You desired my attention
But denied my affections
I find this song chastening, mostly because much of the time I do desire people’s attention and do my best to deny their affections. Not that I’m sleeping around or anything, but to a certain extent Jesus had a good point when he said that a man who even looks at a woman in lust commits adultery in his heart. It’s a good reminder that we must consider people, and relationships, whole, and not superficially.
I’ve been ruminating. Ruminating means chewing things over and over again. Cows spend most of their day ruminating. But it also has a metaphorical meaning of thinking over things. I’ve been thinking some things over recently, and I hope this blog turns out to be a good portfolio of well-thought out things.
Romans 12 instructs us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In this we find the “in the world/of the world” dichotomy that I have been making great efforts to figure out.
I only very recently let go of a huge amount of self-suppression. I would have called it self-control, but I think I was not happy enough to call it that. I was afraid of the world, and I am indeed still afraid of the world, a little bit. There were two things about my conservative belief system that affected me most: sex and alcohol. In my life until very recently I had neither been in a relationship of any sort, nor had I ever drunk. I was petrified of the world outside because I felt sure that if I had too much contact with it I would have to explain why I was engaging with either of these and I had no good reason. This latter fact I had hidden from myself and can only appreciate in hindsight.
When I started to realize that I’m gay, everything changed. Huge amounts of restriction from my faith were dropped and suddenly I realized that barriers which had kept me from the world were gone. There were no ties, no moral codes to follow. I was free to go into the world without fear; I was actually quite eager to get to know it. Not being in the world is incredibly lonely. The problem is, how can one avoid “conforming to the ways of this world” without becoming separated from it?
Not yet being ready to embark on a same-sex relationship (stay tuned for that one, folks), I was determined at least to drink with people. I had to prove to myself that I was no longer afraid of alcohol, nor of the people who drink it.
So I decided to work my way up. One drink, two drinks, three drinks…
That brings me up to date 🙂 It has indeed been Halloween of late. And at this one Halloween party I was a little drunker than I had yet been. I have come to the conclusion I do not want to get much drunker than tipsy again. Alcohol is not good, and this is a conclusion I have arrived at myself by trying it out. The main reason I have for this is: getting drunk makes you horny and reckless and this is a bad combination. I firmly believe that short-term relationships hurt people. I still hold on to that silly conservative dream of being with one person for your whole life. If not your whole life, at least a good chunk of it.
To be honest, I am scared of what I would do if I were really drunk. I want to be responsible.
The other thing is, our bodies are big bunches of chemicals. When you fill yourself with alcohol you literally become someone else. And the aim of a spiritual life is integrity. I can feel multiple persons within me forming, and I don’t want to be different around different people. Although I don’t know if that’s actually problematic or not. I don’t want to wear masks or pretend or hide: I want to be proud of my life and hold a clear conscience. Alcohol is not good for this, and “I was drunk” is not an excuse. We are accountable for our drinking.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that drinking just enough to be social with (the right kind of) people is good. Drinking for the sake of getting tipsy enough to bring your social barriers down at least has some positive consequences. Drinking to the point of losing self-control is not good.
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