Part 7. – San Jose, CA

Before I started this trip, I made a promise to myself that if anyone invited me into their home, I’d go, as long as I had the time and money. Little did I know that this promise would carry me to the least likely of places.

“Come visit me.” It was a simple Instagram comment, and it was from one of my old friends from Bible school.

My heart skipped and my chest tightened.

One–because not a ton of people from Bible school kept in touch with me. I mean, one of my roommates was kicked out for having attractions to guys. I had dated one.

Two–because this friend is a bit intimidating.

Her name is Dura. Dura is one of those people that you never have to guess what’s on her mind. She’s super prophetic and strong in her convictions. If you’ve been in charismatic circles, you have an idea of who she is.

Back at Bible school, Dura and I quickly became good friends. She was this fiery personality with black and red hair and challenged authority. We’d go on adventures into Dallas, taking cheesy band photos at any piece of street art we could find. We’d have fun and we were both zealous for Jesus. We created fantastic memories.

All that said, the invitation was scary. What would happen if I went? What would she say? What would she see?

Truth be told, I’m a pro at avoiding being seen. I pivot and show aspects of myself that I know the person will like. Or better yet, I present the version of me that allows me a semblance of control. If I can present myself in such a way that I know what reaction will be created, I can prepare myself. So yes, it’s me, but not all of me. But to bear parts of me that I’m unsure how the person will react? That’s terrifying.

I learned this at a really early age. Like fourth grade. I was at a new school. I didn’t fit it. So I picked the elements that would fit and hid the elements that would ostracize me. Eventually, I won friendships with the popular kids. The pattern continued when an addiction to gay porn emerged in sixth grade. There was no way people could see this. I’d be ostracized. So I’d pivot and show a piece of me that was acceptable. A piece of me that had predictable reactions from others.

All that to be said, to this day, there’s always a piece of me in the shadows, and I don’t know how to turn it off. It’s such a part of how I function that my therapist says I’m the only person that she can’t really see who I truly am.

You and me both, Mrs. Therapist lady.

The very weapon that defended me was not being used against me.

How does this tie into Dura? Because prophetic types scare me. What if they see that shadow me? What if they see those parts I’m terrified to share?

But I made a promise.

I anxiously scrambled to find last minute tickets to Phoenix (I guess I was headed back to the desert. My favorite…). When I finally found a cheap ticket, it was out of San Jose–a good four-hour drive from Redding. Who would I stay with?

“Brandon! I heard you’re looking for a place to stay near San Jose. My husband and I would love to have you.” The text was from a long time family friend–Emily Lopez.

Little bio of Brandon’s name genealogy–I have two middle names: Darrell Lane. My parents were a little indecisive. And people wonder why it’s so hard for me to land on something. My very name didn’t land!

The two names come from two important men in my parent’s lives at the time of my birth–my grandfather, Darrel, and my godfather, Lane Manuel, Emily’s father. Emily and I go so far back I’ve got pictures of her and I in diapers eating ice cream. But I hadn’t seen her in over a decade. Guess it was time for an overdue reunion.

Although this trip was not planned at all, I am so glad that my travels turned out this way. Emily and her husband Christopher renewed me.

We didn’t do a ton. We ate food, drank cocktails and talk a lot. We had a lot to catch up on!

But what renewed me was not the trendy restaurants or family history. It was who they are.

In spite of not seeing each other for a decade, Emily and her husband poured out hospitality. They made me feel so welcomed and cherished–buying me food, opening up their house, quietly tiptoeing around their apartment so I could sleep, and mailing me my phone charger since I’m a dingus and forgot it.

But they could have done none of this, and I would still be bewildered by them becuase they had something that truly inspired me. Before being spouses or lovers, Emily and Christopher are best friends.

You see it in their shared excitement for food and drinks. You see it in their complete candor and comfort with the other. You see it in how they laugh so easily with the other. You see it in their copious amounts of shared Disney paraphernalia scattered about their house.

There is an ease that they conjure out of you because they are so comfortable with each other. They trust their whole self with the other person. Not just the pretty part. Not just the cool part. Not just the part that they can anticipate reactions to retain control. But they trust the other with the dark part and the silly part. It’s all celebrated and cherished.

And it inspired me.

Being around the two of them made me long for what they had. Friendship before marriage. Acceptance before tolerance. A fun and spirited life that keeps a youthful excitement found in every moment. A genuine joy.


I missed that.

Being around these two had put a burning in my belly, a yearning.

I truly want a marriage with a best friend. One I could be completely myself. One I could laugh with for hours. One I could go to Disney with and laugh like a little kid. One I can trust with my shadow self. It’s always felt elusive, but here it was, displayed before me in reality. I didn’t need to go to Disneyland to experience all those warm fuzzies. I could experience it in these two.

Part. 6 – Redding, CA

Redding is special to me… and the why doesn’t really make sense.

When I lived there a few years back, people would ask me, “How do you like Redding?” My answer would always be a dodge. “Bethel is great!” (the church I was attending at the time). But somehow, this place that I had no affection for and continually visit when it’s triple digit heat, seems to recenter me. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s as if the skies clear, and I’m able to find my North Star after long years of fog.

When Janell and I got back, we crashed into bed as quickly as possible. The trip wrecked us. We had been in the car for well over 24 hours, and Janell had just made a drive from the East Coast.

In the morning, some old friends texted me, asking if I wanted to go with them to church. The service was in 20 minutes and I had just woken up (Like I said, I was tired!), and I had no car. The wife raced out of her way to pick me up so we could meet her husband at church.

Becca and Jordan have a literal going-out-of-the-way hospitality, and their friendship means a whole lot more than I give them credit for.

Becca is one of the few people that has remained in my life from my youth pastoring days. In fact, she was one of my volunteers. Whether due to fear or simply not knowing how to interact with me, most of the people from my church days faded away after I came out. But not Becca. Which is weird, because she probably has the most reason to. She lives in another state.

But right around the time I came out, she made a trek home. She just had a baby and wanted to be with family. In spite of the busy-ness, she asked me out for coffee.

Let’s pump the breaks here a second. For all you non-gay christians out there, you’re like, “Oh yay! Coffee! I love coffee! It’s the best just talking over coffee about Jesus and books and church and coffee! Yay coffee!”

When a gay-Christian hears, “Let’s get coffee”, we panic.

What are they gonna say? What questions are they gonna ask? Is this a surprise attack? Are they going to ask about my life and then, without transition, abruptly segue into talking about how God doesn’t approve of me? Or are they going to act like nothing has changed? Are they going to dodge the topic like the plague? Or worse yet, are they going to passive-aggressively talking about it, asking “Haven’t seen you at church in a while”?

We are always skeptical when someone asks us to coffee. It’s like there’s something in that black liquid that’s going to jump out at us. Instead, ask us out for rosé. We’ll think you wanna talk wedding plans. Plus, rosé is transparent. You can’t hide something in it.

All that said, I was a bit apprehensive. I hadn’t seen any of my volunteers or kids since coming out. Although the slow fade (as I mentioned in a previous post) was hard, it was also a relief–I didn’t have to deal with what those people thought. But not Becca. She reached out, and I’m so glad she did.

Right after sitting down, she went straight for the jugular. “How are you? How’s your boyfriend? How are you guys? How are people responding? How are you and Jesus?”

Note to reader: she did it good. She didn’t pretend I wasn’t in a relationship with a man. She honored it. She made space for it and treated it like a straight relationship. And she also wanted to genuinely know how I was doing. Not trying to fix me. Not hoping to point at pain as if to prove a point. She genuinely cared for my heart, and it meant the world.

Over the next hour (like I said, her schedule was full, so we packed in as much as we could), I gave up everything, crossing my fingers that she wouldn’t blow up on me. I shared how amazing my boyfriend’s love felt. I shared how scared I was about what God thought. I shared that a lot of people left me.

I. Spewed. It. All.

It’s like I needed to share with someone everything–not just the pretty side. Not just the ugly side. Both. And it felt so good, but also terrifying.

I put it all out there, and instead of redirecting with questions like I normally do to not wait in awkward and painful anticipation, I decided to sit in it. I let the anxiety of how she would respond sit in the air.

And then she spoke.

“Brandon, when you wrestle with someone, it’s an intimate act. It’s body on body. Sweat on sweat. Yes, it’s a struggle, and yes there is conflict. But you come away from the wrestling closer to the person than when you started. It just happens. You can’t be in that proximity and not become closer. Yes, you and God are wrestling, but it’s an intimate act, and He’s not leaving you. You’ll be closer after all this.”

To this day, I cherish those words. When life got shitty, and I had no clue what was up or down, I remembered Becca’s words. It gave me hope. And it was with those words in mind, that I went to church that morning. I could trust these people.

When we arrived at the Stirring, Jason Upton was leading. That was a mixture of emotions.

One–Jason Upton was one of the first worship leaders I ever listened to after I chose to trust Jesus back when I was 17. His lyrics were part of the birthing process of a new life.

Two–Jason Upton’s words are hella intense. Church can be hard enough, but he’s super prophetic, which is scary for a homo. Everything in me was saying, “Please don’t see me. Please don’t call me out. Please don’t hurt me.”

Three–Please see me, but please don’t hurt me.

To be honest, I don’t remember a ton of that sermon, but I do remember what happened in me.

A desperation was born. Apprehensions were thrown to the side. I wanted to be seen by God. I wanted to be heard by God. I didn’t want to be alone.

The one song I do remember that Jason sung was Not Alone. It’s about Martin Luther King Jr. while in his cell. In this dark and lonely place, God saw him, and God was with him. He never left him, in the midst of pain and struggle and heartbreak, God called out his name.

I felt a whisper to my heart.

“I never left. I’m right here. I’ll never leave you.”

Another thing about Jason is his heart of a father. He sees the heart of God for him in relationship to his kids. If his heart is overwhelmed by his kids, God’s must be bursting. If Jason would do anything for his kids, God would too.

Feeling that so deeply, I cried, “God, father me. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked for this. Humans keep fucking this up, but I’m asking you to father me again.” (Yes, I curse with God in my prayers. He hears it in my head anyway. Might as well put it out there.)

Leaving the service, I felt vulnerable, but renewed, like getting out of a hot tub in nothing but your birthday suit. You breathe cold air. It feels refreshing on your skin. You’re relaxed, but you’re also naked, and that can be scary. But I chose to stay present and still, sitting in the refreshing vulnerability.

I wanted to soak up as much Jesus juice as I could while in Redding, so I was planning on going to Bethel’s evening service. But something in my chest told me I’d miss the service.

“Wanna go out on Lake Shasta with us on our boat?” Becca asked.

I smiled. I guess I was gonna miss church.

There is something about Lake Shasta. Every time I go to Redding, Jordan and Becca take me out on their boat, and I miss church, and every time, it’s better than any worship song or sermon.

The last time I was on the lake, a peace just came over me in the water. God held me. It was so clear and so evident. But this time, he’d be like an arrow, shooting straight at my heart.

Jordan. Jordan is everything that Becca is not. Becca is this calming, gentle breeze that says, “I hear you. I’m hear. No pressure to be anything. I’ll just refresh you.” Jordan is like a fire. Or a rock. Or something not air.

While on the boat, Jordan asked some questions about where I was at. He said he was restraining, and I could feel it. He was seeking to understand and listen when his normal MO is to talk with passion (I’m thinking fire).

After listening and sitting with each other, he spoke with a zeal for my life that I hadn’t seen in a while, and to be frank, zeal scares me. The last time I saw zeal, two missionary friends spoke of the fires of hell for my soul. But Jordan didn’t speak of hell. He didn’t speak of “get back after Jesus”. He spoke of a living death. Instantly I was reminded of that sermon on the road from Arizona.

Jesus was after something.

“If I’m dead, I don’t have rights to demand things from my wife. I’m not looking for her to complete me. I’m dead. Jesus is alive, and Jesus doesn’t need anything from anyone. Dead people don’t get offended, either. As weird as it sounds, being dead insulates me from getting hurt. And there’s life there. Cause after all, if you lose you’re life, you find it. Right?”

Being really frank here, I still didn’t get it. It was as though God was knocking on a door, but I couldn’t find the handle. I had heard of life and death before, but it had become trite–words one says when they want you to stop behaving a certain way or guilt trip you for being bad. But I knew something was there for me, I just didn’t know what. It was scary and confusing. But my heart was in a different space now.

Before this conversation, I would have shut down. Something had happened over the past few weeks where I was now open. I wanted to hope again, wanted to trust again, wanted to live again, regardless of what that took. For so long, I had been living life as if I were trying to survive it, treading water in a raging sea. I was exhausted. But it hadn’t always been this way. I used to thrive in life. I used to carry a peace. Not this anxiety.

What happened? Was the key to stepping back into this life death? What did that even mean?

Something told me I would need to wait. It would come to me in time, and I didn’t need to force this. If God was truly after this for me, He would open up my heart when the time was right. Eventually I would find the handle. For now, I needed to trust, especially when a message came from an old Bible school friend.

Part. 5 – Portland, OR

“How do you feel about driving up the coast from San Francisco to Portland this week?”

You can’t ask that question to a lot of people. But I can ask it of Janell.

Janell and I met when I was a part of a community house–a special season of life that brought hope and life to my very cynical heart.

We’d read Narnia together. Janell would squeal in discomfort as I texted boys on her behalf. I’d obnoxiously barge into her room, flop on her bed, and beg for details from work. She and I worked at a detention center for youth. The stories were always full of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. Every. Time. It’s pretty horrible and lovely all at once. But it’s not surprising that Janell took this job. It’s what she does.

To this day, Janell steps out into the world the way I long to–with joy, abandon, faith, and love. She’s always in the midst of chaos. Burning Man. The Syrian Refuge Crisis. The Carr Fire. She’s been at them all, hoping to be an agent of hope, a calm in the storm.

It is this person I can ask to drive up the coast on a bohemian adventure with a yellow lab, all the blankets, and no money. And it was worth it! The trip was so gorgeous! Red woods towering above us. Jagged sea cliffs foaming to our left. Cute fishing towns scattered up the coast. It was just simple beauty, and it was so refreshing.

The other thing I love about Janell is that she’s a feeler like me. We can literally say, “Let’s turn left because my heart wants to. Let’s go into that fresh fish market by the bay because something speaks to me about it. Let’s not go all the way up to Astoria. Let’s cut over to Portland. There’s some uneasiness in my stomach.”

And yet, every adventure has it’s moments of discomfort or pain or risk. Otherwise, it’s not an adventure. It’s vacation.

One such moment was a lack of housing in Portland. I had messaged a ton of people, some of which I barely knew. Nothing. And did I mention we didn’t have money? Oh, and did I mention Janell had just spent days traveling in her car from the East Coast?

The culmination of all those factors led Janell and I to a Home Depot. We were searching for campsites, but Janell needed to use the bathroom.

“Brandon. I’m not going into Home Depot to use the bathroom.”

“Why not? They have one, and we’re here. No one will care.”

“Are you kidding me right now? No. It’s Home Depot. They’re not public bathrooms. Brandon, go find us a gas station.”

While I found us a gas station, Janell searched the internet for “safe rest stop Portland Oregon”. We had finally given up due to pure exhaustion and lack of options.

In the end, Janell, her puppy named Gypsy (very applicable), and I sprawled out in the back of Janell’s Jeep Compass, parked next to a few homeless. And here’s the weird part–I felt… at home… and a cramp, but that’s besides the point. The point was that something from my past was reaching out to me.

My life is filled with many moments trying to “prove” something for Jesus. Do something hard for Jesus. Something you don’t like for Jesus. That though process always led me to do things that I believed were uncomfortable or straight up hated.

Sleeping on a tile floor for two months in Mumbai, India. Spooning with roommates in a school bus across country to keep warm. Inching as close to the fire in the Colorado mountains with nothing but a jogging outfit.

All of these moments were some of the most uncomfortable moments I’ve ever had, and yet I felt the most alive. Not because of the pain, although pain does have a way of saying, “Hey, you’re awake!” But because of the beauty surrounding you in those moments.

You’re going after something that’s worth more than what you lose. Cause what you’re giving up is cheap. You’re living for something beyond yourself. Whether that’s loving people or living an adventure or hopefully both, it’s worth the lack of comfort. And as weird as it sounds, I was missing the discomfort. I was nostalgia for purpose and adventure, but I had insulated myself from experiencing both.

Comfort has a way of robbing us of the very thing we actually want, and yet we cling to it so fiercely. I don’t understand why we do it, and yet understand it completely, as I do it every day. It’s as though fear causes us to cling to cheap and easy things. But that night sleeping with Gypsy, Janell, and all the other vagrants I was reminded that there’s more to life than a house, a bed, a decent job… security. I wanted more.

But all those thoughts and feelings will have to wait. I had a friend to meet.

The following morning, Janell and I were pleasantly surprised. An old friend named Sophie met us up for coffee. And let me just tell you, Sophie embodies some of the most beautiful things this world has to offer.

Hours passed as we laughed with complete authenticity. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but the years we missed poured forth with abandon. I could be fully me, nothing hidden. It was like my soul was drinking fresh mountain water. I couldn’t get enough, and apparently, neither could she, because we spent the entire day together. Which is huge. Normally, after an hour or two, I’m thinking about how many more fake poops I have to take to make it through the rest of the time with someone. It’s not that I hate people. In fact, I really deeply care. But that care exhausts me and I get tired of presenting to meet someone where they’re at.

But not Sophie. It was so naturally easy, and I loved it.

We talked about sex. We talked about church. We talked about exes.

We went not thrift shopping. Why? Because we all love grungy, trendy, cheap clothing. But the thrift stores in Portland aren’t cheap. So we bought nothing. We went to Powell’s to not purchase books. Instead, we walked around just looking at books. Maybe it’s the smell. But again, we bought nothing. We just gave ourselves points for being in a bookstore. But then again, maybe we didn’t buy books or thrift clothing because we were just straight up broke. But trendy vegan food. You always have money for trendy vegan food. So we got some.

By the time our time was up, I didn’t want to leave. We had crammed Oregon cliffs, California redwoods, and Portland coffee all into a 36-hour trip. It wasn’t enough time. Too much good stuff! Especially the good people, because ultimately, that was the highlight of this trip, and that has always been the case for me. I can be in the middle of the desert and be as happy as a clam (Why do we say that, and why are clams happy?). I know for sure, because I did it. But regardless of feeling like I didn’t get enough time, time was up. We had to get to Redding.

Part 3. – San Luis Obispo, California

The next leg of my journey was California. It was hard and beautiful and confusing and healing. But before I get ahead of myself, I have to back it up a few months.

While dating a guy, I wrestled a lot. Hell, I still do. Questions would assault my mind. They came and came and came, circling and entrenching me. I couldn’t escape them.

Is this okay? Is this the best for me? What about sex? What about sex before marriage? Where is God in all of this? What do I truly want? Am I okay with gay sex? Am I okay not producing my own children? Will my heart become hard? Will I become a different person? Will I lose my God? Is there anyone out there that is in a successful, monogamous, same-sex relationship while still loving Jesus? 

That final question led me to Queer Christian Fellowship–an annual gathering of Christian LGBTQ individuals from across the world. Some had found answers. Others were still looking. And still others were “straight up” husband hunting. Although I’m not sure if there’s anything “straight up about husband hunting.

The conference held two types of people–Side A and Side B.

Side A: God is approving of your attractions and feelings and you should act on them.

Side B: Your attractions and feelings cannot change. You’re not going to hell for having them, but you should not act on them. Instead, you should live a celibate life or have a mixed orientation marriage.

And in case you were wondering, there is a third side. However, it’s not what you’d expect. Whoever came up with these arbitrary sides and letters did not create a “Side C”. They decided to jump all the way down to X. Maybe it’s because it represents the “ex-gay” narrative.

Side X: Not only is it not okay to act on your feelings, but it’s wrong to have them. You should do everything in your power to change these feelings, including therapy. This is where you get the infamous Exodus ministry.

The idea of the conference was to create a space where the tension of Side A and Side B could coexist to produce a conversation and maybe answers. But probably most importantly, the conference existed so we wouldn’t feel alone.

Being gay and Christian puts you in this very unique space. It’s too Christian for the gays and too gay for the Christians. The result is that you don’t really find family in either community.

But in downtown Denver, thousands of these fringe queers conglomerated to not be alone, to know they have people that support them, to begin the conversation, and to maybe find some peace.

I was the weird one. I wasn’t really looking for any of that.

The biggest thing for me was finding healthy Christian gays. I had read through a bit of curriculum and talked enough with people to excuse away the versus in the Bible using theology. But what about evidence? Where were the gay Christians that believed all of this, still loved Jesus and were healthy?

I wasn’t healthy, and the few gay Christians I knew weren’t shining examples of health either. I wanted to see that God could still move in a gay Christian couple. Screw all the other things. Probably not the best heart posture. But I’m being honest. I was here to find evidence. What I got was a bunch of Queens of the King.

If you were to hack my Facebook, you would find a Messenger conversation with the title Queens of the King. The group is composed of five people:

  1. The fiancés – David and Anthony (the ones that give me hope of a healthy gay Christian relationship)
  2. Side B – Nicholas (the one we tease but love)
  3. The best friend – Adam (the one I could literally do anything and he’d be the first to bail me out of jail or give me a kidney)
  4. Me

Scrolling through the messages of these “queens” you would find prayer, encouragement, and a shit-ton of feisty gifs. Since January, this group has been a place where I could be completely candid about hurts, pains, questions, triumphs, and defeats. I’m understood and loved. If I gained nothing from that conference except these men, it would have been enough.

And you’re probably wondering, “Brandon, we’re talking about San Louis Obispo. Can we get on with the story and stop talking about the homos.” Yes, we can move on from backstory, but it’s still gonna be about the homos. Because the reason I came to California was to celebrate Nick and Adam’s birthday.

The six of us (Yes, I can do math; Nick’s best friend Amber joined us) rented an AirBNB in San Luis Obispo and had one of the most stereotypically gay weekends of my entire life. We cooked brunch every morning, enjoyed Lush facials, tasted rosé, and gawked at the Madonna Inn (Yes, that’s a real thing, and it looks like a pink unicorn threw up gold on everything). But a gay weekend would not be complete, without watching the new season of Queer Eye.

If you have not watched episode one of season two of the Netflix Original’s Queer Eye, stop reading this blog right now, and go watch that episode. Be sure to grab tissues. You’ll need them. Well… if you have a heart you’ll need them.

Crammed in that California bungalow, five of us balled our eyes out. Side B didn’t. He doesn’t have a heart. We’re working on it. (Like I said, we like to tease him.)

But why? Why did it impact us so deeply? Yes, the six of us can all be a bit dramatic and emotional. But that’s besides the point. We cried because we were seeing the story we longed for and a love that most of us weren’t sure existed.

The episode is about a woman named Momma Tammy. Momma Tammy lives in Gay, Georgia (yes, that’s a real place), where the population is less than 100 and the gay population is one–Momma Tammy’s son.

When Momma Tammy’s son came out, it was rough. She was an active member of her church where she served as an usher. How could she love her son but be true to her God?

I’ve seen a lot of parents in the same predicament. For some reason they’re not sure how they can worship the God of love while loving their gay child. But Momma Tammy does it. And not only does that love spill all over her son, but it spills out onto each of the Fab Five. Instead of fear or anger towards these gay men, she treats them with dignity, respect, care, and above all love, refusing to see them as anything less than they truly are–beloved sons of God.

When the episode ended, no one spoke. We were all in shock. It was a holy space. Tears flowed freely down our faces as we took in the love of the Father. We were undone.

Is this the love we should have experienced growing up? Is this the love we’ve heard rumors about but haven’t seen in the churches we gave our lives for? Is this real?

The answer is yes, and the power of that love is more strong than any fear mongering anyone could conjure up. It’s the power of Christ, and you could feel it in that episode.

Most people don’t know this, but that episode wasn’t supposed to air. They had another man they were going to do a makeover for, but it fell through. In a last minute change, Netflix scrambled to find another “hero”. That’s when they found Momma Tammy.

I truly believe that there was an intervention of God for that episode. That might sound super cheesy, but I believe there is a God that was desperate to speak to His gay kids, and He knew we’d be watching Queer Eye.

The fact of the matter was everyone on that trip was “strugs to funk”. Driving those three hours to San Louis Obispo, we were anxious about coming out; we were depressed about the lack of ministry and purpose in our lives; we were stressed with law school; we were scared of dying alone, and we were reeling from failed relationships. But we received a breath of hope in Momma Tammy’s love. And on the drive back, there was a sense of peace for all of us. Well, most of us.

In spite of the love I had experienced in my friends and Momma Tammy, I was still rough. There were a lot of things I was feeling but refused to feel. I was standing in the rubble of my previous relationship, and I had no idea where to go both externally and internally. I felt aimless. Then Adam opened up his little pie hole.

“I have a song I wanna put on. Stop talking.” Who announces they have a song they want to put on and then demands we listen to it? Adam.

We all got quiet in anticipation for this song. It better be good if we was making us all shut up.

“When you try your best but you don’t succeed. When you get what you want but not what you need.”

I looked over at Adam. “I hate you.” Adam just patted me on the arm and said he loved me.

Every word was punching me right in the gut. It was as if the song was written for me. I had heard this song a thousand times before. And literally mean a thousand. It was the finale of a show I wrote back in Europe. So I literally heard it at least a thousand times with how much we rehearsed that show.

But driving up the 101 in that 2007 Honda CR-V nicknamed “Duchess”, every word dove deep within me. Christopher Martin sang of giving everything to a relationship you lose, of being too in love to let it go, of being stuck in reverse.

All of it. All of it was me.

As Duchess roared north, I wept. I started to collapse within myself, silently crying.

But then I felt Adam’s hand. I looked over and he smiled. Amber reached back from the passenger seat and put her hands on top of ours. Nick was driving. So we raised our three hands together and put them on his shoulder.

They were feeling with me. I wasn’t feeling this alone.

Then the chorus came, and I felt like God promised me something.

“Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.”

I cried more, but now with a smile. God was after me. He had provided these amazing friends. He had redirected an entire television series to showcase Momma Tammy. He had spoken to the heart of my friend to play a song. And all of it said the same thing–I’m right here; I haven’t left; I’m for you; I’m not against you, and I will always love you.

Part 2. – Mack, Colorado

Yep. Mack, Colorado. Less than ten miles away from the Utah border and home of the famous Country Jam.

“Country Jam is like a burning man for red necks.” A drunk girl shared with me between gulps of beer. “Did you know that there are more underage-drinking arrests during Country Jam than the rest of the year? Some crazy stuff happens in those camps.”

But I didn’t come to Mack for Country Jam. I came for the closest thing I’ve ever found to that elusive word called “home”.

I rounded the two-lane road, passing fields of corn and alfalfa till it came into view—the Produce Peddler. Peace, joy, rest, and all those good things you feel when throwing off your backpack after a long hot day of school overwhelmed me.

In the last two years, this place had become sacred to me. That’s truly the only word for this place. Nothing holds such precious pieces of my heart like this farm, and it’s because I find home pulling weeds or collecting eggs or driving a tractor. This place had become sacred to me because of the people who owned it.

The Produce Peddler is owned by two of the most loving and gracious people I’ve ever known—Leah and Zay.

Leah and I met through this blog. She invited me to come to her farm. We had never met. But something inside me trusted her. So I packed up my car and drove six hours away to meet a complete stranger on the side of Highway 70. Good news! I didn’t become a drug mule! Even better news: a friendship was born that changed my life.

If you wanna hear their story in detail, read the blog post entitled “Little Miracles”. For the purpose of this post, suffice it to say, Leah identifies as lesbian and Christian and married a man. She didn’t marry him out of fear. She didn’t marry him because she’s now magically attracted to men. Over the course of her life, any time an opportunity to date a woman came up, she felt a gentle whisper say, “I have better.” No guilt. No shame. No strong-arming. Just “better”. That “better” was and is Zay.

Their story challenges and inspires me. But more than their story, their love creates safety for me. On this farm, two years ago, I could wrestle out my feelings without fear. I could bring my then boyfriend. I could live the same narrative or a different narrative. It didn’t matter. They loved me regardless and simply inspired me to trust God for myself and trust the journey God had for me.

That’s why I feel home every time I drive up “8 1/2 Road”. That’s why I get teary-eyed every time I see that dead oak in their driveway. It’s easier to breathe there, and I can be all of me. My gay me. My Christian me. My confused me. They’re all welcome and loved, and it transforms my heart every time.

But for the first time ever, the peace was interrupted. I turned the corner to the fifth-wheel I’d be staying in.

All the memories came back.

The last time I was in this trailer, I was with my ex. The last time I was in this trailer, I had sex for the first time. The last time I was in this trailer, I wept and cried and pleaded with God to be okay with me dating this man. The last time I was in this trailer, I made a deal with God—unless this relationship would send me to hell, I wanted it, and if God didn’t want me to have it, God was going to need to break it.

A lot had happened here, and I was completely caught off guard.

I opened the door and stepped inside. I was broken. This room was intrinsic to my previous relationship, and now here I was single; now here I was broken… but also hopeful… but also desperately alone… and above all scared. Scared I messed up. Scared I got it right. Scared I broke myself and others beyond repair. Scared I was lost.

The first night with my ex in that fifth-wheel played out in front of me, and a moment I had forgotten was relived.

I got out of bed. I couldn’t sleep. I walked to the couch and cried. I was so scared and confused. I wasn’t sure the relationship was right. I had this anxiousness in my chest. It was a feeling of being unsure, and that I would hurt myself and more importantly this man. A man I loved.

Wait. I know this feeling. It’s the same feeling I felt about moving to Utah, and as soon as I decided to not go to Utah, the anxiousness went away. The feeling I felt two years ago in the trailer was the same feeling that motivated me to not take the job, and then it clicked—that relationship wasn’t the best for me.

I fell on my knees, praying to God, saying I’m sorry. Sorry for not listening to that feeling, and in doing so, hurting someone I loved. I was broken.

The scene played out further.

My ex was now getting out of bed, coming to comfort me on the couch. But there was a third person in the room that I hadn’t seen before—God.

He was standing where I stood now, looking with tears in His eyes at his two sons. Two sons desperate to be loved. Two sons trying to find that love in each other and unable to give it. Two sons broken and hurting and clinging together in the dark, hoping for salvation in the other’s arms.

Seeing that scene play out, I saw our hearts and then I felt God’s heart. It wasn’t anger or rage. It was love and compassion. He never left us.

Throughout my relationship with my ex, any time I prayed, I always heard, “I’m right here. I haven’t left.” And in that fifth-wheel, I saw it, I saw God’s heart, and I was filled with nothing but compassion for my younger self and my boyfriend. I could breathe. I was okay. I wasn’t forgotten.

I wiped my eyes, thanked God for His love, then went to meet up with Leah and Zay. We were headed to dinner.

In celebration of reconnecting for the first time in two years, we went to a fancy restaurant in “Junction”, what the locals call Grand Junction. I always messed it up and called it “Grand”. I was trying so hard to sound like a local. Instead, I sounded like a dingus.

The restaurant was exactly what we were not—fresh and fancy. We had just spent the day in the fields, pulling weeds. Zay sported a baseball cap, and I had on shorts and flip flops. Leah at least tried with a plaid button up. But then again, maybe we were EXACTLY like the restaurant! Farm to table. They just made it look prettier. Oh! And all three of us were mildly high. It was the best!

With a new found confidence and security, I took a bite of raw meat (apparently that’s what “tartar” is) and blurted out, “Alright, I know you guys were nervous about saying any criticism regarding my relationship. Everyone is. Now that it’s over, what are things you wish you said that you didn’t.

Zay didn’t miss a beat. He started talking almost before I finished. “You guys were not right for each other. He’s not a bad guy. He’s actually pretty great. But not great for you. You guys would keep missing each other even though you were trying so hard.” He took a bite of his cheese and meat plate with contentment. “This is really good!” He had the better meal.

I took another fork full of cold, raw, ground up elk. “Anything you’d like to add, Leah?” Leah was across the table just smiling and nodding, agreeing with her husband. There was such an ease to our conversation as we decompressed my relationship. The lack of health and incompatibility. Although hard truths, it all was accepted with such grace. We could trust each other because of the love we had with each other… and maybe the mints were helping a little too.

Never once did they say, “Well he was a dude. So obviously it was wrong.” “You gonna finally follow our story and marry a woman?” None of those things. They normalized me, my ex, and the relationship. They honored and gave space to my reality that includes being gay and Christian. They gave me unconditional love and safety. They gave me home.

And just like the melons in their field, with a confidence in the new soil I found myself in, shit fertilizing the soil, roots pushed further down, creating a sense of stability. God hadn’t left me. He was with me in the relationship, just like these two people, and hope was blooming. In spite of it all, I just needed to trust Him, and He spoke in that feeling. My story could look like Leah and Zay, or it could look like my gay Christian friends in the Bah Area. But He would lead me. And the good news was that I would get to compare them back to back, because now I was headed to California.

Part 1. – Sierra Vista, Arizona

Dallas and Ariel are enlisted vegans, living on Sierra Vista’s Army base. In spite of Dallas’s wonderful squash-frying skills, I was starving… ALL THE TIME!!! Whether the lack of meat or the desert heat, I made more McDonald’s runs in those ten days than I had in a year, devouring with unadulterated delight multiple Big Macs and McFlurries.

Little fact about Arizona… it’s BOILING HOT in June! Also, in case you didn’t know, there’s a lot of desert. I HATE THE DESERT! You can ask my friend Rachel. One time, while we were driving through West Texas, I stared out the window with a melancholy slouch. Rachel inquired what was wrong. She was always concerned about the people she loved.

“I’m in a desert.” I sighed.

Rachel then went into a long monologue about how everyone experiences seasons of “dryness” in their relationship with God and how she had been in a “desert season” for some time.

I turned to her with hopeless eyes. “No! I’m literally in a desert. And I hate it!”

“Oh.” Rachel’s faced flushed with blood, her face now matching her red hair.

Like I said, I hate the desert. So why would I start this trip in the desert? Why go somewhere I hate.

Well first off, I had a free ticket. But second off, I knew I needed to be trapped to deal with some things. I had been running, and it’s pretty hard to run when you’ll melt just by stepping outside. And finally, more than free tickets, more than trapping myself, I knew there was life for me in the desert, and it didn’t come in the form of Oreo McFlurries, though that definitely made the desert more pleasant. It came in the form of faces.

My time in Arizona was so restful and refreshing. Having attractions to guys and being a Christian can be extremely exhausting. Nearly everyone wants you to be one or the other. But not the faces in these photos. They love me deeply and don’t pretend one piece of me exists while ignoring the other. The result was a deep sense of rest. I didn’t have to be something while restraining another. I was free to be all of me.

I was able worship then poke a lesbian couple about the nuances of same-gender dating. I was able to speak of Jesus and the long journey of dating my ex. I was able to laugh with my YWAM friend, Tyané, recounting our days abroad, followed by answering her questions related to my stress with gay sex.

Both were given space and honor. And the result was finally breathing unhindered.

Dallas joked they weren’t much of hosts. His favorite thing to do after work is to sit at his computer and study. But I think it was perfect. I had a lot of time just staring at myself, or running from myself in books and Netflix. But either way, I was allowed to just be. All of me. In wonderful air conditioning! And I’m eternally grateful for it. I felt so recharged.

Then came the drive back to Colorado…

Dallas and I had been laughing and talking, scheming about community, when a lull in the conversation occurred. Dallas asked if he could put on a preacher named Dan Mohler on.

I began to squirm internally, but put on a happy face and agreed.

Preachers scare me. I’m always nervous that at some point I’m gonna get sideswiped with some tirade about the abomination of homosexuality. The result is a anxiousness any time a sermon comes on.

I prepared my heart by raising defenses. I didn’t wanna get sideswiped by anger or some comment that would make me feel like crap. But that’s not what happened.

When Dan came to the stage, there was such life and love in his voice. My defenses slowly came down. I began to open myself up. Maybe I could trust this man.

After talking about the joys of Jesus, he continued on about life and death. If you’ve been around the church long enough, when you hear “life and death”, you can normally expect the preacher to roll into “Now choose! Life or death! Whom will you serve this day?!” As he slams his hand down on a King James Bible. And yes, it is a he. And yes it is a King James Bible. But that’s not what Dan spoke of. He spoke of life IN DEATH. How a death in him produced the greatest amount of life, a new life.

Something shook in me. He’d gotten through. I wanted that life, and can remember when I had it. Joy and freedom and expectation with Jesus. A question I had been scared to face floated to the surface—am I born again?

Before we could reach the Colorado border, I threw myself in the back seat and asked Dallas to put in headphones. I knew this wasn’t gonna be pretty and I didn’t want him to hear it.

I shoved my face into the floor to try and muffle my crying and praying. I was humbling myself for the first time in a long time. My back had become too rigid for kneeling or lying face first into a car’s carpet. I didn’t mean to become rigid. The last thing I wanted was to become hardened to God. But when Christians surprise attack you with fear for years on end, you get stiff. Like carrying too much weight for too long. It just happens. It’s a defense mechanism. How are you supposed to stay humble when everyone around you keeps telling you you’re wrong? It’s like lying down for a curb stomp.

But there in the back seat, I lied on the floor praying and crying. “God, I know there are areas of my heart that are hard. I raised defenses against everyone, including you, out of fear. But soften my heart. I’m open. If I’m not truly born again, tell me. I’ll get baptized again. I’ll do whatever. Just tell me.”

And there in matted, soggy, car carpet, I felt such peace, and it wasn’t a peace that was screaming “Get saved! Get born again!” Instead, it whispered “You are saved. You are born again. You’ve simply forgotten who you are.”

Something started that day. It was a tilling, a softening, and now my heart was ready for what came next.

Incongruents (yes, plural)

Warning: Pretty language not utilized

It’s been an odd few months. The nail in the coffin of my last relationship was hammered in four to five times. I’ve hooked up with about eight strangers. I’ve lied awake in someone else’s bed, wishing I was in my bed, trying to remember what the guys name was, asking, “Why the fuck I’m here again? I was in pajamas an hour ago!”

I hate hooking up. I do it any way.

I hate gay sex. I do it any way.

People will say it’s because of my internalized homophobia. That I would enjoy it if I’d let go of my socially constructed morality. If I’d just relax.

But as I lie in bed next to this chiseled military body (because, honestly, it’s just a body to me), I think of a woman.

I think of holding a woman. I think of kissing a woman. I think of listening to steady breathing as I play with her hair. I think of pulling her in close, and both of us holding so tight our lungs begin to collapse, but we love the breathlessness that is each other, and then we laugh because we’re ridiculous.

I think of kids.

I think of them running around with cute curly hair bobbing up and down as they belly laugh past me. Why they have curly hair? I have no clue. I don’t have curly hair. Maybe that’s what I think is cute. Or maybe I subconsciously wanna marry a woman with luscious wavy hair that our kids will get.

All the curls. All the laughs. We’ll chase them in over size sweaters and cozy up on a big couch with our obnoxiously large mugs cause that’s what the cute Instagram couples do, and that’s reality.

I think of marriage.

I think of family.

And yet I’m sleeping with some dude named Tyler I just met.

The two are not congruent, and it makes me crazy.

I think at some point I was using masculine sex to meet deep places in my heart. Young places. But now I think it’s just out of habit. It’s easier. Like eating fast food because it’s just easier. AAAAND not always having to buy the food is pretty great. And getting pursued. That’s way great! I love being chased and pursued. The fact that women get that is bullshit.

Women. Chase your men. Men. Don’t be too much of a tool to not like it. You know you do. You also like being the little spoon sometimes. Quit pretending.

Calm thy tits, Brandon, and get off the soapbox.

I guess what I’m getting at is that if we always give in to what we want now, it’s very possible that we’re robbing our future.

I’m not in denial of my attractions. I’m not gonna try and explain them away with some psycho babble that sounds smart. I’m sure there’s probably some reason why I’m attracted to men. But that doesn’t change my reality.

I think my reality changes when I trust God with the now with tomorrow in mind. With His promises in mind.

A dear friend shared a sermon on faith, and how it’s rooted in believing in a promise.

To be honest, I never got promised a man. In fact, when I think of younger Brandon, I never dreamed of having a husband.

I have friends who dreamed of marrying the same sex and they have embarked on that journey with God, believing Him to bring those dreams to fruition. I live that! It’s great!

But that’s not me. I didn’t dream of a future with a man. I never romanticized them. I sexualized them. There’s a big difference. I know, shocker. And that difference has created a massive conflict.

I’m attracted to men. But I hate engaging in gay sex. I don’t find pleasure in it.

I dream of a future with a woman, and sex with a woman actually sounds pretty damn great. But I’m so scared I’ll hurt someone.

And I know God has called me to be a dad. You don’t get babies with two daddies. You get them with a mommy and a daddy. Sex 101.

These dreams and realities are all over the place and are not compatible.

But maybe that’s the promise I hold onto. Maybe that’s the crazy Abraham promise I get. Not that I’m an old fart called to have sex with a barren woman. But that I’m attracted to men, that I’m by definition gay. But that there’s hope for me with a woman. That it’s possible, because I actually do want that. And that may sound absurd. But it happened with my friend Leah, and her story is one that awakens hope and faith and love. The eternal things. And she inspires me to trust God again. So maybe it’s not all that absurd after all. Maybe it’s miraculous.

So here’s to blabbering about nothing and everything, to not getting closer to an answer, but trusting God with the incongruents, and the obtuse and peculiar. He’s pretty great with them.

Ten Things Every Gay Man Wishes Straight People Knew…

Ten things every gay man wishes straight people knew…


  1. There is no “gay agenda” meeting – We’re not trying to make your kids gay or your wife a lesbian. We do want our love to have a level of normalcy. We also know how hard it was to feel “othered” growing up and don’t want that for the next generation.
  2. Yes, I’ve heard of Rue Paul – Doesn’t mean I’ve watched the show. But if I figuratively had *cough*, I’d also say, “Those divas be so extra, I wanna punch them in their put-together face.” (What do you mean I’m being extra?)
  3. Not all of us are liberals – Some of us open carry, drive Harley’s, and want the government to mind its own business. There were actually some of us that were not “with her”.
  4. Gay people are not perverts – I promise your son is safe at camp. Just because you’re straight doesn’t mean you’re gonna rape my figurative daughter.
  5. Being gay isn’t contagious – So stop acting like being around me or getting close to me or showing me physical affection will somehow make you gay. And just because you’re a guy, doesn’t mean I’m having sex with you in my mind. You may be ugly as hell. Attraction in the gay world is like attraction in the straight world. Also, no, if you’re my close friend, I think of you as my friend. I’m not attracted to you. Imagining having sex with you is like imagining I’m having sex with a sibling. Ya nasty! So don’t get weird after I come out to you. Treat me the same. I am the same. You now just know another part of me.
  6. Being gay JUST means I’m attracted to the same sex – It doesn’t mean I like theatre or Glee. It doesn’t mean I am feminine or have a lisp and talk with my hands a lot. It doesn’t mean I’m fashionable or super sensitive. I’m not wanting to get “mannies” and “paddies” (Although I did get a pedicure once and it was greaaaaat!) PS, a good chunk of us actually play sports and go to the gym. In fact, we go to the gym way more than any of you straight people.
  7. No, I will not be your GBF (I’m taken) or your “guncle” (I have a few nieces and nephews already) – We’re in high demand. That’s what happens when there’s one of us for every ten of you.
  8. Being gay doesn’t make me a lesser man – In fact, maybe we embody the other half of a caricatured masculinity.
  9. Just because I’m gay, does not make me more sexual – That said, if you’re gay,  you’re probably more sexual. There are a looooooot of gay men out there that are very sexually driven. But men, in general, are more sexually driven than women, and now you have two sexually charged humans in a relationship together. All that said, the gay community has done a disservice to put so much emphasis on sexuality when it comes to their identity. It creates a sexually charged sub-culture. But that’s also what you get when sexual desires have been put at bay for the majority of adolescence. It’s like we have to have a second puberty. That said, I know tons of gay men that actually don’t like sex. Did you know that over 25% of us don’t even have full-on intercourse, even in a committed relationship?
  10. Being gay is not a choice – Believe me, if we could choose to be straight, we would have, a long time ago. Anyone that “chooses to be gay” is a masochist. No one in their right mind would choose all that comes with being gay (queue for next blog post, stay tuned).

In short, we’re people. Just like you. Don’t try to pigeon-hole us. Get to know us. Like any human, chances are, we’re not going to fit your stereotype. We’re infinitely different, and yet the same in our “human-ness”, just like you.

Chapter 2 | Your Homosexuality Was Made Possible By…

Recently, my family and I had an inspiring family meeting, instigated by our current pastor. All of us texted the man, asking, “Why are we meeting? What did you have in mind to talk about?”

The only response I received was, “Just be very open and honest. That’s all I ask of you tonight.”

As we all gathered in nervous expectation, every individual of our family shared some of our deepest fears or hurts. The result? Reconciliation and mutual understanding.

During the eveing, the question was asked, “Do you believe people are born gay?” All of us at the table agreed that it was not. There is not enough scientific evidence to prove it. The next question was, “Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?” As parents nodded their head, I shook it.

“Brandon, why did you chake your head? Do you not believe homosexuality is a choice?”

“No,” I responded, “I didn’t choose to these feelings and attractions. In fact, multiple times I prayed God would take them away. I never wanted this.”

The question then comes, “If people are not born gay, but it’s not a choice, what is it and where does it come from?”

To answer that question, I think the question must be asked, “Why is Harry attracted to blondes, while Steve is attracted to brunnettes? Why, if you were to go to an porn site, are there multiple ‘genres’ and fetishes? Why is there not just one way of having sex? Why are there all these ‘flavors.'”

Like all preferences, whether it be between chocolate or strawberry icecream, between blue or yellow, preferences have evolved as a result of our experience.

I am currently studying brain plasticity–cutting edge research analyzing how the brain is consistently changing. Patterns and habits are formed simply as a result of life experiences. In the book, “The Brain that Changes Itself,” Norman Doige shares how a specific client he is treating is attracted to women who remind him of his mother. However, he always abandons them as a result of feeling abandoned and unable to mourn the loss of his mother. This patient’s entire relational and sexual encounters are formulated based off of a massively traumatic experience with his mother.

Our sexuality is not determined at birth. Any studies attempting to accredit sexuality to DNA are inconsequential at best. But there are hundreds of studies supporting a the theory that sexuality develops. Through these studies, we have discovered sexuality is composed of three major parts:  

1. Initial Sexualization

2. Conditioning

3. Orientation


Initial Sexualization

This long word basically means this—your first experience with sex, whether it was a on your wedding night, a heated moment of “passion” after your high school prom or a suppressed moment as a child when you were raped, that initial moment has shaped your idea of sexuality.

My initial sexualization was with an older boy in the church. When I felt alone and my hormones were raging, I replayed those secret moments in our church’s storage space. In hopes to recreate that moment, I would touch myself, thinking of that guy. From the echoes of years past,my sexuality was shifted.


Conditioning means if you masturbate to bridges, you will be aroused by bridges. How you train your brain affects your sexuality. If you are having sex within a mutual trust, established between you and your spouse, your brain does not assimilate fear or self-satisfaction with sex. If you train your brain to “get off” in a matter of seconds, allowing your hand to please you, you are training your brain to make sex about one person: yourself. If you masturbate while looking in the mirror, you are training your brain to be attracted to your anatomy—aka your gender’s anatomy.

For some of you, this can be incredibly disheartening because you are just now realizing patterns you have conditioned your hormones to embrace. No fear, you can actually retrain them. Your brain is not hardware, wired at conception. It is a living, active and incredibly powerful organ, shaping and shifting so drastically, you literally do not have the same brain you did half-an-hour ago. Every decision you make determines your chemistry. You are a product of your decisions and the decisions forced upon you.


Orientation consists of how each individual perceives themselves to be. Essentially, orientation is wrapped up in how you answer this question: Are you gay, bi or straight?

This is where I would like to spend the majority of this chapter. Conditioning will be a major factor in chapter three, but I believe it is this third portion of sexuality which affects the question—why do I like boys or girls… or both? Here are factors that I have discovered in my own life, as a result of analyzing my story and the story of those around me.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *

Factor 1—Masculinity and Femininity

What is a man? What is a woman?

What does it mean to be womanly? What is it to be manly?

Manhood… if I were to ask you to define it, could you? Few can. When I was a youth pastor, I asked the guys that question multiple times in our small group. In the quiet of my room, especially with my own insecurities and uncertainties flaring before me, I self-inquired, asking myself that same question—what does it mean to be a man? But even in the confines and security of my own room, while staring at my own reflection, the answer continues to be elusive.

As is the case with every word, its value is only found in the meaning that we assign it, and as we give words meaning, we can judge by that meaning what things are. For example, the Webster’s dictionary defines a bird as: “a feathered vertebrate, whose forelimbs have been modified to fly.” We can look at a fish and say, “it is not a bird, because it does not have forelimbs modified to fly.” Therefore, our definition of “man” and “manliness,” or “woman” and “womanliness” (I apologize for my focus on masculinity. I am a guy. It is an easier position to understand.) is crucial to determine who or what falls under those predetermined definitions. 

But there is a problem, in that we have a loose, vague and, I would argue, false definition of the words “man” and “manliness,” of “woman” and “womanliness.” As a result, people who were never meant to be excluded from these definitions have been ostracized from that which is rightfully theirs, a birthright.

What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be manly? Is a manly-man someone who can grow a bushy beard or who possesses a deep voice? Is it someone who loves power-tools and takes pleasure in smashing things? Is it someone whose tear-ducts have vanished, being replaced by a strong right hook? Is it someone who is an avid sports fan and can be found in front of the television on a Sunday afternoon with a beer in their hand?

Webster’s defines “man” as: “an adult male human; a bipedal primate mammal with notable brain capacity, capable of speech and abstract reasoning; the quality or state of being manly.” Webster’s then defines “manly” as: “having qualities generally associated with a man; appropriate in character to a man.”

Does anyone else see the problem here? It is circular reasoning. “To be a man is to possess manliness.” “To be manly is to have the qualities of a man.” This complete lack of clarity results in confusion, forcing every man to define manliness for himself based upon inputs from society. The result, we are lost in translation. 

As a society, we have created a cookie-cutter man, and going outside of those parameters is prohibited. If you do not conform, you are not a man; you are not manly, and if you are not manly, you will be ostracized. According to our society’s false definition of masculinity, a “man’s man” (the phrase sounds slightly homosexual, but whatever) is a guy who loves sports, continually drools over the female anatomy, loves a good action movie and is incapable of vulnerability.

People who do not fit these false stereotypes may still be “men,” but we view them as “lesser men.” We have labeled such qualities as tenderness, creativity and sensitivity as feminine qualities. Not only does this affect the male species, but females as well. If a woman does not possess these qualities, she is labeled butch, less feminine. Therefore, many who truly belong to the definition of “man” or “woman” have been excluded from their rightful identity.

Still following?

Think of it this way. Imagine one of those baby block games where you insert shapes based the corresponding holes. You have circles, squares, triangles, diamonds. Now imagine it with only three shapes—straight girl, straight guy, homosexual.

This is the dilemma of our society. We have a warped definition of what manhood and womanhood is, and those who do not fit are ostracized, when in fact, those we label “less of a man” or “less of a woman,” complete the whole picture of masculinity and femininity.

The football jock on the field is not more of a man than the artist expressing himself through dance. They are two sides of the same coin. Together, they complete the picture of masculinity. The strong-willed, ambitious business woman, is just as feminine as the “stay at home mom.” One is not less valuable than the other. They are both sides of yet another coin.

You may ask, “Brandon, does this really matter? Is it really that important of a factor?”


While drafting this chapter, I began watching YouTube videos of guys “coming out.” I watched story after story of boys “stepping out of the closet,” “embracing who they are.” I am not making light of their stories. It takes a lot of courage to confess those internal emotions to those around you. But I want to point out a consistent theme in every story I watched.

“Now looking back on how I was as a kid, I don’t know why I didn’t see I was gay sooner.” They then continue to share how they were always more sensitive than the other boys, how they loved to dance and valued the arts, how they could better get along with girls.

From a very young age I have been creative, imaginative, fashionable, relational and sensitive. I love writing, acting, singing and dancing. Starting in early elementary, I was writing stories, singing aloud in grocery stores, running around playing make-believe and even doing a handful of fashion shows with my female cousin.

By society’s standards of manhood I failed with flying colors, and in the words of Bradley Hathaway, “Society tells me all day long, that I have defined manhood completely wrong.”

But when did these qualities become telltale signs of homosexuality? Since when did the adjectives “sensitive,” “sociable” and “artistic” become synonymous with gay? Last time I checked, homosexuality literally means you are attracted to your same gender sexually. Thus, “homo,” meaning “same,” and “sexual,” referencing “sex.”

As I walked the halls of middle school, enjoying intimate conversations and spending my afternoons acting and singing, I was labeled “gay” and “queer”—a lesser man. I did not belong. As a result of the rejection from my close male friend and my gender as a whole, I began to distance myself from the “guys,” thinking I did not fit in. I was not fully man, when in reality that identity was my possession. 

I was robbed of my birthright.

But no worries, society has crafted a solution for me—homosexuality.

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Factor 2—Gender Hunger

A plane plummets from the sky over the Pacific. Upon impact with the crashing waves, everyone, except for a young woman named Rachel, dies. As water pours into the damaged plane, Rachel takes a deep breath, unbuckles herself and swims out a broken window. Desperate for oxygen, she frantically swims towards the sky above. Her nose and mouth breaches the surface. What does Rachel do? She inhales the most exhilarating gasp of oxygen in her existence. After looking around, gathering her bearings, she descries an island not far away and begins swimming towards it. The island that seemed not too far off, has taken Rachel hours to reach. When her feet finally touch the earth hidden beneath the water, she sprints towards the hot sand, flinging herself upon its bank. She regains her strength, after lying there for what seems like eternity. What is Rachel’s next immediate concern? Water. Rachel scours the island for a spring of fresh water. Once she finds it, she plunges headfirst into its depths, sucking down the most delicious gulp of H2O she has ever consumed. Evian could only envy. Finally, after first fulfilling her need for oxygen and water, she begins to notice a desperate hunger in her belly. She breaks off a nearby branch, carving a point into one end. Rachel is going hunting.

The body prioritizes its needs, nullifying the less important ones, to communicate to the conscious what is needed most. The soul is the same.

Too bold of a statement?

Last year, I spent two months in India, where I worked in a Mother Teresa Home. The facility housed 200 of the most destitute women of Mumbai. Absent limbs. Absent minds. Absent family. They are all alone in the world. However, every twenty-four hours the women receive three meals, plenty of water, proper medication and restful sleep. Their bodies have every physical need met. Yet as I walked the halls, I saw hopelessness, and later on I would discover multiple women die on a weekly basis, many of whom were completely healthy. Why? Though every physical need is met, the facility is understaffed. There is no time to get to know these women. There is no “tender love and care.” As my team and I desperately desired to help, we realized the best thing we could do was to simply hold their hand, to tell them their beautiful, to sing them a song, to simply be with them. As we announced our time in India had come to an end, the women wept, not because they would go hungry, but because their souls would be left starving.

Our souls have appetites. It is not just our bodies.

Upon birth, the first person little Joey is drawn to his mother. Baby Joey registers he used to be one with this human entitled “mom.” From there, Joey begins to understand the importance of “dad:” the counterpart to mom. His soul breathes fresh air, as an unmatched loved pours forth from his parents. Security and belonging is established.

As little Joey grows, he begins to distinguish there is a difference between mommy and daddy, and that his anatomy is just like daddy’s. He begins to long for acceptance from other same-gender peers, from other boys. And thus, the era of “cooties” and their limited remedies was born. At this stage in life boys could care less about the acceptance of girls. Why do you think they call them “gross,” “dumb,” “silly” and an assortment of other wonderfully articulate vocabulary words? The genders are at war. That is why clubs like the “He-Man Women Haters Society” are born. The Joey’s soul is thirsty for belonging from his male peers. He wants to know he is “one of the boys,” that he “has what it takes.”

As he understands his “boyhood,” Joey begins to become curious of yet another group, his childhood sworn enemy—women. They no longer have “cooties.” “Circle, circle, dot, dot; they finally got the cootie shot.” Hostilities have ended; the war has ended, and they have become pleasant, an epic adventure to embark upon. Joey’s soul hungers for something new and exciting, and this occurs at the exact moment hormones begin to rage. The desire to be loved and accepted by women becomes a sexual one.

But what happens when a need is unmet? What happens when priorities get mixed up, and the soul is left parched, though sustenance surrounds him? Our souls need to breathe; they need to drink; they need to eat.

If our soul does not receive air, it does not care about its thirst or hunger. Once properly saturated with oxygen, the soul notices its thirst. But if the soul remains thirsty, it does not care about any hunger for the opposite sex, for their acceptance and promise of adventure. The hunger is overshadowed.

In my own story, I shared how I drifted further and further from the peers in my gender. I was scared of rejection. In my mind, I believed everyone saw me as gay, despite my efforts to hide it, and avoided me as a result. Homophobia.

This so called “phobia” is a curse to humanity. It isolates the very people who need masculine love the most (or feminine if the individual is a lady), and as that desperate thirst for belonging grows, due to its neglect, puberty hits, converting the natural urge to a sexual one.

If you have an attraction to the same gender, let me be the first to say, your longing is completely natural. It has just been blown out of proportion as a result of that thirst left unquenched for so long. But it is not just the stereotypical “gay” that is in desperate need of love and acceptance. For fear of “looking gay” men have long abandoned intimacy and vulnerability. If a dude cries, he is labeled gay—assimilated with weakness. So despite their crusty, rough exterior, inside is a desperate boy desperately desiring to be loved.

In my years “perusing” the internet, I found thousands of “straight” guys wanting a homosexual encounter. Ads on Craigslist would say, “Wife is out of town, needing a friend with benefits.” “Was just transferred to another base, feeling lonely.” “Never done this before, wanting to try it out.” During my time on Chatroulette sites, there would be numerous “curious” guys simply “exploring their sexuality.” It was actually during one of these moments online, that I discovered what I was ultimately looking for in a homosexual relationship.

“So have you ever been with a guy?” My random partner inquired, and for some reason, I decided to be brutally honest.


“How many times have you been with a girl?”

“Well… I actually haven’t been with a girl. I’m a virgin. I’m currently dating someone. I’m waiting till marriage (as I’m looking for virtual sex online!)”

“No way! I’m waiting too, dude!”

“Are you a Christian? Why are you waiting?”

“Yeah actually. In fact I’m a small group leader at my church, and I lead a Campus Crusade Group on my college campus.”

This guy was me! In fact, the more I scoured the internet, the more I realized there are thousands, if not millions of others in my shoes—raised a Christian, wanting a heterosexual relationship, saving sex for marriage, but looking at gay content online.

“Why do you think we do this?” I asked my mystery man. We then began to divulge more of our story to each other. Over the course of multiple hours, we discovered thing we wanted was simply intimacy, acceptance with deep vulnerability and exposure.

It is all about a thirst left unquenched, and as that thirst grows, we cannot even discern if our souls are hungry for the opposite sex. People who struggle with same-gender attraction think there is something wrong with them, something off. But the desire simply is composed of a twisted, parched soul. The desire, and even the attraction to the same gender, is completely natural. It has simply exponentially grown to unhealthy proportions.

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Factor 3—Fear of the Opposite Gender

In my experience with female friends, I have found one of the main reasons women turn to lesbianism or bisexuality, is because they have a deep wound from men. Men cannot be trusted; they have hurt them too many times; they are viewed as chauvinistic slave masters; they are incapable of empathizing with their worries or concerns.

However, they have found a form of intimacy that is safe within their gender.

While processing through my same-gender attraction, I was extremely fortunate to encounter a lovely elderly lady. She became like another wonderful grandmother in my life. One thing I love about this woman is her heart for single mothers. She has been all over the world, and the “type” of person she is most drawn to is single mothers, especially those who have been severely hurt by men. When talking about the book, she brought up, “Brandon, it’s not just a desire to be accepted by your gender that affects your sexuality, but a fear of being rejected by the opposite gender.”

Because this is not my experience, it was foreign to me. But then she started sharing story upon story of women she does life with. Many of them, after being abused or abandoned by their ex-husbands have become homosexual.


Their gender is safe. They understand the mind of a woman, and their “sister” is far more trustworthy than the questionable man hitting on her at the bar.

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Factor 4—Parents

My generation (I am currently 23) has been labeled “The Fatherless Generation.” Never before has the percentage been so high of single mothers. But more than a literally absent dad, there are also dads who are physically present, but gone in affection and support.

It is a proven fact that affection of a father, specifically physical affection, helps to solidify in a boy’s mind that he belongs to the male gender. The funny thing is many fathers are under the false presupposition that showing too much affection to their son could make him soft or gay, but the opposite is true.

In my own story, I briefly shared how my father was never around when I was growing up. While running around the country in hopes to retire early, he missed out on a lot of my early childhood moments. But my dad has more than made up for it. Although I did not talk about it much in chapter 1, after my initial “exposure” with my dad, we have been reconciled and have a fantastic relationship.

But here is one thing that is critical for fathers to do—do not just tell your son to “be a man.” Show him how to be one; equip him to succeed, and show him he belongs to this elusive idea of masculinity—he is fully man.

Probably one of the number one things guys my age are frantically pursuing is mentors. We are looking for wise men to show us the way, to equip us and believe we can succeed. Why are we looking? I think the answer may be that we are looking for what we were meant to get from our dads.

But Fathers are not the only culprits.

While sitting in the office of a pastor, he shared with me the story of a frantic mother looking for answers.

“I don’t understand, Pastor.” The woman was frantic and emotional, because her son told her he thinks he is gay. “I don’t understand where this came from, or what we could have done differently. We had him in church all the time. We sent him to all the retreats. We made sure he didn’t date or get involved with pornography.”

“Maybe that’s where it came from.”

Overbearing mothers can devastate their children. I have often had to draw lines and boundaries with my own “concerned” mom. I understand that mothers are caring and worrisome. In the words of my own mother, “It’s in our nature.” Well, it also in my nature to feel like less of a man when my metaphorical balls are chopped off.

Men cannot be pampered all the time. We need to mature and learn how to stand on our own two feet. We need to get out, scrape a knee, fail in a business venture, live life and learn. Call it a narrow perspective, but men need to learn to be strong. It is part of what distinguishes a man from a woman… besides anatomy. We are called to be strong and courageous. How can we possibly do that if weight is never forced upon us? Or run into “battles” of our “not-so-terrifying,” 21st Century world, when a sword has never been put in our hands?

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Factor 5—Taboo

Before I conclude this chapter, I need to say something, and unfortunately, I could not come up with a quirky way of including it smoothly in this chapter, however it is something that contributes to homosexuality, and it is a problem that has to be addressed. The final factor in someone struggling with same-gender attraction is how the church responds to sexuality and homosexuality, and it is summarized in one word—taboo.

Taboo: proscribed as improper or unacceptable.

While growing up in the church, sex was rarely talked about, but when it was, it was always spoken about in a negative light. It was something gross and twisted—something that “nonbelievers” did.

From a young age, boys are taught to avoid vaginas like the plague, while girls are taught to cover every crevice that might remotely trigger a lustful thought in her “brother.”

But the fact of the matter is, humans are sexual beings. The very first command before “do not lie” or even “do not have any other gods” was “Be fruitful and multiply!” AKA “Have sex!”

Let me give you proof that sex is too taboo and viewed through a distorted lenses within the church. When I said the word “sex” walls in your heart rose, and when I said the word “vagina” offense swelled. Neither sex nor vaginas, neither penises nor breasts are dirty or wrong. In fact, they were crafted by God, believe it or not, and after He molded them, He said, “It is very good!”

But as hormones rage, and the natural process of the human body continues, the church would prefer it if we just keep pretending our kids are in Sunday school, without a “dirty thought running through their little brain.” But what does this communicate to little Tommy, taught about how sex is wrong with a pastel Noah’s Ark mural plastered on the wall?

Girls are a bad.

So what does he do with his progressing sexuality? It turns towards men.

To this day, even though my conscious has grown numb to gay pornography, I find it so “wrong and wicked” to look at straight pornography? Why is that? Sex is evil.

Funny story time, incorporating a serious lesson.

I went to a Bible school immediately after high school (as shared in Chapter 1). In this school, students were kicked out for any form of PDA (Public Display of Affection, but Christians are very conscious of that acronym). The director even shared a story of how a guy was removed from the school because he caressed a girl’s ear.

One day, during one of our banquets, a lively song was playing. My friend Alyssa and I got up to dance. We were reprimanded. To kind of make fun of the situation, we “danced” with each other, but now standing four feet away from each other, not touching at all. We were reprimanded again. Then a guy friend of mine jumped in, spun me around and started dancing with me. No questions about our motives were made.

A little bit distorted? I think so.

But, if you are lucky, your church will talk about sex, in a special seminar, when you are a senior in high school, with parent permission of course. A topic that will never be spoken about within the confines of the “four walls” is homosexuality, and the vow of silence regarding this topic is devastating.

Without a word uttered, what does that communicate to a girl or boy wrestling with thoughts of same-gender attraction?

They are the only ones. They will not be accepted. It is the worst of sins.

Unable to process, they let the thoughts and feelings boil inside. Where will they go for answers? Where will they turn for comfort?

I guarantee you, it will not be the elder board.

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Factor 6—Sin

With the whole “Duck Dynasty” nonsense, I heard a wonderful response from a professed lesbian. She spoke of true tolerance, how we as tolerant people, need to tolerate other people’s beliefs. It is true tolerance to say, “Mr Duck man, you are entitled to your opinion about homosexuality.” That, my friend, is true tolerance.

From there she attempted to explain why Phil Robertson believes the way he does. It was in that statement a revealing remark was made. “The fact of the matter is, we don’t know where homosexuality comes from. I was raised in the church like Mr. Robertson. My homosexuality could simply come from the fact that every human is sinful, and we each have our ‘sin’ to deal with, but we don’t know.”

This is a really important factor. In fact, if all the other causes had to have a source, I would say it comes back to this tree letter word, infamous within the church. You may not be a Christian. If you are not one, props to you for getting through this blog. But regardless of your worldview, every human being has to come to terms with this prevalent fact—the world is broken. If that were not the case, homicide would not happen, kids would not be raped, genocide would not occur. But it does. Why? The world is broken, and that brokenness, I believe, comes from sin.

A wonderful mentor asked me a question the other day, regarding the blog. “Don’t you think that some people just struggle with homosexuality, that it’s the ‘button’ Satan pushes.”

I think we can all agree with that sentiment there there is that one thing, that habit we just cannot kick, that temptation that is always there. Could homosexuality simply be another symptom of the depravity of man?

Maybe. Possibly. Likely.

However, I do not view “sin,” as we have come to term it, as the root issue. I believe sin is simply what was stated just two sentences prior—a symptom.

Let me ask you a question: if a child had a fever and was covered in rashes, how effective would it be to cover the rashes and put ice on the forehead? If that was the only advice you received at a pediatrician, run. The fever and rashes are only symptoms of a greater issue. A good doctor will start doing tests to see what is going on internally, the root, and that is what he will treat. Not the rashes, not the fever. He is after the cause.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, to be the “Great Physician.” He said, “I did not come for the holy, but sinners. The well do not need a doctor, the sick do.”

Jesus came for the root—Sin (Capital S). He did not come for your habits or failures. He came for the root, and do you know what that elixir of the soul was? Unconditional  love.

Our hearts are cracked and bleeding. We are hurting inside, and “hurt people, hurt people,” as the saying goes. Moments of healing did not come through endless counseling sessions; they did not come through moral discipline. They came when I tasted that sweet love or a shadow of it in those around me.

I sampled God’s love when a leader refused to fire me in spite of my failures.

Traces of that love, lingered on the pallet of my soul when a friend held me and cried with me as I shared all my “baggage.”

A scent drifted from eternity into the temporal when a Pastor asked, “What do you want to be? You’ll be loved to matter what.”

But more than mere samples, scents and tastings occurred when I heard God Himself said, “Stop worrying about the sin or how to behave. Your only concern is getting to know me. I’ll take care of the rest.”

The problem with unconditional love, the thing Christians have termed agape (based off the Greeks), is that it cannot have conditions. “But what about sin? What about righteousness? If we take off the all restrictions, what’s to stop people from sinning?” The very thing you will not allow.

It is a scary thing to remove all restrictions, all guidlines, all clauses, and simply say, “You’re loved… no matter what.” It is a leap of faith, but God is not after “caging the beast,” He wants to transform it. No laws or guidelines are needed if the character of the creature is good. 

We, as Christians, need to believe that this was the aim of Christ, not renewed morality wrapped up in one commance. Otherwise, we are going to continue to get wrapped up in behavioral management, which simply paints a clown smile on an already rotting corpse.

We have to believe it is the remedy.

Which brings us to our final question—Is homosexuality something to be cured?

Lets talk about that next.

Chapter 3 | Conflict Resolution

Chapter Three-Conflict Resolution

“Is homosexuality a sin? Does God hate me? Am I going to Hell because I’m a homosexual?”

If the question of where homosexuality comes from is not enough, we have to unpack the question, that probably gives rise to the question of origin in the first place. After all, if we are born this way, then God cannot be angry with us, right? He made me this way! If He did, then I am not to blame for these feelings.

But we are not born this way. The reason someone has same-gender attraction is nurture, not nature. But now comes the question—what does God think about homosexuality, and how do we respond? Or, if you do not believe in God, should people be homosexual?

If we take God out of the picture, and we look at the issue of homosexuality completely from an evolutionary perspective, homosexuality makes absolutely no sense. The preface of Darwinism is survival of the fittest. Part of fitness is the ability of producing healthy offspring. That is absolutely impossible within a homosexual relationship. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get a baby from two “mommies;” cannot get a child from two “daddies.” Through the lens of evolution, homosexuality should be completely outlawed. It is a threat to our species.

But I am not an atheist, and I do believe in God. So what does God think about “homosexuals?”

To answer that question, I ask another. What does God think of liars and murders, of adulterers and gluttons, of fornicators and the proud, of God-haters and promise breakers?

It is all the same.

In chapter two, I spoke of all sin as symptoms to a deeper issue—we are all broken inside; our hearts are in need of mending. The reason we lie, cheat, steal, murder or slander is because of one thing—a broken soul.

So the real question at hand is what is God’s reaction to our brokenness?

I am going to be speaking about the Christian God, expressed through Jesus. Although you may consider God to belong to a different religion, Jesus is the one I am most familiar with, and the one I have “wrestled out” my same-gender attraction with.

“As he (Jesus) was speaking, the teachers of the religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. ‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’ Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. ‘And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’” (John 8 NLT)

According to Christian beliefs, Jesus was and is the only human without sin. He was the perfect man. When Jesus says, “He without sin throw the first stone,” he knew he was the only one who could initiate “justice” on the adulterer, and it was Jewish justice to stone her. According to their law, all adulterers were to be stoned. Jesus as a man after “holiness” should have picked up the stone and throw it as hard as he could, but the stone never left the dust. Instead, he showed mercy, because he knew the reasons this woman was running from man to man was because her heart was in desperate need of love, and he gave it freely.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV)

Jesus is the only one with “credentials” to execute justice, but he never does. Instead, he showed love; he showed mercy.

In another portion of scripture Jesus says, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:31-32 NLT)

Throughout Jesus ministry he hung out with the “worst of the worst,” while the religious sneered and mocked.

We, Christians, claim to be followers of Jesus, but what would be your reaction if our kids threw a party at the house, and they invited prostitutes, drag-queens and divorcées (the “worst of the worst”)? Would we welcome them?

I once sat in a church service where the pastor was speaking of repentance (a very inaccurate view of repentance). Here were some of his words, “People don’t want to be held accountable anymore; people don’t want pastors to get mad at their sin. I have heard people complain that the church isn’t welcoming and open enough. That it’s judgmental and hypocritical. If you want to be welcomed, if you want an “open” environment, go to a bar. I don’t have time for your lack of repentance.”

How does that make someone feel who is in desperate need of love—the true healing nard, able to transform our broken souls?

The church expects people to simply “get their act together,” to repent of our sin because Jesus died for us. While growing up, the church was not a place I went to feel loved. I went because I felt like I needed to in order to be a “good person,” whatever that means. Between that and a Christian school, I felt like I was “the worst of the worst, the dirtiest of sinners.”

But when I look at Jesus’s life, the people who were drawn to this man were “the worst of the worst, the dirtiest of sinners.” If the church really is composed of his followers, why do we not have the same crowd? Instead, this is what we look like.

Many of us have abandoned unconditional love, and as a result, we have turned to moral management. Here in lies a fatal flaw, and a fact is quickly discovered—none of us can manage our darkness. But instead of pouring forth love, instead of speaking belonging and holiness found in “Christ Alone”, we have manufactured a moral scale with slander and pride at the bottom and homosexuality and divorcees at the top.

A wise woman I know gave the best advice to an abused wife. The woman came in with tears and bruises, looking for answers. She confessed to this wise woman that her husband was hitting and screaming at her on a continual basis. She wanted to do the right thing, and every time she went to the church, the elders counseled her to “just keep praying.” Do you know how that elderly woman counseled her? “Kill him. The church will eventually forgive you for murder and if you find Jesus in jail, but they will never let you live down a divorce.”

It is so sad, but true.

In order to cope with our humanity, we have made the more “severe sinners” feel isolated and alone, in order to put pins on our shoulders and lift a dignified nose. A pathetic cause. We are supposed to agents of love. If the pastor were to give me that same ultimatum—religious piety or the “welcoming” bar, I would pick the bar. We long for a sense of home, even if it is found at the bottom of a glass.

Jesus was the reality of home. Why do you think so many literally left their literal homes? Because he embodied a “hearty welcome”—so much better than a roof and walls. People long to belong; they long to be cherished, and they found it in a vagabond.

At the moment of his death, Jesus uttered those immortalized words, “It is finished.” What work had he completed? At the very second those words left his lips, a curtain in the temple of Yahweh, a symbol of the eternal separation between God and man, was ripped in two. Coincidence? I think not. The work that Jesus came to accomplish was to reunite the parted Creator with His beloved creation, through cleansing any stain that would separate us. In one moment came the justification of man and victory over sin through the thunder of agape.

I have a bold claim to make. It is broad, regarding the issue of morality as a whole, but it applies to the topic at hand, namely homosexuality.

When Jesus died and resurrected, the whole world was redeemed, the whole world was reborn. Sin was conquered; death was defeated. Everyone was “saved,” that term so often mentioned within the church. We were all made something new that day, the only difference between a “Christian” and an “unbeliever” is just that—belief.

Because of Jesus, I can look at everyone and say, “You are holy; you are blameless; you are something new.” It is a reality, which was initiated at the cross.

Baptism is agreeing with that fact. I am no longer what I used to be. In the words found in Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Everyone has been put on equal ground at the cross. That is probably why it is always referred to in the Old Testament as “leveling of hills, and lifting up of valleys.” We all stand on equal ground, and it is the unconditional love of Jesus. There is no moral hierarchy.

Now back to the issue at hand. So what does this mean about homosexuality? Is a homosexual going to hell?

I have not gone to either Heaven or Hell, so I cannot tell you first hand, but based off of what I find in the Bible, entrance into Heaven is based solely on faith, on trusting entirely in what Jesus has accomplished with those words. Our “merit” is based entirely on belief. Period.

It is bigoted and absurd to hold up signs saying, “God hates fags!” “Those queers are going to hell!” The God who had the right to condemn chose not to. What right do any of us have in judging others? It is complete ludicrously to deem oneself worthy of determining other’s destiny in eternity. To accuse others is joining the chorus of that age old Enemy Christians have deemed “Satan.” By condemning ally yourself with the King of Lies when raising accusations.

Christ did not come to condemn, but to save.

This all bring us back to yet the question—should people be homosexual?

Now my answer. I do not believe God’s best plan for an individual is a homosexual lifestyle.

At the age of seventeen, when God came all too much like Morpheus, He did not say, “Pick me, or go to Hell.” He said He loved me no matter what, but He said I had to choose to either trust Him or trust my homosexuality. If I chose to trust Him, He promised me a “full life,” but if I chose homosexuality, He let me know it would not satisfy.

Either way He loved me, either way the blood of Jesus was for me, not by merit, but faith. But my decision that night would determine my satisfaction in life. God was letting me know homosexuality would not satisfy the crying broken pieces of my heart.

My soul had created a counterfeit—mirage—when deep down, the greatest need my heart had, was for someone to open the door, to let me in and belong. My heart thirsted for intimacy, for home, and I believed I could find it in a homosexual relationship.

In recent news, Tom Daley, a British Olympic diver “came out” via YouTube. In his very personal confession, he said “I’ve met someone, someone that makes me feel safe, and that someone happens to be a guy.” Of all the words Tom could have picked, he picked safe. Why? We are in a quest for home, and our souls are desperately searching for belonging, for safety, for purpose, for love.

“My people have abandoned the fountain of living water and hewed out cisterns for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13 ESV)

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38 ESV)

As shared before, when God asked me who to trust, I told Him I could not follow Him, I could not live right. His response was to just to get to know Him and He would take care of the rest. As I became intimate with Christ, thirsts of my soul were satisfied. The rivers of unconditional love transformed my life. It was not until I became a pastor, adding conditions and requirements to my relationship with God that I began to have thoughts of same-gender attraction.

My question to you, if you find yourself in a homosexual lifestyle, is not, “Don’t you think you should change?” Nor is it “Do you think it’s wrong?” My only question is: are you truly satisfied? Are the longings of your heart met?

I had a roommate once. Growing up he had same-gender attractions. When his mom and step-dad found out, they put him into the foster care system, where he was adopted by another family who said, “Live however you want to live. You were born this way.” Throughout high school my roommate had multiple boyfriends, and continued to have multiple men in his life on into his young adult years.

Then one day an old friend from a mission trip years ago (this was before my roommate’s family kicked him out) reconnected with him. My roommate was very blunt about his current lifestyle. In response, the old friend, after a few moments of silence, asked my roommate one simple question—are you satisfied?

Are you satisfied with homosexuality?

Statistics show heterosexual relationships last much longer than homosexual relationships. Fidelity, although decreasing overall, is startlingly higher in heterosexual relationships vs homosexual relationships. During the time of my life, while I trying to pursue a homosexual relationship, the amount of men I encountered who were in pursuit of relationship number twenty blew me away.

Yes, there are accounts of life-long homosexual partners, the amounts are incredibly low. To me this promise of satisfaction within a homosexual relationship seems all too elusive.

But the facts do not matter. This is about you the reader. If you are currently in or pursuing a homosexual lifestyle, are you satisfied? Or are you left wanting?

Below you will find three letters. It is my heart that through these letters, change can occur. We cannot keep pretending that or opinions on this matter do not matter. They do. Whether you consider yourself to be a “less than please” homosexual or simply someone who wants to be a part of a movement, ushering in the healing of an all-too-abusive topic, I encourage you to read on.


To those who are caught up in same-gender attraction…

I want to start by saying, “You are beloved. You are precious. There is a God, and He is not mad at you. In fact, He cannot stop thinking about you. If you are a guy, you are a manly man. You exude masculinity! The amount of testosterone pulsing through your behemoth veins bewilders me! You are handsome, strong and all together manly. To you women, you are gorgeous! You have captivated the heart of your Eternal Papa. You are His beloved daughter of grace and beauty. The amount of femininity pulsating from your body is overwhelming! You are a beautiful womanly woman, and you have ravished His heart.”

Whether you are tired of continuing in your endless chase of same-sex romance or you are not even sure what you want, I want to emphasize that this is a God of love, and He wants to know you—with or without your attractions. Just get to know Him as you are. Take a leap of faith.

Begin there.

After that, if you begin to decide that the homosexual lifestyle is not for you, a choice must be made—a choice to believe that what Jesus did actually did change you; that you truly are a new creation; that you are made in His image; that you are 100% heterosexual. To those of you who are women, you are 100% woman. You must believe you do not fall short any longer. You must not forgo your birthright. You are woman, look at you roar. To those of you men out there, you are 100% man. You are strong and capable. You do belong to your gender. You are not different. You are not alone. We all struggle, and despite the doubts, despite any uncertainty, even in the wake of committing a homosexual act, you must choose to believe you are something new.

But you cannot do this alone. In fact, life, despite the state of it, is not meant to be done alone. Some of my deepest moments of healing in my life came from taking a leap of faith, and inviting someone into my story, to have them fight for me, to bleed with me.

If you have not told someone about your same-gender attraction, it is time to do so. You cannot remain alone any longer. You may be terrified; you may lose sleep just thinking about how someone will respond? Welcome to the club. I had some of the worst reactions when I shared I had attractions to other men. But I also experienced the deepest moments of love. It is a gamble, but it is worth it.

How are you allowing the unconditional love of God to penetrate your heart, if you are unwilling to acknowledge where you currently are. Regardless of your present state, it is time to invite not only God, but others into who you are now.

Life is not about the destination; it is not about “arriving.” It is about the journey. Life is a never-ending, eternal journey, and cannot be traversed alone.

I know the number one thing that will hinder you is shame. “Christians” and even culture has done a really good job of making same-gender attraction something to be shameful of, that it is something special, the exception. Shame will rob you, rob you of the love God has for you.

One time, after looking at homosexual pornography, I felt so dirty and shameful. Tears streamed down my face as I exclaimed to God, “I’m so sorry.” But I was quickly silenced.

There in my brokenness I heard God say, “Quit robbing the cross with your tears. Get up off the ground, and just start thanking me for the death of Jesus. It was enough. I don’t need your tears.” I got up, wiped my face, and simply began to thank Jesus. He really is enough. Then God asked me, “Who do I say you are?” Holy. Blameless. Loved. A man.

Who does God say you are?

Throughout the years, as I have simply trusted that what Jesus did was enough, as I surrendered to God’s furious love, the cracks and scars of this bleeding soul become whole. My restless searching comes to a conclusion. He told me, “If you will just get to know me, I’ll take care of the rest.” He did not lie. Stop worrying about “your sin.” He took care of it.

You know what is crazy? God is not intimidated, surprised or scared of your mistakes. If fact, you see, “Crap! I messed up again!” He says, “Yes! One mess-up down! Only five more to go!” He sees the whole picture; He sees your journey, and He does not abandon you in your sin. In fact, He has brought immense healing through some of the “darkest” of moments.

One time, while I was masturbating, I heard an abnormal statement from God. “Alright, Brandon, if you are going to do this, we are going to not imagine guys. We are going to imagine this moment is happening with your wife. Imagine the amazing sex and intimacy you two can share void of shame or fear, serving each other in your ‘obedience’ to that first command I gave.” And instead of masturbating to homosexual fantasies, another fantasy was formed—a foretaste of what it will be like in marriage, and I loved it!

You may disagree thought, claiming it was not God talking to me in that moment. Well please tell me who it was, because it brought so much freedom, healing and hope. I would like to thank them.

As Christian men, our favorite “small group” conversation is about this “M Word.” Masturbation is really awkward to say as a “good Christian boy,” so we come up with code words—“riding the bike,” “choking the chicken,” “going on a date with Jane Hancock.” The list is endless, and we, Christian guys, make it our life’s goal to “defeat this awful sin.” For something we talk about a lot, you would think that the Bible does too. But in fact, the Bible does not talk about it… at all. Literally there is not one single verse on masturbation. For something we put a lot of effort and attention into, there seems to be a lack of attention on it from God. It could be He cares a lot more about other things, the things He did talk a lot about like love, servitude, money, marriage, evangelism. Just a thought.

In chapter two I briefly mentioned conditioning. This speaks of how your actions dictate your brain’s hormonal arousal. Basically, “If you masturbate to bridges, you’ll be aroused by bridges.” If you have continually trained your hormones to be aroused by the same gender, no matter how hard you “wish away those feelings,” your hormones are going to start firing when you see “dem bridges.”

We are a whole person. In Christianity we like to only talk about the spiritual, and maybe venture into the emotional. It is time to invite Jesus into not only your “spiritual,” “mental” or “emotional life, but also your physical life. Instead of praying all the time, why not exercise or eat right? “Oh no, those are physical things. They don’t matter to Jesus.” Beg to differ. He is interested in all of you, including your hormones.

I do not know what that looks like to you. I am not necessarily advocating masturbating to straight porn to change your “gay thoughts.” I am just saying you should ask God how He would like to transform those areas of your life.

Multiple times, while Jesus was on the earth, He healed people. Broken legs. Blind eyes. Leprosy. Sometimes, Jesus simply spoke a word and the healing came. Other times, Jesus said, “Get up!” or he put mud in eye balls. What I am trying to say is, faith without action is not really faith. Sometimes God in His love asks us to take a leap, and actually do something. Ask Him what “steps of faith” He has in store for you.


To those who have not had to wrestle with same-gender attractions, but desire to make a change…

Stop agreeing with the Devil. He is the accuser; He is the liar. Stop joining his chorus of mockery.

When you see a guy who flips his wrists or wears too many colors, believe truth about him—he is heterosexual, he is altogether manly. If you see a woman with a low voice and a short haircut, believe the truth about her—she is the straightest of the strait.

This homosexual witch-hunt needs to end, and it is completely disarmed if we all simply begin to give people the benefit of the doubt. Do not even wonder if they “struggle with their gender,” especially with our ridiculous “Christianese.” “Oh, you can just tell that she wrestles with her identity.” “Oh that guy? Yeah, he has a father wound for sure.” “You can tell they need some ‘healing.’”

Stop it! Do not even suspect that someone has same-gender attraction. As said before, homophobia is destroying so many lives. Through it, people have been ostracized and labeled falsely. It actually is an engine of depriving love of people who need it most.

Guys, enough of the strategic urinal positioning, the labeling of everything “feminine” as “gay” and “queer,” the endless amounts of time in the mirror to ensure you do not look like your trying too hard, because that would be “gay.” The endless testosterone competitions are destroying people. If you got the massive biceps, the deep voice or the “hot” girlfriend—the list of supercilious qualifications of masculinity, you feel great and accomplished. But what about the guy who falls short? As we have these purposeless competitions, the “losers” feel like they do not belong, that they are not as manly as you are, that they are lesser of a man.

It is time to celebrate the “other side of the coin” concerning femininity and masculinity. Stop viewing determined, tough women as masculine, therefore a “lesser woman.” Do not consider a sensitive, artistic guy a 65% man. Rejoice in the gender diversity; believe everyone around you is straight, because they really are.

But what if a friend of yours does tell you they have same-gender attractions? What if your son or daughter comes to you in confidence with a “dark confession?” How do you respond?

The number one thing you can do to help bring healing to their soul is to not overreact. Say you love them, that you are there for them, and for crying out loud hug them. Let them know that you are honored they felt safe enough around you to tell. After that, tell them they are a manly dude, a “sexy lady.” Speak into who they truly are. Call the woman or man out of them. But also let them know that they are not alone. You can even share this blog with them. One of the biggest reliefs to someone having same-gender attractions is to talk to someone who can relate, but it is also healthy to talk to someone who does not relate. They need you. They need to know they belong to their gender. They need to know you approve of them. Do not run away.

If you are both of the consensus that homosexuality is a sin, remind them that it is just as “sinful” as lying cheating. Remind them it is not the “worst of the worst sin.” Then remind them that regardless, it is all taken care of in Jesus.

When living in a dormitory setting, set in the ridiculously humid and hot state of Texas, we had communal showers. Every night, there was this “man’s man” that would look over at me while I brushed my teeth. “Brandon, you are a beautiful man of God.” As ridiculously as that sounds, it spoke volumes to my heart.

Another time, while working on a draft of this book, I shared with a good friend my story with same-gender attraction. “Really?” He responded. “You’re one of the manliest men I know.” Again, the healing elixir flowed.

Agape love flows freely from the heart of God. It truly heals and restores. We are not God. We are humans, and faithful to our nature, we fail often. However, we are called “to be God’s hands and feet,” to “be His ambassadors of reconciliation.” Although our love is not perfect, although it does not compare to that of the Holy One, we can give people a foretaste of Heaven, we can reflect, if but dimly, the light of the Son.


To the institution called to be God’s hospital, not the ballroom of perfectly painted faces…

It is time to be real. It is time to be honest. None of us are perfect, and it might be good for the congregation to know that we are all equally human… especially the pastor.

In the church, due to our ludicrous moral scale, we have resurrected the ancient order of priests—men devoted to holiness and the things of God. This is foolishness. The man on the pulpit is just as human as you are. Why do we lift them on high moral pedestals, only to fall from devastating heights? It creates a rift in the transcendent family, allowing us mere congregants to behave as absurdly as we want, while expecting perfection from the man not sitting in a pew.

We need to all be honest, and we need to talk about the taboo things. I am not saying the “homo” word needs to be uttered in every nursery classroom. But sex needs to be talked about in a positive light, starting in middle school. The church wants to produce “heterosexual” boys and girls, then teaches them that sex is bad, and to avoid the opposite sex. No wonder lots of kids struggle with same-gender attraction in the church; they have been trained to despise the opposite sex.

Not talking about the “s” word will not make hormones disappear. They are going to talk about sex. Would you like them to talk about it in church, with someone who is all to infatuated with the subject, or worse, force them to experiment with themselves and other peers because they are clueless yet curious about their bodies?

We also need to talk about homosexuality in the church. If same-gender attraction is never addressed as a “normal” sin, kids growing up in the church who struggle with it feel completely isolated and alone. In their minds, they are the only ones, and no one will understand. But when homosexuality is thrown into any other list of sins, just like the Bible does (a lot of times we list these verses on homosexuality when “debating” with someone, but we forget that in the same sentence it references liars, fornicators, immoral, gluttons, prideful, murderers… it is all the same), then homosexuality is just another form of depravity, equally bad as the any other sin.

We have to destroy the lie that homosexuality is the worst sin. It will destroy the lives of those who wrestle with attractions to the same sex.

Above all, the church needs to be restored to its original purpose—a hospital for the broken. If we will make Christ’s number one commandment, “to love as he loved,” I believe people will have faith in her, the church, once again.

When I came back from the mission field, I was so disillusioned with the church. While lying under a willow tree of Geneva, I confessed to my friend, “I’m tired of the posers.” I have heard enough sermons for a lifetime; I have sung enough songs for eternity. What I want more than anything is love that does, authenticity and proof of Christ’s power.

I would rather go to a church that the man on stage is a babbling idiot, but opens his home to anyone in need, than the most eloquent of philosophers. I would rather travel with a vagabond who trusts Jesus daily for his food and water, than a plush pastor, whose number one concern for Sunday is how good he looks in his three-piece suit or his graphic tee. I would rather study the Bible with a man whose life has transformed and whose prayers are answered, than any learned scholar.

But more than “proof in the pudding,” I am simply tired of everyone pretending to be perfect. The painted faces, dancing the dirge of religious rhetoric is repulsive. The brokenness is what gives us hope, not the morally upright.

The most glorious characters of scripture are David and Peter—two characters notorious for messing up big time. One was a murderer and adulterer, while the other abandoned Jesus in his hour of need. It was not their zeal that mesmerized us, it was not their scholarly advice, it was their failure and restoration that gave us hope.

Let us be honest with ourselves and with others and stop pretending. Let us take of the masks and live true lives, understanding that we have not “arrived.” We are all trying to figure this out one step at a time.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:36 ESV)

Do we believe it? Then let us prove it.


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So, where does this leave us?

I have come to all I need to say, and yet I feel there yet needs to be more. Maybe there does…

I think that one thing that has continued to come forth through this book is where am I in all of this? In fact a student, who I used to pastor, texted me a somewhat sobering question, “Brandon, does this mean you are coming out?”

If coming out means coming out of shame, of being honest with myself and others? Then yes. I am coming out.

But if coming out means confessing I am a homosexual, then no. I am not “coming out.” Well then what am I? In the words of a dear friend of mine, “I’m human.” Period.

In this life I just hope to love. I know that is simple and maybe cliché, but I have found that the number one thing that has transformed my life is love. I want to do that.

You may ask, “What was I hoping to accomplish with this blog, book, thing?”

For me, this book was a line in the sand. For too long, I have wrestled and fought about this whole issue of “homosexuality,” and I felt shame about sharing me full “testimony,” of being honest with myself and where I came from.

“For we will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”

Less than a month ago God walked me through a deep revelation—I need to be thankful for every portion of my life, for every piece of my story, the good and the bad because it has made me who I am today. Whether wrong was done to me or someone lavished a love unknown, whether I made stupid decisions in the heat of “passion” or I chose to trust God, whether I got mad or happy, it all has made me who I am today, and for that I am thankful.

If my story, if this book, has helped just one person to understand that they are not alone, that they are not forgotten, that they are loved, then I guess I fulfilled all I was trying to accomplish in this book. The end.