when they make mistakes are informed on how there are better ways to do things. Imagine a world in which as you develop your inate sexuality that you are not looked at as some sinful freak, but someone who is just looking for genuine, loving connection. Your world would allow you to be who you were born to be. Your choice of Love would not be deemed "sinful" but natural. In other words imagine how you would think if you were not pre programmed to believe your thoughts and attractions were wrong. I bet you cant. And that my dear young man is the SIN.

Tit for Tat said...

Jennypo

Thanks for your thought out reply. You have a way with words. Do me a favour though, try not to be arrogant enough to think your "Christian" idea of G-d is the only one that is right.

Tit for Tat said...

Jennypo

By the way, I agree that the Bible has many useful ideas for the modern world. My favourite scripture helps with that. Including Biblical material.

But test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Brandon said...

Tit for Tat,

You make an accurate assumption. And your imagination for the world sounds really appealing. I wish the world were that way. But the only problem is that I do not believe the idea of homosexual relationships as sin is a manmade belief. I think it's sin because God tells me it's sin. Everytime I venture off into thinking it isn't, He always seems to gently remind me it is. He always shows me a better way to live. The problem is that I have a hard time living that way.

Tit for Tat said...

I think it's sin because God tells me it's sin. (brandon)

You know, just because I wouldnt be me if I didnt point this out. If you had never heard that your same sex attraction was a "SIN", do you think you'd be hearing G-ds voice in your brain telling you that it is? Perception is everything in Life, If you choose to perceive G-d as hating your inate attraction, far be it for me to try to tell you otherwise.

Brandon said...

I don't know.

Just to take another look at the world you described earlier, lets just say things were that way and nobody, not even God, had a problem with homoesexual relationships. If that were the case, I'm really not sure how I'd feel, or what I'd do. See, part of the problem is that whenever I have acted on my feelings in the past, it's generally only caused me to feel less masculine. I see the world for how it is. Most men do not have romantic relationships with other men. Even in your imagined world, I think that would still be the case. So, I would still probably wonder why I am different from most other men. I'd still wonder why I don't feel and think the way most men do. And because of that, I'm really not sure what I'd do. In all likelihood, if it truly wasn't sin, then yeah, I'd probably be with another man. But I think I still might wonder about those things. I cringe to say what I'm about to, but I think I would still have a feeling of "what is wrong with me." That is, I think I would possibly still see a problem somewhere. If almost all men are a certain way, I'd wonder why I'm not like that too.

I won't lie about this, it really does bother me sometimes that I'm different. It doesn't really bother me so much that I'm attracted to other men, but just that it's harder for me to relate to other men sometimes because of this. I'd say, even if the world was as you wish or think it should be, I'd still feel this way.

Regardless, you're describing a world that doesn't exist. In this world, I believe God has made it clear what is and is not acceptable to him. I don't think it is man that defines sin, but God through men.

Tit for Tat said...

If almost all men are a certain way, I'd wonder why I'm not like that too.(Brandon)

The thing is Brandon, not all men are like this, in fact there is a lot more gray in the world then some people would like you to believe. When youre taught that the world is black or white then thats what you will see. Every notice how divisive people are who have a belief that G-d will judge them and damn them to hell. I know a few gay men that could kick the shit out of probably all the men you know(who knows maybe even at the same time lol). I dont think very many people would say they are not masculine ;)

Heres a little poem for you.


You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught.”

(Richard Rodgers)

jennypo said...

Tit for Tat,

Thank you for pointing out that not all men are the same. There is a much broader spectrum than we are used to seeing. Our narrow ideas of what constitutes masculinity and femininity have isolated and marginalized many people and created problems where they never existed. Our society wants to churn out "cookie cutter" people, even though our best knowledge tells us that strength and beauty lie in diversity.

But if only your poem were true! The great tragedy of humanity is that hatred comes so naturally to us, in spite of our awareness of and longing for something more. We are not, as you have said, "worthless piece[s] of shit", but created in God's image, able to recognize the Good, drawn to Love - but hopelessly broken so that we are unable to achieve even what we know to be right. This is the awfulness of our situation, and this is what Jesus Christ offers us freedom from.

Tit for Tat said...

but hopelessly broken so that we are unable to achieve even what we know to be right. This is the awfulness of our situation,(Jennypo)

You reminded me of a saying my mentor once told me.

"The world is 50% shit, 50% sugar, you choose where you put your focus, but just rememeber if you stand in shit long enough it dries around you"

When I hear "Christians" tell me how broken we all are, I am reminded that they are neck deep.

I choose to see the love and goodness in humanity, if seeing that we are all broken works for you, I wont even bother telling you another story.

Brandon said...

I kind of like that saying, T for T. I personally like thinking that we are all good deep down, and even born good. But through our sin we sort of, as you put it, cover ourselves in crap. And when we do that, it does eventually harden around us, making it more and more difficult for the goodness within us to break free. I think that's why we all need God in our lives. We're all so prone to cover ourselves so deep in the crap that we need Jesus to set us free of it. We can't do it on our own.

I do agree with you though that at our very core being we're good. I have to believe God made each of us that way. But it is through our free will and our inclination to sin (through our stupidity) that causes us to fall/stumble. There's more hope, I think, in believing this. It suggests that there's goodness in each of us, and we can once again achieve this goodness if we only turn to Christ and allow him to wash us clean (of all the crap) and change our hearts.

Tit for Tat said...

There's more hope, I think, in believing this. It suggests that there's goodness in each of us, and we can once again achieve this goodness if we only turn to Christ and allow him to wash us clean (of all the crap) and change our hearts.(Brandon)

Ahhhhh, and here in lies your issue. Because you are inherently bad, you need to be washed clean. Oh what a dirty boy you are. Again, you think you are bad(50% shit), perception is everything.

Brandon said...

Nope, you've lost my meaning. I think we're good inside. It's when we sin that we cover up that goodness with crap.

Or, have I misunderstood you? Do you believe people sin and therefore need a savior?

Tit for Tat said...

I dont doubt that we do bad things, I dont believe we need any saviour though. I do not believe that a G-d would need a Human sacrifice in order to appease itself. Seems quite whacked actually. I find it sad that you actually have to denounce an integral part of your humanity just so you are in G-ds good grace. That must be very confusing and painful. I hope that one day you find a faith that enriches all of your life and doesnt make you have to deny something that is very beautiful. To love someone of your choosing in all facets would be awesome for you. I dont think you will ever be able to do that with your current perception of G-d.

Brandon said...

The thing is, when we sin, we cause distance between ourselves and God. Our sin damages our relationship with God. We need a savior to help make that relationship right again. That's what Jesus does for us. When we accept him as our lord and savior, and allow him to enter our lives, he forgives us of our sins. It's that forgiveness that allows us to be in relationship with God.

Sure, God could have just forgiven us of our sins without a human sacrifice, but what message would that have sent? For me, knowing someone died for me sure does help prevent a lot of sins I'd otherwise be committing. Knowing that Jesus died to save me makes me want to sin less and be a better person. And He's what continuously brings me back to God. Without him I'd be completely lost. But again, with Jesus being God in the flesh, I see so clearly how much God really does love us all, despite all of our wrongs. He wants us all to be able to spend eternity with him and to know his love. That's why he sent his son to live and die for us. So we could be forgiven, washed clean of our sins, and be able to be in relationship with him again.

As for denying myself certain wants, yeah that's hard sometimes. But I realize that not everything I want is good for me. And if denying myself certain things pleases the one who died for me, then that's a price I'm more than willing to do my best to pay.

Tit for Tat said...

youre gonna have a longgggggg life with that mindframe.

jennypo said...

Sin is not an integral part of us. Letting go of it doesn't take away from who we are - it sets us free. As humans, we were created "very good", a reflection of our Creator - but compare this to the world we see around us and you have a disconnect.

Sin is what obscures the beauty you speak of, Tit for Tat. The beauty is there, to be sure. From mother to murderer, there is hardly a human who doesn't still, beneath it all, bear the mark of a Creator who is Love. The tragedy is not what we are, but what awful disease afflicts us. God's purpose is not only to make us fit for his presence, but to save us, for our own sakes, from the sin that keeps us trapped and separated from the good we dream of but fail to achieve.

Those of us who know through experience what it means to accept God's way though it cuts across self and leaves us breathless with hurt and bewilderment also know what such a choice accomplishes in us - freedom, peace, love. I am not even close to what I would like to be, but He is changing me. I am satisfied that I have found the source of all that I long for in life. It's not easy or comfortable - selfishness is powerful in me and I have fed it a long time, and I know the pain of its long claws when I choose Love's way instead. But having known the ease of my way and the Good of God's way - I can say with confidence that God's wounding is better than my comfort any day. I have experienced the end of each - and my way results in pain, but God's way gives me what I desire in my deep heart. His choices for me may look cruel sometimes, but I can trust him because I have tried him and found him Faithful and True.

Brandon said...

Powerful words, Jennypo. :)

Tit for Tat, I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from. You seem to suggest that nothing is sin, and therefore we should be free to do whatever we want. If that's the case, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. If it was in my nature to be a cold-blooded murderer, would it be okay for me to go around killing people? If I wanted to steal someone's wallet out of greed for money, or hurl insults at a person I disagree with, or drink until I'm smashed because I'm drawn to alcohol, would any of that be okay? You see, my point is that all sin is bad, regardless of whatever the sin is. Any sin leads you away from God. Now, my idea of what is and is not sin is based on the Bible and from what I feel God has placed on my heart. How can I ever really be happy going against that? That's something I've tried over and over again to explain on this blog. I want to sin because the sin seems like it would be such a great thing, and would lead me to better enjoyment of life. But everytime I give into sin, I find that it does the exact opposite. It distances me from God, makes me feel horrible about myself for chooses my way over his, and usually just leads to increased sinning. After awhile I find myself going back to God and living my life his way, finding my life to be a little more better, and then through weakness returning to sin. I have trouble trusting God enough to let go, I think.

But anyway, that's where I'm coming from.

The only real way I could ever be happy in life giving into homosexual acts would be to completely disregard what the Bible says about sin and what my conscience tells me is sin. To do that, so much of my faith would literally have to crumble away. And I really don't see how I could ever be happy doing that. Regardless of however much love I might feel from another man in a gay relationship, it could never replace the feelings of abandoning God's ways for my own.

Tit for Tat said...

Brandon

Humour me on this one. I want you to stand in the mirror and say these 3 things.

1. I am considered a sinner because of what some guy named Adam did 6 thousand years ago.

2. The only way I could ever be forgiven of that is with G-d having to send his own son to be tortured and killed on my behalf.

3. The only way I get this forgiveness is to ask for it, if not I will go to hell for all eternity and suffer.

Dont forget though, G-d loves you.
Remember to look yourself right in the eye while you say it.

Now if you truly are wanting to understand your scripture a little better, why not take a look at these sites. You might be surprised that your belief on Homosexuality isnt as clear cut as some would have you believe.


www.scribd.com/doc/488222/The-Bible-Christianity-Homosexuality

www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibi.htm

www.hrmcc.org/Resources/StudyDocuments/bibleand.htm

Brandon said...

Tit for Tat,

I'll look up those sites. But for now, I think you've misunderstood a few things. First off, I do not think I am a sinner because someone named Adam sinned however many years ago. I am a sinner because I have sinned. I'll admit it, I've done some pretty rottin things in my life. Some of those things were intentional and some unintentional, but regardless, I have sinned. And yes, I need God's forgiveness of those sins. I want his forgiveness.

Picture this: You slap someone in the face who has been nothing but kind and loving toward you. You reject their teachings. You speak out against them through your actions and words--the way you live your life. And after all that, you're just supposed to be forgiven by that person without even caring, wanting, or asking for forgiveness? That's sounds like you just don't care. But you see, I don't think it's God who sends people to hell. People send themselves to hell when they reject God and reject his ways in favor of their own. Like I said before, sin distances us from God. It's only because of Adam and Eve that all man is prone to sin and have so much trouble resisting it. So, yes, we need a savior. Jesus did something for us that nobody else ever could. He lived a sinless life, but died. He was a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all humanity--a perfect human, free of any sin, dying, paying the cost of sin, which is death and separation from God. He took the punishment each of us deserves for having slapped God in the face, choosing our ways over his. Of course God loves us! Knowing we have so much trouble, he himself came to earth in the form of Jesus, took the punishment we deserved, making it easier for us to be reunited with him. All we need do is believe and accept the salvation offered to us, and sincerely do our best to repent of our sins. Yes, this is our way of receiving forgiveness. Is there something wrong about asking for this? Shouldn't we at least have to do something on our part to show God that we genuinely are sorry for our sins? I mean, here's God at least meeting us more than halfway after all.

And God doesn't want people to suffer. In fact, when he first created us there was no suffering at all. Earth was a heavenly place and man was good. But in our sinning, we ourselves have brought suffering and pain into this world. That's our doing. Not God's. It's us that have chosen through our free will to destroy the goodness within ourselves and the world in general.

A. Friend said...

Just a brilliant analysis Brandon. Very brilliant.

Apart from the parent and family issues there are many times when I have felt just like you did.

My family and church are not privy to my SSA though. But I am sure friends would disappear if they knew.

A. Friend said...

Brandon,
God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.

jennypo is right--everybody is coming to be "filled" but nobody is doing the filling.
Time to start filling.

I think you will begin to be filled when you stop looking for your needs to be filled and trust God to fill them for you even as you seek to fill the needs of others.

There are many other people in church struggling to be filled (financial, spiritual, emotional) and you can help them.

I think that you need to focus on the needs of people outside yourself and let God send someone or something in His time to fulfill your needs.

Ask God for someone/people to fill today with whatever He gave you an abundance of.

A. Friend said...

Brandon said...
Nope, you've lost my meaning. I think we're good inside. It's when we sin that we cover up that goodness with crap.
-------------

Taking my time to reply.

Brandon, this statement is extra-biblical.
There is no "good" is any of us. We are rotten to the core.
We're not only "covered" in evil it comes out of the very core of our beings.

We needn't be ashamed of this because that is reality--not a matter of "perception".

Romans 3:10
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"

Jeremiah 17:9
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

And funnily enough, this is the difference that splits us all roughly in two.
Some people believe that human beings are innately good and others believe--as the Bible says--that human beings are innately evil.

I believe that the latter is right and that the former has never really had a proper understanding of themselves and their own nature. Because nobody should remain with that misconception after a good few minutes of thought.

Ask yourself, is there anything good that you do for absolutely no benefit at all? ("benefit" includes "feeling good about yourself" and wanting to look good for "being a good person").
If not, then that is not pure "good" even if the outcome is "beneficial" to someone else.
As a matter of fact it is pure selfishness (much like any other variant of the trait).

But we fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.

We know the truth. Nothing "good" that humans ever do is done for no benefit at all to themselves. And therefore it is evil (the worship of self above all else).

Brandon said...

Hey Friend.

I know church isn't only about getting, but giving as well. My problem wasn't in not getting and not giving. I gave plenty I think. The problem is no one ever wanted to return the favor. Sure, ask all you want from me, but the minute I ask for anything, I get treated like the scum of the earth. I have a problem with this.

As for your last comments, I disagree completely. It's because of sin that we are all really rotten people. We've corrupted the goodness within us. The problem isn't that there's no good in us at all, but that our sin ruins everything, including whatever good we may have.

I have trouble believing God would create mankind to be horrible, rotten, evil people. I think in the beginning, we were good. As I recall, that's just what the bible tells us. God saw that man (and everything else He'd created) was good (Gen. 1:31). We weren't bad in any sense until we disobeyed God, introducing sin into the world.

As for doing good for others, there have been plenty of times when I've done something good just for the sake of doing it--I saw it was the right thing to do. And I didn't expect anything in return. Just as an example, I often take the shopping cart back into the store if I'm not far from the entrance. I do this because I know it'll make whoever's job it is to get the carts a little less difficult. I don't care if I get anything in return. I usually don't even meet the person who usually gets the carts. But I do this because I know it will help whoever does the job. Takes little from me to do it, and it's not something I do to feel better about myself. Usually, I tend to feel rather indifferent about it. I just do it because it's something I know I can do, and because I know it helps others. And there's a lot of other things just like this. Believe it or not, I don't mind opening the door for people, picking up litter, or other things like that. I don't often get anything in return, I don't expect anything in return, but I do these things because I know they're good things to do and I'm capable of doing them.

The problem I have with believing we are all bad deep down is just that the notion of that means God created us bad. I just can't accept this line of thinking. I believe he makes each of us to be good, but that we simply (even from the minute we're born) cover over that goodness by our sin. Another problem I have, is that if we're all completely bad and there's no good to us, then how can any of us ever really do any good? Can there even be such a thing as goodness? I believe there is. I believe we'd all be living in a much better world if rather than looking for how bad we all are and pointing out how awful we are, if we'd look for the good in ourselves and the good in each other.

Tit for Tat said...

We know the truth. Nothing "good" that humans ever do is done for no benefit at all to themselves. And therefore it is evil (the worship of self above all else).(friend)


And here we have it, another wonderfully "happy" Christian. You need to get out more. With friends like this, who needs enemies.

Joe said...

Brandon,

I'm sorry you had such a tough time recently.

But I'm glad the "behind the scenes" clip opened your eyes to the destructive nature of porn.

A similar thing broke the habit for me. It was a documentary on TV (they show this type of thing on British TV) where a female porn star was sick on set after being asked to perform an act which is standard stuff in straight porn these days. Even the producer felt guilty/embarrased about what he was required to make his actors do.

Praying this glimpse of "real life" is what it takes to make you turn your back on the (edited) fantasy.

Also praying that you find the real intimacy you need - rather than returning to the poor substitute that is few clicks away.

TCM said...

I've been slowly looking for blogs of people healing from SSA. Glad I have found yours. Many of us seem to be saying the same things. We want to turn what we have sexualized into non-sexual intimate male relationships. Feel free to keep in touch. I will keep up with your blog.

Brandon said...

Good to meet you, TCM. Feel free to stop by anytime. I think I'll be keeping up with your blog as well. :)

Brandon said...

Joe, thanks for your prayers. They're greatly appreciated.

Joe said...

Brandon

I am so sorry that your so-called church treated you poorly. The sad fact is that so many places that call themselves churches would not be particularly welcoming if Jesus walked in the door. Jesus tended to hang out with a lot of marginalized people. "Religious" people have a hard time with that. (Go figure.)

But, if "Religion" is mans pursuit of the divine, Jesus is God's pursuit of man. So stick with Jesus...he's a better bet.