Posts Tagged ‘beyond ex-gay’

Well, it’s time to start going “public” a bit more.  I’ve started a YouTube channel because I really feel a calling to get my story out and to speak to the damage that ex-gay ministries cause.  Please subscribe to my YouTube channel…more great things to come!

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Those of you who are around my age will probably remember the film, “Free to Be, You and Me”.  It was a film designed to help kids in the early 70’s to feel good about themselves and to be understanding of others.  It was truly “evil, left-wing propaganda” designed to break down stereotypes.  🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot about that song this week.  The reason is that for the last year, I’m finally beginning to understand what it is like to be free to be me.

Gosh…I spent so many years trying NOT to be me.  All through junior high, high school, and college, I worked hard to make sure that nobody knew I was gay.  After all, being gay was a fate worse than death back then!  Being gay was my little secret…kept in my head and not talked about with anyone.  I was too ashamed about the fact that I wasn’t “normal”.  And of course, Christianity told me I wasn’t normal so that made it worse.  If God didn’t like me this way, then I was in trouble!  I had to do my best to change.  Years of counseling ensued with all sorts of techniques aimed at learning how not to be me.  Then I got married and I spent 19 years in a marriage, trying to deny who I was so that I could be a good straight husband and pastor.

I spent so much energy for so many years trying NOT to be myself so that I could be somebody else.  And ultimately, that didn’t work.

And so now, I have learned that it is ok to be me…and with that has come a great deal of freedom…

I am free to notice attractive men.  I am free to act in ways that are natural, rather than trying to cover up any gay tendencies.  I am free to love the man in my life.  I am free not to worry about what others think.  I am free to be open about who I am without having to hide.  I am free to be in church and have my arm around my partner.  I am free to minister out of who I am, rather than trying to minister out of a caricature that I have created.  I am free to be me…and that feels really good.

I love the freedom I have to be me.  I love that I don’t have to waste energy being someone I’m not.  I love that I can put the voices of nay-sayers behind me and not worry about them.  And I love living in a city where being gay is not looked down upon.  I am a normal part of this city and I don’t have to hide.

My prayer is that everyone who is reading this would find the courage to be themselves.  You don’t have to change.  You don’t have to be anyone else.  Do whatever it takes to be ok with who you are…and then live it!

You and I are free to be you and me.

 

 

Things have been moving so quickly, I have hardly had time to stop and write about things that are happening.  But this week I will write a few posts to get caught up!

I resigned from my position at my old church a couple of weeks ago.  I actually gave notice til the end of the year but the senior pastor likes to get people out the door quickly.  So…he decided to pay me into January but get me out the door on November 30.  So Wednesday of this week is my last day.

It has been a whirlwind!  My resignation was announced to the congregation a week ago as I stood before 1000 people and told them that I was moving on.  And yesterday was my last Sunday in the church services.  I can’t believe it happened so quickly.  I had to say “goodbye” to people the past two Sundays and I know there are some people who haven’t been around those two weeks and have no idea I am gone.  Crazy!  I had a story down that I was telling everyone as to why I was leaving (all of which was true…it just wasn’t the whole truth).  There were tears shed by some people and I know there are others who are confused as to why I left.  A lot of people said really nice things to me and I was wished well.  I only wonder what those same people will say and think when the truth finally gets around!

There is so much change going on in my life right now that I don’t think I have really processed the emotions of leaving the church.  I love that church…and love many of the people.  My time there was really good.  I will miss seeing those people regularly!

 

 

I have to be honest with you…I have really been up and down lately.  My emotions are up one day and down the next.  I don’t know what to do with it all.  I guess it is to be expected.  I mean, really…I’m kinda going through a lot right now!  It feels like I am riding a seesaw of emotions!

You may have guessed from my “Niche” post that I was feeling pretty good earlier this week.  Sunday’s service with my new church was extremely fulfilling and I felt the blessing of God in a huge way.  I was feeling energized and exited about the future.  I felt freedom in being myself and connecting with the people of our church in a very authentic way.  It just felt so good!

But things came crashing down as I got into this week.  My evenings this week have been very discouraging at home.  It’s hard not feeling welcome in your own home!  There has been a deep silence between my wife and I and that just compounded the alienation I have already been feeling with my kids.  Yesterday was a particularly “down” day for me emotionally.  I can’t begin to communicate the despair I was feeling.  The hurt and rejection I feel from my family runs deeps.  I was starting to question whether there would ever be healing in my relationship with my kids.  I wondered why they feel so hurt so as to feel the need to completely distance themselves from me.  I was feeling discouraged about job opportunities.  And all this week I have been feeling like I can’t do this “double life” thing much longer.

I think that is what is really getting to me.  I have wonderful glimpses of my future life from time to time.  But then I get forced back into the closet…back into conservatism…back into hiding…back into dishonesty…back into having to fit into a mold of constantly proving my value at my old church…and all of that crushes me.  I am getting to the point that I just want to scream, “I’m done!  I can’t do this anymore!  The box you are all trying to fit me into is squeezing the life out of me!”

I know that all of this points to the fact that the end of this period in my life is quickly coming to an end.  I will have to take the next step soon, one way or another, or I will literally go mad.  I cannot keep my world together as it is much longer.  I will be forced out of the closet and into my new life because I will be unable to keep up the charade.

Up and down.

The pressure is building.

Relief MUST happen soon.

 

Sometimes all you can do is tread water and try to keep your head up.  That’s what my life has been like lately.

I’ve had a number of people say to me in the last week, “You haven’t written anything on your blog.  What’s going on???”  Well, all that has been going on is that I have been treading water.  Nothing of significance has changed.  If anything, it is getting harder and harder to keep my head above water.  Here’s some of the reasons why:

1)  My wife gave me a deadline at the beginning of the year to have my future worked out by the end of this year.  In case you haven’t noticed, that’s 2 1/2 months away!  I still have been unable to secure a new job and that has kept us living in limbo for way too long.

2)  The distance continues to grow between me and my family.  My two oldest kids continue not to speak to me.  And just this morning, I realized that my daughter “unfriended” me on Facebook.  It hurts that they resent me so much.  I am trusting the counseling process, though, that my son is in and I pray my daughter will be willing to see a counselor at some point.  As of now, she refuses to go.  My wife has days that I can tell are “bad days” for her.  I think her patience with this process is waning.  Still, she wants everything to go well financially, so she has no choice but to wait this out.  It’s just hard on all of us.

3)  I am growing more and more discontent at the church where I am employed.  I am struggling with the narcissism exemplified constantly by my senior pastor and it is getting very difficult for me personally to work with him.  I have “recovered” significantly through counseling from the narcissism that I grew up with in my dad…so working for a narcissist is painful and frustrating.  In addition, I have grown to be so much less conservative in the application and practice of my faith…so I really struggle with the conservatism our church stands for.

But there are a few good things happening.  First, I have an interview this week for a part-time position with the Postal Service.  Also, I am hoping to meet with a guy who I hear may be hiring for the funeral home that he manages.  Please pray for these opportunities!

I have a couple more things I want to share but I will put them in more posts later this week.

 

I just got back from vacation.  It was nearly a week away in the sunshine spent with my wife, my kids, and my in-laws.  I was curious how it was going to go with everything we have been going through.  Plus with the added impact of having my in-laws with us, I was really hesitant about having any high hopes for this trip.  While it wasn’t the best vacation we’ve had by any means, it wasn’t horrible either.  I guess it ended up being exactly what one would expect given the circumstances.

I felt like an outsider a lot of the time on this trip.  My wife and I didn’t communicate any more than was necessary.  And it seemed like she was always together with the kids and I was frequently “left behind”…separate from them and separate from my in-laws.  It was like I was an outsider in my own family on my own vacation.  I tried to make the best of it…was very patient with the situation…and tried to keep a good attitude.  But inside, I was feeling hurt.  I even made a bet with myself at the beginning of trip…I said, “I bet I will never be asked to be in any pictures that are taken on this trip.”  It ended up being true.  This is the first vacation I’ve ever been on when I wasn’t in any photos.  I could have asked to get some pics with me and the kids…but that felt awkward since my oldest son hates me right now.  So I just let go and let it be what it was.

My in-laws were extremely loving and gracious towards me during the trip.  My father-in-law even tried several times to ask me questions about the new church I am starting.  We ended up getting some time alone on our last evening and I shared a ton of things with him.  While he doesn’t agree with my choices right now theologically, he took a great interest in learning about my life, about the gay Christian community, and about our new church.  I think I ended up teaching him a lot!  One of the cool things is that he commented on what he saw going on in our family during the trip.  He said, “I can tell things are very difficult for you right now with the way you are being treated.  I don’t know how you do it…how you can deal with it.”  That one statement meant the world to me.  He saw what I am going through and he empathized with me.  That really meant the world to me.

I guess the best part about being “on my own” a lot of the time during this trip was that I got some good reading done and I had the time to think about and reflect on a lot of things.  I ended up coming up with some great ideas for a potential para-church ministry that I think I would like to start.  Yeah, I know.  I’m crazy.  Start a new church AND start a para-church ministry?  Well, I think it may just be part of the calling that God has on my life.

So I relaxed.  I got tan.  And got away from work.  That was good.  I just wish I could have been more of an integral part of the family time away.  But I guess it could have been worse.  The split-up of our family is on the horizon.  It probably was as good of a vacation as a family could have in the midst of dealing with the impending family breakup.

Dammit…I need a breakthrough!  Like…now!  I need it ASAP.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this.  I feel like walls have been built up all around me, keeping me from being able to move in any direction.  But there has got to be a breakthrough soon!

It’s Friday night.  My wife and I just had a very difficult emotional talk.  She’s at the end of her rope.  I’m doing the best I can with mine.  My oldest son is done.  We have to have a change soon!

A commenter on my last post said that it’s probably time for me to move out.  Yeah…I know!  The problem is that moving out then brings my youngest son into the knowledge of what is going on (he doesn’t know yet) and I can’t trust him not to say anything at church.  WE ARE STUCK BECAUSE I AM A PASTOR AT A CHURCH WHERE I HAVE TO HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF A GOOD CHRISTIAN FAMILY IN ORDER TO KEEP MY JOB!!!!!  There is no room for any chink in my armor.  If I could move out now and help all of us to begin the process to heal, I would!  But I can’t.  Sure, it would be a difficult thing financially.  But imagine if I had NO INCOME.  That’s why this situation is so very difficult.

My wife said to me tonight, “I don’t think you know how difficult this is for me.”  She’s right…I probably don’t.  And at the same time, she has no clue how much pressure I am under.  I have to go to work everyday as a pastor and act like everything is fine in my life.  I have to deal with crap on the job and then come home and deal with all of the pressure here.  I have to deal with the fact that I currently have ZERO prospects for a new job.  I have to deal with the pressure of a wife who is reminding me that I gotta be gone and have a new job by the end of the year.  I have to deal with the fact that my oldest son hates me.  And I have to try to keep sane enough to live my life, start a new church, and begin new relationships that will be with me in the future.  And when she says, “You might want to invest in your other son a little more now so you don’t lose him like you did our oldest son,”  I want to scream!  Cuz guess what?  I’ve got NOTHING to give!  I’ve got more pressure on me right now than I’ve ever had in my life!

Oh…and did I mention how I feel like The Church has let me down?  And how I feel like God has let me down?  And how I feel like the only reason I’m in this place where I am right now is because I believed everything that well-intentioned Christians told me and I THOUGHT I was doing the right thing for God????  I drank the kool-aid!  Yeah, I feel a little disillusioned with God and Christianity right now.

But I’m trying really hard to redefine my faith through all of this.

So yeah…I need a breakthrough right now…really badly!

Sorry to vent.