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Sunday I was in church and didn’t really want to be. Didn’t see much use for it and I was having irritable thoughts. What do they really know, what are they really doing to better the world, they can only see their one extreme point of view…thoughts like that.

And yet, the process of singing and talking with friends had a remarkably curative effect. Being active like that forced me out of my head and away from my angry thoughts. I found myself forced to think of things other than anger because of the persistent reminder that people like me.

Here be the puzzle about a faith community. I don’t believe in all the same ways. I be governed by different principles, informed by different circumstances. To my knowledge, I’m the only gay man in my sangha. They’re all very different than me and I fear they’ll never fully understand me! But they’re still really nice. They listen to me, talk to me, process my thoughts with me. Without even trying, they have a way of making my fears and angers seem unfounded.

And that’s just by being around them. Me and they creating a safe nurturing and optimistic energy when we sing and smile and praise our Jesus. When we actually get to talking, me and they, about how we’re really feeling and what we’re really thinking, those are the good times.

I’d say one of the biggest reasons I stay is because there’s men and women there who will be real with me and still like me when I’m real with them.

All that to say. Having friends is great when you’re feeling angry and confused and lost and lonely. Being active and getting out of your house is great when you’re feeling glum and moody and depressed.

Is it Jesus we need? A relationship with God? Likely. Definitely. How fortunate then is the man or woman who has friends to demonstrate a real tangible love-from-God by being present and open and real.