Saturday, February 16, 2008

Out of the randomness

My mind is whirling, whizzing, and boiling today, as is my spirit. So, here are some random, if incomplete, thoughts:
  • Today, I’m having a difficult time with “church,” and even with “Christianity.” In the midst of all the shit, I know there is a core of truth, Truth. But it can be difficult to find, and very hard to explain or entice others to hear it, or see it, or experience it. But I know it is there, in spite of (seemingly) overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  • There is a thin veneer of Christian belief in the Church and in this nation, this so-called “Christian nation.” It is a veneer of being nice, as long as you behave like me. It would be even better if you looked life me, too. Yes, the thin veneer is there, but it has been used so cruelly to dominate, so misused to subjugate. The true joy, freedom, comfort, and challenge of the Gospel rarely show through.

  • Conformity does NOT mean maturity, and vice versa. We get this sooooo wrong, sometimes.

  • Sometimes I still wish to be a regular, old, everyday, straight guy. But that only happens when I see the cute dad with mom and the kids in the park, etc. I never think that in bed. Is it all about appearances?

  • I’ve learned that it is true: Never judge you insides, based on someone else’s outsides. Appearances are always deceiving.

  • And again, you have heard it said: What I most dislike in others is usually what I most dislike in myself.

  • I want to fall in love. With a man. I don’t want to be a slut.

  • I have never been able to focus long enough to do a meme. I have been tagged a few times but never managed to follow through.

  • My closet is getting smaller and more and more uncomfortable. I pray for the patience to hold out (in) a little longer, until I can tell my children, at least.

  • Honesty is the best policy. I so long to tell my children the Truth, that I am gay, and I love them, and I love their mother (as best I know/knew how) and it will be OK. How can I expect honesty from them, if they don’t get it from me? This causes me great pain.

  • An excerpt from words by the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, to folk at the HRC offices in Washington, DC, as roeported at the My Gay Spirit website.

    “In some ways, for some reason" Robinson continued, "it is almost harder to come out as a SPIRITUAL Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender person than it is to come out as LGBT! Asking an LGBT person to go back to church - to
    reconnect with their spirit - is like asking an abused wife to go back to her
    husband. We have to change LGBT people's PERCEPTION of spirit. We
    CANNOT relinquish the spiritual realm to those who oppose our equality. It
    is more important than ever for LGBT people to come out spiritually."

14 comments:

Lemuel said...

I share many of your same thoughts. Over the last few months I have "come out" to my wife with regard to my feelings toward the [institutional] church. Although I have not lost my faith, I have no time for this institution that manipulates and controls to its own ends of wealth and power.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

The four pillars of Christian faith are:
1. Private Prayer Private Morality
2. Social Justice
3. Mellowness of Heart
4. Being part of a XT community

within all the infighting and drama, you eventually find a place that welcomes, like I did. I will never walk away from my roots, but that's also why they call me a cookie cutter Christian, because I take what I like and I leave the rest behind.

Keep writing Bear...

Luv
Jeremy

birdoparadise said...

I think in one's spiritual journey a believer ultimately becomes comfortable with a personal faith as opposed to fitting in to some institutional doctrine. I think we all simply struggle to find the place that most agrees with what our spiritual expression needs. Perhaps it is most difficult to let others believe as they will, quietly owning your faith as you continue the search for truth.

Joe, your bloglist led me to a wonderful site that really speaks to me as a Christian and straight ally. I would like to encourage others here to also read it. Just click on "I'm Christian, I'm Gay..." on the bloglist to the right.

I really appreciate your willingness to let us follow you in your journey out. It gives me some insight into how I might help my own church become a welcoming congregation to the LGBT community.

Birdie

Michael said...

Joe,
I have from time to time on my own blog talked about becoming a God-fearer in the tradition of those pagans of New Testament times who found much to admire and imitate in Judaism, but did not feel called personally to become Jewish. I sometimes feel that way about Christianity. There is much to admire and imitate, but I do not see belonging to any of the institutional forms that surround me. I still identify as Catholic, and I am still on the official lists as a priest. Yet rigorous honesty demands that I acknowledge that the institution and I have parted ways, at least for now.

Paths that diverge may merge again.

birdoparadise said...

Michael, if you are comfortable doing so, would you please PM me? Just click on my profile to find my email.

Birdie

Raymond said...

BT:

"Christian dogma is not an intellectual formula but a record and promise of life. It does not present ideas for our minds to master; it tells actual events which can master and transform US as they did the first Christians. It is not a mere topic of thought, but the presupposition of sanity. It is the Christian 'a priori,' the Table of Categories under which the faithful live."

The Christian Future [1946]

The same author also said that Christianity is ALWAYS bankrupt, but keeps finding [and founding] new life in its core traditions, which I rather like.

As a gay Christian, you are a minority wherever you turn. So don't turn away.

Sorry about the meme; I completely understand not wanting to play tag.

T@C

Hirsute polyamorous said...

I got fed up with Christian hypocrisy years ago and quit going to church. My partner at the time, a brilliant musician, was treated like utter crap by the small-minded Lutherans he worked for. It's pretty horrible to see a grown man cry at the hands of hateful others.

So, I decided to be a follower in my own way.

Within the last few years I dated a sweet man and started singing again at an Episcopal church in town.

And after the hateful things people started saying and doing after the ordination of Gene Robinson, I've left again, this time for good I think.

Yes there are some great people in the church, and yes, I love them. BUT I can't be a part of an institution that is not life-affirming to all, not inclusive, and that is not about allowing me to feel good about all of me, especially the parts I have no control over, the gay parts.

Jesus was a great guy and his teachings are wonderful. Too bad the church has twisted his beautiful message so badly over the course of two millennia.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

I feel too that I miss my past church life but at the same time I do not feel welcomed to come back. I do still pray and give thanks and to be honest there are also days where I have strong doubts.

I don't worry too much now when I see the young father with his happy family in the park, mostly because I have spent the last two month telling him and other Dads like him, that 'no' I don't want to have sex with him on the side, behind everyone's backs. This showed me that what we see is not always the truth, at least my coming out is real.

john said...

Wow, those are a lot of thoughts to ponder.

Derek said...

I feel very much these same frustrations, more so as a single gay man. For some reason it was easier for me when I had someone to love, and someone that shared my beliefs, well someone I thought shared my beliefs. I'd like to find a little balance in me.

Hirsute polyamorous said...

One more ... my partner and I made a commitment to each other back in the early 80's when we got together that we would always present ourselves as a committed couple, but not rub it in to anyone. We didn't want to be hidden or to hide, and we also thought (correctly as it turned out) that if you act as though your behavior is the most normal thing in the world (which it most definitely is), people take your lead and follow along. We opted out of any deception, and though it made it a little harder to find a niche (people really want you to play along), we eventually drew like-minded people to ourselves. At it was wonderful.

Even when we moved to a rural farming town in the 90's in TN and lived there for 11 years together visibly as a couple, people just took it in stride.

Decades ago I stopped trying to fit in to anyone else's idea of how I and my life should be; they need to fit in to mine, simply because I'm not going to bend to please them. Don't need to, don't want to.

Spirit & Flesh said...

Hang in there. It's SO much better when you can get to the other side. My partner & I have found a way to live openly and honestly with BOTH of our churches. If I wasn't gay I probably would be able to "pack the pews" on Sunday morning. However, I believe we've created an authentic faith community in my congregation that honors a diversity of people [even if it is small]. It is possible so keep the faith, brother!

Blessings!

Ur-spo said...

that was a lovely list
i rather enjoyed being a slut back in my 20s; ah youth.

David said...

Wow! A great post, very thought provoking.

I so often miss the appearance of my married, happy, normal family life. I go with my ex-wife and kids to school programs and want to be straight and live that life again. But it's no who I am. Being out is so much better, but I'm so often reminded of what I've lost.

I haven't told my children yet, either. And I SO struggle with that. I desperately need to be honest with them. It's just so hard to do.

-David