Unwanted

What happens to the guy who was a Pastor for 18 years and then tells everyone he’s gay?  Do you know?  I suppose you can always check on Facebook to see if he posts anything.  Maybe something controversial?  Maybe something insightful?  Maybe something nostalgic?    He’s been pretty quiet lately.  I wonder what he’s doing?

How are his kids?  What is happening with his ex wife?  How is she doing?  How is he doing?  Does he have a job?   Does he still go to church?  Does he still believe in God?   Does he have friends?  Does he regret coming out? Does he have community?

Will he start another church someday?  How many friends from his past have stayed in touch?  How many have made him feel unwanted?

 

Last week I got a call from the manager at a Cellular phone store.  He had seen my resume online and asked if I would come in and talk to him.  We met in the back room and he described to me the position that was available.  He shared the compensation plan, and what the training and schedule would look like week to week.   After a year of looking for jobs it felt good to perceive that this guy really wants to hire me.

He began to describe the company’s values. Everything they do was for Christ.  He shared that the owner was the board president at a very large not for profit here in West Michigan. He told me of his involvement in his church and that several other people on staff were attending Bible College. This was a great place to work he explained.  We have integrity here and want to provide great customer service. He advised me to go home to my wife and kids and pray about the decision.  I said ok, we shook hands and I left.  Somehow I just can’t see myself thriving there.  I’m going to pass on that job offer.  However, it did make me think and cause me to desire to share a few thoughts.

My entire ministry I worked very hard to advocate for those who felt they didn’t belong.  I created space in my life and in the communities I cultivated to say to others that they are welcome with no strings attached.  I’m not sure I’ve felt that reciprocated these past 2 years and I feel very sad about that.  I know i’m not alone in feeling unwanted.  I know many people that want to be a part of a church but feel like I did to the manager at the Cellular store.  That if you knew more about me you wouldn’t want me.

This is so sad.  I know better.  I know what the scripture teaches about God’s thoughts towards his creation and his people.  Yet, I haven’t darkened the door of a church in almost a year.  I feel unwanted.  I hope that will change.

 

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10 thoughts on “Unwanted

  1. You are wanted, but there are always going to be people who don’t want you. What I’ve learned is that not being wanted is ok, you can remove negativity like that from your life (not everyone is going to like me, that’s just human nature). If someone doesn’t want you and love you just as you are then it’s time for a change. I haven’t stepped foot in a church for several years. What I’ve found is love and acceptance comes in many forms, through people of many shapes, sizes and beliefs. Your moral compass will guide you and if you are a decent human being then sexuality, financial status, and prestige aren’t the determining factors of having a relationship with someone. If you have to meet certain criteria to be accepted then that’s not really acceptance.

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    1. Thanks John for commenting. I agree with your point that it is impossible to live for everyone’s acceptance. I’m not seeking that. I have learned who my real friends are too. There have been several long standing friends who have treated me no differently after learning of my orientation. They have been a gift to me! Nevertheless, after spending almost half of my life serving in church leadership I am disappointed. I know the message, I know the value of community. I know what it looks like to open arms to just about everyone. I worked very hard to protect people who felt like they didn’t belong. They became valued members of the communities I shepherded. They were wanted and knew they felt they didn’t belong but I taught my congregations to surround them, invite them, get them involved and make sure they know they belong. Because I know the message of love and acceptance that Jesus teaches it causes some angst in me to see the in-congruence. When it comes to homosexuality many churches are stuck. They are unaware that their disposition and language prohibits real people, who long to participate, from even trying to become a part of their community. I am gaining certain ground in the fact that I want to somehow be a part of this conversation versus just washing my hands of almost 20 years of my past.

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  2. Robb
    I will never forget our time with you at our little trailer ☺️, it was a time in our life that we knew we where not living for God, we were a mess. For months you were so kind, I will never forget eating meals with you, you loving on Abbi giving her her first pair of shoes, and in the most non judging way giving us the gospel in a way that just made me hungry to know God and what he desired me to be. Two 19 year old kids, so lost and God sent us and angel – One thing I really remember you saying was if you don’t get married and get in Gods will he can’t bless you. I believe those words down to my core. God has been so good and you were a part of that I am forever greatful. We are coming up on 21 years in 2 weeks. It broke my heart to read your post ❤️, I am sorry if we have been apart of making you feel that way.
    I think of you often and pray for you and Michelle and the kids. I know that Gods got a plan for you, you are so gifted. You are a mighty force for him even though you may not see that right now. May God give you peace and comfort you during this time.
    Know that you are loved by the Reileys, you showed us so much love when many looked down on us. God bless you Robb !! But go to church 😉

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  3. I agree with John. If you need to change who you are in order to be accepted then you need to remove those people from your life. I know that’s not always possible but the less poisonous people are in your life the better. I hope you find more acceptance around you Rob and I truly believe that you’ll learn how to navigate your life better now that you can see people for who they really are. No one has the right to judge you and nobody’s judgements should make you feel different or unwanted.
    Now, I’m not a parent, but I think the only people who’s opinion of you counts is your children’s. Be a good father, first and foremost, and their gratitude and acceptance will (hopefully) mean more to you than any church congregation ever would. Personally, I imagine I would’ve had a much easier time accepting myself (along with my sexuality) if I knew deep down someone was supportive of me early on in my childhood and I can’t see why the opposite can’t be true of you and your kids, except the other way round. I may not be a believer and I may be half your age but I’m positive that the relationships with your kids and others close to you are gonna get you through these tough times. Remember, you’re apart of the LGBT community now and you’ll always be accepted here. Good luck friend,
    GC

    P.S. Are you going to be posting more often? I’d love to read more from you.

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    1. Thanks GC for your comments! I do hope to be able to post more often. I would like to find a way to advocate more for people like myself who feel disenfranchised by the church or whom feel some sense of shame because of their orientation because of religious teachings.

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  4. After looking for a job for over a year, being offered an interview and passing because you might not thrive? How is your family thriving? If you read my comments after your first post, you know that I can relate to your position. However, knowing you had homosexual tendencies, you chose to get married anyway. You chose to have children and you chose to leave them. I’m afraid I cannot see you as the victim here, not that you are trying to be. We all have to pay the consequences for our decisions, whatever they may be. You may not have chosen your orientation, but you did choose many of the paths your life took. With those choices comes responsibility. Are you living up to those responsibilities?

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    1. Thanks for weighing in Craig. One very good option for anyone in our position is to stay married. I hope you are able to use your story to help others discover that there is a way to work this out. To stay married and have a healthy relationship. It did not work out that way for me. Not being a family bears much heartache. It is not an easy path to take. Does anyone know that you are in this situation? Have you been able to share your story?

      My decision to not pursue this job was based on many factors. One of them was the fact that it would not pay the bills. My family would definitely not thrive if I cannot continue to support them. I do have an income. I am paying my bills. I have been looking for a job that can provide better for my family, with a more predictable schedule and where my gifts and talents can be better utilized (where I’ll thrive).

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  5. You feel unwanted ? Maybe this is the Lord’s way of showing you how your ex-wife and kids feel. I agree with Craig. You chose this path, not only for you, but for the family you left behind.

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