Thursday, September 4, 2008

Faith in JACK

For whatever reason, my faith had been on my mind. I know that there are thousands and millions, even, that find it hypocritical for a gay man to believe in Christ - I know. I know that there seems to be only an option to choose one or the other. But what is miraculous about the faith in JACK is that it still burns, even after all the church put me through.

See, there's a difference between being faithful and being religious. Religiosity is about being given to the rules and teachings of an institution, about doing things like going to church, giving to the poor, paying your tithes and reading the Bible. But faith? That's rooted deep within - either you believe, or you don't. Religiosity is behaving the way a church says you need to behave because you have that faith in you. But it has nothing to do with the faith itself. Nothing at all.

Therefore, make no mistake about it - I love the Lord. And I believe many things, which for the purposes of this post are irrelevant. I sit here instead thinking about the churches I've been a member of and remembering the ridiculous things I went through trying to deal with my sexuality in the church. I was convinced that it was wrong, depraved and that it would be my demise, sending me directly to hell. It took me a long time to get over that nonsense and sit comfortably in my seat in 1A, willlingly.

Here are the cliff notes, that will show up in-depth in The Evolution of Indifference:

  • When I went off to college, my pastors disowned me because I did not choose to attend Bible School. I rarely spoke to them again, even though we were like family, and they insisted that it was my responsibility to maintain contact with my pastors, not their responsibility to maintain contact with me. Nice - I was 17, lived an 8 hour drive away and didn't have long distance. Classy.
  • Upon moving to Indianapolis, I called a church to find out about them. My then girlfriend asked me to tell them that we were an interracial couple to see what he said. So, I mentioned it and asked if that would be a problem. There was a pause. And then a confession that the older member would probably have a problem with it but the church itself welcomed us. We never went.
  • When I was dealing with my sexuality as a married man, the then wife and I went to visit one of the pastors of the church we had been attending. It has about 13,000 members and dozens of pastors. He had no idea what to do, seemed uncomfortable and referred me to a local bible college.
  • At the local Bible College, I met with the oldest White man ever who tried to convince me that I had obviously been molested as a toddler and that I just don't remember it. I told him he was crazy; he insisted he was correct. I stopped seeing him.
  • I then started seeing a counselor that "specialized" in a gay ministry. He had been caught solicited an undercover police officer for sex in a public park and was arrested. He then had to step down as head of the men's ministry at his church. Forgiven and recovered, he started a ministry. All he wanted from me was specifics about what my fantasies were about. As in who was there, what was happening, what role was I playing. Ever see that look in a man's face ... the perverted, I'm-about-to-start-salivating look? Right - I was through with this mother fucker.

I did everything I could think of to deal with the demon within me. And then, it hit me - this shit isn't just going away. And I got to thinking about how I was feeling. I was sexually frustrated, sex with my wife became like a chore, I felt contagious, was deeply depressed and was only a shell of the person I used to be before I got married. I was introverted, wanted to do nothing but sit at home and I was always sick - my immune system responded to my depression and if it wasn't strep, it was an ear infection or some other URI and the same with my then wife. The doctors' made a fortune off of us in those days. Yet, the "christian" thing to do was stay married, fester in my frustration (because I would never, EVER cheat - that's just not classy), and take it out on my kids for the rest of my life.

The divorce was imminent - and it happened. And part of the discussion was this: it does the kids no good for us to stay together and both be miserable when we can divorce and each be happy while we raise our kids. And what kid wants miserable parents? Seriously, it was in their best interest that we divorce. So we did. (Not that it was easy)

Look, having experienced first-hand the living hell it is not to accept my sexuality - there's nothing anyone can tell me that will convince me that it's God's will that I live like that. If he is the soverign, loving God I know Him to be - that's not what he wants for me. And if my sexuality is something that you can program right out of me, then it should be something of the past already, because I subjected myself to pastor after pastor and christian counselor after christian counselor trying to do just that.

Until, that is, I decided to take my brain back. I believe in God, but refuse to succomb to religiosity. That's what gay ministries amount to in my mind. My relationship with the Lord is just that - my relationship. It has nothing to do with you, or the church or the mail lady. It's between me and Him. And for the record, He and I be talkin' all the time. I be like, 'yo, Jesus whas gooood?' and he responds in kind. Because the Man totally speaks my language. And I'm sure He speaks yours too. He's good like that. And when I reach the gates of heaven, I'm a walk right through singing:

I welcome any debate.


The Jaded NYer said...

gates of heaven?? YOU??



surely you jest, Mr. 1A...

(I might post a serious response later on tonight, 'cause you know I have 3 trillion issues with the church, but I had to come with the funny first!)

JACK said...

Well, not JACK, per se ... but ME. JACK is 1A with Jaded in 1B.

Super Dave Van Buren said...

I'm not sure if I'll be on that plane with ya'll but save me some peanuts anyway. But the time the apocalypse comes peanut prices will be sky high... lol

JACK said...

You can fly coach, Dave

Anonymous said...

Interesting experiences to say the least. Will just say, God made you and he makes no mistakes!

JACK said...

anon: *call back time*