Discovering True Masculinity

My adolescence was a social nightmare. I grew up in the rural South but didn’t fit the mold of Southern masculinity in the slightest. Sports piqued no interest in me; roughhousing made me nervous; slaying innocent animals seemed cruel and gross. Of course I never expressed such blasphemies—I wasn’t stupid! But I was everything opposite of what my Duck Dynasty-like culture insisted I should be. I was sensitive. I liked to read. I liked to draw. I liked to journal. I wasn’t your mud ridin’, hog huntin’ kind of boy.

The nightmare cranked up to a Freddy Krueger level of horror when I realized I was attracted to the same sex. While my male peers were crushing on girls, I was crushing on them. I didn’t utter the word “gay” to describe myself until I was 19 years old, and no one prior to that time knew about my so-called sexual orientation. But I knew. I was painfully aware of how abnormal, unmanly, distorted, and screwed up I was, which made relating to other guys . . . well, I just didn’t relate to them.

You could see how this might make life a little scary for me.

Feeling Other

I really thought whatever god was responsible for creating me must have been a little drunk when he pieced me together. I never felt like a woman, nor did I want to be one, but I also didn’t feel like a man. I felt other, which made me feel inferior to other males and uncomfortable around them. I mean, sure, I had guy friends. But those friendships were a forgery. Those guys didn’t know the person I really was inside; they only knew the fake Matt—the Matt who played football, partied, and dated girls just to be perceived as normal. The real Matt Moore, the one I concealed from their sight, was constantly filled with fear and anxiety in their company since I didn’t believe I measured up to their standard of manliness. I felt less than what I was supposed to be. Incomplete. Distorted. Other.

Fast-forward six years through a lot of junk and drama, and I found myself a Christian in a new community: the church. Though my soul’s deepest need (reconciliation with God) was satisfied through being united to Jesus, the relational sphere of my life remained strangled by insecurity and feelings of inferiority. I still felt inadequate as a man and painfully uncomfortable in the presence of other guys.

So even in the church, the place where I should’ve felt most at home, I felt somewhat alienish. I saw Christian brotherhood beautifully displayed in the various churches I visited during the first two years of my new life in Jesus, but I didn’t believe I was “man enough” to fit into it. And I didn’t think I could handle the rejection I believed would come if I tried. So I lingered in the shadows of church life, attending services and then quickly escaping before any of the men could pin me down and invite me to “hang out.”

But one Sunday morning, I got pinned.

Getting Pinned

After the service concluded, I began to sneak out of the building when some guy literally began to yell my name. I turned around and slowly began making my way toward this unashamed shouter who successfully interrupted my escape. I recognized him immediately: Kyle. A couple of weeks prior, Kyle, a staff member at the church, had introduced himself via Facebook message after running across one of my blog posts, seeing my picture, and recognizing me as a regular visitor.

He reached out his hand to shake mine, introducing himself again, and after a few minutes of chitchat, he released me from what I’m sure he could tell was a terribly awkward situation for me. But little did I know that terribly awkward situation would be the beginning of an incredible friendship—a friendship that would transform my life in a million different ways.

At his prodding, Kyle and I started meeting once a week for breakfast. Most guys I knew only got together to do things: throw the football, build something, shoot something, or other things I lacked the ability to do. This was the first time I regularly met with another man just to talk. I thought our conversations would be forced and awkward, but they weren’t—at all. They were fluid, honest, and comfortable. He didn’t shy away from my messy homosexual past or my ongoing struggle with those tendencies. He spoke comfortably about this struggle of mine, not painting it any weirder or worse than his own struggles. Kyle engaged me in a way that didn’t make me feel my personality and sin struggles invalidated me as a man. He treated me like an equal—an equal in Christ and an equal in manhood.

Pushing Down Walls

When I discovered Kyle was moving to New Orleans to plant a church, I prayed and decided to join him and his team. Months later, eight of us made our way down to the Big Easy and formed our own itty bitty church community. Though I experienced an unprecedented level of comfort and ease in my relationship with Kyle, I still retreated from the other two men in our super small church. However, just like Kyle, neither accepted my retreat. They both relentlessly pursued my friendship and made constant efforts to make me feel I belonged.

And by “make me feel like I belonged,” I don’t mean they tried to shape me into their image. They didn’t give me a guy-makeover, forcing me to go to football games or participate in other culturally masculine activities I didn’t enjoy. They sat down and talked to me. They invited me over for dinner or out for coffee and initiated conversations about things in which they knew I had interest. They asked about my life. They asked about my family. They told me about their life. They told me about their family. They shared their struggles in a way that showed me they didn’t view my same-sex attraction as worse or weirder than their own moral brokenness. These guys embraced the patient work of pushing through my walls and getting to know me.

After ample time with these men, I began to see we weren’t all that different. Sure, they loved football, and I didn’t. But aside from our different interests and hobbies (which I’d finally begun to believe have no bearing on how “manly” one is), we were similar people who loved Jesus and valued meaningful friendship. As I observed their lives they led, the image I had in my mind of what it meant to be a man started to crumble. A man could be gentle and compassionate. A man could be thoughtful and sensitive. A man could be a better conversationalist than he is a sportsman. A man could talk about women with respect and integrity. A man could struggle with various weaknesses. If these men, even with their deep flaws, accurately represented what it means to be a man, then I also met the standard.

Real Manhood

Seeds of healthy confidence in my God-given manhood began to settle into my heart. I started to see God had wired into me truly masculine traits—such as compassion for the marginalized, a desire to protect and care for the weak, and a resilience to follow and obey Christ. And yeah, my sexuality is jacked up. But I finally started to see that my brokenness doesn’t invalidate me as a man. Every day I’m submitting it to the will and power of God. I could be straight as an arrow but still fall terribly short of manhood if I didn’t submit my heterosexuality to the revealed will of God. It’s more masculine to be mainly attracted to men yet obedient to God than it is to be mainly attracted to women and disobedient to God. A celibate same-sex attracted guy is far more of a man than a womanizing guy who bows to the will of his sex drive. Real men obey God.

Growing to see myself as nothing more and nothing less than a redeemed man who struggles with the flesh might be the most freeing transformation I’ve experienced as a Christian. It’s freed me from anxiety, from feelings of inferiority, and from living in the shadows of isolation. And it’s freed me to meaningful friendship and fellowship with a local church—and with a community of men—who love Jesus. If the guys I’ve spent the latter half of this article describing hadn’t rallied around me in authentic friendship, I would’ve experienced none of this.

I’m so grateful God brought men into my life who didn’t try to give me a “guy makeover.” Instead, they sought me as I was, loved me when I didn’t want them to, and allowed me to learn what manhood is really about. They will never know to what depths they’ve enriched my life.

 

  • Barbara Ann Fanta

    ” A celibate same-sex attracted guy is far more of a man than a womanizing guy who bows to the will of his sex drive. Real men obey God.” What a great statement. Our struggles may differ, but we all have them. They are real and they threaten our walk with God, especially when we start believing the enemy’s lies about our value as a person. Keep the faith, Matt. Your posts are an inspiration.

  • Lyle Nelson

    I also have same-sex attraction, but went a completely different route. Rather than “fake it”, I retreated and became a loner. Thus diverting any suspicion, as far as I knew. Not so unusual for a loner not to have any dates, nor try to hang out with the other guys and appear “normal” etc. Perfect cover, right?

    After many years of living in the gay lifestyle and discovering it brought no happiness, I also turned to God and to the church. I was somewhat limited in who I told my secret to (and actually I think that’s a good idea). But also had generally positive experiences, despite that lingering feeling of “not fitting in” anywhere.

    But over time, I grew more and more tired of keeping that secret and less guarded with it. And still experienced positive reactions and supportiveness. Perhaps not to the degree that Matt did, due to a different environment, the curse of “busyness” that affects our modern culture, a larger and somewhat less close-knit church group etc. No two situations are identical.

    I also went through a program called Living Waters, which is a group counseling program for those with relational and sexual brokenness. And in that program it was emphasized that one of the very most important elements of relational healing was the development of healthy same-sex relationships within the church.

    And I am convinced that a lot of Christians WANT to be of help here, but they just don’t know HOW to do it, so they hold back. Matt provides some excellent suggestions here, and I would urge everyone reading this to forward it to appropriate members of their church, including the leadership, and being a force for change, both personally and with other church members. This is definitely an area where the Church can be a very positive influence in meeting the needs of broken people!

    • Andrea E. S.

      Lyle, I think it may have been a different time period for you, as well. I hope no offense is taken to this, but your profile pic looks a bit older than Matt. 😉 And I can’t imagine the pain you dealt with, hiding your “secret”. This younger generation of Godly men, seem to be accepting more and reaching out more to those with same-sex attractions. (Albiet, some churches are still absolutely HIDEOUS towards SSA) I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the rejection, humiliation, fear and despair you must have felt. I’m a straight woman who was raised in the “church” and said horrible things about people with SSA. Never to their face, but I’m sure you sensed it from people like me. What is so different a sin than sex before marriage, instead of as God intended, or adultery? Or any other sin for that matter??? I’ve been married 4x. I’ve had sex many times before I even married the first husband. I’ve never met you, but I was in those warped churches with warped mentalities.
      May your love for Jesus keep growing.
      Your comments usually follow Matt’s posts. I keep thinking maybe you ought to start your own blog. You are seemingly committed to support the followers of Christ!
      Lyle, I also want to thank you for sharing “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan with me!! I’d started to read it right after you shared about it, but put it down for a while. Last night I was up until 3am reading it and did not want to put it down!! (The first few chapters are tough to get past and I honestly wanted to stop reading) Lyle, I don’t know if it’s the major surgery I just went through, or the painful discovery of my child being in a major depression, or even the odd early waking this Easter Sunday to literally run to embrace church after years of disdain for church people….But combine these things with reading that book… I’m hungry for God and to fall headlong into love with Jesus!! What an odd way for Jesus to get my attention! Between you and Matt, I want to thank you both!! From the depths of my heart, I pray your love for God and people continues!! Be blessed!!

      • Brandon Burrell

        Bless you sister.

        • Andrea E. S.

          Thank you Brandon! In the name of Jesus, blessings to you!

  • Genoteleno

    There is little more of a deterrent to one who is hurting and struggling (e.g. we all) other than Christians who wear the false face of perfection. This seems to be happening all to often in the Christian brotherhood. Another excellent writing Matt and another scenario that I, too, have found myself struggling within. Your words could have been penned by myself in my own experience. Well said and I sincerely hope the positive influences continue to flow in your life, always keeping truth to the forefront, of course!

  • Catie

    This is amazing and wonderful. THANK YOU for sharing your heart and the work God has done in you. You are encouraging so many!!!!

  • Aaron Siver

    Oh, that sense of “other”. All too familiar. Thanks for the candor and encouragement, Matt.

  • Michael Perkins

    I pray that more churches are beginning to see the value of each person individually rather than the stereotypes that our American culture puts on us both men and women. I have felt like you Matt for years, even pushing off God given talents thinking they chained me to the homosexual life. Thankfully I too found within my church community men who would not allow me to see myself for anything but how God created me to be. This consistent and relentless pursuit of me, reminding me of who I am in Christ is what has helped to secure in me a strong foundation of my masculinity. I am at home within my own skin today more than I ever have been! My likes, talents, hobbies are all just what makes my masculinity unique, and I love how God, through the men I walk out this life with on a daily basis, has shown me this to be true!

  • Richard K.

    Thank you for courageously giving testimony to how God can use Christian brothers to further His purposes in the lives of men. The relentless pursuit you mention seems to echo God’s desire for significant relationship. Grateful for what He has done and is doing in your life.

  • Laurie Anne

    I just love your blogs, Matt. You inspire me every day. I was saved on a street corner in Houston in 1970, in front of God and everyone else. 🙂 A man with long hair and a beard led me to the Lord, right after I approached him asking if he had any pot to sell. He whipped out a small NT from his shirt pocket and began an hour-long attempt to persuade me that what I really needed was Jesus. I found a church a few years later that had similar saints to those you met, who didn’t reject me because of my past, but encouraged me to walk with and seek God every day of my life. So many years ago, now. But believe me, it flies by. I pray for you sometimes. Lord bless.

  • Bob Mullins

    Powerful article Matt. Progress! Oh and if they have read this article they sure have some idea of their part in it… And are thrilled for you.

  • NjeriGachuki

    I love this Matt! Thank you for the authentic share. Your story is truly inspiring.

  • Andrea Swarts

    I am encouraged to be a friend like Kyle… always open about my own brokenness. Thank you for sharing your heart Matt. God is using you powerfully to show the Church God’s desire to submitting our lives before Him. Many blessings from South Africa 🙂

  • Andrea Swarts

    I am encouraged to be a friend like Kyle… always open about my own brokenness. Thank you for sharing your heart Matt. God is using you powerfully to show the Church God’s desire to submitting our lives before Him. May blessings from South Africa 🙂

  • Beautiful! Powerful!

  • Eileen

    Beautiful, Matt.

  • Pam

    Thank you for your openness and honesty here and always! We all need to be people willing to stop the busyness and acknowledge what’s most important in this life. We all need to stop being afraid and open ourselves up to relationships that help in the process of sanctification- our own as well as other’s.
    Your words via this blog and elewhere can inspire this generation, never stop speaking the truth in love! May God continue to bless you!

  • Brandon Burrell

    Wow! Real men obey God! Yes! And thank you Lord. It’s so beautiful, Matt, to see how God is loving you through these men, and restoring you, with His love. And you are a part of that same process, in the lives of your friends as well. God is so good!

  • D Baty

    Well writ! Thanks for sharing your insights and how Jesus has worked in your life.

  • Darrell Waters

    That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing. I was blessed and encouraged by your testimony of this. I was wondering how you might have become ssa. Although I don’t believe people are born outright homosexuals/lesbians, I do believe that they may or may not be born with same sex attractions (ssa), and even have them after they get saved. For all of my growing up years, I thought ssa was the love of God. I know there’s more to friendship than just hugging, but I’m a pretty big hugger, at least of men. I can get too attracted to one man who may have qualities I admire, or may be very friendly and outgoing. I like when you said, “A celibate same-sex attracted guy is far more of a man than a womanizing guy who bows to the will of his sex drive. Real men obey God.” You should’ve put an ! at the end of that last sentence though.

    • Darrell Waters

      Although I didn’t really think I had a problem with it, when i took a Christian psycology course called temperament therapy. I was diagnosed, if you want to call it that, with a problem of pent up anger. On only 2 occasions in my life have I expressed pretty extreme outrageous anger, although unfortunately, both have been in the past few years, and one, more fear than anger I thijnk was just in the past few months, some time toward the end of last year. That last one was more fear, maybe of getting caught. I have gotten caught on one occasion after that. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t 44 and was still young enough to be spanked. It’s not that I ever enjoyed being spanked when I was growing up, but I just knew if and when I needed one, and sometimes I’d remind my parents to do that if they said they would.

      • Darrell Waters

        The one thing that does make me mad, more than anything else is if I think a parent is punishing a child for something the child says they didn’t do, unless I know the child is lying, it bothers me. I do realize that most of the time children lie to keep from getting in trouble. I think we’re all guilty of it while growing up, even Christian children occasionally. Two instances come to mind. One is where a teenage girl had her cell phone turned on and someone called her in church, and we were about to start a drama practice but we hadn’t yet. The girl didn’t answer the phone but stopped it from ringing immediately, but her mom still said, “You’re in trouble.” I even told my parents about it, adn they talked as if they wondered why the girl’s mom did that. The girl’s mom doesn’t even attend our church anymore, and from my understanding of what my mom said, it’s because the lady in charge of the kitchen of a children’s camp ministry out church puts on every summer said, she didn’t have anything for this certain lady to do. Makes me wonder how she treated her now grown girl behind closed doors. Neither of them come to our church anymore.

        The other illustration, true story is of somethign that happened during the Christmas holidays. My parents and I ate at a restaurant the week of Christmas, after I went to visit a doctor for a checkup. I heard this mom and son or daughter talking and this otehr woman, I’m guessing an aunt, or the mom’s friend, was with them. TEh mom told the child to sit over, apparently away form the table, but close to where the mom and otehr lady were sitting. He/she asked why, because I said so,” was the response. Of course sometimes that’s ALL you can tell a child, maybe even 11 or 12 years old. Don’t know how old this child was. As the conversation continued, I heard the child say, “I made 100,” and the mom kept saying, “I don’t care.” So I knew the child was being grounded by not being allowed to eat, more than likely, because that was probably the only good grade the child made in that week of finals. It wasn’t long before mom & child went outside. I’ve always wondered if the child didn’t even get any clothes, not even a pair of socks for Christmas that week because of his/her bad grades. I always hope if he/she didn’t get at least some clothes, such as socks, it was only after the mom said, “If you don’t complain because you’re not getting to eat at the Craker Barrel this evening even though you made that 100, I’ll give you something for Christmas, although it won’t be something real nice like an iphone. It maybe several pairs of socks or something, but if you complain about this punishment one more time, you’ll not get anything for Christmas even though you did make that 100. That’s what I would’ve done if I was her and if the child wouldn’t have listened to me and let me say all that, I would’ve told her, “All right, I was going to get you something small for Christmas because of that 100, but since you didn’t listen to me and let me finish, you’re not even giong to get anything although you made that 100.

        • Darrell Waters

          That’s an area satan and/or my flesh loves to attack me in since I can’t see good. Certain movies, even if they’re clean and fiction, can make me VERY ANGRY, one of which is The Grace Card. There’s a scene in whcih this teenage boy is telling his deadbeat dad that he’s been kicked out of a private high school due to bad behaviour and poor grades. The poor boy does this reluctantly at hte advice of a Christian counselor and his mom, knowing and having told both women that he knows it won’t work, and sure enough, it doesn’t. His dad starts wrecking the furniture and he starts a big fight. His son manages to stay calm for a few minutes but then he raises his voice and says something like, “See, it doesn’t work. You wonder why I do’nt come in here to supper, I can’t even have one decent conversation with you. All you want to do is fight!” The boy says something else that happened, and the dad stands up and says, “Oh this just in!…” bla bla bla! and the boy stand up too and starts to say something. There’s no cussing. The mom stands up and steps in and says “STop it both of you!” The boy walks out fo the house. A few scenes later the policesmen, one of whom is the boy’s dad, gets called to a crime scene, he shoots, only to find out he’s just shot and nearly killed his own son, The other preacher/policeman informs the man’s wife, the boys mom, his dad has shot and nearly killed their son at a crime scene. She’s driven to the hospital by this black preacher/policemen while being informed of what happened. She gets out of the police car, runs up to her husband and kind of holers a “What have you done,” and gives her husbnda a much needed smack upside the jaw! I had to get rid of the DVD and gave my zune to mom that had it on it, because I always felt like telling her, “When your son walked out of your house, why didn’t get get an iron skillet or hammer and beat your husband’s head into a bloody pulp?

          • Darrell Waters

            I think I told you my ssa was restarted or intesified when I saw a Christian TV show in which it appeared 2 forigen men kissed very quickly on the lips as a greeting only, like ome women in families do in the U.S. and also a Christian movie in which 2 men definately kissed as a greeting there, with a slower but still quick peck.

          • Darrell Waters

            So I think all of that has intensified somewhat my ssa, when I started scouring the net for cultures where men kiss with a quick peck and not be gay, and when I found it said that there are cultures where dads and grown sons kiss lips without incest being involved and when I couldn’t find anyone willing to do it, I stated looking at gay incest porn for just smooching. I’ve been convited and done things to stop, but need to do much more. If there’d have been a smooching scene with a long still kiss and some short kisses or een some wet sucking make out kisses, I’d have kept the DVD and my zune, and just watch that and be addicted to the kissing scene. I miss the days when my dad and I would kiss on the lips with long dry kisses. I’m willing to stop before ssa gets me into such relationships. I’m glad I got rid of the DVD and zune too, especially the DVD. If I would’ve kept The Grace Card DVD, I believe I would have watched the sad true story movie, Prayers for Bobby again, which I watched on youtube. I never want to watch that movie again! I’m through venting now, and by God’s help and grace I’ll try to remember not to post any of this stuff again unless you, Bro. Matt Mooore, want to discuss this witwh me further, or anyone else does also.

          • Brandon Burrell

            God loves you so much Darrell. He loves you.

          • Darrell Waters

            I’m through venting now and I’ll try to remember not to say anything else about all this unless someone else on here does. Thanks.

  • Jon Evan

    You don’t speak of it in the post, but the picture refers to it. While the emotional and spiritual support that non-gay men provide to ssa afflicted men is necessary and so healing as you attest, how did you deal with the physical hugs/embraces etc.? Often, non-gay men can be quite touchy/huggy without realizing how difficult it can be for many ssa-men to process especially from non-gay men whom they might be attracted and who thereby push ‘button’s. Did you have an issues with that in the church?

  • M.C.

    Do you remember those ads – I think they were for razors or shaving cream – where they had John Elway or some other great athlete, they shared some story from their life and ended by saying something like “I definitely feel comfortable in my own skin”? As a gay guy, can’t say I was ever all that comfortable in my own skin. But going to church, the discomfort ratcheted up. It’s like trading trying to fit in gay culture with trying to fit in church culture, which for guys here means having faith equates with man up. I get the being responsible in the kingdom, there is strength and good in doing my part, but it still feels so removed from finding “rest in my identity as a man.” I’ve been taught that this life as a Christian means that you fight sin and your flesh and the devil and the world, but sometimes I find myself wishing that at least in church it’s enough to just be a guy who loves Jesus. But that’s on me being weak in the fight. Hey man, really happy that you found a church that helped you find that rest. And at the moment, really envious. Thanks Matt for writing hope.

    • AkRidgie

      I do not know if you will ever read or see this M.C.; but I read your post two days ago and it made me sad. It also made me see a bit of me in it. I do not battle homosexual tendencies, but I do know what it feels like to fight everyday for faith. I have OCD, and fighting the anxiety, the worthlessness, and the compulsion to perfectly and faithfully carry everything out daily wears, defeats and deflates me. I get so tired of fighting. So tired of living up to the standard that I should not be letting anything affect me. So tired of feeling like a failure. It is on those days, and there are a lot of them, that I fall to my knees and beg God to give me strength, hold me up, and tell him I cannot fight any more today. I other words, surrender. I do not surrender to the world, I surrender to God, He who can bear not only the weight of the world, but also the weight of my problems. I do not know your situation, nor is mine the same as yours; but might I suggest instead of fighting the world you surrender to God? I hope I have not overstepped my bounds. I also hope that you find a Church that will accept you as a man who loves Jesus.

      • M.C.

        Thanks AkRidgie for leaving the encouragement. I had a friend who had OCD and somedays it was debilitating to her, she stayed home alot and it was tough on her kid. OCD is a tough draw in life. Hey man, don’t feel sad for me. My comment came after reading Matt’s post and me just wanting what Matt found and wanting things easy at church. Matt’s blog is my go to place when I’m struggling cause he’s been there and he tells it like it is and he always points to Jesus and has great advice based on the bible.
        Earlier this week, I was feeling lost and submerged, and left a comment on an older post that was at best a pity party that wouldn’t help anyone who read it and I shouldn’t have been written it. If the guys at church saw it, I’d probably be kicked out of men’s group and sent for counseling. I didn’t know how to delete it so I left an apology. The saving grace is it’s from a few months ago and hopefully no one sees it.
        Rest easy, you didn’t overstep anything. Matter of fact, I appreciate you taking the time. Altho SSA is a private battle, I often forget that I’m not alone and don’t need to fight till I drop. I’ve found the wounds God always heals and make me stronger. May God strengthen you for your walk.

  • D M

    So much truth here. I loved reading this.

  • Kenton Kelly Clark

    Thanks for your candor Matt…I know your struggle very well…even legally changed my name at 18 from “Kelly” in a effort to be more masculine and “fit in” with the guys…it didn’t work!! God is healing my insecurities and I actively participate in a Christian men’s group and am starting to develop Christian male friendships. God is working!!!

  • Artboy

    For the sake of comparing notes on the fascinating topic of masculinity:
    I think one’s father plays a huge role in welcoming one into the world of manhood. My dad was an iron-worker and a “man’s man,” yet he was also a family man, a church man, and a great dad. I was a weird, skinny, artistically gifted little kid. Even though my dad probably didn’t know quite what to do with me, I always felt loved and accepted by him, and never felt pressured to conform to his style of masculinity, (though I still aspired to look like him.) After I hit puberty, I did like sports and girls, but I also have usually felt different and out of place in the company of most men. I just didn’t care, I assume because of the secure standing that my dad instilled in me.

    I’m curious if others here think this is an important factor in the development of one’s masculine identity.

    • Eddie

      I agree that fathers play a HUGE role in cultivating the masculinity in our sons’ lives. In speaking with other brothers on the YOB blog, I have come across other guys that also feel out of place around other guys to the point of social anxiety. Like you they are artistically inclined but unlike you some were not raised in ideal settings to foster a full fledged male identity or masculinity in their lives. Although based on Matt’s blog, we may need to revisit the definition of masculinity and amend it. I myself was raised by an emotionally distant father who only provided for my essential needs, never emotional needs like affection or affirmation. It has left a void in my person. Personally, I’m thrilled to hear that your father never pressured you to be anyone other than who you are and as you say “always felt loved and accepted by him.” God has blessed you sir.

  • Karen Thomas

    I love your articles, and many of them have touched my heart and brought me to tears. You are a true man and a shining example of what a real christian man should be. I am so proud of you and so thankful that God gave you the men in your life that are true men as well. I am honored to read your posts. Even though our lives are completely different (I am a heterosexual woman), you touch me and inspire me! May God bless you continually as you continually bless me! With much affection, Karen 🙂

  • buccoman

    I’m sure we disagree theologically and politically about a lot of issues regarding same sex attraction, and marriage, but we can certainly agree that there are many ways to express masculinity. Nicely written, Matt; happy to see an alternative masculine lifestyle represented by an evangelical Christian.

  • thomas bailey

    Wow! Read Matts piece Monday and cant shake it outta my mind.
    From the age 8 to 18 I was sexually abused by and uncle and a older cousin, (not father and son). Felt like I was born with a sign attached to my back that said “Do me”.
    I broke away from “it” by enlisting in the service during the Viet Nam war. When I returned home I had gained the courage to say NO to these two.
    But the damage had been done. I was so screwed up sexually that I couldn’t secure any type of relationship with a woman which I desired very much.
    But thankfully God sent a good Christian woman into my life when I was 25 old. We married and God blessed us with 2 beautiful girls. She and God pursued me to become a Christian at 34 yoa.
    I’m secure in my standing with our Lord but I still find it difficult to get close to my Brothers in Christ.
    I keep a certain distance that robs me of enjoying their strength. I never allow myself to go very far or deep with any male believer.
    I relate to Matt about living in a rural small town full of hunters. It’s difficult to find someone to open up to.
    Matt’s article has tearfully given me direction to pray for God’s help in seeking a Brother that I can trust.

    • Eddie

      If I might be so bold to say and I’m no shrink. It sounds like you’re dealing with a form of homophobia. I want to say not a fear of gay men per se, but of men in general as a result of your abuse. As unsettling as it may come, I encourage you to seek after a Godly brother and possibly brethren to foster a relationship with. I say this a means to overcome any fear or insecurity you might be harboring inside.

  • Matt,
    With me it was the older cousin and uncle from 7 years old until I was about 11. I am a Christian and have been for about 11 years now, but by no means would I ever say that it’s always been easy! Recently it has been very confusing as it seems I have entered deep water with a tremendous undertow.
    I’m happy for you that you have been shown this new kind of friendship offered by guys. I hope it grows.
    I have never been shown that kind of friendship from other guys and after I was saved the friends that were female wanted nothing more to do with me. I hate to sound bitter, but this is the only way I know to say what I feel. I rely on the fact that it’s under God’s control and that, because He sees the entire picture whereas I can’t, this too shall pass.
    I come to tears much of the time now as I become convinced that “alone” is to be my place. I try not to say this in a hateful way, so Please no one take it as such, but there have been times in the past that I have reached out to men that attended the same church as me and to some on here only to be greeted with smiles and pats on the back. Then there’s where it stops, and these are not my words, “If you and I started talking to each other on the phone then people will think we are seeing one another!” I tried to explain that we live states apart and people will say that about any guy that they hang out with, but I was told, “It was just not a good idea.”
    I don’t expect you to understand and I never want to go back into the world. Just realize that the doors aren’t swinging wide like this for all, even when we opened them. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson to learn that when I reach for friendship that I get my hand slapped like the correction of a child.

  • Jerry Reiter

    I was athletic, popular and loved high school. Did not change my sexual orientation. Never does.

    • Mat Woo

      I’m 29 and I’ve been reading Matt’s blog posts for a a few years now… I was born into a fundamentalist family. I was beaten up towards the “right path” by fanatic parents and family. My family did sexual abuse like bees do honey. Eldest of 9, I realized I was gay when I was 15 in high-school. But I pursued God my entire life, I tried everything: every denomination, deliverance, I joined cults, I gave up self, I put on new self, I buried old self, I tried to view myself as gay, as non-gay, as ex-gay, as a new creature harassed by sin, by flesh. I took possession of the promises by faith. Then when I had no more faith I waited. I waited for words, for dreams, for prophecy. I confessed pride, arrogance even hatred for God and his Word. But it only made my life more and more miserable, and I sinked always deeper into depression and self-rejection. I joined many churches where so-called “Christian brothers” were actually faking in just as I was, except that they were often very open about having lustful thoughts towards girls and would laugh about it with you if you were a good enough “buddy”. But whenever I would say something too homo they would, in all good conscience, remind me that they were the straight and that I was being too gay. I would have had no problem with the rural setting. I love hunting, fishing and farms and nature so much. But I always met Christian guys who were the cosmo type with an obsession for clothes, technology, haircuts, music, movies… a lot of stuff I don’t really care about.
      I went through Living waters, listening prayer, counseling. I rejected psychiatry, psychotherapy because I didn’t want to interfere with whatever “trials” God had decided to “refine” me with. And I got so good at building an appearance that (I’ve heard that) guys are sometimes jealous of me because I look so manly and confident (inside I’m a shrimp coated with sorrow and insecurity, but they don’t see it). I longed — and I guess I still do — for male friendships, for love I never received, for the mum who never took care of me and never loved me because she was just as broken as I was-still is–, for the present-thus-absent father who’s life was just as miserable as mine because of the cult and because of my mum’s disorders. Shrinks think I’m faking it, pastors think I over-analyze it and lack “simple faith”… I have multiple emotional and personality disorders — something like bipolar or borderline or severe depression or maybe some other thing. Maybe one day they’ll agree on some diagnosis. I cannot work, I cannot study, I have no more social interactions except with guys I hook up with… and believe me or not (you probably won’t and will question sincerity or accuse me of whatever, like they always do when they have no answers for you): this is the result of 10 years of relentless attempts to meeting the Lord, being faithful to him, loving, honoring, serving him and never willing to submit to “sin” (and repenting whenever I would. Often).
      A few months ago, I decided that enough was enough and that before they my guts spread out all over the railway, I should deal with myself and quit waiting on “Jesus”. Now I don’t expect anything from anyone, Christians and non-Christian are just the same in my experience (but you will tell me I didn’t meet the right ones, the right ones would never do that, it had to be a bad church), I just found that some people care about others (that would include my GP who is a woman and has a lot of compassion for me and is not a Christian, and does not pretend to hold any answers. She actually just listens and does not judge), that would also include some of the guys with whom I can fill my twisted and perverted desires for intimacy… at least they answer my texts and do not make me feel weird if I express my longing for intimacy, or any form of non-stereotypical male idea or desire (talking about straight “codes”you know, the ones they never explain but seem to have received when they grew up, and that you’ve spend 20 years figuring out. “But God how do they do the hands stuff, the laughing loud, the looking so cool and manly). My life is now better. Maybe I’ll go to to hell, maybe it was supposed to be like this all along. I don’t think I care, I have this idea that my duty is to remain alive and breathing. I did struggle beyond blood and sweat; to the point of planning my own death and calling my GP in tears in order to get a prescription renewed. She asked no questions, it went like this “But you have an appointment tomorrow”. “I know but…”. “You’re really hurting aren’t you”. (tears)(gasp) “yes”, “I’ll take care of it right now”. This is a form of discernment I’ve never encountered in my life in the “church”. And this happened earlier today.
      I don’t doubt Matt’s honesty and his experience within the Church. He’s got the life and the friendships and the recognition I looked for for years within Christianity, because I believed it was the only path. I never found it. Maybe God has different plans for us all. Now I’m trying to be honest despite the consequences (rejection from family mainly). I find the gay lifestyle very complicated and it’s hurt me a lot; it keeps hurting me. Many people are dishonest and dating in the gay world is really horrible — my opinion, I’ve dated on and off for the past 5 or 6 years. People usually have sex with you and never want to see you again. It can be very painful. I’m not saying it’s a “good lifestyle”, but I find it more healthy than trying to pursue faith because it’s palpable, I can touch it and even the pain is more acceptable because it makes sense. I find that faith requires a lot of strength, which I have now completely lost. But I have respect for Christians and non-Christian alike. I wish more people would be honest with themselves inside or outside the “church”, that would make life much more beautiful.

  • beccajrt

    Matt Moore, you claim, “It’s more masculine to be mainly attracted to men yet obedient to God than it is to be mainly attracted to women and disobedient to God. A celibate same-sex attracted guy is far more of a man than a womanizing guy who bows to the will of his sex drive. Real men obey God.”

    That’s a false dichotomy in which you’re suggesting you are comparing a man who is obedient to God with one who is not obedient to God, however, you’re not. The sexual desires in back of any deviant sex act are as gross a deviation from the truth as the act itself. God did not make men to sexually desire men or women to sexually desire women any more that He made men and women to sexually desire their neighbors wives and husbands or children or animals. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear that all such desires come from within, out of the heart of man, defiling him.

    And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23; James 1:13-15

    The most insidious thing about your un-Biblical and unsound reasoning is you end up preaching yourself and your own word and moralism as opposed to Christ Jesus and Him crucified and His Word and all that His glorious gospel entails.

    • RuthER

      Is this the first post you read by Matt or perhaps by any Christ-follower broken by sin including the temptation of same sex attraction? Faith = obedience. How are you obeying God by your rejection of his truth? You are telling a repentant sinner that he isn’t saved because of thoughts that come unwelcome to his flesh. By your definition, there is no hope for any human being, because a heart that trusts in Christ alone, enough to repent and obey, is STILL not enough. I am glad that my Jesus is not who you claim and that there is such a thing as Good News. You are lost.

      • beccajrt

        Your comments are nothing but false accusations, clearly based, in part, on erroneous assumptions. And I have read quite a few articles by Matt Moore, and as with this one, commented about them appropriately.

        Now, I never said Matt isn’t saved, you claim I did and that claim, as with your others, is a false accusation; a lie. I stopped reading Matt’s articles some time ago because, along with the things already mentioned in my post to him here, the self contradictions in them. He consistently professes to be a “same-sex attracted Christian” and then says things like this, “Don’t identify and view yourself through the lens of your sexuality, but through the lens of your union to Jesus. You’re not some different species of Christian. You’re not a gay Christian” and you know where that quote comes from? An article he titled ’10 Empowering Truths for Gay Christians’—all of that obvious confusion indicates that he’s abiding in the word of the world rather than the Word of God.

        That leads to my final point, same sex sexual thoughts and desires don’t just come “to” our flesh, they, like other sexually immoral thoughts and desires, come from our flesh. Someone may ask, what’s the difference? It’s the difference between the watered down version of the bad news from and of the world and the real bad news revealed in the Holy Bible. The former leads people to believe, among other things, that “certain people are born with a gay orientation and cannot change” and of course from that lie flows the lie that same sex sexual thoughts and desires are morally neutral and not sin. The purpose of all such lies is to make people comfortable in Adam and conformed to the world so as to avoid the Good News; Jesus Christ and Him crucified and all that His glorious gospel entails.

        • RuthER

          Have you ever gotten to know, in REAL life not online, a Christian who
          struggles with same sex attraction? They may have made it harder to
          resist by “feeding” the desire — filling their minds until they are
          consumed — but I am pretty sure that Matt avoids such things and fills
          his mind with Truth. Are you a female? Because male sexuality cannot be
          equated with female sexuality. Have you ever stopped to consider the
          hurts and painful experiences in a person’s life that would distort
          their thinking and desires towards something as destructive as
          homosexuality? Most “gay” males — men attracted sexually to men — grew
          up not “fitting in” with their male peers. To weigh them down further,
          most have a deep “father wound,” never having received affection or
          affirmation as masculine from their father.In addition to that, most
          were exposed to distortions of sexuality — abuse or pornography — at
          young ages, long before they could sort it all out in their minds. And
          you condemn these lonely men, who struggle with confidence. You reject
          them with your “glorious gospel.” You are helping opponents of Christ
          with your cruelty.

          • beccajrt

            I testify that God IS Holy, holy, holy and wholly Good and True and His Word IS True and He IS True to His Word. He forgave me and He saved me through faith in His only Begotten Son my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and, He delivered me completely from same sex sexual desires and relations i.e., “being gay”. The promise of His salvation from the penalty of sin and deliverance from the power of sin is available to everyone. The Good News does not just speak to and deal with what we’ve done in Adam, it equally speaks to and deals with what we were in Adam.

            Sadly, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is something you will not hear from those who identify with a contradiction in terms; ‘gay’ Christians. Clearly, among other things, they’ve bought into the lies that “certain people are born with a gay orientation and cannot change” and that “same sex sexual thoughts and desires are morally neutral and not sin.” And that is what is cruel.

            Further, your all too common psychology laced appeal to pity, by which you’re trying to make excuses, will not work on me. Matt Moore and other “…”gay” males…” as you call them, are no more victims than anyone else born in Adam. They’re not the only ones who grew up not “fitting in” and they don’t have any more “father wounds” deep or otherwise, than anyone else. I, as well as many others, could come up with a plethora of stories if we wanted pity; been there, done that, not going back. Furthermore, adding more false accusations (lies) against me doesn’t help you. It speaks volumes about you and none of it’s good.

            As with justification, God Himself sanctifies us by the truth, HIS WORD, not by listening to Matt Moore and others preaching themselves, their own words and moralism, and a false moralism at that. A self identified “celibate same-sex attracted Christian” has no room to boast about being “obedient to God” because he does not commit overt acts of sexual immorality, as opposed to a poor old disobedient “womanizing guy who bows to the will of his sex drive”—both situations call for repentance. The only solution for both is the Good News; Jesus Christ and Him crucified and all that HIS glorious gospel entails.

          • RuthER

            “Common psychology”? My opinion, and Matt’s opinion, are so rare that most people haven’t heard of them. Most churches, even ones that proclaim the Truth, would not be places where someone would be safe to disclose this particular temptation. Jesus was tempted by Satan, and he refuted Satan with scripture. He was “tempted in ALL ways as we are.” It is POSSIBLE that Jesus was tempted by same sex desires. But he remained “without sin” for 33 years, as a single man. Not everyone who doesn’t fit in, or has a father wound, or who was sexually abused becomes homosexual. I never purported such a thing. A “womanizing guy” may have been sexually abused and trying to “prove” his manhood with the opposite sex. You are the kind of narrow-minded person lacking in empathy and too proud to admit how you struggle with sin (and pride is the “original” sin, the root of all others) or how your heart/feelings (or lack thereof) can deceive you. You are a hateful person, and certainly no “ambassador for Christ.”

          • beccajrt

            Having read that first comment I see you’re still entertaining your erroneous assumptions, therefore, I’m not going read the other two comments, or any others from you as I have no doubt you’ve spewed and will continue to spew more erroneous assumptions as well as false accusations, lies. You’re done.

          • RuthER

            I will pray that you find your way out of your spiritual darkness and service to our enemy.

          • RuthER

            Being tempted is not a sin. How you respond to the temptation is faith, or the lack of faith. Most definitely you will be tempted, so you had better learn how to respond. The solution for homosexuality is not heterosexuality.

          • RuthER

            I am sorry for you, because I am sure that you are a very lonely person.

          • Shawn Ruth

            So I just have an honest question. Is heterosexual lust more holy and should that be my goal?

          • Eddie

            IMHO… It’s all the same — sinful. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. But we have an “out” from hell through the grace of Jesus.

    • RuthER

      I have no doubt that you drive people away from Christ, and maybe towards despair, no matter what kind of sinner they are. Therefore, you are working for the “father of lies.”

    • Shawn Ruth

      It’s like you are saying the only way for any man to be pleasing to God is to be married…One of my huge objections to that is A. I’m 41 and my generation was totally screwed up by their baby boomer parents who were too self-involved to actually raise us. B. Many of the baby boomers aborted their children, so finding a woman in my age range is extremely difficult, the ones that are around are divorced with kids and all screwed up! I have dated several of these types of women. It is a sin as far as I’m concerned to marry a divorced woman. So you honestly tell me how many eligible and godly women that you know who are between the ages of 38 and 45 years of age. Celebacy is the only sane option…

    • Hugh

      Unbelievable. Temptation, ie: Attraction, isn’t a sin. Period. Jesus was tempted ‘in every way’ that we are. He still didn’t sin. I don’t think you understand that.

      • beccajrt

        The sexual attractions/desires in back of any deviant sex act are sin, they are as gross a deviation from truth as the act itself. God did not make men to sexually desire men or women to sexually desire women anymore than He made men and women to sexually desire children or animals. The Lord Jesus makes clear that all such desires come from within, out of the heart of man, defiling him, Mark 7:20-23; Jeremiah 17:9-10; James 1:13-15.

        God’s Word forbids fleshly lusts and evil desires as well as sinful activities, Matthew 5:27-29, Romans 1:24, 27; 13:14; Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 2:11. Sinful activities are the fruits of sinful desires that come from the sinful human heart.

        “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23

        Unlike all born in Adam, the devil had nothing in Jesus, John 14:30. Jesus was tempted externally, He never experienced sinful desire, He knew no sin. Born of the virgin Mary and conceived by God the Holy Spirit He is the Son of Man and the Son of God, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” and without spot; God manifested in the flesh, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Luke 1:26-56; 2 Corinthians 5:21 Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Timothy 3:16.

        While Jesus does indeed sympathize with our weaknesses, He does not sympathize with our sinful nature, He came to destroy it. Christ died for our sins and to save us from sin, the thing itself. He died to save us from what we all are by birth in Adam; lost, guilty, helpless, condemned slaves of sin; Genesis 1; 2; 3; 5:1-5; 6; Mark 8:34-38; John 1:1-18; John 3:1-21, 31-36; 8:31-36; Romans 1:18-32; Romans 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8

  • Crystal

    This is such a sad article, because we stereotype masculinity and femininity as “activities” and “social standings.” It’s a form of prejudice. In a way we were better off in the old days when we taught manhood as a spiritual and emotional drive within a male. We taught men to defend women, respect and protect them. Now we teach men to look at pornography. It gave men a sense of identity without insisting that they play football, roughhouse, etc. It really did. Now men have nothing, except these things, which are social constructs and this is truly a pitiful state of affairs.

    The best remedy for this issue is to accept people as they are. There is no need for “masculinity” or “femininity” in regards to social constructs, only “humanity.” Of course you fit the identity of being a man, because you were born one! It really is that simple. We need to teach people to do all the positive character traits and behaviours associated with masculinity and femininity – especially men, because they really seem to have lost their way in this world, and especially women, because they are taught that their worth is in their bodies not their souls – and we would have a better world. Embrace social and emotional egalitarianism and quit stereotyping people to be “a better man” by playing football, or “a better woman” by cooking. Oh, and being gay – what Matt chooses to do with it is his choice, and I hope he’s happy in his decision – but we need to accept it more while at the same time understanding that not all men who draw, paint, etc, are gay but rather that that is a homophobic construct by society. I can’t stand conservative culture; it really messes people up. Also I don’t agree that Matt is more manly than a womaniser, because what of the gay man who is loud and proud? Is he not a man as well? Other than all this, Blessings to Matt and I wish him well with his road, but if he ever changes his mind on being gay he needs to know he will be supported in that decision too