This story is adult fiction containing explicit homosexual sex. If you are a minor or are likely to be offended, please read no further. If you are reading further, please consider a donation to nifty.org to help keep this service free and available to all.

Reminder: My stories are always total fiction. Yet some real events and some real places may be used to add reality.

Comments and criticisms are encouraged. This story deals with how an evangelical minister deals with his homosexuality. It is quite different from other tales I have written for nifty.org. I'd especially like to have your reaction. I will answer all your emails. Please write me at macoutmann@yahoo.com.

PASTOR JOE

by Macout Mann

XVIII

Time came for Ron to talk to Joe's Wednesday night group. He spent a few minutes telling them how knowing about the beliefs and practices of other religions could help you better understand your own. Then he took questions.

Most of the questions were predictable. Do Jews expect to go to heaven? What's the difference between Shias and Sunnis? Are we [the Baptists] really like the first Christians?

Then Ron called on Wayne Rogers.

"So what do other religions say about queers?" he asked.

"You mean about homosexuality?" Ron asked. He had faced such questions before.

"Actually, religious practice, social customs, and sometimes even politics all get involved when it comes to homosexuality. I can think of two religions that this day in time completely condone homosexual practice: the Hindus, who are mostly in South Asia, and the Native American "two-spirits" religion right here in America. Among Christian bodies, there are wide differences, denominations that condone committed homosexual relationships—including, by the way, the American Baptist Churches*—to Christian nations in Africa, where any homosexual activity is punishable by death.

"Throughout history, various cultures have treated homosexuality quite differently. The Aztecs before the Spanish invasion found no problem with it. It was widely practiced in the Middle East before Islam became the dominant religion. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered homosexuality among males, especially mature adults and younger men or between masters and slaves, completely normal.

"Actually, I think society in the last hundred or so years has been more hung up about it than any time in history. Although the church didn't sanction it, same sex mating was widely practiced and was not condemned during the Renaissance in Europe. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was a known homosexual."

"You sound like that sh...that stuff is all right with you," Wayne cut in.

"Not at all," Ron answered. "I'm speaking only as a scholar. You asked the question. I'm just telling you how other religions treat homosexuality. Not my job to take sides."

"You aint no Christian then."

"I don't think we need to insult our guest," Joe interjected.

There was applause from the others. Wayne did not return for future meetings.

After the group had been dismissed, Joe remarked to Ron that the majority of his young people seemed to be joining the twenty-first century after all.

Oh yes," Ron responded. "Still, one will get you ten...that kid Wayne's gay."

"If I was a betting man...," Joe laughed.

"Just watch," Ron said.

"He still got me horny as hell," Ron continued. "Your place or mine?"

Their relationship became fairly routine over the next year. Ron and Bill were much more active than Joe was.

Joe still thought of himself as semi-celibate. Moderation in all things. Have sex only when you are so horny you can't stand it. He'd get with Ron or Bill, or occasionally they'd have a three-way.

Ron and Bill often went to Church Street together and to quote Bill "'copped off' however and with whomever they where switched on by." And they usually visited each other at least once a week. But Ron was also cultivating another friendship, a non-sexual one.

As he had done at Kentucky he enjoyed meeting with students for coffee. At the Vanderbilt Commons Center this practice also involved other faculty and their friends.

Duncan Willcocks was the Episcopal Chaplain to Vanderbilt. A graduate of the Yale Divinity School he was something of a dilettante and enjoyed chatting with others about almost anything. He was also addicted to coffee. And his chapel was only a short walk to the commons. He was fascinated by Ron's expertise. He would talk with him about other religions whenever he could. He first invited Ron for cocktails with his wife, then Ron would come for dinner, and gradually they became real friends.

Ron loved the way that Duncan handled faculty members who tried to show their academic superiority by demeaning others. Like citing some obscure publication and asking, "You have read such-and-such, of course?"

To which, Duncan would reply, "No, actually I haven't. Tell me about it," a rejoinder which often left his harasser at a loss for words.

One thing Duncan could not understand, however, was that although Ron knew as much as anyone about the religious practices of other Christians, he had never been to the services of any other church.

"I'm not trying to proselytize, but you do need to come and see what we're like," Duncan would say. "The chapel at Vanderbilt isn't the place. I'd suggest either the Cathedral downtown or St. George's. It's closer."

Ron could see the logic of checking out other churches, if he was going to teach about different religions; so he started with St. George's, then went to the Roman Catholic Cathedral, which was only a block or so from the campus, then to other mainstream churches. Duncan was a convert from Presbyterianism, so they had many discussions about the differences, plus and minus, of the various denominations.

Ron was surprised at how comfortable he found the worship at St. George's. He became a regular there. Duncan had proselytized after all.

Joe of course was aware that Ron was not attending Westside each Sunday, but he didn't press the issue for several months. After all discussing church attendance while having sex didn't seem quite appropriate.

Ultimately a suitable time did present itself the week after Easter, and Joe did ask why Ron was no longer coming to church.

"Well, it's not like I've become a heathen," Ron grinned. "But I'm going to St. George's down the road."

"But it's like...Catholic, isn't it?" Joe responded.

"It is different," Ron said, "but for one thing, it's a whole lot more understanding of folks like us. They've even consecrated an openly gay bishop.

"You ought to come with me sometime to see what it's like."

Since the Feast of the Ascension is not celebrated in Baptist Churches, Ron was able to coax Joe to join him for the service at St. George's. From the exterior, St. George's could be any large church built in what Baptists called "colonial style." Inside, however, it was like nothing Joe had ever seen: The baptismal font was set on a platform at the back of the nave. The sanctuary's altar was set under a canopy held up by four elaborate columns. A huge pulpit to one side. A lectern from which scripture was read to the other.

The service was a collection of written prayers and responses, impressively dramatic, filled with powerful music, but lacking spontaneity. There was not even a hymn of invitation. No one was given the opportunity to be saved. The congregation bobbed up and down, at times standing, at times sitting, at times kneeling. There was even a parade at the beginning and end of the service.

Definitely not Joe's thing.

He was really shocked to learn that Ron was going to be confirmed by the bishop, making him a full member of the church. Joe even refused to go home with Ron. He sought out Bill instead.

_________________________________________

*During the Civil War the mainstream Protestant Denominations split into Union and Confederate fellowships. The Presbyterians and Methodists were finally reunited after the Second World War. The Baptist Denominations remained divided--there have always been divisions such as Primitive Baptists, Missionary Baptists, and Landmark Baptists--and today the Southern Baptists are by far the dominant group with churches throughout the nation. The American Baptists are what remain of the brotherhood of churches that was formed in the north during the Civil War.

Copyright 2015, 2016 by Macout Mann. All rights reserved.