Reconnecting with a damaged spirituality

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Joined in 2008
September 29, 2008, 21:02

Hi AVB (and others)

I have read your book (1st edition) some time ago and it was so good to read your story.

I am writing because I have this deep seated insecurity that just won’t go away! I’ve had it for so many years and I think although I have progressed along the road to accepting myself (and am openly gay – totally no probs with being out in the secular world!), sometimes I wonder if I haven’t dealt with the real issue in my most inner core and maybe I have just been trying to avoid/mask it through clubbing and dance parties. I don’t want this insecurity to plague me for the rest of my life and feel like I want to face up to it, but don’t know exactly what to do.

I feel that I have distanced myself from God as I’ve somewhat “had to” – because I couldn’t properly integrate my spirituality (growing up with fundamental Christian environment) and my sexuality. Its somewhat come through in the way that can’t even hardly use religious language any more – hearing it often makes me feel empty or numb. There’s so many conflicts and questions. Maybe its because I really don’t know what I believe any more…

I really want to reconnect with my spirituality and God (assuming there is one!) as I don’t feel complete without a sense of that spirituality that I had once upon a time. I sometimes feel like – how can I ever feel secure in the knowledge of myself and that God loves me and that I’m okay? Like, without a doubt? Or am I just trying to convince myself?

I know you mentioned in your book you had to ignore Christianity for a while after coming out, before you came back to address your spirituality – I think it was overseas at some retreat or something?

I guess I’m just putting feelers out as it feels like a bit of a lonely road sometimes – and its hard when my other gay friends don’t have or aren’t dealing with the same internal struggle.

Where’s the missing link? I can read lots and try and intellectualise passages in the bible etc, but I feel like it’s something deeper than that that which I need to resolve…

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
September 29, 2008, 22:48

Hey Inertia… first post I believe… welcome and thanks for taking that first step. I’m sure there are many more reading this who are saying “amen” to everything you are saying.

Sounds like you are on the same journey I’m on.

this is not really a plug for the second edition…..but one thing I do know is that it goes further into the inner journey. If you want to read more about the differences you can do that here.

“More than just detailing a series of events throughout my life, the revised second edition delves much deeper into the internal conversations, levels of resolution, new found sense of spirituality and personal growth. The previous subtitle was ‘coming out of the church-one man’s struggle’. The subtitle of the second edition is ‘a journey to find the truth’ which reflects the new content”

would you feel comfortable connecting with others face to face at our Melbourne chapter. I know in Sydney…..for so many it has been just meeting with others who understand….and being able to talk about things without feeling pressured or that there was any agenda has really accelerated the process of resolution.

For a long time I couldn’t even talk about spiritual things. I’d break out in a cold sweat…..have a panic attack. Of course that no longer happens.

I know there is a process…….can’t prredict the timetable though. I do know what speeds it up though.

Joined in 2008
September 30, 2008, 19:39


Thanks for the response… the extra stuff in 2nd edition sounds really interesting so I might just have to get myself a copy!

I think talking with others who “get it” helps. And to explore from others what kind of process I can go through to help come to terms and be at peace with everything…. Which is why I posted on here I guess! Great to hear there’s a group of ppl in Melbourne – any more about this?

It’s funny what perception does, once upon a time I thought of same-sex attraction as a temptation, even one that no other Christian had, but then as found out more it seems more like an orientation and there’s loads of people from all walks of life who are same-sex attracted (not just stereotypes). I guess sometimes I feel a bit of residual guilt from my upbringing and old belief system that I haven’t tried hard enough to find out why I am gay, which I guess is buying into the “ex-gay” kind of message…

But one thing I don’t like about the ex-gay movement is it seems to portray that there is one “gay lifestyle” vs “god’s intended hetrosexual lifestyle” which I think is a gross oversimplification – I think we always have choice about the way we live our life and there’s plenty of heterosexuals who live self-destructively – is this a problem of their orientation? I hardly think so.

Anyways I look forward to talking more…

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 1, 2008, 20:23

one of the things I’ve become famous for saying is

“My morality is a choice. My sexual orientation however isn’t”

I think that applies to what you’ve been coming to realise.

Go to the whats on section of the forum and you’ll learn about whats happening in Melbourne. PM or email Lindy to get on the list.

Joined in 2006
October 3, 2008, 17:19

I hear what you are saying iInerti.

i am certainly in that stage/situation.

i have not opened my bible in many months

nor prayed, till recently.

i am extremely aggrevated when i come in contact with christians who, through their ideals/beliefs think they are doing the right thing (i guess???) when they condemn me verbally (for myself and passer by’s to hear when they walk past me in the street).

I am currently doing a course on a saturday about men being attracted to men/relationships etc and have come across a man who is related to a man who is in the church i use to be a pastor in. Through general conversation and without malice this man associated with the course let it slip what his relation and the whole church leadership thinks of me. I was not surprised, as i already know that but am continuously disappointed when i come across such attitudes.

What i am surprised with is how i feel and have felt for many months now. I do not read the bible and have tried blocking it out with other activities.

Thinking about this recent conversation with the man in the course i am doing – a thought came to me – one i am surprised with as like i said i have not read my bible for many a month – it was that Peter, who had a dream/vision about unclean food – the rev was that no food is unclean – and bigger than that – no man woman or child was unclean, hence all can be ‘saved’.

This thought has been haunting me. I am bothered continuously with thoughts of God wanting me, wanting fellowship, and dare i say, for me to come back to him in a relationship/service/church manner???????????????

I have no idea how it fits. I can not find a church I am not asked to leave LOL. Not just through me coming out but through a number of experiences of myself and many many others, who have been dumped by the church for whatever reasons, not just sexuality issues. I have had a great deal of people, troubled by how they were treated or not treated etc, hurt so much by people in church and in particular Pastors and leadership come to me before i left ministry and most certailny many since i resigned and even after i stopped going to church at all, which by the way has been 3 years. I can not grasp a postive concept anywhere about ‘church’ in myself. Yet this thing about God and me and people stays with me, troubles me, challenges me.

One thing i have realised, both for myself but also of others, is that we can so easily, once in a comfortable place, become judgemental and look down on any that are not the same as us. We can major on minor offences/issues and forget what is the big issues, the big picture.

I use to think i had reconciled myself with God and my faith, and i guess in some ways i have. Certainly my questions have changed, both in subject to some degree but also in flavour. I do not have bitterness like i once did but certainly still have confusion.

I am in a strange place in myself at the moment. So i empathise with you Inertia.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 4, 2008, 23:55

its quite a journey isn’t it…….thank god we at least have a place like F2B to talk with others about it… we don’t feel like we are going crazy.

we learn lots of lessons on the way… I’ve learnt is that any relationship I have with god will never be defined by whether I attend a church or not.

Joined in 2006
October 5, 2008, 08:19

Yep I agree with that one Anthony how true and also, God is not defined by any Christian or the behaviour of any Christian, Jesus was the only person who was exactly like God on earth.

I think we all go through a Job(losing everything or wandering in the desert so to speak) type experience at some stage or other to help us discover what we really believe or not or get back to the basics of having a relationship with God (its ugly and unpleasant at the time but you come out better for it) on a one to one level without anything else or being defined as anything but yourself as you are, no titles or anything to have our identity defined by him as he made us to be and then one day we can join in with others with new eyes and a new sense and confidence of ourselves because we now know that its our r’ship with him that matters most and the outworking of that happens over time.

Ive been through it and in many ways still going through it but in the hardest most confusing of times I just acknowledged that God was with me but that I just couldnt get too close to him at the time but I still spoke to him with lots of whys and with others who had been through what I was going through.

Joined in 2006
October 7, 2008, 08:32

Perhaps my challenge to re enter the church world is nothing more than my psyche going through the motions. We are sooooooo brain washed o attend church every week, twice on a sunday type thing that is takes alot to get out of that. I realise God/god is different to church. I guess though i have not realised how long it takes to get the crap (church stuff as opposed to God stuff) out of my system.

Joined in 2006
October 7, 2008, 18:48

Certain religious aspects do takequite some time yes 🙁 Its the unneccessary guilt trips you get 😡

Joined in 2006
October 7, 2008, 21:44

yeh i guess so.

it gets so hard to differentiate between yourself/your feelings/guilt from brain washing/and any possible HOLY SPIRIT activity. At lleast for me. When I think of Leaders/Pastors who, “heard God” when they said certain things which certainly did NOT ring true for me, I wonder what really is hearing God and what is ourselves hiding behind and or using the Name of God to get our own way, push our own barrow???????

One thing tho for me, not being involved in church or close association with any church people, hopefully it will all break down for me, and hopefully will make getting rid of the crappy stuff that bit easier.

Time will tell i guess.

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