Despite all the incredible people in our online community, I've recognized my need for more men in my city on whom I can depend. This has been a sobering searching process because YOB has become such a pillar of my identity. If I'm no longer close or as intentional with a large lot of our YOB community, who even am I?
This complicated relationship with masculinity has followed me throughout my life, especially as I've gradually come to terms with what it means to be a gay man following Jesus. Even now, I struggle to use the word "man" to describe myself. I can come to terms with the word "gay" or the word "Christian," but "man" doesn't feel like something I am.
When I finally acknowledged my sexuality as something God could use for His glory and my good, it became something that endeared me to others rather than only alienate me from them. Sexuality was no longer just a source of shame; it became a catalyst for connection.
I was just about to graduate and launch out into the world, and I couldn't hide from the truth any longer. I'm homosexual. That was the only language I had for it at the time. There was no way I could have used the word gay, because I sure wasn't happy; quite the opposite, in fact. I was devastated.
I found myself getting sucked into a world of fantasy. Porn was way better than watching some blockbuster: I could still be with guys without actually being with them. After all, I never cared about those guys anyway. It was all about me and getting off. The more I watched porn, the more I was hooked.
Ah, body image. I suspect nearly all of us wrestle with it in some form or another, and in different ways – whether we’re gay/same-sex attracted or straight. These days for me, that wrestling with body image is around aging.
Perhaps it was the touch of melancholy in me that many other "Side B" Christians also feel, or simply being a disabled man, or maybe even a combination of the two – the fact that I have often felt both a physical and mental peace listening to classical music. Whatever it was, my soul felt ministered to in a previously unknown way.
You know, after fifteen years of blogging about gay things and masculine things and all the other intermingled, messy faith things, I often feel like I've run out of stories to tell here. Gay kisses, wet dreams, fetishes – what on earth is there left to say?? Ah, but then I wake up one day and suddenly remember that time another "Side B" guy from a Facebook group asked if he could do something to my genitals. Ah, yes – a new story to tell. Glory be.
I spent most of my twenties trying my best to be straight. I dated women and watched ESPN and prayed and prayed for the gay to go away. I don't suppose there was anything wrong with all that. But at some point I had to acknowledge the reality that God doesn't always remove challenges. He always works through them, though.