As a child, I watched a lot of television. I mainly consumed a regular fare of sitcoms—shows like Full House and Growing Pains. At the time, I probably would have said I liked them because they are funny. Now, I recognize I was drawn to them because they were consistent. Not just consistent in the time they ran each week, but regular in format and character. After just a few episodes, I knew what to expect. I took comfort in their consistency because I couldn’t make sense of the world around me or within me.
At the age of ten, I discovered a growing physical attraction to my male classmates. I didn’t use the word gay or homosexual then because I didn’t know what those words meant. Yet, somehow I knew what I was feeling wasn’t “normal” or “right”. I tried to ignore it and mostly succeeded by immersing myself in my studies and even more television.
Last week, after some reflections on the first chapter of Tim Otto’s excellent book, Oriented to Faith, we promised you an excerpt. We are thrilled to share that with you today. Oriented to Faith is beautifully written and heartbreakingly authentic. Tim’s story is powerful and offers a rare, precious, redemptive lens into the conversation on faith and sexuality. We hope you’ll buy it, devour it, and talk about it with your friends and family. Here’s an excerpt from chapter one we think you’ll love!
When I was six years old, I accepted Jesus into my heart. My parents were missionaries in Uganda, East Africa, and I would stand my mother’s accordion case on end, open the family Bible on top of it, preach loud ‘sermons,’ and recruit a parent, pet, or peer to listen. Waving my arms flamboyantly and conducting hymns, I loved playing “church.” This was also the year I discovered the game “doctor.” When other missionary kids would sleep over, I realized I had more interest in the bodies of the boys I explored than those of girls. Even at age six, playing “doctor” made me feel intensely ashamed. In this chapter I’ll try to relate what it was like to grow up gay. Continue reading
In this week’s Monday Musings, I want to share with you about a book I’ve been reading. Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships is written by Tim Otto, a gay, LGBTQ affirming Christian who has personally made a public vow of celibacy. Tim is a pastor at the Church of the Sojourners, a live-together Christian community in San Francisco.
In the first chapter of Tim’s book (which you can preview here), Tim shares about his life growing up as a missionary-kid in Uganda, and moving back to the U.S. at the age of eight. He speaks of his growing awareness of his same-sex attractions through his adolescent years, and of bullying and unintentional unkindnesses experienced from friends which kept him closeted, trying very hard to “act straight and cover up any evidence of being gay.” Continue reading