This blog is anonymous. Anonymity is always a red flag for me. If you don't have the guts to attach your name to your words, then why should I bother reading them? I get it. Unfortunately, taking into account the current climate in the American evangelical church and the nature of my current position, it's best for my identity to remain, if you will, "behind the mask." At least for right now. But you could actually say the need for anonymity is one of the driving forces behind this blog, and it will be a running theme. The Church is filled with broken people, all broken in different ways. Many of these people, more than you might imagine, find [part of] their brokenness in a sexual attraction to their same gender. Fear and shame too often keep these brothers and sisters from sharing this part of their story with the very people commanded by God to bear each other's burdens: the Church, the Body of Christ.
This is my story. For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to other guys, and I don't know why. I've prayed for it to change. I've dated a number of girls, trying to take change into my own hands, but all to no avail.
On the outside, you wouldn't have the slightest idea. I'm not the guy that people wonder about. I'm not the one who gets bullied for acting "gay." In fact, as I'm terribly ashamed to admit, I have often been that bully myself. I have grown up in the Church, and I've always been open about my faith. Many years ago, I felt God's call into full-time vocational ministry, and I'm currently pursuing that call. I live in the southern United States, and I belong to a more traditionally conservative wing of the Church. My context has made honesty about my story tricky at best, unthinkable at worst.
I have created a mask, a very realistic and lifelike mask. I wear it everyday, and I've learned how to play my part to near perfection. But life behind this mask is exhausting. And it's lonely.
And I'm not alone. Many Christians also wear this mask. Many of us believe what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. We do believe that acting on these attractions goes against God's plan for us, and thus, is sinful. But that doesn't mean it isn't a constant struggle to put behind us as wrong what seems, on the surface, to be good and right. We don't believe we're special cases, deserving of any special treatment or pity, but we do look for the day when we are able to be open and honest about our stories and struggles--the day when we can finally take off the mask and live the lives God has called us to in the fellowship and community of the Body of Christ.
And so...this blog. I want to add my voice to the conversation. Not as an expert or an academic, but as a friend and brother in Christ. This blog will tell part of my story, the ongoing story of God's redemptive work in my heart and life. However, it will also be a place to express my hopes and prayers for Christ's Church as she wrestles with how to preach the truth of the gospel--especially how to live out that truth. The Church must be a community of love and grace for broken people, those who are same-sex attracted and those who are not.
I'm fully aware that internet anonymity brings with it a vast array of dangers and temptations. I may be tempted to embellish my experience, to be over-dramatic, or to be ungracious and hurtful towards those who disagree with me. For this reason, there is a growing group of people, both peers and mentors that I trust and respect, who know my identity as the author of this blog. These brothers know me, and they know my story. I will trust them to hold me accountable if this blog ever veers outside the boundaries of Philippians 4:8:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
In conclusion, it's my prayer that you do find this blog to be edifying and encouraging. If you have a similar story, I pray you find encouragement and the knowledge you are not alone. If your story looks different, I pray you also find encouragement, as well as a window into the world of your SSA brothers and sisters. Ultimately, I pray that all readers will see more of Christ, and less of me. I am happy to hear your feedback, as well as to answer any questions you may have, but I will always encourage you to find someone who is a part of your life, someone you know and who knows you, to have these important conversations with at greater length.
Grace to you all, and the peace of Christ...
Your Brother Behind the Mask