Just another story ...

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Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
May 19, 2011, 17:26

Having been registered on this forum for a while now, and a bit of a lurker before then, someone (?) has been ‘leaning’ on me to add my story. So, this older baby-boomer now complies.

Quite a few years ago, I had opportunity – for three years in a row – to sit in different circles of people (charismatic & evangelical) where we basically told our testimony of becoming and being a Christian. What struck me was the huge variety of ways people had come to faith (cautious versus dramatic, vastly different catalysts), the variety of backgrounds (from no faith to full-on family involvement), and the varying personal meaningfulness and practice of faith in the ongoing journey. Which was all at odds with the relatively simplistic formulas being proclaimed from pulpits in evangelical / charismatic circles.

So, as I have read and listened to the faith-&-sexuality journeys of many thanks mainly to F2b, it is obvious that we have a great variety of stories. Mine seems mild and relatively easy.

Just shows we cannot, and must not, put God in a box – as we so often want to do.

I grew up in a loving and staunch conservative/evangelical environment – with a long Christian heritage on both sides of the family, and quite a number of full-time Christian workers and lay leaders in the family network. So, “God” was always a part of my life. I made a Christian commitment as a child, but had my ups-&-downs (as you do) in holding to that commitment. Went through a bit of intellectual debate with self in later teens (assessing and resolving doubts). Quite involved in church and para-church activities and eventually into various lay leadership roles. Spent many years working (in a non-pastoral role) with a Christian organization.

Thinking back, I guess I was relatively shielded from much knowledge of homosexuality until my 20s. My own same-sex attraction sort of developed in my teens but, even into my 20s, was more ignored than supressed. Gradually, I accepted that the attraction was there – despite not being able to reconcile that with the church teaching that it was not acceptable. Not that I was exposed to any great overt and regular anti-gay teaching. Was more absorbed by a sort of osmosis.

Over time, my same-sex life and my faith life seemed to operate in separate compartments of my being. Thankfully, the conflict never attracted the deep emotions in my mind which some report (like fear, torment, hiding, lonely, dark days, depression, self-loathing, agonizing guilt, turmoil.) Although I did go through a phase of asking God “to free me” of what I perceived then to be wrong. Also chatted with three different pastors (two being supposed experts on the issue) about my conflict. Their well-meaning counsel and prayers didn’t work !! (Surprize, surprize.) Oh how glad I am now that I was never referred to ex-gay programmes. (Also, so glad I never fell for the peer-pressure of entering a heterosexual marriage – as so many contemporaries of my age did.)

Eventually and gradually, came to a point of accepting that “I am who I am”, “this is how God has made me” – even ‘though I still couldn’t reconcile that with supposed bible teaching. Just continued to keep my same-sex attraction and my faith activity in separate compartments. That meant, not being ‘out’ in much of my life.

Never really into ‘the scene’ in any major way (bars, clubs etc. – certainly not heavy drinking, drugs, porn, promiscuity, etc.). Gradually built up a network of friends and acquaintances (gay and not) to whom I was ‘out’ – without ever having specifically outed myself. So, suppose I fitted the classification: “out to some”.

The concept of being “outed”, or of outing myself, was initially viewed with some apprehension. But, gradually (I seem to use that word a lot, but it’s accurate) it has become a non-issue as I have become more and more assured of who I am. Don’t feel any compulsion to go around and deliberately ‘out’ myself to anyone. But am happy to answer truthfully if so asked. Being gay is only part of who I am.

It’s sort of funny, but in my whole life, I have only once been asked (by a hetro Christian mate), “are you gay?” Must be so much the classic “straight-acting” that no one draws any conclusion! But, it’s definitely not acting – just who I am. Even when I defend same-sex issues with Christians, they still don’t ask! (Some probably conclude I must be gay, but they aren’t game to ask??)

But, waiting for them (i.e., fellow Christians) to ask is part of a definite strategy on my part. I prefer a ‘softly, softly’ approach to breaking down the barriers and the ignorance. (Others are called to be more direct.)

Ultimately, I had to decide what was more important – my integrity (what I know to be true about myself) or my reputation (what others might think about me).

Now feel quite self-assured in the matter of my sexuality and my faith. Feel reconciled. The compartments are broken down. And a lot of that self-assurance and reconciliation comes from my involvement with Freedom2b (that’s all of you) .. .. .. to whom I say a big THANKYOU.

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
May 19, 2011, 17:54

Hi Forestgrey,

In no way is your story just another story, it is unique and special and just as worth telling as anyone else’s. We are all special in God’s eyes. We all come from different walks of life so it’s important to have different people tell their story, you may really strike accord for someone looking at the F2B site and then coming across your wonderful story. I’m all for a life of peace and no drama, so pleased you are so happy and comfortable with whom you are.

When I was a lot younger, I used to belong to an church that every Sun, we used to have 3 testimonies in the morning and 3 at night, I used to dread being asked as I didn’t think my life had anything dramatic, didn’t have any bright light experiences etc. (that was before kids :bigsmile: ) But mine was just as relevant as anyone else’s and so is yours.

Well done. 🙂

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 19, 2011, 23:28

that was insightful forestgrey…….stuff in there I didn’t know.

who pressured you to tell your story here……..I will speak to them for you. :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile:

No-one should feel pressured….encouraged maybe but not pressured. 🙂

Joined in 2007
May 20, 2011, 07:29

Hey forestgrey,

thanks for sharing your story. I think every story, whether it sounds dramatic or like yours, gradual and ‘calm’, is good to read about, as it reflects that bit of individuality about each of us here.

I agree, like you, that a ‘softly, softly’ approach to breaking down barriers, whether that be just answering honestly when asked, or living a fullfilling life of an ‘example’ of god centric gay man or a gay man, who is comfortable to be himself, can be equally as powerful and relevant, as the more ‘direct’ approach that others choose to take.

I was only saying to Mr Summit recently, how much freedom there is when we ‘come out’ to ourselves and usually others, and that I just wouldn’t want to go back into the ‘closet’. 🙂 Your words ‘self-assurance’ and ‘reconciliation’ really rang true, and I feel reflect what I was expressing to him.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing…. and thanks to ‘whomever’ was ‘pressuring’ you to tell your story. :bigsmile: :bigsmile:

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 20, 2011, 10:34

every story is valuable …..because even though we are all individuals with a unique story……there will always be someone out there reading this who will relate your journey and feel valued.

Of course the more we work at this the less ‘dramatic’ each story will be.

For example………many young people are finding resolution today in the mid to late teens…….instead of the situation many of us experienced…..finding it in midlife after a heterosexual marriage.

your journey is blessed forestgrey.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
May 20, 2011, 15:26

Hi forestgrey

You’re great!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thanks for being you and sharing your story. It was nice meeting you at the dinner too. 🙂


Ann Maree

Joined in 2008
May 20, 2011, 23:17

Thanks forestgrey for sharing your story. It is as interesting as anyone else’s story here on the forum.

I think that’s what makes our online LGBT community so unique 🙂

Joined in 2009
May 22, 2011, 16:10

What a wonderful account of how the Lord has helped and guided you to this point. I wonder what He has for you in the future?

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