Friday, April 3, 2009

A Long Post on Brother M

Brother M is one of my accountability partners. He tends to "M"eander when he talks. Likes to meander to conversations about "stuff" (home repairs, taxes, etc.) and also theology and evangelism. If what you are talking about sparks off some distant experience of his, Brother M might meander there and talk about that for 5 minutes, leaving you all confused as to what he is going on about. But if you wait long enough, he'll come back to the topic at hand with a little new insight he's drawn by connecting the original topic to his other distant experience. Only, you'd have to wait and listen to the whole thing before the connection is made and articulated.

I love Brother M. I sought him out one day at church three years ago and "forced myself" upon him. Said that I wanted to talk to him, get to know him, and have breakfast with him. After some time over breakfast [read: after some time of meandering around topics], he said "I get this feeling that there is something else you wanted to talk to me about." That was when I spilled the beans about my same-sex attraction.

His response?

He said that he was deeply moved by my honesty, and that he had had another experience from way back (no, he was not meandering that time) with a roommate at Bible College who confided in him that he was sexually attracted to him. Apparently that friend fully turned over to the gay lifestyle. He prayed for me, and I think he even patted me on the shoulder.

Over the past 5 months, I had been disappointed with Brother M. When I started this blog, I told him about it. But he lost the URL. I sent it to him again. Today, when I confronted him about it, he apologized for not following up on my blog.

We talked this morning, Brother M and I.  I shared with him about the changes that I've been going through since meeting Brother A. I also told him that I am connecting well with Brother B. "Both of them," I said, "are men who are emotionally intense and they don't give up." I explained to him what I am learning about defensive detachment. I explained to him that I get critical and intellectual when I am in the presence of other men, but that it is a shield of self-protection. I explained that I am now learning how to be vulnerable with men: to admit that I feel inadequate, to admit that I feel less-than as a man, and to admit that I really long for deep, intimate emotional connection with men.

In our prayer together this morning, I asked God to guide me as to my relationship with him. If it grows deeper, that I would be vulnerable and continue to risk putting my heart out there, but if it doesn't, then to just accept the friendship for what it is.

Before we parted, I told Brother M that I would let him pursue me now. After clarifying a bit more, he said that perhaps after he returns from his trip overseas we could meet up again (which would make it mid-May.) This was after our conversation in which I said--extremely vulnerably--that I wish I could just call him up on the phone when I was feeling weak or drop by and hang out at his house like a brother. This is a man whom I had been meeting up with regularly for over 3 years, and our families play together often. This is a man who knows everything about me. He could not even suggest that I could email, or call, or connect for a few minutes a couple of times a week.

Again, I was disappointed with him.

But here is the most amazing thing. Despite my disappointment, I did not feel hurt. Brother M is who he is. He does love me. He even said so this morning. But Brother M is typically guy. He likes "stuff" (home repairs, taxes, cars, bikes) and he's not exactly adroit in the realm of intimate relations, esp. between men. That's okay. I'll let my feelings sit for a couple of days. Then, I might decide to let it be, or to let go of my defensive detachment and pursue him. I know he would never turn me away. He really does love me. And he always thanks God for our time spent together, genuinely appreciating "learning new things" from our interactions.

I have never "pursued" a man in this way before. This would be a first. And I think it would be an act arising out of a place of healing.

Side note on male intimacy and sexual arousal [previous post here]: Brother M told me that he has had occasions too in the past when feelings of intimacy with another man would have led him to sexual (or sensual) arousal had he allowed it to continue. Brother M is straight as a log and has trouble keeping his mind off women.


  1. This is your second post I've read...I'm starting to get excited about reading more!
    I'm obviously just starting to get to know you, but I'd encourage you to pursue the relationship. I have a feeling you'll learn lots and be continually challenged to grow in your confidence and masculinity. We all long for the emotional caring man who will empathize with us...but often that type of relationship doesn't challenge us to push forward in our growth.
    As long as Brother M loves you and keeps your stuff confidential, I'd say you've got a good thing.

  2. Thanks Daniel. Can you tell me a bit more what you mean about being "challenged to grow in confidence and masculinity," especially with regard to my pursuing Brother M? If what you are saying is what I am thinking, then I think I might already be on that track. But I'd like to hear your thoughts more when you have a moment.

  3. Men are often quite passive and "shy" in developing friendships...especially deeper ones. And especially in American culture!
    I've found that I need to veiw myself as a a man with something to offer another may be even a potential mentor of another man...or at least enter into a mutually/equally encouraging and challenging type relationship.
    As I've grown closer to God and aim to follow Jesus' example, I realize I need to be the one to step up and pursue relationships...even if I'm younger than the other man. And most of the time I am, but that will change as I get older :P
    Was that more clear?

  4. Yes, sounds good, very good. I will write about that in Part 2 of my Summary Reflections post. Hopefully tomorrow. Good night!