Even The Sparrow Finds A Home
It all began in our most desperate hour . . .
Locked away with our lifelong secrets, we turned to Google and typed those four momentous words: Christians struggling with homosexuality.
What we found would turn the page on our stories forever – a Xanga community of men blogging boldly about faith, homosexuality, and masculinity. Their stories spoke life into our starving hearts: we were not alone.
One by one, we joined the fold, welcoming one another as our stories spread to other lonely bedrooms around the world. For five years we forged unlikely friendships with one another — unlikely for our diverse locations, though quite likely for our common struggles and Savior.
When Xanga shut down in 2013, our community suffered a blow. For two years, our story went dark.
Everything changed the summer of 2015 when ten former Xangans gathered for a weekend retreat – most of our first times ever meeting one another.
Our three days in the hills of Tennessee felt like something from a storybook. Tucked away from the rest of the world, we laughed and cried and prayed together, sharing our stories anew, and rediscovering the force of our unlikely-likely brotherhood.
We left those Tennessee hills grateful for our renewed, beautiful brotherhood but burdened all the same. What about everyone else still struggling to reconcile their journeys with faith, homosexuality, and masculinity?
If they turned to Google as we did all those years ago – and certainly they were – what would they find? What wouldn’t they find?
Returning to our respective homes around America, we resolved it our duty to reestablish our online community of old. To open our arms for the lonely, hopeless, and desperately searching. To retell our stories and affirm for a new generation what we once discovered for ourselves all those years ago:
You are not alone.
The fall of 2015, we launched Your Other Brothers (YOB) as a blog, later creating a podcast and a YouTube channel. We started gaining readers, listeners, and viewers, and we began realizing something.
These people were more than mere followers and occasional commenters, and we were doing more than just telling our story; we were building a dynamic community, and they were becoming the story too.
In 2016, we created a secret Facebook group for our Patreon supporters, and soon more community pieces would fall into place: multiple Zoom calls each month, a Discord server, and even supporter meetups and annual retreats.
The spring of 2018, forty-seven men from America, Canada, and the United Kingdom united in the hills of North Carolina for our first YOB retreat: single to married, twenty to sixty-six years old. Our inaugural weekend together bore the echoes of a smaller retreat in the neighboring hills just three years prior.
We met in small groups and large ones; we worshipped God under one roof and struggled to say goodbye.
“Like a long lost family reunion,” someone said of our first-time gathering – indeed, a now familiar refrain several retreats later.
And the journey continues! We share our stories for fellow gay or same-sex attracted people of faith, because we are with you as your other brothers. And we share for heterosexual people of faith, because we are your other brothers, too – not outside the Church but here in your midst, yearning to be known and loved like anyone else in the pews beside you.
We never chose our story, but we believe we have been chosen for one another in this story.
So, settle into your seat – and if you feel so bold, grab a pen. Our story’s pages turn from Xanga to today, and we have this unshakable feeling that you, too, have some tales to tell.