Confession: A Spoken Word

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Introducing a new video!

Instead of a traditional blog post, I have decided to share some of my story and experiences with you in the spoken word format. Check out my video from our YOBTube channel for an honest confession of my hurts, frustrations, and needs as a same-sex attracted believer.

Hopefully you resonate with it on some level. Enjoy, brothers.

What confessions do you have for the Church as a believer with same-sex attractions?

 

Confession

Just give me a moment and hear my name.
I’m not looking for money or power or fame.
I’ll tell you my story and dig up my dirt.
I’ll show you my scars and reveal all my hurt.

You see . . . I want a man.
I want a man to hold me tight.
To tell this little boy inside, “It’ll be alright.”
To let me rest my head upon his chest.
Take me under his wing and build me a nest.

Every man who passes me by
I look at him longingly deep in his eyes.
I pray that he will see me, even though I hide
and bury my heart so deep inside.

Will he see this small boy under my aging skin?
Will he call him forth and welcome him in?
Give him a home or teach him to fish?
Not leave him alone to simply exist!

I’m coming clean.
If you know what I mean.
I’m not sure how to say what’s next . . .
All I know is I’m attracted to my same-sex.

Now with disbelief in your eyes,
you question what you just heard.
Frantically flipping through pages in your old holy word.

You say, “Jesus still loves me, he’s my heavenly dad.
He will hold me and love me when I’m feeling sad.
And I don’t have to worry ’cause he never gets mad.”

But then you walk away without even a hug.
The strings of my heart they tug and they tug.

I sink to a puddle upon the floor.
Couldn’t you have done something more?
For this crippled young man wounded by war.
But now, somehow, he’s labeled a whore.

Are you afraid to touch the poor?
Like a leper covered in sores?
With a contagious disease I’m unclean, unclean, unclean.

Don’t tell me to be warm and stay well fed,
While holding back blankets and baskets of bread.
You have hands and arms and lips — you’re not yet dead.
Couldn’t you hold me or hug me or kiss my forehead?

Your Jesus can’t hold me or touch me like you.
Last time I checked he gave you a mission to do.

He said, you are the body. The light to the world.
You are the hands and feet.
The needs of this world are your job to meet!

So take a second glance. Just look.
And then try to give back just as much as you took.
I’m like a classic case in a psychology textbook.

So you want to be a missionary to those in need
but you shy away from people like me?

Nah . . .
I don’t want to idolize simulated romance between digital guys.
Yearning after them with lustful eyes.

Don’t think that I want to watch all of this porn.
Can you even imagine how weary and worn
my heart has grown,
hoping for home?

Searching and seeking for years at a time,
aching and longing for love to be mine.
Night after night, searching the web,
tangled like flies, lured and led
to other desperate men all alone in their beds.
The chemicals unbalanced inside of my head.

Without a sober thought I ran
to the nearest available, vulnerable man.
One willing to be intimate with me.
Stripped down, we fooled around.
My heart raced to the sound
of this new thrill I had found.

But just as quickly I started to see,
this man was just a broken boy like me.

Hidden in the shadows of naked shame,
I didn’t even know this other man’s first name.
My heart broke for him.
But alas, I am broken just the same,
for I, too, was a man with no name.

The sex became a bore.
I ached. Ached for something deeper,
something truer, something infinitely more.
To love and be loved to my very core!

I crave deep connection, mutual introspection,
guidance and direction, emotional protection.
Instead of all this endless rejection.

These demons taunt me with endless self-hate.
To numb their voices, I self-medicate.
I’m just a hungry boy looking for food.
I can’t help these massive swings of my mood.

To the man who is starving what’s bitter tastes sweet.
He devours garbage from the sides of the street.
But it’s just his legitimate needs that he’s trying to meet.

Before you dismiss him for his obvious sins,
take a moment to look at him deep within.
Ask yourself what’s going on inside of his heart.
Putting yourself in his shoes is a better place to start.

If you don’t want me to pursue my sin,
then offer a better alternative.
It is this wounded heart that bleeds
just trying to meet its genuine needs.
But with nowhere else to go on its own flesh it then feeds.

I’m sorry I’m so needy and that I need more than most.
That I’ve been haunting for life like a fleshless ghost.
You see my tank has a leak, it was cracked, it broke!
So my love drains out fast and my engine needs work.
Like a train off the tracks or a ship with no mast, I’m stuck.

Can’t move forward without repair.
Mechanic’s hands, a doctor’s care.
You say, “Go to God for he’s your healer.
Take your car back to the dealer.”

But God lives within you, or so you say.
His spirit is alive in his people who pray.
God’s spirit is the blood, the life that moves,
that pumps through his body. His body — that’s you!

I feel like I’m playing a game of charades.
Trying to get you to guess what I’m trying to say.
You won’t even let me use honest words
to describe what I need or to make me feel heard.

So I write out my thoughts alone in the night.
In a tattered old book I will ink down my life.

Praying for God to just set all things right.
And to give me the strength to not give up this fight.

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  • Brian

    Elliott… That was absolutely remarkable.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thank you, Brian. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • mike

    Beautiful Elliot!
    Accurate, sensitive, and oh so brutally honest a description of most of us I think. An ‘Ode to the other me’ I would call it. Yet church know that it’s the ‘other me’. Because of Jesus,so glad mike doesn’t live there most of the time! But yes, some of the time that ode is me when I’m mad at Jesus about something when sadly I tell Him to be gone and then it’s just the ‘other me’ that you would see if you were here church but you are not…. Because when I’m with you church I try NOT to bring the ‘other me’ along. Thankfully, one day he’ll be dead: that glorious Day!

  • Eddie

    Oh Elliott…. Brother, I’m weeping. That was so creative, poetic and poignant. *Hugs* I got no words.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Eddie, Thank you so much for your encouragement and support in this whole journey. I am glad you resonated with it. Hugs

      • Eddie

        I’m glad you responded. I feel somewhat embarrassed. You sounded a bit distraught in the video and I emailed Tom to make sure you were ok or simply adding “dramatic effect” to your poetry reading. Peace & love brother.

        • Elliott Gladwin

          Yea it was mostly a dramatic reading to convey the raw emotions. I wrote the piece months ago and have been working on it for a while. Though life IS difficult many times, there’s no need to worry. I won’t be venting an unprocessed emotional crisis on this blog like a tabloid or anything. That’s not what this venue is for. I go to physical people for my immediate emotional support. Thanks for the care and concern though!

  • Ashley Lavergne

    Great job man! Loved it. I love poetry and write quite a bit myself. A friend of mine said it’s basically our minds, the inner tangling of our thoughts on paper

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Love it. Yes I’ve enjoyed all the poetry bits you’ve shared here. I also write a lot of poetry. It help me turn that “inner tangling” into something beautiful and useful.

  • mistaken identity

    Elliot, that is outstanding. I pray that scores of needy men will see it and be encouraged by the beauty, truth, and hope. I’m thinking about posting it on my FB page, but I don’t know if I have the courage…yet.

    • Brian

      That’s the thing that’s kinda hard about YOB. I do want to spread the word, but spreading it on places where you’re known like on facebook would reveal a lot of stuff about yourself you don’t want other people to know.

      • mistaken identity

        I get that. I think I want most people to know, and I am telling more and more when prompted to do so, but there are a few malignant souls out there who would try to make chaos out of it. I guess when I understand that the benefit to the kingdom and to other men who need support outweighs the pain of that chaos, I will push the share button on FB. I “feel prompted” now, but I was pretty emotional after hearing Elliot’s poem, so I try not to discern answers in such an emotional state.

        • Brian

          Yeah if you tell people you will either get the polarizing responses of “ew, you’re gay stay away from me” or “Oh you’re, gay that’s great! Just be yourself and don’t listen to EEEEEEEVIL Christians!” Either way they’re judging you and not listening regardless of how well their intentions are.

          • mistaken identity

            Ah, “polarizing” is the key word. There is hardly anything out there except for the ridiculously polarized, especially in the church. But there is this place, one of the few oases of light around. And light needs to be spread. You may be nudging me toward that share button, Brian. BTW, my wife and I have been praying for you quite a bit. Not sure what is going on, but I’m sure God is sure.

          • Brian

            Well thank you very much!

  • One of my favorite things to ever come out of this website. Gosh this is good. Love you, brother. Your vulnerability will move the mountains.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Tom. Love you too.

  • Elliott I was deeply affected by your words, especially hearing you speak them yourself. Tom is right. This is one of the best posts on this site!

    Of course as a guy with same sex attraction I understand how you have felt and thought. I actually think many straight Christians who read this will understand us all a little better now. Hopefully some will be motivated to give more than just a “be warmed and filled” response.

    Love you brother!

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Marshall! Love you too! I hope it will motivate others to respond in a more informed way also.

  • Josh

    Hi Elliott. Wow. Your words are so real, painful. I feel this pain with you, friend. I’m so impressed by the strength it takes to put your heart out there. And I’m so blessed, honored to receive this gift.

    Thank you for your heart. Know that I see your love, your heart as a gift. Not broken. You feel the need for love, because God gave you the gift to love others. And God does what people can not. He loves us. Jesus is our brother, God is our father. They meet the need for men, for validation and acceptance, and love. They hug us, embrace us, and kiss us, they know us. They know who we are, and they love us. They love YOU.

    Much love to you, friend. Blessings.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Josh, Thank you for your kind comment!

  • Red

    This is awesome Elliott. Thank you.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      You are welcome brother. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Ernest

    Elliott, the raw honesty and pain, openness and vulnerability – I’ve both never heard (or read) this put so eloquently, nor had someone manage to reflect thoughts and feelings I have had that I didn’t know how to express. Sending so many positive thoughts to you over the internet.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Ernest!

  • Steven Michael

    I”ll echo what most everyone else has said and say that this is one one of the best things I’ve ever heard on this subject. I related so much, and you had such passion/hurt in your voice.

    I also really liked the way you used lines from books and stuff for the text.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Steven. Tell me what you related with the most.

      The video didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted it to, but I liked the style and tried to make it work.

      • Steven Michael

        I guess the most striking line was the one about the hug. Admittedly I’m out to very few people, so I’m not sure what I can expect from people, but there is always this sense of community falling short. (I may have to be more open about myself to really change that landscape, but that’s a scary thing.)

        But yes, I relate to wanting connection and that being the reason for looking to sex and porn and it all just being a forgery in the end. And I also get frustrated with those who, while well-meaning, try to make it all about my relationship with God when He made us social creatures.

  • C. Marque

    “But then you walk away without even a hug.”

    This line resonates with me. Great poem brother! I like it!

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks brother! Yea.. hugs..

  • Jim Roberts

    Elliott – it was great to “meet” you (and Tom) last night on the Live Video. Now after listening to this, I feel I KNOW you. Wow – very powerful, honest, and pointed. I felt my “inner boy” joining in and saying YES. Thank you!

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Jim. Glad to know others resonate. You know me now more than most. It was a step being vulnerable with all these thoughts, but I know that I am not the only one who feels these things.

  • Jim Roberts

    My confession? You tell me to be the “servant leader” for my family. You tell me to “prune my sins”. But you never invite me to be your friend. A part of your life. And I can’t help but feel like a failure and a reject. And that hurts. Because I desperately need connection.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thank you for sharing this! Ugh.. yes! I feel you. This makes me want to create a list of “confessions for the church.” Perhaps compiling all these honest needs from other SSA guys so those who are in the church but unaware of our struggle can see how their actions effect us and what steps they can take to support our growth and healing.

  • Alan Gingery

    It was special to hear you read this poem Elliot! I cried when I read it and I cried again deep inside and with tears on the outside as I heard you voice these words. I have Christian brothers who know me–all of me and hug me and love me and are the body of Christ. But I understand! There are too many Christians who have no idea what to do with a same-sex attracted brother or sister. But that may be what we are called to do–call them to love the least of these with the love of Christ. Keep up your writing, podding, video casting and know that you are loved. Yeah! I love you and Jesus loves you more than you will ever know.

    • Elliott Gladwin

      Thanks Alan! Appreciate your faithful following and encouragement. I will keep going.

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