Young Christian Teacher/Youth Minister - My Story

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Joined in 2007
December 17, 2007, 20:13

My Story.

I knew I was a bit ‘different’ in high school when l felt these urges and attractions to my mates and others guys at my school. I was harassed and victimized as being a ‘faggot’ and a ‘poofter’. I went to a Catholic school – it was rife with bullying (and still is now). I guess l knew in about Year 8 really. My best mate always had his suspicions as well but never said anything.

I graduated and headed off to the country to go to University – a teaching degree. I had to escape my life at home and in the local community. I thought by running – l would leave my ‘stuff’ behind. How foolish l was at 18.

I ended up returning to Melbourne 2 years later to RMIT and to be with my family, whom l had missed incredibly during my ‘escape’. I just worked and worked at uni and my part time jobs. Pretending to all those around me that l was ok; this couldn’t have been further from the truth. I went through stages of binge drinking. Depression. Suicidal thoughts. Self hate. The whole thing. Worst time of my life.

I graduated and took a job at a Christian school. They offered me a position after l had done placement there. They wanted me! This, for me at the time, was profound, as l was a young man feeling fairly worthless and confused. I took the job.

I gave my life to Christ that year. I had a mentor who was a former Pastor, he bought me to God. I started going to Church. The whole thing. Eventually, l became involved in youth ministry at the school. Things were great. I had actually put aside my sexuality for the year. I had bigger and better things on my mind.

My second year there however, bought about some huge issues for me. Here l was, this young Christian teacher, working with year 9-10 kids and talking about drugs and parties and alcohol and the gospel and stuff – yet here was l – a ‘faggot’. I found massive conflict in what l was in real life and what l was ‘preaching’ to them. It became harder and harder for me to continue this ministry. People around me (the boss) wondering what l was doing, why l had lost the passion. I ended up leaving this school poorly. I am still getting over it.

I now teach at a Catholic school in the country – l took the position again – for its more remote nature – also ‘cause l am a country boy! I was only there a year, before being asked (read: Pushed) into working in youth ministry again. So l now have a year 12 group that l look after. Had them since year 10, and l have found it very difficult at times to look these now, young adults, in the eyes and answer their questions!

I am very close to this group, we meet very regularly and attend many retreats and camps. There are some that are, l am sure, well aware that l am gay. This seems to not bother them at all. Many jokes are had at my expense (in good fun) in relation to sexuality etc etc. Many of them are funny and l have to laugh!

So here l am back at square 1. Doing what l feel l am called to do – worth with youth, in schools, work in particular with kids at risk etc. But man it is so hard.

I guess right now, l am ok. I am a as Sandy puts it a ‘right winged’ Christian. I do, when this issue comes up in my all RE classes, tell them that homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. That all love is not equal sort of thing. BUT that God loves everyone. No matter their sexuality. Color. Hair-style etc. The old ‘Love the sinner. Hate the sin’. My classes are always very receptive to this point. It is my view that God loves me as a man, but will never approve of a homosexual relationship. I accept that. I try to live my life to honor Him.

I am resigned to the fact that l may well have to remain celibate. This is something l have accepted. This proves no obstacle for me. I am not after sex. I long for belonging. Companionship. Someone to come home to …??? I don’t know. I do know…that l am scared by the loneliness and isolation l feel often. I have seriously considered religious life. But l am to selfish to commit to it.

I am not out to my family. I am out to some of my non-Christian mates. I am also out to some staff at my school (others prob have suspicions). The Catholics are fairly good with gays – quite accepting (as compared to AoG/Pentecostal). But l don’t think the school would like an openly homosexual RE teacher, who doubles as their Youth Leader somehow. And that is what hurts to. I am always hiding a ‘secret’. Some days l just want to let it all out. Others l just want to be someone else!

I guess though at the end of day – l know what l do makes a difference in the lives of a young people – and that is what gets me out of bed each morning.

Hopefully God sorts the rest of my ‘life’ out.



December 17, 2007, 20:37

Hi RS from one teacher to another. I’m in a special ed primary school which I guess makes it easier in some ways in that I never have to deal with questions of sexuality. I’m not out at work but I’m sure some of the staff suspect. It’s good having a job where you can take your mind off yourself and care for others but make sure you take time to care for yourself too. You can’t always hide behind work. I know, I’ve tried.

I know what you mean about companionship. I’m lucky I’m in a partnership now but at a few stages in my life I have felt so lonely I have contemplated suicide. I was a missionary in Kyrgyzstan for three years and living alone in a foreign culture was overwhelming sometimes, especially when struggling with who you really are.

Joined in 2007
December 17, 2007, 20:37

Your story is very moving, Rural, and I respect your belief about homosexuality and the Bible as it applies to you.

I pray with you, that God will sort things out for you to the best.


Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 18, 2007, 06:56

yes…..thanks for posting Rural Smith.

I think the thing i find most offensive is that we are so often judged not because of our morality but because of our sexual orientation. There is an assumption that homosexuality=promiscuity………which of course is not the case anymore that heterosexuality=promiscuity.

My morality is a choice but my sexual orientation however isn’t.

Your choice of celibacy should be something that is highly honoured in christian circles………its a shame that part of your life has to be hidden.

One day……..there will be more understanding. It is also interesting that a survey in 2004 should that at least two thirds of catholics dont believe that homosexuality is immoral……which once again shows how out of touch the hierachy is with what is going on in the pews.

Joined in 2007
December 19, 2007, 13:30

Thanks to all three of you! Some kind, wise words. Yes Anthony – l have found that Catholics have been the most accepting of gays all in all. I am not surprised by that 2004 figure at all to be honest.


Dove Snuggler
Joined in 2007
December 20, 2007, 23:32

Hi Rural Smith

Half my life ago I was a young minister attempting to deny my homosexuality as I ministered to hundreds of young people through churches, camps and scripture classes in schools. I am pleased that like you I was able to separate my ministry from my suppressed homosexuality. It meant that my young charges were perfectly safe with me and that those who still keep in touch show enormous respect for me.

At the same time I was successfully brainwashed that I was not gay and that I needed to find a wife (my exposed affair with a guy at Bible College made sure of this). My marriage only lasted 10 years, however it took until 2004 before I could finally come out to my family. I think it is a big thing to do at any age.

I wasn’t perfect … a secret purchase of Playgirl as a young minister (for the semi-naked pictures of men) … some fleeting affairs after divorce with other married men involved in church ministry … I never imagined I could stoop to these things. For me they were alarm bells that I could not cope with the lie any longer, as scared as I was to come out. It pains me that now among my friends is a young guy half my age (former Pentecostal) who is drawn to sex with men while determined to sustain a wife and baby daughter.

For these reasons I believe in the right of GLBTI Christians to be free to live their lives openly if or when they choose to. But I also believe 3 other things. I believe we can only change our circumstances when we are ready. I believe that some people will never change, whatever the reason. And I believe it isn’t easy for many people to take the step of coming out.

You said: ‘And that is what hurts to. I am always hiding a ‘secret’.’ I think almost everyone on this site knows what you mean. And we hope you eventually find the right way forward for you.


Joined in 2007
December 21, 2007, 12:44

Hi RS,

Thankyou for posting your story I know it is a scary thing to do. It’s amazing the variety of experiences people have. I attended a Catholic school and they were some of the best years of my life so far.

I just wanted to offer you encouragment to stick to your guns on this issue if you truely believe it. I have often noted that people such as ourselves are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to pleasing everybody else. The church wants you to ‘get better’ and usually will not allow youth or children’s ministry untill you are. I told one woman the other day that I was struggling with homosexuality and that is why I could not take her son to the chruch xmas party. She asked me if I had ever read Romans 1. Admittedly I handled it badly and looked her straight in the eye and said “Nope, never bothered to read it”. I supose people imagine that all you have to do is read the text on homosexuality and somehow you will cease to struggle with it.

On the other hand I have been abused by progressive pro-gay Christians who disagree with me. I have been labeled everything from a silly little girl playing at God to an arrogant, prejudiced, deluded and homophobic young women who is as much responsible for the suicides of gay people as the church is in general… maybe you have not experienced conflict in the same way, I sure hope you havn’t.

I supose what I am saying is thank goodness we don’t live to please others. Remember that the only person you have to please ever is God. He knows our motives and intentions for doing and saying things so if we keep glorifying Him at the top of our list then other peoples opinions can be taken with a smile and a shurg…. usually 😉

I also encourage you to find Christian friends with whom you can discuss this and who agree with your conclusions on the matter. It is very difficult to be a Christian alone and even harder to be one struggling with homosexuality. Obviously your school community is out but maybe there is someone at your Chrurch you could speak too. It can get lonely and as time goes on and all your friends marry and have that intimacy and the pressure for you to do the same increases. You will need someone to lean on.

God created us as social beings, it is not good for man to be alone. I understand that a romantic relationship is totally different to friendships but they serve some of the same purposes. Good friendships the kind where you are able to bear your soul can help ease the loneliness at times. Also single friends are essential. Married people are great don’t get me wrong but by the time they have pleased their husbands, wives, kids, school, in-laws and so on you are possibly at the bottom of their list of priorities. Single friends have the time to commit to a friendship and you don’t always have to go places that are child friendly or arrange a babysitter.

Living as a person struggling with homosexuality is never easy, it was never meant to be easy, but there are things that will make it easier. It is possible to be single, people do it all the time, many voluntarily. I try (and fail often) to think of my singleness as a privledge, that I may spend the extra time in service to God and others. We do not live for this world but the next and any ‘treasures’ we feel we are missing out on will be given ten times over in heaven.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 24, 2007, 12:32

It is very difficult to be a Christian alone and even harder to be one struggling with homosexuality. Living as a person struggling with homosexuality is never easy, it was never meant to be easy, but there are things that will make it easier. It is possible to be single, people do it all the time, many voluntarily. I try (and fail often) to think of my singleness as a privilege, that I may spend the extra time in service to God and others. We do not live for this world but the next and any ‘treasures’ we feel we are missing out on will be given ten times over in heaven.

Hey Sandy……can I ask about some of your comments above.

I dont think I’ve really heard you use that phrase ‘struggling with homosexuality’.

Its an oft used phrase of people in ex-gay ministries which I dont think you subscribe to. From memory I think you’ve acknowledged that people can’t actually change their sexual orientation. I’m under the impression that you have accepted the fact that your orientation is towards women and not men but you have chosen to be celibate and not act on that. Your choice is of course respected. No one here can or would I think tell you how you should live your life to please God.

I wonder then if the struggle is not with homosexuality but to be pure morally. Which if we take the words of Jesus…….even a thought of sex with another person is the same as doing it.. this is not an exclusively homosexual direction but also heterosexual. Those words open up a mine field for interpretation.

I thank God for my sexual orientation as I do for the many other gifts I have in my life.

I don’t think, as others do, that God made me gay as if he picks some to be gay and some straight. I think its natural that around 4-6% of the world will be same sex orientated… what’s all the fuss about.

So if there is a struggle I think its in the accepting and celebrating of what we have. The next ‘struggle’ would be how to live that honourably and with integrity……if you are a gay Christian or lesbian would mean to choose celibacy or a monogamous relationship.

As I mention in my book…..if i believed in reincarnation and I did have a choice about what I’d come back as. I’m pretty sure I’d choose to be gay again…….knowing now how wonderful my life is as a gay man, who makes right choices and lives in a community of wonderful people that are different in many ways…….not only in the bedroom.

So I don’t ‘struggle’ with homosexuality…..I celebrate it. I love who I am and who I have become. It was in the rejection of my true sexual identity I struggled and caused me all sorts of emotional and psychological damage.

just my thoughts.

Joined in 2007
December 24, 2007, 23:49

Hi Anthony,

I have been thinking maybe we ought to create a new thread for this discussion, I’m sure RS has more to say about his own story and life experiences and this thread doesn’t need to be overtaken by a side issue. Can that be arranged?

I have just re-read my previous post and realized I did use “struggling with homosexuality” an incredible number of times. It is rather cliched through its association with ex-gay programs and people but at least for me, the term encompasses so much more than a mere desire or quest for heterosexuality.

You are quite right in suggesting that a struggle with homosexuality is indeed a struggle with morality, as a struggle with lying or greed is also a struggle for morality. The term morality encompasses a broader range of ideas in which homosexuality is one among the many.

I have said that I believe it to be unlikely that homosexual people can change fully. However in the spirit of honesty I admit that this conclusion derives from an ‘ick’ factor associated with heterosexuality, marriage and children. While there is qualitative evidence to confirm it at least to a degree there is also evidence to the contrary and much of both sides rest on the testimonies of people far from impartial. In the end my conclusion is more my personal opinion suited to my personal tastes. The ‘great debate’ as to whether people can change or not holds little interest for me because the point as you say is not heterosexuality but morality and an individual can be moral and not be attracted to the opposite sex.

If you knew me apart from this site you would probably be surprised to discover that I very rarely use the words “I am gay” or “I am homosexual” to describe myself. To say that you “are” something has an air of finality to it. I have you could say, accepted the idea that I may be attracted to women for the rest of my life but that attraction is not (in my opinion) a natural one. It is not apart of who I am as a person made in God’s image and therefore it has no part of who I am period. However I do use it often on this site because it helps to impress upon people the fact that I do not pretend to be attracted to men or pretend that I am not attracted to women and the language is one that most people on this forum are familar with in expressing that idea. To state what is in this post every time is both time consuming and detracts from the main point of what I am trying to say in my replies.

The struggle I referred to in my post to RS was not a struggle against homosexuality in favour of heterosexuality rather a struggle against homosexuality in favour of Godliness. God did not create me a lesbian and my attraction to women hinders me in my pursuit of Godliness so I struggle against it. Heterosexuality then becomes an irrelevant sub-factor because being heterosexual does not make you Godly.

The struggle I face has more to do with the theme of my previous response to RS, that of pleasing others. Homosexual people assume that if you do not claim homosexuality as an identity factor you are in denial of your same sex attraction or are suffering from some acute form of internalized homophobia. Many Christians assume that if you do not actively persue heterosexuality then you are not taking seriously your condition and do not understand the extent to which it grieves God. My struggle is to live an authentic life, with no prisons of pretend. I am a person made in God’s image and therefore not created a homosexual person, to create an identity which expresses that and to struggle against anything which encroaches upon it is my struggle. I generally refer to and think of myself as having a attraction to women in the same way that one has a cold. It is not something I am, rather something I have. It is temporary, whether it ceases on this earth or in heaven we can not know but to consider this attraction innate is to suggest that God has created within me something which gravely displeases him. Not only does that make no sense it is also bridging the line of sadistic and goes against every description of God in the bible.

I have more empathy for pro-gay Christians than many realise, not only do I understand its allure but I genuinely reciognise that it can be life saving in a very real sense. To accept that you are innatly homosexual leads logically to the assumption that God made you that way for who else would be responsible? Then you must contend with one of two ideas, eaither God created you with evil inside you or God accepts homosexuality as a normative creational factor in the same way as blue eyes or left-handededness. What an obvious choice really. This is why I believe pro-gay theories of innate homosexuality are so dangerous they have repucussions far beyond marriage rights or adoption privledges. I rufuse to accept that God created me evil and I refuse to accept that homosexuality is a natural deviation. Homosexuality is (for lack of a more nutural term) a condition. How accute or lasting I can not know.

It is almost as if I have the opposite struggle you faced, to unlearn all the so-called truths of the gay community not particularly in reference to choice or change but in terms of who I am and who I want to be. To suggest that I will never be free from this struggle or any other is to limit the power of God. It is also hugely depressing. I have no fantasies of heterosexuality one-day, it is no goal of mine. I do however entertain the idea that my love, service and worship of the Lord will one day, fill me from the inside out so that any struggle I face pales into insignificance in the face of my faith in God’s power. It is my goal to claim with sincerity that “to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 28, 2007, 09:47

thanks Sandy for the clarity………i get where you are coming from.

from what i’ve seen….many people in the church have created and equation.


I used to believe that but the more time i spend with the gay community the more I found that this simply was not true. Many gay and lesbian people who are not christians lead very moral lives as do some heterosexual non-christians.

when people make immediate assumptions about my morality just because i’m gay i find that quite offensive and when possible correct their misconceptions.

You know I think differently than you on some things. I certainly don’t think your attraction to women is any more abnormal or immoral than a heterosexual attraction to the opposite sex.

I do love the life I now live. I have no problem with the term/identity of gay. it is not something evil or immoral to me or anything I need to feel any sense of shame for. I dont feel ashamed of being a male, a father or anything else for that matter that are the pieces that make up Anthony Venn-Brown. I think the open honest life of authenticity as you mentioned is the way god would want us to live our lives. As you know that wasn’t the case for me for 22 years. I guess that is why it feels so good today.

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