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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 25th 2009, 09:32 PM

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're having a super duper day!!

I have no one else to talk to about this - so here I am.

It's been a LONG time since I've gone to church. I was baptized way back in November of 1988 and went to church quite faithfully. [For awhile at least] But I never felt as though I could truly be open and honest about how I felt - so I eventually stopped going. I believed back them - as I do now - that IF 'they' found out that I'm attracted to GUYS - all of those smiles and all of those acts of kindness [From my fellow church-goers] would come to a screeching halt. I would immediately become an outcast. So out of fear - I said nothing. But now I'm back. [Different Church - different city] In fact - I just got back from a morning 'service'. I like the people there - and it seems like a good church. But I'm right back where I started from - on guard - making sure that my 'secret' stays 'secret'. It's an awful feeling. And as I was in church today - looking around at all of the 'couples' - I couldn't help but think to myself, "God just loves them more - I guess!!" How wonderful it must be to want and to desire what God wants and desires FOR you. Some people will argue that God is OK with gay people too. But no one argues whether or not He is OK with straight people. Everyone KNOWS that's OK to be straight and that it's OK to be married and that it's OK to have sex with your spouse. But here I am. I love God and am profoundly grateful for what Jesus did for me. But that doesn't make me feel any less alone and lonely. Sometimes I am SO lonely that I'm not sure I can make it through another day. The loneliness often feels like a knife in my gut. But because of my faith - and because I am STILL not sure [At least absolutely sure] if it's OK with God that I'm gay - I haven't been with anyone for over 12 years. No physical contact at all - except for the occasional hug. And for a 'touchie-feelie' person like me - that's just a prison sentence. So I say again - maybe God just loves straight people more.

For years now - I have read a LOT of 'stuff' from all sorts of people - some who say that being gay is a sin and some who say it it not. Those who say it is not argue that the 'gay' frowned upon in the Bible has nothing to do with a 'loving gay couple' but 'temple prostitutes' and 'old men having sex with boys'. [And things like that] But I'm not buying the arguments. I wish I could. I mean - I REALLY wish I could. It would certainly make my life easier - and then maybe I could have a 'special someone' in MY life too - just like all of those straight couples I see in church. [And elsewhere] And as hard as I have tried over the years - I just can't get myself to be 'turned on' by a girl. So maybe - I'm just supposed to remain celibate and 'act as if' I have no sexual feelings. Maybe I'm supposed to - somehow - turn that part of me OFF. I just wish I knew how to do that.

So I am - once again - feeling hurt - and alone - and needed to get that off my chest. If you read all of this - thanks.

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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 25th 2009, 09:50 PM

I think you just have to find the right church. Churches are SUPPOSED to be places of acceptance(I'm not Christian but my Dad is) so if you can find the right one, sexual orientation shouldn't be a problem.


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 01:07 AM

Hey Craig,

Its important that you feel welcome at a church it really just makes all the differnce. Sadly there are churches that arent very welcoming if your differnt or if you do something they dont agree with. But luckly there are still churches out there that wont judge you. Just because you like men dosent mean that you cant love God and it dosent mean that God dosent love you. Because he does very very much. It dosent matter what sexuality, gender, race, religion you are God loves you. He wants you to be happy.

Theres nothing wrong with going out there and finding somebody that you like. You deserve to be happy and to have somebody that makes you happy. So just go out there and enjoy yourself. Find yourself a church that wont judge you. Its a place where chirstians gather together and worship and learn about God that should be whats important. Not what you look like, what your sexual prefernce is. or anything else like that. Just let it all be about God and it will really help things out.

I would just pray about it. Let God help you out through this situation. I know your feeling hurt and alone right now but let me tell you, your never alone.

I wish you the best of luck.


   
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 02:50 AM

Craig,

I hope this post will be an encouragement to you, and that you will not give up on Church, however at the same there maybe a little bit of rebuke in it.

First off let me make clear that if you are saved, you need to pray with what I am about to share with you because my faith has been weak this past week and I fear I am in no shape to counsel anyone, but I will share my light with you, at least the dim one that I have as of now and I have prayed the Lord provides me with the appropriate words, however please think these over and pray through them yourself.

First of all the arguments that homosexuality is not a sin are false, so at least you are enabled to see the fault. Many people get in this disagreement saying "well, we should accept people as they are" and so and and so forth which is true because Christ dined with sinners Himself. HOWEVER, we will be held accountable for our sins and throughout scripture marriage is defined between a man and a woman, and it clearly states that homosexuality is a lust of the flesh and does not come from the Father and to flee such things, I can apply scriptures if you wish after reading this, but I think I am telling you things you already know.

Now, if this is a Bible believing Church PLEASE I BEG YOU talk to a Pastor. Homosexuality is no more of a sin than anger, then pornography, then lying, many professing Christians these days have struggles in certain sins in their life, not all of them are bound in homosexuality but they are bound in other sins, that the Lord offers freedom from. There is a book called Battling Unbelief by John Piper which he mentions a man who is gay, and however, he is still tempted by homosexuality but he knew it was wrong and that the Lord provided freedom, so although he cannot bring himself to love a woman, he flees homosexuality and relies on the Lord for the freedom from this because when we become saved we are set free from ALL sins and (this may be difficult to understand) we CHOOSE to sin.

Now I now you maybe saying "well wait, I don't choose to be gay", not according to scripture.

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." James 1:14 NASB

If you believe the Bible it does not take a Psychiatrist to make sense of sinful actions we sin because we are enticed by our own lust because we are a sinful creation, but God set us FREE from these things and you do have a choice to leave homosexuality, though you may still be tempted by it, you are free from thinking lustfully about other men.

"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;" Romans 6:6 NASB

Now Craig, you can choose to accept this or reject it as do many because they are offended and do not want to be held accountable and believe me I have traits in me that I blame on being passed down on how I was born or raised, but the Bible says that it is my own desires that I sin. However, if you have a genuine repentance and you wish to flee from this sin, well you are FREE in Christ because HE IS LIVING IN YOU!!!

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Galatians 2:20 NASB

Unfortunately many men and even women have been struggling with sexual sins dealing with pornography, and I would be lying if I haven't stumbled upon this myself, I have freedom as long as I remember that I am free from these desires in Christ, but the moment I reject this message I will give into sexual desires.

The fact that you recognize this is not proper for a Christian is good, however you need to seek accountability so I ask you please don't be afraid to talk to a Pastor about your struggle. You would be surprised at how many people are being held accountable for various sins in the Church and I am not saying that it is good that Christians are not leading the world properly but accountability is a biblical concept and you cannot get through this alone.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
James 5:16 NASB

"But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13 NASB

We need to confess our sins to one another so that we receive prayer and encouragement so that we will not fall into sin.

Craig please seek accountability, do not fall into the lies that it is okay to live this way, everyone has to give up their life to the Lord in ordered to be saved, some people had to give up drinking, some people had to give up family, some people had to give up friends, some impurity, some fits of rage, some slander, some lying, some all of the above as people like myself... you're may seem like a great burden to give up but thank the Lord that He payed the penalty and gave the ultimate sacrifice of His life for us that we may be reconciled to God! When you are discouraged remember what Jesus Christ gave up for you! He loves you and wants you to come to Him Craig, and if you are saved you need to consider radical amputation. Read Matthew 6.

Ultimately you need to speak up about this to a Pastor, true they may judge you, but who are they to judge? The Bible tells us to leave judgment for Christ, and what it comes down to is that we are ALL sinners and ALL of us deserve nothing more than Hell. But Christ gave us the chance for reconciliation. You need to get over your fear of what others may judge you for because they are sinners just like you and you need to seek the acceptability of GOD and NOT MAN. If they judge you, GOD will judge them, but if you do not seek help and consider all means to cut off any sins in your life, God will hold you accountable for not seeking help.

Craig I will pray for strength, please do not be afraid, talk to someone... and if need be I will help you through this. I am not sure how the Pastor may go through this with you, but they will provide you with consolation and encourage you through this process if they are truly in the faith. Please Craig, seek help, I too have accountability for various things, I know the difficulty of confessing to believers your struggles, but it is needed, and we are to fear Gods judgment... not mans. I hope this helps.
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 04:47 AM

In my view (which isn't a reflection of the church's view) I don't care what one's sexual orientation is. Their orientation is involved in forming their social identity, however, it shouldn't be used exclusively. With that said, some churches are more lenient than others and some people are more lenient than others.

You mentioned that people don't question whether or not being heterosexual is viewed as "OK". This is seen both in modern times and in the biblical times, it's a reflection of how the society is and was. They're not entirely the same as our society (i.e. Western societies) have undergone numerous changes, however, I think some people are stuck with the idea that a vagina was made for a penis and vice-versa. I agree with this, however, I also agree that being homosexual is completely natural.

If you think the church you're in now is more lenient towards homosexuality, then why not socialize with some people there? If they're lenient enough then they'll value you and not care all that much about your orientation.
   
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 06:26 AM

Glad to hear that you are getting back involved with a church, Craig. I've always said that you don't need a church to be Christian, but also that the Christian faith isn't one that is made for solitary devotion.

If you feel comfortable with it, at some point it might be something to talk with the/one of the ministers in the church about. Keeping something secret is very stressful, as it seems like it has already been thus far for you. It is worth noting that what scripture condemns is the practice, not the attraction. Any theologian worth his weight realizes this, and would not cast you out from a church for your feelings. In any event, feel free to PM me if you need to talk about it more sometime.
   
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 10:12 AM

I didn't read much of Onion's post but was left pretty disgusted. DO NOT take this stuff which YOU KNOW is not your own choice. I don't have to be homosexual to know that it's not a choice and no-one should ever have the right to say that. Even if you can't buy the arguments, I know that I can and I don't care what anyone says, it's just who you are. Your sexuality is something that you didn't choose and therefore cannot be the works of lust or anything of the sort. How, as Christians, are we told to love everyone but go around saying things like this? It makes me sick.

Not to go in to too much of a rant and I hope that no-one is offended by this, I just find myself very opinionated on this topic. All I think, Craig, is that it doesn't matter. Let people know who you are and if they don't like it, there's other people and other churches. You aren't in fault, they are.


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 11:47 AM

I'm the LGBT mod here, and we get people who ask about sexuality and religion sometimes. The main thing I do point out, is what you decide is essentially going to be between you and God. Because no matter what other people say, it really is one of those topics where you can only find comfort in God. I'm a lot younger then you, and I only came out to myself within the last few years. But yeah, I get this idea that nothing you read really leaves you feeling confident. This could be just because they aren't great arguments, or maybe because how installed the idea that the two can not work together is. I've recently decided at least indefinate celibacy, just because it's 'the safe route', that, and I figure that my sexual lifestyle wouldnt have been appropriate if I were straight anyway.

But, I hope you know, and I'm sure you do, the Bible is silent on orientation. It did not exist as a concept till relatively recently. The point of me mentionning this is to point out, you shouldn't feel bad about the fact you are gay. And although humans may make you feel ashamed in church (oh, and I get the awkwardness of sitting in a church full of people you know would dissapprove), that shouldn't be the case. God does love you, and always will. In fact, if you are judged, particularly within your celibate life, then those judging you are the ones sinning.

There are churches that are fine with you going if you are gay. And I don't mean MCC or gay churches. They don't appeal to me, and I doubt they'll appeal to you. But I mean 'normal' churches. Some, gay affirming, some just gay accepting, as they would be for anyone else. Trying to life a Christian life on your own is pretty hard, and university is teaching me that. Not just about behaviours, but about spiritual well being. Being away from Christians does seem to take a toll on your own spirituality.

Have you been to gaychristian.net. I'm pretty sure that's the website at least (I havent been there for awhile). They have a fair few members who are what they call 'Side B', they feel they are called to celibacy. They may be able to offer you support from their experience. Also, looking at those who don't feel called to celibacy can be quite interesting. You get people from all sorts of denominations, and many of them are very serious about their faith. I think I got more respect for non-celibate gay Christians from these forums then I ever did from the websites arguing against passages. I'm not saying they'd change your mind, but it is interesting at least.

As for you having no human contact, I think thats not good for you. There are types of contact you can have, that are not sexual. Hugs are one of them, perhaps hug more?


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 04:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayak View Post
I didn't read much of Onion's post but was left pretty disgusted. DO NOT take this stuff which YOU KNOW is not your own choice. I don't have to be homosexual to know that it's not a choice and no-one should ever have the right to say that. Even if you can't buy the arguments, I know that I can and I don't care what anyone says, it's just who you are. Your sexuality is something that you didn't choose and therefore cannot be the works of lust or anything of the sort. How, as Christians, are we told to love everyone but go around saying things like this? It makes me sick.

Not to go in to too much of a rant and I hope that no-one is offended by this, I just find myself very opinionated on this topic. All I think, Craig, is that it doesn't matter. Let people know who you are and if they don't like it, there's other people and other churches. You aren't in fault, they are.
If you would read my whole post you would see that I am not condemning Him. Christ said Himself that He came to the world to seek and save the lost. He loved the sinners, which all of us have sin. I am not condemning Craig but exhorting Him to the truths of the Gospel. The Bible says it is a choice, whether we are born with certain aspects or are born into situations that mold us into who we are, there is freedom in Christ.

I am not saying that I am any better than Craig because I have different struggles with sin that I don't feel I have any control over, but because Christ is living in me, I know that I have choice.

Ayak, sometimes things in the Bible don't settle well with us, it does not make them any less true. Unfortunately our society has come to this thinking that we should accept everyone as they are. The Bible says that we are WICKED people and I am not better than Craig and you are no better than me, we are all EQUALLY wicked and need Christ's forgiveness. Sometimes loving people is to show them their sins. Did Christ not do this very thing?

John 7:7 "'The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.'" NASB

I am not telling Craig that he is going to hell but exhorting him to the truth in the Gospel. Please read this all the way through before you judge me. The Bible in Matthew 6 condemns judging, which you apparently are sick of me without even thoroughly reading my post. I am loving Craig, not condemning him. Love provides truth, not comfort. Jesus is love and He testified that we are evil and that there is not one good thing in us so that by His love we may have forgiveness. But there are warnings in the Bible (please read before you assume what I am saying):

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." NASB

I can go through this and say that I have committed everything on this list -- including homosexual thoughts at earlier times in my life, and by biblical standards have broke all of the ten commandments. I do not say this our of boasting in myself but to show that there is freedom in Christ from these things and even though I am one of the worst sinners that I have forgiveness in Christ from all of these things.

Now if Craig is saved, I take these verses such as these which say homosexual and effeminate will NOT inherit the kingdom of God as not judging people but as an exhortation. If Craig is saved, this does not exclude him from the kingdom of God, and if he is not save, surely God's grace is good enough to forgive him from anything. But if he is saved he must be cautioned because the Bible says if we continue in our sin the truth is not in us.

In fact even in Romans 1 Paul speaks of men and women having unnatural relationships with the same sex because God gave them over to a depraved mind. We need to take caution in these words because these are the words of God. If you despise me that is fine, for Christ Himself was despised for testifying about the truth, but the matter of the fact is that the Bible states that these things are not proper for a Christian and need forgiveness.

I am NOT condemning you Craig, but warning you. I am not telling you that it will be easy to overcome such things but that you need to seek it with all your heart because the Bible promises when we seek we will find, and surely if we seek freedom we will find that freedom.

Ayak I warn you as well, not that I am condemning you but in hope that you will not judge me by human standards but with righteous judgment, that you will reap the benefits of not judging things by their appearance and ultimately bring glory to God.

Matthew 7:1-5 "'Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." NASB


As I've said before Craig please read, think, and pray about this if you are saved. Do not be afraid to come out, as a biblical believing Church should exhort and console you through this. I hope that I have not provided a stumbling block and that you do not feel like I am condemning you because I have committed so much that is wrongful but God has provided forgiveness from things that even common psychologist would suggest were inherited. Craig I am not a Doctorate or anything special, but I have been provided with the truths in God's word, so I urge you please seek freedom. Do not excuse things as mere "genetics" or situations in which you were raised, surely they could be contributing factors to this, however it does not nullify the fact that God provides freedom through His Son Jesus Christ.


If you begin to seek freedom for your own gain, you will not succeed for our freedom must be to glorify God. What I am saying may not be popular amongst many people Craig, but I trust if you are being convicted that you will seek help from the Lord, and understand that I am not judging or condemning you again, I make this clear I AM A SINNER, there is NOT ONE GOOD THING IN ME, but by the Grace of God I am forgiven and free from things that I once could not have freedom in without the blood of Christ.

[edit]
Just wanted to add: Craig from what I understand you are a great guy (from word of mouth of others), so please do not feel judged, but understand I am sharing this with you out of concern for you and out of love, not out of judgment. I am praying for you and that God takes any untruthfulness away from this message, but if anything else please be cautioned.

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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 26th 2009, 05:39 PM

I'm afraid I'm not going to read through onion's posts Craig - I have a midterm I badly need to be studying for and responding intelligently to that much text would take more time than I can afford - but I want to at least respond to you.

Ultimately, what you believe is up to you. I can't offer you the truth any more than onion, any priest, or any other person can. We can all share our own views, but none of us can rightly claim to be able to tell you the truth. So once you've heard as many views as you care to, you have to decide what you believe. Here's my view, and this is irrespective of my being an atheist:

I'm not on TH as much as some, but I'm here enough to know that you put more than a little effort toward helping people here. You seem more friendly and more approachable in text than most people do in person, and that's quite a feat. If you're a thing in real life like you are here, then you're both unusually kind and unusually caring. And it happens that you're gay. You've admitted that there's nothing you can do to change that, which is a good first step. It's important to be able to accept yourself as you are.

Now, what I feel is that no god would want someone like you, who spends so much effort trying to make people happy, to be yourself unhappy. People who can just turn off their sexuality and be happy celibate are rare, and you're not one of them. You can't change something so basic about who you are, and as long as your sexuality and your faith are in conflict, you're not really going to be happy. Personally, I think that if god honestly wants you to be unhappy, then you deserve a better god.

Now, changing your feelings isn't an overnight process, and I know your faith is very important to you, so don't try changing everything at once. Unless I miss my guess, you're a people person, so it would probably do you a world of good if you could find someone who shares your faith and is honestly okay with homosexuality. Not onion's "god hates the sin, not the sinner" kind of okay, but someone who actually believes that homosexuality is no more sinful than heterosexuality. Having even one person you can be open and honest with makes a world of difference.

And one last thing: twelve years is a damn long time. I get mopey when I have to go without seeing my girlfriend for a week; twelve years ago I wasn't even thinking about relationships. As a fellow touchy-feely person, I can't imagine what that must be like for you. You deserve to be happy every bit as much as the rest of us, so I encourage you to do whatever it takes to get there.

In the mean time, you get a great, big hug from me.


The atoms that make up you and me were born in the hearts of suns many times greater than ours, and in time our atoms will once again reside amongst the stars. Life is but an idle dalliance of the cosmos, frail, and soon forgotten. We have been set adrift in an ocean whose tides we are only beginning to comprehend and with that maturity has come the realization that we are, at least for now, alone. In that loneliness, it falls to us to shine as brightly as the stars from which we came.
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 27th 2009, 01:40 AM

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're having a groovy day!!

Just a quick note to let you ALL know that I appreciate every response. I appreciate the TIME all of you shared with me - in an attempt to help me.

That means so much.

Right now - there is a war going on inside of me and I need to figure this out.

I will respond more thoroughly to what some of you said in the not to distant future. [I hope!!]

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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 28th 2009, 11:23 PM

Hi Katelyn and Kendi!!

I appreciate the advice to find a church that would be more accepting of my sexual thoughts and feelings, etc. Trouble is - when it comes to my relationship with God - and in spite of how frustrating it sometimes makes me feel - I want the TRUTH - not just something that comforts ME. And I want that truth no matter what the cost. I believe that it is my responsibility - as a Christian - to conform [As best I can] to what God wants - and not try to make God conform to what I want. I hope that makes sense!! GBH

Hi onion!!

I appreciate what you're saying. And I KNOW that you're not judging me. I will continue to talk to you more privately. GBH

Hi YourNightmare!!

I appreciate what you're saying. But I'm not [Ultimately] seeking the acceptance of 'man'. For 'man' won't be deciding where I go after I die. If one believes - as I do - that heaven is forever - our time here on earth is but a speck - time wise - in comparison. I don't want to do anything that will keep me out of heaven. GBH

Hi Bruce!!

I appreciate the offer to pm you. I might just do that - someday!! I agree with you re: not needing a church to be a Christian. But [As you also - basically - said] being with like-minded people - those who share your faith - can be of great comfort and support as well. Although it is true - that temptation itself is not sin - the Bible seemingly contradicts itself [Emphasis on the word 'seemingly'] when it warns that even to THINK of someone sexually is a sin. Sigh.... GBH

Hi Alex!!

I greatly appreciate your attempt to come to my defense. That means a lot to me!! But even if being gay is NOT a 'choice' - that doesn't mean that I [As far as being a Christian is concerned] can choose to ignore the 'rules' set up by God insofar as how I am to behave, etc. Even IF some of those 'rules' frustrate me. I would LOVE to find a scripture [A Bible verse] that says it's OK for me to have a loving, sexual relationship with a GUY. But so far - I haven't found one. [And I'm still looking - believe me!!] Given the fact that sex is so fleeting though, and so temporary, it may SEEM like a big sacrifice to US not to have sex - but maybe it's not as big a deal as we think it is. If someone told you that you would be given a billion dollars 25 years from now - but you had to be celibate from now on - would you take that deal? Well that's kinda like the promise of heaven. If we believe in God and Jesus AND [to the best of our ability] abide by the 'rules' - are reward - in the end - will be GREAT. [And it may not even take 25 years to wait for it!!] GBH

Hi Tegan!!

I appreciate everything you said. It's nice to hear from someone who KNOWS what I'm going through. I am actually a member of gaychristian.net. But I'm a little bit mad at 'them' for I posted a very open and honest message not too long ago - telling them exactly how I feel and about what I'm going through - and I was told to edit that message - getting rid of any reference to sex. That really upset me. I am not a vulgar person. The message wasn't graffic and horrible. That's just not my style. But they didn't feel comfortable with it. It made me feel as though - even on a site for gay AND Christian people - I still had to 'pretend' and 'dance' around the truth. I am so tired of feeling as though I have to do that. Oh well.... just had to get that off my chest!! lol I went to he local Metropolitan church a few times and to a United Church. And although both are very accepting of gay people - even marrying gay couples - I wasn't comfortable with what I perceived as being their 'anything goes' philosophy insofar as faith is concerned. For example - the 'youth paster' at the United Church told me that he doesn't even believe in Jesus!! Oh sure - Jesus was an enlightened man - but certainly nothing more than that. Sheesh!! And yes - more hugs would be nice!!! GBH

Hi Fletcher!!

I loved your message. And I really appreciate the compliments. And yes - I am in person exactly as I appear to be in text!! [So I've been told] I am grateful for the fact that I just happen to be someone who doesn't judge others. It never enters my head to think of myself as 'better than'. So if I had to say one thing that I really like about myself - that would be it. And I hope that part of me never changes. I won't say too much more than that. But rest assured - as is the case with every reply - I will read again again what you said. I also appreicate the hug. GBH

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!

PS I guess it probably makes sense now WHY I always end my messges with a GREAT BIG HUG!! lol


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - October 29th 2009, 05:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaCraig View Post
For 'man' won't be deciding where I go after I die.
Not true. Humans each decide where they believe they'll go after they die. You believe in Christianity and so you have formulated beliefs regarding where you'll go after you die.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaCraig View Post
If one believes - as I do - that heaven is forever - our time here on earth is but a speck - time wise - in comparison. I don't want to do anything that will keep me out of heaven. GBH
This is a bit problematic because assuming you haven't committed any other sins, one has to question whether or not you being homosexual is a sin. Christians don't all follow the bible to the letter, they interpret it in various ways, exclude certain parts, emphasize certain parts more than others and bring in their own philosophies and life experiences. So if you want to ensure you go to heaven, you have to see whether or not you believe being homosexual is a sin. It doesn't matter what a certain nearby church or priest says, all that matters is what you believe. If you believe being homosexual is not sinful and assuming you don't believe homosexual acts and behaviors are sinful, and if you have committed no other sins, then you're good to go.

The concept of heaven and hell is purely an imagined concept because so far, we cant show it's there even for those who believe in Christianity. It's an idea you construct in your head. If a heaven or hell truly does exist, then you'll find out sooner or later but while you're on Earth, you can only make up your own imaginable theoretical constructs of heaven. In other words, you shouldn't have to worry about whether or not you'll get into what truly is a heaven because if a heaven actually exists, we have no clue what it is, how to get into it, etc... . If a heaven truly exists, it may not require one to believe in Christianity. All that we can do is construct an imagined concept and since it's your imagination, you can change it to however you wish providing it fits within your beliefs. That point of this is that there's no reason to worry about whether or not you'll get into your imagined heaven nor a possible real heaven.
If you go through life worrying whether or not you'll get into heaven and being so strict to yourself, you're going to miss so many things.

As for finding a church that suits your fancy that I cannot help you with. What I can help you with though is I've realized that those who are homosexual and bottle it up usually are more sad and unhappy than those who are more open about it. So while trying to find the church that will suit your fancy, perhaps also consider being more open about your sexuality and so that way you don't have to worry about letting people know about it. If you become more open about it, then people are generally going to get a good impression if you are homosexual or not and once they accept you into their group, you've conquered several challenges instead of just one.
   
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - November 4th 2009, 03:18 AM

I believe that God accepts all people, regardless of anything. He loves EVERYONE. People who say that he is against gay and that being gay is sinning, HOW DO YOU KNOW? Those people are not God, and never will be close to being God. So they cannot judge. It really comes down to your personal belief because in the end you and God are the two that matter most in your relationship.


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - November 4th 2009, 03:55 AM

I agree with you hopefaithlove about accepting and loving people, because I personally do accept people for whatever they are. God loves you regardless of your sins, as well. He is forgiving. But it does say stuff in the bible about homosexuality and stuff...so I'm really torn.


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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - November 4th 2009, 11:56 PM

Craig,
I hope you're hanging in there. I know from my own experience how much loneliness hurts.

I'm sorry if my English is a bit rough at times, it is not my native language and at almost 2 a.m. I am rather tired.

The first thing I have to tell you is that your story touched me. You seem to be a very kind man and don't deserve such conflict.
I'll be honest. I don't quite know just what to say regarding your situation. I'd like to tell you to just live and not care what those guys think and that God loves you anyway, but I know it's not that easy for you.
My religious education is, I have to admit, limited. I was baptised and confirmed (?) Lutheran, like my father. Most of what I know about religion I was taught in school by two pretty wonderful teachers who taught the love and the songs and the stories instead of hate for people who're different. I guess, I have a bit of a problem with the concept of sin. I have learned sin to mean "absence from God"... I don't know any living person who isn't absent from god. And I have not met a single one that hasn't sinned one way or the other. In the end, the real question might be not: "Does God hate the way I'm living?", but "How can I honor God without denying myself?". I personally don't like to think that God is so fickle in his affection and selects those he loves by looking at who *they* love.
In the beginning of the 16th century Martin Luther almost broke on recognizing that he could never be worthy of God and that only His grace could save him. We're all sinners and only God can and will forgive.

You worry about those people in your church? I know that sounds harsh (and I apologise for that!), but why do you so desperately want to hang out with people who you know would disdain you if they knew the "real you"? Have you ever thought that they might not be worth your worries? If they are good people, they will learn to accept you. I won't say that they'd be immediately enthusiastic about you and your orientation, but perhaps, with time, they could learn.... (me being optimistic. even a bit for myself.)
I know what it feels like to be hated for being different (even though my story is less dramatic and turned out quite well in the end)... it definitely sucks.
In the end, there's only one thing to do: Come clean with God and most importantly yourself. You're standing at a crossroad... it depends on you which way to take.
I admire you for being so strong. I couldn't live your life myself.
Oh, and touch some people, ok? There's nothing wrong with touching, and humans need contact.
My thoughts are with you.
Lisa

PS on a personal note: My best friend is an openly gay male. I'm ... er... yet undecided. Other friends of mine have had their civil partnership recently (two guys... they are very happy). None of us feel very pervert or depraved for doing what feels good and doesn't hurt other people... I don't think we'll go to hell. And even if we did, it's not worth having a completely messed up life, isn't it? Sartre said: "L'enfer, c'est les autres!", "Hell, that's other people!". People who dislike you only because you're attracted to men definitely fall into that category in my honest opinion.
   
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Re: Going to church - and not being 'straight' - November 15th 2009, 03:11 PM

CanadaCraig,

A lot of this has been said by YourNightmare already, but I had to jump in because I care about you (though I don't know you, I think you're one of the sweetest people on TH). I am an atheist, but I encourage you to listen to me anyway.
Religion can be comforting. Christianity might be "true".
I don't think either of these facts are sufficient to induce one to believe in the Christian god, but obviously you disagree and you have every right to believe whatever you're comfortable believing. I'm sure that if you attend church you've thought about it, weighed the arguments for and against the validity of Christianity, and come to the conclusion that you like the Chrisitan teachings and think they're probably true.
[It's about to sound like I'm trying to "convert" you, and maybe I am. But I'm writing it because I respect you, was made very angry at religious dogma by your post just now, and want to try to help you]
I encourage you to re-examine that conclusion. There is no evidence whatsoever that heaven (or hell) is more than a figment of the imagination based on human hopes and fears. We only get one life. If you're allowing the doctrine of a man-made religious institution to dictate things about your personal life, and unnecessarily and hurtfully repress you for over 12 years, that's something to be resentful about- but you should be resenting Christianity and its repressive ideology, not yourself.
There is absolutely no evidence that the Christian god is any more likely than Zeus, or Apollo, or Thor, or Isis, or Osiris, or Atum, or Geb, or Quetzalcoatl, or any god that anyone has ever believed in. There is nothing to reasonably suggest that any divine being cares who one loves or sleeps with. Being gay is not worse than being straight, and it isn't inferior, and there is nothing wrong with it- if it's your natural inclination then it's absolutely right. Surely love in any healthy form isn't something that should be suppressed.


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