Thursday, October 25, 2007

You Might Want To Sit Down For This...

So... I said I wouldn't blog about my relationship with Hitch until there were any interesting developments. Well, those interesting developments happened. As of Tuesday, Hitch and I are officially boyfriends.

Okay, now. Take a breath, drink some water, and come back when you feel you can go on reading. :)

...

Are you good? Good. Let's keep going. :)

First of all, I want to say that my beliefs haven't changed. I still view the Bible as I've always viewed it. It is God's Holy Word that expresses His Will to us mere, often pitiful humans, and it is to be taken very, very seriously. It does not respond to our every whim and want. As such, I still view sex between anyone outside of a man and woman united in marriage to be outside of God's Will and, therefore, sinful. When Hitch asked me to be his boyfriend, I made sure to tell him this. Granted, I used much more "frilly" language since I knew he did not have the same spiritual background as I did. Either way, I got the point across that our relationship would not include sex (and a few other things) unless I changed my beliefs... and I told him that was not likely to happen in the near future (and hopefully never).

I had expected him to hit the ground running when I said that. After all, I know that he does not share many of my Christian beliefs, least of all the beliefs about human sexuality. But he didn't budge. He still wanted to be with me. I didn't know what he meant by that. I didn't know what he could possibly want from a boyfriend with whom he can't have sex, passionately kiss, and probably won't marry. But I figured that if he was willing to give all that up for me, how could I really say no? So I didn't, and here we are.

He's amazing to be around. Just holding his hand is enough to make my heart flutter, and I've yet to feel anything really sexual about him. If and when I do, the relationship might have to end. For now, however, I'm enjoying the companionship while I have it. I probably won't post too much about it, mainly because finally being in a relationship is showing me just how much I can care for another person, and I don't want to put our personal business out there for the world to see.

At the same time, this blog is my story. I wanted to let you guys know where I am at right now. I'm sure some people will see this and be happy that I'm on my way to being "gay-affirming." My answer to that is that I'm not. I'm sure others will think that this is a big mistake and that I'm only setting myself up for a world of hurt. I thought so too, and I told Hitch this. He said he'd risk it, and so will I. Others, still, will think that I'm at the top of the "slippery slope" and I'll soon be totally "in the lifestyle." My only hope is that they trust me to challenge their presumptions like I have in the past. At the very least, I'm thankful for all the friends (conservative and liberal, Christian and non-Christian alike) who have advised me and supported me in this decision.

Now I'm just excited about doing all that cutesy, mushy stuff that couples get to do. :)

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

So you're not going to like what I have to say, and I don't personally know you, so take this for what it's worth.

Even if we left the whole gay thing out of the equation (personally, I think you're playing with fire), you must have heard of being "unequally yoked"? How is dating someone who has very different spiritual beliefs than you going to help you with your walk with God? It's nothing against him, I'm just saying, isn't growing closer to God and living for him your top priority? That seemed to be the gist of many of your other posts, and I don't see how this decision is conducive with that.

I'm not trying to tear you down at all. I look back and wish people hadn't constantly told me what I wanted to hear because it did lots more harm than good. Many of your close friends might be down with all of this, but what about your spiritual mentor/campus minister/college pastor?

Blessings on your journey,
-Nic

Jay said...

Good point, Nic. I'm surprised I didn't mention this in my post. Hitch was raised Catholic, and he's started going to Mass again (after about four years of absence). I'm not saying it's because of me or anything, but he is starting to think about his spirituality a bit more and that made talking with him about my beliefs much easier. I understand what you mean, though.

Will I convert him to a conservative, hardcore Christian in the near future? Maybe, maybe not. But I think being his BF does give me some opportunity (and call me naive if you will... I know I've called myself that).

MR said...

As I said before, I am still praying for your friendship with Hitch. It is good to hear that it is non-sexual. Obviously, he is demonstrating by his actions that he loves you more than sex (at least for the moment). You have to recognize the genuineness of that.

Now, additionally I will be praying AGAINST your boyfriend relationship with him. This relationship is not just an extension of friendship, it is dangerous. My youth pastor used to say that "missionary dating" a non-believer is NOT an effective form of evangelism. I agree with Nic that this is being "unequally yoked" with a non-believer.

I think of the analogy I heard of a rich man who lived at the top of a steep hill and was looking for a driver to take his kids to school every day. He tested the driving skills of each candidate for the job, watching them drive up the narrow road to his house. Most of them showed him how fast they could go and how close they could get to the edge without falling down the steep drop-off, demonstrating they could safely drive in the toughest situations. One man did it differently. He just drove down the hill slowly and stayed as far from the edge as possible. The rich man then asked him why he refused to demonstrate his ability to drive in adverse conditions. The candidate said that he could not take the chance of going over the edge with children in the car, so it was more important to protect them than to prove he was a good driver. That man got the job.

Getting as close to the edge of sin as possible without crossing the line is NOT the best way to demonstrate Christian love to Hitch. Stay as far from sin and as close to God as possible.

Mephibosheth said...

Jay,

I hope to respond more at length later, I have to run in a few mintues, but just off the cuff: I'm jealous. I'm proud of you for holding to your convictions about homosexuality and about being unequally yoked. I'm glad Nic brought it up, and I appreciate you clarifying Hitch's background (and renewed interest in faith). As a Catholic, I have to take issue with MR's assertion that you are still unequally yoked. As a Catholic, I hope you'll forgive me for occasionally praying Hitch converts YOU someday. :-)

I'll be back later, I'm sure it's going to be an interesting blog night.

Peace and all good,

Frank

Norm! said...

Hey Jay,

Congrats and good luck with Hitch. He sounds like a great guy. His formally asking you to be his boyfriend sounds like he is classy and traditional.

Obviously I'm bias toward my own gay Christian perspective, but I don't see that you're in danger of slipping into the supposed "lifestyle". Thankfully you don't seem to be falling into the Christian-goes-to-college-rejects-faith-and-becomes-promiscious-gay stereotype. Rather, you seem to be thoughtfully considering your life and journey.

Thank you for honestly sharing.

kurt_t said...

Oh Jay!

I'm all verklempt!

Anonymous said...

He sounds like a really neat guy. Enjoy your college experience, Jay, and don't get too caught up in the sturm und drang of too many opinions. It sounds like your parents "done raised you right", and you'll turn out just fine, regardless of who you date.

Jay said...

MR: I understand what you mean. Personally, I just see Hitch as the closest of friends. I can be affectionate with him in ways that I can't be with other men, but those ways are not sexual. He, however, doesn't really understand that this type of affection can be non-romantic, and so he sees us as a couple. I understand that, and I trust you to believe that I'm being careful about certain aspects of the relationship that might lead to a compromise of my beliefs.

Frank: Don't hold out on the Catholic thing. I'm thinking of converting him to Methodist then we can make it to Reformed eventually. :)

Norm: Thanks!

Kurt: You should be, good sir.

Anonymous: It's easier said than done, trust me. Have a nice evening.

Anonymous said...

Jay-

Going through the same ssa struggles as yourself, may I humbly make a few comments.
I have to agree with previous comments about unequally yoked. This is not anti-Catholic in any way. I would say the same thing if he made a profession of faith in a evangelical church at 9 but has not been back (to church)since. It just is too dangerous. My mom had a "name only" Christianity- lasted long enough for 3 kids to be born then she split.

Secondly you mentioned no sexual feelings. If this is true (I am not doubting your honesty- but c'mon we all are really good at lying to ourselves) this relationship sounds more like emotional dependency. Been there done that- (fortunately, my friend was a very good straight Christian). Guard your heart. I feel strange even writing this- as I am no poster child of overcomer- but I do it out of concern because I understand, at least on some levels, what you are struggling with. Take it for what its worth.

"Layne"

Mi lucha interior said...

Jay, I've been there somehow in the past. Eventually things developed into a sexual relationship. I compromised my faith and beliefs, and eventually realised that it wasn't worth. Anyway, today I'm also facing such stress with a guy at work. In my mind I would like just to have some contact, hugs and cuddling. However, I know that cuddling and hugging are the first step into sex. I know my body, and I know how it reacts.
I pray that your thirst of love will be quenched by Jesus, and I pray that your process might be faster than for others. You have the advantage of being young, and normally the younger you engage into "change" the more likely you'll succeed.
Be blessed,

Jay said...

Layne: Thank you. I understand what you're saying about being unequally yoked, lying to oneself, etc. However, I'm not sure what you mean by "emotional dependency." It seems that term is brought up whenever any SSA person gets close to anyone (straight or SSA, Christian or not). It also rarely seems to be explained, so can I ask you what you mean by it?

Mi Lucha Interior: Thanks for the concern. I hope you can trust that I'm aware of my own body's reactions as well. This really isn't too different from a straight Christian couple who are waiting until marriage. Hitch and I know our boundaries (or, more importantly, he knows mine) and for now we're respecting them. If and when that becomes difficult, the relationship status will have to be evaluated.

Mephibosheth said...

Jay,

I truly hate thread drift, and I have no desire to re-fight the Reformation in the blogosphere, but I'm confused about something. Maybe it's because in print it's hard to tell when someone is jokine or being saracastic, or maybe I'm just thick. But some of your comments about Hitch's faith seem inconsistent to me. On the one hand, you defend his spirituality on the basis of his renewed interest in faith, and thus you are not unequally yoked as friends (and you are that, if not more). OTOH, you talk about him becoming a "hardcore, conservative Christian" and about leading him to Reformed via Methodism. Was any of that serious? It doesn't seem consistent with your prior favorable statements about the RCC (understanding it's not for you, but...). Would you be at peace with Hitch being a "hardcore, conservative CATHOLIC"? That's a label I proudly wear, and incidentally, one not inconsistent with being Side B.

If I'm just thick, tell me so.

Best and love,

Frank

kurt_t said...

Here's a thought that came into my head a few days ago. Maybe now is a good time to share it.

I started college back in 1978. In those days it was fashionable to identify as bisexual. No matter what your real sexual orientation, if you wanted to be hip, you identified as bisexual.

But for a lot of the gay guys I went to college with, I think that bisexual identity had a more important and specific purpose. It was a path of retreat. It was a way of saying "I'm not really gay. I'm this other thing, and this other thing provides an escape route, and if I decide to take that escape route, I will be, for all practical purposes, not gay anymore."

I think for a lot of people that escape route solved a lot of problems and provided a lot of comfort and dispelled a lot of anxieties about what the future held.

And sometimes I wonder if your identity as a "Conservative Christian" serves that same kind of purpose in your life. It's your route of escape from an identity that you don't feel real comfortable with.

I don't think you really are very conservative. Christian yes. Conservative no.

Mephibosheth said...

Kurt,

Speaking only for myself, not Jay of course...I think your analogy has a lot of merit, but I think that's the whole "point" of the Side B viewpoint. It is stating at the very least that we (quoting Jay here) take the Bible "very, very seriously," including the belief that sex is reserved for hetero marriage. At the same time, it recognizes our attractions to the same sex but doesn't conclude we have to force ourselves to change them (in the Side X sense).

So, "conservative" is in the eye of the beholder, but it doesn't surprise me that Jay describes himself that way, and if he does use that label, that's what's important to him.

Jay said...

Frank: I won't tell you you're thick, but... ;-)

I was simply being sarcastic. I have no problem with the Roman Catholic Church. I simply don't believe it's for me and, frankly, I find the theology to be a bit off. That doesn't mean I take the hard line that many Evangelicals take about Catholics not being "saved." I believe they can be just like any other Christian. I'd be more than happy if Hitch became a very strong Catholic.

Saying that I wanted to turn him Methodist and then Reformed was simply a reference to my own spiritual journey from Arminian to Calvinist theology. Granted, that journey's still going on. I've got a lot to learn. :)

Kurt: What Frank said. :)

I'm a conservative in a Biblical sense, not exactly a political sense. If I was more liberal in terms of my Biblical understanding, I doubt I would be seeking celibacy. Good analogy, though.

Mephibosheth said...

Cool. I can be thick at times. :-)

And you said what I was going to say in a postscript...we're talking about Biblical conservatism here, not conservatism in the sense of conforming to the expectations of modern Evangelical culture.

Brady said...

Jay, congratulations! I'm sure you're excited. I've only had one boyfriend (my partner J), and we've dated since we were 19. Reading your story reminds me of when he and I started dating. I'd never so much as held a guy's hand before that.

Not to say that you're going to get married or anything, but just saying I know how exciting things must be for you.

Oh, when J and I started dating, your words above, "finally being in a relationship is showing me just how much I can care for another person" were exactly what came to mind for me as well.

For me, the ex-gay theology has been most problematic not because of the sexual restraints but because of the emotional ones they inevitably create.

Anyway, good luck. I'm excited for you, even all the way down here in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Oh right, I forgot you were 19! Jay, I met my partner when I was 19, too, and we celebrated our 15th anniversary last month. So the analogy of a "couple waiting until marriage" seems pretty reasonable, regardless of your age. Obviously, as I did actually get married (we don't fully share the same theology) but at least it means our daughter wasn't born out-of-wedlock.

PSUdain said...

Congratulations. Granted, I don't share the same theological views with you and many of the folks here, but that's not something to discuss here and now.

I hope you find what you want--and, more importantly, need--in this new relationship.

kurt_t said...

What I mean, Jay, is that I wonder if "Conservative Christian" is a sort of a false self for you.

Do you know what I mean by that? Thomas Merton wrote a lot about the False Self.

Jane said...

Jay,
Ok, you know I'm gay-affirming (but very questionably). This might not be a good thing. But it's where I am at for the moment. Although somedays I'm not sure. But it wasn't always this way. Two years, I believed very solidly that homosex and homosexual relationships were sinful and outside of God's will. I believed as you do now.

Then I met this girl. It was totally by accident and caught me right off guard. She called me one night and suddenly, we were going on a date. It seemed so innocent. I resisted and put my foot down about my beliefs (very strongly too). Then the next thing you know, we were girlfriends, then..... well, use your imagination for the rest of the story. Everything!!

Anyway, that's how I fell and it shook my beliefs to pieces and I have been recovering and trying to sort things out ever since. Your beliefs may be correct. I'm not saying end the relationship, because I know that you are going to learn a lot. I did. But please be very careful. There may come a day when you start to question everything you believe. You might come out of this knowing more strongly what you believe and why. Or you could end up like me, all turned around and twisted into a stalemate.

Please be careful. I'm not rejoicing that you might be on your way to becoming gay-affirming. Because it might not be such a good thing. Listening to what's going on your life right now is like watching a rerun of my own.

Please take care, Jane

lakelady said...

Jay, I am glad that you have found someone that you are excited about. I believe God wants you to be happy and complete. I am so proud of my son and son-in-law (Brady and J).I am glad that they share similar backgrounds and that they are Christians. I want for them all the happiness that any mother wants for their child and spouse.
I know what it took for Brady to come out to his southern Baptist part of the family. His Grandmother, a very strong Baptist, and a woman I very much admire and look up to, wrote Brady a wonderful letter of acceptance, saying that she believed that gayness is like eye color and that it is something you are born with and that he is still the loving Christian she has always known. (Correct me Brady if I misquote.) His father was not so accepting so I sent him this letter. I think this is a good letter for you. God loves you. He wants you to be happy. I admire you if you remain celibate because that is your choice, but I want you to be happy with who you are if you views change and you decide that you want to share your life with another. I am so proud of Brady. Has done wonderful things and is a warm loving person. One should not be defined by one’s sexual orientation any more that one is defined by the color of one’s eyes or color of their hair. Sorry this is so random . I wish you the best and Hitch the best. Here is the link:
http://www.familyacceptance.org/home.html

lakelady said...

Jay, One more note, Please go to this site. http://www.GodMadeMeGay.com and read what this pastor has to say. You might want to read this first, but it is quite long.
In Him'
Lakelady

Jay said...

Brady, Anonymous, & Psudain: Thanks guys!

Kurt: Well, it probably would be if that was the only thing I identified with. I think a more accurate description of my identity would be "Christian who is also a teacher, is the son of artists, takes a conservative approach to Scripture, struggles with SSA, and currently has a boyfriend." I know it's a mouth-full, but that's how I see myself. :)

Jane: Thanks for the advice. Trust me; what happened in your relationship is the one thing I am most concerned about in my relationship with Hitch. If I feel it's getting there, I am determined to tell him that I need a break. Honesty is something that will be all-important if I want to keep my beliefs. I pray for both you and your (ex?) girlfriend. God is always around to help us pick up the pieces. :)

Lakelady: Thanks for the response. We could argue the "born gay" argument here, but that wouldn't really make much sense. :)

I am glad Brady and J have such a wonderful family. It really shows, because Brady's a great guy. I hope God works in your lives and shows you his will often. More than that, I pray he gives you the strength to follow it, whatever it may be.

kurt_t said...

New Seeds of Contemplation. That's the Thomas Merton book I was trying to think of. (He wrote a million of them.)

Read New Seeds of Contemplation.

And don't go to Disney World until you've been together for at least a year and a half. Disney World is just relationship death if you're not ready for it.

Brandon said...

Jay,

In one sense I have to admit I'm sort of envious of you for having a boyfriend. I've thought a lot about that over the years. But in another sense, I just have to say that I do think you are playing with fire. My preacher has told us before, "If you stop to give the devil a ride, next thing you know, he'll want to be the one driving." That is true, because Satan gets at us, usually, little by little, and not all at once.

I'm not sure it's wrong that you and Hitch are friends, even in a somewhat intimate relationship. However, to call yourself boyfriends and to have that understanding and frame of mind, might actually do more to lead you both astray than you might think. It's playing with fire, I think. Just remember what you believe in and don't go too far down a road that you might honestly not want to go down. Be careful, and don't get too close to crossing the line, I guess I should say.

Anyway, God bless and good luck with everything.

Brandon

Pomoprophet said...

JAY, I know we've talked numerous times about this. I was suprised when I read this post earlier. It seems like you're wanting to have it both ways bro. Do you really think this relationship can stay unsexual when only 1 of you wants it that way? How committed are you to chastity? And what is the point of dating it not to move towards marriage?

Those are things I wrestle with. Whats the point of holding hands even? Is there a goal for it? You like that heart flutter. So when that wears out whos to say you don't seek other ways to make it happen?

I don't know. I guess the term "boyfriend" seems wierd considering what you are saying you want. And I dont know this dude, I just know you. But I know most dudes and I know what most dudes want.

Just be careful. I dont want you doing something you can never take back. And you have a responsibility not to lead him on or cause him to stumble either!

grace bro!

Jay said...

Kurt: Thanks. I'll try to pick it up if I can, though with my current schedule that's unlikely.

Brandon: You hit on a good point. Personally, I see Hitch as simply an intimate friend. In fact, I think most relationships should just be intimate friendships when they start out. Obviously, same-sex relationships are limited to this type of friendship due to Biblical guidelines, but that doesn't mean they still can't be considered relationships.

Calling Hitch my boyfriend is something that I do more for him than for myself. I totally understand your concern, and I hope you trust that I'm going through all of this with a very firm stance on where I stand. :)

Pomoprophet: You asked what the point of dating was if not marriage. I would say that many Christians date in college and high school even though they aren't looking for marriage. What are they looking for, then? I personally think it's just someone to call their own. Everyone wants someone to care about and someone who genuinely wants to be with them.

Relationships aren't all about sex, nor are they all about finding your life partner. Sometimes they're just things that fall into your lap at the right time to help you with whatever emotional issues you might be dealing with. Somethings things are temporary, and that's okay.

If Hitch had wanted this relationship to be sexual, then he shouldn't have gotten into it. I told him my convictions and he respects them. If there is a sign that he no longer repsects those convictions, then I will respect his right to leave the relationship.

Again, thanks for the blessings and the concern. I really do appreciate it.

Jane said...

Jay,
Hey, again. I still call her my girlfriend, but we had to move things to a very close friendship. We are sometimes affectionate, but it goes no further. She is actually my best friend now. It's just my beliefs that are destroyed. I don't know what to think anymore or if we should take the relationship to that level again. You seem a lot more determined to stand your ground than I was. I was faltering from day one.
Maybe it'll work for you and Hitch. Maybe you will have made yourself an extremely close friend for life.

Good luck, Jane

Joe said...

Hitch sounds like a wonderful guy. The fact that he accepts you for who are is awesome.

Stay honest Jay. :)

Beast said...

Jay,

Two questions for you:

(1) Are you sure that this relationship is included in God's intention and purpose for your life, or are you taking the risk hoping God might teach you something?
(2) Are you aware that Hitch might have been keeping the hope that one day you will 'change' your belief, or finally 'give in' to him?

Friendship does not exclude anyone, and the most healthy and non-sexual exclusive friendship I've known so far is an accountability relationship where God is the focus. I am just hoping you're not deceiving yourself.

Loads of love and prayers,

Beast

muted disputability said...

"you must have heard of being 'unequally yoked'? How is dating someone who has very different spiritual beliefs than you going to help you with your walk with God?"

This attitude seems to be a Christian tradition based on a weak interpretation or misinterpretation of the text. In context, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is talking about worship, not marriage. Therefore, using this text as the injunction against marrying/dating non-Christians seems to be reading into the text something that isn't there. I'm not saying we shouldn't consider our actions carefully and prayerfully, but applying that text to marriage seems to be a misuse. Thoughts?

Justin said...

Hey man, just one Christian to another - this isn't a wise decision. We need to avoid the appearance of evil. And missionary dating tends to bring down the solid Christian whether the other way around.

Jay said...

Justin, look at the date on this post, and then look at the following posts about this relationship. It ended in March of 2008. I appreciate the concern, but you're a little behind here. :)

Justin said...

:-) Hey Jay,
You got me. I'm a dummy. I don't know why this post showed up in my new posts thing I have, but I should of checked the date. Sorry.