Quotes


Naked Pastor, David Hayward, recently posted this cartoon:

http://www.nakedpastor.com/2011/03/09/cartoon-waiting-for-a-miracle/

I’m sure this cartoon resonates with most of us, but in different ways. My sister waits and believes for the miracle of being healed of cancer. My friend waits for the miracle of winning the lottery. For years, I waited and prayed for the miracle of becoming straight. To be gay just wasn’t good enough. For me, the miracle did arrive, gradually, as I learnt of the God who loves – and even likes – me, just as I am. This wasn’t the miracle I was waiting for – and as long as I allowed the values of others dictate what my miracle should be, the more I became a skeleton on my knees. There is a miracle for each of us: it’s the miracle of knowing that you are okay. Trying to change who you are isn’t going to change that. As Richard Rohr put it, “It’s all about becoming who you already are.”

Advertisements

This last week has presented its challenges. My son, 8 years old, is showing signs of depression… his teachers are concerned about him sobbing at almost anything. He tells her he does not want to move to Australia because he will miss his friends. He also told his school principal that he misses his Dad. Who’s surprised? I work three jobs, and most of my off time is when he’s in school. So we’ve been dealing with that – I made an appointment for him at the local children’s services agency for an assessment. I’ve also decided to meet him at school for lunch at least once a week. Yesterday we bought a chess set, and I am teaching him to play chess, which he is excited about. We made plans to go riding our bikes together on Saturday, but it rained…

My wife is doing better. Thanks to those who have been praying. She is reading self-help books on depression, and, alas, it does seem to be helping. There are other reasons than my sexuality issues that have contributed significantly to her being so down on herself, but I still feel somewhat responsible. Part of it is that I’m just not interested in sex right now…

My daughters seem to be doing okay. I wish I really knew, though. No amount of probing seems to get my middle kid to really open up. The older one talks freely, and seems ambivalent about going to Australia… it’s a mixture of fear and excitement.

Me… my blood pressure is up, I feel like I’m taking more responsibility at home with my wife being so despondent, I am enjoying my work (mostly), and I know that I need to do my best for them. Sometimes I wish I had more “me” time, but I know that will come. I relaxed yesterday just listening to the latest worship music on our local Christian radio station. (Sunday is the best for the radio – no irritating DJs, no fundamentalist preaching, just Chris Tomlin, Darlene, David Crowder, Matt Redman [he’s hot] and more of my current favourite worship artists!)

Ready for another week of…

 

Harmony would lose its attractiveness if it did not have a background of discord

– Tehyi Hsieh 

I was recently given an opportunity to submit an article for a regional denominational newsletter. This is my first draft… I admit that I’m being very cautious about what I say. Anyway, I’d love some feedback on this! Here it is:

“We are your sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. We sit in pews in [my denomination] congregations everywhere – yes, even in [this part of Canada]. We serve on boards, we sing in choirs, we teach the children. We walk beside you at camp meeting, we worship with you at Songfest.

Like you, we long to know and worship and serve the Lord Most High. Like you, we came to him, “just as I am, without one plea…” Like you, we found no condemnation when we first came to Jesus. Like you, we were admonished to “go, and sin no more.” Like you, we daily seek the transformation that only the Father offers.

Some of us have learned to receive and walk in that transformation. Some of us grow weary of seeking it. We wait. We wait to be given the key that will unlock our minds, so they can be renewed. We wait for the moment when Jesus wakes up and begins to calm this storm. We wait for the church to stop judging us, as if our dilemma was the result of choices we made. We wait for the day when the conflict of desires within us ceases. We wait for the day we see for ourselves the image of a holy God in us.

We walk this road in fear. We are afraid that if we are honest about our feelings we will be judged unworthy. The miracle is that some of us have been honest and have been welcomed back into fellowship. We are afraid that we will be asked to be quiet about our struggle. The miracle is that some of us have found places where we do not have to be silent, and are yet loved. We are afraid of the shame that our stories will bring to our parents, our children. The miracle is that some of us have found that in speaking the truth, painful as this sometimes seems, the burden of shame seems eventually to be lifted, to be borne only by One on a cross.

We feel the blame. We share the blame for the redefinition of marriage in Canada. In some places the war in Iraq is blamed on us. We are blamed for untold incidents of child sexual abuse. We are blamed for the spread of hideous diseases, supposedly the fruit of the sin of those like us.

We do not want you to indulge us. We do not seek you to comfort us (although that would be nice). We are willing to take responsibility for our actions. We have been eager for God to begin his transforming work in us, we have moved to be co-labourers with Him in this work, and we longingly await its completion.

We yearn for a place where we can be painfully honest about ourselves, without fear. We long to experience in the church the Jesus whom the woman caught in adultery experienced. Jesus, who found no one to judge her. Jesus, who spoke the words, “neither do I condemn you” before he gave her the admonishment to “leave your life of sin.”

We are same-gender attracted (SGA) men and women. Some of us call ourselves gay or lesbian or queer. Some of us are transgendered. We live and work and worship among you. While we long for and wait for transformation, we are experiencing the unconditional love of Christ and the mercy of the Father and the counsel of the Spirit. We wait for the church to embrace us and love us in our journeys towards wholeness and truth.

When we say, ‘I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,’ we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness. ~ Henri Nouwen

An online friend recently suggested I read the book Conquering the Dragon Within by Marvin Moore. I haven’t read it, and I’m not sure if I will. Over the last few years I’ve read numerous books on conquering sinful patterns of thinking/behaviour, including Neil Anderson’s books, Francis Frangipane’s Three Battlegrounds, Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word and Breaking Free, Russell Willingham’s Breaking Free

Somehow these books didn’t seem to give me the clues I needed… How does one change the way he thinks? How, indeed, do you renew your mind?

I got to the point last year where I decided that I needed to try something different, since what I’d been doing for 20-odd years wasn’t working, and there really seemed to be nothing revolutionary in the latest batch of Christian writers writing about victory over sin. Why should I expect to keep doing the same old stuff – reading the Bible through a conservative/fundamentalist/holiness lens and praying formulaic prayers – and expect different results?

So it was time to try a different approach. I started taking a serious look at emergent/liberal theologies. That’s went I started exploring the possibility that my sexual orientation was not in itself a problem… my problem was that I couldn’t accept it, and I had no moral or spiritual framework with which to live with this orientation.

That being said, Marvin Moore’s book does sound like it could be helpful. From his description he seems to follow a 12-step approach. You may be surprised to know that empirical research has tried and failed repeatedly to prove that the 12-step approach works for alcoholics… I still think the approach has merit, as anecdotal evidence for its power is strong. One of the keys to the 12-step approach is to admit to one’s self that he/she is an alcoholic. So, it seems reasonable that in accepting myself as a homosexual, I began to break some of the addictive patterns of behaviour that characterized me when I was in denial of who I was.

At this point in my journey, it seems important for me to accept that my homosexual orientation is not the problem. The problem is what to do with it. How can I make peace with my homosexual orientation? I can respond to this “problem” in sinful ways (as I have in the past, with infidelity, etc) or I can seek to respond to it in a morally acceptable way. My journey now is one of trying to figure out what that way is.

 

Anything in life that we don’t accept will simply make trouble for us until we make peace with it.

               – Shakti Gawain
 

 

He serves all who dares be true.

 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson