Monday, August 01, 2005

Sacrifices To Be Made

Three years ago, I told my family during Thanksgiving that I was gay. I was the one in the family considered to be the most spiritually mature because at that point I had been a Christian for nine years. When I became a Christian, it took awhile for the rest of the family to accept that I was different. I never drank alcohol. I never smoked. I stopped cursing. I never partied (at least wildly). I never did drugs. I was concerned about the things of God and that made me weird. In fact, at one memorably hostile Christmas, my sister even called me 'holier-than-thou'. But i was consistent in my faith and they realized that that's the person i was. It wasn't just a religious phase. It was an important part of my life and they eventually accepted me. Actually, one by one, they began to accept Christ as well.

Then i told them that I was gay. They immediately accepted me and were supportive of me. When i say i told them i was 'gay', i actually put it in the context of struggling with same sex attractions - but i also told them that i've struggled all my life. Saying it this way was somewhat more palatable for them i think. They could sympathize with a struggle because it wasn't really a lifestyle. I wonder how different it would be if I actually took a boyfriend to a family holiday function? I love my family though and I know that they love me.

Yet, I also know that there would be some pretty serious sacrifices to be made if i were to pursue a committed relationship with a guy. Pretty much all my ministry life revolves around a 'straight' world. (Me checking out this gay-friendly church is very much a secret). Making that kind of a bold decision would change the way I function in my current ministry. Is that a sacrifice i'm willing to make? Ministry isn't just a 'job' - for me its a lifestyle. My faith is a lifestyle. It's not that simple just to say someone else will take over the ministry and I can go on with my life with a guy and finally really 'be happy'. I'm happy in ministry. I'm happy serving Christ. Of course I want to be happy physically and emotionally and of course (i think) i'd be happy in a loving relationship with a guy. But there's something about knowing Jesus and serving Him in whatever capacity I can that is fulfilling.

Serving Him in ministry is an act of worship - it's my choice and my honor and my privilege. I was created to worship Him. I love Him and I love serving Him. But the reality is that embracing my 'gayness' would change the way I serve Him. I would only embrace it if i believed that God was okay with it - but i know that even if i came to that conclusion, between me and God, other people may not accept it and so that's what i mean when i say my current ministry will change. I know i can always serve God at this gay-friendly church that i've been checking out. I know that I will always find a way to serve Him in whatever context i'm in. But i like the ministry that He placed me in now and i'd hate to have to make a choice between it and an openly 'gay christian' life.

It felt good telling my family that i was gay. It felt good telling select friends about me as well. It feels good to be at a church with other gay people and for me to feel free being myself. But i'm still very much in the closet in terms of public ministry life. I like that more and more (safe) people know about me. But not everyone does and that makes it still pretty lonely.

8 comments:

Brian said...

Eric,

I appreciate your struggle. I found your blog today via a link at badchristian.

I'd like to mention another blog which might interest you - Gay Restorationist, by a gay member of the Churches of Christ (a conservative Christian denomination).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I mean it.

JF said...

Hey Eric! I linked to your site from badchristian.com. I read some of your posts and while my immediate reaction to reading your blog was judgmental. I stopped and remembered what Brandon of Badchristian.com had to say about your truth and honesty and I thought to myself, "I stuggle too, not with a samesex attraction, but with other things that I am convinced are sins. So what right to I have to be judgmental of you in your 'struggle'? I answered my question. I don't. You struggle and I struggle, neither of us are choosing to continually fall into sin, but we stuggle. Hang in their Brother, God HAS the answers!

David Wiens said...

Eric,

Just finished reading your blog in its entirety. Thanks for your vulnerability. Your pursuit of truth will benefit more than just you and other struggling homosexuals; this blog will also help heterosexuals like me who don't know how to think about this issue, who struggle to reconcile God's message of incessant love for all with traditionally judgmental Christian doctrine. Thanks.

dw

Heidi said...

Eric -

I found your blog from www.badchristian.com.

I'm stunned...humbled...and though I don't know you, I'm grieving for your struggle, praying for you, hoping that God answers the cries of your heart. You're in a tough place, a place I can't imagine or understand, but a place that I respect and honor as your Christian sister. I can't imagine how alone you must feel, how judged, and how marginalized, but I just wanted to let you know that there are those out here that will accept you as you are, where you are. Keep up the good work.

Eric said...

You are all so awesome! Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

Steve said...

I'm another referal from Brandon's blog and I wish you all the support possible.

God made you who you are so you should never feel ashamed.

It is a shame that God's church on earth is causing so much pain on this issue so what you're doing here can only be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

i, too, surfed over here from badchristian's blog.

i hear so much of me in this post. i am a queer youth pastor. i've been closeted for my whole time working at the church, but recently i met and fell in love with a wonderful woman. so i resigned from the church because i didn't want to have to hide who she was to me. and now i am in a period of transition. i will end my over three year ministry at my church the end of this month. i'm not sure what to do next.

i still feel called to ministry though, and to the pastorate. so i think i will eventually end up in seminary and look to serve as an out person in a church where i can hopefully make a difference.

thank you for sharing your life so honestly.

shay
http://www.livejournal.com/users/divinemaddness
divinemaddness@gmail.com