Last weekend I went on a CRHP retreat. (pronounced chirp) It is an acronym for Christ Renews His Parish. It is a 2 day retreated, segregated by sex. It is a renewal weekend. A time to remember who we are in Christ.
This last Wednesday, was what I refer to as our decompression session. Time is given for those who want to share about their experience. This is extended to both those who went on the retreat and those who helped with it.
From last weekend to Wednesday, I am amazed at how similar all of us men are. We all have our own crosses that are distinctly unique. The feelings and experiences that go with them mirror the same themes of pain, lack of trust, mediocrity, and more. I really didn’t have any intentions of sharing my “stuff”. The theme of greater risk equaling a greater reward is still running rampant. I took my leap and shared with the entire group that I am a celibate gay male. I’ve had blow back before, revealing my sexuality in religious settings. I didn’t Wednesday night. For this, I am truly grateful. There are many preconceived notions about homosexuality. Not just within the church, but from without as well. I cannot battle them all. I can however be open and honest in my journey with Christ.
I am a firm believer that conversion is an ongoing process. At this moment it is a refreshingly bright experience. It isn’t always. Sometimes being refined by God’s love feels like a furnace.
The next 12 weeks I have the opportunity for some faith formation with the men from CRHP. I am looking forward to it. I need it. My 3 closest friends are female. That is fine. I do need some male friendships though. Call it a hunch.
One thing I was reminded of this weekend is just how male I truly am. I really don’t like opening up to other men. Expressing feelings isn’t on my bucket either. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I am a man, or not man enough. It was just a little detail, a reminder, that just like 30 other guys, I’m human and I am seeking Jesus.