For better or worse, we all start with families of origin. But what of this concept of families of choice? A chosen family that goes beyond blood and DNA? Join Tom, Ryan, and Jacob for a discussion on chosen family: what it means for the LGBTQ+ community, what it means for believers in Christ, and what it means for this overlap of communities like YOB, Revoice, and beyond.

Beyond our awesome conversation on chosen family, it’s a special episode for other reasons: our first episode back in the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge” in over a year! We talk about responding to mystery texts and sleepwalking episodes in Ryan’s and Jacob’s “shameless shares,” and Tom and Ryan talk about their recent adventure to Montana together.

Our current podcast production schedule is one public episode and one private episode per month, the latter available exclusively to our patrons on Patreon. Pledging even $1/month grants you access to The YOBaLOGUE, our 30-minute bonus podcast that features listener feedback, bloopers, one “brother beat” segment, and other cut content from this episode. Check out our Patreon page for more information!

As always, we thank our YOBBERS — financial backers of Your Other Brothers who supply our show with phenomenal content. We couldn’t produce a podcast twice monthly without our faithful YOBBERS! Your support and contributions mean so much.

You can now call YOB! Call and leave us a message anytime at 706.389.8009. Ask us a question, comment on this CHOSEN FAMILY episode, give us feedback, or tell us a story! We feature listener calls on The YOBaLOGUE, and we look forward to continuing this episode’s epilogue/dialogue with our listeners.

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Enjoy our CHOSEN FAMILY episode! And don’t forget to comment below . . .

How familiar are you with this term, “chosen family”? Do you have people in your life you’d consider your chosen family, and vice versa? Is the concept of a longterm chosen family something that inspires or worries you?

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Jacob's slaughtered orchid

  • Family are people I can be myself with, people I love and who I want to share my life with and support them and watch them flourish.
    My biological family (parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins…) are family – I can’t always be myself with them. But they’re family, I choose to love them and I choose to support them, I want to see them flourish.
    I am very lucky, I have a great biological family, which has widened with divorce of parents and new step family on both sides. I also have a handful of close friends who are virtually family. I also have my church family – local church with people who are family (see definition above) and the wider Church – my wider family, my brothers and sisters in Christ – people I don’t know well and don’t know me well but we’re still family – I care about them and want them to flourish and I hope I could be myself with them if we ever met in person.
    At times I do fear for the future. I’m woman living with singleness and celibacy. What if I never get married or have children? Will I die alone? But I don’t know when that’ll be. I am trusting God to provide my needs, and I’m trying to live each day in joy & love.
    Thanks for the episode Guys. I really resonated in what you were saying about family.
    Also my first thought when I found you 2/3 years ago was – where are the female voices? But I love the community and a lot still resonates with me a single, straight, 30something woman.

    • Thanks for sharing Michaela!
      Yeah, on the production side of things it can be hard to know how to balance making our content accessible/applicable to as many people as possible (including women) and keeping focused on our core mission and competencies (non-straight men). We never want to exclude women’s voices because they’re women, though, so I hope that we do feature more non-male voices as opportunities present themselves!

    • We have heard your cry for more female voices! It’s something I’ve been personally wanting more of, too. Hopefully sooner than later! Glad our stories and community can still resonate with you, Michaela. Thanks for listening all these years!

  • I’m glad you guys brought up the only child aspect of this. I’m an only child and my parents are getting old. Before YOB I had a major dread of what I would do when my parents are gone. I would literally have nobody and it scared me to death. I do have an extended family but we’ve never been close. So for me a chosen family is very much a must have thing for me. Thankfully many of my close relationships on YOB have helped me feel like I have a family that will be there for me no matter what.

    • Eugene,
      Even though I am not an only child, I do understand. My mother passed away about 20 years ago and my father is 90 and very disabled in a nursing home. My only sister lives about 400 miles away and has serious issues with her own children needing attention. She has implied that she is too overloaded to be of much help if I need it. So I need my spiritual family too!
      If you are ever sick or in other trouble I know I want to be one who helps you! I know several others in YOB who would say the same thing about you, so I think you DO have a family who will be there for you!

    • I’ve felt a lot more peace about the future after making more connections in the YOB community as well!

    • Grateful for your perspective as an only child, Eugene. My heart goes out to all the only childs in our community. I’m glad you’ve found some dear brothers in our midst. That makes me smile.

    • I’m so thankful for the family you have found here, brother. What a rich blessing. For me, I do not doubt that I will have to wait for heaven to meet you guys. In the meantime, I am quite concerned about when my mother passes. I have no real friends here in town…just some people that I know their names and not much else. I hope to God He will provide that void when i will be alone.

        • Thanks a million Tom. That means a lot.
          The challenge for me has been to be able to find others to build bonds with on my own, and nurture those relationships. Especially after my dad died, I knew my priority was taking care of my mom as widowhood was very hard to her. She loved (and still does) to provide hospitality, spend time with others, go out to eat etc. When i wasn’t working, i took her to places to be with her friends. Oftentimes, i would sit quietly while they talked etc. i figured that the Lord would want me to be a blessing those people as well…as many were widows themselves or single women who had never married. All were old enough to my parents or grandparents.
          So, I would kinda “adopt” them and try to do things like send cards, bake breads and cookies for them. As some died, I would “adopt” some more of her friends. It was more of a one-sided relationship, but I don’t regret it.
          Fast forward to this past Christmas. The number of people I have known who have died is staggering. Very few are left now. Fortunately, my mom has enough friends left who she talks with on the phone…sometimes it seems like all day! Personally, I tried to reach out to as many as I could this past Christmas, but didn’t hear back from hardly anyone. i did try to reach out to people I knew on my own from past years, but one lady seems to have dementia/Alzheimer’s onset, another lady is chronically ill and could not talk much etc. Keep praying!

        • Thanks brother…I am embarrassed not to have responded until now…the past few months have been a blur and many days I hardly knew which end was up. Anyways, i lived about 5-6 hours from Asheville, I think. I can drive, but with eyesight issues, driving anything over an hour or two is tough. I know the area and roads somewhat up there, having spent a lot of time in Asheville growing up. It would be an honor to attend a YOB gathering, but right now my focus is taking care of my mother, and her health is failing a good bit this fall. She can’t do much, so I do it all!

  • Jacob, I was a sleep walker when I was a child. I fell down the stairs once. I would wake up the next day in other rooms in the house. One time I walked into my parents bedroom closet and took a leak and then went back to bed. I think I was 13 when I did that last one. It may have been a subconscious act of hostility. Not sure, but I believe my night time strolls stopped at about that time.
    Ryan, your text buddy, Austin, is the stuff of murder mysteries.

    • Yeah the more I think about it the more fake it felt. Probably not gonna respond to any more stranger texts. Cyber-creepo murderers aren’t quite my type!

  • On the contrary, Mike. I’m very much open to marriage with a woman one day. I won’t speak for the other guys, of course. But I’m also very much open to lifelong celibacy, following the recommendation of Paul and living out the life of Christ himself. Speaking practically, I know I’m capable of more ministry/travel and work with YOB and other ministries as a single man. So I know it’s not the end of the world if a conjugal family isn’t in my future.
    Ultimately, it’s about following Christ above all else. Not marriage, not celibacy, not Revoice, not YOB. I hope that comes across in our podcasts and blogs more than anything.

    • Mike, I have tried dating women, but all I ended up doing was building a friendship. All of these women wanted a man who desired them sexually, and I just couldn’t make that happen.
      As I have gotten older, women have been even less interested in me.

      • I get that Marshall. Jesus speaks of those who don’t marry in Matthew 19 with the NLT rendering “those whom God helps”. God helps those who remain celibate. Of course He does.
        Further, Jesus adds a caveat in verse 12 “Let anyone accept this who can.” i.e.celibacy. Jesus mercifully leaves it to personal choice. I love that! So, what of those who desire marriage? Where there’s a will there’s a way ! I take that to mean God also helps those. Marriage has its rich benefits of intimate friendship, companionship, and yes sex, and children who are such a blessing.
        So, those who can’t accept celibacy I take it means find a wife and like the celibates God also helps those who marry even with sex! Of course He does. There are three in the bedroom and God blesses and prospers conjugal sex. Yes, He does :). God is big enough to do that.
        Male libido is T driven and levels are sometimes low and need to be measured and corrected for some. However, libido is lowered with masturbation and porn. Stopping those (with God’s help) will increase libido such that conjugal erections happen; sex which is mostly learned becomes realistic.
        What I’m saying Marshall Jesus leaves marriage as a personal choice to pursue despite the torpedos (damn the torpedos)! i.e. hindrances like sga. It requires a strong will, courage, hard work, and to trust that God will do His part. He has not disappointed me.

  • I would have to object to your characterization of ‘chosen family’ as a concept from the gay community. I have heard straight people use the term many times. My pastor has talked about it and the concept is very Christian in its character. In my opinion, your comment about celibacy also fell short of the mark. I have been celibate since I was 22 yrs old. I have not had sex for 40 years and I would wager that there are others here that have gone longer. It’s been tough, but when that path is chosen, you learn much about yourself. One of the things I learned was that you won’t die from not having sex. I’ve been told that celibacy is a gift. If I’m honest, I have to say that has not been my experience. It’s more like it was thrust upon me because of what I believe who I am attracted to. If celibacy is a gift, it’s like getting socks for Christmas. Sure, you need them, but it’s not what you wanted. It’s my thought that being married to a woman would be worse than being celibate in terms of my mental stability.
    I am happy that it seems to be working for you so well.
    Let me ask you Mike…are you still attracted to men? Is it still an issue for you? Were all your SSA desires cured with marriage? Just wondering.

    • The phrase ‘chosen family’, if you do some research, originated in the LGBTQ society. Being ostracized by their nuclear families & society back then, gays had no other choice but to survive.
      Friedrich, I’m sorry celibacy has been hard for you. It is hard because this culture is so sex crazed that not to have sex is considered shocking! Singles are not valued by today’s society which breaks my heart for you.
      Regarding your last comment, celibacy or marriage cures nothing. Daily mortifying sinful desires/attractions is the way of Jesus followers whom He helps. If you want to hear more about me you can DM me on twitter.

  • LOL so I know you guys talked about a lot fo serious things in this episode but y’all had me dyyinnnggggg of laughter. The story about the murder of the orchid (also thanks for sharing the photo), the story about Jacob’s dad, the creepily escalating story about the mystery texter, the ever changing [brother beat, manly morsel, shameless share], that Sprinkle guy (“his name is poetry”)–I could go on! Thanks for making the show meaningful AND enjoyable.
    Also Jacob’s laugh is excellent. I feel like he’s one of those people whose laugh makes you laugh even more, hence making any average joke exceedingly hilarious.

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