Monday, March 20, 2006

Dear Anonymous . . .

Dear Anonymous: I want to respond to this comment which you left on one of my posts. I am continuing to give it serious thought and prayer. It may take several posts for me to accomplish that, but here goes.

I am sorry for your pain.. and i won't go into the rights or wrongs of being gay.. But one thing I do have to ask.. and perhaps you should as well.. You made a vow when you and your 'wife' got married. You have children.. you have a responabilty to them.. even though you have 'come out' so to speak.. does that mean you have the right to throw away the life you have, the one you built with YOUR wife? with your children? Does your happiness come before your families?? Is it really worth the destruction that your causing??not only to them.. but to your soul as well.. ?? Think about it. please

posted by "Anonymous"


I am sorry for your pain.. and i won't go into the rights or wrongs of being gay..

Dear anonymous,

This first statement would lead me to think that there may, in your opinion, be something “wrong” with being gay. You are right that the state or condition of “being gay” is a state of “being.” It is not some choice I made. Would you make such a “choice” to turn you family, career, whole life upside down? Would you choose potentially to alienate your family, friends, employer, etc.? I do not believe that “being gay” is a choice. In fact, in fifty years of life, it has been my experience that that I have not been able to choose otherwise. I’ve had therapy, prayer, exorcism, you name it. But it always comes back. It is always there. It is who I am.
Would you choose this kind of pain? Or choose the pain of living a lie? Would you choose the intense pain I am having at this present time? Or choose to spread it over your whole life, bringing you to the brink of suicide?

Assuming you are straight, may I ask about how you chose to be heterosexual? What influenced your decision, and when did you know it?

So many persons, perhaps you, think that “being gay” is about “having sex” with other men. I can’t deny that that is part of it, but certainly not the whole of it. Would you describe being heterosexual as primarily about having sex?

I acknowledge that I have a strong same-sex attraction. I desire to have a relationship with a man. But that desire involves much more than my genitals. I desire to have relationships with men in which I can be honest about myself. I am not talking about having sex. I am talking about relationship.

Sexuality is something that goes to the very core of our being. It is something that pervades all aspects of our lives. I can’t verify this, but I believe that a part of straight sexuality is why men play war and girls play house. Please hear I am not trying to make a sexist statement here. It is true that men and women are different. And the truth is there is difference even among men and among women.

And so there are many parts to “being gay” as well. I believe my particular sense of creativity and my aesthetic sensibilities come from that core of my being that is “being gay.” Why is it so many designers, architects, fashion folk, musicians, composers, writers, and artists are gay? Are all of them gay? By no means. But there is something there; it is part of being gay. Those are things that are not choices but callings, part of our being, be it gay or straight. Each brings a gift.

My sense of humor, and my very expressive way of lecturing/teaching etc. (which are a part of my profession) stem from that gayness that I did not choose. My love of music and its ability to move my soul at the deepest level are part of it.

One gift that has come from the fact that I am gay is my ability to relate in a deep way to those who feel exiled, downtrodden, abused, isolated, and cast out. That is not part of being gay, but only from being gay in a world that rejects you. I understand living in fear. I understand (if not first hand for myself, then from the experience of my GLBT brothers and sisters) what rejection, persecution, and self-loathing feel like.

And this brings me to my sense of belovedness by God. I can only speak from my own experience; that of others may be quite different.. I have always has a strong sense of God’s love for me. It is not God from whom I have felt rejection and condemnation, only the Church. And here I mean the whole “Church”, that earthly institution of many flavors and differences. But remember that this is the same Church that mounted the crusades and the inquisition; the same Church that supported slavery and the subjugation of women; the same Church that supports war and the easy lifestyles of so many in this country while much of the world starves. This Church that acts like the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus described, straining at gnats while swallowing camels.

I know what resurrection feels like and looks like. I have seen it, felt it, lived it too many times in my own life. If I had not known that sense of lostness, I could never feel so belovedly found.
This process in which I now find myself is a profoundly, deeply, immensely spiritual one. Please know that I have not entered into it lightly. Nor did I enter into marriage lightly, or becoming a father. I shall respond to those things later. For now this is enough.

Anonymous, I invite your comments, and those of others. I pray that we will all come to see ourselves walking in the light of God, no matter what our journeys.

Grace and Peace to you, Joe.

10 comments:

walking, not falling said...

excellent post Joe! keep up the good work.


b.

gratefulbear said...

Good response, Joe. Very thoughtful and heart-felt. Yes, you have a commitment you made to your wife -- and you and she will have to find new ways to honor that commitment now that you've come out, IF she is willing to do so.

But you have a higher commitment to your Creator, to honestly accept yourself as God created you to be, and to love yourself as God loves you. God did not make a mistake in creating you a gay man.

Brian said...

Brave man, man of humility and courage. Believe me, I know, no one can do worse to you than your own fears do to yourself. That's what makes us invincible, for ourselves and those we need to look after. You roared tonight. I feel in excellent company.

dave in cleveland said...

joe, in your writings every day i see more and more growth as a gay man......excellent answer to the other post

Ross said...

Joe,

Your public struggle with an annonymous comment really has me inspired. You could have let this pass, but you share your struggle with all of us (in a quasi-public fashion). Your courage is to be admired.

I hope I can have the integrity and honesty you have someday.

Ross

Anonymous said...

Amen.

CanEragon said...

Sometimes it takes great strength to be honest and sometimes we pay the ultimate price. But in my world Honesty and Integrity are the backbones of my existence. The truth shall set you free, as it is written.

So marriage was not your vocation, but your humanity remains intact either way. Sometimes God's providence shows us new ways to relate to others, in "our" case, we might be better men for the truth we live. Because in the light of that truth our gifts are better used in the service of others.

In my studies, as well my life I have learned many things about being gay and men who come out late in life, this is a daunting task either way, add HIV to that mix and it can become volatile. I survived for some good reason in God's great universal plan. I made it 13 years so I must be praying to the right God.

We follow God, not a religion, we find peace in God's embrace and knowledge from His widsom.

The Church, the man made - patriarchal boys only club - has many sins to answer for, as long as you keep your eyes on God and your vocation to those you serve and love, then WHAT you are rests in the guidance, wisdom and Love of HE who created you, not man who would judge you. For in the end, who you are will be your most important quality.

Amen to your words, you do not need to justify anything to anyone, as long as you honor the God who gives you life and sustains you.

Keep walking we are following you. You are never alone. God loves you Bro...

Jeremy

Gel said...

Of course, you shouldn't have had to post that to justify anything about who you are, but thanks for doing it. If it enlightens just the one person, then that's a good thing. As Brian said, if you can shuck off your fears and the things that lamed you, and go free, that's your answer. You don't need the approval of anyone for being just 'what God made you'

Ian said...

Joe, in the words of former CIA Director George Tenet (you didn't think you were going to get away without a political reference, now did you? :) ), "Slam dunk!"

You mention being deeply connected to music. That is something we have in common, you and I, even if we do come at our faith from slightly different angles. One of my all-time favorites has got to be "Jubilee" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I've included the last stanza of that song below:

'Cause the people who love you are waiting
And they'll wait just as long as need be
When we look back and say those were halcyon days
We're talking 'bout jubilee


Take Care and Be Safe,
Ian

*Christopher said...

Joe,

This is a fine reply, that goes beyond either/or, which anonymous seems to have set up. It seems you're thinking through these matters with great care.