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2382My Faith Journey

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  • DavidPlunkett
    Aug 20, 2002
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      Hello Christian men and women,

      It's wonderful to have found this site, and to be able to speak
      intelligently about our faith journeys being both lesbian or gay and
      Christian. A forum of like minded people is an oasis when it feels
      like so many are not "on track" with what's going on.

      My journey of faith started when I was a small child. I accepted
      Christ around 8 years old in San Jose, California and was quite
      enthusiastic to do so. I still remember the inexplicably wonderful
      feeling after making my committment to Christ, not knowing any
      theology at the time other than Christ loved me and gave me life, and
      not knowing the conflicts I would later face as I emerged into the
      man God created.

      I was born the first of two nonidentical twins in Northern California
      of Southern parents. When my brother and I were ten, our parents
      moved us to rural Oklahoma, where they were both from, and the first
      of many culture shocks began in our lives. I found it incredibly
      tough (this was 1974 and everything was very Wonder Yearsy!) going
      from an area as urban as anywhere and knowing only that environment
      to a backward, rural, Southern, provincial quasi-town with less than
      a thousand people, all of them knowing each other way too well and
      having too little to do.

      During this time of readjustment, I learned to mask a lot of who I
      really was and try to fit in the best I could (still 10 years old)
      because the kids in that town and in my school were extremely cruel
      because I talked different than they did (I lacked the Huckleberry
      Hound dialect) and perhaps other reasons that I was too young to
      understand at the time. There were times that I really only had one
      friend, Tammy, and I suppose I repressed the rejection and ignored
      the remarks for longer than I really remember.

      By the time I reached high school, I became very interested in
      Christianity and began a search that would lead me into the
      charismatic movement for more than a decade. My friend from age 10,
      Tammy, joined the same church I did and for awhile we sang in a trio
      called the "Sounds of Faith" along with the pastor's daughter. I
      managed to become so involved while in high school that I was doing
      the weekly bulletin, and the church newsletter, and was the pianist,
      and was teaching Sunday school to high school kids my own age, and
      invaribly a whole array of other things.

      For the most part, my local church accepted me and loved me and made
      no demands, requirements or hurtful remarks regarding my orientation,
      which by this time was probably apparent to many. I thrived there in
      some ways, while drowning in loneliness in others, and it was a safe
      haven throughout high school.

      After high school, I made the mistake in my zealousness to change
      churches .... I wanted something more progressive, I thought. The
      church I belonged to was pretty backward (I was still in the middle
      of no where!) and I longed for a more relevant Christian experience
      with people who I thought were more spiritually attuned. The new
      church also offered me the chance to become much more active in
      music, which I had developed during this time. I spent a few years
      here, still dealing with my sexuality very strongly (and all alone)
      and also beginning to face opposition and rejection from other church
      members who often made up lies about me to prove their theory that I
      was gay.

      As the lies and half-truths began to surface in church, I somehow
      held closer to God than I ever did. It never made sense to me how
      people could judge someone so harshly over something they had no
      control over (I had still never had a relationship nor dated anyone
      ever!), which was my very orientation. Sex had nothing to do wtih
      anything at this point.

      During the middle 1980s, I was kicked out, chased out or made to feel
      unwelcome at 3 or 4 different churches. I somehow saw the need to
      find another one, each time carrying more baggage and history of an
      abused Christian with me. I found that some Christians were
      uncomfortable with someone wounded. It was very tough, then,
      because the inevitable questions always came up. Very few people I
      encountered were understanding enough to really listen, to consider
      that I didn't one day wake up and make being gay my choice (just love
      that rejection!), or that most of what they were judging me for would
      never really change, because they judged based on outward
      characteristics, not my private life, which they could not see.

      In 1988, I left Oklahoma for good. I relocated in Arkansas in a
      college town of 50,000 people that is small to me now, but was a
      major happening place back then. It was a time of change for me ...
      I continued in church, and at the same time tried to "come out" the
      latter 3 months of the year, but found the outside world and the gay
      culture I experienced too shocking from the sheltered church life I
      was raised in.

      While in college, I decided to study matierals by the ex-gay
      movement, reading books I bought while on vacation so that no one
      would know who I was. I read stories of people who testified of
      overcoming homosexuality, and though it sounded hopeful, it seemed
      too good to be true and overly simplified. Nevertheless, I met a
      wonderful Christian woman a few months later in a photography class
      who really took a liking to me, and we began dating. I had never
      really dated before, so a lot of what we experienced was really
      exciting. Before long, we got married in a beautiful church ceremony
      (but only had 24 people there to my dismay!)

      Before we married, I told my wife a bit about my feelings, and she
      did not judge them. She encouraged me to allow myself to love her
      and perhaps that would make me "straight." Although I did truly love
      my wife, I was never the least bit sexually attracted to her. She
      could have been Julia Roberts, and I don't think I would have
      responded differently in that area. We began to grow apart after
      about six months, and though our marriage lasted 2 1/2 years, I was
      the loneliest I have ever been in my life during that time. My
      marriage to her was not fair to either one of us, but I've found
      people will do a lot based on hope. If I could have read even one
      story such as this I might have thought things out a bit differently.

      The last six months of our marriage, my wife and I moved to Little
      Rock when I accepted a job there. Wow .... this was a real city and
      there seemed to be a lot of gay people around. I was at this time
      pretty bitter with the church, life in general, and perhaps God as
      well. Not knowing what else to do, and seeing that my marriage was
      ending, I began to explore what it was like to be gay.

      At this time in 1992, I told my parents again (The first time was
      1988) and they were very fearful and nonsupportive. My twin brother
      didn't know what to make of it either. They had no skills on how to
      cope with this themselves, and none which gave them the needed
      strength to help me either. The rural areas that they lived in were
      breeding grounds for judgementalism, especially of the religious
      kind, and I think their concern over what other family members would
      think didn't help much either.

      By '94, I was in a relationship with a nice guy and we decided to
      move to Denver. I transferred with my job there, and we relocated
      there excited for a new future. By the fall, though, it was clear
      we were not going anywhere in our relationship, and we became good
      friends, which we remain today.

      About this time, I attended a gay-affirming church I saw advertised
      in Denver. It was my first experience seeing truly worshipful people
      in a predominently gay congregation, and it moved me greatly. I
      became involved there, and the next January, met my future partner,
      Timothy. One Sunday morning, he came with a friend (wearing the
      visitor tag) and sat on the front row. I thought he was cute and
      left it at that.

      But after that service, I was invited to another event where he was
      attending, and we happened to ride in the same car, both of us in the
      backseat, and we visited the whole trip there. The next Saturday,
      the second time I saw him, he was at a birthday party I was also at
      and he asked me out, nervously as he would drag his shoe in the
      gravel. It was so cute, I couldn't bear to say no, and didn't want
      to, either.

      The rest is history. Tim and I have been together nonstop for 7+
      years. We opened a printing business together over 6 years ago, and
      we founded our relationship on Christ from the start. God has so
      blessed what we have done together in so many ways. Our business
      alone was grown from 3 employees in May, 1995 to over 25 this year.

      We also found perhaps the most amazing Christian community around,
      totally by accident. When we decided to open our printing business,
      I kept my ears open for people selling equipment or fixtures. One
      day the end of '95 -- when we had been together less than a year and
      had already decided to go into business together (Were we nuts???), I
      found out that a print shop in Little Rock, where I used to live, was
      closing and had their equipment for sale.

      We announced to friends in Denver we were driving to Little Rock to
      pick up fixtures. A friend said, "How close is Little Rock to
      Sherwood?" I said, "It's a suburb, why?" She said, "You just have
      to go see these guys!"

      Now, Tim and I are not the type to just go visit with strangers, but
      we had already made arrangements not only to look these guys up while
      we were there, but stay with them, something very unlike ourselves
      and something I don't think we've ever done since. But timing is
      everything, and we met Randy McCain and Gary Eddy, two friends who
      would be instrumental in our lives in many ways.

      Randy had recently been fired from a church he was on staff of for
      being gay, and he and Gary had made the decision to begin a church in
      their home. The week we were there was the first service, and we
      felt led to begin being a part of it from day one. That was Open
      Door Community Church in it's earliest days.

      We have watched Open Door grow from a small Bible Study of 4 or 5 to
      over 100 people worshipping in a beatiful building. Tim had never
      been to Little Rock before we met; now we have made dozens of trips
      back there, both by flying and driving, and we continue to long for a
      way to live there. One of the most exciting things that is
      happening there is that there is a really great mix of gay and
      straight, male and female and old and young there; something I had
      not seen in predominently gay churches. And instead of being a
      storefront, they are a suburban congregation spreading the Word in
      the Bible-belt South in a manner which is almost unheard of.

      My hunger for God and my love for Jesus Christ was completely
      restored. The last few years I have studied grace and what the New
      Testament church was founded on, and when I found Open Door, it was
      exactly what I was looking for. To make the story even better, my
      extreme love for worship music made the experience there complete as
      that bunch is incredibly talented and anointed. The feeling there
      is simply inexplainable.

      Tim and I press forward each day, knowing we are accepted by God
      through Jesus Christ, not for who we are, but through what Christ did
      for us. It is a privilege to share with you. We have posted pics
      in this site's photos section.

      I currently host an MSN community which is an outreach of Open Door
      Community Church called "Grace Online". If you would like to check
      out our community, the URL is http://groups.msn.com/GraceOnline. We
      have an active chatroom and good message board discussions. I plan
      to spend some time in this site, too, and hope to meet many of you
      here!

      In Christ,
      David Plunkett
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