Different

As the three of us came back together, I chose my wording carefully.
“I don’t want to lay down the victim card.
“I won’t say that they took my spirituality from me. I’ll say that I let them have it. I made the choice to let them take it out of my hands.
“I need to take it back…

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Interlude 5

“What about Jesus?”

I asked him what he meant by that.

“Why can’t we just hold to what Jesus says and throw away the rest of the bullshit? Why isn’t there a church that does that?”

I didn’t have an answer for him. His question was too innocent and too deep for my pat answers and rote theological treatises.

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Acceptance

“Do you know how I know you have a problem with alcohol?”
I shook my head.
One of the other group members, a former military guy and admitted alcoholic, spoke up, “Because you didn’t dump it down the sink. Shit, man, that’s a valuable liquid as far as guys like you and me are concerned. We wouldn’t dump liquid gold down the drain.”
It had never occurred to me to dump it down the drain.

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Intervention

He gave me a few simple thoughts on everything he had just learned about me.

“You sit down with Carrie and you don’t end that conversation until she commits to your marriage or commits to a divorce.”

He also gave me some advice about being transgender.

“It is not your responsibility to change the world. When people hear about the level of pain you’ve been experiencing, they will grab the easiest answer they can find in order to distance themselves from your pain. Let them have it.”

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Truth

There was really only one problem I encountered as I came to grips with how I was made: The Secret. It eroded the ground beneath me. It met me in the gaze that looked back in the mirror. It dunked me in cold water every time a chauvinistic man questioned my manhood in that typical asshole-yet-friendly way North American men talk to each other. It cried out to be acknowledged every time I talked to my LGBT brothers and sisters.

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Folly

I felt the Holy Spirit whisper two words to me: Men’s Ministry.

I didn’t want to do Men’s Ministry. It was the shittiest role in any church in America. Men by and large disliked the church and what we offered them through it. Shit, I hated what we offered them through it… that’s why I had started my ministry outside of any church. We could say four letter words without getting into trouble at The Inner Kingdom. We could watch a movie that showed boobies without anybody getting their panties into a wad. We could sit around fires and talk about deep things without having to use a fucking sports metaphor every goddamn time.

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Slow Poke

Tears welled up, my cheeks flushed with the shame I felt, and my voice cracked with emotion as I told my story, “At the end of this class, I’m going back home to a job I know I’m not supposed to take. It’s outside of God’s will for me. I just couldn’t handle the pressures of the lunch line any more. I couldn’t handle the anxiety over needing to trust God to provide for me and my family.

“I’ve already quit my old job and my new company is waiting for me. The decision is made and now I have to live with the consequences.”

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Cultivate

We shared meals, laughs, wine, insights, fears, and dreams with each other. I walked into this woman’s life on the verge of losing my faith entirely. I walked out with the experiences that A. W. Tozer had spoken about in his book that I had read in China. I had journeyed into the land of the Prophet.

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Calling

After our introductions were done, Mark jumped right in. “Drew, I’m going to be honest with you. I think your theology is shit.”
As I watched Drew try to recover from that knockout punch, I sat in my chair, totally content to be invisible. As a matter of fact, I don’t know if I had ever been happier to be invisible.

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Interlude 1

I packed up everything I had brought with me and went back to our campsite, not speaking a word of what had happened to Paul, Shwahh, or Aminah. I showed Carrie my journal entry when I got home and I told her about the experience but I could tell the depth of what happened in the woods wasn’t coming across in my words. I could tell that I didn’t even understand the depth of what had happened.

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