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[生命故事] 是基也是G,很奇怪嗎?(BEN) [Life Story] Is it strange to be gay and to be a Christian?

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◎Ben

初次接觸信仰是在幼稚園時念天主教的學校,這段時間的印象已經模模糊糊了,只記得有這麼一件事發生過。

  小學國中基本上跟教會沒有緣份,時間都花在念書上,整個腦子沒別的想法就是念書,直到高中時期有合唱團的同學介紹我去參加團契,但我只覺得團契的人為什麼這麼熱情?我應該跟你沒有很熟吧?因為我古怪的個性,當然也就沒去了,還會在私底下跟好朋友說他們的閒話。


大學時報考了音樂系,但因為學科分數實在太慘,最後落腳基督書院音樂系。也正式開啟了我與上帝的關係。


  進入書院我之後除了參加團契也參加了原住民福音隊,出了許多記憶猶新的任務,我們前往司馬庫斯部落與原住民朋友教友們一起相處,生活了三天。前往司馬庫斯的行程中要從竹東坐板車上雪山主稜山腰,沿途除了風光明媚,幾個帶我們上山的原住民弟兄也很爽朗,我們路途中邊唱歌邊欣賞山景就過了三個小時,抵達司馬庫斯,當地居民都是虔誠的基督教教友,我們上去帶他們主日的敬拜跟帶他們小朋友的課業輔導,當天晚上跟他們一起把酒言歡唱歌跳舞,那時候覺得這樣的人生真的不錯,隔天他們三個小青年帶我們去神木林,要走山路前往,我想台灣最美好的山林景色這是其一,神木林都是多人環抱的嵾天古木,抵達時真的驚嘆上帝造物的偉大,我因為打球腳踝受傷,他們帶我去一條山溪,泡沁涼入心的溪水,這次的出隊,我想最多的就是跟大家一起服事和跟原住民朋友一起生活的體驗,至今依然記憶猶新。


直到幾年前,因為私人感情問題我離開了團契也離開了教會,我無法接受有些教會弟兄以聖經取代思考!隨意的拿著聖經裡的章節條文定其他人的罪!滿腦子聖經條文,卻不知道自己與上帝的關係!(這裡應該不能說髒話,懂我的人知道我想罵啥)但是上帝在我心裡還是埋下了種子,讓我在大四準備畢業音樂會時,藉由禱告獲得力量、信心、還有我所不足的一切!這一年,這件事,定下了我的決志,沒有人,沒有外力的逼迫,我的決定完全是我跟上帝的關係!上帝就這樣把我帶回了他的身邊。


同志的身分認同,我很小就知道我比較注意男生,特別是活潑外向可以跟我玩在一起的男生,但大概到國中才開始感覺到自己可能喜歡男生,應該是同志,不過也沒想太多,專心唸書比較重要。上高中之後因為念男校(恩~所以沒有狐狸精),更加自然的發展我天生的性傾向,那時還只是欣賞而已(村姑模式中),也沒有特別思考身分認同問題,也可能因為沒有刻意的去多想關於身分認同的問題反而沒有自我認同的問題,也就自然而然的順性發展。


  考上大學開始跟男生交往,也發展到親密關係階段。這幾段感情關係中亦曾與女性交往過,因為這一任女友讓我更確定我喜歡男生更享受與男生之間的互動。


畢業後開始教授鋼琴,同時在我母會受洗服事,但是在母會那我無法談太多我是同志的事情,只跟幾個與我親近的弟兄說,久了發現我是在欺騙我自己,母會這裡不適合我,不是教會教友不愛我,而是我不願意讓母會的朋友認識一個戴著面具的我,這樣對彼此都不公平,於是我離開了我的母會,開始沒有教會的生活,直到一次機緣下,有一個朋友希望我陪伴他去同光教會聚會,才第一次接觸到同光,但那一次還是覺得,你們在熱情什麼啊?離我遠一點!隔了兩年,我才主動跟浩浩聯繫,參加了同光教會。(其他細節等等再說明)經歷這一段人生,證明了我是一個同志也是一個基督徒,這樣的身分我很自在。


在教會這段時間,我擔任敬拜團的司琴跟配唱,也擔任過學生青年小組的輔導,承接的原因很簡單,我希望能讓來教會的小朋友可以因為透我們其他人的生命故事,少走一些冤枉路,在擔任輔導這段時間有很多很多的生命故事,每個組員的經歷、感情生活,服事上的討論爭執,都讓我們更進一步了解彼此。


我朋友常說我活得沒有人味,可能是過於掩飾自己真實情感的個性導致。讓我缺少跟人的溝通能力,我帶小組以陪伴關心為主,藉著各種議題的討論了解組員的想法,也知道每個人的邏輯跟思考方式,讓大家更了解彼此,如果要說我在學青當輔導獲得啥?我想是如何跟人溝通和如何聆聽傾聽別人的心情。這讓以前自我為中心的我多了更多人的味道,


每個來到同光的小朋友都有著不同的背景與期望!有的是很久的基督徒,有的是想找一份歸屬感,有的希望能在這裡找到自己未來的另一伴,有的是對同志教會的好奇。而共通點是都希望在同光這裡找到可以建立關係的人!而更重要的是他們除了與人建立關係,更要與上帝建立關係!在聚會裡我們討論聖經,討論各種議題或是對愛情的觀念,我們組員在這些討論中加深彼此的交流,建立了深厚的關係。在組員生活困難或是感情出狀況亦或是生命經歷了瓶頸,我們用我們的生命陪伴彼此、彼此協助。


每一個階段來教會的小朋友都代表一個時代的特色,前面兩年帶到的小朋友會比較多跟家人相處上的不融洽或是對自己身分認同上處於一個模擬兩可的情況,但是很認分的努力念書或是工作,在人際上的相處互動上會有退縮跟不自信的情形,這時候我們希望教會跟小組可以讓他們藉由簡單的服事,建立起自己的信心,人際上我們希望他們藉由跟肢體的相處去重新建立對人的信心跟信任感。


中間兩年的小朋友遇到的都是對自己身分認同比較沒有太多障礙(可能出道太早)。但是對自己人生比較沒有太多方向,或是對於自己現在的狀況不滿意或是總是覺得自己擁有的不是自己想要的,這樣的小朋友真的比較難帶,他們不是不聰明,比較像是聰明過頭但是因為資訊太容易獲得反而不知道如何取捨,這個狀況只能讓他們清楚的看到自己擁有的跟他們想要的這之間的差距與虛實的距離。


後面兩年我已經卸下服事,在斷斷續續片段的接觸中最近這兩年的小朋友都有不錯的學歷,但是更多的是勇於承認自己同志身分,並大方積極的參加同志運動,特別是願意跟一般的非同志基督徒去做溝通,讓別人看見同志的存在。


  所以綜合來看,其實現在同志的年輕族群不再是悲情跟不能見光的一群社會的邊緣人物,他們都很有理想也有自己對人生的看法,對於屬於自己的生存權益,他們更願意去爭取並且站出來發聲,至於人生閱歷跟處理事情的能力,他們還年輕,就多讓著他們點吧!他們還有成長空間。他們未來有更多可能。


在教會除了小組服事外。我最常常接觸的是敬拜團的夥伴們,大家藉由音樂服事認識彼此為上帝服事,在這裡也認識了很多患難與共的好朋友,除了彼此幫忙服事之外也在私人情誼上有更深的交流,私下我們會一起吃飯聚會也是在生活上彼此給予彼此幫助,在敬拜團的服事我想學到最多的就是放下自己去服務眾人,因為這樣才能顯出敬拜團同工的意義。


  我在傳統教會待過,後來也在同光長老教會待了快八年,在信仰的這一塊我覺得沒有太多差異性,我們信仰的的也是上帝,奉他的聖名禱告,我們讀的是同一本聖經,我們不同的只是我們是一群同志基督徒,我們也是上帝所創造的美好的一部份。我們一樣在辛苦工作,一樣在這紅塵的愛很情仇裡打滾,也一樣有著相同的喜怒哀樂,會為了談戀愛興高采烈,也會為了失戀而失魂落魄,我們也有著愛我們的家人跟朋友...等,在這個相同的前提下,我覺得在這個前提下,我希望越來越多的朋友可以多認識同志朋友,我看著一般基督徒這樣在大張旗鼓的撻伐同志基督徒,而同志基督徒又為了維護自己的權益去彼此攻擊,這樣我們是否忘記了上帝最大的戒命是要我們彼此相愛,我看這樣的一個景況心裡其實非常難過。這個世界上有許許多多不同於我們的人事物,如果我們總是用自己的固有觀念去看跟我們不同的人,我想我們也會失去很多認識新的人事物的可能性,是否也侷限了自己的視野,嘗試去接納跟你不同的人這是一種氣度跟眼界的不同,我希望我們小組裡的小朋友可以學到這樣一個簡單的事情,讓他們在基督信仰上可以站穩這小小的一步。


  回到最後我想說也想再次聲明,我是一個同志也是一個基督徒,我對於這樣的身分很自在,我希望大多數的同志朋友都可以這樣,讓我們可以自信快樂的對世界說,我們很驕傲。


My first contact with the Christian faith was in a Catholic kindergarten. My impression of this period is vague, but I do remember a particular incident.


I basically did not have any contact with church activities during my primary and secondary school days as my all time and mind was on studying. During high school, a choir mate introduced me to join a fellowship group, but I was thinking - why are these fellowship people so enthusiastic, especially even when I was not even close to them. Because of my odd personality, of course I didn't go, and I would gossip about them with my good friends in private.


I had applied for the university music department, but because my high school results were not good enough, I ended up in the music department of Christ College, which was where my relationship with God began.


After entering Christ College, in addition to joining a fellowship group, I also joined the Aboriginal Gospel Team and went to trips that still remain fresh in my memory today. We visited the Smangus tribe to spent time with our aboriginal friends and parishioners, and stayed there for three days. During the trip, we had to take a cart from Zhudong to the hillside of Snow Mountain. It was a scenic journey, and several aboriginal brothers who took us up the mountain were very cheerful. We sang and enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery on the 3 hour journey until we arrived at the Smangus village. The local residents were all devout Christians. We lead their Sunday worship service and helped with their children's schoolwork. That night, we sang and drank and danced with them.

At that time, it felt that life like this was really good. The next day, three of the young tribesmen took us to the Shenmu ( Holy Trees) Forest through a mountain trail. I thought this was one of the best mountain scenery in Taiwan. Many of the ancient trees here had trunks thick enough to be wrapped around by a few people. I really marveled at the greatness of God's creation when I was there. I had previously injured my ankle playing football. They took me to a mountain stream to soak it in the cool stream. What I thought most about this trip was the experience of serving together with the team and living with the aboriginal friends, which until today is still fresh in my memory.


A few years ago, I left the fellowship group and the church because of personal emotional problems. I couldn't accept that some Christian brothers replaced their ability to think with the Bible! They would casually use Bible verses to condemn others! Their minds may be filled up biblical verses and yet they did not understand their own relationship with God! ( I shouldn't swear here, but those who know me would know what I would say) But God still continued to sow seeds in my heart, so that when I was preparing for the graduation concert in my senior year, I found strength, confidence and everything that I lacked through prayer! This incident, and not through anyone else or any external coercion, solidified my determination that my decision was completely based on my relationship with God! This was how God brought me back to him.


Even at a young age, I’ve always known that I would pay more attention to guys, especially the lively and outgoing ones who played with me. But it wasn’t until middle school when I realized was attracted to them, that I might be gay, but still I didn’t dwelled too much on it as my priority was to concentrate on my studies. After that, I attended a all boys' high school (where there were no vixens ), where my natural same sex sexual orientation grew. At that time, I was just looking and appreciating (like village girl), and I didn't think much about the issue of identity. Maybe because I didn't questioned much about self- identification, my sexual identity just progressed naturally.


At college, I began to date guys, and had progressed to physical intimacy. I also dated a girl, and it was through that experience that made me more sure that I liked boys and enjoy the interaction with them more.

After graduation, I began to teach piano. At the same time, I was baptized in my original church, but I couldn't share too much about my sexuality there. I only told a few Christian brothers who were close to me. I realized that I had been deceiving myself for a long time. The church was not suitable for me. It's not that the church members didn't love me, but I didn't want them to only know the me who was wearing a mask, which was unfair to both parties, so I left church and began a life without a church. It wasn’t until by chance a friend wanted me to accompany him to Tong Kwang Church that I came into contact with Tong Kwang for the first time. But at that time I still could not comprehend what you all were so enthusiastic about, so I still maintained my distance. After two years, I took the initiative to contact Haohao and joined Tong Kwang Church( Other details will be explained later). My experiences during this period of my life life confirmed my identity of being gay and a Christian, and I was very comfortable with this.

During this period in church, I served in the worship team both as a pianist and a backup singer. I was the guidance counselor with the student youth cell group. The reason for taking up these roles was very simple, my hope was that the youngsters who came to this church would choose the right path in life through the sharing of our life stories. And there were many life stories. The sharing of the members’ life stories, relationships and church experiences all lead us to get to know each other better.


Friends would often say I live my life like a robot, as I tend to hide my real emotions, which made me lacking in my ability to communicate with others. The main reason I lead the cell group was to provide companionship and care. Through the discussion of various topics, I got to know how each member thought and their sense of logic. This also facilitated the members to get know each other better. If you were to ask what I gained as a councilor, I would say I learned how to communicate better with other people and how to be a better listener to others. And so the the previously self-centered me got to understand humanity better.


Every youngster who comes to Tong Kwang Church have a different background and expectations! Some have been Christians for a long time, some want to find a sense of belonging, some hope to find their other half here, and some are just curious about the gay church. One thing they all have in common though, is that they all hope to find people which whom they can build relationships with! More importantly, they could also build a relationship with God here! During our meetings, we discussed about the Bible, and various topics, eg the concept of love. Through these discussions, our members deepened their communication with each other and formed deep bonds. When anyone was facing life or relationship problems, we were there to accompany and support each other through it.


Different people at different stages of lives come here, and each group represents the characteristics of an era. The youngsters I led during the initial two years of my service were more likely to face conflicts with their families or with their own self identification. They all worked and studied hard, but would sometimes withdraw from their interpersonal interactions due to a lack of self confidence. At this time, we hope that the church and the cell group would allow them to build their confidence through some forms of simple serving in church. On the interpersonal level, we hope that they can rebuild their confidence and trust in people by interacting with the other church members.


The youngsters I met in the middle part of my two years as cell group counselor did not have many obstacles in their self identification (maybe because they came out too early). But they didn’t have much direction for their life, or they were dissatisfied with their current situation, or they always felt that what they have is not what they want. This group was really difficult to guide. It’s not that they were not smart, in fact they seemed to be too smart. But because there is too much available information, they didn’t know how to sift through to the correct ones. This made them see only the gap between what they have and what they want, and only that between fantasy and reality.


Towards the end of the two years, I began to step down from my roles of service in the church. Through my intermittent interactions with these youngsters, I’ve found that they not only possessed impressive academic backgrounds, but more then that, they also have the courage to admit their sexuality, and would openly and actively participate in the gay movement, and were especially willing to communicate with straight Christians so as to let them see the presence of the gay community.


From an overall perspective, today’s younger gay community is no longer a tragic, sad, unable-to-show-their-face group. They have their own ideals and views on life, on their right to exist, and they are far more willing to fight for and stand up and speak out for their rights. As for their ability to experience and deal with things in life, they are still young, so let’s give them more leeway. They still have room to grow. Their futures are still filled with possibilities.


In addition to serving in the cell group, I had frequent contacts with members of the worship team, where we got to know each other and became friends through our service to God and through shared crises. Other then supporting each other, we also developed deeper friendships. Outside of church, we would have meal gatherings and help each other in life. What I learned most was to put others before myself and to serve others, and only by this we could demonstrate the true essence of the worship team.


I have previously been with a traditional church, and I’ve been in Tong Kwang Presbyterian Church for nearly eight years. With regard to faith, there isn’t much differences between the two. Both believe in God and pray in His holy name, both read the same Bible. Where we differ is that we are a group of gay Christians. We are also part of God’s beautiful creation. We too work hard, face the same ups and downs in our search for love, have the same joys and sorrows, have family and friends and loved ones. So under the premise that we’re not that different after all, I hope that more people can get know more gay friends. I have watched straight Christians brazenly attack gay Christians, and gay Christians attack each other in order to protect their rights and self interests. Have we forgotten God’s greatest commandment is to love each other. I'm saddened to see such a situation. There are many people that are different from us in the world, and if we always only view them through our present narrow minded lens, we would lose a lot of opportunities to know new people and things. And doesn’t this narrow our vision even more. Try to accept people who are different from yourself. Similarly, I hope that the youngsters in our cell group can learn this simple thing so that they can stand firm in this area of their Christian faith.


Lastly, I want to say again - that I am gay and I am a Christian. I am very comfortable with this identity. I hope that most gay friends too can be like this, so that we may confidently and joyfully say to the world that we are proud of who we are.


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