Monday, May 25, 2009

Necessity

Hello. It's been awhile since I wrote last, but things have been going well. I turned 21 recently, and though I didn't have a party (I'm not a party person), but several friends did take me to various restaurants, and even to a movie, so all in all it's been a good week. I even got to see my mom, aunt, and grandma, which was really cool.

One thing that I've been meaning to write for awhile is how friendships and relationships factor into my struggle with homosexuality. I know for many men who struggle, relationships with straight men seem to be the most helpful when it comes to dealing with emotional wounds and scars. I don't know about women who struggle that much, but I know men view deep friendships with other men as a necessity.

The reason for this is often because men who struggle with homosexuality perceive an inability within themselves to relate to people of the same sex in a non-sexual way. This is usually related to theories about causation, in which a childhood need for affirmation or understanding by same-sex role models and peers was not met. As I've said before, I don't fit that model.

However, just because I have never viewed my masculinity as "less than" other men (despite my rather feminine mannerisms), does not mean that there are not certain types of relationships that I view as somewhat of a necessity.

I have strong bonds with my father, brother, and male friends. Many times, bonds with straight male friends really help my struggle, but it's not because they affirm my masculinity. They are special because we are different. When a "macho," athletic, "man's man" can be good friends with a more "femme," artistic, same-sex attracted guy, I simply find that cool.

It's the diversity and open-mindedness in these friendships that I find to be a necessity. When someone from a completely different background and experience wants to set aside differences and look for common ground, that's what I find to be awesome. That's why I like to get to know people of different ages and backgrounds. If someone like me can be friends with a conservative Christian mom from California, anything is possible.

And that's partly what the Church is about, isn't it? It's made up of folks from every nation, every language, every age, every background, and yes, every degree of sexual brokenness. And yet, we are all bonded together by the One who saves, and we are supposed to bond in other ways, not just hang out with folks of our own demographic.

So those are the relationships that I see as a necessity: friendships that are diverse. Straight guys, straight women, old people, young people, etc. I want to build relationships with all of them. I know I'll have all eternity, but I might as well start now.

13 comments:

MR said...

Years ago I stopped being overly concerned about why as a guy I am attracted to men and just started dealing with it. As many readers know, I believe that gay sex is wrong so I seek to be celibate.

For some reason my friendships with straight guys (who have problems of their own!) have been especially meaningful to me. I do value and benefit from friendships with all kinds of people, though, and I agree we should all seek out friends who are very different from us.

Joe S said...

I think there’s some truth in the idea that gay men find it difficult to relate to people of the same sex in a non-sexual way - although this is by no means always the case (and GLBT self-segregation is often simply a way of avoiding homophobia).

My Christian struggler years have been the only period in my life when I’ve built close friendships with straight guys. If I didn’t have these other friendships, the “struggle” would be incredibly stressful - bordering on impossible.

!! Happy 21st Birthday!!

aujaharris said...

I think its interesting that you list all kind of friendships except gay friendships. Can you expound on that?

aujaharris said...

and one more thing...what do you mean by every degree of sexual brokenness? Do you think sex orientation is broken for you?

Jay said...

Joe: I think that a lot of the reason gay men don't hang out with straight guys has to do with homophobia--real or perceived. I don't know if there's a general inability there. I know I've never had a difficult time getting along with guys, but maybe I'm the exception rather than the rule.

Auja Harris: I'm talking about friendships with people different from myself. Seeing as I am gay (more or less), I didn't think to list it. And yes, I think sexual orientation is broken for everyone. We have all fallen short of what God intended us to be.

Brandon said...

Great thoughts here, Jay.

A. Friend said...

I preferred to hang out with myself. But after that I can say I was definitely way more comfortable with hanging out with guys than girls.
In fact to this day I know maybe two guys to every girl I know.

My guy friends tend to be the nerdy type (or nerdier than usual) but this is no rule. Whoever I can talk to about technology or politics or society I am very comfortable with.

I admire your varied friendships, Jay. I myself would love to be more comfortable around girls.

Rachael Starke said...

Well, what a surprise to see that link there! :) (And a convicting reminder that I'm way behind on my own blog. But I'm catching up. :) )

Last week, our pastor preached on oe of those seemingly obscure passages - Romans 15 to be precise. It seems at first to be the biblical equivalent of the credits at the end of a good movie. Lots of names of people who are no doubt great, but we've never met them and never will. But as our pastor pointed out, Paul took the time to call out people that he'd never met, but who he knew of by reputation and by how they'd helped him from afar. He made the point that Jesus' church is the only kind of community where that is possible. He made a lot of practical applications about how we need to really know the people we sit near on a Sunday morning. But I think there's also an application to be made in the Christian blogging world. It's a (sad) possibility that we might not meet in person. But because we've been redeemed by the same Savior, and are indewelt by the same Spirit, we really are family.

So, for the record, you are my son and brother in the faith, and friend, and I'm glad to know you. :) And my husband would be too, even though he's more of a face to face guy. So, if your travels bring you out our way, don't hesitate to stop by. There's nothing we love more than to cook for family. :)

Jay said...

A. Friend: I think my guy friends can often be more of the "nerdy" type as well, but I'm fine with that. I know I can get along with "jocks" just as easily even though we have less in common. I just try to be as open-minded about friendships as possible.

Rachael: Excellent thoughts on community and blogging there, Mrs. Starke. And yes, if I'm ever in NorCal, I'll be sure to stop by. I intend to travel a lot over the years. :)

Brady said...

Happy belated birthday, Jay! I also just had a milestone birthday. Maybe we're the same day...

TRiG said...

Jay, I was reading a piece in The Guardian not long ago which remarked that, in our modern age of easy transport and transferrable skills, when it's easy to move, community stereotypes are actually becomming more and more true. People move to places they think suit them. London, it said, is almost a completely different culture to the rest of Britain.

And this means that most of us have friends who share the same instincts. I know that when I got into political discussions on an American messageboard I was faced with people disagreeing with me on topics it would never have previously occurred to me to question. An unsettling experience, but probably good for me. (I'm still liberal, but I almost know what I'm talking about now.)

It's certainly good for us to cultivate friendship, or at least acquaitance, with a variety of people.

Rachael Starke, Paul took the time to call out people that he'd never met, but who he knew of by reputation and by how they'd helped him from afar. [The pastor] made the point that Jesus' church is the only kind of community where that is possible.

Huh?

Does that second sentence have any relationship with reality?

TRiG.

Rachael Starke said...

TRiG - :) That probably does seem a little odd; I certainly could have said that a little better.

My point was that those who have repented of their sin and trust in Jesus for their life are given the Holy Spirit. He works through us to accomplish His purpose all over the world. And His main purpose is His own glory, demonstrated in the big and little actions of His people, so that other come to understand what He is really like and want to know Him too. So, because there is only one Spirit, those that have this Spirit are true, united, family. That's what we were made for. And, as Jay says here, it transcends every other difference.

And I would add that it even transcends this life. I may never meet Jay in this life, but I will see him in Heaven. And we will all be a community there too, permanently.

I can't think of any community on earth like that. Can you? :)

TRiG said...

I can't think of any community in the real world like that, no.

TRiG.