GCN Radio - November 23, 2007
Transcribed by Smudge
To listen to this episode, visit http://www.gaychristian.net/gcnradio
JUSTIN: [whispering] I'm ready to tell you my secret now. I see GCN people!
[GCN Radio Intro]
JUSTIN: Here we are again on GCN Radio. I'm Justin.
NATE: And I'm Nate.
JUSTIN: Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the States and so our listeners are probably stuffed with turkey and ham and mashed potato and stuffing and casseroles....
NATE: Pumpkin pie...
JUSTIN: Pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce and what other kinds of things to people have with Thanksgiving? All kinds of good stuff. I hope those of you who celebrated that yesterday enjoyed your time and a lot of our listeners may be out today what is known as Black Friday. Oooooo!
NATE: Is it the big shopping day?
JUSTIN: Yeah, Black Friday is everything opens really early. There was a store that had an ad on TV that I saw this week that today they opened at 4am for the shoppers to go out there and shop. That' too early to get up I think.
NATE: it is you know, but I think some of them give out door prizes so you can get all kinds of goodies.
JUSTIN: it's not worth it though. I mean to me that's my opinion and some of our listeners, and maybe they have their iPods with them while they're shopping today, I don't know.
NATE: I have never shopped on Black Friday.
JUSTIN: No me either. I don't like dealing with the crowds. It's a big day for everyone so I hope you're enjoying that.
NATE: Justin, I've a question for you. What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
JUSTIN: I am thankful for a lot of things. I'm thankful for GCN for all that God is doing for me and for all of us through GCN. Even though I'm the guy in charge at GCN I have to say it blesses me probably more than anyone else, I think I get the most blessing - I am so grateful. I am so glad to part of it, so I'm pretty thankful for that. I'm thankful for my family too. My family have gone through some very difficult times recently and it's just made me incredibly thankful to have them with me. I'm thankful for a lot of things. What about you? What are you thankful for?
NATE: Well, I don't know if I have said this on the radio yet, but I had a surgery this last spring, so I am really thankful that I'm getting my health back now. Also today I am especially thankful for the beautiful, beautiful trees, it's just gorgeous in Raleigh eight now.
JUSTIN: The trees are gorgeous here, they're all kinds of different colors.
NATE: Yeah, the ride here was just amazing and looking out the window even right now there's just reds and oranges and yellows and it's just absolutely amazing.
NATE: And also I guess my move to Raleigh and God has given me this relationship this year. It's been a good year.
JUSTIN: Yeah. Well I'm thankful that God has given your relationship too. I'm thankful that someday God will give me a relationship.
NATE: Yeah, absolutely.
JUSTIN: Okay, so well you know, we haven't had a show for the last two weeks I was out of town and we just had a lot going on here so we have accumulated a lot of listener responses to recent shows so we should listen to some of them.
NATE: That sounds great.
JUSTIN: We've talked on of a couple recent show we have talked about all sorts of things one of them being 80's movies, that came up and some of our listeners just had to call in and comment on that so why don't we listen to what they had to say.
CALLER TYLER: Hey this is Tyler Connoley and I wanted to respond to the 80's movies and it's not and it's not very high-brow but I really think that some of the best action movies were made in the 80's particularly the ones made by the Govenator. I love the Terminator, Total Recall and Running Man, I think those movies were great.
CALLER JOHN: Hey Justin, this is John.......i just listened to your last podcast with Nathan, tell him he did a good job....
JUSTIN: Nate, you did a good job.
NATE: Oh thank you.
CALLER JOHN:...the 80's movies that was called in, I can't believe you guys didn't mention those classics like Sixteen Candles or Clash of the Titans or Flash Gordon with the great Brian Blessed and Max von Sydow or even the oldie like On Golden Pond with Catherine "Norma-you're-my-knight-in-shining-armor" Hepburn or Henry Fonda and all that. In fact that movie reminded me so much of my parents - a much older version but, yeah my parents. Great show, keep up the good work. I'm sure we could go through a whole list of great 80's movies [and the soundtrack?] when I come to think about it and I'll keep listening. Take care. God bless. Bye
JUSTIN: Well thanks guys for those thoughts, you're right we left a lot of 80's movies out.
NATE: We left a lot of 80's movies out but I was so young in the 80's, like I was watching The Transformers. Sixteen Candles was a little too mature for me at that time.
JUSTIN: Gotcha! You weren't a big Molly Ringwald fan at the time?
NATE: No, but I did like The Terminator.
NATE: yeah, I was in the Cub Scouts. Were you ever in the Cub Scouts?
JUSTIN: No, and I never saw Terminator.
NATE: I was in the Cub Scouts and out little, what do you call them? Team/squad?
JUSTIN: I have no idea, I was never in the Cub Scouts.
NATE: My den....we all got to see the Terminator. So we thought that was great.
JUSTIN: Well I have never seen it. That's just one of those things that people are like "What, you've never seen that movie?". I've never seen Terminator.
NATE: Well if you like time travel, that has to do with time travel.
JUSTIN: I do like time travel movies but I don't like violent movies. Isn't that kind of violent?
NATE: It's a little bit violent but it's not like senseless violence I don't think. Not gratuitous.
JUSTIN: I don't know, we'll see. Maybe, maybe. Well you know that first call Was Tyler Connolly, he's been a guest on this show. For those of you haven't listened to that show, go back and listen to it definitely. Tyler is co-author of one of my favorite books "The Children Are Free" which is a fantastic book if you are looking for a side A that is pro same-sex marriage understanding of scripture, Tyler and Geoff Minor out from Indiana, they've written a great book on that, so he's been a guess on the show.
NATE: Oh wow, it's that Tyler huh?
JUSTIN: Yeah that Tyler.
NATE: I just read that book about a month ago Justin.
JUSTIN: Oh really?
JUSTIN: Did you enjoy it?
NATE: I really did. Tyler if you're listening, I really enjoyed the book.
JUSTIN: Well obviously he is listening because he's calling into the show. Tyler, thanks for that. Then that other call we appreciate. Sixteen Candles......
NATE: I was a little too young for Sixteen Candles, but I did watch the beginning of it. I think there was a birthday cake or something, and that song [singing] "Sixteen candles....."
JUSTIN: I get Sixteen Candles mixed up with Pretty in Pink. I vaguely remember Pretty in Pink, I but honestly, the truth is, I didn't see it in the 80's, I saw it later. You know we have listeners who weren't even alive when those movies came out.
NATE: Yeah, they probably think that we're really old.
JUSTIN: They probably do and then I know we have listeners who think we're babies. We've got a pretty broad age range in our listening audience. Thank you everyone for your comments on 80's movies. I'm sure we could launch a whole separate show to just talk about 80's movies if we wanted to and had time. We had some text comments as well I understand.
NATE: Yeah, looks like there's a couple right here. Julia from Germany writes, "Hey Justin, I'm just catching up on..."
JUSTIN: Hey Julia! Sorry...
NATE: "I'm just catching up on all the new season's shows after my vacation and a lengthy internet absence. I'll try not to say preachy but I do have a few words regarding the coffee question from the October 19th show".
JUSTIN: Oh right.
NATE: "First of all my girlfriend and I do not drink coffee".
JUSTIN: I don't either Julia so I'm right there with you.
NATE: It's kind of sad. "I would say that Germans generally drink a lot of coffee, especially during work in the office, we actually have a coffee time everyday around 4 or 5pm, which seems to be dying out because of working habits".
JUSTIN: Well good for them for letting that die out. That's not a good idea.
NATE: Oh here she says "They also have coffee parties which are a national pastime for retired women."
JUSTIN: Coffee parties?
NATE: Man, I'd like to be a retired woman in Germany. That sounds like fun.
JUSTIN: well not for me.
NATE: For my part, I fancy Argentinean tea called Nate, that keeps you awake as well but is also a healthy choice. Okay here comes the preachy part. Please everybody buy fair-trade coffee. Do not support multi-nationals like Starbucks".
JUSTIN: well I don't have any problem with not supporting multi-nationals like Starbucks.
NATE: I just stopped supporting Starbucks and you know just the other day I heard, their sales declined for the first time ever in history.
JUSTIN: Because you stopped supporting them?
NATE: yeah! It was just on the news couple days ago for the first time ever, ever in history since the company started, their sales have declined 1%.
JUSTIN: Nate, you're like Oprah, if you stop supporting it, then it's just going to go down.
NATE: I know. One ad for Tassimo on this program and the world is like stopping.
JUSTIN: I'm telling you, Starbucks is going to start recruiting. Starbucks is going to start calling us up, sending us messages, and sending us free Starbucks or something so we can promote them on the show or something like that.
NATE: But we won't Julia, we will not promote multi-nationals on this show.
NATE: She ends by saying "Love and hugs" and that's very nice.
JUSTIN: ah, well thank you for that comment Julia. Who else we got writing in?
NATE: Lets see. Jarrod from Japan writes...
JUSTIN: Hi Jarrod.
NATE: "Hi Justin and Nate..."
NATE: "I just listened to the October 19th show and was pleasantly amused by all the references to talking about food, 80's movies and coffee drinking in Japan."
JUSTIN: Yeah, we do kind of a random show here Jarrod.
NATE: "All of which I love."
JUSTIN: Good deal.
NATE: "The dragon/dog's name from The Never-ending Story was Falcor."
JUSTIN & NATE: Falcor!
NATE: "I think I may have frightened some Japanese locals because I was yelling it out in my car on the commute home"
JUSTIN: I love that! I love that image. I want to do that now. I think all of our listeners that are listening to this car right now, if you're in the car, you should just roll down your window and go [loud voice] "FALCOR!". Not if you are listening at the gym, no that might freak people out.
NATE: Yeah I want to affirm that. I think Falcor's name is a good name to be yelled.
NATE: Let's see. He goes on to write "I think I might have frightened some Japanese locals because I was yelling it out of my car. I totally agree Justin, that Gremlins II was much better than the first."
JUSTIN: Thank you very much.
NATE: Yeah, and I have to say we did see that movie together, just recently.
JUSTIN: Yeah we did, Nate and I.
NATE: And I totally agree, it was a great, great flick. "Labyrinth is one of my all-time favorite 80's movies."
JUSTIN: Dance, magic, dance.
NATE: "The Goonies, Adventures In Baby-Sitting, E.T. and Don't Tell Mom the Baby-Sitter's Dead are all up there too."
JUSTIN: A lot of good 80's movies there.
NATE: yeah, some really good ones. He goes on to say "Coffee is big in Japan just like Nate said."
JUSTIN: Nate was right.
NATE: "Green tea and coffee are the only two beverages my schools offer throughout the day. Since it's a hard working society I think coffee has become a means to fuel it, just like in the States."
JUSTIN: Now wait a second. The school gives you coffee during the day now?
NATE: This is for teachers.
JUSTIN: Oh, I was going to say maybe now we know why the US is behind [Nate chuckles]. Educationally, maybe we just need to have our students hyped-up on coffee all the time. Keep reading Nate.
NATE: Sorry, you're too funny. Okay..."Nagasaki city has two Starbuck's that I frequent," well good for you, [laughs] after we just ripped on Starbucks, okay.
JUSTIN: Julia is not going to be happy with you there Jarrod.
NATE: No. But I understand. You know, when I was in Japan I went to Starbucks too because it's a taste of America in the midst of the foreign cultures. He writes "That leads me to a question for Nate. I was shocked to hear you had been to Japan, how long were you there, what were you doing, did you study the language, what got you interested in Japan. I'm super-curious now. Thanks guys, I'm loving the discussion in the recent shows." Well thank you Jarrod, for sending in that question. To answer your question, I worked in Japan for 2 years as a teacher of English from 2003 to 2005. I was in a rural town north of Tokyo and I did study Japanese while I was there and in fact now I am recruiting teachers to go to Japan, so I'm still kind of involved with that whole thing.
JUSTIN: Fun times.
JUSTIN: Cool. Well you know, we'll just going to get Julia and Jarrod then and debate about coffee, we'll have to do that on a show sometime. Okay, so who else have we heard from?
NATE: Well we have a letter here submitted by Dennis.
JUSTIN: Dennis! Now this is the Dennis, he was a guest on a show.
JUSTIN: Yeah, he was a guest on our show - gosh I could look up the date but I'm not going to because I'm going to be lazy but our listeners can look it up if you go to our website at www.gaychristain.net/gcnradio there's a show....scroll, scroll, scroll down the page and you'll see this great picture of this young Asian guy named Dennis who was fantastic. He was on the show to talk about being a gay Christian youth and some of the issues involved there. So he's writing us again. So what's he have to say?
NATE: Cool ,I'm glad you wrote us Dennis. He says "First of all welcome, Nate, to GCN Radio."
JUSTIN: Absolutely, welcome Nate.
NATE: Thanks. "I look forward to hearing your first few shows".
JUSTIN: Well, you're doing it now.
NATE: Yeah. "Justin, we talked back in, I think my sophomore year."
JUSTIN: Yeah, that's been a while.
NATE: "Two years ago now and I've done a lot of growing since then. Going to a fairly small school let me stay in a very comfortable bubble in the centre of the universe that is New York. I told you in that phone conversation that I didn't need to come out to everyone and shout to the East and the West the good news that I was happily and confidently gay. Well I realize more and more now how afraid I was to do that. What a good way to rationalize that fear by saying I didn't need everyone to know huh? Oh God's been yelling and I know for sure that it does need to be known. I don't need to shout but nonetheless I need to be able to tell people confidently. I think you could hear in my voice how afraid I was to be talking about it on the phone with you. But where does this fear come from? Well that's a complicated answer. My difficulty in accepting God's love, idolatry, putting the love of my parents, pears and loved ones before God's, who's love I already have. So many things all looking at this problem in so many ways. Well, I think you'll both be happy to hear that I'm finally confident that God loves me. I'm ready to share the good news - His and mine. Hope and pray all is well over there at GCN and I hope to donate soon when I can finally say I have saved up my hard earned money. Pray for me please. Graduation is around the corner, in a semester, and I need to find a job. Take care y'all. It's on the rise Justin. Dennis"
JUSTIN: Thanks for saying "y'all". It is on the rise and again this is because this show really, it's like Oprah, and anything we say it's just going to spread around the country and around the world and that's how it is. Pretty soon Julia out in Germany and Jarrod out in Japan and Dennis and everybody else, you all are going to be saying "y'all" because I say it and again, we are like Oprah. We're so much like Oprah. In fact I can't think of any way Nate and I aren't like Oprah in fact.
NATE: No, we are. Put us together and basically you have "Oprah".
JUSTIN: Exactly. We're Oprah. We are, we're all the same.
NATE: I'm really glad Dennis sent this note because it's a really encouraging letter for me and probably so many others out there that are struggling to come out.
JUSTIN: Cool beans. So on last week's show, well, on the last show we talked about your Christian walk and we've got a listener who called in a response to that show. So let's give that a listen:
CALLER STEVE: Justin, Nate, Steve from Waterville Ohio. I loved the show on spiritual practices. I really struggled for a long time with things like praying simply. Everybody wanted to have the wonderful flowing, flighty prayers and I figured out these people were more prayer concord jets and I was more of a prayer crop duster and I loved reading in a book recently that a woman was struggling with prayer and a very wise person said "Why not just start off with 'You're here, and I am here'". I remember a friend of mine getting up in the morning and saying "well big guy", I was sure that God was offended by being calling "big guy". He said "I'm going to get off into the day and I sure hope that you will be with me and I trust that you will, because I sure do need you". The other thing I just had to sneak in - a comment that Nate made about looking for the presence of God. I struggle with that a lot because it's kind of like fish asking for the presence of water. It's maybe being aware of the presence of God. I heard someone say if you are feeling far from God, just move.
JUSTIN: Well that's a great point. God never moves away from us. We move away from God. Thanks Steve, for those inspiring thoughts.
NATE: Yeah. Thanks a lot.
JUSTIN: Well, we also asked a question on that show and the question we asked was about burdens and guilt and secrets that people are carrying around. Nate, it's such a difficult thing for a lot of folks. A lot of Christians unfortunately feel like they can't share some of the burdens that they have that are just eating them away on the inside. They are afraid, I think, that thier Christian brothers and sisters will turn away from them. Or will look down on them because they have struggles because they've made mistakes, because of whatever may be going on in their lives. They feel unworthy of God's love, unworthy of other people's love, or just afraid to really open up and that's such a shame because it's so critical that we, as the church, be a place that anyone can go to with anything that's burdening them and know that we will accept them and that we will love them right where they are with whatever is going on in their lives. That's so important.
So we asked those of you who are listening to the show to send us anonymous messages with your burdens, your secrets, the guilt that's eating away at you so that we can give you that opportunity to get those off your chest and to talk about them here on the show and wow, did you respond? We've had so many responses and they're just, some of them are just, heartbreaking so we'd like to read some of them to you and then I think we may make this a regular feature on the show because I'm willing to bet that as people are listening to some of these they'll think of some of their own that they will want to share. So let's read some of these:
This listener writes in "Hello Justin and Nate. Thanks for all your efforts on GCN Radio. I really appreciated you last episode entitled Christian Walk it made a lot of sense to me. Well my secret is that well, I'm gay. Hello! Or maybe I think it's a secret but many people know and are either too shy or polite to bring up the subject. Will that count? Anyways, keep up the good work." Well that's certainly one of the common secrets that people shared; being gay. For some it was a struggle and for some not as much.
Another listener wrote in "The fact that I was raised to like girls and I'm in love with a guy and have to hide because of what people think and say so I live in fear." Another listener wrote "I'm having a really hard time accepting myself as a gay Christian." Well obviously we hear this a lot and this is something that both of us have struggled with as well - being Gay and Christian, wouldn't you say?
NATE: Yes, totally.
JUSTIN: I just wanted to encourage you that God loves you. I say this on every show; God loves you no matter what is going on in your life right now, no matter who you are, God loves you and there are so many Gay Christians in the world. You are not alone. So you need to hang on to that. You need to know that and yes, there are a lot of questions to ask, there's a lot to study in the Bible. There are a lot of different opinions on how you should live your life. Bit just know that you're loved and know you always have friends here and Nate and I are always here and doing the show because we care about what's going on out there and there are a ton of people over on the message boards at gaychristian.net who'll be happy to talk to you and pray with you and offer you their support. So please know you are not alone in that.
Another listener writes in "I definitely know the lord sends us messages right when we need them because I was on the verge of breaking down the night I heard this. Praise God. The burden of guilt I strongly have felt in my heart this past year has been one of my greatest fears. About a year ago I told a lie about my best friend to someone else and ironically it had something to do with some him being gay, which I believe could be true from what things he's told me. But if he is, he's just like me - in the closet. He found out, was very upset with me and we haven't spoken since. It has been nearly a year since it happened and I still can't forgive myself or believe that God has forgiven me. I love my best friend with all my heart and I would never want to do anything to hurt him in any way, so why would I do something so terrible. I have been dealing with it all year and I have been crying so much about it lately since it's been so long since we have spoken. I pray all the time that the Lord will bring us back together again because me and him always had the best relationship. It's hard enough being a gay Christian who isn't out to hardly anyone, but when someone who you love is not there to comfort and talk to you and you hurt them it makes it worse. Justin I hope this message finds you well and any other GCNers who might have similar situations. I still pray that me and my best friend will be reunited again soon through the love of Jesus Christ. Wow.
It is so hard knowing that you have hurt a friend. We'll definitely keep that in our prayers. I encourage our listeners to pray for that listener. If things change in that situation, I hope you will write in and let us know what happens. I do hope that you can mend that friendship. If you haven't done so, I would really encourage you to reach out to him and apologize and just let him know how torn up you are and how sorry you are and how you know how hurt he is. Don't let that distance between you continue. And of course, ultimately he's going to have to be the one to forgive. You can't force him to forgive but you can apologize and you can let him know how broken up you are.
Another listener writes in: "My greatest guilt so far is engaging in cybersex and pornography. If other's knew about my internet activities they'd be shocked because people know me as an innocent guy with strict moral standards. I feel like a hypocrite with what I am engaging in. It feels so terrible to be in this kind of sexual act." Well, you are certainly, certainly not alone in that. That's something I hear very, very commonly from a lot of folks. For everyone, gay and straight, the sex drive is very strong and especially for guys. I really can't speak for woman, but especially for guys I know porn and other types of sexual activities are very alluring.
NATE: And so easy to get into on the internet now days.
JUSTIN: Absolutely. Cybersex, when you have that anonymity, that safety net, and I will say cybersex is a whole lot safer than other types of sexual activities that could put you at risk for disease and all kinds of things, but it is so hard as Christians to find a way to handle our sex drives which can be very, very strong, in a way that is healthy that doesn't end up degrading you or other people. It's not any easy thing and that's not limited to those of us who are gay. If you go to any Christian men's group: I know when I was in college and I was in a guy's Bible study, I was the only gay one in the study, but I know these other guys, who were really well respected Christian guys, within the confines of that group admitted to a lot of sexual struggles. It's extremely common and I can tell you that everyone, the people you look up to, the people you think of as the best Christians who seem to have it all together - I could almost guarantee you that they have struggled with something sexual in some way. If you have a sex drive, you struggle with sexual things and sexual morality, and how do you do that? So I just want to encourage you, if that is your burden. Definitely pray about it and work to find the best way to handle your sex drive in a way that's glorifying to God. I'm not saying just don't worry about it and just do whatever you feel like doing. I'm not saying that, but don't allow yourself to be torn up with guilt over the fact that this is a struggle for you. This is a struggle for a lot of people. You're by no means alone in this.
NATE: And thanks for having the courage to send in these confessions to us and I would encourage everyone out there, weather you have sent in something or not, to definitely find someone in person to talk about this with as well.
JUSTIN: Absolutely. You know that brings up a great point with any kind of struggle, not just sexual struggles, but any kind of struggle you are having with any kind of sin or temptation. One of the best things is to have a friend who will be an 'accountability partner'. And it should be, if at all possible, someone who doesn't have the same struggle that you have, whatever it is, because you want someone who is going to hold you accountable, someone you can trust to keep your secrets private, and who you know will hold you accountable and you can say "hey I'm struggling with this issue and I'm going to tell you when I fall, and I need you to keep encouraging me, to keep checking up with me." But I encourage you to find someone who isn't struggling in exactly the same areas as you are. Simply because if it's someone who struggles in the same areas, it's very easy for that accountability relationship to end up with both of you falling. Especially if you are struggling with something sexual, it becomes really eay for the openness about your sexual struggles to turn into both of you then enabling each other which is not what you want.
NATE: That's a really good point Justin.
JUSTIN: I just wanted to say one other thing. And I'm talking a lot about this particular one but I think one of the reasons that I respond to this is this guy says people know me as an innocent guy with strict moral standards. You know, as a leader of a Christian ministry I relate to that a lot. People know me as a Christian leader, a guy with high moral standards and I definitely try to live up to that. You know, I'm human. I'm a sinner just like anybody is and it is a struggle when people put you on a pedestal. It is a struggle sometimes to even be able to admit "hey I sin sometimes, I do the wrong things sometimes" and I mean that's hard for me and of course I am a sinner. I'm not any better than anybody else. All of us are sinners. The Pope is a sinner, Billy Graham is a sinner, but we strive to do best that we can. We strive to live the way that Christ wants us to live and we know that we are forgiven when we mess up. Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of needing everyone to think that you are perfect. You're not.
NATE: it's such a big thing Justin, I mean I was just reading the news just today and there was another famous mega -Church pastor who has fallen into sexual sin, and I'm not going to get into details, but we all know these situations, and they are people and especially Evangelical churches that have this notion that they have to be blameless and have to have this facade of blamelessness so any kind of sins that are being committed just get swept under the rug and they build and grow until these huge scandals come out. I think that one thing that our Catholic listeners have is the opportunity to go to confession. And I would say sometimes that's something lacking in the Evangelical church sometimes. Taking little sins seriously to go and tell someone about them.
JUSTIN: Yeah. This is again why you don't need to struggle with these kind of things on your own. You need to have someone you can talk to. I know within GCN because I am a leader in GCN there are people at GCN who talk to me privately and if anyone is listening doesn't have someone to talk to and they need someone to talk to you can always contact to me and I am happy to talk to you or to help you to get in touch with someone who can talk to you. Most of us have people we can talk to and that's just really, really important. Don't think you have to be perfect. You're not. You should continue to strive to live the right way but you're not. None of us is as innocent as we might like to be. That's part of what it is living in this world, we're sinful, we're fallen people.
Another listener writes in "Hi Justin and Nate. Hope you guys are having a good time. Simply loving your shows", well thanks. He says "I'm a 24 year old Brazilian man and I listen to your show every now and then. What a tough question. To answer that, I feel I need to disclose a big secret. I have too many secrets I can tell anyone. If I do tell them, people will get shocked. Only Christ does know my secrets, but I do need to tell some people what is disturbing me and you, Justin, came up with that question. The first secret that I told my mother is that I am gay. Her world almost collapsed. Mom loves me so much and I had to tell her because I found the love of my life. Both of us are gays and Christians. At a tender age, I always felt sexually attracted to other guys. I need to come out to everybody even if that's not morally acceptable because I believe that the love that I have for my boyfriend is from the Lord. I've a bunch of other secrets I hide from people. The second secret that I hide most everyday is that I no longer love anyone besides my mom and boyfriend, and that's a huge burden. Somehow I've lost the touch. I can't stand being with my dog because she's so full of love and that frustrates me. I have been to a therapist and he says this has to do with me hiding secrets. I'm not a queer, I'm extremely macho and I feel like I'm a real typical Latin. Maybe I shouldn't be gay, but it's something uncontrollable. I can't stay in the closet any more. However coming out now means giving up on my dreams. The society I live in has a lot of prejudice against gay people. A lot of my friends suspect that I'm gay, not by my traits. I never dated a girl and I lie to everybody telling them about my distant relationships. This horrifies me. My imagination in that regard goes beyond control. I do hope that God will one day bless me and forgive me for telling lies about my sexual orientation. All the best..."
Wow. Well you know, as I said we hear from so many people who are struggling with being gay and Christian and your story in that regard is such a common one. We've all been through this. We know what this is like, really struggling being gay and Christian. Again, God loves you as you are, God doesn't require you to become straight in order to be worthy of His love. When you talk about not having love for anybody except your mom and your boyfriend, that of course is something that you have to be concerned about and I think your therapist may be onto something saying that it is connected with keeping all these secrets. One thing that I might suggest to you is that when you don't love yourself it's very difficult to love other people. Jesus says love your neighbor as yourself, the first part of that is that you have to love yourself in order to know how to love your neighbor as yourself. It sounds to me like you're really struggling with loving yourself. You mention that you're a macho guy, that you don't feel connected with other gay people because you're not effeminate, you're not stereotypically gay and you're in a culture where that is very important and yet you are gay, you are attracted to guys. It sounds to me like you are really, really struggling a lot with fear of that, with sort of almost maybe even disgust with yourself. Somewhere deep down wishing you didn't feel this way, that you weren't this way and that makes it really hard to love yourself and that makes it really hard to love others, It sounds that even your dog. So the first thing you have to work on then is going to God with that and saying "God I am really struggling to even love myself, to even believe you created me in your image because I don't even feel created in your image. I feel like there's something wrong with me. I feel like I'm not the kind of person you want me to be." Take that to God and really spend some time with God on that, spend some time in quiet meditation on that and see what God has to say to you because I guarantee God created you exactly the way he wants you to be and if that means that you are attracted to guys, you don't have to be stereotypical flaming queen in order to be a gay man who's attracted to other men. There are so many different types of gay men and many of them are as you say very stereotypical masculine, very macho and that's fine. God made you the way He wanted you to be so be that and be happy with that and love who God created you to be. Hopefully when you are able to do that you'll find then that you are able to give that love to other people. I really encourage you to work on that because it's going to be really hard to go through life not loving yourself and not loving other people.
NATE: You're absolutely right Justin. It reminds me of a story I read once, and I'm forgetting everything about it, but this woman found herself not loving anyone in the world and she had a cat and she eventually began to have love for her cat and sort of the beauty of the story unfolded as just from starting to love her cat, she started to love another person and then another person and then eventually it kind of worked out like an expanding circle of love and I would just say, this is something that I struggle with: there are people and I see them, I don't feel love for this person and I know God has grace for me in that, but just to say, Lord I really want to grow in love for people. I don't have love for this person but I do have love for my immediate family or friends and I just ask the Lord that you would let that circle of love grow and I think Justin, you hit the nail on the head by saying it all begins with loving and accepting yourself and receiving God's love for yourself.
JUSTIN: yeah. Another listener writes in "I had sex this week with an older friend of mine. It feels not so good for me because I vowed to God and myself that I would never have sex until I got married." This is again I wish this story were not as common as it is but it happens a lot. A lot of Christians had committed themselves when they were younger not to have sex until they got married and way more often than you would think they fail to live up to that. Sometimes you're in a relationship and you think 'this is the one" and you think you are going to be with that person forever so you do something that you thought you were going to wait until you get married and they end up not being the one. Sometimes it's just that you get so lonely and you have got a strong a sex drive and it happens and afterwards you feel horrible. The thing I would say to you is don't beat yourself up for this. You made a mistake. You did something you told yourself you weren't going to do. This doesn't mean that now all that's off and there's no point in trying to stay sexually pure anymore and you may just as well become a prostitute on the street or something. No, no! This is what forgiveness and grace are all about. It's unfortunate that the church sometimes has failed to emphasize this in the area of sexual morality. In every other sin area we hear, yes you may make mistakes and you may commit sins but you can be forgiven and then when it comes to sexual morality all we hear is you have stay a virgin until you're married. Well that's a problem because you make one mistake or somebody or something happens that maybe was not even consensual and you can't call yourself a virgin anymore and you are ruined. You are not ruined. It's just like any other sin, any other mistake in your life. You can go to God with it and you can be forgiven and you learn from the mistakes that you make and you don't make them in the future. If you haven't done so already, it would be a good idea to talk to this friend that you had sex with and say, "you know, I was feeling lonely, my hormones were getting the best of me and I did something with you that is not what I believe is not right for me. This is not the way I want to live and I take responsibility for it. I went into this with my eyes open and I'm not blaming you. I made a mistake and I want you to know that I don't want to do that again. I want to keep our friendship but I think if we were to continue to do that that it would get in the way of the friendship and get in the way of living the life that I believe that I'm called to live." You don't want this person to feel like you are blaming them, like you're saying "how could you talk me into this. How could you....". Take the responsibility, accept the responsibility and take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. Have the conversation with this person. Because if you don't have the conversation then once you've done it once, it's going to be really easy to just get into a pattern of "this is the person you go to when you're feeling lonely" and it could lead to a really unhealthy relationship. I'd encourage you to talk to them and again have an accountability partner, someone who you're not going to be tempted to have sex with and say "hey I need you to keep something secret for me and I need to tell you the mistake that I made. That I need to have someone that I can talk to when I'm in that place again that I want to do that again, that I know that I can trust you and I know I can say "hey I want to do this, and I want you to hold me accountable". But don't beat yourself up, that's the worst thing you can do. Satan wants to take the mistakes we make and hold them over our heads and make us feel we can never feel we can never be forgiven for them and make us feel like we're horrible, horrible, horrible people and that's not what God wants for you. You are a child of God and God loves you and God's love for you does not change based on a mistake you make or bad choice that you make. So just know that.
NATE: As I'm sitting to this comment and others, I'm just reminded that as Christians there's a place for our sin to go and that we talk about the cross of Christ, we say Christ died for you. But then sometimes when we do something like this we hurt a friend we stumble, we fall sexually, we just say to ourselves there's no way, there's no way that this can go away and I would just have to say that if there's no way that that can go away then everything we believe is wrong because Jesus came for the sick who needed a doctor and if Jesus can forgive then there's no one on this earth, no matter what they've done that Jesus can't wash them. So I would just say if you are in this situation, if you're out there, turn in your heart to Jesus. Turn and say what you've done and let it come out of you. Just let it come out of you so that you can just ....sometimes we have to go to another person to really believe and then we hear that person "you are forgiven by God" and it's almost as if Christ is saying that through the other person. I would just want to say 100% with 100% truth that everyone can be forgiven and if you feel like you can't be forgiven then it's just your feelings.
JUSTIN: People ask why did Jesus have to die? When you commit a sin that you feel like the weight of the world is on you, you have this guilt on you it doesn't matter what the sin is you feel like you have done the worst thing in the world and you think how can I forgive myself, how can God forgive me, how can the people I've harmed forgive me, I've done something horrible. Whatever it is, that's when you realize why Jesus died, because you know in your heart this sin I have committed is more than just someone saying "oh I forgive you and it's all okay", it's not okay. There has to be some kind of penalty for this. I have done something that disserves a penalty and that's the whole point of Christianity as yes, you commit sins that deserve penalties, you feel that in your heart and that's when Jesus says I am going to take that penalty for you, I'm going to suffer for you, I'm going to die for you, I'm going to go through the pain and the anguish and everything you deserve for what you've done, I'm going to do it because then you don't have to. So right now whatever you're sin is, if you're feeling like I deserve something horrible to happen to me for what I've done. Yeah, you do and Jesus went through it for you. You don't have to. Don't live in that anymore. If you don't know that you are forgiven, this is when you just pray to God and say God I am a sinner, I've screwed up. I deserve horrible things. Forgive me please! And just know Jesus paid that penalty for you. And that's all it is. That's what being a Christian is. It's so simple. We can debate about theology, we can debate about sexual morality, and we can debate about sin and what does this Bible passage mean and everything else, but that right there, that forgiveness, that is what being a Christian is. So embrace that, accept that. It doesn't matter, you know there's no single prayer - there are some denominations, some Christian groups that have prayer this prayer, pray that prayer. What exactly do you have to do, what steps do you follow to be a Christian. It's not about that. Probably the most quoted verse in all of scripture, John 3:16, this is where that comes in: whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. It's more than that. Whoever believes in Him will be forgiven and will have a for filling, abundant life in this world and in the next. It's not just about heaven, it's about being forgiven.
Okay, another listener writes in "I'm on the verge of alcohol abuse/addiction but try everything to hide it from everyone close to me including myself". So if you're struggling with alcohol abuse, don't hide from it. This is where it is really important again to have someone who you can open up to someone that you can confess this to and if there's no one in your own life you feel comfortable talking to about this because you are worried about what they are going to think then that's when you may need to turn to someone outside of your circle. Someone who doesn't know you. Go to a treatment group or centre. Find a therapist or someone who has experience in addiction recovery and say "look, you don't know me, but I need someone to talk to about this". If you hide from it, it's just going to get worse, whatever it is, and this is certainly an example; if you hide from it, it's just gets worse. I want to point you to a couple of resources, of course Alcoholics Anonymous, they've a website that is alcoholics-anonymous.org, they have chapters all over the place for treatment of alcohol abuse and addiction. There's a website called soberrecovery.com that has forums and other resources with people who can support you online. They do some similar kinds of stuff to what GCN does for gay Christians but for people who are recovering from different types of addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a website at www.niaaa.nih.gov that's the place to get support her in the US. They have a toll-free number to get more information on treatment options and that number is 1800-662-HELP (1800-662-4357). That is a telephone number for alcohol and drug information and treatment referral and assistance. I would really encourage you to check out one or more of those resources and get some help and don't just hide from this. You can do that in a way that allows you to keep that confidential and it will do you a lot more good than just writing us in the show or struggling with that yourself. There are a lot of people out there who have been through it and can help you.
Oh my gosh Nate, there are so many more in here that I want to read. These are amazing. If we keep going this show is just going to be like super-super long so we're going to have to save some of these and do a part 2. You up for part 2?
JUSTIN: Okay. I know a bunch of you have written in already and you wanted us to read your burdens and allow you to get that out there, so we will do that I promise but we're going to save some of these for the next time. In the meantime if you're listening to this and you have something that this has all stirred up in you and something you haven't written yet, but you have just got something that you need to get this off your chest. I need someone to know about this anonymously, write us and we will talk about it and we'll give you a response and no one ever needs to know who you are and it's a chance for you to unburden yourself. You can do that by going to our website at www.gaychristain.net/gcnradio and in the name blank put "anonymous" you don't need to give us a name, just put anonymous in the box. Unburden yourself and let us know what is your secret that no one knows. What is it that's burdening you with guilt, or fear or whatever else? Because that's not what God wants for you, that's not God's best. So you can do that at www.gaychristain.net/gcnradio check that out. I also have new question for this week. This question is connected to a show we've got coming up. We have got a show coming up with a friend of Nate's. His name is Jesse. He's been your friend for how long?
NATE: He's been a really good friend for about 5 years but we did grow up in the same church.
JUSTIN: So you have known each other for a while, and he was one of the first people that you came out to.
NATE: Absolutely. He was the first straight person that I came out to.
JUSTIN: The first straight person you came out to. So he's going to be on the show and he is going to be talking about this sort of relationship between a straight guy and a gay guy and what all that's like. So in preparation for that we'd really like to hear from you on this question: Do you find that your friends are, or first let us know if you are gay, straight, bi - how do you identify yourself. And let us know do I identify as male or female. We want to know that and let us know what about the people you hang out with. Who are your friends? Do you hang out with all guys? Do you hang out with a mixture of men and women? Who do you hang out with? Are your friends gay? Are your friends straight? Is it a mixture? Are your friends single, are they couples? Let us know if you are single or not. We're really interested in how these friendships form and I won't say anymore about that. You can kind of imagine where this is going I bet. I really like to know from you who do you hang out with and why do you think that is? If you're really comfortable hanging out with all kinds of different people. If you have friends who are gay, straight male female, equal numbers all round, why do you think that is? If your friends are mostly of the same sex as you or mostly of the opposite sex from you, tell us, and why is that. If they're mostly straight or mostly gay, why is that? What do you think so we really want to know tell us all about the group of people who constitute your friends. The people you spend the most time with. Really interested in hearing about that. And again you can let us know about that by going to our website at gaychtistian.net/gcnradio or give us a call, we would love for you to share your story about your friends with us by phone and you can do that by calling us at 1-888-GAY-4-GOD and let us know who're your friends, gay, straight, male, female, single, couples, whatever, so we'll talk about that on a future show.
We're going to get to the rest of these burdens and guilt responses probably next time so tune next Friday for that and in the meantime let me say to all those of you who have written in, all of those who haven't written in, whoever you are, whatever is going on in your life, Jesus died for you, so no matter what anybody else tells you, no matter what else you're feeling, God loves you.