Last summer, just as my homosexuality was exploding onto my life, I told a close friend of mine that people who come out of the closet are usually ready for a relationship. They want to get into one and start experiencing their sexuality.
I told him I was nowhere near that stage.
Now I'm getting closer. I'm almost to the point where I am not only longing for some kind of relationship that has the potential to develop into a lifelong intimacy, but also getting pretty damn close to making my existence as a man that is attracted to men public knowledge.
Oddly enough, this has something to do with church. This past week I received a letter from my church asking me whether or not I was intending on maintaining my membership with them. Apparently they have noticed that I haven't been attending for the past 8 months. Some of them are surely concerned. Recently one of my prize members of the youth group that I worked with for four years contacted my ex-girlfriend and asked how I was doing. He said that he had heard "rumours" about me.
Apparently about me 'falling away from God'. Which I won't deny. This has happened. But not in the past 8 months. More like a general trend of the past 4 years.
My former church kind of missed the boat on that one.
I have a friend that I have blogged about in the past. He is the one who directed me towards ex-gay ministries after I half-intentionally, half-instinctively told him I was gay and then listened to him tell me what it meant to be gay and how he didn't want me to pidgeon-hole myself into being gay. Do I still sound angry? I hope not. This man, a friend of mine for many years and one of the few people that I love and respect without ceasing, has since recanted.
Now he pushes me to be myself, and let everybody know. And be so comfortable with myself that rebukes and concerns that I may sense or hear from any church that I attend bounce off of my like bullets off of a super-hero. And that I push the world to a greater understanding of sexuality, gender identities, and what it means to be Neal Adolph to a world that isn't even remotely aware. He wants me walking down the aisle of my church, holding the hand of my boyfriend, and sitting down comfortably - knowing that I am being silently rebuked, but being comfortable in my relationship and my spirituality all the same (admittedly the former seems more likely than the latter...).
That is a big task. But it has been done before. And it will be done again - this time spear-headed by me, bolstered by my friends and family, and push forward by this sense that I am ok. I'm not great, but I am by no means sleeping with the devil any more frequently than other people (ok, this may be a lie).
I went out this weekend to a music festival in town, and spent quite a bit of time mingling with the various conductors and choirs. One of the conductors, whom I've known and admired for years, is apparently (I had no idea) undeniably gay. And currently seeing 5 people. When somebody asked him if he would ever consider settling down, he said yes - if he found the right person, and if that person believed in God.
I'm starting to get that God isn't exclusive to heterosexuality.