Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Letter from a homosexual struggler

Below is a letter I received a while back from a friend of mine, a former minister of another denomination, who struggles with homosexuality. I met with him and befriended him during a crisis time in his life, when he lost his church because of his homosexual activity. He believes homosexuality is wrong, and wants to change, but it is hard. He now lives in another state, so we don't meet together any longer, but we still correspond from time to time.
He has given my permission to quote him. To protect his identity, I have waited a while to publish his letter, and I have edited some of the names and personal references. What he says needs to be heard by the conservative, evangelical church.
Here is part of his letter:

The priest at a local [name of denomination] church recently contacted me regarding a position at his parish. Shortly after leaving [name of church] Church, that parish had advertised for an administrator. I had applied since I needed work as well I figured that making sure the yard got cut, the toilets flushed, etc. wasn't out of the bounds of my abilities and the limitations of my"situation." Well, he and I talked back then, but the position was only a part-time thing and I needed full-time work, so it ended there. Lo and behold, he called recently and asked if I was interested in working in Christian ed for them. I explained to him my status and all and he still wanted to talk to me. He said he felt led to pursue this with me. He knew a little of what had happened, but, of course, not all the dirty details. Even after that second talk, he still wanted to pursue things. He and his leadership are willing to take the risk involved, and, even though this would only be a part-time position and requires me to continue to work full-time at [name of department store], I really would love to feel useful again. It's so difficult to go day by day feeling totally useless and insignificant, and walking around as an example of failure in ministry. I would be working on a consultant basis and not as a regular employee as another way to distance the parish from any negative reactions as I'm sure the grapevine will begin its work once it filters out.

I know that on several levels you might think this a bad idea, bad for the church as a risk, bad for me as someone who is still so wounded and fragile, bad for me someone so much more conservative (at least in belief if not in practice) from this priest, etc. I am taking all that in account, but both my counselor in [name of city] and my ex-wife [name] have been very positive about the way this is structured and all as a means of bringing me back to the land of the living.

One thing in this has been hard to swallow in this however. It has been the "liberals" and gays that have been the most practically helpful to me in [name of city].
It was a gay business owner who first gave me a job and a place to live, another gay [name of business] is providing me a place to live now, the manager of [name of department store], which employs some openly gay managers and salesmen, has been just great about my schedule and all, and it's a pro-gay priest who is giving me a chance at ministry again. What kind of message does that send, Bob?

He asks a good question, doesn't he? If we are going to say that homosexuality is a sin, are we willing to help the sinner change? Or will he find that the only person who really cares about him are those who consider homosexuality a normal lifestyle?


still struggling said...

Well, it was a surprise to read my letter on Bob's blog. I actually had forgotten about the letter. It seems like a lifetime ago. I moved away from the city I was "living" in not long after my letter to Bob in order to be close to my children.

Again, my contacts in the conservative world either ignored me, voiced empty platitudes, or were openly hostile. It was only the more "liberal" folks who offered practical help to me. I was literally homeless, sleeping in my car. It took almost a year, and retraining, to secure a steady job that enabled me to obtain a small apt.

I still struggle with my sexuality. Do I "accept" my orientation as many have told me to do so? "Get on with your life and find a partner!" Or, do I accept instead being alone the rest of my life? I have no desire for a woman and it would be as dishonest to another woman as it was to my ex-wife to pursue one anyway.

I attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings at least three times each week and attend church at least once weekly. Yet, I am still fairly disconnected and isolated. The church world is, argue as much as some may, mainly a place for intact families. Even in my SAA meetings, most of the men at still married.

Gay isn't and straight isn't necessary the quickest path from point to point readers.

Brother Bob said...

Thank you, my friend, for your honest comments. Know that I continue to be your friend, and I pray for you, and I am glad that things are better for you these days, despite your struggles.
As you can see, readers, the pain is real. Perhaps this would be a good place to discuss how conservative Christians can do a better job of minister to gays, without compromising our Biblical stand.