“Okay, this is what I don’t get. I am attracted to…the penis…because I don’t have one. It intrigues me and I’m curious about it. It’s totally new and different, and I have no idea what it’s like to have one. Like God – I know that there is always something new and different that I’m going to discover in him. Like an unending depth. I will always be in the process of knowing God.”

So says my straight friend of many years, “Fred.” (Fred is a girl, but that’s my nickname for her, not to mention it provides anonymity.) I spent the afternoon with Fred yesterday. She goes to a Bible college a few miles south of where I attend. We’ve been very good friends since the beginning of high school, and we like to hang out every once and while now that we’re big kids in college, us non-native Californians. I came out to Fred about a year ago, and every time we get together, the discussion invariably turns to gay issues, being that we’re both Christians, and this is entirely new to her, and I’m her only gay friend. What’s funny is that she still refers to me as one of her most “godly” friends. This warms my heart and gives me some inner hope and strength. But that’s another story.

I finished my enchilada and she was still eating her nachos. But she was getting onto gay stuff, so I settled in and put my thinking cap on (we’re both kind of self-proclaimed intellectuals). Her question caught me off guard. I usually don’t think in such crude terms. But, there it is. The question. Why boys? I didn’t really have an answer for her. Here she is, drawing a connection between her heterosexuality that she relates to, and her relationship with God. Where do I go from there? “Oh, you’re right, I think I’ve got God all figured out,” is a possible response. But, I know she doesn’t mean it in a hurtful way. She is just authentically curious. She can’t imagine why I would not think the female genitalia was “fascinating and mysterious” as she put it. We both laughed, because that’s what you do when you hit on something so honest and blunt. Well, it’s what I do.

After a few hours of more discussion, she began to understand things. She had a lot of sorting out to do (“Where do you stand on the biblical view of sex? Like…outside of marriage?”) I explained that I am bitter, that I’ve been demoralized, that I don’t have that lofty ideal any more. BUT, that in a perfect world my ideals should line up with my faith. She really began to think outside of her “prescribed” thinking when I asked her how the gay relationship parallels the straight – dating, engagement, marriage, monogamy? She didn’t really have an answer, seeing as gay marriage isn’t an option for the most part. I felt kind of guilty, and I even know she wasn’t judging me. And I’m even leading an abstinent sexual life. Then why all the guilt? Circle back to internalized social discomfort with same-sex relationships. I thought I was past that for myself. Guess again.

The afternoon was cathartic, however. By the time I left we had chatted about so many things, and made lots of jokes about our respective life circumstances. It felt good. And who knows, maybe countless encounters like this are what change a person. Maybe blunt, bold, honest questions cause me to dig through things I like to think are already solved. Maybe this is the road to wholeness.