This week’s column: Like puberty all over again

This week has unofficially been announced as “Let’s All Bash Matt Hill Comer Week,” but I still got to insert my two cents…

My column from this week’s issue of The Carolinian (UNCG):

It’s like puberty all over again

by Matt Hill Comer, Don’t Ask (I’m Telling)
Issue date: 1/23/07 Section: Opinions

Nonviolence: I have written about this topic in my past two columns and at least once before in the past six months. I’m pretty sure that unless I quickly move on to some other issue, lest I bore you with my constant droning, I will surely lose some readers.

For now, however, it is just too important an issue in my life for me to just simply pass up the opportunities I have in which to speak on it.

My lessons on nonviolence have sparked so many other discussions and lessons which have, in return, added only more questions and uncertainty to my already hectic and unstable life of 20-hour days and sleepless nights.

I think I’ve hit puberty again; or at least it feels that way. The growth this time isn’t physical. It is fully intellectual and spiritual. I find myself questioning not only my past stances and positions on political and social issues, but also my faith and my purpose in life.

If you asked me only six months ago, I would have told you that while I didn’t appreciate the obvious fact that our inept president lied to us to get us there, I supported the outcome of the war in Iraq, mainly that we now had Saddam out of power and that America was safer for it.

Ask me now and my opinion isn’t so clear. I find myself drifting more and more to the point of believing war in any circumstance whatsoever is wrong, immoral and, due to my personal faith system, un-Godly and certainly not Christ-like.

I don’t think I’ve ever hidden from the fact that I am, without question, a white man from the South. It is an inarguable fact. I’ve also never been one na’ve enough to think that, as a white man, I can fully understand or comprehend what it is like to live as a racial minority within this country. While it is true I am a part of a minority as a gay man in America, I am also fully aware that what I have been able to achieve is not only a product of my own hard work, but also an inherited benefit from a society built upon legalized and institutionalized prejudice and discrimination against those who do not fit into the “white” category.

So, I look back at so many things in my past. Not only things I have said, but also things I have thought. I realize that growing up in a racist environment left so many scars on me. Can I say I have not, in the past, spoken or acted in racist ways – even if I didn’t consciously realize that was what I was doing? Absolutely not. Can I say that I must offer no excuse in pushing myself to the limit in order to start understanding racism in America, correcting myself when those scars want to turn into open sores again and then doing my part to work hand-in-hand with my human brothers and sisters to address this plague on our society? Absolutely yes.

If you asked me six months ago what I believed in regard to personal Salvation through Christ, I could tell you in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t have had to think about it. While I’m confident in knowing what the Gospel is and while I have no doubts as to the principles Christ sought to teach humanity, I find myself asking, “What the hell was I thinking?” Who am I to put God in this little box and say that it is big enough to hold Him? My puny, mortal human mind and “intellect” are nothing in comparison to my omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. Do I believe that Christ was divine? Sure. Do I believe that Christ is my Saviour and that God sent Him to save humanity? Sure. Can I say with absolute certainty that God has never placed divinity in another person or revealed His truth and glory through other means? Nope. Can I say that God hasn’t used other people in “saving” humanity? Nope.

Although I don’t have all the detailed answers, I do know this: God is too big, too complex and too unimaginable for me to think I could ever pin down the “true path” and put up a “one way” sign on Salvation Lane. After all, I’m only human.

I never imagined that I would one day find myself questioning almost everything that I was taught growing up or almost everything which fit together to create view on the world. I’m sure some of you have thought the same and found yourself to be wrong. Welcome to Human Nature 101.

Out of all of my unanswered questions I can at least say this: We are all human and in being so we are all born with an inherit dignity and worth which no man or woman has a right to ever take away or deny. We are all one family sharing life together.

I guess, in my long-winded nature, I’m just trying to say (and I’m stealing it from my pastor) that if you ever find yourself thinking you know exactly what you believe, then it is time to start asking questions again.

See the original online posting of the column at

5 Responses to “This week’s column: Like puberty all over again”
  1. Brian says:

    Recently, I find myself asking many of the same questions of my faith that you have been asking yourself. I think what I’ve realized in the past few months is that I may never feel comfortable saying with 100% certainty this truth or that position–and that is OK.

    I was not alive 2000 years ago to witness a physical resurrection (or lack thereof). I cannot presume to know God is working in the hearts of people in ancient Japan or remote villages in Africa. I have not journeyed to the other side of this life to see what lies there.

    I have, however, lived on this planet for 21 years. I was raised in a Christian community and the Christian faith played a formative role in my development. I do know how I felt the love of God and the love of the Church in my life. I do know the confidence and courage I gather from the teachings of Jesus. And I can attest to the positive effect Christian teachings have had on my life.

    So, I guess that’s good enough.

  2. Samantha says:

    Matt, i really liked this column, I think its good to question our beliefs, especially when we have believed them all our life. Each of the questions we ask ourselves is unique to the person’s own experiences and beliefs, it was good to read this this morning and to know I am not the only one questioning and changing my beliefs.

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks Brian and Samantha.

    This column really was the result of not only the past few months and, to a large extent, my time spent in Austin, but also a lengthy “Pastoral Counseling” session with the associate pastor at my church. She provided a lot of insight, although many of my questions remained unanswered after speaking to her.

    I really did like what she had to say, though. It’s there in the last line of the column: “If you ever find yourself thinking you know exactly what you believe, then it is time to start asking questions again.”

    It really is great advice, for anyone. If more people did this, I think so many of our problems would be solved and I certainly would be watching the House of Representatives and Senate argue over something on C-SPAN right now (yeah… I’m a geek, lol).

  4. Joe T. says:

    Unless one is a complete idiot his/her belief systems develop and change over time. Even within things that for some people remain constant (like one’s Christianity for some) there are changes. Don’t fret over it.

  5. Matt says:

    Thanks Joe… as always… honest, without regret. 🙂

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