When Earth was created, man was to govern and care for it. It is told that man was naked and not ashamed. After man sinned against God, they hid in shame from God since their eyes were open and apparently “knew” they were naked. Nakedness is no longer a state in which man lives in. We are all clothed in one way or another. We're afraid to be transparent with each other, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. We hide in the dark. But Jesus came and changed everything. Through his life, death, and resurrection, he becomes the new Adam. He is not afraid of God. In respects to this Genesis account, Jesus now walks alongside with God as the perfect human in the new Eden, the New Kingdom, with ownership. He now is the man that will govern and care for people, sort of where Adam failed. In the letter of John, When Mary sees Jesus, she assumes he is the gardener, not the resurrected Savior. If I were there, I would say, “Lady! He is both! Because of Him, all things are new! Jesus is the new gardener, the man that Adam never was. The Man that I can never be. And through Jesus, we can now come back to God NAKED instead of hiding from Him.”
How does this story relate to homosexuality? I wondered for quite awhile, but then it connected with me after I experienced skinny dipping with some friends. One of the guys there was someone I was sexually attracted too. When I think of what it means to “burn with lust,” that term makes sense to me. However, I didn't have a choice to be sexually attracted to my friend or burn with lust for him. It was just in me. I wanted to be with him sexually, see him naked, and feel loved all at the same time by him. I wanted touch from him, affirmation from him, and I wanted to pleasure him so I can know he loves me and I can offer him something.
I want to define this word naked when it comes to males like this: A person that is exposed physically, showing their penis and balls, showing their emotions and heart, and showing their spirituality. I don't want the word naked to be a word that is blurry but has a picture.
As we're getting ready to go swimming, I had a feeling we were going to be getting naked. We were doing the causal guy swim thing, talking, laughing, jumping into the pool to see who can do the best flip. Of course, the way skinning dipping usually occurs is when someone gets out of the pool with their shorts off walking naked and then jumping really high and into the pool with everything all over the place. When a guy does this, all other guys laugh or look away as if its a gross thing to see. A man and his package apparently is not a pretty sight to straight men. But for me, I didn't want to turn away, I wanted to look. But it was dark so I really couldn't see and so I wanted more.
As time went by, I end up being the only one with my shorts on. Now, this is important to say, the guy I was attracted too knew I was attracted to him, and at the time I considered him my best friend. We had shared life together at that time and were very close. It was a tough relationship for me because I wanted him sexually and he was my best friend. I would never experience sex with him and having that tension in me sucked. I never saw him naked before or if I did, it was little glimpses but never like that night. As the night played out and I ended up being the last one with my shorts on, my friend that knew about me starts encouraging me to take my shorts off and join the fun,
join the brotherhood,
join the masculine world,
join the vulnerable experience of being transparent
But I was scared!
I was afraid of my brothers
I was afraid of being loved
I was afraid of being a man
It is easy to assume I would want to join in the nakedness right? I'm attracted to men. You can almost compare me to a man who would want to be naked in a pool full of hot women. Well, thats what I thought as well. When he was telling me to take my shorts off, I wanted to say, “Dude, don't you remember what my struggle is?” The other guys didn't know, so I wasn't going to say it out loud. But when it came down to it, I couldn't join in the fun because I was afraid, I was hiding. I didn't want to be transparent in this way. I started thinking of myself as a little kid that is not tough. I thought I wasn't as manly as my friends were. They were so confident in their masculinity at this time and I wasn't. I saw them having something good and pure. Since they didn't struggle with same-sex attraction they were fine going skinny dipping. They had something I didn't have, normality. They had the proper sexuality when it comes to masculinity, I didn't. It is if they had the New Kingdom in their life, but I didn't. I was like Adam, he hid nakedness from God who loved him, I was hiding my nakedness from my friends who loved me. All because of my insecurities being a male. Being short and not having a muscular body like them. Not being good at sports. I didn't have a girlfriend. I maybe had the smallest penis out of them. Not having blonde hair and blue eyes. Even being Hispanic played a role in this. I was never comfortable being Hispanic. Going to Biola which is 70% Caucasian didn't help with that either. I had always been embarrassed to be Hispanic. I'm not saying this is right, it is just an insecurity in my life. Overall, my whole identity as a male was challenged and questioned. Who am I? Who is Richard Padilla? (just for the record I'm not claiming I had the smallest penis out of them, it was a thought).
Eventually, my friend who knew I was attracted to him started coming close to me in order to take off my pants and instead I ran out of the pool laughing but inside hurting because I really wanted to join them. I wanted to be like them, a man who was secure about who he was and not afraid to be transparent. I wanted to ask for touch, skin to skin, from my friends, but I always thought that it was just a gay thing. I wanted hugs and physical affirmation from my friends, but I couldn't put it in words to explain to them my needs and wants because I was afraid they thought it was gay, even though my motives were not to be sexual with them, but was mixed in with my sexuality. I wanted to be a part of the New Kingdom with Jesus who exposes himself and not with Adam who hides. I wanted my Identity to be under Christ the Brave and Vulnerable not under Adam the coward who hid.
My friend who knew all my shit was challenging me. He was saying,
"Richard, can you join our brotherhood?"
He knew I wanted to join in, but I was too afraid. He was guiding me and telling me that I belong with them despite my flaws.
Despite the fact that I am attracted to him.
Now, I am not saying everyone needs to go be naked, please don't miss the points I am trying to make, but don't avoid the questions that this article might bring up in your life.
Identity is such a big part of the Homosexual community. There are labels for people who identify with certain sexual preferences and experiences. LGBT where the first labels for those who didn't have a heterosexual sexuality. (I'm not sure what's the most recent title so I'm going to use LGBT). Going to gay pride parades and The Gay and Lesbian Center for Orange County gave me perspective why people need to have a label. They want to feel they belong. They want people to understand them and love them for who they are. They want acceptance for being a sexual human being. They want to have an identity and not be someone lost in this sinful world. Heterosexuals don't have to question their sexuality. It just is. But those that are part of the LGBT have questions that come out of their inner being. Who am I? They look at society and see they don't fit. They become very introspective at a young age because they see something different about themselves. Those that are in today's LGBT community saw the way queers have been treated in the past and become afraid. Even in the Christian Church and at Biola it is still a scary place to say you struggle with this because you don't want to be treated different, even if they know you agree with them that homosexuality is wrong, you are still afraid. Now the LGBT community stands up for themselves. They will not be put down or be treated poorly. They want respect and they want to be accepted as a human because they are human. They want identity. They want to express their sexuality just like any other straight human being expresses sexuality. But then this makes me wonder. Am I suppose to be apart of this community?
Am I suppose to be in the LGBT label? I'm sexually attracted to men. I have experienced sex with men and like it. Am I interpreting the Bible wrong? Does God really allow same-sex relationships to be morally ok? Or worse! Am I an insecure male who has not found my masculinity and I'm searching for it in other guys who I define as masculine? When I see a guy that is everything opposite of me (tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, good at sports, muscular, a people pleaser, big penis, humble and gentle, respected by men) I have to ask myself, “Do I believe by getting in his pants and pleasuring him and him pleasuring me that I have attained that masculinity? That if I touch his penis I have it! Or instead of having confidence in myself, my masculinity, my body, my penis, my being, am I trying to fill in the holes of my being by looking to men sexually rather than looking to them in a brotherly way?
When I see a man I define as attractive, it makes me feel good to get in his pants and feel like I have him. When he touches me and I touch him, it feels like everything fits. It makes sense for the time being as we lay there vulnerable and naked that all is good. All the affirmation of making him feel good makes me feel loved,
but I'm I really being loved?
Am I really being vulnerable and naked, or am I just hiding all my pain and insecurities with this idea that being gay is really who I am in order to not deal with the deep pains and hurts that concern my masculinity and sexuality?
Do I really know who I am?
Can I simply just be who I am, a male who can skinny dip?
I think the most important questions to ask myself are these....
Am I under the identity of Jesus the brave and vulnerable?
Am I under the identity of Adam the coward who hid?