Wednesday, September 14, 2005

19. Presence

I thought I'd better write another blog entry to maybe stem the tide of comments on my last blog.  Don't get me wrong, I love getting comments, so please, keep them coming... but I must admit to being a little overwhelmed by the response to my last entry.  I had no idea so many people were reading!

Anyway, I thought I'd answer a question that CK asked me about what I mean by 'sensing the presence of God'.  I suppose I should start by clarifying what I don't mean.  I don't mean a 'spiritual experience’ – those wonderful mountaintop moments when God's presence is so overwhelming that you can't help but cry or laugh... or having a revelation, or even 'hearing God's voice'.  Those times are wonderful, but you can't live in that state all the time (at least, I think you can't, maybe I'm wrong.)  

I think in metaphors, so I think this is the best I can give you.  One of my best and dearest friends lives thousands of miles away from me, in Ireland.  Our contact is sporadic at best (but always wonderful and meaningful when it happens), but I have complete confidence in him and in our friendship.  I know that he is there, and I know that if I called him up he would answer, (or call me back) and we would have a wonderful conversation.  I know that he loves me, and that our friendship is rock solid. And this may sound a bit odd, although I think if you think about it you may understand it, but knowing that he is there, and that he is my friend, and that he loves me makes me feel better – more confident... even safer somehow.  And it doesn't matter if I can't see him, or don't hear his voice , or feel his touch all the time, I just know that he's there for me.

That's what I'm talking about (it is obviously not an exact analogy)... but of course on a much larger scale.  I don't feel confident in God's love, or His presence, or the fact that He even hears me when I pray.  It's unnerving, to say the least.  And I know that there was a long time when I was incredibly angry at God – and if I'm completely honest, I still have those anger issues (not all revolving around this whole gay thing, but it's definitely in there) – and so I wasn't praying... but I am now, or I'm trying to.  It's getting harder and harder, because I feel like I'm talking to myself (or the cat).  But I am going to persevere, because... well... what else can I do?  Where else can I go?  Christ has the words of eternal life.  I dare not give up.  

I know that this blog makes it seem like all I ever think about is being gay... and I admit, I'm thinking about it more now than I was before, as I try to figure this out.  But a friend of mine who has been helping me talk this out since the beginning reminded me, I must not lose my focus on Christ.  That doesn't mean I’m going to stop wrestling this out, but He should be at the centre.  Eric talks about this in his latest blog entry... about how Christ is our hope… so I guess when I say I'm looking for hope; I should know where to look, eh?  It's just that... well, as I've said before, I'm wondering where He is.
          

11 Comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a crazy, self hating lesbian.

I have been out for years, you are either born gay or not.

There is a gay genetic basis, there is no discussion.

Stop trying to hurt the gay community, by using youre religion
as an excuse.

You are a right wing, religious psycho path, claiming to be gay!

My comunity does not need this crap from people like you!

Religion is silly and hurts my civil rights, If I had my way I wold ban all religion. Religion has caused more sorrow than disease, rape and any other thing!

Grow up and stop being used by the Religious Right!

Or leave my community!!

JJ said...

um... okay, I'm debating whether or not to leave this last comment up... I don't know where this person is coming from or if they have managed to read any of my blog... from the sounds of this comment they haven't. But let me say that this is probably the most judgemental and hateful thing anyone has left on my blog... and this will sound odd, but it's kind of nice that it isn't from a Christian! *smile*

~Dawn said...

JJ
I would yank it or edit it to your liking... haha!

There are many of us Lesbian Christians out there, I personally am in a 9 yr 'marriage' with another woman- and she has strengthened my understanding of my Lord and Saviour.

After time, the gay issue moves to the back burner and my relationship with Christ took front stage... but I understand, it can seem to be all consuming until you find answers, safety and direction.

Keep up the searching, God will make it clearer to you.

~dawn said...

Also wanted to give you this link of decent resourses, if you haven't already checked them all out.

Gay Christians

Nick said...

anonymous - please find somewhere else to troll.

JJ - check out that spelling and grammar, eh?! No need to worry; this is just some dumb, bored kid. I agree with one thing, though, in that it's interesting to hear a gay person complaining about your religion rather than a religious person complaining about your sexuality! Just goes to show that you can never please everyone ^_-

CK said...

JJ,
Thanks for responding to my question. I asked it out of curiosity, mostly. Myself, I constantly used to struggle with sensing God's presence. I came to the point where the sacrament of communion/the Eucharist was the only time when I really felt God. Even then, what I felt was more his absence than anything. It's hard to explain, but you do a good job--of knowing someone is "there for you."

Where I finally have come down to is that what I was mostly doing was internalizing how I felt about me, or about how God must have felt about me, or my family, etc., and assuming that was God's presence (or lack there of). I don't think that is necessarily ALL there is to these moments, when you feelt connected to God, or the Ultimate reality (since I still have 'spiritual experiences' sporadically--on a very small scale).

But I do think that is what I was doing to some extent--and that it is hard to judge based on experience. The Bible has some hard things to say about God actually withdrawing his presence (in cases from apostasy to lesson-teaching to well, seeming whims, such as in the book of Job). And so I am wary of using that sense as a touchstone for decisions or actions.

Keep up your pursuit--but definitely ask yourself what it is you are pursuing, and why. (As you obviously do! Thanks for sharing that pursuit with us.)

Eric said...

wow! that's pretty psycho! but really really hilarious!

the person obviously stumbled upon the blog and will more than likely not come back so no sense in giving her any further attention.

she's been hurt by the same church people that have hurt us. ironically, she sounds just like them!

off topic: ooh you have a cat?!

=)

JJ said...

eric, Yeah, I left the comment up because it made me laugh... if they show up again though I'll delete them. It's just ridiculous, really.

And sadly, no... I do not have a cat... at least not for much longer. I've been cat-sitting, and the owners get back in about 2 weeks. She's a sweetie though. I tend to pray out loud (I do live alone), and whenever I do, she runs up and jumps on my lap and kind of stares at me. Or occasionally begs to be petted. I guess, because I live alone, I don't talk that much when I'm here, so the times she does here my voice (usually when I'm on the phone or praying) she assumes I'm talking to her. It's really quite cute.

dawn, thanks for the resources, I checked out that link -- I'll probably use it a lot, actually. :)

nick, I know... it's such a crazy comment, that I sort of wonder if it's real... or if someone just thought they'd try and piss me off, and thought this would be a good way to do it!

CK, It's a hard thing, because I know the 'feeling' is not important, or rather that I shouldn't base my faith on it... but it's so frustrating, because other people are so confident in God's presence (I've even had other people say that they 'sense God's presence' in my life, which seems odd), and so I want it too. It would make everything so much easier. But I suppose no one ever promised 'easy'.

Anyway, thanks for the question, it really made me think about it.

Kelly said...

JJ,

Do you think God's presence is something we just have to accept by faith sometimes? I realized last week something that has been driving me for a long time--when I was in sixth grade, one of my best friends couldn't be my friend anymore because I had gotten a demerit for *chewing gum.* I didn't even know it was a rule on field trips!

That experience indelibly shaped my friendships, though, to the point where I either hold too tightly to my friends or push them away before they can push me away. It shocked me to realize that I do that to God too! So since last week, He keeps throwing verses across my path about the fact that He is with me always, that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I don't get that. So many of my other friends have, for reasons that I don't know! I operate as if I just know that if I don't know everything that God wants me to know or do everything that God wants me to do (even if I don't know He wants it!), then He'll just walk away and leave me. My choice? I leave first, and then I find myself missing Him so much...

"Just believe," most people say. But all I keep getting from Him is "wait. Just wait."

Does waiting take faith?

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog all the way through now, the way I was linked in from T's blog, I thought you only had one post.

Well I'm not a Christian and I don't need you to leave my community. Most people go through this process for one reason or another while coming out. Not sure what "anonymous" is so worried about, I think anonymous is just a nut, we have em in the gay community, just like the christians have their nuts.

You mentioned being abused by women. I too was abused by women during my childhood and it had a huge impact on my coming out process. It created a lot of shame and really made having a healthy sex life difficult. Something to consider in your journey of celibacy is that unconciously you might be avoiding sex and getting triggered.

Ah Mr. H was a perv or at least had zero boundaries, yuck!

I was unsure about whether this blog was for real. You are incredibly insightful and write extremely well. Its hard to imagine that its taken you so long to get to this point. When you explained what GLBT meant though I really had a good laugh and realized this has got to be real or you are a fantastic con artist.

There were some commenters in hear speaking on behalf of God, I skipped over them, I firmly believe anyone speaking on behalf of God has taken themselves off their meds or just hasn't been hospitalized yet.

I am amazed that you think God isn't answering your prayers. Your insights and progress within 30 days is overwhelming. How could that be anything other than God answering your prayers. Either that or your an Aries :) The spirit and strength that you have shown is obviously answered prayers.

Sometimes while I'm in the middle of great pain caused by deep growth it is hard to see the light. Afterwards I look back and say WOW, I rock. I'm sure that will happen to you looking back at this blog someday soon.

Keep Bloggin and Growin!

Lisa (Aries/Wiccan/Homo)

Anonymous said...

I like your "crazy, self hating lesbian" blog.

I was a pro-gay activist type for most of my adult life and then I rejected the gay life entirely. I was out gay man at 16 and now I am a closeted Christian at 40! Evangelical Christians didn't brainwash me in ex-gay bootcamps. I don't actually know any other Christians. None of my friends go to church and I don't stop to speak to other people in church myself (which I feel guilty about). I don't kid myself that I am straight but gay is no longer an option.