CHAPTER XIV -
"I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me"
"Abner! Abner! Come look!"
Funny how confirmation works.
I'm a little more than halfway through writing the book at this point, and the last few days, as I've been looking over the previous chapters, the thought has occurred to me more than once that maybe I don't need to deal with some of the things about which I've written.
Maybe some of what I've said isn't even necessary.
Maybe I'm repeating myself.
Maybe I'm overstating the obvious about Biblical interpretation, especially as it relates to sexual orientation.
I mean...this is the 21st century, right?
People know all this stuff already, right?
Maybe I should just take out that last chapter, altogether.
Maybe I sound too cynical, especially for a book that's supposed to be about GOOD NEWS.
And then....just when I was about to start second-guessing the whole project...bam!...an all-out assault from a "Christian"...someone who believes that the Holy Spirit sent them to confront and rebuke me about pretty much everything this book is about (and they didn't even know I was writing it).
They came from out of nowhere...came when I least expected it, from a place that surprised me...caught me totally off-guard...just a casual social setting in which I thought I was simply relaxing with some friends.
We were laughing and talking and having a great time, and then...pow!...it was an ambush...totally unprovoked...we weren't talking about God or the Bible or gay issues...we weren't even talking about me or my story...just chilling and having a good time...and there it came...wham!...it was an attack...and the speech was classic...a religious diatribe, filled with homophobic slurs, misinterpreted and misquoted Scriptures taken out of context, and loads of misinformation about "the gay lifestyle"...and then a personal rebuke from this person I had never even met before...
So I just went with "a soft answer turns away wrath", and let them spew their venom all over me until they felt that God was satisfied, and then they left...but not until they re-affirmed to me that they were sent there by God to do God's work.
Then, as they went away, content and self-satisfied with their own righteous indignation, we went on with the conversation and the relaxing and the chilling.
I've heard all of what they said before, so for me it's kind of like water off a duck's back.
But the good that came out of it for me was that it triggered a change in my thought patterns of the last several days.
In an instant I went from "Maybe I shouldn't be writing all of this stuff" to "Wow, do I ever need to be writing all of this stuff!"
The person who accosted me in the name of the Lord only confirmed to me that every word of this book is necessary and right on time...they convinced me in their own way that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do.
So thank you, angry religious person whom I'd never met and will probably never see again...thanks for giving me the clarity and confidence to keep writing, and not change a single word of what has already been put down in words...thanks for the energy boost...you were just what I needed!
So...where was I?
During my 15 minutes of fame I was treated very kindly by the mainstream press...ABC News, CNN (Don Lemon), The Joy Behar Show, NPR, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, People Magazine, Creative Loafing, Perez Hilton, The View, the Gayle King Show, and others were very gracious and fair in their coverage of everything concerning my coming out, and I greatly appreciated it.
Not that it matters now, but there were some who said I was enjoying the press coverage a little too much and was playing to the media, but what they didn't know is that I turned down many more interviews than I accepted, a producer who makes movies for HBO approached me about doing a biopic, which I turned down, and even though we signed contracts for a reality show, that project has not been picked up by any network as of yet, and I am totally fine with that.
The stuff that was written about me was something over which I had no control, and I didn't ask for any of it.
Whatever about all that, but the biggest issue was, of course, the "Christian" press.
Ah, the Christian press...where do I start?
I have, for the most part, kept silent about this, but I feel free to address it now.
At the time of this writing, all you have to do is google my name and you'll find an abundance of Christian gay watchdog groups who have had a field day with discussing me, dissecting every word of my coming out message (one guy had so much time on his hands that he created an entire eight-part series off of that one message), and showing their general obsession with me and with people like me.
And there are hundreds of comments from "Christians" on these blogs, and under the YouTube videos that have to do with my story. Some of these "Christians" would try to post as many as 20 times a day on my blog (all anonymously, of course).
Just think of how many homeless people they could have fed (something that Jesus actually talked about) in the time it took to post 20 homophobic rants a day.
It's hard for me to take the Christian gay watchdog sites seriously as being anything that actually resembles being Christian because there is nothing at all about Jesus on their blogs and websites...at least nothing that I've seen...maybe because Jesus was completely silent on the subject of sexual orientation, as we've already discussed.
All you will find on these websites is blatant intolerance, homophobia and hate speech.
Just scroll down and read the comments on their blogs, or the comments posted under some of the YouTube clips of me and you'll see what I mean...they and their followers are so gossipy, judgmental, petty, Pharisaical, fundamentalist, closed-minded, vulgar, and just downright mean-spirited, that they compromise any moral authority they might otherwise have, in my opinion.
As I said, Jesus didn't say a word about homosexuality, but he said A WHOLE LOT about love ( "this is the greatest commandment", "by this shall all men know you're my disciples", etc.).
Just read some of the "Christian" anti-gay blogs and tell me if you read anything that sounds even vaguely loving written in them.
What I would say to them if I could (which I can't, because they have no willingness to listen to anyone but themselves) is...Why do you care so much?
Why do you have an opinion about anything I do or say at all?
I think you guys take the Scriptures out of context for your own agendas, and preach what Paul called "another Gospel", and yet I would never be arrogant enough to tell you what to preach or not to preach, or set up a blog just to discuss you.
I'm sure they believe that they have a prophetic mandate to expose false teachers like they believe me to be.
I could argue from the Scriptures that the role of a prophet in the New Testament is quite different than that of the OT prophets who announced destruction on unrepentant cities, but I really don't think that's the point.
I think it's a lot more superficial than that.
I think it's this...with so many voices out there today to compete with for an audience on Christian TV and radio, and especially on the internet, you have to say something different and loud to be heard...and this is something that's not limited to ministers ranting about the gays...I'm including all the ministries that take it on themselves to tell everyone else who is wrong or un-Scriptural or immoral or heretical or errant in their theology.
I understand them in way because they really think they know everything, and I can relate to that...I used to know everything, too! (see Introduction)
Back in the day, I wasn't as downright mean as the "Christian " homophobes are, but I definitely was self-righteous like them, so I get that part. It's awesome to really believe that you are right and that everyone else is wrong.
But it seems to me that those who want to be heard but really have nothing to say have no alternative but to tell you what's wrong with what everyone else is saying....kind of like they're the bottom-feeders of the religious fundamentalist ministry food-chain...scavengers who make a lot of hay out of telling you what's wrong with everyone else because that's all the material they have to work with.
And people like me have provided them with a lot to write and talk about, so I guess I would also say to them, "You're welcome!"
But, all sarcasm aside, I also want to say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"...the very religious are often also very unhappy...it's really hard to "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world", when all you can see is the "sin of the world" in everyone else.
To be continued...