Inevitability

Whether sexual orientation can change or not, hearts can change and turn any sexual orientation into an occasion for the glory of Christ.

That’s a pretty incredible quote, and it’s coming from what, to me, is a pretty amazing source. John Piper wrote that in this recent post that commentator “Jord” linked me to, and I’ve been wanting to write about it for a few days. Work and school have gotten in the way (thesis is kicking my butt) but it really is a great post and I wanted to give it a shout.

I think this calls back to my last post, where I mentioned that my same-sex attractions aren’t necessarily “unwanted.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that they are disordered, as Piper calls them in his post. Nor do I see them as immutable. Like I said in “Unwanted,” I have friends in godly, beautiful heterosexual marriages, and I love and celebrate them.

I suppose what I like about Piper’s post is that it represents “a wise and cautious balance.” He’s right when he says that there aren’t just three groups: homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual. Sexuality is complicated, and even though I may sometimes call myself a homosexual for the convenience of using a single term, I know that there’s more to me than that. I’m celibate, I’ve been in non-sexual but nevertheless real romantic relationships with women. I’ve also been in non-sexual romantic relationships with men. I’ve been both promiscuous and chaste. My attractions are complex and they wax and wane like the moon. I could be married with children one day, but still be attracted to men in general, in the same way that a typical heterosexual still finds women apart from his wife beautiful. These attractions are temptations, for both the homosexual man and the heterosexual man, but the ability to say “no” to them does represent regeneration.

It’s just tough to figure out the terminology. I still struggle with it, to be honest. Maybe it’s my career as an English teacher that makes me struggle. I want everything to be defined clearly. Change is inevitable. A soul touched by Christ cannot remainĀ the same. It’s not possible. Even if that change doesn’t include a shift in sexual orientation, it will include a shift in outlooks, attitudes, ideas and behaviors. Since we’re all on such a huge spectrum, how do we define each other? Should we even try to? It’s something I’m still thinking about. Obviously, we have to communicate about these issues, and words like “gay” and “straight” are helpful parts of the conversation, even though they are limiting to individuals.

I’ll open this up to whoever might want to comment on it. I’m writing lesson plans, grading papers and editing a thesis right now, but these issues are always somewhere in the back of my mind, and I’m glad I have a blog where I can put them down.

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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 gotĀ 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!