This is the first of a series of live blog-posts by a young, lay church leader, coming to terms with what it means to be not only gay and Christian, but to serve God’s people in a Pentecostal/Charismatic setting in Asia.
Hi there. I’m a 29 year old Christian guy from the Far East who also happens to be gay. I decided to start writing after being inspired by another gay Christian guy’s blog. Kudos to him!
This originally started as an anonymous blog post but has somehow made its way here to IMPACTmagazine. I hope to let other gay Christians know that they are not alone, as well as give some insight into the life and thoughts of one. Some catharsis isn’t a bad thing either.
Now for some background:
For as far back as I can rewind the mental tapes of my life, I can only say that I have pretty much known that I was gay. Maybe there was that one time when I kissed a girl in the schoolbus. Her brother wanted to beat me up. When my mother asked me why I kissed her, I replied, “She was so pretty, it would have been a waste not to kiss her.”
That was the innocent 6 year old.
Fast forward 23 years, I’m now holding a job which I love, I’m a cell (home fellowship) leader in a mainline Pentecostal church (yes, really!), and I’m in a quarter-life crisis. Midlife crises are so past generation! Here I am trying to figure out why I’m here, have I made the best of my life, and what I am going to do with my future.
And something really struck me which made me realise that I’m still gay. I’m. Still. Gay.
The gay Pentecostal is quite a unique creature. You may wonder at times if one exists, you think you’ve seen one in the wild. You may have caught a glimpse of one, yet you’re not completely sure. It’s because practically none of us are out! You might be sitting next to one in church, but you wouldn’t know.
You couldn’t know.
I think our particular state of elusiveness exists because there is a real fear of what might happen should we come out.
Would we lose our membership? Leadership? Fellowship?
Will the church reject us?
Being gay is a struggle at times, no doubt about that. There were doubts whether God still loved me. I had doubts whether I was still saved. Sometimes I wished I were straight. I’ve prayed with tears and anguish, asking God to make me straight if that would glorify Him.
I’ve prayed for God to take those feelings away.
I believe God is a God of miracles and He has the power to do anything He wills. He could even make me straight.
But I remained gay.
I’ve even taken an online course some years back which was supposed to set you free from homosexuality. Basically you go through it for 60 days with a mentor and when you’re done, the goal is you’ll either become straight or at least live a celibate life.
I did the course. I even came out to my parents and a cousin then, telling them that I was gay and I was doing the course to fix myself. They were supportive and even thought I was brave.
60 days passed.
I developed a closer relationship with God, and while my orientation didn’t change I was more or less contented with the idea of permanent celibacy. Despite the occasional bouts of loneliness, everything was fine and dandy until that quarter life crisis struck. It really caused me to re-evaluate my life.
I realised I was probably born gay, but whether it was due to nature or nurture is beyond the point. The point is that I’m still gay. I realised that I don’t have a calling for celibacy (yet I willingly remain celibate till marriage) and it’s not good for me to be alone. I realised suppressing my natural desires was pretty toxic. And these desires aren’t about sex and sex alone but rather sharing my life with my soul mate. And that soul mate would be a man.
Looking at ex-gay statistics shows me that the majority of gay people who go in to “get cured” aren’t changed. They still are gay. In fact the president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, acknowledged that 99.9% of the people he has met have not experienced a change in orientation. What does that say to you?
I asked some rhetorical questions:
- Am I bound by homosexuality?
- Is it impacting my physical and spiritual life negatively?
- Do I even need freeing from homosexuality?
I won’t go into too much detail now, but after much prayer, soul searching and study, my answer to the three rhetorical questions above is a resounding no!
By the way I am taking quite a risk in writing here, but in the name of honesty and authenticity I say que sera sera. See you soon in another article.
Photo credit : Video tape archive by DRs Kulturarvsprojekt, cc
PEN T. COSTAL is a regular guy from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who has just discovered his ability to string words together. When not at his day job, or serving his church as a cell-group leader, he enjoys photography, good conversation and travel, though not necessarily in that order. He also daydreams about finding his life partner and husband. (“Pen” is obviously not his real name, but IMPACTmagazine has agreed to protect his identity.)