Editorial note: This is part 3 (part 1, part 2) of a guest post series. I don’t normally do guest posts, but this friend had insight that needed to be shared. Today we’re wrapping it up by responding to some comments and answering questions asked. I have a feeling we will revisit this some day. While the point of this series wasn’t to promote something, if you’re looking for a resource on this topic, please visit The Marin Foundation.
First off, the outpouring of grace has been pretty overwhelming. It’s very strange I have to admit, to know there are beacons of hope, these mercy-givers out there. A thousand thank yous.
If you are wondering, how to find people like me in your sphere of influence, here’s how.
First, be very open that you wouldn’t care if a person was gay, you’d love them. And love them because God loves them, not because they are gay, or think they are gay, or this or that. When we love for a reason that is not because God loves them, we tend to have these variations of acceptance and then it just gets complicated.
Second, challenge the negative gay bashing talk. “Hey, that’s not cool. People I love are gay.” When people challenge me on this, I say, “OK, next time you pray, use the word you just used in talking to God.” That clears up the situation real quick.
Third, if someone tells you that they are gay. You let them talk it out. And when they are done, look them in the eye and say, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not telling anyone. I’m your friend and I love you.” It’s what I hope to hear when I tell someone.
Fourth, you’ll have a million questions. Maybe ask two. And when you get together, don’t make every time some kind of Oprah Q and A. We will tell you as it comes up.
Five, just love us. Invite us over. In a marriage-based church culture, where couples get together, single people are left kind of on the margin. We like restaurants and movies; we like your kids. We will help with dishes. We go home to an empty apartment; we like the warmth of your place.
Hug us often and don’t interrupt it as anything other than a hug. Celibacy is a hard road for the sake of the cross. Human contact is a rare treat.
Now, to respond to some comments.
Some of you have called me courageous, but that’s because I have outstanding friendships in my life.
Some of you have said you’ve cried and I say thank you. I cry too.
HisOwn: Your story saddens me, makes me stumble like the earth is giving way. You have to tell someone. Tell your best friend. I pray you find some solace, my friend. And I pray that with clench fists, eyes shut, gathering all my will for that prayer.
Jeffery Dick asked why I don’t join a church would be fine with me being openly gay. You see, I can’t come out publicly because my parents would lose it. Trust me. My dad majored in beating up gay men in the military. It was his thing. So I can’t really come out. I also have a job where it would create complications.
The second reason is I need to be in a place where I can do the hard work of changing the minds of those around me. If we all ditch the churches who don’t really care for us, then the gulf between us becomes wider. I’m not called to comfort. Good question. Gold star.
Because you have to understand, I can manage the same-sex attraction part. I’m older now, a bit older. It’s easier.
However, you can’t manage the isolation, the fear and dread of someone finding out and losing that relationship. You see, we, the Strugglers, the Forever Singles don’t get a family. The hardest part is not being someone’s first. You married people out there, your spouse picked you. You are their first priority.
We Strugglers don’t have that luxury. We are an afterthought, the Eternal Third Wheel. Our loneliness is our miry pit.
I’m a member of a church that has a denominational leader who is actively offensive in this area. You’ve heard of this person.
I have friends in the church who know, all the pastors, and they are fine with it. They have no problem me being a leader or preaching.
I’m pretty good at preaching. I once scored a 9.2 when they held up the cards at the end. The Russian judge gave me a 7.6. (I figured we need a bit of levity.)
Know this: Christ loves us. You. Me. And I long for the day when I look back at this life in His Kingdom and laugh a bit; I’ll laugh at the foolishness of it all and that it won’t be like that anymore. And all of us, we’ll gather for awhile. I’ll shake your hand. I’ll give you a hug. We will know each other deeply.
And one day we get this white stone with a new name on it. A new name. A name only God knows. (Rev 2:17) And all the other names, even the one on my driver’s license melts away.
So if anything, this thorn I have makes me a better friend, more loyal. And it makes me long for Jesus and for home.
So share my story if you’d like. Not for my sake (I was nearly outed about 3 times in the past 12 hours due this series. No fault of anyone, just Facebook can be a bit tricky at times. Twitter too, that rascal.) People need to know that we are out there. We serve communion, and we pass the offering plate. We play on your basketball league (We crush you. Be aware of that.) We are your friends, or at least we want to be.
And if you get the chance, meet Adam McLane face to face. The guy has this sporty exterior, but he exudes grace. He exudes grace like he just ate garlic fries. It comes out of his pores. He listens so well and he has given me a platform that has shaped me in ways I’m just starting to grasp. I owe him a debt, a great debt.
And to those of you who know my name, thanks for being my friend.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so tha they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Go be a light my good friends. Love those around you. Bring your light into our darkness.
And if you ever see a man wearing a sharp patchwork driving cap, who is very handsome and built, standing next to Adam McLane, give him a fist bump. Ask him his favorite comic book hero, buy him a beer and he will tell you a tale.
Adam: OK, that last bit made me literally laugh out loud. Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you aren’t anonymous in my life. I need more friends like you. Because left alone I’m a moron.