January 11, 2011
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into a inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
I Peter 1:1-7
My Dear Family,
A new day, a new season has dawned in me and it is God who is doing something new; God has revealed new things and has begun to restore me.
Today, I’m one step closer to what He wants to accomplish in me and what He wants to complete in me - something scary, surreal and sobering yet, something freeing, exciting, happy, hopeful, healing and fulfilling. In October of 2006 His hope punctured through what I thought to be impenetrable and simply not possible. This hope grew into a new petition which he answered a year later in October of 2007. It was something unexpected and my soul was moved in a way that I’ve not experienced before. His touch was real, profound, undeniable, humbling, crystal clear, shaking, and yet gentle.
I don’t expect for you to fully receive what God did in me – how it felt; how I knew that it was His Spirit speaking; the clarity and His resonance. But I pray you will listen in this conversation, which really (I pray and ask) is just the beginning of many hours of dialogue, questions, answers and personal investments of time, and prayer.
God firmly yet lovingly confirm in me that he loves me fully just as he created me to be – which includes being attracted to the same gender.
Please realize several things right away:
First, I love God now more than I ever have. In fact I feel closer to him. My understanding of his love and who God is has increased and continues.
Second, I have not abandoned the Faith – I am a Christian.
Third, this did not happen over night. It has been something that has been with me as long as I remember.
Fourth - Mom and Dad you did nothing to cause my same-gender attraction.
Your parenting has been loving and exemplary on all fronts – God is pleased and has been honored by how you have raised your children.
Fifth, I have never been sexually abused in any way by anyone.
Sixth, I am not a sexual deviant or promiscuous.
Seventh, I love you all deeply and need to tell you of my journey and what God has done in and for me.
At this point you are likely experiencing a multitude of emotions, questions and thoughts – but know that I have asked the Lord to prepare you for quite a while, petitioning Him to somehow soften the news and minister to you. I've been working and praying over this letter and the timing of it now for over three years.
There are lyrics to a song that say, “Forward is calling and I cannot stay here.” Words very fitting. For me the “here”, was the isolation of shame, guilt, confusion and abandonment that I’ll attempt to explain.
In a related conversation, someone recently asked me if I could identify with Elijah – my quick response was “Yes, waiting for the still small voice.” But the question has provoked in me an assessment and comparison of Elijah’s life and mine in my previous fight with same gender attraction. The accounting of what Elijah went through is in no way an attempt to compare my accomplishments with Elijah’s, for even entertaining that would end in my instant defeat. But many parts of his life story I can easily identify with in terms of the mile markers that God allowed. My prayer is that this will help you understand my life journey – one of great burden and heaviness.
Like Elijah, I've had amazing ministry opportunities that have taken God’s Word and me to many different parts of the globe. I believe the greatest miracle of all is when one believes and accepts Christ as their Lord and receives their Salvation. Through the ministry work of The Continentals I've seen just that. Over 600 live concerts, presenting the Gospel of Christ to thousands and thousands in 15 different countries and throughout all 50 states in the US. I've been touched and deeply humbled by God using me and my teams through this ministry - an amazing group of talented young people dedicated to bringing the hope of Christ, using the powerful tool of music. God used these eight tours to change my life, the lives of those young people I was responsible for and many of the lives of those that attended our concerts. Similar to Elijah, one would consider this a highly unusual ministry opportunity - one which I took seriously and made all efforts to give everything I had as an offering to the Lord. It felt remarkable to be on the winning side with God.
As you know, after my time with The Continentals I went on to produce and direct with what became an internationally known men’s ministry - Promise Keepers. I've been blessed to be a part of over 100 stadium and arena events with this ministry. I was a witness to the movement of God in the hearts of men throughout the US – hundreds of thousands of men! Powerful testimony, remarkable response, undeniable God-felt times of worship, mostly strong and compelling teachings and again, thousands and thousands of changed lives - the fruits of our labor and God’s workings. For a short time I was allowed and placed as the overseer of the platform. What a great honor and joy, and yet again, very humbling to be serving in this capacity. When your work has eternal value attached, it’s that much sweeter and it called out the best work and dedication from me.
When my time with Promise Keepers ended I went on staff at Rocky Mountain Christian Church, although with hesitation. Being the producer/director of events, I was able to see ministry to the Body of Christ, we launched a second campus and I was a part of some new and innovative programming that encouraged and motivated God’s people, young and old.
Elijah had colossal opportunities as he represented the Lord throughout his ministry and as he witnessed miracle after miracle – clearly the hand of God. Ravens near a brook fed him for days – no one knows for sure just how long, but it was enough time for the brook to dry up. A widow fed him, whose oil and flour kept replenishing. Through his prayer, he witnessed life being given back to the widow’s dead son. Don’t forget about the great altar showdown where God consumed the altar, the bull and the water with fire sent from heaven. The death of all 450 prophets of Baal. The miracle of the drought being lifted after the prayers of Elijah. And of course these are only the miracles that the Bible records – certainly there were many others.
What I have been struck by is how abruptly Elijah's faith changed immediately after witnessing the power and miracle works of God – undeniable evidence that God was on his side. Undeniable. Yet, with one threat from Jezebel he crumbled. His faith came apart at the seams and he ran. Why all of a sudden did he flee? Why the immediate doubt of God’s power? Why the change? Something must have been stirring in him throughout the times of God’s great workings. Something got a hold of his core and violently shook. Confusion crept in and fear took hold. It must have been stirring all along.
Like Elijah, there was something agitating inside of me throughout these amazing times of ministry work. My stirring came in the form of not understanding my same-gender attractions, my sexual orientation. I never, ever wanted or chose to be attracted to the same gender. Never. Often times I would become terrified that the fears I felt and experienced on the inside would show up on the outside.
I remember being completely astonished that God chose me to become a Director with The Continentals. Amazed because I didn't have the education that the rest of the directors did, but many, many more times amazed, actually bewildered, that He would chose me knowing what was going on inside. None the less, I thanked Him and continued to trust Him, that He knew what was best. Sometimes the response after the concerts was so overwhelming. Those nights as the host’s home before going to sleep, I would fall on my knees to ask and beg the Lord to remove this “thing”; mostly fearful that somehow, someone, would know that I was attracted to the same gender. Fearful mostly that I would cause my Lord shame - and not because I had acted out on my attractions but only because I had them.
After receiving the position of Program Director, I was actually quite frightened and because of the same reasons. Again the same kind of overwhelming privilege of being placed in a very important position within the Promise Keepers organization. Often times it was obvious that the Lord was moving among the men and the power of the Holy Spirit was easily recognizable to me. With all of the speakers, some of whom operated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I found myself terrified to work along side of these men of God because I thought at any moment I might be exposed by a word the Lord gave them. Back at the hotel, after the Friday evening programming, I was often on my knees in the hotel room pleading and begging the Lord to change me and not to allow my feelings to be exposed, causing shame on His ministry. All of these nights went without answers, without feeling Him during these times of great anguish.
Growing up was especially confusing and disorienting. For the longest of time I couldn't find words for it and at a very young age I knew something was different, but I didn't know how to identify it or even what to call it. I didn't all of a sudden realize that I was different from the other boys, because I wasn't all that different; I loved getting dirty, building things, exploring and rough-housing, playing hard and competing. But something was different and I couldn't put my finger on it - nor did I have the skill to at such a young age. It was a sort of mystery. This mystery was subtle but the subtleness faded as I grew into my teens. As I was interacting with other boys I could not understand their fascination and interest in girls; it confused me. But I knew somehow, that I needed to keep my lack of interest in girls to myself for fear of ridicule. Even back then the boys could be mean and nasty and I think it was at this time that I started to hear the terrible words that people use freely to humiliate those that are attracted to the same gender. The boys would use these names as a form of degradation and shame and it was through this that I perceived something was “wrong” with me because I wasn't experiencing the same feelings toward the girls as they.
Throughout my early teens and growing up into my mid-twenties, I believed and was praying that God and the natural laws of physical development would bring about my “maleness” at a pivotal age. For some reason I believed that it would come to being around my birthday; that my attraction to men would turn into a natural attraction to women. I had such great hope through the month’s leading up to my birthdays. I would imagine how it would feel to be attracted to the opposite gender; the relief that it would bring about knowing I was finally “normal”. My prayers intensified during the months before each birthday. The hope of God giving me the gift of “normalcy” was exciting, exhilarating, just like waiting for Christmas morning or finally being able to start our trip from Phoenix to Anaheim for our Summer Disneyland trips. I would expect to wake up the morning of my birthday (or shortly thereabouts) and feel more male; feel attracted to women, feel finished, feel something different sexually.
I was anxious to turn 16 because that would be the age at which things would “kick in” and I would be rid of the guilt and fear. Hope and prayer preceded, nothing resulted. 18 was the next “golden” age. Anticipation, petition and silence. Nothing. Then 20. Nothing. 21, 25, 30. Nothing. Praying myself into these birthdays became a ritual of being drawn closer to God, filled with hope, followed by an expansion of my disappointment. Perplexed, stunned, hurt and frightened. Great doubt of God's willingness to move in me began to replace hope.
Out of the depths I cry to you O lord:
O lord hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy
…I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I put my hope.
There were countless nights of intense prayer and a deepening sense of aloneness. My internal defense became the ability to shut it out, defuse it when a conscious level of male attraction came to mind, just change the subject in my mind. From my mid-teens until I was about 30 - that’s how I dealt with it. I did not understand my sexuality and my instinct demanded that I navigate and figure it out on my own. Somehow, a sliver of hope would remain after each unanswered prayer from Him, after each disappointment.
Up until the age of 30 I had believed that my heterosexuality needed to develop; that somehow I was a super-late bloomer both physically and sexually. So my prayers to God were for a quickening of these forces; that I might mature, develop and be made normal like all the other guys; that my maleness would quickly engage.
I think as you look back over my life, you’ll be able to see some of the signs of my same-sex attraction. The most obvious is the fact that I've never dated anyone. I've never been interested or even attracted to any woman. Women have been a very wonderful source of friendship but I have always been greatly troubled and perplexed by the thought of intimacy with women and could never bring myself to test out what I was feeling by dating them. The idea of courtship felt insincere, empty and lacking honesty. And because I lacked the fundamental and natural ability of being attracted to women, I felt I did not have the moral integrity to date.
There’s a part of our humanity within Christendom that accepts the belief that our own personal weakness is a direct reflection of God’s weakness. This is especially true for those working in ministry and this was true of me. Although we hear and speak “He is made strong through our weakness”, we (ourselves and the church at large) don’t really live out this part of our salvation (our weaknesses) because it requires fantastic vulnerability. With this comes the high probability of great loss (job, finances and normal sense of stability), and a perception of great shame being brought to our personal lives, to our families, to the ministries and organizations that we represent, most importantly to our God. All these things are at stake when we reach out for help with such a shepherded secret and mystery. And so, isolation and aloneness became my way of living and I spoke of it never; not to anyone, ever.
Intense fear and hopelessness set in somewhere in my early thirties and compounded the already heavy burden of my confusion. The confusion was the unwanted feelings of attraction for the same gender and no attractions to the opposite gender and God not answering my prayers. My isolation was accentuated, profound. My prayers turned from “God quicken my physical and sexual development” to “God, heal me!” There must be something physically broken, defective; not just that I was “un-matured” as previously believed, but something was damaged.
O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy;
In your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
…he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me:
My heart within me is dismayed.
I spread out my hands to you;
My soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.
There is a natural curiosity to search for a cause for things in life; why things happen, what caused them to happen. At the time I was not familiar with the argument of “nature vs nurture”. The “nurture” concept is something believed in mostly Christian circles of “therapy” that purports to explain why someone might be attracted to the same gender. Nature - the idea of being naturally born this way; created this way; created with a same-sex attraction. Nurture - the idea of being influenced by one’s surroundings. I was able to rule out blaming my same-sex attractions on nurture, my environment. My Dad was always present and loving in my life and the definite leader in our family; my Mom was a supportive, dedicated wife and mother and not an overly dominant woman and equally loving of me. My Mom and Dad to this day still have very appropriate roles and boundaries. I’m terribly thankful and grateful for you, Mom and Dad. All of your children have been blessed by how you have raised us.
Additionally, I was never coached or taught by anyone how to be sexually attracted to the same sex and was never sexually molested or violated on any level. So my conclusion was that these feelings weren't nurtured; caused by anyone’s influence or by my environment.
After nurture was ruled out, I knew I had an alarming problem. My quandary was beyond the physical; a mental, psychological and spiritual deformity. Something was wrong with my mind, it needed to be cured. Then the thought came that there is something abnormal with my heart – so “God give me the heart You want me to have. Heal my heart”. Then, if it’s not my heart, it must be my spirit and soul – “Heal them Lord!” I hated having these feelings of being unmistakably attracted to men and the feelings were uncontrollable no matter how much prayer. I never wanted or wished to have them. I castigated them.
At one point I began contemplating that I was at least oppressed by demons and would rebuke and cast away any that possibly surrounded me. Even though this last theory was considered, it was the weakest of all my suspicions; just in case I had overlooked something. A great deal of despair overwhelmed me, just like it did Elijah when Jezebel threatened him. It's difficult to explain the heaviness of the despair and how thick it was at times. It destroyed hope from my mind, body and spirit. Eventually my asking in prayer turned into pleading, begging, shouting, screaming. Yet God did not seem to hear. My dialogue with the Lord took this form and continued for about 10 years, until I was 40.
Proverbs 13:12 speaks of deferred hope making the heart sick – I lived this, intimately. I wrestled with the meaning of Matthew 7:9-11 because God didn't seem to be giving me good things. Here I was asking and begging him to give me bread; healing, correction. His answer was a stone; no change, undeniable feelings of attraction to men; a snake.
I ran like Elijah into the desert and prayed that I might die.
For two or three years my prayers turned into pleas to God, asking and giving Him permission (as if he needed it) to take my life in my sleep so I wouldn't bring shame upon Him, my family or any ministry work. I had little confidence that God wanted to answer my prayers of healing, although I knew he could if only He wanted, and so God seemed cruel and distant. Fear and confusion took mature form in me when anger set my heart and I attempted to push God away, out. I never succeeded in pushing Him out, but clearly I made a conscious attempt to ignore Him.
Unlike Elijah, I didn't have an angel appear to me and wake me from my time in the desert, but I did know the only hope I had left was the fact I never asked or desired these feelings.
In late 2006 I was drawn back to God and for the first time my prayers took a dramatic shift. It was the only question I hadn't explored and really it was out of sheer desperation:
“Father, since you won’t heal me or change me, show me why you haven’t. Why won’t you heal or change me?”
I needed to know if I had missed something along the way and it had never dawned on me to ask this question. The process of accepting my same gender attraction as being natural or given began at this time, although I didn't realize it. Internet searches began and I mustered the courage to purchase a book online which led to a hyper sense of paranoia; I was certain someone would somehow find out what I had ordered and accuse me of being a sexual deviant, exposing me for these feelings I couldn't control. What caught my attention about this book was that it was about a Christian man very similar to me, who was involved in ministry his entire life. I couldn't believe the book review; a man attracted to the same sex and yet Christian. Impossible! It was like trying to visualize a square circle. I didn't believe that being a Christian and having same-sex-attractions were congruent. I absolutely had to know this man’s story.
Once it arrived, I completely devoured “Stranger At The Gate” by Mel White (ghost writer for Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson – filmmaker, producer and director of 53 Christian documentaries). His words and life journey cracked opened the door of hope for me. (The penetration of hope that I mention at the beginning of this letter.) I remembered how astounded I was that someone else in ministry had gone through what I was trying to fight in solitude. I wasn't alone! For the first time I wasn't alone!
A new hope and energy filled me when I learned that he was somehow able to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. With this came moments of tremendous relief and intense joy knowing that it just might be possible, followed by corrective thoughts reminding myself what I believed scripture said about homosexuality. I would travel back and forth between these two spaces in a matter of seconds of each other. The thought of my unwanted sexual orientation and Christianity being compatible set off my theological radar that would slap me to my senses, bringing back the hyper sense of aloneness and secrecy. However, this new hope would not let go and began to fill me with fresh life and newness in God, slowly building up my will and purpose. Hope was so compelling and restorative to my core that it set off a firestorm of research and study; what do the scriptures say about same-sex attraction. I read almost non-stop for a year and a half and have continued to this day.
The angel of the Lord came back to Elijah a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
God knew that Elijah needed food for physical strength to make the 40-day journey that lie ahead. Trying to reconcile my sexuality with my faith became my journey and my sources of food were books, study, research and continued prayer. Book after book, studies and commentary by respected Evangelical scholars, biographies, memoirs, articles, Christian testimony upon testimony and Web sites; anything that would help me understand what God’s Word fully said and how He has moved in the lives of other Believers in my situation. A year flew by and my library started to grow, as did my hope. I remember one evening after reading, I got up off the bed and screamed, “Is it possible Lord? It just might be possible. I think it’s possible!”
Once Elijah arrived at the Mountain of God, he went into a cave.
My cave was fairly comfortable. It was a place where I could freely inquire as to how my sexual orientation aligned with my faith. For the first time in 40 years I was able to safely study and learn. And for the first time in my life I was beginning to identify and slowly accept myself as being a Christian man that was attracted to other men. I distinctly remember one morning looking at myself in the mirror and declaring just that to my image. It was my acknowledgment of finally receiving an answer to my prayers. What a fantastic relief and paradoxically a disturbing predicament. I had accepted myself through this process and was starting to become more and more comfortable with my sexuality. Intellectually I was convinced that God accepted and probably created me this way. But I needed a supernatural experience to be fully convinced, spiritually.
As you remember, the fall of 2007 was a hellish time for me with my work at Rocky Mountain Christian Church. The senior leadership team was making senseless decisions and clearly did not have their eyes on the road while trying to navigate through some rough terrain and I felt a strong sense of being called out to confront the executive pastors. After taking weeks to discern the call, I moved forward with speaking truth in love as best I could. It was received with great upset by one and with what seemed to be complete indifference by the others. As a result of months of wear and tear over this hardship and my compounding personal burden, I was due for a long vacation. I was bound for Naples, Florida, a 10-day vacation that I took by and for myself. Greg's parents graciously allowed me to stay in their beautiful home the entire time. And with just a short bike ride to the beach I would spend every day on the sandy coast of the Gulf. Settled and in place by 10 am, I would stay until 6 pm reading (a continuation of my studies), relaxing, praying, sunning, swimming and walking along the beach. My time was very relaxing and restorative. I remember being grateful that I could feel God’s presence in the ocean; my soul cried out for it and I was so very thankful. I think this was God’s way of whispering to me as He did to Elijah before he was drawn to the mouth of the cave.
Back to those lyrics, “Forward is calling and I cannot stay here”. “Forward” is a combination of God and my future, one of the same; plans to prosper me and to give me hope and a future. Forward met up with me on October 19, 2007. My departure day begrudgingly came. The vacation was a perfect length of time and I was ready to get back to my work at the church, but wasn't looking forward to the state of affairs at the office. Once I was airborne and given permission to settle in and get comfortable, I pulled out the book that I hadn't quite finished on the beach. It was a biography and I was nearing the last chapter. I remember looking around and being very thankful that row 7 was only occupied with one person, me. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was standing at the mouth of the cave and God was about to speak. Seat 7-A is where God gently collided with me.
I remember the author’s words witnessing truth about how important his community of friends were to him. At that instant God spoke deeply and profoundly to me just as he did to Elijah after the gentle whisper. Elijah’s address from the Lord came in a question, mine came in a statement. It shook my core yet it was gentle, beautiful and warm. It filled and completely overwhelmed me. In looking back it was one of those rare moments where I knew, that I knew, that I KNEW, that God, that He was speaking to me. I didn't see or hear words and I didn't understand the communication in the form of a sentence as if reading something. The only way I can describe it is that in that moment, knowledge was poured into me; instantly IN me.
At once I felt and knew two things that the Spirit communicated. The first was that, “He loved me exactly as He made me”; that included my sexual orientation.
The second was that I needed to, “Immediately reach out in faith to begin community with like-Christians”. With this charge came an understanding that if I didn't follow through in reaching out, severe consequences would result for my disobedience.
The overwhelming presence of the Lord was heavy, undeniable, powerful and thick. There on the plane I began to weep, and cry and sob as the Lord moved and as I accepted His Word, His confirmation, my answer to prayer; over 30 years in the making. I was worried about drawing attention to myself and thankful that no other person was in the row with me – in front or behind. God started the final phase of healing and restoration to my soul, my mind and spirit! The unmistakable presence of God was with me for almost two weeks, where I found myself crying a lot of this time; weeping because His presence and the power of His Word had not lifted. It became difficult to function at work while God continued to touch and heal. Such a sweet, beautiful, personal, intimate experience.
After all the years of anguish God had finally answered with undeniable and peaceful authority.
With a layover in Chicago and the pressing nature of “reaching out” resonating in me, I remembered a Web site that I came upon about a year and a half prior. At the time I discovered the site, it made no sense to me, but I now knew this was my next step. This was where I would ask for help and begin a new community. The very next day, after my arrival back to Denver, I sent an email to Evangelicals Concerned (www.ecwr.org), explaining my situation and my need to reach out for help. A few emails passed between the Seattle office and some folks in Denver and within a couple of days I was introduced via email to a Jonathan. After several emails with Jonathan and a phone call with Joe (his partner), I agreed to meet them for dinner to tell the very first people of my journey and listen to theirs. That was November 9th 2007. I am now a part of a local chapter of EC and have been in study and prayer with these two men-of-God along with five other like-Believers. We have developed a fantastic little community. God has blessed me with some wonderful friends that Love the Lord very much.
Elijah’s next step was one of obedience in acting upon what God had told him. He went and got his life in order.
Since my plane ride back from Florida I have chosen to be obedient to God in taking many steps that have led me to this point. I will continue on my journey of obedience, by looking for new ministry opportunities, and by continuing to study, pray and read.
Speaking of reading, I have included a bibliography at the end of this letter. Book after book; article upon article; study after study; testimony following testimony; accounts of countless “X-gay” therapy failures; suicide; parental viewpoints; in-depth looks at the scriptures; even psychological studies and analysis. These authors are scholars, pastors, priests, clergy, moms and dads, doctors. Some are attracted to the opposite gender, and others attracted to the same gender. Many are Evangelical in their beliefs. I know it’s difficult to receive this as it was for me. But I kept reading and studying, researching on line, and corresponding with authors. Please know that I don’t expect you to receive what I have just by reading this letter; after all, it took me the last three years of study and prayer and a lifetime of agony and prayer. I hope this bibliography will help you on your way to truly understanding same gender attraction and thereby understanding me better.
My hours of studies have revealed several findings which I consider vital to the discussion and to me as a Believer but this in no way is exhaustive:
One can be both attracted to the same sex and a Bible-believing Christian.
The biblical authors are silent about same-sex orientation, as we know it today. Most certainly they are silent about committed, monogamous, loving, same-gendered relationships. They neither directly approve it nor condemn it.
The first time the word homosexual was ever used was in 1864.
The first time the word homosexual was ever used in a Bible was in 1946 (RSV) – which of course begs the questioning of, “Well, what words were used prior to 1946?”
The sin of Sodom was not homosexuality but was pride, in-hospitality, excess idleness, and materialism and intentions of rape. Genesis 19. Additionally, scripture mentions/refers to Sodom 55 times and never mentions homosexuality as the sin of Sodom.
That homosexuality is not the focus of Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18-2:11, but he was referring to the worship of idols, idolatry and temple cult prostitution.
That the Holiness Code of Leviticus is never affirmed in the New Testament as the standard of conduct for Christians. Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13
Ancient Judaism, Roman Law and ancient Christian preachers understood that eunuchs were often physically intact men (not castrated) who were not sexually attracted to women. The term eunuch in history is often a synonym for mostly men who were attracted to the same sex. And that Jesus mostly likely exempted born eunuchs from His teaching about Adam and Eve style heterosexual marriage. Matthew 19:3-12
That some modern scholars use the Greek word arsenokoites to condemn all homosexual practice (I Corinthian 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10). But that the first 56 historical uses of arsenokoites proves that no ancient author ever used arsenokoites to refer to two men or two women in committed, faithful, non-cultic partnership.
Even when we believe the scriptures are without error, I think it’s risky to believe that our understanding is without error. Just look at how the church used the bible for centuries to condone slavery and the disrespectful, demeaning treatment of women – thank God those views and theological beliefs have changed.
I've purposefully avoided using the terms gay or homosexual up to this point. I did this because of the horrific stereotypes that we can think of when either of these words are used. I don't like the words to be quite honest - they assume sexual promiscuity and deviance of an evil order. The term gay is probably the best word, although I object to this term as well because of the association of hyper-fem, over-the-top flamboyant meaning that it holds. But it does make discussions easier to use the word gay. My definition of gay is; someone that is involuntarily and naturally sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. It holds no other meaning and assumes nothing more of a person.
The question and argument of “choice” is probably at the forefront of your minds. Why have I “chosen” to live this “lifestyle”? And the only thing I can do is to speak truthfully and allow God to work in the timing and the way in which He wants. I can’t be any clearer than to simply say that being gay is not a choice. I never wanted it. I need you to know how much and how long I've truly hated this part of me; how many times I've cried and cried myself to sleep, weeping, begging God to remove “this” – only to find that it was still there the next morning. I have been in a battle with God, so it seemed; furious that He had not answered my prayers and hearts desire to be heterosexual. I never had a choice in the matter of my sexuality just as you never had a choice in yours. The truth of not having a choice in the matter is part of the foundation to understanding. I don't know why God made me gay, but I know that God is in it.
Some would say that homosexuality is caused by an intense selfishness; an extreme form of selfishness that is out of control. And although all of us are self-centered to various degrees, I know that I’m not an intensely selfish person and I know with certainty that selfishness has not created my sexual orientation. This notion is nonsense and these beliefs are made without any regard to the millions of gay Believers who would testify to the fact that they were indeed born, wired, made, created gay.
I believe that God grieves for His gay children because of how they have been dismissed. God’s Word speaks of the power of testimony, the power of two or more as a witness, yet the vast body of Believers refuse to acknowledge the sincere testimony of hundreds of thousands of gay Believers; that they did not have a choice in the matter of their sexuality.
James Dobson and Focus On The Family would say that homosexuality can be healed, and yet they believe that “homosexual orientation is usually not the result of an individuals choice.” Graduates of their healing ministry (“X-gay Christians”) have scandalously “fallen back into sin”. Some have been their top leaders who have falsely claimed to have been delivered and healed of homosexuality. The pathetic and dismal results of these programs have caused the leadership to question the existence of this ministry to the point where Focus On The Family has sold this branch of their ministry.
Yet, others would argue that someone becomes a homosexual because of the way he/she was nurtured; the gay person is a victim of sexual abuse or sexual trauma, their father highly passive, their mother highly aggressive. None of these are true in my case and in the case of most of my gay friends.
Bishop Melvin Wheatley of the United Methodist Church said these words that help understand the complexity of same-sex-attraction:
“…Homosexuality, quite like heterosexuality, is neither a virtue nor an accomplishment. It is a mysterious gift of God’s grace communicated through an exceedingly complex set of chemical, biological, chromosomal, hormonal, environmental, developmental factors - totally outside of my homosexual friend’s control. His or her homosexuality however is one’s personal, moral and spiritual responsibility.
Behavior as a homosexual may, therefore, (just as behavior for a heterosexual-my, Kevin’s words in this parenthesis) be very sinful - brutal, exploitative, selfish, promiscuous, superficial. Behavior as a homosexual, on the other hand, may be beautiful - tender, considerate, loyal other-centered, profound…”
It is a gross misunderstanding to believe that the nature of my sexual orientation to be a simple behavior or an act that can be changed with help from God, a good therapist and prayer. I know differently. As Jeremy Marks eloquently states it, "I now take great comfort in knowing that my homosexuality cannot be changed. My attraction to men is as basic as the color of my hair. Because my sexual orientation cannot be chosen or changed, I have to rest in the fact that my homosexuality is God-given and realize that any critics have sorely missed the mark in any attempt to understand. It simply is not a chosen lifestyle but a manner of being. However, it is only a part of who I am and does not completely define who I am.
To put it another way; being gay is part of who I am, my feelings, thoughts, my very being, what I know to be natural, normal and right. To reduce it simply to a sexual act is terribly inaccurate and dismissive."
As I look back on how very hard I worked, especially at Rocky Mountain Christian Church, but also with The Continentals as well as Promise Keepers, part of my drive and energy and working crazy hours was a way of coping with what was going on inside, in that, it helped me for years to push these feelings aside by occupying my time in service to God. It was a way of escape. Some other ways that this has affected me is in my self denial of the creative abilities that the Lord has given me. What I mean by that, is that I was very aware of at an early age that some of the creative things I did might be a signal to some that something was wrong, and then later, that I might be gay; and so I would limit my creative outlets and ventures as to not set off alarms. I’m saddened that I did this, because I know that it has affected my abilities today. Also, I took deliberate and careful intentions not to place myself as a candidate as a Worship Pastor. I know that you have been a bit perplexed by the natural course that could have taken place right out of The Continentals or even Promise Keepers, as a Worship Pastor. I did this to thwart any embarrassment or shame that might come on the church or God should my feelings become known to anyone, especially those in leadership. There are countless stories of pastors and lay people who are gay that could no longer keep silent about their feelings, who reached out for help, in confidence to their Senior Pastor only to be thrown out of the church the next day; not because they acted upon their attractions, but because they had the attractions.
Let me ask and answer a few questions that I think you might be wondering at this point:
Did someone recruit or brainwash you?
Most definitely not. No one recruited me to be gay. I remember having these feelings and attractions since I was around 5. I knew I was different early on. No one influenced me to be gay. My resolve to research was on my own 100%. No one told me what to read or how to arrive at any conclusion. Yes, I would ask friends questions and they would give me their opinions, but I’ve never been brainwashed into any sort of a belief system.
I’ve heard you talk about being “called out” of ministry for a season. Is this the reason?
Yes and because of the disappointments with the leaders in ministry.
Why didn't you feel like you could talk to us?
For several reasons. My personal beliefs were that in speaking of “it” to anyone, by confessing “it”, I would become “it”; a homosexual. And so I suppressed “it” and never spoke to anyone. Because I didn't understand it all that well, I didn't know how to articulate it. Especially when I was younger. Then as I got older, I simply couldn't bring myself to tell you of what was going on because I thought that God would heal me and that would be the end of it; and also because of shame and fear. Complete fear of rejection and broken family relationship paralyzed me.
Why did it take you so long to tell us?
Typically, someone who is trying to live truthfully and tell their story will place the highest valued relationships last on the list to tell. They do this in order to minimize early loss and rejection – a kind of catastrophic damage control. I most definitely have done this – you were my greatest risk, the fear of my greatest loss. And again, complete fear of rejection and broken family relationship paralyzed me.
Do you have any doubts?
Yes. But not in terms of what scriptures says or what God confirmed in me. Any doubt mostly surrounds an old way of thinking about being gay and just about entering the very foreign world of dating, relationships and all the nuances that it brings. Doubts too that I’ll be able to find a suitable partner. Doubts of “Is all of this worth it?” rise from time to time and then subside after remembering how I lived in isolation and fear previously.
Why do you want us to know?
I need to be known by you as a whole person and my whole person-hood includes my sexual orientation. Plus if God sees fit to partner me, I very much want who He has chosen for me to be a part of the family and so this is a necessary step for this piece to happen.
Can we find you Christian counseling?
No. The only counseling I might need is in trying to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of relationships and dating, but that will come in time. I know that I can’t be “changed” into a heterosexual man. My sexuality does not need to be fixed.
Can we pray that God changes you?
No. God has made Himself clear. Instead, pray for the desire to understand and peace for us as we process what this means for our family. Pray also for my future partner; that he wholeheartedly loves the Lord, will deeply love me as well as my family, and that we will remain in a committed monogamous relationship the rest of our lives.
Do you struggle with homosexuality?
Not any longer.
Is your sexuality fully reconciled with your faith?
Mostly. Other than being partnered in a loving, committed, monogamous, Christian relationship and all of the deeper spiritual elements that come with it, I’m not certain what being more reconciled would look like.
Can we meet your friends?
Absolutely. Whenever you feel comfortable. I would love for you all to meet this new group of friends that mean so much to me. They all want to meet you. We speak often of you. They have been faithful in praying for you too. I've been anxious for you to meet them, especially, Joe, Jonathan, Jenny and Kristy.
Can we assume that any odd/unexplained behavior has been because of this?
Possibly. But especially as I have often visited my friends from “Pathways” for bible studies and prayer groups and parties. My EC (Evangelicals Concerned) friends and my Pathways friends are really one of the same. Mostly now they are my Highlands Church friends. . .well some don’t go there though. The reason I put Pathways in quotes is because when I first met Joe and Jonathan, they indeed were attending Pathways where I visited several times, but have since helped to found Highland Church.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, I regret that I didn't tell you (my family) much earlier. I regret the wasted time spent in fear and isolation. I regret the time lost that could have been spent living life more fully by serving others and experiencing love and personal freedom. But at the same time, if I would have come forward earlier, I most likely would not have experienced many of the ministry opportunities that I did. And so I realize that everything is in God’s order and timing – that, I must trust.
Do the gays on TV and in the media accurately represent what most gays are like?
No. I don't believe so at all. I have been incredibly surprised by how the “gay stereo types” are often wrong. Most of the folks that I've come in contact with are of sound mind, Sons and Daughters and lovers of God, caring, giving people – more so than most of my other Christian friends. My perception of the gay community was wrong too. There are those gays that are promiscuous, immoral and non-believers in God, just like there are heterosexual folks that are promiscuous, immoral and non-believers in God. However, there are interestingly some commonalities among gays (such as the arts and other interests) but there is no way to fit each gay person in the same category or mold – just like straight (heterosexual) people.
Here just a few examples of what I would consider to be “everyday gays”. This list isn't to prove morality, only to show the very wide variety of backgrounds which these folks come from:
Anderson Cooper (news anchor on CNN)
Ellen Degeneres (comedian)
Johnny Mathis (singer)
John Amaechi (pro basketball player)
Ray Boltz (Christian singer/songwriter)
Billy Bean (pro baseball player)
Rock Hudson (actor)
Azariah Southworth (Christian TV host)
Lily Tomlin (comedian)
Cole Porter (American Composer)
Martina Navratilova and Billy Jean King (tennis pros)
Leonard Bernstein (composer/conductor)
Greg Louganis (Olympic high diver)
Dave Koz (saxophonist)
David Kopay (NFL pro running back)
Clay Aiken (singer)
Kirk Taley (Gospel singer)
Richard Chamberlin (actor)
Marsha Stevens (Christian singer/songwriter who wrote “For Those Tears I Died”) and Jennifer Knapp (Christian singer/songwriter – Dad you call her Emilie)
…to name just a few. Also, there is very convincing evidence that Michelangelo was gay, substantiated in some of his writings.
Why did you choose to be gay?
It was not a choice in any way - it chose me. Ask yourself this: Why would I purposefully choose a life where most likely I would be made fun of, alienated, misunderstood, condemned by most Christians, looked down upon, discriminated against; be called abnormal, deviant, an abomination, disordered, diseased, possessed and unnatural - choosing between being dishonest and being tolerated. I don’t know of anyone who would purposely choose to be gay.
Are you going to stop going to church?
No. I have found a church that is affirming and welcoming of gay folks into their congregation (Highlands Church) and they are even evangelical in their beliefs of who Christ is. It’s terribly exciting to know that I’m able to attend and serve being fully accepted for how God made me. Not that I want to broadcast it everywhere I go, but being open with those that I do community with is important to me. The church is in the Highland neighborhood in Denver. Unfortunately right now I’m not able to attend every Sunday because of where I live - again I’m praying that God will relocate me so that I can be in fellowship and with a community of believers. It’s not a “gay church”. Those who attend are mostly heterosexual. I’d invite you to attend any Sunday and introduce yourself to Pastor Mark. You’ll find Joe and Jonathan there as well as Jenny and Kristy who are also part of my small community. Jenny just received her Doctorate from Fuller Seminary and like me has been in ministry her entire life - she was with Youth for Christ for 25 years.
Why didn't you tell us in person?
I wanted to make the very most of the opportunity of telling you. If I were to tell you all in person I know that I would become emotional to the point where I would not be able to articulate large pieces of information that are very important to me and the conversation. Also, the subject matter is far too complex for a casual conversation. Although what I’ve written here is not in any way exhaustive, it gives you a decent accounting of my intimate and spiritual journey thus far. Plus this format allows you the opportunity to accurately review my story, my words, and will help in your recollection.
Over the past six months or so I've been given scripture from friends and family that were unsolicited. Each person felt strongly that these scriptures were for me and from the Lord. I'd like to take a few moments to reflect on these passages. I went to the Buzz one day in April of 2010 and “journaled” about the scriptures that were given. The power for me in these scriptures is the timing in which they were received and the number of “Words from the Lord” given to me by others. I dare not take the accumulation of these lightly and therefore want to share them with you for your consideration. The following is the transcript:
Monday, April 26th, 2010
(At the Buzz Coffee Shop from 2 pm to 5:41 pm)
This is an accounting of scripture and how God has spoken to me through others. In the past two months.
“But after three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.”
Given By: I have been seeing the numbers 1111, 11:11 over and over and over for the past several months (especially the past 2 months), to the point where I‘m astounded by the number of times and each time that I see it. I looked through scriptures for every occurrence of 11:11 and this one significantly stood out to me - the only relevant scripture to my life. Honestly speaking I don’ know if this is indeed the significance of the number but it has happened so much that I was compelled to searched the scriptures for an answer.
Self Application: that after three and a half years, instead of days (since the Word the Lord gave me in October of 2007 or the first time to reach out to Joe and Jonathan - Nov 09, 2007; so the end of April through the 9th of May would be three and a half years) God will at/around this time begin to breathe new life into me, into my life. Start of a new career path and the beginning of living a more fully sincere and honest life by telling my family and closest of friends about my sexual orientation and what God did IN me - which will at first strike them with fear.
“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Given By: Julie Jeraldo Sando Teuber through Tracey after Tracey felt led of the Lord to have select individuals pray for me for a week without my knowledge. This came to me via an email that Tracey forwarded to me from Julie:
Email, from: Julie Jerauld Sando Teuber - April 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm
“Oh Tracey that would be great for him. Please let me know as soon as you hear anything. The verse that comes to my mind is Isaiah 43:18-19. As odd as it may sound God is speaking this to me for both myself and as I pray for Kevin. Both uniquely different but so from his heart I believe. Love you friend. Happy Easter”. End email…
Self Application: Fairly self explanatory and remarkably direct, pointed and accurate. But I am to not dwell on my former past on two fronts; work and especially how I lived my life in isolation (as it relates to my sexual orientation) and without a partner. That God is BUSY working on my behalf doing something completely new! He is going to bring about a completely new life, a new start a new way for me which is honoring and pleasing to Him and allows me to serve Him with the ways he has made me (creative, events, controlling authority). Also that it will be “coming up” around me almost like water seeping up through the ground. That this kind of desert that I've lived for the past 30+ years will be turned to fruitfulness and God’s blessings will be upon me and what I do; that the work of the Holy Spirit would be evident.
My spirit jumped when reading this passage.
Also a very significant note about the date of April 1st, which is when the email was sent by Julie. This has been a theme date throughout my ministry and work. Almost all of my ministry start and ends surround this very date. This date is not to be brushed aside - super significant for me.
The Death of Lazarus
“1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7 Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
8 "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."
12 His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
Jesus Comforts the Sisters
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles[a] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39"Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
40 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
Given By: Tracey - mid-April - she stated that she was walking in her neighborhood and long after she had finished praying for me, the Lord strongly impressed upon her that this scripture reference was to be given to me and that He would have something in it for me. I have placed in bold the passages that were especially relevant to me.
Self Application: Several significant things for me in this passage. The first is that the accounting is about a family member - brother, sister(s). Significant to me because I've been praying for at least two years that somehow God would be preparing my family and closest of friends concerning the news of my sexuality.
Also that Christ is calm and relaxed about Lazarus’s death - He has known it, but can see the future.
His foretelling that He is “going to wake him” and that “your brother will rise again”. Rise to me means in both areas of my life; in living my life sincerely and unashamedly and in my work/ministry/career.
And here again the doubt (fear) of the family members and those around Lazarus; but Christ was calm in Lazarus’s death. because He knew what was to come. A sort of foretelling here for me that my family members and closest of friends will be alarmed and doubtful of the news. . .but that because of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life, they might later believe/understand.
That Christ knew that if he waited until well after Lazarus was dead (four days dead) that many would believe; “for the benefit of the people”; that this also is a statement of my future, but for the benefit for all who surround me and for the church at large that all would believe that my sexuality is how God has created me and many others - that the church should receive them.
The final two most significant points for me: First, that this particular version that I read, reads, “come out!” which is the most obvious reference to wanting, needing to live a sincere life; “coming out” if you will to my family; telling you the truth. The piece I’m trying to discern which holds a piece of timing is when. I certainly KNOW that I am to, but when is a key component of that. Timing is everything.
The second is that Christ commands those around Lazarus (his community) to “remove his grave clothes” and to “let him go”. For my situation it is a command to my loved ones (my community) to accept this truth and to let me be free in this truth. But it is their act of obedience to the Lord, not mine.
“Walk in all the ways the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”
Given By: This scripture was given by a Jeff that is a friend of Marilyn Hickey, after Marilyn prayed a simple prayer of direction for me (“Lord be with Kevin in this time of transition and make clear to him what he is to do.”) I was not present at the meeting, but Tracey was and asked for prayer. Jeff stated after the prayer the this scripture is from the Lord for me and that I would step back into ministry.
Self Application: A foretelling of the “land that I WILL possess”. That “land” being ministry to the gay community, both Christian and non-Christian.
That this new life will be prosperous in new ways and that my days will be prolonged - rewarded for living sincerely, being truly vulnerable to my perceived weakness - and thereby benefiting the Body of Christ.
Final Conclusions: My prayer is that indeed God would continue to prepare my family and me for the time when I tell them, when I “come out” - that God would be gentle with them, that the news would be received with great calmness - also a testament to the fact that God is working in them. I even pray for supernatural signs for them - signs of confirmation in addition to these scriptures that were given to me.
I have prayed for three years that I would not be deceived in anything; asking the Lord to continue to show me signs, which He has so generously through others (evidenced here). And so after years of study and prayer and these confirmations, I come to the point where I must no longer live with or in doubt. I am called to move forward (“forward/God” is calling and I cannot stay here) in completed sincerity and in faith to live out my life. God has revealed this to me through His Spirit, His Word and His people.
That my Family is prepared into further depths and richness and that these scriptures will help AFTER I've told them.
Thank you Lord and praise be to YOU for these signs!
Again, the accumulation of these scripture in combination with what has been privately going on in my life, as well as the timing, for me, has a profound impact in how these given scriptures are to be viewed. But they are so powerful to me that I wanted to share them with you. Sister, I wish you could have seen how excited I was to receive these. I know that I played them down (on purpose of course), but want you to know now how God-sent they were.
It’s easier said, but, I’m the same Kevin as before, but now you know that I’m attracted to men – not a small thing in our Christian culture and our family culture, I know. The only real choice I have in the matter is whether to be celibate or not. My intention and my choice is to live a celibate life until I am partnered with a man who loves God and who loves me – a loving, committed, monogamous relationship. I will not and cannot live out the rest of my life being alone any more. I must learn to love and to be loved. Although I might not ever find a suitable partner, I know I have to move into this “forward” which God has called. You see if I were to be truthful about who I am and not pursue a relationship, this whole process becomes a kind of cruel, self-destructive action. So then, part of my intent in being truthful with you about my sexuality is to allow God to partner me with another Christian man. For the first time in my life I actually want to be with someone. This is scary, thrilling and revolutionary to me.
After the move to Edwards, which was strangely difficult for me, I realized in a very powerful way that I no longer only desired to be partnered but that I needed to be partnered - that it is necessary on many levels to be wholly committed and partnered to someone else. I need a deep and lasting relationship with another man that loves the Lord, that loves me, which will foster and sharpen our faith in Christ - a relationship that involves deep commitment, trust, tenderness and respect.
I’m most grateful to God that I have somehow been spared the more common results of being a gay Christian. Drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, other self-destructive behaviors and suicide are some of the ways that shame, hiding and secrecy manifests itself. We've seen a lot of these deaths in the news most recently as well. But as I look back on my life there is evidence as to why I did not travel a self-destructive path. The first, is because of you, my parents. You have raised me well, for which I’ll forever be grateful – I know the Lord is pleased with how you have parented us - for your provisions, care, love, protection, guidance, counsel, raising us up in the Faith, generosity, sacrifice, the necessary rebukes and corrections and now, friendship. I also want to thank you for not being the “typical” parents in pressuring me to date or marry. I truly believe that if you had been doing this, I would be in a horribly regrettable position today. In hindsight, you were unknowingly being super sensitive to my situation, thank you.
Although my path was not a perfect one, the second reason why I did not travel a self-destructive path, is because I chose not to look to these things for answers. And the third is God. I give God glory, thanks and praise for seeing me through this and can only conclude that He has an unseen purpose in my testimony.
Understandably for you and me, a time of lament and grieving is in order; and many other emotions. I also realize that any “normal” dreams and prayers you had left for me are now gone, as they are for me. Please know that I've always wanted the ideal Christian family with a wife and children. I wanted to please God and in that, please my family and friends, but could never overcome the involuntary and unwanted feelings. And although I can’t imagine my life without each of you, I also can’t continue to live life as I have over the past 30+ years. Here in lies the fear that I've dreaded most; that you will reject me, cast me out, not love me, and think badly of me, dirtily. After all, that’s what I’ve believed of myself up until God spoke, only now I have been freed by Him to think and believe differently. God has given me new dreams; I pray He will give you new dreams.
Also, I believe there to be something profound that will be set in motion once I tell you, my family. I don’t know what it is, but I believe that I will be called into ministry of some kind for this community of outcasts.
I find myself at a point in life where for the first time I'm learning, really learning what it's like to walk daily by faith. Because scripture in my opinion is mostly silent about what we know today as same gender couples who are in committed, monogamous, loving partnerships, I have to trust that what God has revealed to me is true - despite what most in the church believe, despite what anyone believes - therefore my daily walk is one of faith in what God has revealed.
Jeremy Marks is the author of one of the books that I recommend you read. His life was committed to helping gay Christians overcome and be healed of their homosexuality. He and his wife dedicated their entire lives to this ministry only to finally come to the conclusion (because of the gross lack of evidence in transformed lives) that God made these Christians gay. He says this:
“I have learned that to live as a man of God and as a follower of Christ means above all to live with personal integrity. I must accept from the outset the truth about myself. And as Christians, discovering that we are gay means facing the truth about ourselves as it is . . . the challenge for us all is to believe what God says to us, even when that creates conflict with those who don’t see things in the same way. Christian discipleship requires us to get over the hurt when we lose our credibility in the eyes of others, and to go on trusting in God anyway.”
I know now that God wasn't answering with snakes and stones, but had already answered my prayers with goodness – bread that was there all along; just like with Elijah.
There’s so much more to say and much more to discuss and pray through. It pains me a great deal to know that your hearts, minds and spirits will be hurting for a while to come. Know that I don’t expect you to understand or change your mind over night. I also realize there’s a chance that you might not ever. But I do pray someday you will. Most importantly I pray that we can remain a close family – I deeply cherish the family that God has given me and I pray and hope there is room for yet one more in the family when God sees fit.
I love you all so very much.
Your Son, Your Brother,
There's a place in the darkness that I used to cling to
That presses harsh hope against time.
In the absence of martyrs there's a presence of thieves
Who only want to rob you blind.
They steal away any sense of peace.
Tho' I'm a king I'm a king on my knees.
And I know they are wrong when they say I am strong
As the darkness covers me.
So turn on the light and reveal all the glory.
I am not afraid.
To bear all my weakness, knowing in meekness,
I have a kingdom to gain.
Where there is peace and love in the light
In the light , I am not afraid
To let your light shine bright in my life, in my life
There are ghosts from my past who've owned more of my soul
Than I thought I had given away.
They linger in closets and under my bed
And in pictures less proudly displayed.
A great fool in my life I have been
Have squandered 'til pallid and thin.
Hung my head in shame and refused to take blame
For the darkness I know I've let win.
So turn on the light and reveal all the glory.
I am not afraid
To bear all my weakness, knowing in meekness,
I have a kingdom to gain.
Where there is peace and love in the light
In the light , I am not afraid
To let your light shine bright in my life, in my life
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
I've never been much for the bearing of soul
In the presence of any man.
I'd rather keep to myself all safe and secure
In the arms of a sinner I am.
Could it be that my worth should defend
By the crimson stained grace on a hand?
And like a lamp on a hill Lord I pray in your will
To reveal all of you that I can.
So turn on the light and reveal all the glory.
I am not afraid.
To bear all my weakness, knowing in meekness,
I have a kingdom to gain.
Where there is peace and love in the light
In the light , I am not afraid
To let your light shine bright in my life, in my life
There's a place in the darkness that I used to cling to
That presses harsh hope against time.
Martyrs and Thieves by Jennifer Knapp
The role of a lifetime is living a fantasy.
The trauma that you struggle to erase.
Thoughts battle words over deeds
A war with such casualties.
All played out behind a smiling face.
God I need your guidance
Tell me what it means
To live a life where nothing’s as it seems.
Spending days in silent fear,
And spending nights in lonely prayer.
Hoping that one day when you wake,
Those feelings won’t be there.
You learn to play the straight man,
Your lines become routine.
Never really saying what you mean.
Where confusion is a crime,
So you fill your life with sound,
And if you dance like mad,
You hope you never touch the ground.
What happens when the music stops?
In the silence will you stay one day,
Or realize that these feelings
aren't going away,
So we drive ourselves insane,
Spinning circles in our souls,
As we dance around and play pretend.
And once again,
Reprise our role.
The Role Of A Lifetime by Jon Hartmere Jr.