And so it begins…

I was wondering how long this would take.  I kept twitter open more often than usual the past few weeks, fully expecting Northpoint and Andy Stanley to become a trending topic.  I wrote about my experience at Buckhead Church here and here.  Honestly, I can’t believe it has taken this long for the evangelical wolves to circle.  It appears that Dr. Al Mohler was the first to fire…

A shot now reverberating around the evangelical world was fired by Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley in recent days. Preaching at North Point Community Church, in a sermon series known as “Christian,” Stanley preached a message titled “When Gracie Met Truthy” on April 15, 2012.

On a quick glance it appears that Rick Warren has tweeted Dr. Mohler asking for an apology for the title of the new article.  I can’t do it right now, but I’ll have to spend some more time looking as the responses to this grown.  The Christian Post has picked it up as well – read here and here.  I already know the venomous responses form forum participants that will follow.

More on this later…

via AlbertMohler.com – Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?.

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Next Steps Are Hard

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Next steps are never easy. I’ve have quite a few over the past year to say the least. I’m just grateful to feel emotionally whole and comfortable with myself. Even in the midst of the roller coaster of coming out, I haven’t faced depression or anxiety like I did before.

I’ve been attending the same church as my parents since moving back to the area. I did this because it allowed some sense of stability for my kids. It was similar in style and ministry to the church we were members at and my mom agreed to take them if I was unable.

However, some things have happened in the last month that have shown me how incompatible I am there. I refuse to subject myself or my kids to the same kind of passive-aggressive church environment I grew up in. THAT is the primary reason I attempted to hide my closet from even myself.

Buckhead was a message from God to me. I won’t give up my faith… and there are places where I can feel comfortable growing in both my relationship with God, and my own skin. Pray for me as I take these steps over the next few weeks.

Understanding My Journey – Part 2

I grew up in a small town outside of a medium sized city in North Carolina. It was an average place I guess and I lived what I’d call a typical southern childhood. As an only child, I received a ton of attention and remember loving to receive the praise of my parents.

Gay was not a word I remember being used much when I was little – in a good or bad way. It just wasn’t used. I was well taken care of, never abused and well liked by everyone. I often became the teachers pet because of my intense desire to please. [update: after looking back I do remember being taunted some in 5th, 6th, 7th grade.   There was a group of guys that called me gay and fag.  I had completely blocked this out and overcompensated in some ways I think.]

There are a few things that might have been clues as a kid. I remember absolutely being in love with all things Linda Carter and Wonder Woman. I said for many years that it was because of her tight outfit and slow-motion running. But it wasn’t. My obsession spilt over into the way I ran on a soccer field- with fingers spread wide open. I think I thought it might give me special speed or something. I also remember (and I’m getting VERY vulnerable here) finding s towel and putting it on my head and pretending to BE Wonder Woman. I even did this with one of my good friends. He would be Ultra Man and I would be Wonder Woman.

I’ll tell you I am a fairly masculine gay, and I’m attracted to more masculine than not. I have not had the desire to dress up in drag yet, but who knows. I’m just learning. I do remember my parents getting on me about the way I ran on the soccer field. I was a great soccer player, so I took this to heart. I recall that being one of the first times I felt ashamed.

As I wrote that, I did have one other memory come to mind. I had a cousin growing up that I was very close to. I was at his house one night and I started coming down the stairs singing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” in the style of Chaka Kahn. As I recall, it was on a Maybelline commercial. Roger gave me all kinds of grief about it, but my memory is that it was all in fun and didn’t stop me. Maybe I was destined to be a queen after all. Who knows? I really don’t care to do that now, but it is interesting the memories that come back.

One other that I’ll put in this post is what I’ll call “the shower”. I was EXTREMELY modiste growing up. I was an athlete and remember hating playing shirts and skins. My parents noticed this early on and I think wanted to remedy it so it wasn’t a problem later. So, my folks decided it was time for me to take a shower with my dad. There was NOTHING sexual about it. However, it was a mortifying experience. If I recall I was about waist high and spent the entire time making sure I was directly behind my dad. It didn’t help that he was uncut and I was cut. I didn’t figure all that out until I was out of High School.

I had really weird emotions when it came to girls. I know I wanted to fit in, so I figured I had to like them. Very early on, my best friends were girls and I was extremely awkward around guys. I didn’t have a girlfriend until high school, but did have my first kiss in seventh grade.

Don’t Let your kids go to all night skates – there is so much that happens at those things! I met a girl names Tara who really liked me. I can remember talking to Amy and finding out she wanted me to “couples skate” with her. I was excited about this, so I jumped at the chance and asked her. I remember being so proud skating around the rink holding hands. It was like I was proving my worth as a hormonal pre-pubescent boy.

The night progressed and we ended up in a corner. Beware the corners!!! Before I knew what was happening, Tara had me on my back, shoulders pinned and giving me sloppy wet kisses. These sloppy wet kisses would soon include some seriously deep tongue. Tonsil hockey was a term that aptly describes her technique. Needless to say, I was horrified. I broke up with her that night and never kissed using my tongue like that with a girl again. There will be more to this, but that continued on in marriage to the chagrin of my wife who loved “French kissing”.

Ok, I’m tired of writing for a while. I’ll hit a few other memories and move into High School in part three.

Understanding My Journey – Pt 1

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. –Jim Davis

Truth is not something abstract.  It is real.  It is definable.  If something is true, well, then it is true.  Just because you say an apple is blue and tastes like a blueberry doesn’t make it so.  Our culture is really funny when it comes to truth.  We are taught from an early age that we should “never tell a lie.”  We are told stories about George Washington and chopping down that cherry tree.  We are instructed that there is nothing more noble than the truth and that sometimes the truth hurts.

The problem is that most of the people that are saying those things are lying about telling the truth.  I find it very ironic.  I keep thinking of the scene in A Few Good Men where Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicolson) was put on the stand to testify about the Code Red.  Here is the excerpt.

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.  When it comes to sexuality and more specifically gay sexuality, most people can’t.  So, rather than allowing kids growing up to be true to who they are… or at least openly express and explore the feelings that they have… they are not only told to tell the truth, but they are told what that truth is.  Even when it comes to issues that no one could know but the child.  I don’t think that in most cases there is bad intent here.  The vast majority of parents are merely doing what our culture has always done — attempt to raise good little girls that like good little boys and good little boys that like good little girls.

If it were only so simple.  Unfortunately, this results in many kids growing up confused, frustrated, repressed on one end and rebellious, promiscuous and destructive on the other.  In my case, I was in the confused, frustrated and repressed category… so much so that I ended up getting married, having three kids and in my mid thirties before I finally handled my truth.  And of the guys like me, I am on the very young end.  Most are in their 50s when they finally can’t take it any more.

Today, I feel so grateful to be where I am.  In the midst of the pain is hope, and regardless the ability to finally be authentic to who I am is incredible.  It hurts like hell and it is hurting those around me… but continuing to live a lie was just no longer an option.  In the next post I’ll go back to my life growing up in a small town in North Carolina and how it shaped my family and shaped my life.

My Life As I Know It Is Over

I am a husband.  I am a father.  I am also gay.  About a month ago I was faced with two choices, or two paths.  I could continue on the path I had been on since High School.  This was a path where I walled off everything I perceived to be gay and ran to everything I perceived to be normal.  There are  reasons I walked this first path for so long, and they explain why I lived in denial’s prison for so long.  This path has been one that has led to depression, anger, bitterness, lack of confidence, and a host of other symptoms that make me a shell of who I used to be!  The second choice was to tell the truth — first to myself, and then to my wife.  This path had no clear or definite outcome and was surrounded with uncertainty.

In all honesty, staying on the first path was no longer an option for me.  My depression, anger, and bitterness were destroying me and those around me that I loved.  My wife was in a deep funk herself and had been for a number of years.  My kids were growing away from me — mainly because I was pushing them that way.  I was at a place where I was paralyzed with fear and burdened with a deep depression.

I had to choose the later.  I had to tell the truth.  And I had to do this without knowing what the results would be.This blog is going to be about the journey I am now on — both how I got here and where I end up going.  My hope is that it will serve as a resource for those that might be in the same struggle.