Last night I experienced love. No, not that kind of love...silly rabbit. I have been off that wagon for quite awhile. I enjoyed the love and grace and joy and peace that comes from acceptance. I met with the elders of my church. I took my mask off and I told them who I was and they loved me anyway....just the way that Jesus loves me.
I shared with them my hopes and dreams for our church. I told them I wanted to be apart of it. They were not only supportive, but in many senses, they were way ahead of me. Apparently I am just catching up with them. Here is a bit of what I shared. For some this will be a rude awakening; for others it will be a "ya, I guess I knew that" type thing.
It's been said by some that I am a man with walls; that I am hard to get to know and it's true that I am not a socializer. I am not what you would call a "people person". I do fairly well in small groups and with people that have been in my life for many years, but I do not embrace or trust others easily.
I have been trying to get past this for awhile; to open myself up and bring the walls down, but it's hard for me. There is a point in relationship development with other people where I hit brick wall because honesty about who I am and even, to a certain extent, where I have been in my life is not something I have been able to share since I do not know how others will react. This is especially true in the Lord's Church.
It's been my thought for a very long time that the Church should be a place where we can all take our "masks" off and be ourselves so that we can know each other as Jesus knows us; that we should have no secrets and that we should share and help each other as we pursue our walk with Jesus together.
It's with that thought in mind, that I would like to take the mask off. I am a same sex attracted person. Some would say "gay". Since I am not sexually active and have not been so since I was 22 years old, I do not use that term. Others might. I do not. I am not involved in the gay community. I know people who are, but I am not. I have been celibate for 36 years. It has been tough, but it is only a small part of who I am. It's not really my identity. Nevertheless, I wake up everyday knowing that I am not like most other people.
Having said all that, it is very difficult to develop relationships with new people because inevitably someone will want to know why I am not married. I can always make up a story or joke and tell them that I was wiser than they were, but really, it's just deceit. Further to the point, if one is not open about these things suspicions develop and relationship becomes difficult, if not impossible. I have even found myself walking away from people because I did not want to go through the evasive tactics.
This should not happen. I am not going to let it happen anymore. I understand that I am bent in the flesh in a very peculiar way and that I have a very grave responsibility to keep that bend in check with the continuing help of the Lord, but seriously, does that mean I cannot enter into deeper relationship with the other members of the body because someone might find that my particular bend makes them uncomfortable or even fearful?
I would like to see this change. I would like to be able to share this, to share my struggle with people and to tell them how much the Lord and yes, even this very church has done for me. I am at a point, for the first time in my life, where I genuinely feel secure in my salvation. I know that some day I am going to see Jesus and there is nothing else in this world that brings me more joy and peace of mind.
The conversation went on from there as we explored the possibilities of what lie ahead in terms of ministry.
I probably should not do this in this way, but I want to put it out there for everyone to see.
It is possible to love Jesus and be same sex attracted. You can be a part of His church and help others that are struggling with whatever it is in life. Life is messy. God wants to teach us how to be clean. The time has come for the Church to step out of its middle class fortresses and embrace those that need the grace and love and truth of Jesus Christ.
Last night and together, my church made huge strides in that direction. I am humbled and honored to help in whatever way the Lord may lead us. I do not know where this will go. I do not know what to do next so I am doing this.
As Isaiah said about 2700 years ago, "Here am I Lord. Send me."
I think maybe I just need to start doing this and let the Lord sort out the details.
Lord, thanks so much for last night. The peace and joy I feel right now is more than enough payment for all the years of solitude. I know that was not your doing and yet you give to me anyway. You are my Lord and my God. Thanks you for choosing me to be in your family. I love you Lord. I just need one more thing. Ya, I know I always say that. I need to know where to go from here. I can see the possibilities, but I am indecisive. Show me the way. Show us the way as we move forward in the church. Lord, what I see is a church that needs to know each other, the way you know each of us. Do you want this to happen? I kind of think you do. If not, you need to find a way to tell me and it's going to have to be loud and brash because I do not always notice the trees in the forest if you get my drift.Please clear my head and help me to think this out in a way that is beyond human logic or emotion so that I...we....can see your purpose. I love you...no matter how this goes.
In Your Name I Pray,