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!
Posts Tagged ‘pastor’
Tags: authenticity, beyond ex-gay, Christian, coming out, counseling, ex ex-gay, ex-gay, Exodus International, gay, gay Christian, LGBT, marital damage, pastor, Reparative Therapy
Tags: authenticity, Conservative Evangelical, faith, pastor, progressive Christianity, theology
I received a comment recently from someone wanting to hear how my faith has been impacted by my journey. That is a fantastic question, but I’m not sure that I have much of a definitive answer. I guess the reason for that is because I am still in process. My faith is still figuring out where to land and is still dealing with the negative side-affects of all I’ve gone through. So all I can do is tell you where I’m at today.
Here’s what I know:
1. My old faith is dead. What do I mean by that? Well, it means that my new faith doesn’t look like what my old faith looked like. I literally cannot move in conservative Evangelical circles anymore. I just can’t do it. I can’t go to those churches. I can’t listen to those messages. I can’t agree with that narrow theology. It just doesn’t fit me anymore. Now don’t get me wrong…I haven’t thrown all of those beliefs out. I’ve just only held on to the core beliefs of Christianity and really don’t even want to get into a discussion about all of those “extra add-ons” that so many churches adhere to. And most of all, I can’t subscribe to a moralistic philosophy of ministry anymore that is all about trying to make you a better person by doing all the right things and not doing all the wrong things. I can’t do it. I don’t believe in that.
2. My new faith is not “solid as a rock”. It’s in flux…and I’m perfectly happy with it being “in flux”. I know more of what I don’t believe now than what I do believe. I’m OK with things being up in the air…with things not being resolved…with not having all the answers…and with my pursuit of God being more relational and less theological. I don’t need to be right and I am SO okay with that!
3. My new faith has a lot more room for people. There was a time when I pigeon-holed people and put them in categories based on what they believed and how they lived their lives. Not so anymore! I now believe in a much-wider Kingdom of God! I’m not running around deciding who’s “in” and who’s “out”. Instead, I have become open to seeing how God works in people in so many different ways. I am ashamed for how much I used to put God in a box.
4. My current faith isn’t concerned about “getting close to God”. I used to believe that I was closer to God the more I prayed and read the Bible. If that is the true definition of being close to God, then I’m failing! But I no longer believe that is true. I now see God as being a part of everything, rather than being relegated to a “quiet time”. I know I am close to God all the time because He’s always with me! I’m still not really sure how I feel about prayer anymore. And I’m still not really sure how I feel about reading the Bible anymore. But you know what? I’m ok with that. I know that this is a season…and God is 100% in the midst of this season with me. So I feel very content hearing a reading of Scripture and reciting written prayers at church services. Those readings and prayers give voice where I currently have no voice. I hope that makes sense.
5. My new faith is just fine…and I can minister from exactly where I stand today. A conservative Evangelical person reading what I’ve written here might consider me a “back-slidden” Christian, unfit for pastoral ministry. I beg to differ. I think I actually have more to offer now than I did 3 years ago. In fact, I’m able to speak to the millions of people who have been wounded by conservative Christianity and yet who still want to seek God. So many of us have walked away from the faith. But I refuse to do that. God is way bigger than all of that church crap we all put up with. I have faith, and in many ways, it is bigger than before.
So no, I haven’t lost my faith. It’s just different. And I’m very happy with my new faith. If you want to “correct” me and help me to regain my old faith…don’t waste your time…I’m never going back. Jesus talked about “new wineskins” and I am definitely into the new wine!
Tags: beyond ex-gay, Christian, coming out, ex ex-gay, gay Christian, pastor
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!
Finally, there is some movement. I’ve been feeling stuck for so long…and now, it looks like things are starting to happen! In fact, in the past couple of week, things have started moving so quickly that I feel like it’s all a blur!
First of all, I was finally able to secure a new job! I will be working for Dignity Memorial, which is the largest network of funeral, cremation, and cemetery service providers in North America. I will be a Pre-arranged Funeral Counselor, which basically means I will be in sales. I will be meeting with people, helping them plan their future needs, and selling them funeral services. It is a job that takes a person who has experience dealing with delicate situations but who can also sell a product. It isn’t necessarily the type of job that I set out for but it has fallen into my lap and it will provide the opportunity for things to get moving in my life. And the nice benefit is that I have the potential to make more money than I have ever made before! Before I am able to start the job, I have to take some online courses, get licensed, and go through the company training program. So I won’t be in a position to make a living at it until January.
Because this was all happening, I ended up resigning from my church job last week. I was planning on staying on staff through the end of the year but the senior pastor likes to move people on quickly. So two days ago, I found out that my last day will be November 30! Talk about quick!!! I’m being paid through the beginning of January…just not working after the end of November. Honestly, this doesn’t bother me at all as I’ll be able to focus on getting everything in order for the new job. It just means that things are moving very quickly this week and next as I am telling people in the church that I am leaving and getting things ready to transition. It is a very bittersweet process because I am very relationally connected with many people at the church and on the church staff. I will miss seeing everyone regularly. But as I have been telling people, I’m not moving…I’m still around…so we can continue to get together.
At least that is my plan now. We’ll see what happens with some of those relationships once I finally “come out”!
Other things are going on. I’ll be posting more regularly now!
Tags: beyond ex-gay, coming out, ex ex-gay, gay Christian, marital damage, mixed-orientation marriage, pastor
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.
Tags: coming out, depression, gay Christian, marital damage, mixed-orientation marriage, pastor, sad
The past few weeks have been really rough. About two weeks ago today, my wife took a stab at me publicly and that really hurt. The same day, I found out that my daughter is now pissed at me and doesn’t want me to speak with her (just like my oldest son). Honestly, I blew a cork. I was so hurt and so angry. After all, I have been bending over backwards, trying very hard to do right by my family in this situation. And now, it feels like I just keep getting “punished” for everything that is going on. I decided that I am done being hurt by my family. I told my wife that I was done and that I will be taking drastic steps to move on as soon as possible.
Things have cooled down since then but the hurt kept me in a lot of emotional darkness for a good week. But needless to say, life at my house isn’t very friendly right now.
But this weekend, I had a revelation. I think I have finally come to a place where I am able to let go.
I think it has taken all of the pain, especially the pain of the past couple of weeks, to bring me to a place where I am able to let go and move on. I have a feeling that God has been trying to pry my clenched fists open! I have been trying so hard to have some sort of normalcy at home…to still be a family…to hold tightly to all that I know…and holding that tightly had to come to an end. I can’t move on with my life is I’m holding tightly to my old life. I think God used the hurt I’ve now experienced with my family to help me to let go so that I can move on.
Now don’t get me wrong…I still love my family. My kids will always be my kids and I look forward to a better relationship with them in the future. But I think I needed to let go now so that it would make it easier for me to take the steps forward that I have needed to take.
Plus, the last couple of weeks have been very difficult at my church. There is a lot of pettiness and legalism going on. That, too, has brought me to a place where I know I need to let go there as well. I need to move on. I need to be in a different type of ministry setting. I can let go and move on.
So I am letting go. I am ready to take the big steps of faith I need to take to move on into the future. I wish it didn’t take so much hurt to cause me to let go. But I guess God will use whatever He needs to in order to get my attention and help me to move.
So thanks, God!
Tags: authenticity, beyond ex-gay, coming out, ex ex-gay, gay Christian, mixed-orientation marriage, pastor, sad
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.