Monday, February 8, 2010
How Does My Faith Manifest Itself In My Life?
Trying to explain faith to someone who doesn’t believe is a very difficult task, it’s almost like winking at someone on the dark. Some feel that Church’s have generally persecuted the gay community and why would any gay man want to be a part of that world. Others look to the Catholic Church, often seeing it as representative of all Christianity, and see their abuse of children and their treatment of gay priests and see nothing but hypocrisy. Perhaps their view is somewhat accurate. I want to point out here, that I feel saddened that a minority of Catholic priests have brought disgrace to a wonderful organisation which helps to uplift and inspire millions of people the world over.
Faith develops at different times for different people. There are those who grow up in a religious or spiritual environment and it’s simply a part of their makeup, it’s just who they are. There are those who discover religion later in their life, either as a teenager or perhaps as an adult. Finding religion and or spirituality is different to finding faith. Faith is a moving target, it grows over time. The growth usually comes about through the things we do. The New Testament teaches us that, “Faith without works is dead.”
I believe this to mean that you can’t sit on your couch and do nothing and call yourself a Christian. You need to be doing something about it, a friend of mine says that faith is a verb - it’s a doing word.
My faith guided my behaviour, it guided my decisions and the choices I made. I enjoyed that, it was like a framework to live by. However the reason I chose to live by that framework was because I had faith that Christ wanted me to live that way, I still do.
The challenge came for me when I could no longer mask who I was. This became the most poignant for me after dating a beautiful young women for two years. I felt deeply for her, but at no time could I see myself being intimate with her. She was attractive, intelligent, and filled with faith, but I knew this was not going to work. Breaking off that relationship was the most difficult thing I had ever done in any relationship I had been in.
It also meant acknowledgment to myself that I was gay, I wasn’t going to change. I don’t believe that any amount of faith or prayer was going to change who I was. Deceiving myself and possibly my girlfriend was reprehensible to her and unfair for me. I couldn’t do it, I could see myself at 45 with children and coming out to my wife because I just couldn’t do it any more. That wasn’t a future I wanted for her or I.
This period of my life was a tumultuous one, I found myself emotionally up and down constantly. These mood swings were largely unknown to those around me, remember I had become a master of masking my feelings, at least I thought so.
After breaking up with my girlfriend, I managed to get a job in Sydney and moved from Melbourne in Christmas of 2005. I moved back to an LDS Church congregation I had attended when I last lived in Sydney. I continued to be active in Church and it continued to be a big part of my life.