iRemain

A husband who gives all he has to show his loving wife just how much he loves, cherishes, and respects her.

A man who works tirelessly to learn more, embrace new challenges, take on the imperfect in order to be given the chance at higher positions for the good of those who depend on him.

A guy who believes in God and believes that He loves him. But, sometimes he feels like he is the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about, unless it is to simply point out all negative things.

A man who, in spite of his portrayed confidence, keeps deeply hidden a nearly overwhelming sense of self-doubt.

A guy who breathes and sees behind this mask known as “Trevor.”

A person who in some ways is much more transparent than ever before, and more secluded than ever in other ways.

A guy who is intelligent, funny, personable, caring, selfless, and determined.

And yet…

Sorrow swallows my memories

Loneliness devours my peace

Depression taints my dreams

Hopelessness envelopes my passions

Countless flaws seemingly outnumber attributes

Still, I will…

Love

Live

Give

Dream

In the cocoon, in my own way, in His time…

I remain.

-Trevor

Advertisements

Show Me What I Don’t Know

I get it.

I am a sinner. I have failed. I have miserably failed. I have broken promises. I have demolished covenant. I have undervalued love. I have stretched patience. I have assumed upon grace. I have presumed upon mercy.

You think I’m a mess. You tell me that frequently. So, you try to fix me, to redefine me, to rebirth me, to re-conceive me, to re-imagine me.

You preach about me. You lecture about me. You write about me.

You protest against me. You wish to isolate me. You want to banish me. You dream of imprisoning me.

You compare me to the worst of humanity’s evilness.

I get it. You don’t think much of me.

At least, that’s the message I’m receiving.

I know you say you are doing all that “in love.” I know that you say “loving the sinner, but hating the sin.”

You wanna know something?

I’m not buying it.

Because all your damned bluster sounds more like “hating the sinner” than anything else.

And…I’m not really getting that you “love the sinner” anywhere in all that. You say that you love me, but I’m not getting that at all. I, in fact, do not know that you love me.

I’m wondering, instead of telling me something that I don’t know, would you…could you…show me what I don’t know?

If you believe so strongly that Jesus is with you always and that His love is more powerful than any other force known to man, and you want me to experience His love, then why don’t you just show me?

Why are you so afraid of me and those like me? Why must you insist on speaking only about us, and not engaging us eye-to-eye?

Why must I always be kept at arms length, doubted and feared?

Why must my sexual habits be more important to you for defining my relationship with God than the testosterone-driven – and straight – male?

Why are the rules so exclusively and unequally harsh for me?

I suspect that the reason is that you simply don’t know me. You haven’t spent time with me. You haven’t asked me questions. You haven’t listened to my testimony of faith. You haven’t put your arm around me. You haven’t looked me in the eye.

You haven’t experienced my heart.

But, if you want me to really know that you love me, then that’s what you are going to have to do.

Show me.

-Trevor

Gay ≠ Lesser

Good thoughts…important questions.

Another Anomaly Among Many

I recently sat down with one of my friends to catch up on life, and the reflections that I had after that conversation are the basis of this post. Now, I generally try to refrain from writing angry/irritated posts just for the sake of it, but I’ve been realizing that if this blog is going to be about my experiences, it has to include everything, because other people have probably felt those things too. So I’ll try not to just go off on everything, but what I write here is going to encompass all the different things that I’ve felt and experienced.

What I’ve been thinking about since my friend and I had that conversation is this: why do people automatically view us as being somehow dirtier, more sinful, and less sincere about our faith just because we identify as LGBT? Why do our theology and our motivations get questioned…

View original post 931 more words

Eye to Eye

Seems to me, if you want to know the real me, look me in the eye.

Want to hear my backstory…my eyes speak volumns.

Want to learn of my talents, skills, and abilities…they sparkle in my eyes.

Want to begin to understand my passions and calling…my eyes reflect the needs.

Want to unlock my motivations and drives…my eyes hold the key.

Want to embrace my fears and tears…begin in my eyes.

Want to experience my joys and exuberation…discover them in my eyes.

I believe that no “heart to heart” understanding will ever exist between two humans, especially those who may have diametrically opposing points of view, without beginning with eye-to-eye interaction. For, in some important ways, being eye to eye isn’t about agreeing, but simply learning.

First, it requires close physical proximity. No “virtual” connection behind which we can hide or remain anonymous, at least to some degree.

Second, it acknowledges that the other side of the interaction is actually a human being. Not a theory, not a belief, not a movement, not a sin. A living, breathing human being.

Third, if we are serious about true engagement and learning, then it will require that we exercise major discipline. The act of simply keeping our mouths from spouting off along with listening closely are major hurdles for many.

Fourth, it facilitates clarification. The back and forth of conversational flow happens best in this type of setting while looking in another’s eyes.

Most importantly, the eyes are the gatekeepers of the heart. In the deepest ways and on the most important issues of life, we don’t enter into one another’s hearts unless we first look into each other’s eyes.

I am a man…a husband…a father…a grandpa…a Christian…gay…in a mixed oriented marriage…chaste.

But as complicated as all that is, there is much more to me. But, you will never know unless we get…

Eye to eye.

-Trevor

The Problem With Gay People Is That They Are…

I know you’ve got a problem with gay people. Let me see if I’ve got this “straight” (pun included at no extra cost) –

The problem with gay people is that they are…

Normal
We love. We dislike. We work. We play. We hope. We lose hope. We dream. We despair. We are just normal people. Just like you.

We do not have some kind of mental or physical disease that needs to be fixed or cured. This is who we are. Our sexual orientation is just as an integral part of us as your heterosexual orientation is an integral part of you. Which means that just like you didn’t choose heterosexuality, we didn’t choose our homosexuality; just like you can’t change your orientation, we can’t change ours. This isn’t a fad or a phase we are going through. We aren’t out to win some popularity contest or be “cool” (are you kidding??).

For most of “us,” at least for those of us who are “out” to some extent, this has been a journey that has taken a significant amount of time and effort in our lives. In my own case, I’ve been on this journey since about the age of 9. In my compartmentalized state, I kept this hidden and secret. All because of the imposed shame that I was given. But, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m just your normal guy.

Too bad you can’t see me like that.

You really wish we were strange, freaky, hateful, and unlovable people. But, come to find out, we aren’t.

I know that’s a problem for you.

People of Faith
It may make you uncomfortable. It may make you squirm. You may not be able to bring yourself to accept the fact. But it is a fact. We love God. We love to worship. We love to study the Bible. We love to discuss theology. We love the community of faith. We love to volunteer to make our churches happy and healthy. We love to work alongside of you to reach the community and make it a better place. We believe that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son” (John 3:16). We are faithful followers of Christ. We are Christian.

Yes, we are gay Christians.

You really wish we were God-hating, devil-worshiping people. But, come to find out, we aren’t.

I know that’s a problem for you.

Agenda-Driven
You are right…we do, in fact, have an agenda.

Here is my personal gay agenda.

Here is the perspective of the “gay agenda” by a LGBTQ supporter.

You really wish we were out to destroy everything you hold dear. But, come to find out, we aren’t.

I know that’s a problem for you.

~~~~~~~

It is my belief that if these three facts could be embraced, then we could begin to have a good conversation about how true “community” can be expressed and experienced by all people. Straight and LGBTQ alike.

And more than a conversation. Conviction. Then…reality.

-Trevor

Various & Intriguing

<A few personal rambling thoughts of mine and some statements of others that have caught my attention the last few days.>

“I love her. I truly do!” It’s so difficult being in this state of my life. It really is no wonder that a very small percentage of mixed-orientation marriages last. And, add to those general statistics the fact that I came to acknowledge my sexual orientation nearly 25 years into our marriage…and add to that fact the devastating effect of my marital infidelity with another man. But all that pales in comparison to the fact that my love for my wife is a soul-deep and abiding love and commitment. Although my past has been far from perfect, I’m doing all that I can to show her my love and how much I want us to stay together. I don’t ever want to be apart from her. I don’t ever want to be separated from her. I don’t ever want to have the divorce discussion. NO! I want to grow old with her! I love her!! I can’t explain it…how I can be gay and still deeply in love with her. To am so attached to her. It’s more than a feeling, it is a fact. I just know it. It is. My love is. I.Love.Her.

“What’s next?” I’ve pretty much given up on the whole ministry thing. It didn’t take me too long to realize that any support I would be apple to garner would only be within certain parameters that really didn’t match my own experience. Add to that the fact that I lost my ministry in the first place because I had a sexual affair with another man. Having one with a woman would have been bad enough, but in that case there would have been some hope of my ministerial return. But, it seems the church can’t bring itself to employ the fully forgiving grace of God in a male/male affair, in that I was recently told that there “is no way” that I would be restored. So, I’m moving on. Now, I’m on a serious search for a much better paying job that will take me into a healthy and financially secure retirement. My dream is to spend my retirement years with my wife in full-time RVing…and it’s going to take some serious scratch to make that happen.

“Ben Carson said what??” In a recent interview with Chris Cuomo, the conservative presidential hopeful had this exchange:
  Chris Cuomo: “You think being gay is a choice?”
  Ben Carson: “Absolutely”
  Chris Cuomo: “Why do you say that?
  Ben Carson: “Because, a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay, so did something happen while they were in there?”

This blogger states, “As a neurosurgeon, Ben Carson is a man of science, but in this exchange he sounds like an uncle who has downed a pint of Wild Turkey and suddenly wants to make half the family uncomfortable with his dim views of the world.” When I read that, I was again reminded of the great ignorance that continues to dumb down some segments of our fellow Americans. My second thought was – president?!? Please God, no!!

“Victims don’t want to be well.” I recently heard a minister make this statement, along with many others that were simply ignorant of the pain and suffering, some lifelong, of those who have suffered abuse at the hands of other people, some of whom were “good church people.” Now, I will give the minister a little bit of a break because he prefaced the aforementioned statements by talking about the atmosphere of “victimization” of the American culture. The problem is, there is a huge difference between being a “victim” and someone who lives in the realm of “victimization.” He’s a smart guy and highly educated. He should have known better…he probably does. Quite frankly, he should have spent more time on that section of this sermon manuscript. Not only was I surprised by what he said, I was also somewhat offended. Because I’m a victim of sexual abuse; however, I’m not living in victimization. I know the difference. He should have, too.

“Out of fear of compromising its sexual ethic the Church has inadvertently compromised its more foundational witness of God’s reconciling movement toward humanity.” That statement literally jumped off the page at me. This blogger so effectively deals with the “label” issue. In case you aren’t a part of a faith community that is lost in knowing how to address and minister to the LGBTQ community, there is a raging battle between those who – like myself – carry the label of “gay Christian” and those who insist that is not possible and that we must use “same-sex-attracted” instead in order to be fully integrated into the faith community. I was recently told to basically “get lost” and that I had nothing to offer the conversation because I was simply concerned with being “politically correct” because I offered some suggested language changes to the church in attempting ministry to the LGBTQ community. After reading this blog, I was encouraged that I wasn’t alone. Sadly, some will just never get it.

I’m still friends with the monsters in my head.

Franklin Graham should stay out of race relations. At least until he spends some time outside his particular bubble. It is another ignorant, and ultimately stupid, statement by a southern, white, conservative, American minister. This blogger offers some good thoughts in that regard.

A few various and intriguing thoughts. What say you?

– Trevor

Conversation Feeders

Yesterday I wrote about Conversation Killers. Yes, it was a tough one to write. It was a little messy and very emotional. It was more reactive than proactive. I was venting. But I had to get it off my chest…I had been brooding on it for days.

Today, I want to turn more proactive and offer some simple steps that will get a healthy conversation going between the Church and the LGBTQ community.

Invite the story. Sit back, relax, stay quiet and just listen. Let the individual’s story come out of them and envelope you. Soak it in. Hear the struggle…the pain…the loss…the joy…the delight…the failure…the success. Hear it all. Ask open-ended questions that allow for more of the story to be revealed so that you can discover and learn more about your friend. Avoid leading questions or questions that assume a “correct” answer. Don’t be in a rush. Most likely, it’s a long one. The story of the discovery and acceptance of my sexual identity is a story that spans over 40 years. It’s impossible for that story to be told in one or even a few brief encounters. Let the process take just as long as it needs to take.

Don’t force a new story line. The person’s story is just that…their story. Don’t try to reinterpret it, don’t try to make it yours, and don’t try to make it a story about the sorry state of society or the “gay agenda” from Hollywood. And, don’t even try to make it a story about God at this point. It is only the story of the storyteller and it is that person’s to own and give away as they see fit. Be prepared for terminology that may make you uncomfortable or offend your senses. Let it be. Don’t try to clean up the story or make it sound more “presentable” for your world. Let it flow. If a christian gay man like me tells you that he’s gay, don’t insist that he say that he’s “same-sex attracted.” Doing so is offensive. There are some people in my circle of influence who have recently embraced a man who is ministering in this area. He is a strong communicator with a compelling story. However, there are some who are telling me that I need to express myself like he expresses himself by not using the word “gay,” but “same-sex attracted” instead; by not talking about “homosexuality,” but instead use the term “holy sexuality” in its place. Newsflash friends and family – he is gay! He is simply using terminology that is more agreeable to your tastes so that he can continue to minister in your congregations. Don’t try to make me translate my story to sound like his.

Think before you speak. It should go without saying that we should first consider our words and how they will be received by the listener. Knowing how to frame our words in such a way so that they are received with respect is a skill that too few in the church have acquired. I’m not saying avoid speaking truth into someone’s life; I’m saying be careful how you do that. The example I vented about yesterday is a perfect example of how not to communicate ideas.

Exist in humility. Don’t approach the conversation in such a way as to communicate that you have all the answers. Forget all the Bible passages that you have memorized to prove that homosexual sex is sinful. Be transparent with your storyteller that you are also on a journey and are still learning about what your own life and faith should look like. Communicate both verbally and non-verbally that you want to get to know them better. By doing so, you will show them that you are willing to link arms with them and be a sojourner with them. People aren’t looking for spectators who will watch for the wins and losses and keep track of each one; instead, they are looking for companionship. Humility is the fertile soil in which companionship grows.

Be safe. Keep the story to yourself. If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Don’t condemn. If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Don’t prescribe some “fix.” If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Yes, I know I repeated that phrase “If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation.” (You should get the point by now…) This is not a story to be flippantly observed, but one that is held near and dear by the storyteller. Recognize the high value the person places on it as they share. Assure your friend that you are safe…then prove it. Otherwise, just move on and let someone more capable have the conversation with them.

Everyone has their own idea of what will kill or feed a conversation with them. These are some key items for me.

Ready?

-Trevor

PS – I’d love to have a good conversation right here about this topic. I know you and others will have more and better ideas than myself. So, if you would share this in other formats, that would be awesome! Thanks!! 🙂