Joseph Avenue Christmas is the story of one man's journey to the true meaning of Christmas. Not just the birth of the babe, but the salvation of the soul. Set on the wintry streets of Rochester, NY it is a visit to the heart of that city and the hearts of some of its best and bravest people. From their good example, and the simple lessons of their own lives and faith, a troubled man finds on a dark Christmas Eve an escape from an increasingly failed life.
Buy the book online by clicking these links:
Studio Phone: (585) 222-1180
Local Phone: (585) 279-5281
Phone Toll-Free: (800) 295-1180
They were high school sweethearts and now, a decade after their wedding, there are four kids and a happy home.
With one fly in the ointment.
He's decided he's gay.
Maybe he thought he was attracted to men, when he was 12 or so, but in the last few weeks, it's just kind of occurred to him. He's gay. Down deep, what he wants when the lights go out isn't a woman, it's a man.
Which presents some problems.
Including a religious problem. They're church people. Very religious. And their church teaches that gay sex is wrong, that it is a sin.
Gay feelings, that's not a sin. Acting on gay feelings, that's a sin.
So they've started telling relatives. Him and her. That's got to be fun. They're telling them that they're staying together, for a while, maybe a long while, but he doesn't want to shut the door on someday ending the marriage and finding a gay lover.
That's what he decided. To “leave the door open.”
He also decided to tell the kids. The two oldest ones. They're 10 and 12. He said his research shows they're old enough to understand it and handle it.
I wonder what gay porn site he found that crap on?
Who in their freaking right mind thinks for half a moment that little kids want to know that their daddy is gay? Who in their freaking right mind thinks for half a moment that that won't screw up those kids' heads?
Who could be that completely selfish?
And as to “leave the door open,” could there be any more self-centered and narcissistic a decision?
Does this newly gay guy not have the capacity to see that what he expects of his newly optional wife is hatefully selfish and soulless?
She is supposed to stick around, for years if need be, with a man who has decided he doesn't even desire her kind, waiting for him to decide when he wants to move in with a man? What about her natural desires, what about her need to get on with life?
If she stands there with him, waiting to be discarded when he goes full gay, she is – with each passing day – losing the chance to find a man who will want her and love her and stay with her.
It's not enough that, after sharing her intimacies for a decade and fathering four children by her, he implicitly tells her that she doesn't satisfy him. As if that wasn't enough of a kick in her teeth, he wants to keep her around for the last few years of her youth, until the kids get grown, maybe, and then he wants to leave the door open to kicking her to the curb.
And he's decided that, while he believes in Jesus and everything, he's not sure about the teachings of the leaders of his church. He believes that his new insights into being gay help him see that the church people have it wrong, or have contradicted one another, or somehow or the other are being disrespectful to him and other gay people.
So he's falling away from his religion and it's somebody else's fault. He's the one who's decided that commandments are fungible and still he wants to point the finger of criticism at others – others who are his betters, others who have lived their religion.
This man is confused. Probably about his sexuality, definitely about his responsibility. He is handling this matter in a way that seems almost calculated to spread as much misery around as possible.
To see things more clearly, maybe he should forget the plumbing for a moment.
Let him lay aside who he wants to sleep with, and let him focus on the fact that he wants to sleep with someone other than his wife. This isn't really a particularly unique story, the fact his lust is homosexual instead of heterosexual is really secondary to the principle involved.
Which is that he doesn't want to live up to his marriage vows.
He pledged himself to his wife, he pledged himself to his children, he pledged himself to his religion. And he wants to back out of that pledge.
The fact he is attracted to men is no more a legitimate reason for nullifying his promise to his wife than if he was attracted to younger women with larger breasts. One particular type of extramarital lust is no better or more respectable than another.
Don't thing I'm being a holier than thou on this issue. I'm undoubtedly a far larger failure on this issue than this man is. But the fact remains, this is just a different species of adultery.
With all its sorrow and misery.
He should not “leave the door open.” He should commit to keep his promise, to stand by the woman whose youth he has enjoyed and whose children he has fathered. He should promise her – and them – that he will fight it out and stay.
He should not tell his children. It is no more appropriate for him to tell them this than it would be to tell them that he is attracted to the neighbor lady across the street. If the marriage is ending, if there is a divorce, then they'll have to be talked to and maybe in that context it comes up. But if the marriage is staying together, and daddy's not going to start wearing a dress or bringing boyfriends home, the kids don't need to know a thing about it. The only reason to tell them would be to propagandize them, to inflict emotional pain and confusion on them to make daddy feel good about his new cause.
And he should remember that orientation is temptation.
In a religious context, this is nothing more than a temptation. Satan presents it as an orientation – as a fait accompli beyond moral choice – in order to make accepting it easier and respectable. But it's really a pretty simple concept. He's married. He's only supposed to sleep with his wife. He wants to sleep with somebody else. That's lust. That's temptation. But instead of praying and fasting through it, instead of asking on bended knee for the Lord to “lead us not into temptation,” he is giving in to it.
Which is sin.
Which he should try to resist. Sin should be discouraged, not facilitated.
This is a hard thing. Life is sometimes very hard. And we each have both our temptations and our failings. This man is facing the moral challenge of not just his life, but his eternity. Thus far he has responded poorly. He is contemplating actions that will make things even worse.
In that, he is like most of us.
I feel sorry for him. But I feel sorrier for his family.
I hope that as he wrestles with the demons and challenges of his life that he can be strong, wise and caring. That he can be a protector of his family, instead of a destroyer. That they can forgive him and that he can be the man he was born to be.
And I hope that the rest of us can watch and learn. This man faces this, others face other things. But all struggle, fighting life's trials on the edge of a cliff, capable of falling at any moment into destruction.
And taking others with them.