Just Thinking Out Loud

What will become of us…

I just masterbated with another dude via a chatroulette-like site.

What will become of us? What is this really all about? Is the life in Christ at a snail’s pace, or am I missing something?

Am I supposed to care so much about my failings? Should I view these moments even like that? 

Once upon a time I had a thought that God actually celebrates with us when we fail? Why? Because He sees the end game; He sees your victory further down the road, and now you’re just X amount of falls away from success. But it doesn’t feel that way. 

Should I feel shame? Should I have regret or remorse? But wait, isn’t Satan the accuser of the brethren? Am I not agreeing with him as I contemplate these wonderings?

Once upon another time, I told a group of kids in a youth group to look to Christ always. Stop looking at what you did and start looking to what Jesus did.

How should we respond to sin? I think that’s what I’m ultimately asking.

My greatest aim is to get past this, but how? I did, once upon yet another time, but I’m not over this hurtle at present. But maybe that’s the problem–maybe my attention shouldn’t be here. Or should it?

You see what I mean? I don’t know the proper response to this. I don’t, and it’s an endless dog-chasing-tale circumstance–a catch 22, as they say. (Why is it called that?) I want to understand why I keep falling and how to move on, but then I’m not sure if I should be wondering about this to begin with. So I’m no steps forward and two steps back.

Sins a bitch. I’m confused.

The Holy Within the Sin

I recently had a conversation with my younger brother. We were discussing how he feels distant from God as a result of distraction or being caught up in sin.

“I wish I could just be dead, that way I can stop worrying about the cares of this world and have God be with me constantly.”

How many times have we had these thoughts?
“Oh there’s just too many things stealing my attention from the One that matters.” “I’m overwhelmed with sin.” “Once I get myself together I’ll come to Jesus.” “I’m just too busy for God.” “I wish I could just sneak away to be with Him.”

A song comes to mind. “Look at all the pretty things, that keep me far away.” A movie quote comes also. “My grandmother used to always tell me, ‘Take Jesus wherever you go, and if you can’t take Him there, don’t go.'”

The song insinuates that there are “shiny things of the soul,” which gravitate our ADD “third eye.” We’ll drift away; we’ll loose sight, and although those thoughts speak of intimacy with a person as if loosing eye-contact, we must not take a that wavelength a step further–these things pull me away from God.

The movie insinuates another thing–there are places God won’t go with you. The quote could read, “Take God with you everywhere. Just don’t go to the bar or club. Don’t sin. He can’t go there because He’s holy.”

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (Hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Psalm 139:7-12 ESV)

What does this say about our classic cliches? What does it do to our theology when this verse is truly applied to life?

As my brother continued his monologue of “I just wish I could be near to God now,” I responded with. “Invite Him into everything, especially the sin.”

My brother’s response was much like any “normal” Christian. “Oh, I can’t do that. He’s holy. Darkness and light do not mingle. He’s clean and that’s just filth.”

Our Christian phrases that have made oh so much sense, are not even Biblical. The last time I checked, Jesus was God coming to a sin ridden fest pool. He already got in the mud; he already stepped into the darkness, for it’s as light to Him. The vail was torn with the words, “It is finished.”

I don’t know about you, but some of the most profound moment where I KNOW I heard God was right before and in my sin. “Don’t do this. I love you. It won’t satisfy. This isn’t who you are.” A vast number of my spiritual epiphanies have occurred postdate my most sinful of moments. In the wake of my deathly decisions, I’ve heard the most sweetest of whispers. “You’re loved. You are not condemned. You no longer have to weep. Joy is coming.”

I recently had a conversation with a more liberal pastor whose suggestion to my homosexual tendencies was to masterbate to straight porn. Believe it or not, it’s a clinically proven fact that your hormones and tastes are trained. Though I want to get married, though I find women beautiful, but penis has been trained to jump to a boy. Your hormones are aroused by what you’ve ejaculated to. Guess what, if you masterbate to bridges, you’ll get hard on bridges.

With that in mind, there have been times where I’ve looked at gay porn over the course of the past few months. As stated in previous blogs, my sexuality has been a tumult to say the least. But instead of “feeling far from God,” because that’s all it is–a feeling, I welcome God into my sin. I hear Him whisper to my heart, “Landon, you can go there, but this is not who you are.”

My God stood by my side through the all ten minutes of perusing the profane, even up to the moment of “climax.” As I ejaculated, I heard God say, “Okay, let’s think of a woman and retrain that brain. Sex is about intimacy. It’s going to be beautiful, and you’re meant to share this with your sweetheart, while gazing into her eyes.” And so I imagine that. I imagine it with her, and it’s been transforming my sexuality. The idea of taking one in the ass now sound painful and gross, when a few blogs before I was talking about how I want that.

What is happening to me? Am I schizophrenic, or is something happening to my hear as I allow the love of an all-consuming God to enter into my darkest of places? Agape really is as powerful as He claims. Unconditional love does something to the deepest of scars. I’m a first-hand account of that truth.

Eternally in His love, even when I’m “not where He can go (hogwash).”

Epiphanies in the Perverse

I’m sitting here in my car waiting for a friend outside Five Guys to grab a burger and to speak of friendship and hurt, and as I wait I’m thinking about thoughts I never really allowed myself to mull over. I saw an attractive guy in Whole Foods today. I couldn’t help but lock eyes with him here and there as he passed back and forth through my peripheral vision. Why am I attracted to him? And the answer came in the gentlest of whispers…

You want to be him.

As I analyze the mystery man, I realize how much of this is true. How he’s handsome. How he has a smile in every task he undertakes. He’s dripping with joy while sweeping up trash. How he’s engaging with people on a genuine level.

It’s how I know I can be and should, but why am I not?

The thoughts continued, but now twist and turn into something sexual. Initially, I pulled back, not allowing myself to lust, but then a thought came–let’s allow the thoughts, Landon; let’s analyze this and see what your heart is longing for below all the sex.

And thus began the thought process.

Would I be top or bottom?
Bottom.
Why?
Because I want to be led.
What sex position would I want?
Sitting on his lap facing him as he held me.
Why?
Because I want to feel secure and cherished while looking into his eyes.
What would you want to happen besides sex?
I would want him to hold me close to his chest, to smile at me in approval, to tell me what he thinks of me, to make promises of never leaving me.

What does this say? What’s the root of what I truly want?

I want love. Masculine love.
I want someone to show me the way and how to be a man, to lead me and never leave me, to hold me close and create a sense of security, to be delighted in all that I am, shortfalls and all.
Why? Why do I feel the need for this? Why do I want to be led by a strong masculine man? Why do I want someone to hug me and say they’re not going to leave me? Why is the approval of one person so important, and why does that one person’s opinion mean so much?

When I encounter Jake, my friend online, a phrase he kept saying that brought so much pleasure to my heart was, “You’re absolutely awesome.” He’d say it about my bod, my hair, my personality, my jokes, my deep thoughts. He thought it was all so great. I was intoxicated with his approval. But when I couldn’t reach him in the following days, I thought I would loose my mind.
I do this often–putting all my “eggs in one basket” with someone’s approval. As I look at my life, in every season there was someone who’s opinion meant everything. I could be loved by all I encounter, but if that one person didn’t approve I was a shipwrecked heart.

The speculation continues as I analyze roots and wounds.
I was abandoned by my best friends in my deepest hours of need. I thought there was something wrong with me to chase the away. Instead of being chased I had to do the chasing, and I’m tired of it.
My dad never showed me how to be a man. He never inspired me with masculinity, saying, “Follow me; I know the way.” He never believed in me and sent me out to conquer and succeed. As a result, I don’t feel like I can succeed as a man, and I need someone to show me the way.

I need someone to show me the way.

I process; I ponder. My mind wrestles and wanders. But ultimately I know the answer, and it’s a lot more simple than I care to imagine, and more cliché than an aspiring writing finds taste for.

The love of God.

As I was driving to meet my friend, abraded with pilfering thought processes, the phrase “daddy’s boy,” came to mind, and it warmed my heart like hot chocolate. I’m daddy’s boy. Why does this mantra mean so much?
It’s interesting to note, that the three years of homosexual abstancy, we’re also the three years a potently powerful truth was swallowed into the depths of my being: you are God’s son, and He is your loving Father. This is also the number one way Jesus chose to relate to God: as His Father.

What if the the cure all was simply bathing in this knowledge?
The cure for homosexuality.
The cure for sexual promiscuity.
The cure for loneliness.
The cure for contempt.
The cure for pride.
The cure for every bereavement and curse of the soul.

Too simple? Maybe so. But it did work at one point in this author’s life. Maybe I’ve simply complicated things. Why don’t I just come back to that simple truth, and keep it just that—simple.

Country Roads

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Country Roads…

I’m currently in West Virginia–home of the “Wild and Wonderful” Appalachians, hillbillies, moonshine and this author’s wonderful girlfriend.

Wait.
Hold up.
This guy has a girlfriend?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this hormonally confused guy does, in fact, have a girlfriend, and I’ll be with her and her family for a week come Thursday. This far, it’s been incredibly hard.

Just because a heterosexual life is the one I choose, doesn’t mean this is easy. The days have been roller coasters, full of ups and downs, moment by moment. In one moment, I’m so glad I’m here, gazing into her lovely green eyes. In the next, I want to wake up in my own bed. In yet another, I want to be engaging in sexual acts with another dude. In still another, I want to end this relationship to date another girl I can’t stop thinking about.

It’s a messy situation to say the least.

In the furious longings of God by Brennan Manning, he says, “The rest of Brennan Manning is a bundle of paradoxes and contradictions… I love and I hate. I feel better about feeling good. I feel guilty if I don’t feel guilty. I’m wide open, I’m locked in. I’m trusting and suspicious. I’m honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I’m a rational animal. But I’m not. That’s some of the rest of Brennan Manning.”

I’m right there with Brennan… A bundle of paradoxes and contradictions.

I love God, but I flirt with sin. I’m longing for a life with a woman, yet lust for men. I’m here in West Virginia, while my heart wanders to a girl in Nashville. I’m pure in His sight, yet soiled with “sin dirt.” I’m happy; I’m discontent. I’m real, and I’m fake.

…I’m confused.

If there is one defining term to envelop the rest, it simply comes down to that–confusion… about life as a whole.

Back when I was a young lad, I dreamed of romancing a girl, of sweeping her off of her feet and running into the sunset. You know, Disney stuff. Well, Disney lied, and I’m left reeling with feelings of devastated disillusionment. I’ve been conned… Or this is not how it should be.

On the drive back from Virginia, after witnessing a wedding with my girlfriend, we sat silently, and all I could think about was how this relationship needs to end. I need to talk to her. This needs to stop.

Why do I feel the need to leave?
Because I’m wrestling with homosexual thoughts.
Because I want to date another girl.
Because I feel broken and inadequate.
Because this is awkward, and we haven’t spoken for an hour!
Because I feel this relationship isn’t spiritual enough.
Because I simply want to run.
Because I’m afraid I’ll break her heart.

Why do I stay?
Because I’m scared.
Because I actually do like her.
Because of the way she laughs and the sparkle in her “bedazzled” eyes.
Because of how she loves and cares for every child of God she encounters.
Because I’m uncertain.
Because I simply want to stay.
Because I’m afraid I’ll break her heart.

What will I do?
I don’t know.
It changes minute by minute, because I’m a contradiction and a bundle of paradoxes.

The song “Country Roads,” sung by John Denver sings, “Country roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain Mama take me home, country roads.”

I think that’s ultimately it–I don’t feel at home with her, not yet anyway.

Should I wait this out, hoping the sense of home will arise? Or should I keep searching? Country roads, leading to the place I belong, to the home of the heart, where are you? Where is that rugged asphalt, and where does it begin, that I may traverse its winding road, leading me to its unknown destination. Country roads, lead me home! … wherever that is.

on a dirt mountain road underneath the blazing stars…

It’s been hard to say the least.

Since re-entering America, I’ve had the hardest of times. I’m Martha burnt out in the kitchen. I’m the church of Ephesus in Revelation, robbed of its romance. I’m done.
The past several days the cry of my heart has been, “Jesus, just come find me.”
I have so many questions…
A resurgence has erupted in the bowels of my chest, a wound uncared for, now festering and gangrene…

Homosexuality… It’s a bitch.

Nearly every night I’ve been on my iPad scouring the Internet for moral contraband. Hardcore porn. Miscellaneous webcams. Craigslist rendezvous’s. It’s been a mess. Just today I laid in bed till 3 in the afternoon. Laid out in the wake of hours wasted on the Internet. This doesn’t satisfy.
The catalyst of my near abandonment to the plight I find myself in occurred a few days ago in an alternative gay chat roulette. I met a 22 year old with the same story as my own.
Raised a Christian. Held church leadership positions. Has a serious relationship with a girl.
AND YET, he’s dabbling in “the sin unspeakable.” We both are.
Multiple times throughout our conversation as we divulged our stories, the comment “TWIN” became a consistent occurrence. We’re even identical in our strategies as to how we hid our “heinous” acts.
We talked for hours when, initially, all we wanted was to gaze upon each other’s penises. In the end, we exposed our private parts briefly, making the comment, “Well, we should probably do what we came on here to do in the first place,” but it’s not what we wanted.
Since then, I’ve been manically internally digesting whether or not I should just abandon it all, including my Jesus, in order to fall madly into these “dark desires,” as Mumford puts it, letting them clutch me in their dark vice-grip claws.

I’m at a loss. Rather, I am lost… In desperate need of being found.

I came out to the mountains tonight. It’s currently 1:24 am. Underneath the stars I beg the question of God: where are you? Where are you in this? Why do I feel so alone? What do I do?
Prior, all sorts of questions abraded my mind. Do I throw myself into this completely, becoming the “Prodigal?” Do I “give myself over to Satan for the sifting of my soul?” What about my girlfriend? Do I end that relationship? Do I tell her?
Truth be told, I’m tired of fighting. I’ve given in. When temptation comes, I thrust myself into it headlong. Luckily, my demons haven’t flung me into any “physical encounters.”

And this is where the shift happened.

Immediately before running up into the mountains, I headed downtown. Hungering to satisfy my lusts, I “happened upon” the location of a local gay bar. I drove by, intending to simply pass… That’s not what happened.
A block passes by. I pull over and park. I get out, walking the block I just passed. I stand outside the heavy metal door, music blaring within. That was when it dawned on me—I don’t want gay sex. I simply want intimacy.
Now, out in the mountains, I’m talking to my Jesus. There’s always been a stronger connection to Him while the blazing infernos millions of miles away gaze down upon me. I ask, “What’s happened to us? We’ve fallen out like all my other relationships. Where did I go wrong? Where was the wrong turn, many miles ago?” I heaved and moaned, as the things locked up in my chest oozed to the surface. It felt like a vomit of soul.

It was there, in my ranting and raving, I heard Him.

“We’ve already been through the ringer, Brandon. This relationship, like all true relationships, has been tested with fire. This is no different, and I’m not intimidated by it. Come back to me. Don’t worry about the “sin.” I just want you to know me, and I you. I’m not trying to make you “good.” I’m trying to show you you’re loved. It’s what I’ve been trying to do since the beginning.”

Tonight, before the stop in downtown and the trek to the mountains, I spent the day with two great friends. We watched “The Kings of Summer.” It was there that the idea of friendship being the deep desire of my heart, rather than sodomy, or other male-on-male actions for that matter, dawned on me. I never had what these boys had—a beautiful, adventurous, unadulterated love through the bond of pure friendship. We catch a glance of this love in other movies as well—”The Goonies,” “Lean on Me” and “Super 8.” The coming of age movies that remind me of what I missed. Or the epics—”Braveheart,” “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings.” A beautiful love that has nothing to do with sex, but intimacy, of accepting and fighting for the one you love, of being brothers.

This is the desire of my heart.

While talking to Jake, my roulette encountered friend, we both asked, “Why do we do this?” I think this is the answer—our hearts long for something beautiful, intimate, real. Something directly out of the heart of God. A verse that actually comes to mind is Ecclesiastes 4:11—the verse about two lying together to keep warm. Many a time I’ve shared a bed or patch of grass with another man, and it had NOTHING to do with sex. It was two friends keeping each other warm in heart and body. Some of my favorite moments have been lying next to a friend I love. No sex. No lust. Just love in brotherhood.
What’s wrong with that?
Deep down I know the cry of my heart is not gay sex. It’s true unadulterated friendship, and it all starts with a friendship with The Friend—the origin and its author. That’s what io tend to do, to drink of the fountain that will truly quench my soul’s thirsting.

Father, return me to Your heart. Return me to Your Love. Plunge me deep into Your rivers of grace, and wash over me anew with Your ferocious AGAPE. Woo me. Undo me. Flirt with my soul and romance my heart. I guess, what I’m actually asking is, would You be my friend, for You are its definition. Void our relationship of moral duty, and in its place institute desire.

Sincerely,
Your friend…