I think often of Washed and Waiting, a book which has helped me a great deal in the last seven years of my walk with Christ. In it, Wesley Hill talks about his loneliness even in the midst of the crowd. If one were to examine Wesley’s Meyers-Briggs against mine, I’m willing to bet we’d test differently. Wes’ and my personalities more than likely create situations where one of us might be drained while the other was being recharged. The experience of loneliness and desperation, however, are not tied to one’s personality. They are very nearly universal in the lives of those who are human. Continue reading
That gay men are often vain is nothing revelatory. The latest styles of outer or under-wear, designed to make the most of whatever God’s given us body-wise tend to fill our closets and hang on our bodies. There’s nothing quite like the feel of a new pair of shoes or a well-designed suit on one’s body…not merely seeing a photograph of it, but actually wearing it.
I’ve loved clothes for a long time. I remember when I went to college, my goal became to own clothes that I really loved…a goal I finally achieved after college when I had my first ‘real’ job.
But one of the reasons I love clothes is that they hide a body of which I am ashamed.
I was hanging out with single folks from my seminary the other day for dinner and dessert. We were discussing how difficult it is to get a job in the PCA and EPC if you are single…and I chimed in, “Yeah…but because I’m gay, I’ve got two strikes against me.”
Immediately, my phone beeped. This is the text message I received:
Hey brother, been thinking about you a ton lately. I think God is going to use you to do things you can’t even imagine for the glory of his name. Praying for you and the work He has laid out for you to do, work we don’t even know yet. Love you.
Not a self-punishing ritual, but a ritual of turning away from sin and turning toward Christ.
Whether I sin while sleeping alone or if I sleep with someone else out of wedlock, I need repentance to mark my life.
I need the grace of forgiveness which comes from Christ’s sacrificial death to be applied to me on a daily, hourly basis.
Even my thoughts about others–my bitterness, my lust, my anger, my judgmentalism–need to be subjected to this repentance. God’s kingdom extends even to my bed…and fornication is not the only sin that can happen in one’s bed. Not by a long shot.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
–Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)
I feel dissatisfied. I spent the weekend with some fraternity brothers. The oldest among them in the active chapter was visiting my undergrad my last semester and met me on his visit. He’s graduating in May, having taken six years to finish. I felt a little old. Actually, I felt really old. The year I started college, some of the fraternity brothers were ten years old. Continue reading
Sometimes I fear how God will teach me this lesson.
Today, a friend expressed a desire to move on to the next phase of life and ministry, saying he was tired of being a student and couldn’t wait to be done. I was frustrated because seminary is where God has called us. Why would we want to hurry God’s work? I sure don’t. And when I tried to point that out, it wasn’t well received. Maybe I said something wrongly.
I was sitting at a coffee shop a few days ago and really struggled to keep my mind on my work. Will temptation always be this strong? I wondered. I was sitting at another coffee shop today and thought, Yeah…if today is any indication, it will be.
In his book The Mission of God, Christopher Wright discusses the knowledge of God that Israel had in the Old Testament, specifically in His acting by delivering them through the means of a pagan king who had no allegiance to Yahweh.
[I]f Israel should be inclined to protest at the means by which God would bring about their deliverance (i.e., through a pagan king who did not even know YHWH, yet is provocatively described as YHWH’s “shepherd” and “anointed”), they would do well to remember who it was they presumed to argue with–the Creator of the universe.
“Concerning things to come, do you question me…? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands have stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:…He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free” (Isaiah 45:11-13).
So, the reason why God’s planned action for Israel’s deliverance will be spectacularly successful is that it is grounded in his universal sovereignty as Creator. And the effect of that saving action will be to demonstrate the unique identity and status of YHWH to the rest of the world. Israel would do well not to protest, for they have a role to play in that divine agenda. If Israel’s ultimate mission was to be a blessing and a light to the nations, they need to cooperate with God’s means of executing that purpose, whether they approved of it or not. (from The Mission of God, pg. 90)
I complain to God fairly often about the means by which he brings about my deliverance. I presume to argue all the time with the Creator of the universe. Surely, He could’ve cooked up a better scenario than me being disposed to crushing hard on my friends and having to pick myself up from those emotionally charged situations, bravely continuing friendships with those whom I’ve crushed on and legitimately love. He could’ve at least made it easier for me to be physically attracted to a girl who was once very interested in me, but whose interest seems to have waned. It’s painful, really–all of it. Continue reading
I don’t always know whether or not at 29 if I’ve suffered “enough” to write about suffering and the Gospel. At the recommendation of several people (including one of the board members at the school which voted to have me resign), I am reading some Henri Nouwen on my Kindle. In his book, Turning My Mourning Into Dancing, he writes:
Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands. In Christ we see God suffering-for us. And calling us to share in God’s suffering love for a hurting world. The small and even overpowering pains of our lives are intimately connected with the greater pains of Christ. Our daily sorrows are anchored in a greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope. Absolutely nothing in our lives lies outside the realm of God’s judgment and mercy.
There sort of is. I’ve taken a wonderful young lady out on several dates in the last month and a half or so. I enjoy being with her and she seems to enjoy being with me. She not only endured watching Metropolis at my house a couple months ago–she actually seemed to like it. (Artsy and fun? Whodathunkit??)
I want to do right by her. I want to see if my affections continue to grow. She loves Jesus, is really smart, sensitive, sassy, and seems to be able to shoulder my opinionatedness. (I don’t think that’s a word, but if the Germans can take a bunch of words or word parts and string them together, I can too.)
I got a text message from a good friend of mine who has liked me for a very long time. I’d lay odds he is waiting around for my theology to change so he can date me. I told him that I was dating a girl and that I needed to explore this relationship. The response I received was something along the lines of we both know how this will turn out. I replied, Do we? I’ve been in love with a girl before…why not again? I didn’t get a response. I’m not here to psychologize why I did or didn’t get a reply to that; instead, I’m here to say that I’m getting some push-back from my gay friends now that I’m considering seriously dating a girl. Continue reading
One of the promises of the Gospel is that we will be conformed to the image of Christ. This is our sanctification and ordinarily looks like our disliking our sin progressively and loving the fact that we are being made holy by the Spirit of Christ. We look progressively like Him. It’s a little more complicated (read: a LOT more complicated) than getting better every day, but that’s sort of a general thrust of the thing.
Last night, I visited a bar and realized I wasn’t very happy while I was there. I was conscious of my inadequacies and my lust. I wanted almost nothing to do with homosexuality, while at the same time wanting everything to do with it. And, as we know, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. So there was a lot of tension last night between what I wanted and didn’t want, all at the same time.