Unwanted

One of the reasons I decided to blog again was because I was starting to feel old. Seriously. I know, I’m still only three years out of college and I haven’t even hit the quarter century mark yet, so I’m sure a few people are rolling their eyes at me right now, but it’s true. Back when I was blogging as College Jay, things were really exciting. I forced myself to engage with issues, stand up for my opinions, think about things from multiple angles and, most importantly, connect with people of various viewpoints in a respectful, civil manner. I also learned how to slay trolls.

I wouldn’t have blogged if I wasn’t gay, and if I hadn’t blogged, I’m not sure I would have gained the personality traits I gained over those four years. It’s one of the many positive things that came directly from my same-sex attractions, and it’s one reason why I often bristle when someone else notices my celibacy and my traditional stance on sexual morality and thus concludes that my homosexuality is “unwanted.”

Sin is unwanted. Evil desires must be put to death. Putting on Christ means putting off sin, and not coddling it or making excuses for it. As C.S. Lewis put it in one of my favorite quotes, which was actually the first thing I ever blogged:

Christ says, “Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.”

But note that I said “sin” here. When I talk about the positive things that have come from my same-sex attractions, I’m not talking about the pornography or the promiscuity. I’m not talking about lust or narcissism. I’m not talking about the subversion of God’s created order. I’m not talking about the moral relativists and their proclamations of a watered-down gospel that attempts to love without truth. It’s a bad word in many contexts these days, but I’m a conservative. I’m a Christian. I believe in Biblical infallibility.

I’m also a homosexual. And I don’t consider that an unwanted trait.

A gentleman named Jordan, who has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers in this ever-growing community of chaste gay evangelicals, recently wrote about what he would say if he were offered a magical “cure” to make him heterosexual. It’s a great read, so read it. He found the decision almost impossible to make, and I would too. If some old man in a robe who looked like the late Richard Harris offered to wave a wand and make me straight, my response would be, “Why? What would that do?”

Seriously, what would be the benefit? If you bypass all the social and political injustices that gay people go through (and that’s a big “if,” I know), then morally, heterosexuality has all the same problems as homosexuality. The pornography and promiscuity that I mentioned earlier? The lust and the narcissism? The preachers who say that God’s commands are relative or irrelevant, and that the values of chastity and monogamy are relics of a suppressed past? Straights deal with all that too, so what’s the point? The only difference I can see is that I’d be trying to keep my eyes from lingering on different people and different body parts.

Oh, okay. Marriage is a big issue, I suppose. Being heterosexual would make it easier to enter a godly covenant with a Christian woman. Again, note that I said “easier.” I know that I gained a reputation during my blogging years as an outspoken advocate for lifelong celibacy, but it’s not like I’m opposed to gay men and women marrying heterosexually. I was simply reacting in opposition to the overwhelming pressure to marry that was very common among the prototypical ex-gays, who were a little more relevant back then. Celibacy is my own path right now, and I think it’s a good one, but it’s not for everyone. I get that.

I know gay men (whether they identify themselves by that term or not), who are married heterosexually. Some of the relationships seem wise, healthy and Christ-centered. Others seem like disasters waiting to happen. Shocker of shockers, I’d say the exact same thing about the heterosexual couples I know! Marriage isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s less about sex than society makes it out to be, so the magic wand wouldn’t even ensure a healthy, happy marriage for me. It wouldn’t even open the door for one. That door is already open, and I’ve simply chosen to go through a different door. (A door that, incidentally, is also open to straight people. It’s easy to forget, but many straight Christians remain celibate too, and many by choice.)

So sexual sin is unwanted. Lust and selfishness and pride and perversion and greed are unwanted. What’s important for those well-meaning straight counselors to remember is that homosexuality isn’t limited to those things, just like heterosexuality isn’t. My struggles with homosexuality are experiences that helped me understand what it’s like to be “other.” Homosexuality is the issue that made me rely on Christ. It’s the issue that opened my eyes to my depravity (in all manners, sexual or otherwise) and my desperate need for a Savior. It’ll be completely gone one day, as will our earthly concept heterosexuality, but the good work that Christ has done in me through that frailty is most certainly not “unwanted.”

Advertisements

Incredible Busyness

I’m a very busy person. It’s something that I’m used to, because I really don’t do well with boredom. Even my vacations are pretty eventful affairs. I’m either with my family, spending the majority of my time playing with my nieces, or packing up and driving across the country to visit a friend who I haven’t met in person before. Having nothing to do kind of horrifies me.

This is my first year as a classroom teacher. For the past two years, I’ve alternated as a waiter and a substitute teacher here in Baltimore. Most of the time the two jobs overlapped, and I’d come home from subbing only to turn around, put on my uniform, and work the closing shift at a restaurant. Every now and then I would say “enough” and take a hiatus from either job. I’d tell my manager not to put me on the schedule for a few weeks, or I wouldn’t pick up my phone when the secretaries from all the surrounding schools went through the list of available substitutes. I mean, I was exhausted, and keep in mind that I was also taking night classes for my master’s program a few times a week. But even then, I couldn’t stay away from both jobs for too long. True, finances were a factor, but ultimately I didn’t know what to do with myself on my nights off.

I said that I struggled with depression about a year ago. I think working so much helped me get over it, especially since I didn’t really do any formal counseling or treatment. (By the way, don’t be an idiot like me. If you’re struggling with depression, go see somebody. I was a fool not to and it’s only by the grace of God that things got better on their own before they got really bad.) Working brought me outside of myself. They aren’t glamorous jobs by any means, and they have their share of attached horror stories, but waiting tables and substitute teaching can also be really fun. They put you in contact with a wide variety of new people almost every single day, and they allow you to reinvent yourself constantly. They force you be charming, personable and authoritative.

They also provide great personal contacts, waiting especially. I’ve met several good friends by bringing them their cheap beers and appetizers. That’s also how I met the secretary of the first school I ever subbed for. She helped get me that job, and through that job, I ended up making friends with a fellow employee who helped me get my current, permanent position.

Long story short, being busy has been good for me, and this semester will be no exception to the rule. It’s my first year as a classroom teacher, which means that every night I have to create lesson plans for my students. Unlike more experienced teachers, I don’t have a nice big filing cabinet full of old lessons to choose from. It’s also my last year in graduate school, and my thesis is due in December. It’s already mostly written, but the revising process is a pain. Nevertheless, I’m excited about it. (I’m especially excited about being done!)

Blogging might seem a strange thing to take back up in the midst of all this incredible busyness, but I recall that I was just as busy in college when I maintained my other blog. I was one of those kids who was in every club, worked every campus job, went to every social event he was invited to and still got A’s (don’t hate). I also maintained a moderately-successful blog and a ton of personal contacts. I think what helped was that, unlike recently, blogging gave my “free time” a structure. Instead of mindlessly waltzing around Facebook, not realizing where the time was going, I would go online, write something and respond to some emails. Then I’d close my laptop and do the actual work I had to do.

So even though I’m incredibly busy, I hope this blog will help keep me task-oriented throughout this year. However, if you email me or leave a comment and wonder why I don’t respond right away, I still get to use busyness as an excuse!

Getting Started… Again

Hello there. If you’re new, it’s nice to meet you. My name’s Jay. I also post as “Carolina Caffeine.” I think I have a few more pseudonyms floating around the Internet, but Jay is the one I’ve used the most.

It’s confusing, I know. I wish I could write more openly, but I’m a teacher and my students are definitely old enough to do a quick Internet search, and since the Internet is one of the few places where I can be outspokenly Christian, outspokenly gay and outspokenly conservative all at the same time, if I didn’t use a pseudonym they could read all about that stuff. I doubt I’d lose my job over it — and I’d always be willing to sue — but it would still be an unwelcome distraction, don’t you think?

So, yes, I’m a chaste gay Christian conservative. Actually, most political quizzes, like this one, tell me I’m an “average independent.” I hate being called an “average” anything, but I’m a registered Democrat who tends to vote Republican, so I guess it makes sense.

I used to maintain this other blog, back when I was in college, that got a lot of hits and made me famous in the emerging chaste gay Christian conservative blogosphere. Okay, not really, but I did meet a lot of interesting people, many of whom have become good friends. And not just “like each other’s Facebook statuses” friends, but “get in a car, find random weekends to visit each other, call each other when you’re feeling blue and send birthday and Christmas cards” friends.

Although “Adventures of a Christian Collegian” is six years old, I still think of it very fondly. Even though I went through a lot of angst back then — specifically gay angst, which really should be trademarked, like this: Gay Angst™ — I had a lot of fun writing that blog. And even though I’ve been a very busy and serious (snort) graduate student and working adult for the past two years, I’ve periodically felt the urge to start blogging again. There was this one failure of a blog that started off well but ended up chronicling my adventures in depression, but other than that I’ve stayed away from the blogosphere.

Now that I’m in a much better place, though, and still have a lot of stupid opinions, I think it’s time to start blogging again. I am a schoolteacher and I’m also finishing up my thesis for my master’s degree, so this blog might end up being buried under the weight of all my other responsibilities, but I certainly hope not. Blogging is a great chance to vent, and even when I’m lesson planning and grading papers and turning a revision in to my thesis adviser for the thirtieth time, I can always take a short break to vent. Hope whoever reads along with this enjoys the ride!