Risky Business

I last wrote about “My Friend.” I’m safe and secure in that relationship. He is not a threat to my well-being. I’ve known him for a very long time and he has earned my trust and respect. He has proven himself as the kind of friend that I require in my life to live a vibrant, healthy, and free life. The only risk in our relationship is that I will push him away or shut down…not play my role in a healthy way. And, I’ve been known to do that (one of the millions of things I’m trying to fix in me).

But now I’m into “risky business” territory.

My wife and I regularly attend church together. (Well…my wife attends more regularly than me, but I’m working on changing that, too) We have attended this church for quite some time. She is involved in a few different activities and ministries. I basically just show up and skedaddle out the door as soon as possible…the least amount of human contact in that setting, the best. But now, that’s all gonna change. I contacted the pastoral staff and volunteered to help with some “behind the scenes” stuff. That’s relatively safe…I’ll be unseen and unnoticed, at least as long as I do my job well. The risky part comes into play with the more intimate contact I had with the main pastor. I shared this blog with him and told him we needed to talk about it. It’s a huge risk. I don’t really know him. We’ve really only just greeted one another coming and going in the church building. So, I wonder –  Will he keep it confidential like I asked him to? Will he accept me as a friend? Or will he shun me? Will he accept me as a brother in Christ? Or will he condemn me?  Will he allow me to do the work I’ve volunteered for? Or am I unfit for any kind of ministry role in the church? He recently led the church in broaching the subject of ministering to the LGBTQ community. Does he really mean that? I guess I’ll find out, based upon his response to me.

There is a reason why the volunteering and relationship with the pastor is important to me. Those are two important facets of my faith expression that have been in play for most of my life. I want, I need to have that connection again. Not in the negative ways that it played out in years past, but in a new and dynamic way. You might say that it is a part of the weaving of the safety net around my life’s journey from this point on. Can my faith community, and it’s leaders, prove to be a safe place for me to worship and serve? As a gay man, living in a chaste mixed-orientation marriage, can I have the wonderful experience of a faith community that embraces me and allows me to bloom? Although nearly everyone in the church will be ignorant of the facts about “who” I am, the pastor will lead the way in how the congregation responds to me and my perceived value to the body.

This is a risky experiment.

I hope it doesn’t blow up in my face.

-Trevor

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My Friend

I have a friend. He has an agenda. It’s pretty straightforward.

He loves me.

He is safe. I can share anything with him, and it stays with him. He is a great listener and confidant. By doing so, he lets the deepest recesses of my heart and mind reach the light of day.

He is strong. He asks me the hard questions. He makes me consider and reconsider. He is a strong defender of my faith and commitment.

He is available. Whether it is for a lunch or a quick cry for prayer, he is there. He hasn’t walked away from me when I came out; in fact, he drew closer. I don’t make him feel nervous or ashamed.

He is an exemplary fighter. He knows what “journey” means. He has fought his own demons and has learned to live in freedom and victory. He passes on the wisdom he has built into his own life.

I deeply value my friend. His friendship and his loyalty to our relationship is like nothing I’ve experienced, second only to my wife.

Is it any wonder I call him “my friend?”

-Trevor

Planting A Tree

I planted this tree today. It’s a very small one. It had sprouted up next to one of my storage sheds. I thought, instead of just pulling it up and discarding it, I would see what would happen it I transplanted it to a more ideal location. So, I got my shovel and carefully dug it up, cautious to keep its roots intact and undamaged. I then dug a hole in my chosen spot, put some loose dirt in the bottom of the hole, then placed the little tree’s  roots in the hole and gently compacted some soil around the base. I then gave it a good soaking drink of water.

I’ve planted tress and other things before, with mixed results. I really don’t know how this planting will turn out, but I have high hopes. I will do all I can to see that it flourishes. The proper amount of water and food will be my priorities. The rest is up to the little tree.

One day God planted a tree. I hope I don’t let Him down.

-Trevor

Can the Gay be a Good?

As I continued to think about yesterday’s post, I felt the need to go deeper in the relationship between the gay person and their community of faith. Then I ran across this blog post by Julie Rodgers. She hits the nail on the head in so many ways. I offer her words, and let her voice be mine in this moment.

-Trevor

Spiritual Friendship

My best friend and I found ourselves in the middle of a crowd of artsy lezzies with our communal gaze fixed on one of our favorite musicians. There was nothing particularly gay going on, but something in the female folk singer happened to draw a certain crowd and that crowd happened to be a bunch of lesbians. My friend and I were both trying hard to be something other-than-gay at that point in our lives, but that night in that venue we felt a freedom we rarely felt: the freedom to stand at ease and release the tension in our shoulders because for one night we could cease to play the straight part and still belong.

We were surrounded by women who knew a slice of our experience: feeling giddy with delight around middle school girls instead of boys, sensing a need to keep it secret if we hoped to…

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Good Luck With That

Imagine being handed the seemingly most impossible task of your life. Like being a first-grader and asked to explain the intricate details of nuclear fusion. Or like being a culinary misfit and expected to create the most delectable seven course feast.

Or like being a mixed-orientation married couple and expected to have a thriving relationship.

All those things are possible, but only with a whole lot of learning and coaching and mentoring and practice. The thing is, sometimes all the tools you need are seemingly nowhere to be found.

My wife and I are truly doing our very best to make this marriage work…and even more than “work,” we are doing everything we can to make it thrive. The challenges that face us are unmistakable and inescapable. They are stressful and rob us of the joy of life. They rob us of sleep, bring us to tears, and drive us into depression. We need help and advice from other couples in the same position who will share with us tips that make their marriages thrive. So, we go looking for help.

We were talking about this just the other day and doing more searching for help, looking for blogs or anything that would give us some good, sound advice through shared life experiences. But, it is amazing that in this day of information overload, one is hard pressed to find healthy advice coming from a committed relationship like ours. I mean, you can Google “mixed orientation marriage” and get all kinds of hits with all kinds of experiences and advice, much of which we reject simply because the moral ethic espoused does not agree with ours. But, if you search for “christian mixed orientation marriage” the list is dramatically reduced to an almost insignificant number.

So, why can’t we find the help we need? I would propose that one main reason is because the Church has yet to find a healthy voice in the discussion. Because, to many in the Church, the LGBTQ community has little to no value – unless, of course, they recant of their ways and become “straight.” It’s because the Church can’t talk about sex, not even healthy heterosexual sex, or sex drives, or sex fantasies, or lusts, or masturbation, or anything sex related without starting at a point of condemnation. Many like to say “love the sinner, hate the sin” but at the same time really want the sinner to become sinless before they are welcomed in. Especially when it comes to LGBTQ issues. In spite of the fact that the church is swimming in a tidal wave of a multiplicity of sins that are “accepted,” and in spite of the fact that there are church-sponsored support groups for nearly everything under the sun, these are “special” and “abominable” things that should never see the light of day. Some even refuse to acknowledge the reality of a gay christian, which translates into self-imposed blindness at who is a part of the Church. So, because this conversation can’t seem to get off the ground, the help my wife and I need so desperately is nowhere to be found.

It’s almost like we are being told, “Good luck with that!”

In spite of being stressed, we aren’t quitting.
In spite of being depressed, we aren’t quitting.
In spite of the joy being too sparsely experienced, we aren’t quitting.
In spite of the tears of sadness, we aren’t quitting.
In spite of not having nearly enough answers, we aren’t quitting.
She is not kicking me out.
I’m not leaving.
We aren’t quitting.
We aren’t giving up.

We are going to figure this out.

It’s gonna take more than luck.

-Trevor

My Cross

My Cross
By Trevor

This is the cross I wear.

I wear this cross around my neck so that it is close for quick access.

I wear this cross close to my heart because it has deep meaning to me.

I wear this cross, not to be cool, but to remain consecrated.

I wear this cross to remind me of the cross He carried and died on.

I wear this cross to remind me of the cross she is carrying every day.

I wear this cross to remind me of The Cross that will see us through this life victoriously.

I wear this cross in humility.

I wear this cross in pride.

I wear this cross in freedom.

This is the cross I wear.

Knight Not-So-Much

Knight Not-So-Much
By Trevor

Her champion
I once
Fought in honor

Her knight
I once
Patrolled in integrity

Her companion
I once
Was trusted with her life

Champion forfeited fight
Knight deserted post
Companion misused trust

Damsel in distress
Where oh where
Will her knight be found again?

From a battle unknown
From a land unseen
A battered figure stumbles

He hobbles from the mist
And the fog of the battle’s fire
And falls at her threshold defeated

His armor not as it was
Now it lacks protection
As it bares his vulnerability

Heart bruised
Broken
Crushed

His failure is too terrible to view

Her love is too wonderful for words

She calls for help
The answer from the Divine
And he is lifted from the aftermath

Wounds cared for
And both
Are healing

Nourished souls
And both
Are rebuilding

Champion back in the ring – training
Knight back on the route – protecting
Companion back in the heart – staying

He will prove strong
He will prove valiant
He will prove faithful

Time will pass
Healing will happen
Life will blossom

A tale to believe
A true story
Of forgiveness

-Trevor