I thought I should blog at least once before Christmas. Life has gotten a bit hectic recently, what with packing up my home, and packing for Korea, and Christmas shopping… and today I leave for Toronto to celebrate Christmas with my mom. Always a good time (note: that was sarcasm). As always, I am hoping for a peaceful and conflict-free holiday, but not banking on it. Mom and I have been at each other’s throats for a while now (she is wanting me to promise to come back from Korea in 6 months for some rather unnecessary medical tests, and I am refusing to make such a promise because I believe it is ridiculous…), and so I really can’t see how she would not take advantage of my proximity to try and sway me to her side.
Anyway, enough about the unpleasantness… Christmas is such a wonderful time; I do love it (aside from family drama). A time to remember that God became one of us. It is really overwhelming when you think about it. Which I inevitably do at some point over the Christmas holidays… I will suddenly realize what it is that we are celebrating and feel awestruck. God Himself became flesh and dwelt among us… but more than that, He came as a helpless baby. I can’t really wrap my head around it. We hear it so often that for the most part we don’t pay attention, it’s a story we are so familiar with. But it truly is amazing. The incarnation… when I think about it, I am just so glad to be a Christian. So happy to worship a God who would do such a thing.
Well, that’s all I have to say. I will try and blog at least once before I take off for Korea. May your holidays be wonderful, and stress-free, and may Christ be real for you, may His presence overwhelm you, may you know His love for you this Christmas.
Friday, December 23, 2005
I thought I should blog at least once before Christmas. Life has gotten a bit hectic recently, what with packing up my home, and packing for Korea, and Christmas shopping… and today I leave for Toronto to celebrate Christmas with my mom. Always a good time (note: that was sarcasm). As always, I am hoping for a peaceful and conflict-free holiday, but not banking on it. Mom and I have been at each other’s throats for a while now (she is wanting me to promise to come back from Korea in 6 months for some rather unnecessary medical tests, and I am refusing to make such a promise because I believe it is ridiculous…), and so I really can’t see how she would not take advantage of my proximity to try and sway me to her side.
Posted by JJ at 10:32 AM
Friday, December 16, 2005
Well, I ended up on the fake radio again (December 16, 2005 episode)… those guys are going to give me a swelled head!
I also saw King Kong, and (mild spoiler alert!) I just have one question… how come, at the end of 2005, I can still go to an action movie and know that the black guy is going to die? What is up with that? Seriously, the minute I saw the black guy I thought “Dude, run! You’re the only black guy, you’re doomed!”
I enjoyed the movie though, it’s fun… and I admit to being fascinated by special effects. I did have to shut my eyes during the bug part, but other than that I totally enjoyed it. It didn’t make me cry like the original did though, but I saw the original as a very young girl so things might be different now. (“Mommy, why are they shooting at the big monkey? It’s not his fault… he’s just a monkey, he doesn’t know… Mommy, is the monkey going to die? Mommy? Mommy!?!?!?”)
In other news, I finally signed some contracts and am off to Korea soon… as soon as 3 weeks… which means I have a lot to do, and I have not started at all. Well, that’s not true. I’ve put ads up to sublet my place (hey, if any of you know someone who wants a 2 bedroom, fully furnished condo in Ottawa for $1000/month including utilities, drop me a line!), but I haven’t started packing or anything. I really need to get on that. Like, right now actually. But I’m writing a blog entry so it will have to wait.
Uh… actually, I have no other news… so I guess I have to get to work. Damn.
Posted by JJ at 9:53 AM
Monday, December 12, 2005
We evangelicals have a tendency to read the Bible as a sort of text book or study guide – a divinely inspired, infallible, authoritative text book, but nonetheless, as a text book. We read it chapter by chapter, verse by verse… or sometimes we use the subheadings that some of the publishers put in for us.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this. I think having a method and format for studying the Scriptures is important. And everything in the Bible is good for teaching, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading it and analyzing it verse by verse… some amazing revelations can come by doing that. (Of course, some scary things can come of that too.) But every once and a while I like to try and read it a bit differently. You know, I’ll take one of the epistles of Paul and read it as a letter, the way it would have been originally read. I’ll pick one, like 1 Corinthians, and read it all the way through, in one sitting, the way people actually read letters, and try and understand what the Corinthians would have originally taken out of it. (By the way, when I did that, the conclusion I came to is that Paul was very upset with the Corinthians.)
Another thing I’ve done in that vein is read the Gospels as narratives. I think I did this on the recommendation of one of my pastors. The first thing I remember noticing is that the Gospel writers were obviously a little upset with Judas Iscariot. That probably sounds like a kind of stupid thing to notice, but it seemed that they couldn’t mention his name without explaining that he eventually betrayed Christ, even if it had nothing to do with the event they were discussing at the moment.
There were a couple of other things that I noticed when reading through the Gospels this way, but there was one story, at the end of John that stood out to me the most. I had read it many times before, but for some reason it stood out to me this time.
“Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.”
This, to me, is one of the sweetest stories in the entire Bible. The disciples go to the tomb, and Jesus’ body is gone, so they go home… but Mary is so heartbroken, she can’t leave. Angels appear to her, but she doesn’t care. She only cares that Jesus is gone.
Jesus, of course, was in the middle of the most important work in the history of mankind. Human history pivots on this point. Because of the resurrection, we can be saved… redeemed. He conquered death. He made a way for us to go to heaven.
In short, Jesus was busy.
But Mary was grieving, and Jesus, in the middle of the incomprehensively important work he was doing not only took notice of her grief, but stopped what He was doing to come and see her, to comfort her. It’s not like He couldn’t have come and seen her after He was done, after He had returned to the Father, but He could see how she needed Him right then, and so He came. This says so much to me about who Jesus is, His heart, His love for us.
This has nothing to do with what is generally the theme of this blog, but my pastor mentioned this story in passing yesterday, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Thought I’d share a bit.
Posted by JJ at 12:01 PM
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I know I said I wouldn't be posting, but I just wanted to transcribe a little bit of the conversation between me and one of the counselors this morning.
Counselor: "So, just to be clear. You are at a point where you believe homosexuality is okay..."
Counselor: "You believe that it is okay to have homosexual sex?"
Me: "Not necessarily"
Counselor: "I don't get it..."
Me: "There is a difference between orientation and behavior."
Me: "I have never done anything with a woman, I have not even come close."
Counselor: "But if you met a woman you would."
Me: "No... not necessarily"
Counselor: "I don't get it..."
Me: "It's the same as for heterosexuals... if you believe in waiting until marriage, just because you meet someone you like doesn't mean you can have sex with them."
Counselor: "....Oh... so... if you met a woman and fell in love with her and got married, then you would have sex..."
Me: "No... not necessarily. I don't necessarily believe that gay marriage is okay for Christians."
Counselor: "I don't get it."
Me: "There's a difference between orientation and behavior... just because I want something doesn't mean I can have it."
Counselor: "I don't get it..."
Okay, what? What doesn't she get?
Apparantly we are going to pray through issues of "sexual imprinting" that happened when the girls abused me when I was younger... cause that's why I'm gay... You know, I was afraid that the gay thing would derail this whole process, and it seems like that is going to happen.
But... again, God... I submit this to You. Your will be done, Your kingdom come in my life.
Posted by JJ at 12:54 PM
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
So, I’m leaving today for my 3 day intensive counseling session. (I know I called it a counseling week before, but well, it’s just 3 days… they are condensing it for me.) I’m trying to keep an open mind about the whole thing… I know that I do have issues to deal with (as I imagine we all do), and so I know that it is possible that this week could turn out to be quite productive. I pray that God is present and His will is done, not my mom’s… not mine… but His.
In other news, I spent most of last night on the phone to Korea. I am going to be teaching English there next year at some point, and last night I had several phone interviews. I have to say that while I’m not exactly used to the format, having job interviews over the phone is awesome… I was wearing my pajamas! And besides, I give good phone. During my stint as a telemarketer, I was proposed to a few times, and offered several jobs by business men looking for secretaries because apparently I sound really good on the phone. I don’t know that I agree (you can listen to me on the fake radio – November 25th and December 2nd shows – and decide for yourself), because to me, my voice sounds weird on the phone, but… well, other people seem to think I sound really good.
Anyway, it’s all happening really fast. There was nothing for a while, and then suddenly a flood of offers and interviews. I could be there as early as the first week of January, which doesn’t leave me much time to find someone to rent my place while I’m gone, but I’m going to trust God on that one. I’m quite excited about it. I have been stationery for far too long.
The other night at church, I was talking about going to Korea and one of my friends insisted that I was going to Korea to get away from my mother. While I don’t deny that that is part of the appeal (as it was part of the appeal in going to Ireland… and Belize… and moving to Ottawa in the first place), it is not the reason. The reason I’m going? Well, I talked about it a little bit in this post, and then again in this post, and most recently in this post. My life feels kind of drab, and I want to fill it with things that aren’t drab. And conveniently, teaching in Korea pays well… which is rather necessary as I now have a mortgage to pay off (oh the trials of being a grown up!). Not to mention that the feeling of being alone is much easier to take when you actually are alone, rather than surrounded by people you love and who love you. Feeling isolated in a group of your friends sucks, and that’s how I feel… even from those friends who know my deep, dark secret. It’s understandable, they all have their own lives to contend with… I can’t reasonably expect any of them to be wrestling this issue out with the same passion I am. But it’s so frustrating… they all (with one exception) have their husbands (or wives, girlfriends, boyfriends…) that they can debrief with at the end of the day; someone for whom they are a priority, someone who cares deeply what’s going on in their heads, what is affecting their emotions, what issues are troubling them. And it’s not that my friends don’t care… or even care deeply, it’s just that it’s not their issue in the way that it would be with someone I was partnered with. (And don’t read into that that I want to be ‘partnered’ with any of my friends, because wonderful as they all are, I really don’t.) I’m alone… or at least I feel alone. And I can handle that better when I actually am alone.
And besides, traveling is awesome. I love going to new places and living in and absorbing new cultures… meeting new people. It really is a joy to me. And then I can say that I’ve lived and worked on 3 continents… after I’ve paid off my mortgage I think I will head to Africa and teach there for a while. They just don’t pay enough for me to go there right now, which is kind of a shame.
Anyway, I will be incommunicado for a bit… I think I will have internet access, but I doubt I’ll be posting until I get back on Saturday… or shortly thereafter, I may need some time to unwind.
Posted by JJ at 12:02 PM
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I have no real excuse. My brain has just been foggy lately… well, all of November. I can’t think about anything really for very long. Hopefully I will come out of this haze soon.
I made it on the fake radio again… the December 2nd, 2005 show.
I should also tell you that I will be absent for a little while longer. My mom has “encouraged” (read “bullied) me to go to a counseling week at her church. She has decided that all of our relationship problems are actually my problems and if I deal with my issues, she can continue to behave in the same way. It’s a little maddening. But I’m going. I’m sure it will be interesting. I decided to be honest when filling out the forms, something which I’m regretting now. I know that they will try and pray the gay away… which, honestly, if it was going to work, I think it would have worked by now. But, well, I’m hoping that the week won’t be an entire bust. I do believe that God can use anything… he used a donkey for crying out loud. I do think that this week could turn out to be productive. At the very least, I might get a semi-coherent blog entry out of it.
Posted by JJ at 11:59 PM
Friday, November 25, 2005
Man, this has been a week. I’m exhausted, and I just tried to take a nap, but between the sirens outside (what on earth is going on?!?!?) and my phone ringing constantly, I’ve had to give up on that.
I don’t even know what to say about this week. It’s just been a whole series of mini-events. Like the event with the nude, developmentally-delayed preschooler and the toilet which I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say that it was unpleasant. Or the event that involved my passport renewal and the upending of all my drawers and files onto the floor in search of a document that turned out to be in my car (my home hasn’t recovered from that really… it’s still a mess).
And of course, I saw Rent – the title to this post is a nod to that actually. I haven’t sobbed like that in a movie since… well, I’m not sure if I ever have. Not polite, dignified public tears, but the gasping-choking sobbing that had me feeling embarrassed because I was in a room full of strangers. Not that the movie was depressing, I actually found it very uplifting, but there was a sad part which I’m not going to tell you about because if you’ve seen it you can probably guess and if you haven’t seen it… well, you should.
Oh, and today I found out I made it onto the radio! Well, the fake radio, but still… GayChristian.net has a radio podcast every week, and I had called in a response to one of their questions and they used it on the show – if you want to listen to it, head to their GCN radio page and listen to the November 25, 2005 episode on being in the closet… I’m the only female voice, so I won’t be hard to spot… and you’ll learn my first name (gasp!).
Anyway, that’s it. I just wanted to post because I haven’t posted in a while and I thought I should. I hope all of your weeks have been less ‘eventful’ than mine… unless it was full of awesome events in which case I’m happy for you.
Posted by JJ at 5:43 PM
Sunday, November 20, 2005
First of all, I want to let you know that Roy Clements’ webpage is up and running again, so if you want to hear some good preaching by an evangelical gay preacher, head on over there. There are a lot of other things on his page too, essays and Bible commentaries, so take a look around.
In other news, I’ve been walking around today with a bit of a hole in my chest. (A metaphorical hole of course!) I keep finding myself on the verge of tears and I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not pms, cause… well; it would be a little late for that. It’s not my mom and all the stuff going on there, because I was talking about that situation with a friend this afternoon and it actually brought me out of my funk… but I’m back in it.
I think I might just need to get away, which is kind of convenient because I’m planning on going away soon. I think I’ve just been still for too long. When I’m still I can’t help but look out over the vast expanse of my life and the horror of it overwhelms me. Is this what God wants for me? This aloneness? This half-life? Hoping my happily married friends will show compassion (pity) on me?
I’m not lonely, I’m alone… and if celibacy is the way then I will always be alone.
Ugh. I think I’m going to take a nap.
And then I’m going to leave the country.
Posted by JJ at 2:34 PM
Friday, November 18, 2005
It has snowed here again, and this time it is remaining on the ground so things are looking up for me.
I had a disconcerting experience today that I would like to share with all of you… it has nothing to do with being Christian, Gay and Confused, it was just disturbing. This afternoon I was looking after 2 kids of a friend of mine. I normally don’t resort to TV or videos with kids I’m babysitting, but well, the little girl I had this afternoon was so thrown by my presence that I thought I’d put on something familiar so maybe she would relax. She wasn’t crying or anything, she was just staring at me in confusion. So, anyway, I put on Sesame Street… it worked to a certain degree, she started laughing and pointing and coming out of her shell a bit, so that was good.
I, of course, as a 30 year old woman have not watched Sesame Street in years so it was really weird, but kind of nice, to see all those old and yet very familiar faces – Maria, Gordon, Susan, Luis, Bob… and, of course, all the Muppets I remember. But then there were all these new Muppets that I have never heard of which kind of weirded me out. The worst was yet to come though.
There was this one sketch they did about a karaoke night, and one of the singers was a black guy in his 20s named Miles Robinson. I sat there for several minutes trying to figure out how come I knew that name. And then it hit me… and it hit me hard. I remember when Miles was a baby! He is Gordon and Susan’s adopted son. That’s how I originally learned what adoption was.
I’m old. I’m really, really old.
Posted by JJ at 5:37 PM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I am not a big fan of November. As a matter of fact, it is my least favourite month… it’s that sort of limbo stage between autumn and winter. All the leaves are off the trees, and the grass is turning brown, but there’s no snow yet. Everything just looks like a barren wasteland. Yesterday I was excited because there was snow on the ground, but this morning it rained and now it’s just dead outside.
Can you tell I’m not in the greatest of moods?
Of course, it doesn’t help that my mom and I are at loggerheads again. The frustrating thing is I feel so emotionally worn out by it all that I get off the phone and I’m crying and I’m angry, but I really can’t tell you why. I mean, I can tell you that my mom and I just fought, I might even be able to tell you the general gist of what we fought about, but I can’t really tell you why we were fighting… if that makes any sense. Yesterday I was talking to a friend and I started to cry about it and she, of course, asked me why I was crying and I said “I have no words, only tears”… which is either really poetic or really cheesy, I can’t decide. Regardless, it was exactly how I felt. Thank goodness she didn’t push it because I think I would have completely broken down on her.
Anyway, I actually have something relevant to this blog to share. I’m going through a bit of an insomniatic phase, so I’ve been listening to a lot of sermons online – yeah, I know, I’m a bit of a freak. I’ve been specifically listening to sermons by evangelical gay-friendly preachers – cause, well, there aren’t any in Ottawa that I know of, and I am just interested to hear the sorts of things they have to say. I found a few sermons on GayChristian.net on their sermons page – if you are going to head over there, the sermons by Roy Clements are very good… not that the talk by Ralph Blair isn’t good, it’s just not a ‘sermon’ per se… it’s more of a lecture. I actually really enjoyed Roy Clements’ sermons, and went to his webpage and listened to a bunch more (his webpage seems to be down right now, hopefully it will be up again soon). I’m sure many conservative Christians will find this hard to believe, but I found myself feeling quite convicted listening to his sermons – they’re not about ‘gay stuff’, he’s just a good preacher who happens to be gay. Apparently Roy Clements was quite well known and respected in the UK as an evangelical preacher before he came out, left his wife, and entered into a ‘celibate friendship’ with a man. (I’m not sure if it’s still a celibate friendship, but everything I’ve been able to find about him uses that phrase so…).
Another thing I listened to one night in the wee hours was the presentation given by Tony and Peggy Campolo discussing this issue. They are on opposite sides of the issue, Peggy is Side A, Tony is Side B… and he is probably the most purely Side B straight Christian I have yet to encounter. Most of them are actually Side X when you get right down to it – they think that we really should try to be straight, but until then (or, you know, if it doesn’t work or something) we should just be celibate. Anyway, it actually is a good presentation, and one I wish more people would listen to, if only to hear how people can disagree and still be civil to each other… or how someone can take a conservative stance without being homophobic.
Anyway, after listening to the presentation the other night I realized that I was listening to a presentation given before a mostly gay audience, and I’m sure that shaped the tone of what they had to say, so I went looking for a presentation given before a straight Christian audience. I didn’t find a page with the two of them debating again, but I did find a talk that Tony gave at a national pastor’s conference on “Struggling with the Gay Issue”. It is much longer than the presentation that he gave with his wife, but it was comforting to hear him say pretty much the same thing to a group of straight people that he said to his gay audience. He was actually kind of harsh with his straight audience, calling out a lot of the hypocrisy that drives me nuts, as I’m sure it drives many other gay people nuts.
No real insights or anything, I thought I’d just share some of the things I’ve been listening to recently.
Posted by JJ at 5:10 PM
Saturday, November 12, 2005
A few years ago there was this book that was making the rounds in Christian circles that I kept hearing about – Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man’s Soul. There’s a companion book for women, but… well, no one I know read that one. Anyway, I was at a church retreat when one of the girls who was there brought this book up. I should point out that she was not happy with it, I don’t know if she had read the entire book, but she had read the blurb on the back and it had made her angry to think that all these Christian men were reading this book. She summarized the back of the book for us, but due to the magic of the internet, I can quote it directly.
“…every little boy has dreams, big dreams, dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams too; of being rescued by her prince and swept into a great adventure; knowing that she is the beauty.”
I remember sitting there thinking, “Really? Do most girls feel like that?” I think (but I can’t be sure) that this was before I had come out to any of my Christian friends, because I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t question them on this, because I was wondering if the reason I was different from what this book described was that I was gay. Now, like I said, the girl who brought this book up at the retreat obviously disagreed with the generalities that this book spoke in, so I know I’m not the only female who does not conform… but I don’t only not conform, I’m opposite. I have never dreamed or fantasized about being rescued by a handsome prince (or even a beautiful princess). I fantasize about being the hero… and always have for as far back as I can remember. In grade one I remember all the kids in my class wanted to play Star Wars, which was totally cool by me. But they made all the girls be Princess Leia, and basically just stand by the fence while the boys got to fight each other to rescue us. I hated it. It was boring, I wanted to be fighting to rescue her… and not because I wanted to rescue a princess, just because I wanted to be the hero. Growing up, one of my favourite things about Christmas was the rolls of wrapping paper – they were my light sabers, I used to fight Darth Vader and the Emperor in my room by myself because no one I played with would let me be the hero. Another recurring fantasy I remember, going well into my early teens (yes, I know… a bit juvenile) was that I was Superman’s daughter and had inherited some of his powers and I would fly around fighting injustice. I can also tell you that most of my molars were kicked out by bullies in grade 2 and 3. I would see them picking on a little kid, or a kid who was different in some way, and I would go after them, insisting that they change their evil ways or face my wrath (such as it was). I was actually never successful, not even once that I can remember. They would just laugh and hit me, or punch me, or (most painfully) kick me in the face. I have many memories of going inside during recess with a bloody mouth and holding one of my teeth in my hands… I would always tell the teacher on duty that I fell. No matter how many times they knocked me down I kept coming back, I so desperately wanted to be the hero, to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the gender of the person I “rescued”; it was just that the role I wanted to fill was that of the hero.
It still is. When I come out of an action movie, or a superhero movie, my mind goes off on these wild adventures where I rescue the oppressed from their evil overlords. Is this a ‘gay’ thing? I read somewhere on one of those exgay sites that gay men would know that they were ‘cured’ when their desire to be protected turned into a desire to protect. I wonder if the literature is merely the inverse for gay women, do they say that gay women will be cured when they achieve a desire to be protected? And is this legitimate? Not that gay women can be cured, because…well, you know where I stand on that, but is that a natural heterosexual distinction? Men want to protect, women want to be rescued… is that part of what it means to be straight? Or is this just part of the ingrained sexism in our culture?
Posted by JJ at 3:01 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
So, my dad has come and gone and I would like to thank all of you who prayed for me. Dad and I had a good time, and so I know God heard all of our prayers.
I’d also like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Eric over at Two World Collision… there’s a party going on over at his blog, with drinks and everything, so go check it out!
Speaking of Eric, a few weeks ago he asked me a question I think I’ll take the time to answer now… sorry it took me so long. In one of my previous posts I made this statement, “The ‘fence’ I build around developing an attraction to a woman is not to protect myself from sinning; it’s to protect myself from getting hurt.” Eric asked me if I had “unpacked” this any further, and well… I hadn’t. So, here I go unpacking. Consider it a birthday present Eric!
I guess I’ll talk about the ‘fence’ first. When I meet a woman I think I might become attracted to, or I realize that I might become attracted to a woman I know I try and stop the attraction from happening. I’m not even entirely sure what all I do to accomplish this. In some cases it’s as simple as avoiding the woman, but in most cases that is simply not feasible – at least not without being rude anyway. I think that there are probably a lot of mental gymnastics that go on that I’m not even aware of, but that I know exhaust me.
The worst thing about it though, is that I’m not even sure the fence works. I haven’t been seriously attracted to anyone in a few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s working. Case in point, while my dad was here we watched a lot of movies – something he doesn’t really have time for at his home. One of the movies we watched had a woman in it that I found very attractive, and every time she was on the screen, I felt myself starting to smile… and if she smiled then I couldn’t help it – I smiled back (she had a fantastic smile). I was intensely conscious of it because I was sitting there beside my dad who has no idea (and would likely be horrified if he knew) that I’m gay. I tried to stop myself from grinning at this woman, and on a few occasions I think I was successful, but for the most part I really couldn’t help it. I couldn’t help feeling the attraction and I couldn’t help but react to what I was feeling. Even as I type this out I am realizing that there are people who will read that and go “aha! Sexual addiction, I told you so!”, and well… I just think that’s ridiculous. Straight married people feel attraction to people who are not their spouses all the time, and no one would call that a sexual addiction, it’s just normal. We cannot control our attractions; we can only control our actions. (Wow, that rhymes… it should be a slogan for… for… well, for something or other) Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling something (minimal as it was) while watching this movie, so I’m not sure I would be able to stop myself from developing real feelings for a real woman. All that mental effort I put in might not even be worth it.
The other thing I wanted to ‘unpack’ a bit was the second part of that sentence, “…it’s to protect myself from getting hurt.” I was writing about something else entirely in that previous post, and so I really over-simplified this. First the obvious. Any time you have feelings for another person (be they romantic feelings or not) you open yourself up to getting hurt, so there is some definite truth in what I said. Especially when you consider the fact that due to the circles I travel in, chances are any woman I develop feelings for is going to be straight, and unrequited affection always sucks. But it is way more than protecting myself from ‘getting hurt’. There are other… complications. You see, I am a girl… and while I may not be the most girly girl out there, I still am a girl, and as such when I have a crush on someone I want to talk about it. (I realize not all girls are like this, but most girls I know are… and guys may be like this with each other, but not being a guy, I really don’t know about that) Not talking about it is kind of like trying to hold in a sneeze. Actually, I cleaned that up a bit… it’s more like really having to go to the bathroom and holding it in. It becomes all you can think about, whereas if you could just pee when you felt the need, things would be fine. So I don’t want to develop a crush on anyone because I don’t want to have this thing I can’t talk about hanging over my head.
Actually, I do end up talking about it, just not with any of my Christian friends. I can’t tell any of them about any feelings I have for a woman unless I’m ‘confessing’ it as sin… so unless I want to feel guilt and shame for my feelings, which I really don’t believe are sinful, I have to find other people to talk to. I end up talking to my non-Christian friends, who, of course just wonder why on earth I’m not ‘doing anything about it’, i.e.: asking the girl out, or at least going to places where I can meet other gay women and have less futile crushes (something that I, in my ‘confused’ state, am not ready for). I know that some of my Christian friends (and they are probably the ones who read this blog) would not want to make me feel guilty for whatever feelings I may have, but to be perfectly honest (and I realize I might be projecting my fears onto them here), I don’t trust that they wouldn’t be thinking that I was sinning by feeling whatever I felt. Basically I don’t trust that they wouldn’t be judging me, and feeling judged sucks. That might be my own issue though. So… the ‘fence’ I build is built to protect myself from having to feel isolated from the Church by having to hide yet another thing about myself from them. I just found a post on Ash’s website that talks about this same thing.
So, there you go… unpacked. I hope I answered your question, Eric. And I hope that today was a wonderful one for you! Happy Birthday.
Posted by JJ at 1:43 PM
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
This is a post to basically let you all know that I am not going to be posting for about a week… I probably won’t even be online for most of the week starting tomorrow at around noon. My dad is coming to visit, and my computer is in my spare room, which happens to double as an office.
Anyway, I thought I’d give you all something to amuse yourselves with. I think I love these two boys – anyone with this kind of a sense of humour is alright by me. You have to watch it through to the end to see the ‘bloopers’. The fact that they choreograph themselves is amazing. I have a new set of heroes.
The real star of this video is the guy sitting in the back, on his computer as if nothing is going on. If you click on the video while it is playing, it will open up a new window with a page with some more of their videos on it. He seems to be in the background for all of them. How he manages to not crack up is beyond me. Honestly, these guys have given me so much joy, which is great because I’m kind of nervous about my dad’s visit. So, hey, after you watch the video if you want, you could pray for me. :-)
Posted by JJ at 12:20 PM
Saturday, October 29, 2005
So… Sulu is gay. What does this mean for me? Not much, really. I am a sci-fi nerd, and a bona fide Trekkie, but I never really watched the original series – I think I may have seen 3 or 4 episodes in total, and 3 of the movies. If backed into a corner, I would say that Sulu is my favourite of the original crew, just because he is so damn cool looking (much more handsome that Shatner ever was, even at his best – why is Shatner still getting work???), and George Takei has one of the best voices ever.
Sulu is out. It doesn’t really affect me. I’m happy for him, and his 18 year relationship. And every time a celebrity comes out it means that people have to face it again, the reality of our existence… and I guess that’s a good thing.
I don't really have much to say about this, but as a gay Trekkie, I thought I couldn't really let this news go without comment. So... live long and prosper, people, live long and prosper.
Posted by JJ at 1:20 PM
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Before I begin this post, I want to mention that my apartment smells like a Christmas Ham. If you don’t know what that is, or have never tasted a Christmas ham, I am so sorry for you! This website has an example, but I would point out that the recipe is wrong… at least, it is not my recipe (or more accurately, it is not my Nanny’s recipe). It is the only thing I will willingly and happily cook, because if I don’t, then it doesn’t get made (my mom is too busy making the turkey and the Cassava Pie – a Bermudian Christmas tradition). The thing is, I haven’t cooked a Christmas Ham today, and it is nowhere near Christmas yet. It’s been driving me nuts ever since I woke up. I have such a craving I have seriously thought about going to the store to buy myself a ham. But I live alone, and it would be kind of weird. Maybe I’ll go knocking on doors on my floor to find out who is making it and get myself some free home cooked food! Then again, I probably won’t.
I’ve had the idea behind this post mulling around in my head for a few weeks now, but it was brought to the forefront by this article which I was directed to by a comment someone left me. The point of the article was basically that much of the gay rights movement has been the result of deception and propaganda. But that’s not the part that got me thinking – if you want to hear my thoughts on that you can read this post, or this comment. What got me thinking was the story at the beginning of the gay guy who was married to a woman, but was ‘driven’ by something he couldn’t control to have anonymous sexual encounters with men behind his wife’s back. Now, if you have read any of this blog you will know that this story really doesn’t apply to me. I am a virgin – I haven’t had sex with a man or a woman… I haven’t even come close (good Christian girl that I am). But I do sort of relate to the story at a more basic level. Let me explain.
Before I was ‘out’ (just to myself, of course), I was trying desperately to cling to the pretense that I was straight. (This, despite the fact that I had asked people to pray for my healing, and had gone to various counselors and professional therapists thinking that if I could deal with certain issues in my life I would be cured). I didn’t do anything really extreme (like marry or even date anyone to hide my secret), but it was a secret nonetheless. Even from myself. I would shut the door on the part of me that was gay, and then declare that it didn’t exist. And to continue the use of this metaphor (because I am oh so fond of metaphors), because I was pretending that this ‘gay room’ didn’t exist, I couldn’t acknowledge what was going on in there. I had to turn a blind eye to it, because to acknowledge that I was having lustful thoughts about girls would be to acknowledge my ‘gayness’, and I refused to do that. My lust issues diminished so dramatically when I came out to myself, it was actually kind of a shock. I would be aware of the sexual thoughts forming in my mind and would be able to stop them because I was no longer pretending that they didn’t exist.
I realize that the situations are not that similar, but I do see a parallel. When something is kept secret, even from ourselves, then there is a tendency for it to grow beyond our control. I have wondered if these ‘anonymous sexual encounters’ that the Side B and Side X people keep talking about weren’t actually the result of this secrecy. When you can’t openly date, then maybe anonymous sexual encounters are the outcome. I look at the gay people who I count among my friends, and the gay people I have merely met in passing, and none of them seem to be having these encounters, and maybe that’s because they have not been forced to keep their sexuality a secret, they have not felt shame about it. Their relationships have progressed in pretty much the same way that most of my straight friends’ relationships have progressed – they meet at a social function, they get to know each other in a group, they flirt, they date for a while, then there is some form of commitment (whether through moving in together, or a proposal).
This is, of course, all conjecture, because I have never met a gay person who has conformed to the stereotypes that I keep hearing and reading about, so I don’t know what would motivate that sort of behavior. I would like to point out that I have met straight people who behave in the way that these books describe (with the anonymous and weird and kinky sex), which just makes me really annoyed when I hear that sort of behavior ascribed exclusively to gay people.
Anyway, these are my thoughts today. I think I am going to order a ham and pineapple pizza, maybe that will satisfy my craving.
Posted by JJ at 5:26 PM
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I had never heard the term “Boston Marriage” until CK mentioned it in one of her comments. So, of course, being the internet nerd that I am, I looked it up. I found a few websites, but this one was probably the most succinct, defining it basically as 19th century romantic friendships between women that involved cohabitation, but may or may not have included sex. The thinking (at least from what I’ve read) is that while some of these Boston Marriages probably were sexual relationships, the evidence seems to suggest that most of them were not.
The first bit of reading I ever did on the topic of homosexuality and Christianity, many years ago, was a chapter in Tony Campolo’s book 20 Hot Potatoes Christians are Afraid to Touch, and in that chapter he mentions something that sounds very similar to a Boston Marriage – two people (men, in the examples he uses) who commit to each other (officially and publicly), live together, but also commit to remain sexually celibate. I remember when I read this, I got so excited. I recognized the inherent problem – simply put, that it might be difficult to remain celibate in that situation – but still, it gave me the first glimmer of hope I had felt in a long time. Hope that maybe I could have a relationship, that I could love and be loved, and still not cross ‘the line’ (whatever that line may be). Hope that I might not have to be miserable for the rest of my life.
When I wrote the post “The Line”, I have to admit that while it was mostly motivated by simple curiosity, part of it was that after all the reading I’ve done, that ‘celibate marriage’ idea (or Boston Marriage, I guess) is still the only thing I’ve ever read that gave me that feeling of hope. I read all the Side A arguments, and they make so much sense, and I love things that make sense… but on a deeper level, one that does not involve my brain I suppose, I’m just not convinced. I should point out that when I read the Side B arguments I’m not convinced either, and the level of not being convinced there usually does involve my brain… but that’s just it. I’m not convinced of anything. And it’s kind of hard to move when I’m stuck in the middle like this. The Boston Marriage idea is an idea that can exist in the middle (although, I suppose, at its core, it is Side B). Boo did say that it’s not likely that anything any one person will write or say will convince me, and she’s right, it will take something more than that. (I’m still going to read, because… well, I like reading, and… I like things that make sense.) But I’m not sure if (or when) that ‘something more’ will come.
So, to continue the question I asked in “The Line”, if sex was not part of the equation (and assuming a “Side B” stance), would something like a “Boston Marriage” be a sin? And let’s not assume that it would be ‘impossible’ to resist the temptation because that is simply not always going to be the case. Not to equate being gay with alcoholism, but some recovering alcoholics avoid all circumstances where alcohol will be involved because they are unable to resist, whereas others are able to hang out in bars, drinking seltzers or soda with no problem. People are different. Not all people are strong in the same area, and not all people are weak in the same area. So, here I go again, with fear and trepidation, asking a question and opening the floor to all of you. You guys kind of scared me last time… but I’m doing it again. I’m very brave. Or stupid. Take your pick.
Posted by JJ at 5:38 PM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention this this.
I mentioned before that Justin from GayChristian.net is going to be on the Dr. Phil show. Well, that episode airs tomorrow – October 19th. So set your TIVOs… your DVRs… or if you still live in the dark ages (kidding!), your VCRs. I’m very excited.
Another thing… I stopped by Paradoxy today and read this post. I almost want to just copy and paste it into my blog because I’ve never been able to express these thoughts and emotions adequately, and he totally hit the nail on the head. He talks about the ‘gift of sexuality’, the difference between celibacy and abstinence, frustration with the ex-gay crowd, anger with the whole ‘sublimating your desires’ philosophy… it’s all just perfect. I swear, it’s like he lives inside my head! Which would probably be scary for all involved.
Posted by JJ at 8:52 PM
Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging… it’s very frustrating. My mom and I had a bit of a blowout this weekend and so I’ve been somewhat preoccupied. We will be going to a counselor on Friday, and so I’m hoping that things will improve.
In light of my distraction, I thought I would do something different. Instead of telling you what I think, I want to ask a question… something I’ve been thinking about ever since the discussion I mentioned before where my friend talked about ‘building fences around potential areas of sin’. I have been wondering what, specifically, the sin would be. I know that if I were to date a woman, most of my friends would be really worried… but would they be worried because I was sinning? Or because I was heading towards sin? Maybe it’s not important, because I shouldn’t head towards sin if I know that it’s sin, but I just want to know… what is the sin?
Now, I don’t want any graphic descriptions of lesbian sex… I was going to say that this is a ‘family blog’, but considering the topic, and the fact that I occasionally curse, it’s probably not. Nonetheless, let’s keep it clean and assume that sex is sex, and we don’t need to describe it.
So, here is the question, and it is for everyone – Side A and Side B people alike. (Side A is pro-gay relationships, and Side B is celibacy for gay people). If we assume that homosexual behavior is sin, then what does that mean? Does it only mean sex? Does it mean that it would be a sin for me to date a woman? To kiss a woman? Second base? Holding hands? And again, I’m not talking about building a fence around the ‘sin’, I’m wondering exactly where the sin would begin. I have come nowhere near to it, so I haven’t really had to think about this. And please, don’t worry, this is not me trying to figure out how ‘far I can go’ or anything… it’s just curiosity. People tend to be really vague about this, even when I ask directly. If it’s a sin, then what is it? What are your thoughts?
Something I meant to mention, but I forgot (and has come up in my comments – not that I was upset by them, it just made me realize that I had forgotten to mention this) were my thoughts on ‘sin’. To my understanding, for something to be a sin there has to be a choice involved. And while there is sometimes a choice involved in feelings, for the most part there is not, so I cannot conceive of my ‘feelings’ being a sin (for the most part). This is why I make such a big deal about the difference between homosexual behavior and homosexuality. One is a behavior, one is who I am (or rather, part of who I am). And actually, most of my friends (who are mostly conservative thinkers) would agree with that. And I also meant to mention that I wasn’t thinking about lust, or ‘thought sins’… I was thinking about actions. For example, an unmarried, straight, Christian couple can have every intention of having sex before they are married, will get together, and get very close, but at the last minute they might feel convicted and stop. (I’ve actually known people who have had this happen.) Most people would say that they didn’t sin… they came close, were tempted, they may even have planned it, but they didn’t actually sin… well, maybe lust. But then again, maybe not. So, if we can make a distinction between temptation and sin for heterosexuals, there should be a similar distinction made for homosexuals. What I am wondering is where that distinction is.
And if there is no intent for sex, would anything else be a sin? There are Christian gay couples who commit to be celibate, but they do date and hold hands and probably even kiss… but sex is not even on the table. Are they sinning (by the Side B definition)?
Posted by JJ at 3:34 PM
Friday, October 14, 2005
Have you ever heard of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral? I hadn’t until recently, but it’s been mentioned to me a few times in the past few weeks. The Wikipedia defines the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as “a methodology for theological reflection” that John Wesley came up with in which four different sources are used to come to theological conclusions. The four sources are:
- Scripture (The Holy Bible)
- Tradition (the two millennia history of the church)
- Reason (rational thinking)
- Experience (one’s personal journey in Christ)
I kind of like this idea, especially given that I grew up going to churches where so much of what was preached was based on experience. I used to hear formulas preached based on what happened to one person. i.e.: “I prayed and asked God for an SUV, and I got an SUV… so if you pray and ask God for an SUV, you will get one too.” And if you prayed and asked God for an SUV and you didn’t get one, then you must have prayed wrong or something.
This, incidentally, is one of my main problems with a lot of what is preached in the ex-gay crowds. “I prayed, and sought God, and went to this particular ex-gay group, and now I’m straight, so if you do what I did then God will make you straight.” And if He doesn’t, then it’s somehow our fault.
But that is an aside; I actually wanted to talk about the Quadrilateral idea, specifically Tradition. How much weight can we give to Tradition? Tony Campolo, in a talk he and his wife gave on homosexuality, basically puts all his eggs in the tradition basket, because he knows that the Scriptures people use to say homosexual behavior is bad (or rather the interpretations of these Scriptures) can be challenged using reason, and that the experience of many people also challenges the interpretation of these Scriptures… but he still comes down on Side B (the conservative side) because of the tradition of the church.
I am not saying that we should throw away tradition… I think that would be a huge mistake. Traditions become tradition for a reason (and, by tradition I don’t just mean ritual or liturgy… there are traditions of belief as well), and the wisdom that has been passed down to us should not be tossed aside just because we see it as old fashioned, or out of touch. But, on the other hand, I don’t think we should just believe something because we’ve always believed it. That is just as much of a mistake. There are times when Reason and Experience will trump Tradition… and, dare I say it? There are times when they will even trump Scripture.
Now, let me be clear. By “trumping” Scripture, I mean trumping our interpretation of certain Scriptures. Before you start screaming ‘heretic!” at me, let me give an example. For centuries, tradition and Scripture told us that the sun revolved around the earth. (The main scriptural basis for this was the story where Joshua prayed and the sun stood still, there were others, in the Psalms and Ecclesiastes, but I don’t know the exact references off hand.) This may not seem like such a big deal to us now, but it was a huge deal back when Galileo was around. Just as many people now say that you can’t possibly be gay and Christian, people believed that you couldn’t possibly be a Christian and believe that the earth was not the center of the universe. They saw any attempt to say otherwise as threatening. One priest, Father Lazare said, "...his pretended discovery vitiates the whole Christian plan of salvation. It casts suspicion on the doctrine of the incarnation."
And he wasn’t the only one; other priests insisted that, "It upsets the whole basis of theology. If the Earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it can not be that any such great things have been done specially for it as the Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited; but how can their inhabitants be descended from Adam? How can they trace back their origin to Noah's ark? How can they have been redeemed by the Savior?"
Galileo was first asked merely to not teach, or defend his theories, but then he was forced to recant his scientific insight and to ‘out’ others who believed in his theories. He did everything the church told him to do, but he was put on house arrest for the rest of his life anyway– they even denied him medical care despite his age and ailing health. And, despite the fact that he had recanted, all of his books (even those that had nothing to do with his heliocentric theory) were banned.
And before us Protestants puff our chests out, it wasn’t only the Catholics. Protestant theologians like Melanchthon and Martin Luther had argued (using a lot of the same arguments) against the same theory when Copernicus came up with it, and proposed some rather harsh punishments as well.
Does any of this sound familiar? “If we allow the belief that the earth revolves around the sun, then suddenly we have to believe in aliens and we can’t believe in Jesus” sounds kind of like “If we allow gay marriage, then we undermine God’s design and people will start marrying goats.” (If you think I’m making that up, think again… I’ve actually heard stuff like this from otherwise reasonable people.)
Or, “Okay, Galileo, you can believe what you want, just don’t teach it,” sounds like “Okay, you can be gay, just don’t do anything gay.”
Or how about the fact that even though he followed all of the church’s instructions, he was condemned anyway? Doesn’t that sound like how we are told, “Go to ex-gay therapy, or just pray and believe, and God will eventually heal you. But if He doesn’t, just be celibate for your entire life. Don’t talk about your attractions, except to ‘confess’ them as ‘sin’. You must follow all of these instructions to the letter. But don’t expect us to let you work with our children, or be involved in any capacity in ministry because you are ‘intrinsically disordered’.” (Yes, I’m mad about that whole ‘ban on gay priests thing’… but it happens in Protestant churches too.)
Or how about the banning of all of his books because of his one ‘heretical belief’? Sounds like all of those boycotts that people participate in against any company that does anything even remotely pro-gay, whether they are otherwise good companies or not. (i.e.: “Don’t go to Disney movies, because they have ‘Gay Day’ at their park!")
This may not seem like a big deal to us, it actually seems silly, but it was huge back then… It was at the very least as divisive an issue, and seen to be as central an issue back then as homosexuality is now. Galileo was threatened with torture, and others had been burned at the stake for believing in other ‘heretical’ scientific beliefs. So, in actuality, it was probably a bigger deal than the gay issue is, because the worst we usually face is rejection… Most of us aren’t killed or tortured, even by the most fundamentalist Christians.
We now know that the earth does in fact move around the sun, and so we’ve taken a look at the verses that we thought said otherwise and have concluded that they must not mean what we thought they meant. Reason and experience (and by ‘experience’ I mean the reality of the situation) won out over tradition and even Scripture (again, though, it was merely our interpretation of these Scriptures).
I’m not necessarily saying that the same will happen now, with homosexuality… but I’m merely saying that it has happened before… we’ve been in this place before, and we’ve had to admit that we were wrong before. The church (as a whole) has basically said that the Experience (the reality of our lives) of the few of us who are gay is not relevant in our interpretation of Scripture. The church has said that Reason (the rising tide of proof that it is not a choice; whether it is biological or psychological, or a combination of both; it is not a choice – and in general it is not reversible; as well as the fact that there are other ways to look at those particular verses) is not relevant to our interpretation of Scripture.
I am still on the fence, and as I have said before, I tend to lean on the side of celibacy – not from any desire for it… in fact, it makes me downright miserable to think about it. I do believe in the authority of the Bible, but our interpretation of the Bible has always been influenced by our reason, experience and tradition – the whole earth and sun thing being a case in point. The Bible says one thing, we believe another, but we can accept that the two don’t conflict by saying that it is merely a ‘figure of speech’, or a ‘matter of perspective’ – basically, that it is up for interpretation. So, knowing that my experience is different from most Christians, but is also the experience of many others; and in keeping with my belief in the authority of Scripture, I am wondering if we are putting too much weight on the Tradition aspect of the Quadrilateral (i.e.: “The church has always said gay marriage is wrong, so it must be true”… which, by the way, isn’t necessarily true, I’m still reading Boswell’s book on gay marriage in medieval Europe), and pretty much ignoring Reason and Experience.
It’s a thought, anyway.
Posted by JJ at 6:26 PM
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A friend and I got talking yesterday about the concepts of lust and attraction. It was kind of interesting and it got me thinking so I thought I’d write about it here.
This friend is someone whose opinion I happen to value quite highly, so when she told me she had read my most recent blog entry, I asked her what she thought. After making sure I knew she was not condemning me (like I have said before, while I do think the church as a whole has done a lousy job of the whole ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ concept, most of the people I know seem to be able to actually do it) – and after all, I had asked – she told me that she thought it was a sin. I was kind of shocked, to be honest… the possibility that I was sinning by allowing myself to experience an attraction to a woman hadn’t even occurred to me. After I expressed my shock, and after she’d thought about it for a minute, she agreed that it probably wasn’t a sin, it was just dangerous, and that she tends to build fences around potential areas of sin… a concept I completely understand and to some degree I practice it as well. The thing is; I’m not entirely sure what the ‘sin’ would be that I would be building a fence around here. The ‘sin’ of developing a crush on a woman? The ‘sin’ of falling in love with a woman? Like I said in that last post, this girl was straight (and she smoked) so there was no possibility for a relationship there, so even assuming that homosexual behavior is a sin, would experiencing these emotions be a sin?
Actually, that last part we didn’t talk about at all… that just occurred to me now. The ‘fence’ I build around developing an attraction to a woman is not to protect myself from sinning; it’s to protect myself from getting hurt.
Anyway, we started talking about what I meant by ‘allowing myself to feel the attraction’, and I really couldn’t explain it… so instead I started talking about what I didn’t mean, about lust, because I can actually define that. So… here’s my definition of lust: Lust, for me, embodies a desire to ‘own’ and consists of taking (mental) liberties where you have no right. So, according to my personal definition of lust, it is not possible for a person to lust after their spouse, because they have that right, and they actually do sort of own them. The implication that this definition has for me is that when it comes to people I actually know (as opposed to celebrities or whatever), if my thoughts start to stray in a sexual direction, something in me will usually stop it from going any further. And that ‘something in me’ actually has very little to do with my belief that lust is a sin (which I do believe)… when it does happen (I’m not a saint or anything), the guilt I feel is not towards God (at least not entirely) but towards the person I let myself lust after, because I feel like I’ve violated them somehow.
The most notable exception to this rule was M, who I’ve mentioned before… but that exception can actually be explained using my definition. M was one of those girls whose entire self worth was wrapped up in her looks. She knew she was sexy, and that was her main way of relating to people. The way she moved, the way she talked, the things she talked about, the way she dressed… it all oozed sex, and it was all very deliberate. And she flirted with me incessantly… and so she sort of gave me her implicit permission (if not actually the right) to engage in the mental liberties I took with her… I could think all sorts of things without feeling bad about it (at least not bad towards her), which was probably a large part of the obsession.
The reason I got into all of that was because my friend made the comment that my attraction towards Circus Girl was obviously physical. (Oy, I may have to start asking Liadan for help with my pseudonyms, because “Circus Girl”?? That sounds like a bad comic book superhero.) And while I cannot deny that I found this girl physically attractive, I did not like having my attraction to her labeled as purely physical. I mean, I have no idea if I would have even noticed what she looked like if I hadn’t found her intensely interesting. That may sound impossible, but I have had it happen before where I’ve known someone for ages and something will happen that will make me realize that I have no idea what they look like. The friend I had this particular conversation with, for example, I had known her for about 4 years before I realized we were basically the same height (she referred to herself as short one day… I remember thinking “really? You’re short?”). I don’t pay attention to what married people look like (at least not to the point of noticing whether I find them attractive or not), and if I’d known that Circus Girl smoked before I met her, I probably would have taken no notice of her appearance either. The point is; my attraction to her was not purely physical.
I started to try and explain this to my friend and her response was basically that, if this was the case, then she’s had the same thing happen – she’s met women on weekend retreats that she thought were really cool and wanted to spend a lot of time with them… and here is where I got lost, because my friend is straight – completely straight… to the point that I think it is really hard (and sometimes it seems like it’s downright impossible) for her to wrap her head around the idea of a woman being attracted to another woman. She is not the first straight woman to say this sort of thing to me, which seems to me to be an attempt to ‘explain away’ my attraction to women… like, maybe I’m not attracted to them at all, maybe I just think they are really cool.
And the thing is, I do not know how to explain the difference. I mean, there are lots of women (and men for that matter) that I think are really cool, and smart, and funny… and some of them I actually have noticed that I think they are good looking… and I’m not attracted to them at all. Of course, most of my friends are married now, and married people are sort of off of my radar, but they weren’t always married, and I do meet cool single people every once and a while, and I don’t fall for all of them. So what is the difference? What tips the scales? It can’t all be physical, because while I do have a ‘type’, the fact is that I have been attracted to so many different ‘types’ (blondes, brunettes, tall, short, big, small), so that can’t account for all of it.
I’m actually really interested in what you all think. What is the difference between ‘attraction’ and…uh… thinking someone is really cool? I don’t think that this is an exclusively ‘gay’ thing… I think it’s hard to define with straight people too. So, what do all of you think?
Posted by JJ at 8:55 AM
Monday, October 10, 2005
I have the Cold That Won’t Die. It was pretty much gone by Friday, but then I went up to Algonquin Park for the weekend and it decided to make a comeback. Very frustrating.
This weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving… so, Happy Thanksgiving, eh! My mom organized a trip up to the aforementioned Algonquin Park with a few of her friends, and me. The park is always gorgeous this time of year, with the leaves changing colour… and this year it was warmer than last year, so it was really nice. Not to mention that the more people available to act as a buffer between me and my mother, the better! I actually had fun, which is more than I can say of a lot of our previous trips up to the park.
I had only met one of the people my mom brought with her before, so I was a bit nervous. I have no problem with my mom’s friends for the most part, but I knew that these were her church friends… and well… my mother and I go to very different churches. (My mom goes to TACF, I… uh, do not.) My mother thinks that I have lost something in my faith because I no longer go to such an overtly charismatic church, and often when I’m around her and her church friends I feel a little bombarded.
Anyway, when we finally met up (we were coming to the park from opposite directions), she started to tell me about the people she had brought with her, and when she got to one of them (the daughter of one of her friends), my ears perked up… I couldn’t help it. If this girl had been a guy, I would have thought my mom was trying to set me up, because she couldn’t have given a more enticing description if she’d been trying. Point A: “She’s been traveling around the world… backpacking for 2 years now. She’s been all over the world!” (I love to travel, so right away I’m excited to have someone to talk to who will understand my itchy feet.) Point B: “Her mother was in the circus, she was a famous trapeze artist (!!!), so she grew up in the big top, traveling around the country… literally raised on the sawdust!” (Do I even need to explain why this was intriguing? Have you ever met anyone who grew up in the circus? That’s a pretty cool introductory fact.)
A few minutes later this girl walked in, and she was lovely. Exotic, in a very Mediterranean way… and striking, with a wide smile, and big brown eyes, and at least one other fine asset that I appreciated.
By the way... that pun? Fully intended.
Don’t worry; I haven’t developed a new crush… I wouldn’t even say I’m infatuated. But I was attracted, and I made a quite conscious decision to allow the attraction to happen, and to allow myself to feel it. That may seem silly, I suppose, but I spend so much of my time having that part of me closed off, and it feels so good every once and a while to just let it be – kind of like coming home from a formal dress event and taking off your uncomfortable clothes and putting on your PJs. It just feels good… and kind of… oy, I don’t know if I can articulate this properly. Like I said, I normally close that part of me off, meaning that if I meet someone and I realize that I think she’s pretty, or really smart, or funny or whatever, I preemptively stop myself from going any further down that road. (I’m not talking about finding women attractive, or seeing a pretty girl on the street, I’m talking about stopping myself from becoming attracted to someone I actually know.) It’s exhausting, and frustrating. Fleeting, silly crushes are kind of fun (if you’re single), and a perfectly natural thing to have; and stopping myself from having them is kind of like stopping myself from seeing a certain colour, or hearing a certain sound. I feel like I’m missing something.
So, when I met this girl this weekend, I decided to just let myself be me. I figured it was a fairly risk-free situation. I’d be with her for a grand total of about 36 hours, I have no idea when (or even if) I’d ever see her again, she was probably straight, and besides… she smokes, which is kind of a deal-breaker for me (not that there was a deal to be broken, but… you know…). It felt so good, like I was allowing myself to fully exist for the first time in a long while. I actually ended up coming out to her – we were alone in a canoe for a few hours. Things just sort of came up.
Like I said, it’s not that big a deal, I’m not in love, or even in crush mode. It was just nice to allow myself the freedom to enjoy being around a woman who excited me (no, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!). But now I’m back home, and that door has to be shut again. I guess that’s what holidays are for… hanging around in your pajamas.
Posted by JJ at 7:40 PM
Friday, October 07, 2005
I have now seen Serenity twice… and some of you haven’t even seen it once! Shame… shame on you!
Sorry, I just want a sequel, dammit! Please help make that happen… I’m actually begging! Besides, it’s really very, very good. You’ll probably like it.
My grandfather drilled into me the concept of having an open mind. Every time he would take me out for dinner, or… well, whenever I spent any time alone with him, he would eventually turn the conversation on to the subject of ‘having an open mind’. My mom used to laugh about it when I would come home. “What did you and your grandfather talk about? Movies? Politics? Having an open mind?”
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realized that what he was probably trying to do with this ‘open mind’ doctrine was undermine my mother’s ability to raise me as a Christian, because Christianity was a huge bone of contention between them (up until he became a Christian himself). Hilariously, it didn’t affect my faith at all… it’s true that I’m more willing to have an open mind about Christian doctrine, and other faiths, than I think my mother would like, but, well… I’m obviously still a Christian… I never even went through a real ‘teen rebellion’ phase of not going to church, or even not wanting to go to church. I was an incredibly boring, good child.
The point of all of this is that it occurred to me today that I have become rather close-minded in regards to this whole ‘ex-gay’ thing… so today I spent some time surfing around some ex-gay sites. It was bit of an exercise in frustration. I learned that I apparently have no healthy relationships with women – healthy same-sex friendships are key, apparently – because if I did, I would be on my way to heterosexuality. I’m sure all of my female friends will be glad to learn that our friendships are not healthy.
I also became frustrated by the constant reference to the ‘gay lifestyle’, as if all gay people live the same kinds of lives. I’m a 30 year old, gay, Christian virgin, who has been on a total of 3 dates in her entire life (all with men). Tell me; is this part of the ‘gay lifestyle’? If it is, then please get me out of it! When I read the descriptions of this ‘lifestyle’ thing in the Side B books, or on the ex-gay websites, I have to say it sounds like they get all their information from TV and movies (which, as we all know, is the most accurate way to do research!) because I don’t know a single gay person who lives like that, or ever did. And while I admit that I don’t know every gay person out there (which is something they would do well to admit to, actually), the fact that not a single one of the people I know conform to these descriptions says something to me.
The thing is, though, that I sort of conform… not to the lifestyle thing, because like I said, virgin! And not to the same-sex friendship thing, because I have never had problems making friends with women, and women have always been among my closest friends. I maintain friendships well, and aside from the period in which I was in a severe depression I don’t think my friendships are codependent, or whatever the term is nowadays. Maybe I’m wrong… any friends of mine who know about this blog… let me know if I’m too clingy or dependant, okay?
What I mean when I said that I conform is that my family dynamic has not been good, and there is sexual abuse in my past. (I have mentioned this a fewtimesbefore.) This will sound a little trite, I suppose, but I’ve pretty much dealt with the sexual abuse stuff. It was unpleasant, but I can talk about it without shame, I am not angry at the girls who abused me – if anything I feel pity for them, because they were rather young, and I don’t know what would cause a person of that age to think about doing that sort of stuff other than having experienced abuse themselves – I feel no guilt about it, no bitterness… I have delved into it rather deeply through therapy and prayer counseling sessions. I honestly don’t think I have anything left to deal with in that area… and to tell the truth, I think I spent way too much time focusing on it as it was, because I was sure it was the reason I was gay and wanted to ‘fix’ myself.
The parental issues are a different story… it’s hard to completely ‘deal with’ something that continues to be a part of my life. So, as I was reading, I had the thought that maybe I should explore this further. I mean, I’ve shut the door on the whole ‘ex-gay thing’ rather firmly, and maybe that was premature (for me). The thing is, from what I’ve read, the solution to dealing with parental issues in regards to homosexuality is supposed to be healthy same-sex friendships… and, like I’ve said, I’ve got plenty of those. I have no problem identifying with women, or as a woman, and I don’t fall in love with every woman I’m friends with. I even have a few healthy opposite gender friendships… so there’s no issue with hating men, here.
The reason I’ve shut the door so firmly is because I’m so afraid of ending up back where I was, in the closet. I recently read something that really resonated with me, I’m probably not going to quote it exactly but it was something like “the reason they call it a closet is because it’s an easy place to hide, but an impossible place to live.” It was so horrible, hiding this from everyone, and especially from myself. And, it appears that that is the best these ex-gay organizations can offer. The thing that they don’t advertise on their websites is that their ‘success rate’ is about 30%, which in and of itself would already be pretty bad… but the fact is, that ‘success rate’ includes people who call themselves heterosexual, but admit to still ‘struggling with same-sex attraction’, and some who are merely able to refrain from engaging in homosexual activity… and, need I say it again? I’m a virgin! I already do that… is that all it takes to be straight? Am I actually already straight? It all just seems like a bunch of lies to me… And I don’t want to go back to living a lie… a lie that almost destroyed me.
So, maybe I’ll just leave that door closed.
Posted by JJ at 9:36 PM
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
One of the things that sucks about having a head cold (at least for me) is that I can only sleep for a maximum of 4 hours at a time (it can often be less than that) because that is the longest any decongestant will work. So, basically, for the past 5 days I’ve had a series of naps, but not a single good night’s sleep. It sucks. I feel a little out of it – sleep is a very important part of my life!
Anyway, now that I’ve kvetched, (whoa! My spellcheck recognizes ‘kvetch’!) I thought I would share some really exciting news. Justin, from GayChristian.net is going to be on the Dr. Phil show. Now, I don’t watch Dr. Phil, but I will definitely watch this episode… whenever it is (I have been unsuccessful in finding out when the air date of this episode will be, but I imagine it will be next week, as it is taping today).
I have actually never chatted with Justin, but I have read his essay and listened to his radio show and his keynote address; and while I don’t know if I agree with him on every point (he is definitely Side A), I love his heart. His love for Christ and His church is so evident.
Well, I just thought I’d pass the news on. If I find out when it’s taping, I’ll let you all know.
Posted by JJ at 12:57 PM
Monday, October 03, 2005
A plunger is one of those household items that you don’t realize is a necessity until the moment you need it most. My toilet decided, without any warning, to back up on me today… spilling out over an inch of water onto my bathroom floor. I don’t think that the tank at the back of the toilet holds that much water, so I don’t know how come so much kept pumping out, but alas, it did. And I used up every single one of my towels mopping it up. It’s late now, and I’m way too tired to do any laundry, so showering tomorrow is going to be interesting.
Anyway, while I was out buying a plunger (the first two stores I went to were sold out… I guess it was a bad week for toilets!), I got 3 phone calls. Two from my mother and one from… oy… an old crush. A major crush. Those who knew me back then might go so far as to call it an obsession… and they would probably be right. This girl (who I shall call M., because that’s the first letter of her name, and let’s face it… I’m not so good with creative pseudonyms – that’s more Liadan’s territory!) had me wrapped around her finger so tight I came close to snapping. For over a year she practically ruled my life. I was quite relieved when she moved away. We kept in touch for about a year after she moved, mainly because I was really worried that she might take her own life, she was really depressed… but as soon as I felt it was safe, I intentionally let things slide.
She wasn’t depressed while she was here… at least not that I was aware of. While she was here she was a party animal who knew that she only need crook her finger and I would come running. It’s not that I was in love with her, or even that I liked her very much; it’s just that… ugh… this is embarrassing, but I have never been as physically attracted to anyone as I was to her, and it was intoxicating. When I first met her, I actually thought she was a poster or one of those cardboard cut-outs of some movie star… and then she moved and I thought “Holy shit! She’s real!!!”
Nothing happened between her and I physically – first of all, she is straight, but secondly, I don’t think I would have slept with her if she had offered anyway… and not just because of my morals (i.e.: wait until marriage), but because… well, like I said, I didn’t really like her that much, at least not at first… she wasn’t nice to me. She was well aware of the hold she had over me, and she took full advantage of it. I can’t tell you how many times she would call me to come pick her up from some guy’s house, or some club (sometimes at 3 or 4 in the morning), and I would do it. I bought her groceries, I cleaned her apartment… it’s pathetic, I know… and it’s only the anonymity of this format that is allowing me to admit even part of how bad it got. Towards the end, right before she moved, she started to be nice to me, but by that point I had actually managed to curb my attraction at least somewhat – it was manageable anyway. But I had gotten into this pattern of taking care of her, and it was a hard habit to break.
Anyway, like I said, she called today… and this is not the first time. I think this is probably her 6th or 7th attempt to reestablish contact. And I’m starting to feel like a bitch for not calling (or emailing) her back. She is leaving me such nice messages – how she knows I was a good friend, how she’s been thinking about me a lot lately, how she’s sorry for how she treated me, etc…
It’s been a few years, and she’s probably grown a lot as a person, and she does live 5 hours away, so it’s not like I’d be seeing her all the time. I’m just afraid. I don’t want to go back there.
Posted by JJ at 10:40 PM
Sunday, October 02, 2005
I managed to medicate myself enough to be presentable for the evening church service tonight (I have a fairly bad cold). Although, by doing so, I also managed to medicate myself beyond any ability to concentrate on said service.
That might be an exaggeration. I can tell you the passage the pastor spoke from was Matthew 20:1-16, and that the sermon was on… uh … life not being fair… um… God’s ways aren’t our ways… oy. I did manage to come to the conclusion that this particular pastor has a sort of angelic ‘baby-face’ that he disguises with a goatee… something I hadn’t noticed before, but which makes sense because his kids all look like those angel/cherub paintings. Being stoned is frustrating. I hate not being able to concentrate.
I spent most of the worship watching the drummer and thinking that one day I will take drum lessons… and then I had a bit of a flashback. I remembered when I was in grade 5 and I joined our school ‘band’. I remember being asked to choose an instrument, and without any hesitation I picked the drums (there was an actual drum kit in the back corner of the room). The teacher told me I couldn’t pick the drums because I was a girl, and drums were for boys (there were 2 boys in band class, and neither of them wanted the drums anyway, they both picked saxophone). He tried to push the flute or the clarinet on me, but I was so mad at not being able to be the drummer that I picked the next most masculine instrument they had available – the trombone. I really hated the trombone… I mean, it was so heavy to carry to and from school. I didn’t actually hate playing it, but I never got to play the melody… which meant that practicing at home I sounded kind of dumb. But I was determined to show this teacher that I could play a “boys’” instrument as well as any boy around – not that he noticed. He just kept telling my mom how good I was (which may or may not have been true, I think I was just the only person to choose the trombone in years), so she made me stick with it long past when I would have chosen to stop.
Anyway, this got me thinking about some of this ‘gender identity’ stuff. I mean, I didn’t want to play the drums when I was 10 because I wanted to be a boy, I wanted to play them because I thought they were cool (still do, obviously). And I don’t have an aversion to wearing skirts because I don’t like being a woman, I don’t like wearing skirts because I feel uncomfortable in them. Make-up? I just don’t care enough to put in the effort, and besides, I’m hyper aware of it when I’ve got some on. Jewelry? Well, unless it’s a ring that just stays on my finger, I just never think of it. And let’s not even start on my taste in entertainment – I’m a sci-fi/fantasy nerd – there are very few girls in that world. I don’t want to trade in stereotypes here, but a lot of gay women feel the same way. Liadan talks about the whole skirts vs. pants thing in a recent post.
So what is this? What is it about? I mean, wearing make-up, jewelry, and skirts are not what make a woman, and plenty of straight women I know avoid all of those really girly things… but, well, why are more gay women like that than straight women? Why are more gay men into fashion, and divas and musicals than straight men? These things have nothing to do with sex, or romantic desire… and if you break them down, they really don’t have much to do with gender either. I mean, who decided that musicals weren’t ‘masculine’… it’s kind or ridiculous, really… most of these ‘gender-specific’ things are made up rules… so why do a fairly significant percentage of gay people have an innate desire/need to break them (or bend them slightly)?
I do not reject these hyper ‘feminine’ things out of any desire to be a man… I have absolutely no desire to be a man… what with the chest (and back) hair, possibility of hair loss, and their weird and unpredictable genitals (no offense!). So, what causes this rejection of things that are normally associated with being female? ‘Rejection’ is probably too strong a word. I have worn make-up, earrings, and skirts in the past… and I will probably do it again, but I can tell you that I probably won’t like it very much.
Anyway, I’m still a little stoned (which might account for some of the content of this post), and I have to take another pill so I can sleep tonight… but this is what I’m thinking about right now.
Posted by JJ at 11:41 PM
I woke up today feeling like crap. This is probably due to the fact that I spent most the week hanging out with preschoolers with snotty noses… and one of them coughed directly into my mouth. Ugh.
Anyway, I didn’t leave my apartment today, because I didn’t have the energy to get out of my pajamas. So I spent most of my time reformatting my blog… as I’m sure those of you who visit here regularly have already noticed. I hope it’s not too cluttered. Let me know what you think if you feel like it.
Again I have an entry that has pretty much nothing to do with being Christian, Gay and Confused… just a little snippet of my life. I’m hoping I’ll feel better by tomorrow – at least by tomorrow night so I can get some church in. We’ll see how it goes. I hope you’re all healthy!
Posted by JJ at 12:16 AM
Friday, September 30, 2005
What are you doing sitting at home in front of your computer reading my blog? It’s September 30th, y’all! Don’t you know what that means? Serenity is in theatres!!! So, stop reading, get thee to a theatre and go see Serenity!
What does this have to do with being Christian, Gay and Confused? Not a damn thing.
Are you still reading? Stop. Go now! *smile*
I’m serious. What are you still doing here?
Posted by JJ at 3:57 PM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I thought I would write a blog to try and address two of the extremes that are represented in the comments I receive.
The first extreme is the one that frustrates me the most, probably because it comes from ‘within the family’… it’s the responses from Christians who, it appears, don’t even bother to read any of my blog – or even the little two sentence summary that appears under the title of my blog, as evidenced by the fact that for the most part they get my gender wrong. They simply see the word “gay” combined with the word “Christian” and they go on the attack. Their comments read something like: “Have you read Leviticus 18:22?”
Or when they quote verses to me and leave it at that, “1 Corinthians 6:9-10: ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God’ – what do you say to that?”
When I first started doing all this reading I encountered the term “clobber passages”. This is the term used by gay Christians to refer to the 6 passages in Scripture that people use to ‘clobber’ us. When I first heard this term I thought it was kind of extreme – I mean, it’s the Bible. If you are a Christian, then what the Bible says is important to you, so when someone quotes it to you, it should not be seen as ‘clobbering’ you, they are merely quoting your own holy text. But then I started reading the comments people left and it is like being clobbered. They don’t bother reading anything I’ve written (at least it appears that way because a lot of what they say in their comments I’ve already talked about). They just sort of quote and run… it kind of feels like being mugged. The condescension in their tone, even as they acquiesce on certain points (i.e.: “You say you haven’t had sex with a woman and I have no reason not to believe you”… implying, of course, that they actually don’t believe me) is maddening.
So, let me say this to you (although, if you are among this group of people, chances are you won’t read this anyway)… I am a Christian… and an evangelical Christian at that. I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I am in no way questioning the authority of Scripture. I am trying to figure out if the church’s interpretation of Scripture is mistaken in this instance – and that is not a heretical thought. The church is made up of fallible humans and we have been wrong before (i.e.: slavery). It is not a stretch to wonder if we are wrong on this issue.
Let me also say this to you, if you are inclined to merely quote one of these ‘clobber passages’, I will save you some time. I know them. I have read them… probably more than you have, and probably more in depth than you have. I also own a Bible… actually, I own several. I own a concordance, and I have access to the internet (obviously) so I can always go to BibleGateway.com… so you don’t need to leave long passages of Scripture in my comments. Unless you have something interesting to add to the discussion, it is really pointless. If you want to see an example of “something interesting to add” you could read ChristineWJC’s comments regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. While I completely disagreed with her, she actually had something to say beyond “The Bible says this, so there”. And it didn’t hurt that her comments were not rude or condemning… not to mention the fact that some of what she said I hadn’t thought of before (the story of Lot being referenced in the “end times”), it shed new light on some of the paranoia that many Christians feel in regards to homosexuality.
The other ‘extreme’ I want to address is probably not an extreme at all. I think it is just that people who aren’t Christians (or of some other religious persuasion) are unable to understand how important my faith is to me… and while they tend to be more diplomatic than this, the basic gist of their comments is “Why don’t you just believe something else?”
To these people I want to say that my faith is the most important part of who I am. There is a reason I put the word “Christian” before the word “Gay” in the title of this blog. I am not a Christian simply because I was raised that way. I was brought up in the church, that’s true, but there came a time (when I was around 16) when my faith became my own. I am a Christian because I believe Christianity to be true… whatever side I land on in this debate, the basic tenants of my faith will continue to be true to me. And because of this, I cannot simply ‘change’ what I believe without being convinced of whatever ‘change’ that would be. It would be pretend, and really, it would be no different than pretending I was straight… in fact, it would be a lie of a larger magnitude (at least to me).
Anyway, I wanted to address those things, not because I don’t want comments (I do… I love getting comments, so please don’t stop), but because I keep getting a lot of the same comments… and to be perfectly honest, the group I am most hoping to influence with this blog entry is the first group… I’m just tired of having to explain things like how I don’t see the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as relevant, or that I’m not questioning the authority of Scripture, etc… So, please, do me a favour and read before you comment. (But, hey… still comment!()
Posted by JJ at 7:01 PM