An interview with Todd, Part 1

If you haven’t read about my friend Todd on this blog, please take some time
to read his story (from his
from mine).
Basically, he confessed to me a year or two ago that he had been struggling
with homosexuality and an addiction to pornography for most of his life. He
had also
confessed this to his wife, and they were doing their best to work through
the overwhelming feelings of pain and betrayal. They are still on a journey
of recovery,
but the very fact that they decided to begin that journey at all fills me with
a sense of awe and thankfulness that they love God’s gift of marriage enough
to honor the vows they made and continue to love each other. I recently interviewed
Todd via e-mail.

We once had a conversation in which I used the word "gay" to
you. You corrected me, saying that you’re not "gay" but rather that
you "struggle with homosexuality." Can you explain the difference?

think it’s a matter of identity and design. I have come to understand that
God’s original design for me (indeed, for all men) is to be authentically male.
That includes the intended design of heterosexuality. Many factors went into
making me have broken, same-sex attraction, from genetic and emotional tendencies
to early childhood experiences and deficiencies. The MAJOR part of my healing
has been coming to first understand, then internalize and live out the truth
of who I was created to be.

To say I’m "gay" is to make my brokenness
my primary identity. It was so interesting when the governor of New Jersey
came out. In one sentence, he
really pointed out the issue I’m talking about. "I am a gay American." Wow.
Before he’s a man, a husband, a father, a governor…even an American!…he’s "gay." How
sad that at the very core of his identity, he is defined by his sickness.

am a child of God. I am a follower of Jesus. I am a man. I am a husband and
father. I am a pastor. Yes, I have struggles…deep-rooted, life-defining struggles.
But I’m not "gay."

(A really interesting aside: You can see where
this is all going, can’t you? A "Gay American" sounds suspiciously
like a "Hispanic American" or
an "African American." I sincerely believe that his statement was
scrupulously crafted…and that it advanced the idea of homosexuals as a political

You were raised in a highly conservative, church-going Christian family,
and you’ve known about your tendencies for most of your life. I’m sure that
quite a bit of internal conflict for you. How did you deal with it?

Well, I
didn’t. I lived as two people. On the outside, I was a perfect church boy,
excelling in many things…especially "Christian" things. I
was a leader in my youth group, I sang and led in worship all the time, I even
a sermon one Sunday night. I excelled academically as well, and I was a gifted
musician and actor. Oh yeah, and I fantasized about sex with other boys all
the time, masturbated at least once a day, wrote my own porn literature and
checked out the men’s underwear section of the Sears Catalog.

Of course I was
terribly conflicted, but I had absolutely no language to express it and no
place to go for help. My parents had a clue, but I think they were
in denial about it, and subconsciously I just knew they couldn’t handle the
reality of my life…so I buried it deeper, hid it further. My addiction was
by the solitude.

I know that you love your wife as much as any husband does,
and the fact that you married her shows that you value traditional marriage.
Has that produced
any sort of dichotomy in your psyche?

Sure it has. And I hope that now…especially
as I’m walking in the light of healing and recovery…I love her even MORE
than most husbands love their wives.
There has been a seismic change in my thinking and world view between the day
I married my wife a decade ago and now, though.

Back then, I valued marriage
for what it could do for me. I wanted a life that was acceptable to God, my
family and my community. I wanted children. (I always
loved children.) I wanted a best friend. When my wife came along, I thought
to myself, "If I can make a life with any woman, it’s with her." I
really DID love her, in my sick, broken way. I really DID want to spend the
rest of
my life with her. I just believed that she would never know the broken part
of me. I separated my "gay" self from the rest of me and kept him
hidden from her and everyone.

Now, as I’ve come into a deeper understanding
of God and the freedom that comes from His plan, I value marriage because He
does. I value marriage because I
see it for what it is…a beautiful picture of His love for us, and an amazing
between two people who promise, with God’s help, to love each other until death
separates them. I see, again, God’s DESIGN for men and women in marriage, and
I see that ANY sexuality outside of marriage between a man and a woman is a
violation of God’s intentions.

This is a pretty elementary statement, but it
bears repeating: God’s laws are not to restrict our pleasure. They exist to
protect us and help us grow into
who He created us to be. We can only experience REAL pleasure when were living
in His plan. Everything else is temporary or illusory.

I’ll post the rest of the interview tomorrow.

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