I have a dear friend. The dearest. I love him so much, and I hate that we don’t talk often enough. Whenever we do talk, though, it’s always dynamite. He encourages me, challenges me, makes me laugh, and blesses me with wisdom like perhaps no other person. We talked some time ago about the wonderful world of faith and same-sex attraction (SSA).

He referenced another friend who is reexamining Scripture’s interpretation of same-sex sexual activity. My friend’s response as a fellow SSA/gay Christian brother was so classic:

“Honestly, he needs to get over it already. Like, there are bigger things in life. Some people are still stuck on this after all these years! Go to Hebrews 5 and move beyond spiritual milk.”

I laughed. It was blunt. It was kinda brutal. But I got what he was saying.

Gosh, is there nothing more to life than who God says we can or can’t have sex with?

Maybe it’s “easier” for a guy like me who has no desire for sex; actually, I’m sure it is. I certainly want to be sensitive to folks with far stronger sexual or even romantic desires than me. “Getting over it” certainly doesn’t mean “just date women already” or that the single celibate life will always be a grand old time.

But man. I’ve been in this SSA/faith world for ten years now, and some people have been battling with all those scriptural interpretations and translations for ten years running, desperate for that perfect loophole, neglecting all other aspects of faith and living.

I’m over it. I’m over same-sex attraction. I’m ready to tackle the deeper issues. Ready to move beyond spiritual milk. Ready for solid food.

I understand that everyone has a journey to walk. I understand some take longer to arrive at various conclusions and convictions. I even understand God’s plan for human sexuality is indeed a pivotal one warranting our time and attention.

But it’s not the only thing. It’s not the only struggle. And I can’t tell you the freedom I experienced when I realized homosexuality was actually not even close to the top of my human struggle pyramid.

I just celebrated the 5-year anniversary of my first book, Struggle Central, a collection of my “messy memoirs.” Beyond revealing my homosexuality, I wrote about father issues and an inferiority complex and envy and social anxiety and longing for my place in this world — things I realized I battle on a much more regular basis than who turns me on.

For twenty-six years, I honestly thought homosexuality was everything. My deepest, darkest secret. The thing that nobody else could ever know. This ravaging lust that knew no bounds from porn to real life, forever the thorn in my side.

Now I know my same-sex attraction is only a sliver of the struggle. And by recognizing and tackling all those other struggles — befriending other men, including straight men; talking to my father; joining authentic community; doing hard things that stretch me and affirm my competence — I’ve noticed my homosexuality angling toward redemption.

Not disappearing or even reorienting, mind you. But holding far less of a grip on my life.

Beyond recognizing life’s other struggles, I’ve also realized there is so much good in this world worth chasing.

An ultimate hope in Jesus that directs my days.

A humility to let go of my lesser ways and trust His greater ones.

A brotherhood of believers He has graciously given me to journey alongside.

The courage to go against the world’s wishes in pursuit of something deeper.

A vulnerability that releases shame and inspires strength in others, too.

Life worth living.

Yes, life sucks. Yes, life isn’t fair. Yes, our life would perhaps be much easier and better if it were another life. Maybe another straight life filled with lots and lots of awesome straight sex.

But we need to get over it already. These are the cards we were dealt, and if we were perfectly straight we’d complain that we didn’t have the best body or the best social skills or the best friends or the best family or the best job or the best something.

We’re fickle people. We complain. We forget. Nothing will ever be perfect for you or me or any given person, gay or straight.

I’m preaching to myself who envies everything about everyone else.

And I’m ready to move on already. Ready to move beyond my limitations and what’s merely “allowable” and thrive. To thrive with other brothers who also want to thrive.

I love Your Other Brothers. I love this community and all the nitty-gritty stories that are welcome here. Stories you’ll rarely find in Christian church culture.

Let’s continue talking about same-sex attraction and all the messy things. Let’s connect over our common travails because those are indeed important elements of our stories.

But let’s not stay there. Let’s not drown in our SSA sorrows.

Let’s chase something greater. Together.

Do you ever feel stuck in your sexuality and other struggles? Is it hard to grow beyond “spiritual milk”? Do you engage in a regular brotherhood that encourages your spiritual growth?

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    38 Comments
    • Reply Bradley Joel Morton

      20 April 2018, 11:40 am

      “Do you ever feel stuck in your sexuality and other struggles? Is it hard to grow beyond “spiritual milk”? Do you engage in a regular brotherhood that encourages your spiritual growth?”
      Not anymore. For the longest time I was stuck of the mentality that ‘I am gay’, life sucks and I will just wait to die. People were pulling at me from both side; some trying to get me to live the lifestyle (I did and was miserable); others tried religion (and that was just as empty as the gay life).
      Having the stroke reoriented my thinking. For six weeks I had no idea I was gay. For six weeks I was nothing and felt free. It was only through examining my internet browser that I found out I was gay and had an addiction to internet porn. I want that freedom I felt back! And the only way is through Jesus Christ, and not religion (with their rules and thees and thous. I am free from the ‘rules’ of the LGBT community, that I am ‘born this way’. I can be who I want to be, free from all labels.
      The last two years (since finding David’s grave) has been an amazing walk. I am no longer stuck in the idea that ‘I am gay and that’s it’. I have been exploring my artistic and culinary creativity and no longer feel the need to do ‘manly’ things just to get approval. I actually like myself and I didn’t for so long. I am just Bradley, child of God extraordinaire.
      Finding YOB has changed my life!

    • Reply Bradley Joel Morton

      20 April 2018, 1:41 pm

      “Do you ever feel stuck in your sexuality and other struggles? Is it hard to grow beyond “spiritual milk”? Do you engage in a regular brotherhood that encourages your spiritual growth?”
      Not anymore. For the longest time I was stuck of the mentality that ‘I am gay’, life sucks and I will just wait to die. People were pulling at me from both side; some trying to get me to live the lifestyle (I did and was miserable); others tried religion (and that was just as empty as the gay life).
      Having the stroke reoriented my thinking. For six weeks I had no idea I was gay. For six weeks I was nothing and felt free. It was only through examining my internet browser that I found out I was gay and had an addiction to internet porn. I want that freedom I felt back! And the only way is through Jesus Christ, and not religion (with their rules and thees and thous. I am free from the ‘rules’ of the LGBT community, that I am ‘born this way’. I can be who I want to be, free from all labels.
      The last two years (since finding David’s grave) has been an amazing walk. I am no longer stuck in the idea that ‘I am gay and that’s it’. I have been exploring my artistic and culinary creativity and no longer feel the need to do ‘manly’ things just to get approval. I actually like myself and I didn’t for so long. I am just Bradley, child of God extraordinaire.
      Finding YOB has changed my life!

    • Reply Bradley S

      20 April 2018, 11:44 am

      So much yes to this article!!! I’ve blamed a lot of my issues on SSA, but ultimately that isn’t what my “problem” in life is. My real issues center around self-confidence, shame, resentment, body shame, father issues, brother issues, fear of rejection, an inferiority complex, and addiction.
      It was interesting for me to go on a weekend retreat with a bunch of SSA guys in another support group I’m in and see all of our responses to what was our greatest stumbling block. Nobody said SSA. We all said things that are common to people in general.
      While SSA brings us together, the real issues are human issues, not gay ones. Thanks for verbalizing and writing so well what I’ve felt many times before.

      • Reply Thomas Mark Zuniga

        20 April 2018, 12:34 pm

        Since we share personalities I feel like we also share a lot of common struggles, Bradley. It’s actually so freeing to know SSA isn’t the big one anymore.

      • Reply WaveDave

        20 April 2018, 1:17 pm

        Brother, thanks for sharing things I go through too. I know we are perfectly loved by our Father in heaven…it’s dealing with the here and now that vexes my soul at times. As I type this, I will pray for you, dear brother.

    • Reply Dean Samuels

      20 April 2018, 12:59 pm

      That noise you is hear is a standing ovation from me. Amen, Tom. Amen. Thank you for this post.

    • Reply WaveDave

      20 April 2018, 1:26 pm

      Thanks a million Tom! Certainly this is not what I think a lot about right now…although I am thankful to be part of this wonderful group. Right now, being a caregiver for my mom is consuming (she’s almost 94) and coping with all the changes of moving from the north to the south…from a larger urban setting to a small town has been a challenge. And…I find I often can’t understand people here so I live a life of quiet solitude. I am trying to learn some about “urban” gardening…I am so pleased to see the blueberry bush I planted last year is growing and filled with blueberries to be harvested later! But…if anyone has a green thumb, please lend it to me!
      Again Tom, I do appreciate all your hard work to give your brothers a safe space to be open and vulnerable…you have no idea how much it is needed!

    • Reply At Peace

      21 April 2018, 6:29 am

      I’ve read your article with great interest because i remember the struggles I was having. What do we mean by “struggling”? This struggling is like a child trying to walk for the first time. It struggles to stand on it’s too feet and make the attempt to walk. The process is precious. When it comes to our SSA, it’s somewhat the same thing. The issue is not sin, because sin was taken away at the cross by the ONCE for all sacrifice of Jesus. He died once for sin, and has reconciled those that were in the earth, on the earth and those that were in heaven. To comprehend THAT is a struggle. To believe that we are ONE in Christ therefore ONE in God is a mega struggle to believe. If I am one with God, what does that make me? Ah, such glories that will be revealed in time is mind blowing. But our flesh struggle is only a struggle because we do not believe what we are in Christ. Paul says, “Recognize that you are indeed dead unto sin and alive unto God”.That is the real struggle, not SSA. Some time ago, our Father spoke to me and said, “Karl, I do not need your help”. When He spoke that into my spirit, I was taken aback. But, it was like taking an Advil, I went limp and felt a sigh of relief of the pain of trying to live the right way. Sometime later, He came again and spoke into my spirit and said, “Be yourself, and love Me”. The struggle ended. I knew that God loved me, He was for me, and He wasn’t out to get me because I failed. The wonderful thing is my brethren, Christ didn’t fail. When I was “trying” to overcome, Christ already overcame. The struggle to overcome my SSA was already overcome, I just had to stand there and watch God surgically operate on WHAT WAS ALREADY DONE. lol Praise God. Like Abraham, he staggered not at the promises of God, but yet we read of his ups and downs, and his attempts to furnish the promise by operating in the flesh. Even though we read that and it looks like doubt, yet because we do not have a crystal ball in front of us, we are left to wonder if this is the route God wants us to take, or this way, or that, sometimes we just don’t know. When I am believing God for some thing, it can be tricky because having faith is hard work. But, when I have exhausted all my attempts to furnish an “Ishmael”, God is ready to work. A seed is planted in what looked like a hopeless venture, but an “Isaac” came forth from death. Our struggle with SSA my friends will fall away when we stop looking at it as something we need to overcome, when it has already been overcome. “Be yourself, and love Me”. Don’t change your status quo, just be yourself. Our Father is able to do exceedingly abundantly all that we may ask or think. I still like men, but the desires have waned since the Lord told me to be myself. I thought the answer was getting a wife and living normally. But, that wasn’t the answer.

    • Reply Jim Roberts

      21 April 2018, 10:27 am

      Tom, you have a mature perspective. Indeed for me my “core issues” dwarf the ssa part of me. Great insight!

    • Reply André Georgescu

      21 April 2018, 11:25 am

      This is so true! Very good post Thomas.
      Sexuality is not the defining thing for straights so why should it be for us.
      I remover one time I went to my youth pastor at a youth camp. Everyone was being prayed for and I really was struggling with my SSA. It’s so funny now that I think about it, but as a young Pentecostal I thought I was possessed by a spirit of homosexuality. I asked him to pray for me and I told him that I had a spirit of homosexuality in me that I wanted gone. His response was beautiful and straight from God. In fact I truly believe it is one of the biggest and most powerful truths I have ever heard.
      “I fell like God wants you to look at him and not the struggle”
      “In the story of Peter walking on water, when Peter looked at Jesus he walked on water, when he looked at the waves he sunk”
      I didn’t understand at the time but later on it clicked. Our purpose, our goal as Christians, is not to get married, not to be straight. No, it’s to pursue Christ whole heartedly and let him look after everything else.
      My issue wasn’t that I was “gay” it was that I wasn’t chasing Christ, that’s why I was sinking.

    • Reply A Friend

      21 April 2018, 2:26 pm

      What a great kick in the rear! Thank you! I also appreciate the verbiage and straight (no pun intended) forward honesty. I am amazed how others think like I do, and when I’ve used the word homosexuality (“you’re not that! You just are confused!) with others they tend to want to turn and run. I do admit that I have enjoyed the encounters and physical touch, but each day gets better knowing others are like me. I also like that you say if it’s not one thing, it’s another thing when it comes to dealing with struggling with own personal issues. Thanks for shaking me up for the good.

    • Reply Marshall R

      22 April 2018, 9:03 am

      Tom, your post sounds much like something my straight friend James (https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2018/01/29/alpha-male-my-close-friend/) would say!
      He is straight but he often says he wishes he could “crack the code” to make his own sexual attractions stop distracting him. He wants to love, worship, and obey God and to help others. There are many things to accomplish in life that are more important than sex!

    • Reply Fred

      22 April 2018, 1:46 pm

      SSA is all about taking over your identity. Even if you’re not gay, you’ll still find yourself defining your identity with it. That’s what this post is responding too. You think because you’ve devoted yourself to celibacy or something like that you’re good, but we have an obsession with SSA anyways. I sure know I do! And it’s crazy, because there’s so much more to life than SSA. I like the way I heard it put once: SSA is only a “leaf” sin, it’s not the “root” sin, and the leaf stems out from something deeper. In my own life I have found that to be idolatry of many things, including the approval of men. It’s crazy how even though we’ve rejected our SSA, we still obsess over it, and it’s a good idea not too, because it’s still bad to put so much into it. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads and live for Jesus!

      • Reply kirkdaniel74

        22 April 2018, 3:03 pm

        Oh, brother. Amen and Amen.

      • Reply Thomas Mark Zuniga

        23 April 2018, 10:46 am

        I definitely resonate with SSA as a leaf rather than a root. I wouldn’t have thought that 10 years ago. But now I see it so plainly.

        • Reply Fred

          7 May 2018, 11:03 pm

          It’s funny looking back on this. I was just recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is known for its complications in identity and social approval, which is exactly what I talk about here. There was even one study in which over half of BPD patients were gay, and liked to fetishism! This has gotten me really interested to know if there are other BPD or any other mental health issues here on YOB, and what the connection may be.

    • Reply Justin DeLong

      22 April 2018, 9:38 pm

      Tom – I definitely understand and hear you here. I’ve had many of the same feelings you share and can relate to where you’re at. There’s so much in me that is broken, and it goes way beyond being attracted to other men. I want Jesus to redeem and heal ALL of me, not just my sexuality.
      I do have a question for you – both here and before, you’ve written that you have no desire for sex with another man. But here, you’ve said, “Beyond revealing my homosexuality, I wrote about father issues and an inferiority complex and envy and social anxiety and longing for my place in this world — things I realized I battle on a much more regular basis than who turns me on.” You also said, “This ravaging lust that knew no bounds from porn to real life, forever the thorn in my side.” My question is this: how do you differentiate between sexual “desire” and being “turned on”/feeling lust? Those things feel similar for me, personally, and I’d like to understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from.
      As always, thank you for your vulnerable and authentic sharing! 🙂

      • Reply Thomas Mark Zuniga

        23 April 2018, 10:45 am

        Good question, Justin. Thanks for asking it. When I use “sexual desire” to describe aspects of my sexuality, it’s less about wanting the actual act of sex and more generally about having another guy available to me as an object and, essentially, taking his masculinity for my own. (I have other sexual fantasies/fetishes that I don’t feel comfortable writing publicly about.) I find plenty of guys attractive, sure, and I get envious and lustful feelings often. It’s devastating when I make the switch from “wow, he’s really attractive” to “I want his masculinity all for myself.” From watching porn videos to partaking in promiscuous chats…that’s been the killer thorn in my side.

        • Reply Justin DeLong

          23 April 2018, 4:44 pm

          Thanks for the response, Tom! So, if I’m understanding you correctly, the lust and fantasies for you are less about sex itself and more about seeing him as an object, being envious of his masculinity, and wanting that for yourself. Is that right? For me, I can definitely relate to that… sex just gets tied into that very quickly, and at times it’s hard for me to separate it.

          • Reply Thomas Mark Zuniga

            23 April 2018, 8:48 pm

            Yeah, that’s my struggle in essence. I guess I’ve been “blessed” not to crave the actual act of sex (it actually turns me off). But I still have another slew of lustful struggles in its place…

    • Reply Le Roux Nel

      23 April 2018, 3:37 am

      I can’t agree more with this!
      God created us to be more than that!!!
      He wants us to move beyond that place and rather focus on building His Kingdom

    • Reply James Thomas

      23 April 2018, 12:11 pm

      Very amazing post Tom. I really love this because it is a respectful yet strong and honest reminder to keep everything in perspective and continue to look at life’s big picture. This is a realization that I’ve come to only as of recent and I was very comforted and moved to open up my phone and read this post. There’s so much growth to be done once you realize SSA is a definitive part of your struggle and is often not the central point in which all of our problems take root. Thanks again for everything you do with the blog, podcast, and manly Monday videos. I value your words of wisdom.

    • Reply opinionmaker

      24 April 2018, 5:45 pm

      I think THE issue determining how much same-sex attraction played a role in my life was coming out. Before coming out to myself, I would continually question why I had same-sex attractions. Once I made peace, and accepted my feelings and attractions as a valid part of who I was, then I was able to focus on other areas of my life.
      At 57, it was only during the last ten years that I reached this point. For my generation it was very daunting, but for today’s generation I think it’s easier.

    • Reply Ryan Burger

      26 April 2018, 6:38 pm

      Yeah, within sexual temptations it’s helpful to identify and recognize the concrete shape those struggles take, because it may not even have much to do with lust (for me it’s more relational envy and manipulation, for example), but it’s absolutely important to have a clear view of how much you need Jesus in every other aspect of your life. Guys I am greedy, gluttonous, prideful and lazy and each one of those has messed up my life and hurt the people around me more than all my sexual struggles combined! (And I can’t let it go unsaid that God’s grace is bigger yet.) Those things are even harder to admit, in a lot of ways.
      “I’ve noticed my homosexuality angling toward redemption.” I love this sentence.

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