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The Perils Of Being Christian And Gay

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WatchOut --- 5 years ago -

On the night of Nov. 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our 12-year-old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something

Mom says: Yes I am listening

Ryan says: well i don't know how to say this really but, well......, i can't keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can't believe i just told you

Mom says: Are you joking?

Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don

Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?

Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don't like hannah
Ryan says: it's just a cover-up

Mom says: but that doesn't make you gay...

Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don't understand
Ryan says: i am gay

Mom says: tell me more

Ryan says: it's just the way i am and it's something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing

Mom says: what do you mean?

Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that

Mom says: I love you no matter what

Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this

Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?

Ryan says: i know

Mom says: thank you for telling me

Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now

Mom says: I love you more for being honest

Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn't know and love gay people; my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails and all boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all our reactions over the next six years was fear.

We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible, the Word of God, should say:

We love you. We will always love you. And this is hard. Really hard. But we know what God says about this, so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.

We love you. We couldn't love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We'll get you their books; you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.

We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you've had for other guys don't make you gay. So please don't tell anyone that you are gay. You don't know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay; it is that you are a child of God.

We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is not an option.

We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we -- and God -- were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to an abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards. Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly, enthusiastically participated in all the church youth group events and Bible Studies and got baptized. He read all the books that claimed to know where his gay feelings came from, dove into counseling to further discover the whys of his unwanted attraction to other guys, worked through painful conflict resolution with my husband and me and built strong friendships with other guys -- straight guys -- just like the reparative therapy experts advised. He even came out to his entire youth group, giving his testimony of how God had rescued him from the traps of the enemy, and sharing, by memory, verse after verse that God had used to draw Ryan to Him.

But nothing changed. God didn't answer his prayer, or ours, though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe, the God for whom nothing is impossible, could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what he believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly own their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he'd make the wrong choice.

Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime condemned to being alone. He would never have the chance to fall in love, have his first kiss, hold hands, share intimacy and companionship or experience romance.

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time and try searching for what he desperately wanted -- peace -- another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

We had unintentionally taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan's death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity and his mounting anger at God.

Ryan started with weed and beer, but in six short months was using cocaine, crack and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly thereafter, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half, we didn't know where he was or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him to never have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday we might actually get to know his boyfriend. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us; we only wanted him to come home to God.

By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:

Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had always been forgiven.)

Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)

Do you think you could ever love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with 15 boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again... and with his boyfriend.)

And a new journey was begun, one of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. Lots of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son and leave the rest up to Him.

Over the next 10 months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whomever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn't without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing, and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if we could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict: He got back together with his old friends, his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in 10 months -- and the last time. Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son, because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for, prayed for, hoped for -- that we would not have a gay son -- came true. But not at all in the way we had envisioned.

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, whom I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by faith instead of by fear. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan's gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange, his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy, for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories. We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry, but we ache for the one of our "gang of four" who is missing. We mark life by the days B.C. (before coma) and A.D. (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed in a million ways by his death. We treasure friendships with others who "get it" because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

0

More here. 

AwesomeTattooedDragon --- 5 years ago -

how terribly sad... 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

how terribly sad...

yep...how terribly sad that the mother...by not upholding God's Word...made it easy for the son to get "back together with his old friends" and kill himself

you don't love your children by enabling them

i'm sorry that she has been deceived

btw...the thread title is a complete lie 

Just Watchin --- 5 years ago -

Sigh! Just another way to skillfully hide an attack against Christians. When I would be involved in open air ministering at Southern Decadence festivities in New Orleans, the supposed "tolerant" gays would hurl profanities, items, and attempt to provoke fights just because the God considers their lifestyle an abomination. You can be guaranteed that "Christian" tolerance was not exhibited unless the person was half-backslidden without any convictions. 

whatchamacallit --- 5 years ago -

the thread title is a complete lie


More deceitful drama and a sin.


Sad for these parents and this young man. 

Plain Bellied Sneetch --- 5 years ago -

I hope this thread acts as a warning to other fundamentalist Christians (or any religion, for that matter) who may otherwise condemn their child to the same fate.

How sad that they had to learn the errors of their ways after it was too late, and after their poor son had to go through 7 1/2 years of suffering over the interpretation of a unsubstantiated work of fiction, translated over the centuries into whatever flavor of the day the religious hierarchy chose. 

Edgar Po Wong --- 5 years ago -

Christians Pushing Gay Son To Death

Sounds about right. 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

I hope this thread acts as a warning to other fundamentalist Christians (or any religion, for that matter) who may otherwise condemn their child to the same fate.

the boy condemned himself to his fate... 

Plain Bellied Sneetch --- 5 years ago -

the boy condemned himself to his fate...

False. 

Just Watchin --- 5 years ago -

The entire point is being lost. You can love someone without accepting their sinful lifestyle. This is what God does because we are all sinners. But once we come into the realization of His love and His holiness, we will seek to please him and not our flesh.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. - Matthew 16:24

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what denying yourself means. 

BiteMe --- 5 years ago -

How terribly sad. I'm so glad these parents have seen the light and are trying to help other families through this. Nothing is more important than your family. NOTHING. Thanks for sharing! 

Perfection --- 5 years ago -

So because the young man CHOSE to put a drug in his body it is his parent's fault?

Wow now that's a stretch 

I AM Innocent --- 5 years ago -

The entire point is being lost. You can love someone without accepting their sinful lifestyle. This is what God does because we are all sinners. But once we come into the realization of His love and His holiness, we will seek to please him and not our flesh.

I agree.

I've had several gay n lesbian friends who I accepted as human beings while not approving of their lifestyle.

I also believe a person can be a Christian who fights gay tendencies but nowadays they r trying to be "Gay Christians" which is absurd.

I enjoyed this threads article 

sheddy --- 5 years ago -

It just shows that sometimes when you think this is the worse situation possible, you find out there is always something that hurts even more. 

Perfection --- 5 years ago -

It just shows that sometimes when you think this is the worse situation possible, you find out there is always something that hurts even more.


Well said

Sounds like that young man could have used that advice as well as the parents. 

Polly Ester --- 5 years ago -

It just shows that sometimes when you think this is the worse situation possible, you find out there is always something that hurts even more.

great words for a lot of situations. good to remember. I honestly think these parents tried to handle it the best they knew how to. I think they said a lot of loving things to their son.

they told him over and over again that they loved him no matter what. they didn't reject him. maybe they made mistakes but there was always always a loving message in their words which is more than what some parents give their kids when faced with this kind of challenge.

I admire their honesty. so heartbreaking. he was a beautiful man. 

It is I WhyWhyWhy --- 5 years ago -

they told him over and over again that they loved him no matter what.


Telling your kid I love you but you're going to hell is kind of a mixed message don't you think?

I think the parents realize that their behavior caused much suffering on his part and lead him to drugs to cope. Its awful but at least they are trying to do some good with the lesson learned from their own mistakes.

Now think about how they would feel if they died and found out that there is no god either. 

I AM Innocent --- 5 years ago -

Now think about how they would feel if they died and found out that there is no god either.

Interesting thought.

however if we were to ask the fish of the sea or the birds of the air they would teach us. All the beasts of the earth could tell us that

IT IS ALL

The LORD's handiwork 

BiteMe --- 5 years ago -

It just shows that sometimes when you think this is the worse situation possible, you find out there is always something that hurts even more.


Totally agree. 

I AM Innocent --- 5 years ago -

It just shows that sometimes when you think this is the worse situation possible, you find out there is always something that hurts even more. Totally agree.

as a general rule the humanoid majors on minors and filters most of life through erroneous rose colored glasses of our own making

Get God's view on things

I promise it is the best 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

Telling your kid I love you but you're going to hell is kind of a mixed message don't you think?

nope...it isn't

Now think about how they would feel if they died and found out that there is no god either.

won't happen... 

Plain Bellied Sneetch --- 5 years ago -

won't happen...

False. 

SagaciousSighFiGurl (Mod) --- 5 years ago -

And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son and leave the rest up to Him.


Lesson learned. As I have always said when you think you're the judge of other people, you are in essence making a choice to risk losing that person. This doesn't just apply to Christians and gays, but everyone in your life, for whatever reason...

I agree with Hissy. I don't think the parents rejected their son. They needed time to come to grips with their faith, their life and their son. They didn't agree with that aspect of his life. It could just as easily been something else as well that caused a division because lots of things do that.

I think they did way better than most people who face that situation. Some people throw kids out for less. They didn't do that.

The young man had a drug problem and that's what killed him. 

WatchOut --- 5 years ago -

The young man had a drug problem and that's what killed him.


Because the parents told him he should choose between gayness or Jesus. They forced him into a tailspin and a downward spiral. They didn't treat him properly and drove him away. SICKENING 

Perfection --- 5 years ago -

Because the parents told him he should choose between gayness or Jesus.

So you were inside his mind and knew this yet did nothing to help?

Isn't that murder? 

Van Slyke --- 5 years ago -

Perfection --- 2 min ago - quote - hide comments
Because the parents told him he should choose between gayness or Jesus.

So you were inside his mind and knew this yet did nothing to help?

Isn't that murder?



No.




*Removed* personal attack 

waterfall --- 5 years ago -

Because the parents told him he should choose between gayness or Jesus. They forced him into a tailspin and a downward spiral. They didn't treat him properly and drove him away. SICKENING

I agree with this. Can you say for sure that the kid would NEVER have a drug problem in his life? No. But he was rejected and not given the support that he needed from the two people that were to love and support him no matter what. 

It is I WhyWhyWhy --- 5 years ago -

 

ladybeachbum --- 5 years ago -

I read this yesterday and didn't post it exactly because of the negative response from the Christians that think they know it all. I don't think the 10 commandments has an inclusion of thou shall not be gay but I am quite sure John will tell me I am wrong and where it is but save your breath John cause you don't translate the Bible in a way that I believe. I just hope if you have a son (you do) or daughter that is gay they never come out to you. I wouldn't want it for my son but I can tell you after reading that, I would NEVER say anything but I love you. 

BiteMe --- 5 years ago -

Because the parents told him he should choose between gayness or Jesus. They forced him into a tailspin and a downward spiral. They didn't treat him properly and drove him away. SICKENING

I agree with this. Can you say for sure that the kid would NEVER have a drug problem in his life? No. But he was rejected and not given the support that he needed from the two people that were to love and support him no matter what. 



That's what I thought too. Obviously, the parents believe the same thing, or they wouldn't have written the article. 

It is I WhyWhyWhy --- 5 years ago -

Do you like the song LBB? I think its beautiful. I haven't always been for gay marriage even though i have gays in my life that I love. Marriage was a different thing for me. I've opened my heart and my eyes and grown a lot in the last several years and don't have the closed minded view I once had about so many things. I think we are raised to believe a certain way but at some point we have to think for ourselves and be able to determine right from wrong. Many Christians feel the same way as you, many would never feel comfortable saying it in front of a group of their Christian friends for fear of ridicule and shaming but that won't last for much longer either. 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

I don't think the 10 commandments has an inclusion of thou shall not be gay but I am quite sure John will tell me I am wrong and where it is but save your breath John cause you don't translate the Bible in a way that I believe.

the Bible has many more commandments than 10...one of them is..."Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

the New Testament says... "for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly" - Romans 1:26-27

btw...i don't translate Bibles

I would NEVER say anything but I love you.

telling you love them is fine...because i'm sure that would be the truth...but no one helps someone by not telling them the truth...and you really wouldn't be showing them true love

because God says..."Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" - Romans 1:24-25 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

Many Christians feel the same way as you,

let me correct your statement..."Many people who profess to be Christians feel the same way as you"

tell them to read Matthew 7:21-24 for the truth 

The Awe Inspiring JoelleDrees (Mod) --- 5 years ago -

I'd give my son a hug, tell him I love and support him unconditionally, and then ask if he'd come shopping with me to update my wardrobe. :) 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

tell him I love and support him unconditionally

however...according to the Bible...you wouldn't be doing that 

Polka Dot Duck --- 5 years ago -

The Awe Inspiring JoelleDrees --- 3 min ago - quote - hide comments
I'd give my son a hug, tell him I love and support him unconditionally, and then ask if he'd come shopping with me to update my wardrobe. :) 


Well aren't you cute. UGH. Sad. 

JohnLynch --- 5 years ago -

i see the title has changed...and it's still a complete lie 

I AM Innocent --- 5 years ago -

I'd give my son a hug, tell him I love and support him unconditionally, and then ask if he'd come shopping with me to update my wardrobe. :)


girlfriend u need to ask him to help you redecorate your interior of your home

they r great at that

if i'm lyin i'm dyin 

The Awe Inspiring JoelleDrees (Mod) --- 5 years ago -

however...according to the Bible...you wouldn't be doing that


Yeah, but according to me, I would be. I am not the Bible, I am his mother. 

The Awe Inspiring JoelleDrees (Mod) --- 5 years ago -

Well aren't you cute.


Awww, thanks! :)

girlfriend u need to ask him to help you redecorate your interior of your home

they r great at that

if i'm lyin i'm dyin 



Right? I had a (straight) male interior decorator friend who had to pretend to be gay just so women would listen to him, lol. 

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