A friend of mine has grown up in the church. His experience is not typical of those in the evangelical church. But, it probably echoes with us more frquently than we would like to admit. And, like many, he has struggled with homosexuality nearly his whole life. He has a tremendous story and has courageoously agreed to share it with us all. I will post it in sections over the next couple of days.
Hi. My name is Tim. I’m a follower of Christ, and I am a recovering sex addict. I was born in Dallas, Tx. My father was a preacher, my mom, the ever-vigilant minister’s wife. We were, in the eyes of the people entrusted to my father’s ministerial care, the perfect family.
In this perfect family, beatings were regular, and not regulated by duration or severity. I wish I could say they came out of nowhere. That my parents would fly at me in a blind rage for no reason. At least I could have realized at an early age that it wasn’t really my fault. But, there was always a reason…talking in church, bad grades, having an opinion. I always thought the beatings were evenly distributed between all the kids. Recently, though, during a conversation with my younger brother, he told me that I definitely got the lion’s share of the punishment. I have begun to rebuild pieces of my past that I have completely forgotten. He asked if I remembered mom throwing me to the ground and beating me with the heel of her high-heeled shoe. I have, since then, remembered walking back to our bedroom where I pulled up my pant leg to see cuts and blood running down my legs. Hardly a day went by that I wasn’t reminded by my father that I was stupid, worthless and ugly. To this day, he has never said that he’s proud of me.
Mom would never come out and say that Dad was having affairs. She would, in front of us, verbally annihilate him, and warn him that she would tell us the truth. Not believing the allegations to be true, but dreading that they were. Sundays, driving to and from church, were filled with explosive innuendo about his infidelities. Finally, Christmas Eve of my senior year, during a verbal assault, she screamed at him to tell me the truth. It was the last arrow she had, she had waited years to use it, and she knew it had hit the center of its target. He just looked at me with almost unbearable regret. Mom proceeded to ask who I would live with when they split. Because I was to afraid to answer, she scowled at me with unforgiving cruelty and retreated to the guest room for the night. Dad, trying to break the tension, said he wanted me to meet the other woman. That I’d really like her. The final wisps of hope, trust and expectation were blown away by a hostile, agonizingly and bitterly cold silence that engulfed our home from that moment on.
During Junior High and High school, I became the class clown. I felt good about myself. It was a false sense of security. In the religious denomination I grew up in, there was not much room for grace, if any. It was, at that point in time, a very works based theology. Basically, I was working as hard as I could to earn my way into heaven. I pleaded and tried to negotiate with God for my sexuality. But nothing worked. The desires would not go away. I knew that because of these ungodly yearnings, there was very little chance of my making it into heaven.
In college I kept going with the entertainment life-theme. I found out I could sing and act. Another good way to cover my feelings. I buried myself in learning the craft of theater and singing. I found acceptance and self-esteem in all this “work”. I remained celebate, which most of my friends in theater could NOT understand. But, the sexual desires were getting stronger and my resolve weaker. I slowly began to retreat into myself. As soon as productions were over, I would leave out the side door, totally avoiding anyone that might tell me I was good. I couldn’t go to cast parties. I would not allow myself to be in places where I might start feeling any emotion on any level for men. At this point, my emotions were so convoluted that if I ever felt any feelings for a man, I would pull away for fear that what I was feeling was evil, or would certainly lead to evil thoughts or desires. This kept me from forming friendships with men…ever!!! I knew that if they ever found out I was gay, they would turn their back on me. And so I began a concerted flight from connection with any people, particularly men.