17, closeted and otherwise exceedingly boring...

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Shantih Shantih Shantih
Joined in 2008
February 21, 2008, 00:11

Well, what can I say? (No, really, what can I say?) Basically, I’ve been skulking around this forum for the last week or so, reading stories, gauging the socio-religious beliefs of the individual members, gaining perspective, laughing at the often hilarious conversations that ensue between certain members and otherwise just trying to figure out what on earth I’m going to say when I actually post!

The dilemma for me here, however, is not so much where to start, but how to make my ridiculously boring, insubstantial story interesting enough to bear listening to. The conclusion I have come to is that this is not humanly possible, and so out of respect for the time and patience of each member, I am first going to give a short description of my personality (so that when – theoretically – I say things you’re going to hate me for later, you’ll have some perspective), then a brief account of my life thus far, after which I will provide a more detailed but no less boring account of the same – mostly to make myself feel better.

To begin, I will say that due to the symbolic but ostentatiously absurd nature of my alias, you can call me William (or a derivative thereof – I don’t mind which, I get them all). Unlike Oscar Wilde, I am young enough to know everything πŸ˜‰ (being closer to 17 than 16 years old), and of those few things I don’t know, what a godly stance on homosexuality should be is one, (unfortunately).

The only person I am out to at the moment is my slightly-homophobic* best friend, who (for obvious reasons) isn’t the easiest person to talk about this with (God knows I love the guy, but he’s a bit irrational sometimes – it’s actually pretty funny πŸ˜€ …in a sad kinda way).

Perhaps the easiest way to describe my socio-religious and socio-political beliefs is to say that I’ve got something for everyone to hate. In short, my major beliefs can be summed up in this description: I am a cynical, gay, pacifistic, vegetarian, conservative (on a technical basis) Christian, who (as a general rule, based on ideologies) is too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives. As stated above, despite coming a long way in recent months, I am still very unsure about where exactly I stand on the homosexuality issue – which is probably for the best, actually.

To briefly describe the timeline of my life for those who don’t wish to read any further: I grew up in a tiny Pentecostal church from the time I was two, when I was 11 moved primary schools, and a year later I realised I was gay. Several months after that realisation I found out about the Church’s (and presumably, God’s) stance on homosexuality, I spent the next four years self-flagellating mentally in an effort to put such feelings aside, and not three months ago, I found a website that explained to me (for the first time) a convincing Biblical argument for the pro-gay Christian movement. Naturally, I have since stopped my regime of (often devastating) psychological self-conditioning, and accepted my sexuality for the first time. It is my belief that I may actually be happy for the first time since I was a child…which is a very foreign experience.

For those with copious amounts of free time to waste, and who are bored enough to think my story interesting, here is the longer version:

My story really begins (in every sense, not just in terms of sexual self-discovery) when I was 11 and I moved from my original primary school. On the surface, this seems like a fairly routine event that isn’t really noteworthy, but I now believe (for reasons that are too irrelevant to disclose here) that this change – coming at the time it did, in the way it did, and to the school it did – caused a change in my psyche that made the person I am today.

Not long after this event, I first began to consider the fact that I might be gay when I started to feel an attraction to some of the guys in my class. Originally, I just brushed these thoughts off and tried not to think about it, but as my 12th birthday approached, they only grew more and more frequent. Then, one day I finally admitted my sexuality to myself when I watched an episode of a pre-teen/early teen TV show in which a certain character was beginning to struggle and come to terms with his homosexuality. In this person I saw reflected many of my own feelings and experiences, and from that day onwards I never thought of myself a straight.

To start with, of course, I didn’t want to accept my sexuality, and fought it as hard as I could. Several months later, seemingly just as I was beginning to come to terms with myself (at least a little), I found out about the (apparent) Biblical condemnation of homosexuality, which only reinforced my desire to be asexual (I’ve never really wanted to be heterosexual – not since the very early days), and caused me to begin a process of psychological conditioning to try and make myself such.

Between then and now, not much has happened worth mentioning apart from three events only semi-relevant to the story: my baptism, my unwilling move to a godly (but far too large) megachurch, and a falling-out I had with God about 14 months ago (now resolved, praise Him! πŸ˜€ ).

So then, three months ago I stumbled upon a website based on a book by a man named Rick Brentlinger (not sure if that’s the right spelling). The website was called, and it did something I never thought possible – it challenged and changed my beliefs about homosexuality from a Biblical point of view. I had heard arguments for the pro-gay Christian movement before, but I always found them unconvincing (perhaps I just hadn’t found the right ones?).

At first, I even fought these arguments – tried to fault them somehow, in any way I could, but I found it impossible, and I was forced (‘forced’ probably isn’t the most appropriate term considering I had spent the last five years hoping against hope for something like this) to accept that homosexuality is not the life and death, Heaven and Hell issue I once thought it to be.

Since then, I have taken huge steps in coming to terms with my sexuality (for real), and as a result, I am now quite content with myself and my life (other problems aside).

I also credit this newfound acceptance with bringing me back to God after more that a year of not being on speaking terms with Him, which I regard as a huge tick in the pro-gay column due to numerous attempts at reconnection throughout the year, without success.

I’m learning, however, that it comes with certain consequences that are difficult to bear. For example, my desire for a intimate relationship has increased tenfold, and I’m already feeling the negative effects of keeping a secret no longer ‘necessary’ to keep.

Still, the benefits outweigh the negatives and in time, with God’s blessing, they may be annulled anyway.

Wow, I tell you I have a boring, insubstantial story, and then come out with something like this. Gawd…I really do have prattling down to an Art form – just one of my many irritating habits… πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

It is worth noting (only because it will hurt my pride as a ‘writer’ not to πŸ™ , but still… πŸ™‚ ) that at one stage I accidentally closed my browser and practically everthing below ‘psyche’ had to be re-written, and as a result the post isn’t nearly as conscise or as comprehensive as I wanted it to be.

I also want to…apologise, is probably the best word…for my extreme, rather unnecessary attention to detail – I noticed that most other people haven’t gone as far in their stories. The two reasons for this are: 1) I like to be thorough in my writing, and 2) I’ve never really spoken about my sexuality before, and it’s nice to get it off my chest.

For anyone who had the enough saintly patience to endure to the end: thank you for listening to my rambling, verbose and boring account of my life. I feel I owe you at least that much for such heinous torture… πŸ˜€

– William

* Please note that I do not mean homophobic in the oft-misused sense of ‘prejudiced against homosexuals’, but in it’s proper sense as ‘fear or discomfort towards homosexuals and the concept of homosexuality’. Just thought that might need to be clarified.

Joined in 2008
February 21, 2008, 00:22

first things first… i have a small attention span and im crap at reading, but hoorah i made it through your post and was glad i did.

second… i love it that you even had footnotes to your post… found that amusing.

but on a serious note… once again im stoked to hear that other guy can relate to things that ive been through and throughts that i have had or still have. i will for sure be checking out that website you mentioned… im big on trying to get a big unbiased perspective on the whole issue and learn as much as i can. so cheers for that.

anyway … THANKS! was good to read.

Shantih Shantih Shantih
Joined in 2008
February 21, 2008, 00:52

Kudos on the reading, Luke. πŸ™‚

I love reading (one of the few in my generation who still do), but to be honest, my own story would have bored me to tears were I not the one writing it (my terrible writing and convoluted syntax wouldn’t help either, I’d bet). I probably would’ve dropped out after the second paragraph. 😳

Good luck with the website. It’s a little difficult to navigate, and there’s quite a bit of material to read, but I found that it really helped me understand Biblical pro-gay arguments. With all the examples and evidence given it’s hard not to believe him, and although I’m no scholar (I think I am, but I’m not) I couldn’t fault his reasoning at all, and I don’t know where I’d begin to argue (if I were so inclined).

Anyway, thanks for the feedback…it’s much appreciated.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 21, 2008, 10:12

I made it to the end as well William. πŸ˜†

it wasn’t that hard.

Your story is an important one, extremely important…… shows us probably more that we have realised how much things have shifted if a nearly 17 year young man can be so comfortable with his faith and sexuality. WOW!

The old farts like me have common threads in our stories you will notice.

1. Depression

2. thoughts of suicide ….even attempts

3. Marriage

4. Years of struggle

5. Possible sexual addictions

6. Psychological and physical problems

7. Bitterness and anger

8. Loss of faith

……to name a few. it all comes down to the same thing…..the results of living with internal self hatred believing that gay meant we were sick, evil and not fit for the kingdom of God.

You are blessed.

Shantih Shantih Shantih
Joined in 2008
February 21, 2008, 11:25

Thanks Anthony, that means a lot. πŸ˜€ And for the record, it’s due largely to websites like this one that I have come to realise that faith and sexuality don’t necessarily clash. I am hugely indebted to the Freedom 2 B[e] forum for giving me so much perspective and insight.

After reading many of the stories/posts on this forum I do realise just how blessed I am in regards to my sexuality – I never had many of the experiences you’ve all had.

I’ve never heard a sermon preached against homosexuality, for example.

I’ve never been told that homosexuality is a disease or that it’s a choice.

I’ve always been told that God will love me no matter what (which, of course, is never an excuse for sin, hence my attempts to ‘asexualise’ my thoughts).

In fact, I don’t even think anyone has ever told me that homosexuality is wrong to my face – it was always something I assumed from reading my Bible (and the side notes that came with it).

Of course, I’m not out of the woods (closet?) yet. At 17 (almost) I obviously don’t have the same level of experience you ‘old farts’ have πŸ˜† , and despite my lack of bad experience where church is concerned, I still don’t know how they’d react to an openly gay attendee.

Also, I haven’t been totally unscathed by my relatively brief stint as an anti-gay believer* – last year I did become very depressed and contemplated suicide almost daily, (although, there were other contributing factors to this, as well).

Anyway…the point is, I am very blessed to be who I am (something I never thought I’d say), and I’m thankful for this site and all the stories I’ve read that have helped me realise this.

* There are other consequences, too, first and foremost among them being that I am…how you say…’emotionally dead’ – basically, I find it difficult to feel any deep emotion toward anyone ‘close’ to me (probably a result of that ‘asexualization’ I mentioned). Again, this is something I feel is already changing. πŸ˜€

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 21, 2008, 12:52

you are blessed

….and so are we to have you here.

One day……hopefully not too long……..churches like Hillsong will be safe places to come out in.

At the moment there seems to be some inconsistency. It depends who you come out to.

Joined in 2007
February 22, 2008, 13:16

Hi William,

For a guy with a boring and insubstantial story, you certainly know how to write it down well and make it worth reading!

One day, you’ll probably find me writing a grand epic here. The biggest difference between us seems to be that it only took you a week to put fingers to keyboard. I’ve been here for months without writing my story. Admittedly I’ve got a lot more years to cover, but an awful lot of them don’t really reflect any development/progress in thinking so they can be skipped. πŸ˜‰

I, for one, am really blessed to hear about your journey thus far.

Shantih Shantih Shantih
Joined in 2008
February 22, 2008, 15:59

Thanks Orfeo, not sure how much I trust your judgement though… πŸ˜€ When I proof-read my post I couldn’t stop cringing. Maybe it’s just my biased opinion as the writer, but I found that it didn’t flow properly, my syntax was convoluted (too many brackets, commas, and em-dashes), and was otherwise too blunt and straightforward – there was no real creativity in it.

Anyway…not the point.

I look forward to reading your story when you decide to post it. I think for me, I had to tell my story before becoming an active participant – I don’t know why, just something that kept popping up in the back of my mind whenever I felt like posting on a thread. But I wanted to participate, so finally I just sat down in front of my computer with the ‘New Topic’ window open and started writing the first thing that came into my head (probably why it’s so awful – I didn’t plan properly).

Joined in 2006
February 22, 2008, 17:22

Hey William, so glad you shared your story D and you know whats best about it, the fact that you didnt plan it, it came out naturally as it, just came out!!! LOL…. I felt like I was having a conversation with you and that comes across great. My brother is your age and its awesome to hear from someone as young as you anddddddddd that you have arrived where you are at so far D

Joined in 2007
February 22, 2008, 18:42

Hi william,

Maybe this next idea will mean something coming from someone who wears the conservative badge with pride (or maybe if you have read any of my other posts it won’t :D). I have copied and pasted dirrectly from an email I sent to a friend and edited out the personal stuff. It may have that third person kind of feel for which you have my appoligies but I don’t have the time to do a re-write:

In answer to your questions I have concluded the following. We are saved through faith in Christ, period. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3). We all sin and the only cure for sin is Jesus.

So what about homosexuality?

Well I believe that Jesus will judge us on the Day of Judgment when the world is destroyed and we are called to account for our sins. And homo-erotic behaviour is one of them. Yet isn’t the whole point of the scripture that we are saved through faith alone and that we, as Christians, can be assured of our salvation despite our sins because God has already taken care of that through the blood sacrifice of Christ, one time for all? So it stands to reason then, that if salvation comes from Christ and not from anything we do or don’t do, then homosexual Christians will be saved. Homosexuality is not a salvation issue the only salvation issue there is, is Christ.

That said, it is my understanding that Christ knows our motives and hearts. We tend to think of Christs judgments in the same way that others judge us, by outward appearance. Say for instance a new Christian was trying to share the Gospel with a non Christian friend and got the whole thing completely wrong and left this friend feeling as if Jesus was an idiot and Christians were morons, by outward appearance that new Christian had failed. But what would God think? If the new Christian had the right motives in really trying to help this person know Christ and was genuinely doing it for their benefit and to glorify God then I can’t see how God would be displeased with that. It is our hearts and motives that matter to God not our works or outcomes. That is why the ‘good’ Christian who hides evil in their hearts will be judged on that despite their pretty exterior.

So, if homosexuality is not a salvation issue because we are saved through Christ alone and God cares about our hearts and motives more than the outcomes and appearances how does one live in relation to homosexuality?

First, be honest. I know that sounds so simple but so many people aren’t, even to God. God knows that you are struggling with the passages around homosexuality so why pretend otherwise? Second, don’t think that you can not use your confusion to glorify God. That sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? How can I glorify God if I don’t know how he wants me to live in respect to my sexuality??!! But the truth is He still does and it is possible. Let me illustrate through the way that I currently live my life.

I have come to the conclusion after years of research that there is not enough evidence to confirm that 100% without a doubt homosexuality is a sin. I do lean towards that conclusion because the evidence points that way but there are many questions I have still yet to answer. I am not a historian or theologian or fluent in Greek or Hebrew so when someone makes a claim on linguistic or cultural bounds I have little ability to truly authenticate it. So I begin to reason, if there is a possibility that homosexuality is not ok with God then I don’t want to engage in it. If we think that perhaps something could be wrong, and we still do it we are being selfish. If we think that perhaps mum won’t let us take the car out on a Saturday night, we aren’t sure but she could very well say no and we still take it out then we are putting our wants before our mothers. There is no sin in singleness so despite my confusion I remain single for the very reason that being in a relationship could be a sin. That is being honest with God, that leaves my motives and intentions pure and not tainted with selfish needs. That says “Lord honestly I have no idea but I am still going to glorify you in my confusion by taking a road that honors you before myself”. Also, on a practical level who wants to be with someone who thinks that your relationship could possibly be a sin?

The Christian life is literally a journey and I think that it is the journey and not the outcome that really matters to God. Christian wisdom and maturity is a process and we are far better in some areas than others. Which is why you have to ask the question all the time, “what will glorify God?” we can still glorify Him in our confusion by being honest with others, ourselves and Himself about where we are at in our struggles and faith. We also glorify Him by asking what He would want us to do in exactly the position we are in right now confusion and all.

Remember that Heaven is our reward but it is not the point of our existence. We exist to glorify God in our lives not to get to heaven though the two are connected, one as a service and one as a reward for that service. We live to serve and are greatfull for the reward, we don’t live for the reward.

That sounds a bit authoritative now I read it back, it’s the teacher in me pretending to have more answers than I do I think so take it has the ponderings of someone no nearer a conclusion than yourself but further along the journey.

Also just a quick comment about

I also credit this newfound acceptance with bringing me back to God after more that a year of not being on speaking terms with Him, which I regard as a huge tick in the pro-gay column due to numerous attempts at reconnection throughout the year, without success.

God never leaves us. You know all that stuff in Hebrews about Christians who fall away and those that do not really being Christian and so forth (sorry my paraphrasing is really terrible). Basically what most people have concluded from that passage is God doesn’t let go of His people, He doesn’t leave in a huff, He doesn’t turn GHis back He stays exactly where He has been all along and it is us that moves away. I am preaching more to myself than anyone because I go through constant periods where I feel abandoned by God. But in reality its all psychological. God doesn’t go anywhere but we feel as if He has because we are struggling (to borrow a term I rarely use from the ex-gays). I’m not going to tell you what your experience was or try and psycho-analyse you but its something to think about. God never seems to go on holiday when life is good does He? And maybe it was that life got ‘better’ or at least more hopeful and less depressing when you discovered pro-gay theology and it was your change it attitude that brought you back to a reciognition that God is there. But enough from me…

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