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Author Topic: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?  (Read 4032 times)

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Offline Cleardot

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Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« on: April 20, 2015, 12:18:54 PM »
I recently found out I was HIV+ March 10, 2015.
I grew up in a very religious and strict home. In my teens I hid that I had attraction to men for fear of what my family would think. In my 20's I tried to repress and pray for God to change me, so far as to go to a Christian counselor and even telling my family and pastor about being gay. Finally in my late 20's I lost all hope in being straight or marrying and having a traditional family. I slowly started to  experiment with guys and in my 30's went to a gay bar for the first time and later dated and became a little more comfortable being gay. There has always been an inner conflict with my faith, or the faith I had when I was growing up. My family loves me and has never turned their back on me. They do believe homosexuality is a sin, but they do not preach to me or try to change me. I have many gay friends who love me and accept me. And I told a couple of them recently about my HIV status. The last few weeks have been filled with anxiety and feelings of shame, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness. I want to be a happy person who is accepting of all parts of myself, including being gay. I don't want to feel shame for being gay or my sexuality. I want to be in a loving relationship one day and not carry this shame into that relationship. I don't want memories of sermons preached that I am going to hell because I am an abomination and unable to inheret the kingdom of God.  I started seeing a counselor last month and we are having discussions about this. There is no easy answer. I know there are probably many gay men who had similar religious upbringing and may still struggle to some degree with the conflict of what the church and Bible teaches and being gay. I feel like I had made progress with accepting myself until I found out I have Hiv. Obviously I haven't made the progress I thought. I am reading a book called "Coming out of shame" and I am getting a better understanding of where the shame comes from. If anyone else has any insights or experiences with this, I would like to hear from you.

Online zach

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 01:12:20 PM »
Quote
Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.-Francis Xavier, Jesuit

The indoctrination of faith begins at young age for a simple reason, young minds are malleable, open to being shaped and manipulated. All to often, bent and broken to the harm of the man.

I was born into the Catholic faith, but I am also a born skeptic. Full of doubt and questions, I accept nothing on blind faith.

My mother does stained glass for the church, I have fond memories of her shed in the backyard... the smell of solder and lead, the sound cutting glass. My brother, paints amazing murals in churches in Mexico and Texas. I spent my summers as teen working fields at a Cistercian Monastery. I can't help but love the Church.

And yet, I am an atheist. Breaks my Meme's heart. Nevertheless, when I was sick in hospital, maybe dying, I took Last Rites (in Latin no less) and I gave confession (poor priest, I felt bad for him) I was truly penitent. That may sound like a contradiction, but there is no conflict in me about that, I reconciled that long ago. Some might say I rationalized it.

Although I find the ceremony of mass a beautiful experience, moving on a deeply spiritual level, I do not find a God there.

Instead, I look at the architecture as Sacred Space... humans are naturally moved and affected by certain spaces;  the way the light plays in the air. I listen to the choir and bells and hear beauty, the stained glass as art, the light dancing through and can't help but be dazzled. I think back to when the Church truly ruled, and think about how the common man lived in those days... a church had to be one of the most beautiful places they ever set foot in. They couldn't help but be moved. Basically, I deconstruct everything about a service into it's Humanist elements that transcend the religion and faith. All faiths attempt to affect the mind/spirit of man in the same ways. I view all faiths as the same, all Gods as the same embodiment and visualization of our spirit. Each culture creates a religion and God that best suits them. The moral codes of all religions are, at the most basic, very similar. Good and evil, right and wrong... these are common traits. They are written on our hearts. A preacher on the pulpit, little more than a car sales to me.

In short, I am an extremely spiritual atheist, humanist in view, but always rooted in the Catholicism of my Meme, and memories of mass in Louisiana.

I find Christianity (mainly American) overall to be destructive to the individual. We have a puritanical streak that I'm not sure will ever be fully washed away. Guilt, shame, fear... these aren't positive things, they are tools to control the masses.

I hope that the counselor you're currently seeing is far removed from that sort of thinking. Reprogramming, or whatever they like to call it these days... is a disgusting practice. The lives it has ruined stand as clear evidence of that.

There is one underlying message to all of Christianity. Love. No more, and no less. Tear away all of the scripture, all of the dogma, and simply be a good person.

Don't be ashamed of yourself, you are as you were made to be.

Love each other, and love your self.




some of my families work, needless to say I am the sheep that strayed far from my flock.

The Crucifixion of St Peter


The Coat of Arms installed at St. Patricks Cathedral downtown El Paso for the new Bishop
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 01:20:27 PM by zach »

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 08:15:27 PM »
That is what I am focusing on...being kind and loving to everyone and that includes myself. I am thankful for your reply Zach. The art work is beautiful.

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 12:30:43 AM »
I never struggled with it.  I grew up in my uncle's Southern Baptist Church.  By the time I realized I really was gay, I was already on the road to being an atheist.  I think I still believed, at first, but I was quickly moving toward a non-believer.

The homosexuality issue is one that always causes heated debate, not to mention so much pain.  If someone is a believer, Jesus never said a word about homosexuality.  And, it was certainly around in his day.  Many want to use the Leviticus passage.  Well, right there next to that are abominations about eating shellfish and pork.  So many of my "gay equals sin" family eat their bacon and ham and head to Red Lobster after church.  That Leviticus passage only discusses men, so I guess lesbians get a pass?  Lesbianism is not mentioned; it is the men.  So they also bring up New Testament passages.  I think there are 6 in all.  Many theologians believe those passages were about men taking young boys as sex slaves-- forced sex.  Many pick and choose their "sins."  Religion causes people to feel shame about sex, whether straight or gay. 

I hope you are able to move passed the shame, which was taught to you from an early age. 


Offline AT

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 01:08:05 AM »
I struggled with my fundamentalist past, not roots, but from my experience in a "hell, fire and damnation" fellowship during my 20s. During my HIV diagnosis depression six months ago a friend led me in some guided meditation and imagery where I let go of that guilt and coercion. It was a great start to overcoming similar issues that you have described. A good documentary on the subject is "For the Bible Tells Me So" streaming on Netflix.

Offline mecch

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 04:03:14 AM »
Cleardot - why not take a comparative religion class and put some of this into the area of "relative" and "culturally determined" and not absolutes.  Didn't one of the popes say its all one God?  So some people in some religious setting might be living with a lot of intolerance which is "justified" through the faithfuls' interpretation of the faith but not provably because its "God's will."  There are still plenty of spiritual leaders, local to international, who are even in established religions, and who are preaching universal love and tolerance and respect. Self love too.  Try the Dalai Lama for example.
So see things more globally and free up yourself form the constraints.  ON the other hand, act locally. You should find a church in your area that is ON THE RECORD for loving LGBTQ people. Such as Metropolitan Community.
You can't do much to fight or change a context this is rigidly full of intolerance so please change your own context ASAP as life is too short to put up with such people and such intolerance.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 11:47:07 AM »
Thank you guys for your thoughts
Tednlou- I am jealous of you in that you never had that struggle. As a child I took comfort in my faith when I felt alone and ridiculed by kids at school. I feel disloyal if I even consider rejecting my faith or the existence of God or the death and resurrection of Christ. I will agree that the Bible, Old Testament in particular, is very rigid and has laws that no person could realistically follow. The New Testament is more about love and the idea that our righteousness comes from Christ and not any good deeds that we do. The law of the OT was abolished basically because no one could ever follow those laws.
AT- I will check out the documentary on Netflix, thank you.
Mecch- that is a very good idea. I will see if there is a class like that offered at the local universities. Thank you

Offline vertigo

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 03:59:28 PM »
My observation has been that organized religion does a lot of harm to young gay kids, and that this damage can linger.  If there's any consolation it's that your story is not unique.  Take mecch's advice and find a church that's welcoming to LGBTQ members, a place where you can experience faith and spirituality in an affirming atmosphere, not a negative place of condemnation.  Personally I am agnostic, but I'll take a message of joy and love in any setting.  The idea that a few words of approbation in an ancient book tar me as morally deficient is patently ridiculous.

Offline RobbyR

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 03:31:42 PM »
For me, everyone has their own unique individual personal journey & experiences so I can only speak for myself. I was born into organized religion, I don't discount it, but ONLY if it is a tolerant, accepting community that loves people for themselves regardless of their orientation. I went through my skeptic phase, but as a science enthusiast as well, I don't feel the two are mutually exclusive at all. What I hate is people who stand on pedastals & judge people based on superficial crap.

I've found a church in my town that includes LGBT people & welcomes everyone (though I haven't yet attended it). To me that's what it should be about, mentoring & loving others.

In the past year or so, I have (on my own) rediscovered my own private personal relationship with God & even come to pray regularly on my own, & just live my life as best I can treating everyone with dignity & respect. The old saying, it doesn't matter what you do on Sunday, what matters is how you treat people & how you act every single moment is what really counts.

I don't think anyone can or should force anyone, everyone has to find their own paths. I consider myself spiritual, I believe in God, but I don't get into herd mentalities (those are dangerous I think). It's hard to explain, but for me I feel strength & spirituality in quiet, peaceful places, like in nature or just in solitude by myself where I can hear myself think. Anyone who says they are religious & go through the motions but belong to a group that teaches subtle & blatant discrimination isn't spiritual in the least, but hypocritical.

The key is finding your own path of spirituality whatever that may be, it should be affirming and rewarding & not contain any toxicity! That's what's worked for me! Hope that helped a bit. xoxo
"I survived because I was tougher than anybody else".--Bette Davis

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Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 11:06:16 AM »
I watched the documentary For the Bible tells me so, yesterday. It was very good and I will likely watch it again. It gave me hope. Thank you for the recommendation.

Offline Kendoll

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2015, 09:07:18 AM »
I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home. And well, you guessed it...I nearly drove myself crazy when I realized I was gay.

I knew that I wanted to go to heaven when I died. I knew that I wanted to please God with my day to day living. So, how could I do that being a homo...a queer...a gay man ?

Remember that old saying, "God doesn't make trash" ? It applies here. God made me. God made me just like I am. I am not a mistake. I am loved.

I just wanted you to know how I got through. Hugz from North Carolina.

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2015, 09:49:32 AM »
Thank you Kendoll :)

Offline Michael John

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2015, 03:01:28 AM »
Hello Cleardot,

Sorry I hadn't responded earlier but others included my thoughts.  I just wondered if you found an inclusive church such as Metropolitan Community Church also called MCC?  The MCC I go to has really been a great experience.  We even have an hiv drop in center for socialization, good food and referrals.  If you are still interested and want to share your area.  I'd be glad to find out any MCC's nearby.

Blessings,
MJ

Offline Aubietx75

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2015, 10:12:59 AM »
Cleardot,

Whew! what a difficult post to reflect on but good! 

I too was raised in a very conservative Christian home.  From your post we probably have many similar experiences. Thinking back on my journey of reconciling my faith and God, it was not an easy path, but one that has been very good.  Though while I am happy to share with you some of my journey, I hope that you fully understand your journey is yours, and it will take you where you need it to. 

There were some key points in my journey that got me to where I am today in that I feel that I am a fully accepted member of my church, a child of God, and a Christian while being gay.  Those are studying the psalms, reading a lot from scholars and theologians, trust in the Holy Spirit, and dealing with my family.

Psalms and King David-  Someone told me to pray the Psalms.  I did, and as I was doing this I started trying to figure out about David.  I studied him.  In terms of today's world he was a pretty despicable fellow.  He pretty much threw the 10 commandment's out with the bath water and broke them all, yet he was a man after God's own heart.  In my study, I realized first and foremost that if God could really be into this guy- I had little to worry about.  Through this I learned that God's heart was about our core, he knew we would muck it all up, but as long as we tried- as long as we worked to better ourselves- he was ok with us, he would forgive us.  This was a revelation to me, as I thought maybe being a homo was the unforgivable sin!

Study of scholars and theologians-  I looked for anyone from any denomination that had written about homosexuality.  I read the ones that believe as my family believes and I read the ones that don't see homosexuality as a sin.  There are a number of theories out there in the "not a sin" arena,  I read many of them and had to figure out where I stood on the subject.    Today I believe simply that the issue is first and foremost in the word.  There is not a proper translation from the Greek and Hebrew for what is being discussed.  Second it is cultural, the references in scripture are more to having sex with apprentices while married to women, or forcing sex on a weaker man such as a slave or ethnic group that was viewed as lower than.  Those references were not about two men/two women loving each other and committing themselves to each other.   Third-  was my belief in the Holy Spirit.  I believe the Holy Spirit guides us and leads us, and if I have faith and trust in that spirit it won't guide me in the wrong direction.

Family- The part of my journey that has been the hardest was my family.  I had to get their voices out of my head.  I did this by understanding through therapy that they were not perfect either.  I found that because I was gay and it was considered so WRONG in my family to be gay- I had a very hard time trusting myself, and had in fact put too much faith in anything my mother and brother had to say.  It was as if I could almost not grow up and see myself as an adult.  Added to this that I was the youngest (baby), I had to find my voice as an adult and see that my family were all flawed human beings.
That was not easy- but the hardest part for me was setting boundaries.  Today my family and I are far from perfect.  They drive me bat &*%t crazy sometimes, but I love them.  We have boundaries set of what is ok to discuss and what is not ok to discuss and do.  My husband and I are a part of my family, and while his family accepts us much more openly- we choose to agree to their boundaries, they to ours, and be a family.  We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Though it works.

The final thing for me was finding a church.  I tried many and today there are many churches that are very welcoming to gay men and women.  For me I needed to be a church member first, my sexual orientation does not define me it simply makes up part of who I am, so I needed that in a church.  I landed at an episcopal church where i have been for many years.  That family supports me and my husband more than they could know.  In fact the day I found out I was poz, one of the priests brought me communion to the hospital not knowing what was going on, just knowing I needed it.  He knows now and the support has been amazing!
I encourage you to find a place that you can feel as though you are a whole being and not having to put aside any part of who you are.  There are many denominations out there today that welcome us as gay men and women.  Jim and Tammy Faye Baker's son has an amazing non-denominational church that is very much preaching that it is ok to be gay and it is right and good to love our gay brothers and sisters so to speak.   
For me I don't always agree with everything that any church teaches, my beliefs are mine, but my church is where i feel comfortable being me.  I can kick my shoes off, get comfortable and just be me. 

Good luck- I hope something I said will help some of your journey be easier.  Though as I said before, your journey is yours.   Enjoy it!  I am thankful for my journey because I know what I believe today. 

Aubietx75
Education is the may be the key to many doors but you need to take the key out of you pocket and actually put it in the lock if you want to walk through the door.

Offline BubbaPat

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2015, 01:03:30 PM »
Howdy Cleardot,

I understand your dilemma since I was raised in a Southern Baptist home in the Great State of Texas.  While I was running the Youth Council as well as being the recruiter, I told myself over and over that being gay was just a phase and it would pass.  When I started to realize this 'phase" wasn't going away.

By the time I realized that God made me the way I am, I came out to my mother.  Now this was a woman who was the driving force with regard to my family attending church.  She was part of the women's Bible study, taught Sunday school and volunteered when time permitted. I will never forget the words she told me..."People who study the Bible for a living have been arguing over it since it was written."

The words soaked in and I thought about...suddenly I could be Christian, Gay and POZ.  Follow Mecch's advice and find a class.  Somethings you'll learn is that the Bible was written after GENERATIONS of the stories being handed down orally but have somehow now been turned into black and white facts.  Let's face it... ANYONE who tells a story... is gonna exaggerate some part of it....now add generations of story telling.  Not all of the writings found were put into the Bible.  Add to those the fact that it was translated from a dead language. Just these little tid bits floated in my head as my mother spoke to me.

In the end kiddo... God judges you... NO ONE ELSE.  I will stop my rant here... after all... I was raised Southern Baptist.  The 'soapbox with fire and brimstone" come after a few years of membership.

Bubba hugs kiddo!
Hope this helps! 

PS.  I know.. saw this a little late but still felt the need to respond.
hugs!

Offline Life

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2015, 04:50:23 AM »
Is your God all knowing?  From the beginning of your life to the very end?  Did he also not know even prior to your being born that you were gay?   Hmmmmmmm..  I think he did...

Offline weasel

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2015, 11:25:45 AM »
Is your God all knowing?  From the beginning of your life to the very end?  Did he also not know even prior to your being born that you were gay?   Hmmmmmmm..  I think he did...

   I agree , Gay begins at conception !

    I'm from  a  mixed home , Roman Catholic & Luthern .

     I picked and chose what I belived . 
         My Mom used say if the Priest was bitchy we could go elsewhere , we did .

      I never struggled being gay , but a shit load of of relitives " struggled "  for me . 

    My husband and I now live in the Bible belt ; 11 years now , These people believe it is thier right
 to interfear with anyone that does not go to Cult Churches . I have no need .

   GOD made me , GOD has provided a very nice life . I am happy with GOD , I steer clear of Cults .
 

                                                                 Be yourselfs , Carl

 P.S. Are Car Clubs Cults ?  :)
     
" Live and let Live "

Offline Coloradomike

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2016, 02:39:40 PM »
Hey Cleardot! 

I live with this issue myself.  And my response is probably very different than most you will receive from this site.  I hope it does not come across as "Preachy".  Because genuine care and concern is my intent.

First, as a Christian, I know that Christ is my savior.  I know the Christian faith is truth.  I also believe the bible is truth.  I also realize that I'm an emotional being with emotional needs and sometimes deficits.  As Christians, we MUST try to live our lives in accordance with the scriptures.  We do this with prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit and the CLOSE fellowship/friendship of other Christian believers.  Because we are emotional beings, we need the love and support of other strong, loving Christians. 

We don't choose our feelings.  Our sexual feelings develope over life, from various issues, relationships, and circumstances.  But we do choose our behavior.  Just because something in bible does not agree with my feelings, does not allow me to say those scriptures are inaccurate or mistranslated.  I need to look deeper at my emotions/feelings and meet those needs in accordance with the scriptures.

There is a wonderful organization in Colorado called Where Grace Abounds.  Their website is: wheregraceabounds.org  Your probably not in Colorado but the website has good information.

Again, I know this won't be a popular response.  But you asked for advice.  And as a Christian who deals with this issue, I'm responding.

Love you, Cleardot!


Offline heretolearn

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 10:38:55 AM »
The Bible tells us that we are all sinners. We are born into sin regardless of our sexual orientation. We cannot be sinless.
I am bisexual, which is not the same I know because it is much easier for me not to act on my homosexual tendencies most of the time.
The Bible says Jesus died for every one of us. If you read the book of Matthew, and the Sermon on the Mount within, you will see Jesus (in His sarcastic manner) telling many sins that we can't help that we are almost all guilty of. The point he is making is that we are all condemned if we don't accept the sacrifice made for us and that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. No matter who you are, He died for you. He did not come to condemn the world but to save us.
If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you could not go to Hell if you wanted to
Furthermore, many Christians seem to pick and choose the scriptures which support their own opinions while leaving the rest out. The old testament is a great thing to teach us how to live healthily and should not be ignored but Jesus paid our debt because NO ONE was good enough. Gospel means"good news" and the good news is that yes, you are a sinner like the rest of us but it doesn't condemn you unless you deny the blood of Jesus. There are no good works you can do to be redeemed. There is only one way.
I do feel guilt about my sins and I have felt I am not worthy but if God says I am worthy then I am and cannot question that.

Another thing, when I was diagnosed, my husband said he was mad at God and I reminded him that it was my choices which caused this and God blessed me by letting me find out before it was too late.
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Offline nevergiveup1

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2016, 05:03:45 PM »
I AM WHAT THE WORLD CALLS A BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN.  MY DAD IS A PASTOR AND SO WAS MY MOTHER.  I WAS RAISED IN CHURCH.  I "LEFT" THE CHURCH BUT NOT GOD WHEN I CAME OUT DECADES AGO IN THE EARLY 80'S BECAUSE I WAS NOT ACCEPTED, IT WAS REALLY BAD EVEN MY PARENTS DIDN'T WANT ME IN THE HOUSE SO I GRADUATED GOT A JOB AND WORKED UNTIL I BECAME DISABLED WITH HIV.  I STILL AT TIMES STRUGGLE WITH AM I GOING TO HEAVEN? IS THIS NORMAL?  BUT YOU KNOW WHAT - AS THEY SAY NOBODY WOULD CHOSE THIS LIFESTYLE.  I WENT BACK TO MY SAME CHURCH AND STILL GO FROM TIME TO TIME.  SOME PEOPLE I'VE KNOWN MY ENTIRE LIFE "PRETEND" TO SUPPORT ME OTHERS DO.  I GO THERE NOT FOR THEM BUT TO WORSHIP GOD AND HEAR THE MESSAGE.  HIT ME UP IF YOU NEED TO. 

Offline owt

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2016, 10:37:35 PM »
Hey cleardot, well in my case my mother is so religious catholic, when i was a child i felt very attracted to all about religion, praying, history, reading, but the must important art. christian sacred art is something very important in my life, even now when i do not believe in God, i really appreciate the beautiful of a "God" sculpture or a paint.
representation. as you can imagine now i have no conflicts cause there's no God for me to feel guilty or ashamed. when i was catholic i knew i was a sinner but i didn't care so much,  cause when i used to see a image of Chris and listen all about mercy i just could imagine that God never would be as mean to punish me or whatever they said he does. for me he always was totally mercy and totally nice oh how cutie i used to think hehe

you can believe in God and be gay there's no problem you know why? religions are build by humans and society, not by God and they change the rules whenever they want, so be proud of who you are and your faith. and keep going!

PD. search a little about Sergius and Bacchus, beautiful love story and you'll see why i say they change the rules.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 10:39:50 PM by owt »

 


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