Sexual orientation has become a heated issue in our society. The call for gay rights and the confusion surrounding the church's role in this struggle emulates much of the bewilderment experienced by homosexuals themselves. No one understands this better than Brother Timothy, a man who struggled with his sexual identity and endured social anxiety and addiction for years. Now a Franciscan Friar with the Ecumenical Franciscan Order,
Brother Timothy chronicles his extraordinary journey in dealing with his sexual orientation from a difficult childhood, through sexual addiction as an adult, and finally, to the complete surrender of his life to the Lord.
Written in four parts, A Child by Mercy reveals Timothy's personal experiences from childhood through adulthood and then digs deeper into the mechanisms, psychology, and spiritual aspects of sexual identity. In addition, Timothy exposes how evangelicals and gay activists have misused key Bible texts to further their agenda, and addresses the politically charged issue of same-sex orientation and the viewpoints of the traditional church and gay rights activists. But above all, he presents foundational principles from God that can help anyone overcome addiction if they will expose their complete heart to the Lord. A moving declaration of hope and healing, A Child by Mercy will draw your heart and soul closer to a radical love for all of God's children through its message of reconciliation.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)|
About the Author
Kentucky. He is active in social events through his church and plays in a band.
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A Child by MercyOut of Darkness and Into God's Grace
By Brother Timothy
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Brother Timothy
All right reserved.
In the Montgomery version of Philippians 4:13, there is a unique view of God's promise that we can be "strong for everything."
"I am strong for everything in Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13 MontgomeryNT)
A tree is planted in 1959, one year after I was born. Ordinary to anyone else who passes by it, this tree is extraordinary to the meaning of my life. It is an Oak tree, placed in the center of our back yard by my maternal grandparents in honor of their first grandchild. Named Timmy's tree under which I fought many a battle with my GI Joe, and built many an imaginary city, filled with my blocks and matchbox cars. This tree is also unique in the way it grew. Where most oak trees establish one central strong trunk that grows straight up, this tree split into two equal trunks early in its growth. I used to marvel at its branches as I lay under it, playing. Branches from one trunk would grow right through the other trunk and out the other side. Both trunks grew straight up, reaching toward the sky, as long as I can remember, as long as I lived at home. The analogy to my life and this tree is quite significant. The duality of good and evil, right and wrong and the struggle that Paul teaches to us in his letter to the Romans in chapter seven seem to be reflected by the DNA of the two trunks. There is a good side to my life, and a bad side, and each reaches toward the other in a struggle for dominance. Some of the branches in my life are there beyond my control, and some are there because I refused the pruning of the Lord, and by the University of Hard Knocks called life. It is with this realization thru writing of this memoir that I have come to know the difference between true transformation by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, and the narcissism of false religion in which one hides. One is about true change while the other is about self-interest and self-promotion. The former is about being known by Him in true humility, while the other is about making one's self known in pride.
I am not a psychologist, a doctor, or social worker. I am a Christian who has served in the body of Christ at various stages on my journey home. I am also a mere human being who has failed God many times, and represented Jesus poorly to others. This is merely my story of emotional trauma, healing, and learning I have experienced while coming out of the dark closet of oppression. When one lives in secrecy, he cannot fully express himself in freedom, and therefore does not grow. Closets are cramped. Branches can only reach so far in the confined space society places on those who hide. We hide because we have to. We hide to escape the bigotry and the fear of shame; the discrimination keeps us from our dreams. We hide because we love God and want to serve Him, with all our heart and capacity that His charism affords. His charism is His power expressed through His gifts to humanity. We are never fully free to be who we can be, never really liberated from our chains because shame and judgment has barred the door of the closet. Locked there, we cannot receive the gifts God has given to assure our life of happiness and freedom. The lock must be unlocked; the chain broken and the door opened before we can freely receive.
When freedom comes, the branches reach upward freely, and the roots grow down unhindered, the fruit of the Spirit can begin to develop. Whom the Son makes free is indeed free. (John 8:36 MP) The word is make free and not set free, in the Greek language and for a good reason. It is the word of God that re-makes us into a new creation; we are not merely set free to remain unchanged. Living the truth is freeing, as I have found and certainly, I can attest to this. "... no good thing will God withhold from those who walk with integrity." (Psalm 84:11 HSBC)
This subject is not a black and white issue, nor a dogmatic intellectual understanding. The desire to suppress people has resulted in misconception and bigotry. Just think about it-narrow-minded bias leads to the oppression of the civil rights of human beings, no matter how people may be different from you. Diversity is no reason to oppress anyone.
"For God so loved the world ..." (John 3:16 KJV) I believe the Gospel of John, chapter three, verse sixteen says. The Father says He loves the whole world so much so that he gave Jesus to us, to die for our sins, and then to rise again to give us life everlasting. God does not seem to be scrutinizing here. He simply loves the whole world. So what about those who struggle against this kind of bias?
What Is Orientation?
You must understand the differences between a state of identity, an act of human sexuality, and an act considered a sin. It may be a sin for some people to engage in an act of homosexuality, but it is not sin for a person to have homosexual tendencies. In other words, a person with a homosexual orientation may have that preference, but may not choose to act upon it in a repulsive way. Therefore, the underlying foundation is that a sexual orientation is a sexual urge based upon a preference for one gender over the other. Very often, those who fulfill a homosexual urge often end up in a one-night-stand, or one connected to hedonism. A person with any orientation can choose or develop a Godly lifestyle, through a disciplined life. It is sinful for a homosexual to engage in an act of fornication just as it is for a heterosexual to engage in heterosexual acts that are out of the bounds of integrity. Who I am and what I do are miles apart in the eyes of God. By the way, I am not talking about the well known "Love the sinner, hate the sin" made popular in the seventies. I am talking about the person who has fallen in love with Jesus, and has entered into a relationship with the heavenly Father to the point of wanting to please him. Unbelievably, the Father will seat you at His table just as you are, right now.
A small child age two to five years old learns behavior patterns from mom, pop and his or her environment. The development of the human personality usually occurs in early childhood. I do not remember much about that era of my life. What I do remember is a few patchwork moments, which hold significant influence on my psyche.
The roots of my insecurities and behavioral irresponsibility began early in my life. As a very small child, I experienced emotional instability and trauma. It began with my mother's first marriage to my father. They were both very young when they married. Mom was just seventeen and dad was eighteen. Dad entered the marines when he turned eighteen, and went to boot camp at Paris Island. After boot camp, he was given special duty as an orderly to the admiral of North Atlantic SyncLantFleet, which was a highly privileged duty. SyncLantFleet is the Marine operation for search and destroy of underwater vessels and radar reconnaissance. The Admiral is only two commands under the country's commander in chief. While he was given sea duty for eighteen months, he moved mom into an apartment in Norfolk, Virginia at the naval base. Dad was gone the entire time however, stationed on the aircraft carrier. That left mom alone in the apartment pregnant with me. It was not long before mom called my grandparents to come home. At the end of his sea duty, he was stationed at camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to finish his second eighteen months. It was during this time that I was born in Lexington, and after I was about one year old, mom and I went to stay on the base with Dad. We lived in a small silver trailer, and as a one-and-a-half year old, that is my first memory of strange surroundings, and high tensions. I am told that mom would hide money in the sugar bowl in order to have milk money for me, because Dad would spend it. I was quite young, but I do have faint memories of arguing and high tensions. We lived just six short months in the trailer, and then we moved home to Lexington.
Dad was discharged from the Marines, and they moved back to Kentucky. Mom stayed at the house with my grandparents. One night dad stayed out all night again, and that was the end of mom's marriage to him.
The emotional trauma continued into mom's second marriage to my step-dad, who resented me, because I was not his child. He moved us to Louisville after they married, so that mom was away from the reach of her parents.
There were many loud arguments and fighting in our home, and I spent most of them in my little bedroom. I remember mother's tears. I remember the arguments between my mother and stepdad and the feelings of insecurity I had from them. My step dad exiled me to bed when he came home from work because he did not want me in the way. My step dad was verbally abusive to me, most likely because he resented that fact that I was not his biological child. He was also very controlling and sharp with my mom. I remember times when they argued, mom would pick up the phone to call my grandparents, and he would rip the phone out of her hands and slam it down.
We were prisoners in that home. When I had just turned six and was ready to start first grade, mom and pop, as I call him now, entered into another argument over me. He did not want to give mom any money to pay the fees associated with elementary school. He also did not want her to call home to ask for help from mammy and pappy, my grandparents. She finally did reach my grandmother, and they drove to Louisville to confront my step dad.
I was in another room. What is important is what happened after the meeting. I was in my bedroom holding my security object, which was a stuff ed animal, a wolf I called Wolfee. My grandma and mother came into the room. My grandma asked me a question I will never forget and I gave an answer; one that my mom reacted to, and her reaction is one I will never forget. My grandma, who I call Mammy, asked me who I wanted to live with, her and Pappy or my mom and step dad. I answer Mammy. I answered that way mostly because of the environment I had been used to when mom and I lived there after her first divorce. My mom fell apart, and I felt as though I had just ripped the life out of her. I also felt a piece of my own heart torn away. I simply was too young to make that kind of decision. I moved to Lexington to begin the first grade that day.
The first time someone molested me was in our back yard. My uncle had a standard army tent that he set up in our back yard, next to my oak tree. One summer day when I was in the first grade, in that olive green army tent, my older cousin and I were playing, and she molested me. We were playing army. What else do you play when you have a real army tent sitting in your back yard? My Uncle had just come home from Ft. Knox and had set it up for me. He wanted to cheer me up after the emotional experience of moving from Louisville to Lexington, and leaving mom behind. I was a tenderhearted child anyway, and cried easily, so the tent was a nice gesture until my pants went down by the army nurse and other stuff occurred. My grandmother, thank goodness, saw our silhouettes in the sun against the wall of the tent, and called out to us, "what are you kid's up to?" or something like it, and then came and caught my cousin with her pants down. Her pants went back up and the tent came down. We were both severely scolded, and I felt deeply shamed. But this is not the only kind of incident that causes childhood trauma.
Emotional abuse or sexual abuse can mold a person's orientation without that person having a choice in the matter. They later grow up into confusion. This circumstance can affect the development of that person's sexual orientation. To simplify this explanation, not all people have a choice over how they develop, and the solutions are very complex. For instance, a four-year old child abused emotionally or sexually has no choice in the matter and therefore no control over the result. Science has now shown us that there is a difference in the prenatal male brain verses the female. Science has also shown us that sexual orientation may be influenced in children by the age of four or five. At this early age, the personality and basic character traits are instilled in the child, which influence how they will cope with situation the rest of their lives. Emotional trauma and out-right child abuse has a negative effect on children of this age. Some changed for life.
The Taboo Emotional Subjects
In my earlier story, my grandmother caught us, because the sun was casting a shadow on the side of the tent, and our silhouettes were showing. When she stopped my cousins' actions, she also scolded me. Even though I was a victim, I felt great shame and guilt. I was only six, going on seven and from that time on, when the subject of sex came up, all I could feel was embarrassment, shame, and social anxiety. Later in my journey, I would learn the family secret-our great grandfather had mistreated his children and tried to molest one of his daughters. Our parents kept a secret hidden from us, which was the root of sin that passed from one generation to the next. It is also the reason why they treated the subject of sex as taboo, even when the subject came up innocently from curious children. Any hint of curiosity was treated as dirty and shameful. Many of our ancestors had problems with alcohol as well. It is no wonder that my two half brothers both experienced problems with substance abuse early in life. They are both clean and free now, and living for Jesus Christ.
The second time I was molested, I was on an overnight stay with two cousins who were a few years older than I was. They instigated sexual games and fondled me.
I started elementary school in the fall of 1964. A third time was on the playground at clays mill when I was in the fourth grade. Two other boys wrestled me to the ground and one of them reached his hand down into my pants and fondled me. I never told on him, because there was a strange feeling I had when it happened, something like I had some attention from my peers, and a kind of sexual excitement. These initial acts helped to ignite a behavior in me of curiosity and sexual longing, at a very early age. When most children will engage in some experimentation deemed normal, life exposed me to enough to awaken an ongoing early activity.
A Few years later, when I was in sixth grade, it happened again. A neighborhood boy the same age as me started hanging around me and we became friends. It was not long before we became good friends, if not best friends. He and I would hang out with each other every weekend, and every day in the summer time. We spent the night with each other, and I remember his mom's pancakes, which were the best I had ever had. We were becoming fast friends and I considered him my best friend. What happened next began the confusion that would affect me for a lifetime.
Some people make a choice to experiment with sex. When a person chooses to experiment with their sexuality, they can choose to confuse brain synapses of identity in their thinking and re-orient their sexual preference. Some people express this tendency to experiment early in life, right around the beginning of puberty. They then feel that they have always been that way, since birth, because that is the only thing they have ever known. It is a matter of reasoning. Born with the potential for the orientation that matches their biological sex, they expose themselves to alternative forms of sexual expression. This is most likely the common way many young gay men develop their sexual urges. This is exactly what I did.
The day things changed for me, we were hanging out at my best friend's house in the garage. We got in the car, just fooling around. All of the sudden he exposed his self to me, and fondled me.
That act opened up that excitement I had experienced on the playground in fourth grade even more, because I had entered puberty. When my best friend exposed himself to me that summer, between six and seventh grade it opened up a new world in my sexual understanding. This event was a blunt shock to me at first, but was also different from the three previous times I had been molested in the past. Because we were in the early stages of puberty, and I was starting to have sexual urges I did not understand, the event opened up a way to deal with them. So he and I continued to experiment, until we were caught
He and I tried to find hiding places a few times to continue exploring until one night, when his suspecting parents caught us on an overnight stay, engaging in experimentation. His parents forbid us to hang out together any more, and eventually moved away. They called some of the mothers in the neighborhood and told them that I had instigated the sex. I overheard my grandma say that one day, it was the first time I heard that terrible word-homosexual-used, and what was worse, it was about me. They stated that it was my fault and that I was the one who caused the problem. That drove me into a world of secrecy and inner guilt and shame. I was left with a new disorder in my life.
Excerpted from A Child by Mercy by Brother Timothy Copyright © 2010 by Brother Timothy. Excerpted by permission.
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