Saturday, 13 June 2015

On cats and grateful living

One magical hour passed quickly by in a cat cafe as I sat there enjoying the soft music and the presence of a dozen elegant felines. Time indeed flies when one is having fun. Contrast this to the agonizing minutes that crept slowly by at a snail's pace those many times when the crushes in my mind consumed me, involuntarily, inexplicably. 

Well, those crushes have passed, and that I am grateful for. There are many things I am grateful for, such as the presence of many supportive friends I've found myself surrounded by in church ever since I've come out to them. A., C., S., L., N., are just some of the few people who had the pleasure of hearing me go on and on and on at the various stages where I grapple with my orientation and the trials that come with it. God must have placed these angels in my life for such a time as this. 

And then there was my support group where I discovered that I wasn't alone in this. It was where I found out that "gay" and "Christian" isn't an oxymoron. Friendships were cultivated and still continue today in the absence of support group sessions. That I'm thankful for as well. 

Support wasn't only local, but international in scope with the advent of Twitter and the proliferation of blogs written by gay Christians. They put words to my struggles and articulated how one's faith could be lived out, well, faithfully. Julie Rodgers, Wesley Hill, Seth Crocker, Stephen Long, Randy Thomas, Alan Chambers, Justin Lee, and Jeanette Howard are some of the people whose lives have been a vicarious sacrifice as I learn from their mistakes and draw strength from their victories. 

Then there are the many books I've bought over the years that have shaped my thinking and theology regarding this intersection where faith and sexuality meet. From classics such as Out of Egypt and Desires in Conflict to God and the Gay Christian and Washed and Waiting, from theological treaties such as Bible, Gender, Sexuality to heartfelt sharing like Gay and Catholic; all these books have helped me in making sense of all the confusion and turmoil within me. 

Now, who can forget the church with the pastor who, during an anniversary service, proclaimed that whether male or female, boy or girl, gay or straight, all are welcome to the church of Jesus Christ. Now that had a really big impact of me even before I started having issues with my orientation. And that message stuck in my head all these years since, and I am reminded of how I am welcome in the church. It's no surprise why "Welcome home" is the tagline of the  only "gay church" in Singapore. 

Of course there is God who had provided all of the above, and His Word which has sustained me through all this time. I thank God for verses such as Psalm 139:14 and even Ecclesiastes 7:13 for reminding me that I am a glorious masterpiece of God. 

Perhaps that's why my thoughts on identity have been evolving. I now hesitate to use the word "gay" to label myself because today, I first identify as a child of God. Perhaps one who is attracted to the same sex, but a child of God nonetheless. For too long I've been wondering over how being gay defines me and will define me, but I realize that at least for myself, these are issues that I am no longer so bothered by. Time will tell if this will persist but it is what it is for now. 

Still, this blog will stay, and I might use "gay" to describe myself sometimes because of how it is common parlance and easily understood as compared to the unwieldy "same-sex attracted" or "SSA". Though I must admit I'm impressed when straight Christian friends ask me how I'm dealing with my SSA. 

Well, the relaxing mood at the cat cafe certainly prompted quite a bit of reflection didn't it? Perhaps I should head over there more often. 

Finding healing in unexpected places

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