Microwave Fixes

When I was growing up, my mom would dutifully spend a great deal of time over the stove cooking our meals…all “from scratch.” It was to be expected that it would take a while. Still does. However, when it comes to leftovers, things have dramatically changed. Where she used to spend a significant amount of time warming up the leftovers on that stove, now she can just pop the dishes into the microwave and in 10 or 15 minutes everything is piping hot. It’s the microwave fix for cold leftovers.

The idea is not limited to refrigerated leftovers, but to many other things in life. Bigger things. Much more important things. Things like healing and reconciliation.

It seems to me that many things in life are addressed with a “microwave fix” in mind. Racism. Bigotry. Sexism. Religion. Politics. Sound bites are thrown around. The myriad of clichés that cloud our conversations. They are the shortcuts to health that we all use, but which prove eternally ineffective in addressing the deep issues that must be given the light of day. And when someone attempts to dig deep, we tend to dig a hole in which to stick our heads and hope it just goes away.

Only to discover – there is no replacement for the hard work of building healthy relationships.

My wife and I are in therapy. The sessions are focused, not on fixes for my sexual orientation, but on saving our marriage. A marriage that is very dear to the both of us. On learning how to have a thriving mixed-orientation marriage. This therapy is proving very helpful.

At the same time, though, it can be a dangerous thing. If we fall into the trap of believing that the therapy is the “fix-all” for our relationship by giving us some kind of silver bullet to fix our problems, or if we expect just a few sessions will iron out all the wrinkles we will soon be disappointed. Because of the nature of human relationships, the health of our marriage will take lots of hard work on our part, and it might just take the rest of our married life together to proactively work through all the issues.

Reconciliation is difficult to achieve, because we have to submit ourselves to the timetable of the process.

Health is difficult to maintain, because it requires discipline in an ever-changing environment.

In my former life as a minister I’ve taught from Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside quiet waters
he refreshes my soul.

That passage is all about healing, restoration, renewal, and long-term health. And all that happens in the context of the right environment, the right sources of enrichment, and the right amount of time. It is the opposite of a few minutes in a microwave.

I have no illusions of what this journey holds for us. It will take everything we have.

And so it should.

I expect nothing less for the most important relationship of my life.



Proving It

Proving it. That’s what I’m about these days.

It’s not for her belief, but because of my commitment.

My wife told me again yesterday that she just doesn’t know if she will ever believe me again when I tell her that I love her. I understand what she is saying. When it comes to the big issues of our marriage and family, there are too few items that she can feel total belief in anymore. It’s because of my unfaithfulness to her and the commitment I made to her at the marriage altar nearly 25 years ago. And who could blame her for feeling and thinking that way? I certainly don’t! It lies at my feet.

But, for whatever amount of trust that can be resurrected, her level of belief can’t be my motivation. The catalyst has to be the fulfillment of my commitment to fidelity. I’ve screwed that up royally, but she hasn’t asked me to leave, so, I’m taking that as another chance to get it right. I’ve made my decision. I will follow through.

Love is the strongest of emotions that humanity experiences. It can be manipulated, both negatively and positively. It can be led away by the siren’s song and find itself shipwrecked on the rocks of the lies of the singer. This is where she found herself. But it can also exist in triumph as a decision lived out in faithfulness and honor. This is where I hope and pray she will one day live once again. It really depends on the decision made, because at the heart of love, it is just that – a decision. I’ve made my decision. I will follow through.

There is so much uncertainty and so many unanswered questions. We haven’t been down this road before, and there is a scarcity of people in our same situation who are “out” about it. We are doing our best to figure out how to have a healthy mixed-orientation marriage on our own. The journey is more stressful than you can imagine. It is depressing. It lacks many of the joys we used to experience. But that can’t be an impediment to my forward progress. I can’t let that become a hindering force to my will. I’ve made my decision. I will follow through.

I want her to believe me. I need her to believe me. But in spite of all that – whether she ever does or not and my need of her to believe – I will keep doing what is right. I’ve learned that it’s never too late to do that.

Proving it. That’s what I’m about these days.

It’s not for her belief, but because of my commitment.

I’ve made my decision.

I will follow through.


Why Maybe Gay People Should Stop Coming Out

This message could not have been presented more eloquently or powerfully. Honestly…I had to stop a couple of times and clear the tears from my eyes.

This should be reblogged everywhere, posted to FB and discussion boards, and taken into the pulpits across Christendom.



john pavlovitz

Closets aren’t for people.

Last night, I attended a nonprofit event in Greensboro and had the chance to hear a message from Wade Davis, a former NFL player and an eloquent advocate for LGBT rights.

Davis’ powerful testimony included a statement which spoke loudly to my heart as a pastor and Christian. His words were, (and I am paraphrasing to the best of my recollection):

Closets aren’t for people. They’re for old coats and shoes and dust. I was never in the closet, I just couldn’t be honest with who I really was to the world around me. As a gay man, I’m not coming out of the closet. I’m inviting you in.

To me this was more than just a matter of semantics, or simply a clever bit of wordsmithing.

This was revelatory truth.

As much as I’ve tried to be an ally to the LGBT community, and to facilitate real conversation between it and the faith community…

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Defining Lifestyle

“Gay lifestyle”

That’s a hot-button topic in some circles. It was one of the first questions my wife asked me when I came out…”Do you want to live the gay lifestyle now?” I believe that the term would be offensive if it were not for the high degree of ignorance it reflects. And it’s mildly offensive because, the (straight) people – in my world, anyway – always mean one thing when they use that term: sex.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a sexual person. Much more.

And, we all are.

We are acrobats, bankers, cartoonists, dentists, economists, farmers…you get the drift (…so that I don’t have to go through the entire alphabet). We are all colors, shapes, and sizes. We are all ethnicities and come from every corner of the planet. We are all religious beliefs. We drive all sorts of cars. We live in all neighborhoods. We are in all socioeconomic levels. We are here, there, and everywhere. And we are all totally unique, each and every one of us.

Some people think and say that I would fall into the category of people who want to change the meaning of commonly used words. That I want “lifestyle” to mean something other than what it means. Actually, they only think and say that because they want “lifestyle” to refer to a flaming, outrageous, abrasive, horned up gay guy that is jumping in bed with every guy that walks by who is the least bit attractive.

That’s just stupid.

Here’s my gay lifestyle:
* Husband in a mixed-orientation marriage
* Dad
* Grandpa
* Hold a Master’s degree
* Professional manager
* Accomplished musician
* Christian
* Sexually chaste

Sadly, that last item is the one and only thing that many people ever think of. But in reality, I’m your average guy. Kinda boring, really. Not nearly as exciting as some people imagine.

I think that the main reason people believe what I have described is they haven’t spent the amount of time and shared the amount of heart with any gay people to learn who they really are. We are pretty regular people. I know…big shock, eh?

I’m not a bird…please don’t pigeonhole me.

Neither are you.


Gay man, straight wife

Absolutely spot on!

My wife is the crown jewel of my life! She is a champion!! In spite of her unbelievable pain and sorrow, she still loves me…and wants me to stay.

She is amazing!!

As the song says…”She’s Unbelievable!”


FreierFallScreenCapsApparently we’re not alone. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been looking, but I’m seeing more and more stories about gay men married to straight women. Movies like Brokeback Mountain (trailer) and the more recent German film Freier Fall (trailer); essays like Tim Rymel’s I’m a Gay Man Who Married a Straight Woman, or Josh Weed’s Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary.

I find that I relate to many parts of many of these stories, and yet there’s also something missing. Almost without fail, the wives in these stories are flat, boring, lifeless. I feel like the wives in the two movies could have been replaced by any generic woman; They barely qualify as stick figures.

In truth, I’ve known women (and men) who are like this in real life. Dimensionless, monochrome, untouched. I think of…

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Crappy Cliches

I’ve been around the church all my life. If anyone has heard their fill of churchy clichés, it’s me. They drive me crazy! They have little true meaning, can be hurtful, ignorant, or abusive, and they make Christians look like fools.

Cliché – a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse. (www.dictionary.reference.com).

So…here’s a (short) list. Feel free to suggest your own! 🙂

“Heaven must have needed another angel” – when a young person dies. Really??

“Everything happens for a reason” – so…that’s what you have to offer the victim of abuse?

Any “at least” statement – like at the death of a loved one: “Well, at least he didn’t suffer.” You gotta be kidding me…!

“It must be the Lord’s will.” Why don’t you just admit you don’t have any idea…don’t make it out to be God’s fault.

“God is in control” – yeah, you hope.

“I’ll be praying for you” – yeah, right.

“He/she is in a better place” – how do you know that?

“God never gives us more than we can handle” – then He’s got me confused with someone else!

“When God shuts a door He opens a window” – huh??

“God told me…” – yeah, well He told me something different.

“I guess it was his/her time” – oh, that’s real comforting!

“Prayer works” – except when it doesn’t.

“The family that prays together stays together” – except when they don’t.

And my all time favorite cliché –

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” – which goes to what I call the church’s expertise at bait-and-switch, because life sucks a whole hell of a lot of the time, Christian or not.

I really could go on and on….

These really need no explanation…the absurdity stands on its own.


Midnight Cry

I’m a crier. Maybe it’s because I have very leaky tear ducts. I choose to believe that I have a fairly soft heart. My family loves to make fun of me…even crying at Hallmark and Folgers commercials can be a regular occurrence. My wife and daughters will just laugh hilariously at me. It’s crazy…sometimes embarrassing…sometimes depressing…sometimes healing.

I’ve cried more in the last 24 hours than I have in a while.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night…and in very short order started crying.  It was like so much was immediately running through my brain. The weight of the entire world was laying on my heart in that moment. The wonderful wife that I was laying next to…who I had hurt so deeply. My children who I’m so proud of…to whom my positive influence has been hampered so greatly. My extended family…who will never look at me the same ever again. My ministry to and connection with other people…which has been dramatically halted and now uncertain. All of these people because they may never ever regain the trust they used to have in me. My broken marriage vows. My financial struggles. My lack of career fulfillment. My pain. My sexual dysfunctions. The hatred I have for myself. The horrific struggle I have in just making it through a day with a cheerful disposition. The fact that God feels so distant and silent. The hopelessness of it all. In exhaustion, I finally fell back to sleep. My pillow was soaked with my tears.

This afternoon, I was at a church volunteering my time as a sound engineer for an upcoming Christmas production. I sat at the sound board and sobbed. I used to spend a lot of time and energy singing. I haven’t sung for a long time now. My voice is so out of shape. But, it’s my strongest and most precious gift and talent. Singing is the way that I best express myself. Singing releases my spirit to speak to those who are listening, and breaks the chains of my soul in communing with God. I need to be singing! But, I don’t feel ready…and I don’t feel worthy. Maybe some day I will. Maybe some day this bird will be freed from his awful cage.

In the meantime, I cry.

I’m grateful that God understands all that is unspoken in my tears.

Each and every one.