286. oppugn

Are you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose; Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion? Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, Book 5, Number 11

Holy ****, kids, how did it already get to be September 1?

Recently, I have been getting a number of singles ads geared towards… mature adults, which is a special feeling. I’m not sure whether this is due to fact that my internet search history reads like a Stephen Ambrose text, or the fact that I am in my mid-30s.

Do all librarians experience this type of thing? Is Google trying to tell me I ought to be dating older guys?

… on the subject of dating older guys…

Yesterday I learned that one of my ex-boyfriends is now dating a guy I went on a date with several years ago, which is a weird feeling. It’s weird because virtually everyone I used to date is now with a long-term partner of some sort, and I’m the only single denominator left.

As of today, September 1:

  • I came out 9 years and 8 days ago.
  • My longest serious relationship to date is roughly 8 months and 20 days.
  • I have now been single for 4 years, 5 months, and 8 days.
  • It has been 3 years, 2 months, and 17 days since I last went on a formal date.
  • The last time I had sex was 1 year, 10 months, and 16 days ago.

There’s a lot of emotional baggage wrapped up in those abstract dates. They’re like mini tombstones, with start and end dates neatly defined for each instance.

Possibly the most sobering is that, as of next year, I will have been out as gay for ten years.

That’s a huge fucking milestone.

I’ll also be turning 35 years old.

company_opening

It means something to be months away from having a master’s degree, having finished my undergraduate degree roughly thirteen years ago, yet having not held a significant job, not having formally entered a career, or not having had a significant romantic relationship that lasted longer than nine months.

I have my theories as to why I still place so much stock in the institution of the traditional, committed, long-term dyad relationship. Perhaps it’s just the longing for a family unit of my own, something I have never really known or felt safe around.

Yet most of my attempts at finding a partner have either been abortive or disastrous. My relationship with Jay lasted a mere eight months and 20 days. Since then I haven’t met anyone who I was remotely interested in who was even remotely interested in me.

(Alas, note the careful wording in the last sentence.)


A few weeks ago, I went to see one of my favorite musicals, Sondheim’s Pulitzer award-winning Sunday in the Park with George.

There are a several reasons why it’s my favorite.

As Joss Whedon once observed, the first half is about the struggle of living with the weight of genius; the second is about living in the shadow of it. Through most of my life, I have lived in fear of the shadow of expectation, whether of greatness or genius I’m not sure.

There’s another reason, though.

The Georges of both acts struggle to connect with people around them, and that is something I have never been fully able to do thus far. To an extent, I have been able to connect with people through my writing, to affect them and effect some small changes.

“Connect, George, connect!”

While I am good at a number of things, I have always felt acutely separated from those around me. While other children began learning how to negotiate social relationships in kindergarten and preschool, my formative years were spent at home, largely alone.

Because of the repressive, restrictive religious nature of my upbringing, I learned to censor myself, what not to say, who not to be. To protect myself from judgment and censure, my formative years were spent perfecting the art of keeping people away.

While other children had to learn to externalize their thoughts and organize them for an audience, my formative years were spent in my head, with my own thoughts.

In my silences, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that I don’t know how to contextualize for others the long, ongoing conversation I’ve been having with myself for those on the outside. I don’t know if this is a skill one can learn at my age.

When I write about the improbability of finding a romantic partner “at my age,” what I mean is that I am terrified it will never happen—that in spite of my desire to connect and to belong, I lack the requisite social and emotional skills to sustain a relationship.

When I worry about seeing an increasing number of grey hairs in my beard, I think of how long I’ve been working at all this, and being nearly 35 and finishing grad school, and still feeling hopelessly behind.

When I think about dating older guys, I worry about being 35 and how much less time I’m going to have with them before they inevitably die, or before I die prematurely due to stress or the effects of my lifestyle of drinking and, frankly, lack of nutrition.

I think about how I never got to experience the insouciance of dating as a young gay man, and the joys and sorrows that go along with that.


I’ve also been asking myself recently  what I really need in a relationship. Do I need monogamy, or will emotional fidelity be sufficient? In the land of gay men, where kink and open relationships are widely the norm, can I afford to be picky? If he’s into leather, am I okay with being the vanilla partner?

Frankly, forming one stable intimate relationship sounds exhausting by itself. I can’t fathom the emotional energy required to establish a constellation of trusted relationships to meet my needs.

These are still uncharted waters, and we’re writing the rules for same-sex relationships as we go along.

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38. creeper

This picture accompanied the last comment from as13579@hotmail.com (this is your reminder to spam the shit out whoever this is).

Thoughts? White Witch porn? Girl unhealthily obsessed with me? Gay man with tiger fetish? Extremely juvenile straight boy who likes to run comments through Google Translator and then back into English in order to protect his identity (kind of like that episode of News Radio where the dude’s book is translated into Japanese: “Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler”)?

  • “Mr. James, what did you mean when you wrote bad clown making like super American car racers, I would make them sweat, War War?”
  • “Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans… and pants to match.”

Here he/she is!

That’s hot stuff. Mrrrrauw.

~ Muirnin

37. spam 2

Here’s another comment from the “spammer”:

Darling boy,

We are a vast many. Quite the fine eclectic group of poofs, breeders, fairies, dykes and the like. Against such ace you are found witless. We love how fast you posted a reply. It’s made for quite a great number of smiles!

Your profiling skills are quite the sorry rubbish. But then with actual profilers amongst us you haven’t quite got a prayer. We’re no vigilantes and we haven’t hacked a simple thing. Maybe you have friends or enemies that you are not aware of? That said your apparent paranoid was icing on a rather scrumptious cake. Alas it is time to depart as I must go forth and buy the next round! Be a good little nancy boy, belt up and bugger off.

Thank you for entertaining! Ciao bella!

~* Häikäistä Kynttilä *~

P.S. Cortege or cortège (kôr-tzh) – A: a funeral march  B. a funeral procession

I was just informed a little while ago that “Häikäistä Kynttilä” is the name of an art work, and that “Emma Frost” is a comic book character, so whoever this spammer is, they’re also not original. (However, this reinforces the idea that this person is a juvenile male.)

I could be intimidated by these grandiose, faux-foreign jokers, but no. I don’t know what their game is, but I’ve seen things like this before. I’m not wasting another minute of my valuable time on this waste of skin and breath that tried to threaten me.

36. spam

This afternoon a comment was posted on one of my previous entries in which I chronicled how I hurt my ex. I have no idea who this asshole is, but he has officially earned my ire, and if what he says is true, he’s the one who outed me to my parents, which means that he’s also officially road kill. Here what “Abdullah” (a.k.a., Cortége) sent:

Evil men whisper tales of lies. You brought the lies into flesh even after you knew it would go nowhere. Manipulated the flesh of another living being and then sent it roaring into fire. I would scratch your face to scar it but I would worry of the decay I would get under my nails.

One must wonder, how many others you have left spiritual and emotional scar tissue on? Perhaps I shouldn’t have sent an e-mail to try and sort out your parents thoughts with Biblical references. You should have been made to suffer as you made him suffer.

I raise my glass and toast to your karma which certainly will go for the jugular!

From here I can make a few assumptions about this guy:

  1. He is either foreign (since the English is terrible—German or Indian?), or he ran the comment through a web translator and then back again to make it sound as though he’s foreign.
  2. He either knows my parents, or hacked an email account to get their address,
  3. He was able to find my online personals page and send it to my parents, and is probably technologically savvy.
  4. He is a vigilante-type individual who thinks he’s doing everyone a favour by outing me (possibly as a punishment—God complex?)—possibly gay himself, and dangerous religious fanatic.
  5. He experiences a sense of grand self-importance by involving himself in the personal affairs of others.
  6. Mentally unstable, with nothing going for him in his personal life, and possibly abused as a child.

Here’s his email address in case anyone knows how to use it to find a location:

as13579@hotmail.com

At the very least you can spam the bitch if you like.

~ muirnin

030. derivatives

Quick update.

Tonight, Aaron and I had a chat on Messenger that at first was a catastrophic blow-up and nearly ended in us never talking again. Basically, we both felt hurt and were trying to leave the other feeling more hurt.

But then we both softened a little and were able to talk rationally, and we were both able to admit that we missed each other, and that we don’t want to lose contact. So in the end it was a good conversation; he didn’t mean the things he said in the letter; and I didn’t mean any of the nasty things I replied with either.

So while we’re not lovers (eros), we are at least on the track to being friends again (philia).

And his “date” turns out to be this queeny guy who he’s using for dinner and movie tickets because he’s broke. The guy has tried putting the moves on him a couple of times, and Aaron’s just not interested in that.

029. long division

My hand won’t hold you down no more
The path is clear to follow through
I stood too long in the way of the door
And now I’m giving up on you
No, not “baby” anymore – if I need you
I’ll just use your simple name
Only kisses on the cheek from now on
And in a little while, we’ll only have to wave.
1


This will most likely be the last post about Aaron.

We started talking again. He emailed a few days ago, and I was glad to hear from him because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to even contact him. It’s obvious from the tone of our emails that we’re in a very different place now. Apparently he’s “moved on” and is even seeing someone, some guy who was married for fifteen years and finally decided he couldn’t live a lie anymore. Apparently it didn’t take Aaron very long to get over me.

That feels great.

He sent me a letter on Saturday that arrived today. Four pages of angry ranting. Sure, he was angry, and he has a right to feel hurt. I can’t deny him that. But he included lovely passages like, “you really played this well,” or “as far as your virginity goes, I wouldn’t worry too much,” or “you’re just one more notch on my bedpost,” or “I knew better than to put any trust in a Christian who also thinks he can combine [his faith] with his very unbiblical sexuality,” or “Christianity has given me a lifetime of empty promises, and I should expect the same from those who claim to be its followers—including you.”

Again, feels great.

He did email to tell me that he was angry when he wrote that letter, but that doesn’t help at all. In hindsight I should have just thrown the letter away, but I needed some sort of closure. This was it, I guess. My first relationship gone in a cloud of very angry smoke. Everyone told me it probably wouldn’t last, but I didn’t want to believe that—partly the idea that it could be just another statistic, but more that I could be just like everyone else.

There’s a part of me that thinks I’m somehow different from “everyone else,” and in some ways I am—just not an exception apparently, or just not that lucky. My sister found her husband on the first try, and they’re very happy together. My friends Tim and Sarah had never dated prior to getting together, and are also blissfully married now. Nothing ever seems to come easily to me, and just I’m sick of it.

What hurts most was that “one more notch on my bedpost” remark. Sure, it was said in anger and out of hurt, but that was pretty low thing to say, especially considering that I’d never even kissed someone before having sex with him.

You know—he was drunk my first time, and apparently doesn’t even remember it. That’s a great start to my love life. I’m tempted to call it quits right now and follow my original course of becoming successful in my artistic career, but I know I’m more rational than that. I’m angry, and I never make good decisions when angry. At least I’m aware of that.

So what have I learned?

And when the day is done, and I look back
And the fact is I had fun, fumbling around
All the advice I shunned, and I ran
Where they told me not to run, but I sure
Had fun, so
I’m gonna fuck it up again
I’m gonna do another detour
Unpave my path
2

From the very beginning, in April, after my first phone call with Aaron, a voice in my head was saying “Wait.” Looking back now, it was probably God but at the very least my common sense that is rarely wrong (which in that case has Divine written all over it); but I stumbled blindly on, determined to get what it was that I wanted, which was a guy to be with, regardless of whether he was the right one or not.

(Did I mention he was stoned the first time he talked to me? Isn’t that nice?)

I was just so afraid of being alone, and he seemed like such a great guy. He is, but by the time I actually got close to him my desideratum disappeared. He’ll be perfect for someone else, but in the meantime am starting to lose hope for myself. My parents were close to thirty when they got married, and I swore I wouldn’t be that old.

Looks like it might be even later.

I never good at being on time.

My standards are pretty high, which worries me. Does a Christian gay man exist who is masculine, isn’t into “the scene,” shares my conservative political and theological (though not fundamentalist) values, is well read, appreciates art and is maybe even musical, and can hold up his end of a conversation? Aren’t unicorns mythical creatures?

Do I wanna do right, of course but
Do I really wanna feel I’m forced to
Answer you, hell no.
2

It’s great when music I used to love for entirely different reasons suddenly becomes true and relevant. There are tons of love songs and just as many breakup songs (my current favourite being Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”). I relate so strongly now to what Fiona writes in “Paper Bag”:

I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew, was a hopeless to be had
But then the dove of hope began its downward slope
And I believed for a moment that my chances
Were approaching to be grabbed
But as it came down near, so did a weary tear
– I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag

I’m glad we had this little chat.

~ Muirnin


1 Fiona Apple. “Love Ridden” from “When the Pawn” (1999)
2 Fiona Apple. “Mistake” from “When the Pawn”

028. wasted unconditional love

Despite my best intentions, this blog has rather languished due to my hectic schedule, but sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads this besides a select few. It feels a bit like talking in the middle of the woods to no one in particular.

I’m feeling pretty silly right now, with my glass of wine, listening to Erin McCarley and Regina Spektor, Hem, with some O Fortuna to liven things up.

(God, I love me some mediæval defrocked monk lyrics.)

Saturday morning I got an email from Aaron saying that he had changed his plane ticket in December and wasn’t going to be seeing me. Long story short, we aren’t together anymore. It started so fast, and ended so suddenly that there’s barely time to make sense of what’s really happened. A breakup song is on the way.

Listening now, ironically, to “We Do Not Belong Together” from Sunday in the Park With George. Apparently iTunes thinks it’s screamingly funny tonight, playing me all these sad breakup-themed songs.

Shortly after his second visit it became clear to me that I didn’t have strong enough feelings to stay in a relationship with him, but didn’t know how to break that to him. So I did the thing I typically did, which is to pretend that it wasn’t there. Everyone liked him so much, and it didn’t make sense that I didn’t feel the same way about him. I’d wanted this to work so badly that I’d started believing that I was in love with him—and it was only when the feelings weren’t consistently there that the reality that we probably dind’t belong together came crashing in.

Hmmm. Okkervil River is on now. Love this song…

Breaking the news to him was pretty catastrophic. He understandably freaked out,  and there was a period of a couple of days when things between us were pretty strained. It’s clear that he still has very strong feelings for me, which is awful because I see that and can’t reciprocate, and even more awful because I’m to blame. I let things go on too long, even leading him on a little, and him get more and more attached to me.

It’s no excuse that it wasn’t on purpose, but I did try to do the right thing by letting him know the truth. And I was looking forward to seeing him again; but now that isn’t going to happen, and I’m abruptly and gradually single again.

Ahh, Rufus. The Tower of Learning.

The feelings are a bit conflicted. There is now a piece of myself that I will never get back, and can’t go back to where I used to be. I always thought that I knew better, that I would be smart and careful, and that I wouldn’t do anything that would leave me with regret. Except now I’m not sure which I regret more—that I did this to him, or that I was so careless with myself.

So there it is.

Se’l cielo non ti possa consolare per la reale.

Oh well.

026. whether the weather…

The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

These are the words of my pastor, John Piper, in his recent blog entry on DesiringGod, writing about the tornado that struck downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon—specifically, that it struck Central Lutheran Church where the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was meeting to decide whether or not to allow homosexuals to serve in ministry within the church. They met again on Friday to vote “whether gay and lesbian pastors in committed relationships should be allowed to lead individual congregations” (Minnesota Public Radio), and passed the motion with a 559-451 vote, repealing an earlier ban on gay clergy “unless they agree to remain celibate” (Star Tribune), essentially acknowledging the validity of same-sex relationships.

On the one hand, I respect and admire John Piper as a pastor and teacher. He believes firmly in the primacy of God’s word. He preaches the love of God to everyone, and the joy and full satisfaction to be found in the death, resurrection and lordship of Jesus Christ—or, to use his motto, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” On the other hand, he also believes and teaches that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle, incompatible with scripture and the teachings of the Church. Piper doesn’t dwell on this like some in the pulpit do, but rather stresses that all humanity is sinful (straight and gay alike) and in need of the grace of God, and for that I appreciate his ministry.

It’s moments like this that unhinge me completely and make me start questioning everything all over again. Part of me does feel like my sexuality is broken. I can’t imagine a life in which I’m not attracted to men, but since when has my lack of imagination ever stopped God? Even after deciding to pursue a relationship with my boyfriend, there are still unresolved doubts and fears in my spirit that come from a fear of being wrong about something so significant. How can a man I have listened to and trusted to deliver the word of God faithfully and accurately be wrong on this issue, or there be such consensus amongst other pastors and theologians that I also admire who agree that homosexuality is at best a neurosis and at the very worst an abomination?

There is this definitely a divide over this issue. The ELCA motion to allow gay pastors was passed very narrowly, with a 2/3 majority—a small but statistically significant difference of 108. I’m sure there were a wide variety of opinions at the conference. Lutheran CORE, a coalition for reform within the ELCA, has renounced the decision as well as their recognition by the ELCA “as an Independent Lutheran Organization that officially relates to the ELCA”, essentially encouraging “faithful” members to split and withdraw their support from the denomination.

There are to many differing positions on this issue, ranging from the usual outright condemnation (though to varying degrees of vituperation) from conservative denominations and theologians, to blanket acceptance from the more liberal and reformed sects of Christianity (the Methodists and the ELCA, for instance), and they all seem to find ways of supporting their arguments with Scripture. Traditionalists hold to the status quo on interpretation, pointing to the role of the Holy Spirit and the sovereignty of God in the authorship of the Bible; while progressives argue that the authors of scripture were writing from their own cultural perspectives, with a very little understanding of human sexuality, and were addressing a contemporary audience, so different standards apply to modern interpretation.

To cite theologian Virginia Mollenkott, to deny homosexuals their right to live in same-sex relationships is to deny their full humanity as sexually created beings; and along those same lines, C. Ann Shepherd writes in The Bible & Homosexuality in reference to the oft-quoted Romans 1:26-27 passage,

“When the scripture is understood correctly, it seems to imply that it would be unnatural for heterosexuals to live as homosexuals, and for homosexuals to live as heterosexuals.”

Personally, I have never experienced attraction to women, or sexual interest in women, even as a boy. I have always had a sexual curiosity about men that eventually blossomed into sexual desire for them. Yet the only messages I get are that I must either practically beg God to change me into a heterosexual, or choose and maintain a cloistered celibate lifestyle through Bible reading and prayer. So what are young Christians like myself supposed to do when there is a complete lack of agreement in the faith community about our sexuality? Are we, like Piper cries, distorting the grace of God into sensuality?

Now, I fully agree that the Biblical model of marriage is the one we must adhere to. Human sexuality must be expressed through appropriate vehicles in order to keep it from running amok and causing societal damage. I believe this applies to homosexual relationships as well, for we are no less human because of who we are attracted to, and gay men especially need to exercise sexual restraint. But to say that the gays are “going straight” by moving towards monogamy is just as bad as accusing black people of “going white,” betraying a basic misunderstanding of what it is to be human. That something as complex as sexuality should be expressed in only one way, in a Western, monocultural manner, seems absurd.

So there it is. I’m out of thoughts for the time being. Need to process now.

025. seeing clearly

Do not oppose the essential soul when it reveals itself. That self-revelation is constant. Even when the thickest clouds mask the soul’s brilliant light, it shines with all its power. It carries the world and every human being to the goal of his fulfillment—a goal that transcends all definitions.

The soul speaks without speaking. It acts without acting. With it alone do we ascend those steps to which we are impelled by the impulse of that which is truly life, in its most profound mysteries. “Then shall you rejoice in G-d.”

This is the secret of thirst and the mystery of its quenching.

— R’ Avraham Yitzchok Kook, Oros Hakodesh I, 173

A good friend of mine shared this with me just a little while ago, and it’s given me a great deal to think about since he went it. Now that I’m done with most of my projects and am in this annoying time of recuperation, I’m trying to make more time for writing and personal reflection, something I haven’t had much opportunity for lately with my busy regimen.

The above quote reflects something that’s been in my conversations lately, especially with my boyfriend—why we feel the need to quench who we are at our very core in favour of who we want to be or who we are expected to be. I think it illustrates a fundamental misconception of what it really means to be human; a failure to see ourselves as magnificently designed beings who are capable of incredible as well as dreadful things, as well as the capacity to change. We are not slaves to our instincts.

My apologies—I had a marvellously written few paragraphs a little while ago, and the fucking internet crashed on me just as I updated the fucking post, so I’m a little irked at the moment.

That, and I can’t type today.

So why do we settle for less than what we are capable of; for not meeting our full creative potential?

Fear? Very well, fear of what? Of venturing into uncharted territory? Of failure? Of disappointment? Disappointing others?

I think a lot of the time we also listen to the voices of those who settled for the comfortable job; for the convenient marriage or relationship because it’s safer than being alone; for staying in the small town because it’s all they’ve known. They say things like, “It’s just a restless phase” or “You’ll feel better as soon as you find a good job [or woman] and settle down.”

It’s highly doubtful that there are any statistics on how many people throughout history have settled for mediocrity because it was expedient; sons abandoning their ambitions for their fathers businesses; daughters dying silent deaths in fixed marriages that sealed deals or kept peace, birthing and raising children fathered by men they didn’t love; men and women who buried unvoiced desires and needs, and all because it was expected of them by society, by their family, or by their religion.

We are so much more than stone, sticks and bones, to quote Switchfoot. We start off so optimistically as children, ready to take on the world and not giving a shit what anyone else thinks about who we are. It’s when we become older and self-actualised that all that changes and we start worrying about being cool, or attractive, or smart, or funny, or likable. We compare ourselves to others in our local enclave and disfigure ourselves to “be like folks,” regardless of whether there is any defecit; like in the classic Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder,” where Miss Janet Taylor is afflicted with what we would consider beauty in a world where everyone is ugly—yet all she wants is to be hideous like the rest of her society.

These are just musings. No answers here.

Just thinking out loud.

018. proof

Acts 20:28-31, NASB:

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert.

I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking these past few days about whether I’m doing the right thing in actually living as a Christian homosexual, if such a thing exists at all. It all rests on how much stock I really put in the Bible and that it really is the inspired Word of G-d. Because no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I actually desire to be with one man (and that’s the defining characteristic for me: I’m not looking for random hookups and nights of wild partying), this nagging voice keeps screaming that I’m really just deluding myself into thinking that this is a “valid” lifestyle.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5, ESV)

I was talking with my man the other day about this; that we’re talking about 26 years of thinking this way; of hearing this messages on a fairly regular basis.

So I wonder to myself—is this really what religion does to people? Twist their minds into unintelligible knots of confusion?

It would be one thing if there were someone knowledgeable in ancient texts who I could go to and could trust talking about this with. But the only people I know who have the understanding of these texts are religious conservatives. My pastor, John Piper, knows Greek and Hebrew, and believes that homosexuality is a sin. So he has a conservative bias.

Conversely, I fear that the scholars who also have an understanding of the passages in question and have reached the alternative conclusion — that homosexuality is not a sin — are also biased.

So why can’t G-d himself just give me a revelation instead of working through these biased, flawed people? Set all the confusion and hostilities to rights, and say that we’re all wrong and just need to get along.

Because I’m secretly afraid that they’re right; that I’m turning my back on Him; that I’m choosing what I want rather than what is right, relying on my feelings and the advice of others who think the same way.

I don’t want to bring any of these insecurities into a relationship, especially one that is shaping up to be as long-term as this present one appears to be. There will be insecurities and doubts and fears, and we’re talking about this right now and working through it together.