About 2 years ago I created a website called the 4TS and the Church. The website is about The 4TS and the Church which are Touch, Time, Transparency, Teamwork and how Christians can practically care for other Christians who struggle with homosexuality.
I created this site because I saw a fixable problem within the Church. The Church wants to help Christians that struggle with homosexuality, but it doesn’t have a clue on how to do that and sometimes it ends up doing more damage than good, sometimes life threatening damage.
Since the topic of gay marriage seemed to be one of the main priorities of Churches in the last decade, it sort of forgot what was more important,
Loving and meeting the needs of its own that are in the church that struggles with homosexuality.
Now that Gay marriage is legal, many churches are becoming gay affirming, and Christians that at one point struggled with homosexuality, are now accepting a gay identity.
The Church sort of seems like it is losing.
It has been a rough couple of years.
But now this is where the 4TS comes in.
In my life, I have been blessed to have male friends go above and beyond “normal” friendship to meet the very complex needs that are in my life because I struggle with homosexuality.
There have been ups and downs and lessons that have taught me very important truths about society, the Church, sin, redemption, and what it means to be a Christian that struggles with Homosexuality.
And those truths get summed up within the 4TS and the Church.
A couple of years ago at Biola University a group of gay affirming students started a community that was putting pressure on Biola to change its stance on gay relationships. The editor in Chief of the Biola Chimes covered this group, but she also covered my story.
Here is the story. Please read it.
She was such a good listener of my experience being a Christian who struggled with homosexuality she was able to identify 3 words my friends gave to me that were very important to me.
TOUCH, TIME, and TRANSPARENCY.
As passion started to build within me for the Church to actually be a place where Christians who struggled with homosexuality can get their needs met, I wanted to start something for heterosexual Christians who want to help Christians that struggle with homosexuality. A place where Christians can finally say, “Oh, I can practical meet the needs of another brother or sister who struggles with homosexuality. I don’t have to vaguely “love them,” I can actually love them, care for them. Give them the godly, healthy intimacy they need.“
This site isn’t directly for those who struggle with homosexuality, but I know it does help them.
But my passion is for the “straight church.” The Christian communities that want to get their hands and knees dirty and actually love and offer deep intimacy for those that struggle with homosexuality. And it will get tough. Caring for a Christian who struggles with homosexuality isn't a walk in the park. See it as you being Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord and you end up getting hurt in the process, but this hurt increases your faith and trust in God.
I thought of the importance of TOUCH, TIME, TRANSPARENCY, and TEAMWORKand how these 4TS gave me hope that I can be a Christian who struggles with homosexuality and have my deep longing for male intimacy met in healthy godly ways.
I can still be a part of the church and care for the Church as the Church cares me.
It is my home.
Since I have started this site, it has been taking off. I receive emails every other day. People from Italy, France, South Africa, Australia, and of course the United States. I have been able to talk to 3 churches and a men's small group (all that attended that group struggled with homosexuality) about the 4TS.
Even though these words seem so simple, I actually dive into the very complex realities of these words. For some Christians, the 4TS will be very challenging, sacrificial, it may show them their own selfishness, and for some, it might bring up pain and sadness in their own lives as they realize they may be lacking the 4TS in their life, even if they don’t struggle with homosexuality.
I talk about how long periods of touch from men are important and healthy for a Christian like me, so we have to talk about touch. Ways to touch, experience touch.
I talk about wow quality time is important. This gets complicated because we then have to talk about how Christians use their time, especially when it comes to marriage and family.
We talk about transparency. Spiritual and emotional transparency, and the most complex, physical transparency. I talk about the importance of the locker room experience and how humans need to be known physically in nonsexual ways. It is this area of conversation that we talk about what it means to be attracted to another same sex peer.
And I talk about how helping those who struggle with homosexuality needs to be done with teamwork or church community. To some extent, everyone needs teamwork. Even married folks.
The 4TS will stretch some Christians and take them to very uncomfortable areas they haven't been before.
Some of the blogs I have written are very detailed in regards to what same sex attraction is and how the desire of wanting to have sex with your friends actually plays out in my mind and why it does.
Christians do not always have the most accurate understanding of this sin or fallen nature. It isn’t just a sexual perversion, but a lack of communication on how Christians that struggle with deep same sex intimacy bond with the Church.
I have been able to do some writing, podcasting and one video. Since then the site is becoming a little well known!
Here are a couple of emails I have received from readers and listeners
Hey, I just stumbled across your blog and read a couple of your posts. As a college student who also struggles with homosexuality, I'm really thankful for your honesty and transparency. I've read a number of blogs, watched tons of videos, and listened to some podcasts, but your blog is the first I've seen to present such a unique solution to helping SSA guys in the church. I've never considered that it's actually alright (and even biblical) to seek affirmation/ affection from another man (especially physically!). I've always distanced myself from any situation that would involve physical intimacy with other men for fear of intensifying my homosexual desires and adding another scenario for me to later sexualize and fantasize over. My greatest desire has always been to just be "one of the bros," to engage in physical and emotional intimacy in a non-sexual way. Reading your blog has really encouraged me that my desire could become a reality.
That being said, if you're willing to respond, I had a few questions regarding this viewpoint and your thought process:
Do you find yourself only seeking help from guys you consider attractive? Would you ever ask for a hug from an unattractive man? Why/ why not?
Would you ever seek confirmation from a man who also struggles with homosexuality? Why/ why not?
How do you not sexualize/fantasize about physical closeness with another guy? Does it get easier the more you do it? Do you ask God for help?
Do you ever feel convicted about your interactions with other men? Do you ever feel like you went too far with someone?
Here is another email
I'm currently 49 years old. I am a mostly same sex attracted Christian man who grew up with a great father and mother. I had my first experiences of the locker room when I was 30 years old. I guess the thing I had feared the most all through high school and college was the very thing I had needed. Since then I've had many great experiences with men in all the 4Ts, but especially in transparency. One thing I try to get across to people is that pursuing transparency and the locker room is not only valid but important; even something to be excited about. It is basically filling in a gap left in lots of men's lives regardless of how they experience attraction.
I believe in traditional morality and sexuality from a Christian point of view. But I also believe men need other men and they need a comfortable and safe place to let their hair down and be intimate with room for awkwardness and goofups. The lockers provide this. I wish more OSA men knew the power they had in this regard. They could initiate tons of healing by creating experiences where SSA men could enter into to real communion. The locker room when approached naturally has such normalizing effects.
It's important to note that the 4Ts don't manifest the same way in every friendship. I have one friend for instance, I have some friends who are more Time or Touch, but not both. I have others who are mostly just one T to me. And one of my closest friends, the guy I do art with, is all 4Ts all the time.
And in closing, a quick message for you OSA/straight male friends. Thanks so much guys for being open and vulnerable. Thanks for your invitations to do life and intimacy. Thanks for seeing people like us as possibilities for friendship and not people to push to the edge. And thanks for sharing the 4Ts with us. You guys are the best!
I can't tell you how happy I was to hear the podcast on transparency. I'm sure you are inundated with emails so I'll try not to be a bother, but if you or your podcast mates would ever want to share stories or hear mine I'd love to meet you guys. I realize it would be an email or social networking scenario, but I'm open to sharing. Also, for the record, I don't see men as gay or straight, just as men.
One more email
I just found out about your blog/site and have listened to a couple of the podcasts. I totally relate to what you and the other guys are saying. The 4 t's make so much sense. It's really cool you have straight guys also speaking and sharing. I'm an ssa guy who is 56 and only "came out" back in 2012 when my ex-wife left me. I've had attractions to men since I was a teen but back then it was totally NOT ok to mention them at all." - (identity hidden)
I came across your blog through Facebook and "Your Other Brothers" yesterday.
I listen to the podcast on the locker room and read through your writings.
I am 59 years old and it has taken me to this age to understand all the things you correctly share about ssa, men and the church. It has been a lonely journey for me.
I have always had ssa...had counseling for it... got married...raised a family...stayed married..never have been with a man...yet the attractions have remained. I am a Christian and have been active in the church and in a serious relationship with Jesus all my life. You are the first Christian guy that I have come across that speaks like he knows the me inside.
It was refreshing and encouraging for me to review your blog. It is like you know the me I keep hidden because it seems no one of my generation gets it.
Thank you for your transparency and courage to speak up with such directness (older Christian)
I can’t keep up with the writing, podcasting, videos and the many more creative ideas I have to give the church the necessary tools to love those that struggle with homosexuality because I work full time and have two other part time jobs.
I have been wondering for the last year if I should do this full time or part time.
And now, I know I need to try this as least part time for at least 9 months.
And I can only do this with the support of the Church, my friends, my brothers, and sisters.
My desire is to cut my full-time job hours in half, do less valet, and stop being an uber driver in order to give 20 hours a week to this site and make this into something bigger and useful.
I am hoping for at least 50 people to be committed to giving 30 dollars a month for 9 months starting in September and ending in May. If I actually get more support than needed, I may go full time.
I will be reporting to 2 friends of mine.
Matthew Hooper, who is the Dean of Students at Biola and walks alongside many men and women who struggle with homosexuality. And my friend Kolby Atchison who is an Assistant Principal at a private school in Wheaton who has walked alongside me and has contributed intellectual dialogue, advice, and constructive criticism on how to improve the 4TS website and content.
And really, I talk to most of my friends about the 4TS so I am surrounded by many men and women who are always interested in how the site is going. So I have a lot of support and accountability taking place concerning this already.
At the end of the 9 months, I want to reevaluate the 4TS and the Church and see where it will be.
If I should continue this or not.
Within the 9 months I want to create different content that explains the 4TS, hold at least 2 small conferences with Pastors and Church leaders, write, and podcast more, especially with pastors and professors and start networking with Churches and Christian Professors to help them incorporate the 4TS into their church culture and lives.
The reasons this will take a lot of time is because the 4TS is counter cultural. There are a lot of conversations that need to take place in order for churches to understand homosexuality in a better way than just a sex sin.
Topics of friendship and marriage need to take place.
Topics about the human body need to take place.
It gets complicated and so this needs to be done well.
I don’t assume God is behind this, but I pray and hope God blesses this. With the amount of traffic and emails I am receiving, it seems to be touching many men.
So I am asking you if you will be willing to journey with me on this.
But there is a catch, I don’t want you to just donate and hope for this success. I want you to be a part of it.
I want you to write at least 4 blogs throughout the 9 months concerning each particular T. It can be however long or short you want it to be and I will guide you on what would be the best topics to talk about when you write. The reason for this is that I want the 4TS and the Church to be talked about, debated on, shared with as many Christians as possible.
I want to use social media as one of my main platforms, but I would love for the Church to be the main platform for this conversation.
The 4TS will only be successful if people take it to their local churches and bring it up, talk about it, teach it, discuss it, debate it, etc.
I will publish your specific blog post on the site and social media.
This is all I got for you right now. If you decide you want to support me for 30 dollars (or more) for 9 months, please email me your concerns, questions, challenges etc. I want to hear anything you have to say.
This is serious stuff. I’m not just raising money to pay my bills and be lazy. I realize the importance and potential of this conversation and the need the Church has for something like this. I plan on contacting every Pastor and Christian Professor in the So-hcal area during the 9 months.
Many people are killing themselves over this, getting diseases over this, crying in agony at night alone over this, accepting a gay identity over this.
I want that to change. I want the Church to be a place where humans who have deep same sex longings can actually experience that in healthy Christian brotherly and sisterly ways.
I want the church to offer them TOUCH, TIME, TRANSPARENCY, and TEAMWORK.
“Many men who have high same-sex needs eventually decide: “Being in the gay lifestyle is better than being in the church, Because in the gay life, you go into a bar and everyone hugs and kisses you. You go to a church, you don't get hugged and kissed by anyone. Some of them, the more artistic, the more politically astute, or maybe the more sensitive ones will do it......Christians are talking heads or praying heads. They can't get down to where you really need to be. Your skin is your largest organ in your body and they are afraid of it. They are afraid to touch, they are afraid to love, they are afraid to sacrifice, afraid to get messy. “Oh my god, what do you mean it's going to take 10 years for you to get better? I don't have time that kind of time.” So the gay life appears to be a whole lot more love, acceptance, and laughter.”- Tim Timmerman, A Bigger World Yet.
For those of you that have decided you can support me, I created a PayPal account that you can donate monthly too.
I asked those who want to support me if they can donate 30 dollars for 9 months from September to May.
Here is the account email for PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not comfortable with making a transaction through PayPal just email me back your concerns. We can work out another method for your donation. I would like to keep all the transactions in one account so I can keep track of it for taxes (that's right, I’m paying taxes for this) which is why I want to use PayPal.
Paypal is a safe monetary transaction company that my current job uses for its own transactions.
If you feel comfortable donating to me please let me know if you haven’t already.
If you are comfortable, you can find the account on PayPal.
If you can donate by the 15th of each month that would be great so I can know how much time I can invest in the 4TS before I add more valet shifts or Uber shifts to my life.
Again, thank you so much for the support you have given me. It means a lot.
In the next week or two, I will be emailing you the specific plan I have on where I want to try to take the 4TS and the Church and how you can be involved as well.
I am excited for where this can go, hopefully, it can change the narrative of the Church and its relation to Christians who struggle with homosexuality.
Please email me if you have any questions, concerns, etc.
Your brother in Christ - Richard Padilla