Monday, March 19, 2007

Envy

There are a lot of negative attitudes that can be stumbling blocks on the walk of faith, but I've always thought that envy stood out in its own special way from a lot of them. Perhaps that's just because it's a sinful attitude that I myself deal with regularly. But I also think the nature of envy is somewhat unique, in that when you really get to thinking about it, it's really, really stupid.

I don't think it's odd for anyone to struggle with envy, especially if they're someone who's ever dealt with same-sex attraction. No matter what your beliefs, it's pretty natural to be jealous of those "normal" straight people. "Oh, how easy it must be for them!" right? No societal rejection, no words such as "abomination" attached to something they really, really want to do: an "easy ride." I've felt those feelings, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

But for me, envy has often taken on several other dimensions. It has gone beyond being jealous of heterosexuals. That's really a starter, to be honest. If there's anything I'm envious of, it's people who I perceive to be "whole," and by whole I mean consistent. I find myself coveting the lives of people who, unlike me, don't seem to be stuck in the middle of the road, who aren't an amalgamation of several other beliefs and identities.

I am jealous of out-and-proud gay people because, though you can say what you want about them, you have to admit that they have guts, and it's nice to see someone comfortable with who they are (or perceive themselves to be). I'm also jealous of hardcore evangelical Christians who "fit in" with evangelical culture, who readily believe all the stuff from Answers in Genesis, who like Christian rock, who go to Christian colleges and get married, have babies, and vote Republican. I'm envious of both left-wing and right-wing radicals, because holding on to your beliefs no matter what takes courage (or at least a certain stubbornness that I can definitely identify with). I'm jealous of ex-gays who identify with everything Exodus speaks about, and I'm also jealous of ex-ex-gays who are still Christian despite their sexuality. I'm jealous of hardcore five-point Calvinists, and I'm also jealous of staunch Arminians.

Are we getting the picture here? I basically have this hang-up about being anyone other than myself. I want to be someone who believes what they believe 100%, yet the only belief I have like that is my belief in Christ. In everything else, I'm like a mosaic made of broken bits of glass. I'm half-gay, half-not gay, somewhat conservative, somewhat liberal, ex-gay critic, ex-ex-gay critic, half-Calvinist, half-Arminian, totally Christian, totally not into Christian culture, etc. etc.

I know that doesn't sound like the best description in the world. It sounds like I'm indecisive, but I really just don't identify with anything 100%. Here's the reason why I'm starting to become okay with that. Pretty much everything I've been jealous of, I have come to find, doesn't really exist.

Oh, of course it exists, but it doesn't exist as I've perceived it. No one, I've found, is entirely consistent in their thinking. Everyone takes the middle road sometimes about one issue or another, and everyone has personal experiences that take them out of their comfort zone a bit. That's why I think it's very stupid of me to want to be someone else. Just like no one really knows all my opinions, thought processes, or experiences, I don't know anyone else's. All I see is what's on the outside. I see glimpses, of course, in what the person says or does or wears, but just like those things don't define me, they also don't define other people. Sure, they make things easier. They make the world ordered and neat and simple, but the problem with that is that the world isn't ordered, neat, or simple. It's chaotic, an amalgamation, and people are like that too. We're all broken in one way or another, and we're darn lucky, I think, to have a God out there that loves us in our brokenness, that takes us no matter how weird we are (or perceive ourselves to be). Peace out, y'all.

13 comments:

Formerlygay said...

No worries, I'm much the same. That's the nasty thing about process---you feel half-done all of the time and there are these other people around us that seem to have come through it all and have found contentment in their beliefs. I think it's more likely that we can't see their process and the struggles that they go through. The out-and-proud gay person has to weigh the consequences of being that way in just about every situation, I'm sure.

This is one of the reasons that I linked to your blog: you're in the middle of becoming something and you have no idea what that is. I think as long as you're 100% into Jesus and hang on there, you'll come out of it all better than you could possibly imagine. At least that's what *I'm* holding onto.

I'm finding that in my desires to change my orientation, I've found things that ex-gay programs just aren't covering and my church hasn't the faintest idea of how to deal with. (Sorry for that sentence.) My church right now sees "godly dudes" as the kind that get real jobs, get married and have kids. That's fulfilling biblical commands. But there are all sorts of men out there in all sorts of situations where getting married and spitting out spawn might not be in the plans now, if ever.

So here's me praying for you, for contentment in the mess and an appreciation for God's process.

Blessings, friend.

Jay said...

Why thank you. I think what you say about process is true. But I hope you realize that the only process I'm concerned with is becoming a better human being and, ultimately, a better Christian. Hopefully, that process won't stop until I'm dead. :)

Orientation change is low on my priority list, because I think I can serve God fully no matter where my attractions lie, and I think I can live with them no matter what they are. However, if as a by-product of my sanctification they happen to lessen, I won't complain. I'm just not banking on it. Of course, that's just me personally. It might change as I get older (you do have a few years on me). ;)

I think it's more likely that we can't see their process and the struggles that they go through.

This I totally agree with. It's pretty much what I was trying to say in just one sentence. :)

Blessings to you, too.

grace said...

I'm envious of YOU, Jay! :)

love ya,
pam

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write! You always bring a smile to my face.

Pomoprophet said...

one thing you forgot to consider, is that you're 100% you!!! And thats no differant than anyone else being 100% them. You're right that no one is consistant all of the time.

If you could see my other blog (not this pomo one) im super conservative and strong in my political views. Alot of people love it, alot of people hate it. But they dont see the whole picture of me because most of them dont know about this pomo blog. I'm alot more "middle" than most people would think.

Its all perception bro. You just choose to be more honest than most!

MR said...

Yes, as pomoprophet said,"You just choose to be more honest than most!"

I would love to have your courage. What a level of self-disclosure!

Jay said...

Grace / Anonymous: Aw, thanks. :)

Pomoprophet: You have another blog? Link to it, man! And thanks for the encouragement.

MR: I'm just starting to get surprised that my level of self-disclosure is a unique thing. It's what I was raised around, so it's weird to see a world where people aren't as honest as I expect them to be.

God bless all of you

Norm! said...

". . . I'm like a mosaic made of broken bits of glass. I'm half-gay, half-not gay, somewhat conservative, somewhat liberal, ex-gay critic, ex-ex-gay critic, half-Calvinist, half-Arminian, totally Christian, totally not into Christian culture, etc. etc."

You should start a H.G.H.N.G.S.L.E.G.E.E.G.H.L.H.A.T.C.T.N.I.C.C. pride parade. :-)

I love how you describe yourself as a mosaic. I recented started posting to the gaychristian.net message boards. I naively thought the conversation would be boring because everyone would have similar opinions. But even with a relatively small cultural sub-group, we all have a wide-range of thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and doubts.

Take care and I envy you too.

Jay said...

You took time and effort to make an anagram out of that. When you think about it, there actually is a pride parade like that every day. It's called me walking down the street. ;)

I post at GCN sometimes, too. Maybe I'll see you around. Thanks for the reply, and take care.

phillip said...

Post at GCN more often Jay, we like you;-)

jerubaal said...

Jay, all your halfnesses are okay. We aren't God - we aren't supposed to have it all figured out, and none of us do. The theologians of Christianity have more questions about their faith than we do.

What can we do to sort through all this? All we can do is try. And you obviously are trying, having researched so many ideas on every side.

Pray. Pray that God will still and quiet your mind and give you firmness and resolution, guiding your soul in everything for His pleasure and your own good. That way, when this chaos in your identity is eventually resolved, it will reach a right conclusion and not a wrong one.

And here's a secret - everyone goes through what you're talking about. It passes. You are going to become what you're jealous of - resolute, strong, and clear-minded...

in about six years, give or take.

BTW - don't feel wierd about not fitting into so-called Christian culture. I don't either. But I bet there's a church for you somewhere. My church, for example, is mainly skaters and surfers in their twenties, including the preachers, so it's not quite as Christiany - we drink beer together, for example, which is just like Jesus but not very Christian, apparently.

Find a church that is all about emulating Jesus's way of life and you'll be much more comfortable, I imagine.

I can suggest you try a church in the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. That network is all about planting churches that are relevant to the culture in which they reside, so they tend to be much more comfortable places for some people. If they're anything like my church, you're going to love them, and they are going to love you.

Summit 121

2184 Cornantzer Road

Advance, NC 27006

336.940.5872

Pastor: Will Plitt
--------------

Wellspring Church

11508 Providence Road Suite H-254

Charlotte, NC 28277

Pastor: Dwayne Bond

---------

Church of the Outer Banks

107 Mann Ct.

Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

(252) 202-0615

Pastor: Winfield Bevins

------------

Vintage21

209 Oberlin Road

Raleigh, NC 27605

919.749.3838

Pastor: Tyler Jones

Jay said...

Phillip: I'm so sorry that I don't get around there enough! I really do enjoy it. It's just that there's always something else grabbing my attention, but I guess that's college for you. ;)

I'll be sure to go more often, and I'll add a link, too.

Jay said...

Jerubaal: Good to see you're back, buddy! I haven't seen you around Townhall in forever (but then again I don't post very often anymore -- wasn't really good for the soul, y'know?) I appreciate all your advice (and I appreciate the fact that you researched some NC churches, too!)

Actually, the Presbyterian Church that I sometimes go to down here is really fitting for me. Though very traditional, I like the people there and I hope that, if I stay in this town, it can become my church home.