Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Art of the Online Hook-up

The online hook up, it seems simple. Go online, find a gay dating site, or any kind of dating site depending on your life. Post a profile , contact members be contacted and hook up. Simple right? easy right? So it would seem; But the reality is quite different! Some are just looking around, being curious and using the anominity the internet can provide to do so. I know I did. There are some who are looking but when it comes to committing to a meeting they don't, some even agree to meet but then don't show up. I have been stood up countless times. There are some who make a game out of not showing up.

Then there are the safety concerns. What might happen if they do indeed show up. some are hustlers who ask for money, others want to do things your not into or someway they are a turn off. Of course there is the risk of robbery, gay bashing, SDT's all the risks of hooking up. So why do it? Good question! The reason is not complex, its for the sex, or the possibility of sex, for the thrill of meeting a potential relationship partner. Who knows he just might be THE ONE. Plus to have a profile and be contacted and told your "hot" or whatever can be a thrill as well.

I have been "cruising" online for a number of years now. I don't hook-up much at all, it happens now and then. My last boyfriend was an online meeting, we were together for almost a year. My best-friend has taught me alot about online stuff. In fact we are on some of the same sites, a funny thing one time I saw his profile and did not realize it was him. I contacted him to let him know I was interested. He was too! We got into an online conversation before realizing there was something very familiar about this guy. I asked his name and bam. It was a real hoot. He has taught me about being safe, key things to look for. Now some of it you just know, its common sense. One thing I use as a rule of thumb. If the conversation is serious, and the other person wants to see a picture (face pic) before I send it I ask if I can call him. I want to hear his voice, and talk with him. this usually tells me if the person is serious. if not then I say no thanks and move on.

My latest "hook up" worked that way. This guy was real nervous, but he gave me his phone # I called, a sexy voice on the other end. We talked, agreed to a time and place to meet up. Guess what? He showed up! It turned out he is partnered, but things are not well in the relationship. In fact the relationship is pratically non existent anymore. We talked at length about it in fact he cried, I tried to give him some comfort. When he started crying I found myself saying the words I have heard from my CPE supervisor so often "Whats THAT all about?" This guy is sweet and sensitive. I'm a sucker for sweet and sensitive. We enjoyed each other, he said he would want to talk with me again. We will see. I will say yes to him again. Who knows HE might be the ONE.

Please note online hook ups should be taken seriously, you never really know who is on the other end till they show up. caution should always be used as with any blind date meet in a public place.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lord of The Dance

King David danced before the Lord, it was worship. Today at the Assisted Living where I serve part time as Chaplain, we had a Native American gentleman who brings the message once a month. Today he did a worship dance for our people, he danced to a native american tune which talked about how great our God is, high and Holy God. It was wonderful and the people enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. There is a hymn titled Lord of the Dance. Jesus is Lord of the dance. I am reminded of something a friend has said recently, that "Life is too short not to dance" This is something I am learning, my background dancing was frowned upon at best, being the "good" Baptist leader I thought I was supposed to be, I never danced. That is until I came to the Assisted Living, these folks know how to "cut a rug"! Not the kind of dancing I enjoy but dancing none the less.

I am finding that a part of the freedom the Lord has given me to be who I am is begining to involve dance. Its part of the expression of my liberty, to move to the music, even just in place, to move hands, arms, legs, to bounce to the beat of a good song at the club or in the living room. There is a liberty in it. I feel free, last night for instance at the club I go to, I danced by the table I was at, a friend there asked me if I felt the freedom in it? Yes I did! It was wonderful, to move and to enjoy the music. There is a song they play all the time that I enjoy, called I kissed a girl by Katy Perry, I love the song because of its beat, and the words the expression of a liberty to experience life. Another friend who knows me very well was there, and had never seen me "dance" before, was surprised, but also very encouraging and thought it is good I am comfortable enough to move to the music. He razzed me abit, it was fun!

There is another side to this, in my living room I listen to all kinds of music from classical, techno, club music to praise and worship, christian rock. In that place I am moving to the beat of music where the message is praise to my God. So dance is becoming part of my personal worship expereince! You know what? Its great! Its freedom! it was for freedoms sake that Christ set us free! I want to make the most of that freedom. Its freedom to be, freedom to do, freedom to become. Its a good thing as Martha Stewart would say.

On a totally different note, but showing my acceptance in the club I go to, I think. Friday night I was there and on this occasion I had a beer with my meal. (just something I do occasionally) Being the clutz I am I knocked it over spilling some. a joke was made out of, and we all laughed. Last night at the club, (I don't usually go out on Saturday night) I had a soda, guess what? somehow I knocked it over ice went everywhere. The owner of the establishment joked that I had 1 too many diet sodas. When I went to get a refill, at the bar, I was asked if I needed a sippy cup! It was a great laugh. I think there is acceptance when people are comfortable enough to joke with you.

My encouragement to anyone reading this is to be free, enjoy the dance, remember Jesus Christ is Lord of the dance.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is it This or That?

There is a lot going through my mind today. So many concerns, relationship, friendship, career, money. Which direction to take? I interviewed a few weeks ago for a position in the ER at one of the local Hospitals, it was a good interview. I would enjoy the place and the work I think. Its not a Chaplain position. I think I may need a break from professional ministry. Maybe not. The question in my heart and mind continues to be, can I minister effectively, and be seeking the relationships I want in the gay community? Go to the bar? Continue this path of self discovery? Perhaps not doing those things would make me less of an effective minister? Is God leading to a ministry in and to the gay community? If so what when and how? So much on my mind, I want so much to be authentic as a christian gay man. I want to be real in every aspect of life. I am free, God has set me free to be gay, do gay things, seek gay friendships/relationships. Now how to use that freedom? Maybe I am being too serious, taking these things too seriously. Just perhaps I just need to BE and not worry about the doing for a while.

To top everything off, there seems to be big changes on the horizon in the pastoral care department of the Hospital I work in. I am not sure how these will impact me. Possibly less hours, less pay which would be a very scary thing. How to pay the rent, put food on the table, fire in the furnace? Gas in the car? Yet I know God has a plan, He is in control. I sure am not. I continue to pray, look, praise, and pray some more.

On another note, my best friend and I are working through some issues in our relationship, a lot of progress and acceptance on both parts. I hope he is finding that I am more open to him and his shit than he thought I would be. He has certainly been open to mine! I asked a question the other day, he kinda stumbled on the answer. I felt bad afterward and apologized later. He said for what? I explaind and he said it was nothing we ask each other those questions, we tell each other that kind of thing. This is me your talkin to! Afterall we have been friends all this time. He knows me and understands me! What a blessing.

So I continue to pray and think on these things. Wait for the Lord to illumine my mind and heart on these things.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I am trying to add links to several blogs I read regularly. Please be patient with me as I learn how to do this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What am I Looking For?

A few days ago I was asked by someone "what are you looking for?" Good question! Sometimes I am not sure. At times I am wanting to find someone I connect with on as many levels as possible for a LTR, someone to be my husband as it were. (This best fits my christian goals and hope.) Other times I am looking for one, two or three for sexual friendship. Deep down I hope to find one to love and be loved by, to love me as much as I love him. To be faithful as a lover and a friend. Then I must admit there are times I am just looking for sex... There I said it. Does not mean it happens.

There is something that concerns me greatly about finding a relationship. That is the propensity of my potential partner to cheat. I have been told by a number of gay friends that cheating is the norm amoung gay couples. Something I find disturbing given the idea of commitment, the problems that have to be overcome getting into a relationship, plus the potential for STD's. The one who asked me the above question told me the only way he and his partner stay together is the fact they are in an open relationship. He said "men are dogs" My question is why is this so? Is it true? I am not sure I could handle knowing the one I live with and love is with someone else, does this mean I am not enough? Of course this speaks to my own self esteem, sense of security, codependecny issues. It is real though.

The one who asked this question also suggested to me that I get to know more people first, and have "sexual friendships", then see what develops from there. Hmmm. My best friend has told me I am not ready yet. He is afraid I would be setting myself up to get hurt. By the way, I am in love with my best friend, he knows it. He says he is not looking for a relationship; I am praying for that to change someday. Am I waiting? Yes and no. I am looking, but I still have to answer the question "What am I looking for?" I guess I will know when I find it...I may have found it.

By the way, a question to anyone who might read this blog...Is cheating truely the "norm" in gay relationships? What is your experience with this? I would be pleased to hear from you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Out by Going to the Bar

For now I want to jump ahead in time. Last summer I had the idea of visiting a gay bar or two. You have to understand coming from my background, I did not drink or dance or go to places where there was drinking and dancing. Now I never thought there was anything wrong with dancing, but the image I thought I had to uphold was not to be seen in this context. I have come to believe there is nothing wrong with a drink now in then either. Just so long as the Holy Spirit controls me and not the drink.

Going to any bar much less a gay bar was so out there for me. There are about seven or eight gay bars in the area. some small others large. I decided I would go early and eat a meal at this one bar. I went about 6 on a Saturday...well all I did was drive through the parking lot. Several months went by and I spoke to a friend of mine about my thought of going to a bar. He laughed and then told me the best place for me would be this one which happened to be close to home. He said I would be "safe" there, the owner and staff look out for the patrons, plus we both happen to know the owner. We went to school with him! Small world.

Well same story I would try and just drive by the place, then I drove in the lot and parked, but ended up leaving. This went on for sometime. It became a big deal, I prayed about it and felt I needed to overcome this fear. We know where this kind of fear comes from. Well early this year I was determined to go, so one Saturday night I went out about 9, drove into the parking lot and parked, there were a lot of cars! This time I got out of my car, and walked to the door. I could hear the thump a thump a of the music. As I stood looking at the door trying to get the courage to walk in... The door swings open and a group of people come out and hold the door for me. So I guess I am going in.

Once in the bar I figure out where the drinks are ordered. I drank a soda. I sat at the bar for about an hour or so just taking it all in. People watching. what an experience! I decided I am going back. Since then I visited several of the bars, one I was not comfortable in at all and only stayed there a few minutes. The other I go to once in a while. But this one, the first one I visited has become a regular Friday night hang-out for me. I am comfortable there, welcomed, even known and its ok. Its nice being in the company of other GLBT folk. Its a place that serves good food as well. In this bar I experienced my first beer. My first dance, my first time singing in front of people not in church.
This place I go to sometimes twice a week, its fun! Its a part of my coming out journey.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Truth and Acceptance

Truth and Acceptance. Early one February day in my payer time, I was praying about what I am to do with my sexuality and something supernatural happened to me. I found myself telling the truth about myself to God. Oh I had confessed it many times before but this was different. I found myself saying to God, this... is... me, this is who I am, please help me to accept myself the way you made me. Use this in my life according to your will. Through tears I came out to my Lord, and even myself to what He already knew about me. The flood of emotion was intense, there was a flood of tears, love, peace, freedom and a sense of acceptance that was and continues to be overwelming. At the same time there was a sense of grief at lost opportunities and wasted years fighting myself and God, hiding instead of honestly dealing with my sexuality.

I remember several times in the Hospital where I spoke to Gay patients and even a staff member about God's love for and acceptance of them. How they needed to accept themselves; yet I could not do that for myself! what a hypocrit! Still in the time of prayer that day, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit much stronger than ever before. There was such a sense of awe this was a Holy thing that I could not move. I was as a dead man, I had to stay on my face before God in silence and tears. It was truly a Be still and know I AM God moment. A theophany. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is, was and will be the God of me. The Lord Jesus Christ is MY Lord. During these moments of silence the thought or phrase ran through my mind "finally you are who you are, its about time." In the words of Paul I Cor 15:10 I am what I am by the grace of God. The change has been gradual but very drastc compared to where I was and where I am now.

I believe that God has called me to minister as a chaplain and pastoral counselor, being gay does not negate that call. I am seeking a place where I can be who I am and do what I am called and gifted to do. I also know that I do not have the gift or call to be alone and celibate . I need and want friends or someone I can share my life with. I want to find the one who will love me as much as I love him. There is a discomfort beteen being who I am, meeting guys, and going to a gay bar, doing typically gay things and being a minister, the supposed "Holy man" Problems also which I discussed in the catch 22 blog as well. where is the balancing point? The things I spoke of are of the gay lifestyle, I am gay. yet I am free! Free to be me! the lord has set me FREE!!! I have been more honest with myself, God and those I am out to than ever before. Am I wrong to hook up? especially if its someone who might be the one? I don't think it is. Is it wrong for me to express myself the way I do at times? just depends on how and to whom, motive. yet I can't do this on my own, I need you Lord to be my guide and guard. I need friends who accept me and understand me; to love and be loved by them. all in God's timing right?

One thing is for sure. I will continue this journey Phil 3:13-14 Forgetting what lies behind, looking forward to what lies ahead...I press on for the prize the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. There is no turning back, and I don't want to even if I could.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Turning Point

The turning point for me in my coming out, was when I began Clinical Pastoral Education. I began to understand the feelings that I had ignored, repressed, fought all my life. Through CPE, I found a niche, a specialized ministry where I could make a difference. This was very fulfilling for me. At the same time through a series of situations and events; I opened the door to the closet I had been hiding in all my life.

I opened that door, I entered. I entertained these feelings as never before, I learned new things, and had new experiences. I indulged in somethng I thought would satisfy and that would be the end of it. I was wrong, it was really a window, it let me see and experience a side of me that is real, that I don't understand. But I must accept my homosexuality.

Since that time I have prayed for forgiveness, and healing. I have rebuked it, renounced it tried again and again to ignore and repress it. It has not worked, it was a period of time like the dark night of the soul. I have also searched the Scripture for truth, done research to try and understand it. I had numerous conversations and made friends along the way. I learned all I could about sexuality and spirituality. Trying to find away to either live with it or be healed of it.

First and foremost in my mind were the Bilblical implications. I now understand that the prohibitions in culture, context and history were mainly concerning idol worship, false gods and temples as well as a focus on population. Where the abomination comes from in sexuality and specifically homosexuality is somethtng that is worshiped rather than the one true living God. There are more Scriptures which speak of God's grace and forgiveness than condemnation. I also read some of the research that is available concerning this subject and found there is scientific evidence which suggests this is something a person is born with. There are chemical and brain differences which a person has no control over. Which tells me this is not something of choice, or even environment but the way one is made, wired which has helped me see myself and those like me differently. These things have been and still are being debated today. I can't debate it, I still don't understand it. I believe this I was born gay. All I know is I did not choose it, it is something deep inside me I can not change and God has not released or healed me from.

Second and more personal to me is Psalm 139 which spoke very clearly to me one day. That God knows me, knows my thought from afar, knows my standing and my sitting, God is intimately aquainted with ALL my ways. God Wove me in mother's womb and made me in secret, and God KNEW me. God has the days of my life numbered before Him. The creator God, created me to be who I am.

Third the GRACE of God, the only thing that separates one from God is sin, the thing that separates one eternally, rejecting God's grace offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. Once one is in Christ Romans 8:1, states there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. To say otherwise means that God's grace, the work of Christ is not sufficient. Which is simply not truth, not the Christ I know nor the power of God as I have experienced Him. Jesus spoke and said He is the way the truth and life no one comes to the Father but through me. The Bible also states in John 8:32 "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. " Freedom is what i was looking for at this point. Either freedom from or freedom to be. As I looked and studied the Scripture, the Holy Spirit began to open the eyes of my heart, He illumined my mind and heart to a new understanding. Something I had not thought of or seen prior to this point in my life. The CPE process of self discovery was continuing. Now this did not happen in one year, but it took about 6 years to get through my thick brain and hard heart. Well, maybe not hard heart but I did have alot of fear to overcome. Paul states God has made us to be more than overcomers!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Coming Out part 3

Continueing the thoughts about coming out. I don't recall the first time I knew I had desires toward guys. I did know I could not let on about it. I was a teenager. It did not really bother me until I got serious about my relationship with God. The teaching in the church I went to at the time which was a conservative Southern Baptist church were I learned to be a Bilblical literalist. I am greatful for the foundation I aquired in that setting, it actually helped me later on to do serious research on the subject of Homosexuality. Although I have changed, my spirituality has changed. The truth has not changed that being that Jesus Christ is Lord. My approach, and my interpretation has progressed by what I believe to be the enlightenment or illumination of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. I will say more about that later as I share.

What I want to say here is, the teaching I was under led me to believe there was something very wrong with me. It led me to pray for forgiveness, confess it daily, to bury it deep within me. repress it if you will. All the while I was growing spiritually, learning the Scripture and even experiencing a call to vocational ministry. Yet there was something holding me back it seemed. I still do not understand that, maybe I never will. All the while I was very secretly and privately fantasizing about sex with men. Sometimes these were far apart, other times it was more regular. It tormented me, both the fantacy as well as the guilty feelings about them. I must say here that I never thought of suicide, at least not seriously. Does anyone have a similar experience?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coming Out Part 2

To continue the thought of my last post about coming out. I am finding that I am coming out in different ways. Our Lord has changed me so much, my language has changed, my viewpoint has changed, how I interact has changed. All of this has been for the better, at least for the most part. Some might argue that my language is coarser, but sometimes it naming it what it is! Especially with the raw emotion in the midst of crisies. I am much freer than I have ever been in my life and that feels SO good. Truely I have been set free by the truth!

I am coming out in small yet significant ways. For instance I had a mustache of many years, in December I shaved it off. I thought regaining my youthful appearance. In the early part of the year I grew it back along with a goatee! Something I would have never dreamed of having in the past. You know what? I love it! I am thinking of getting a tatoo as well, also something I would never have dreamed of having in the past. Not sure yet, I am tempted to get a rainbow fish, or perhaps a lion with fire in his eyes, (the Lion of Judah) if I do it it may end up being just a cross. Its an expression.

Something else, I began going to a local gay bar, I love it too. The music, food, and being in the company of other gay men and women. The owners have come to know me as well, what I like to eat and drink, a good friend of mine who goes there too, has made sure they know what I should not drink or eat, or how much. I am getting to know a few people in there as well. NO "hook ups" at least not yet. the process of finding mr. Right. that is a whole different story.
So the process continues.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coming Out

Coming out is something every gay man or woman works at, frets over and eventually works through in one way or another. Me I am a late bloomer, mainly due to my SBC background, I did not allow myself the opportunity to deal with it. I repressed it, did not think about, confessed it time and again. I thought it was something horrible, something must be wrong with me. It seemed to go against everything I learned in church, in the Bible.

It was not until I began my chaplaincy training that I realized these feelings and urges were real. They were and are a part of who I am. Wow! I began to seek answers about my sexuality, both in the Bible and in science. there is too much to say about that here. I began a process that took a number of years, it began when i opened a door to gay expereinces. not just sex, but talking with gay men about sexuality, it was a difficult journey. I have not finished either.

Like spiritual growth this is a process I will be on for the rest of my life. I have found that my spirituality informs my sexuality. Spirituality and sexuality are closely linked. This process has changed me greatly, I am more down to earth, at peace with myself, more liberal in a sense of being free to be me, and allow others to be themselves. I am free by the grace of God! I surrender my life and sexuality to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free! Jesus Christ himself is truth. It was when i recognized the truth about myself before my God that I was set free. I am what I am by the Grace of God.

Coming to terms and coming out to ones self, to God, and then to significant people in your life is no small task. There is alot of risk involved. So far I have been blessed with wisdom from the Holy Spirit as to who to tell. There are those who I will never be able to tell. That is ok, so I will most likely never be generally out. Unless the Lord has other plans for me. I am out vto other GLBT folks I have met. I am out to my sister, to my CPE supervisor, and a few others. The circle is enlarging. What a journey!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Old Catch 22

As a gay man and minister, I find myself in a catch 22 situation. In the christian community as a whole if I were to come out generally, there would most certainly be fear, and rejection. Unless of course I am in a gay christian community it would be more accepting. If I were to let people I meet in a gay club, or gay social setting know I am a minister there would be a "freaking" them out. It would scare off potential friends, and suiters. I become unapproachable, untouchable, seen as someone who is judgmental, and closed minded just because I carry the title "rev" how fair is that O Lord? I have asked plenty of times. what is THAT all about? It is very painful, and I have scared away guys who could have been great friends, but I was honest, being a truth teller.

This puts me in a very uncomfortable place of evading the question "what do you do?" This raises suspicions. Not cool. So I ask whats a guy to do? I have not quite figured that out yet. I am looking to scale back my professional ministry and do something else, which may not be a bad thing. This has caused criticism from collegues who know who I am.

here is the cause I think, so many in the GLBT community have experienced first hand the pain of rejection and loss by coming out in the christian community. or them figuring it out themselves. It has turned so many away from church, away from God. what a tool of the evil one? Whats the answer? You tell me. I don't know, so as a result I am not longer hiding from myself and God who I really am, now I am hiding in a different way. or am I?

I highly recomend the DVD "for the Bible tells me so" its a documentary. its available on NetFlix. I cried most of the way through it. Its worth viewing.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My First Post!!!

Well I have no idea if anyone is even going to read this, and who cares. I am doing this to have a place to express my thoughts. Well a little about me. First I am not revealing my name or location because of a need to be discreet. You see I am a christian who is an ordained minister and also happens to be gay. I don't work in a church, but serve as a healthcare Chaplain. Something I will talk about more later.

First I must say that I am a christian first and gay second. My relationship with God through Jesus Christ is what informs everything else in my life. Being gay is really a small part of what makes me who I am. Yet it impacts almost every area of me, its what makes me more passionate, compassionate. Its been a long journey for me to get to the place where I sit today writing this blog. Something else I will write about later as well. that is why this blog is called my rainbow journey. I intend to write about my journey. Well that does it for my first post. I will write when I have something to say.