Since I came out last December I’ve occasionally taken to this blog to write about my experiences and reflections.
What is most felt at present is “Second Adolescence”
The idea that same gender oriented individuals who come out later in life have to discover how to emotionally, relationally and sexually connect with those who they are drawn to.
Wisdom and experience learned by most of our heterosexual peers in their teenage years are having to be grasped and honed in the 30’s, 40’s and beyond of Queer individuals.
Peace of mind for me isn’t elusive but it takes an intentional effort at both mindfulness and contemplation to not give into discontent over not having companionship.
It’s been a rocky year since coming out.
I want so much to be where I am not.
I want to love and serve and commit to someone for the long hall and so far that hasn’t happened.
I’ve been with someone for a few months but it didn’t materialize into anything lasting.
I rushed into emotional and physical attachment and while we are still friends it hurts to see him now in an actual relationship.
Since then I’ve made both healthy and unhealthy choices. Awakening my heart to grace in those moments where I need to be reminded of who God is and who I am in God.
I remember lamenting my singleness and unhealthy choices to a close friend who has been out and affirming longer than I have (to those unfamiliar affirmation of same-gender oriented individuals is the idea that their queerness is not sinful or broken but rather part of God’s intentional loving design and that marriage to the same gender is a gift from God the same as it is a gift to the heterosexual person )
She encouraged my heart:
“Its really easy to beat yourself up, to try and work harder to ‘be a better gay Christian’While there is great merit to living a life that seeks to be sanctified and held accountable you also must bear in mind that we have no script for this Danny; be gentle with yourself brother, God is merciful and so you should be too”
No script indeed.
Pastoral care for queer individuals often involves relegating whole portions of their personhood (be it sexual orientation or gender identity) into a moral category; it is sinful, broken, part of the fall and so must be suppressed or denied.
For many years I viewed being gay this way.
I committed myself to life long celibacy.
I’m no longer convinced that “committing to life long celibacy” is a thing.
It’s day by day for those who are committed to the traditional sexual ethic for sure but
not life long.
Even before I became affirming- I had to slow down my brain to be able to process the
wisdom of Jesus that said to not worry about tomorrow- that’s the only way you can
be sane and not freak out about being in an apartment alone at 65. The wisdom of Jesus that says not to worry about tomorrow guarded me against projecting into the future because I was finite and could not possibly bear the weight of the uncertainty of the future regarding my life. Once I embraced this I was
able to have a peace of mind and commit to living celibate for that one particular day and that day alone. I’d go to sleep and wake up the next day to do it again.
Back to Pastoral Care.
Pastoral care that seeks to dismantle whole portions of an individual’s personhood has led to the depression, homelessness, and suicide that is all too common for LGBT youth who are no longer part of the Church.
Don’t get me wrong.
The Queer Christian community is not a monolith.
Everyone’s experience and insight is different.
That’s why it’s so important to hear each other’s stories, to learn from and grow from what Queer Christians contribute to the conversation on faith and sexuality.
Many Queer Christians aren’t affirming and work out their faith and orientation in the clarity of conscience that they know best.
I personally hold my own conclusions with an open hand and humility.
Although I’m firm in my affirmation I pray my heart always stays soft and open.
I follow the blog of a recently married gay couple and they wrote about how they encountered other gay couples who were denied premarital counseling from Churches.
There is a vacuous disconnect of support from a majority of churches in their pastoral care of those LGBT people in their parishes who chose to embrace the totality of their personhood and the emotional and relational implications that their humanity affords them.
Many churches will hold firmly to a rigid dogma that does not see the full personhood of the queer individual; upholding theology above the person. and instructing mandatory celibacy for every queer individual with a disregard that scripture states that such a vocation is a gift and calling. ( (Matthew 19:11-12 / 1 Corinthians 7:7)
There has to be a better way.
Churches have to consider that there will always be Queer Christians who chose the route of pursuing same gender partnership and they should be afforded the same guidance and care that are given to heterosexual singles; from dating all the way to premarital counseling.
Hard conversations need to be had.
The fruit ( Mark 12:29-31; 1 Timothy 1:5; Romans 13:8-10;Galatians 5:22-23) of affirming Queer Christians shouldn’t be ignored or glossed over.
Prayer, discernment, empathy and love should proceed a better way of being and stronger
systems of support for the care of queer persons of faith.
It cannot be overstated but there is a very real precedent and legacy within the church of depression, homelessness, and suicide among LGBT people of faith.
As the Body of our Lord and Savior, we must be and create better for one another.
Let the dialogue that we all bring to the table be what aides in writing the script that is needed by me and so many queer individuals who hold to a faith in God and an embrace of our humanity.
Thank you for your time and reading my reflections of failure, and hope.
Love and peace to all who read this.