…just not that narrow!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by Gay &...

It dawned on me recently that I will never return to my “golden days” of deep religious faith.  In planning a wedding and subsequently trying to settle into a “normal” life I have noticed that something has been irking me lately.  I only discovered what it was a few days ago while surfing GCN.

 

I have said in the past that GCN has been a really great networking tool for me, and I stand by that claim.  I have to admit that GCN has also sparked some resistance to me returning to my all-encompassing days of religion.  Why?  I truly believe that some of the posters on there and some overly religious people are fake.  Faith is the outward statement that everything is wonderful.

 

It angers me that people can respond to real crisis issues with, “Just pray and everything will work out.”  I hate when religious people become judgmental and holier-than-th0ugh on everything.  It is this hypocrisy that I cannot stand or tolerate anymore.  It is the idea that people pick and choose Bible passages to fit their argument while ignoring glaring issues of logic and humanity.

 

It is the anger and overwhelmed pain I feel when my sibling tells me that that my choices have caused her confusion.  She is not sure how shes feels about my choice of fiance and lifestyle.  But she is trying…

 

Trying to do what?  Trying to remember that I am her brother whom she loves?  Trying to think logically and see that I am still the same person I always was?  Trying to notice that my love for my fiance is just as real and strong as her love for her family?

 

I read a post on GCN by someone who stated that he could not read the posts anymore because instead of bringing him closer to God and his homosexual identity that they were separating the two more.  There are times when I can echo this person’s feelings.  There are times when I get angry thinking that just because I love a man, family parties will always be awkward.

 

In the end, all I want is normalcy.  I want to not feel awkward holding my fiance’s hand with my family around.  I want my nieces and nephews to call him uncle too.  I want to not worry about my upcoming wedding, the ceremony, and how my family will react.  I just want to believe in God the way I want to believe without a church, a Pope, a sister, or anyone telling me I am wrong.  In the end…I just want to be at peace.

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…having faith.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by Gay &...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-06-25-gay-christian_N.htm

Above is a blog to a short article regarding homosexuals and faith. The articles states that 60% of homosexuals polled said that faith was important to them. The research side of me wants more stats and wants to see more about the instrument, but the non-dork side is happy to hear this.

Faith has made me who I am today. During my formidable years (which, by the way, I think are still occurring) of high school, my faith defined me. Today it is still a very important part of me.

I will be the first to admit that I am not overtly faithful. I wear no religious items (crosses, stars, etc.) and I rarely preach or mention God. My faith is a personal journey that is difficult for me to put into words, and if you know me, talking is usually easy for me.

Faith, in the context of this survey, may not mean faith in God. One of my favorite movies has a quote that says, “Why, when I mention faith, do you assume that I am talking about God?” I often feel this way when I speak to non-Christians. I feel unable to discuss faith because automatically it is absurd to think that an educated (and ridiculously good looking) gay man could want to associate with religions that want to persecute, degrade, and harm him.

I know that I have made this point here before, but faith is yours. Faith may be the belief in God, or gods, or nature, or self-strength. I am not here to tell you your faith needs to be something. I am here to say that faith is important. It has shaped and molded me, and it is shaping and molding the 60% of respondents that answered this survey.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read. Please do not be a quiet observer. Comment on my thoughts and add your own.

…synchroblogging on bridging the gap.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 by Gay &...

I was invited to participate in a synchroblog occurring today.  Bloggers that blog on the topic of religion, Christianity, and homosexuality are blogging today about the attempt to reconcile these factions.  It was brought to my attention that most of my blogs make it seem that my faith is no longer important.  It is quite the opposite.  My faith is just as important as it ever was, but it has grown, matured, and developed.  It looks very different from my old faith.  There is no shame or problem with what my faith looked like in high school.  It was what I needed to get through some difficult times. 

One of the many tenants I propose with this blog is simple: compromise for peace.  There are some people with political minds that are groaning right now.  I am not naive enough to believe that if we all just listened, compromised, and agreed our world would be at peace.  Having studied negotiation during my degree I understand that there is a lot more that must occur.

 

My previous post was a link to a letter to the Mormon Church forgiving them for past transgressions.  Some of my friends expressed concern over this.  I understand their viewpoint and want to support them.  I never want anyone to do anything they do not feel comfortable with.  Life is about experiences and learning from them.  We all need to be strong in our own beliefs.  In my eyes, this forgiveness to any body of wrongdoing (the LDS Church, the Roman Catholic Church) needs to happen to be able to move on. 

 

I cannot change the past or make certain indiscretions disappear.  Forgiveness is not a forgetting.  I do not want to forget that the LDS church fought vehemently for Prop 8.  We must accept it happened, express our reasons for that not being the best course of action, and move on.  The longer we dwell on what we cannot change, the longer it will take us to change what we can.  I want Prop 8 overturned, but telling the LDS Church how evil they are will not help enlighten them to this civil rights issue.

 

With that being said, I want to add my remedy to some of the division between the homosexual identity and a religious/spiritual identity.  Education is key.  Sometimes within these heated issues we forget to provide our side, clearly and concisely.  When I hear people saying that homosexuality is a sin and a choice or that marriage equality will destroy heterosexual marriage I can often just explode in rage.  I want to yell that they are close-minded and ignorant.  Telling these people that will not convince them to change.  We need to express our reasons and experiences.  Below I have published an email conversation between two people doing exactly this.  You can easily guess who I agree with, but the dialogue is the important part. 

 

“I’ve been fairly quiet since joining this list. But your recent message makes me genuinely curious.

How will my marriage to my husband —- undermine other marriages between a man and a woman? We’ve shared ten happy and wonderful years together. In that time, I’ve yet to see our marriage have a detrimental effect on other marriages.

We’ve not imposed our marriage on churches who do not wish to recognize the blessing of our relationship. We have no plans to. No one is trying to force churches with a narrow view of marriage to marry couples they do not approve of – gay or straight.

No one has come forward to say they are getting a divorce because of us.

Here’s a curious fact: The states that have embraced marriage equality had the lowest divorce rates before allowing gay couples to marry – they still do. States with the highest divorce rates have specifically banned gay couples from marrying.

I share your concern about protecting traditional marriage up to a point. I am concerned about 50+% divorce rates among marriages between a man and a woman. Divorces are particularly painful when they involve children. And women typically fare worse than men in divorce settlements.

Seems like DOMA has done nothing to protect marriage in the USA, and it seems insincere to ban gay couples from marrying to “protect” marriage. Instead of banning gay couples from marrying, shouldn’t you be seeking a ban on divorce?

Respectfully and sincerely,

J*****

M*** responded to my reply with . . . . .

J****, I realize that you feel something for your partner. It may be love but the sin in the relationship is that is is love for a fellow man (male) not the love that God intended for the parents of a child or sexual intercourse. It is a mistake and a sin in the eyes of God. It is a behavior that you choose. I and the members of this group are not discriminating against a race or a biological condition by supporting this bill, we are discriminating against a choice. That is a fact.

While you are a nice enough guy I’m sure, I cannot condone your actions no matter your argument. Marriage is not perfect between any 2 people, and especially not when there is obvious and blatant sin. When we ask for forgiveness we are commanded “go and sin no more..” that means do not keep committing the same sin over and over again intentionally. I cannot not be a disciple of Christ or a Christian and sit by while my government puts a stamp of approval on a behavior that is blatantly against the teachings of Christ.

My or and Christian’s doing so becomes a stumbling block for those who are weak in their faith or not yet saved. Your marriage does threaten families. It threatens children and their development as to what is natural and it threatens your salvation and that of those for whom you are an example.

I am not trying to put you down. I am not trying to claim that I am without sin. However, my relationship with the Lord convicts me of my personal sin and keeps me on the right path when I do fall off. Not that God causes things to happen to me or anything, but I feel remorse and regret when I sin. Christians are told in 1 Peter 3:15 “Instead, exalt the Messiah” as Lord in your lives. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have with gentleness and respect.” I am charged to explain to you why and you have asked me why! My hope is in the Lord, and it hurts me to see any person blatantly and publicly sin and feel no remorse. This life is short and it is hard. But God promises me an eternity of being perfected and in His presence and I want that more than anything.

I know I won’t change your mind because it is not within my power. But ponder some things with me.

“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of His Son….We see the original & intended shape of our lives there in him.” Romans 8:29

We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created” Colossians 1:15

Jesus overturned the tables in the temple (Mark 11:15-19) because sin was occurring openly there. How different is your body from that temple? Your body is the temple for your soul.

What is the purpose of your relationship Jonathan? How does the design of your life reflect the life of Christ?

Just think about it and remember you emailed me.

Thanks for hearing me out and I may not have addresses every topic you brought up because I have to run to Walmart but thanks for being respectful. I will pray for you and I don’t know if you are a believer but either way pray for me. We can all use a little more of it and God hears every one of them.

Your friend,
M****”

 

Please visit other bloggers who are writing on this same issue today.  If you are visiting, thank you for reading.  Please comment.  Until next time, peace!

…providing my John Hancock

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2009 by Gay &...

Please go to this website: http://ldsapology.org/ and sign the letter. I have attached the letter from the website if you cannot go to the url or if you do not wish to sign. They need all the signatures they can get.

“A Plea for Reconciliation

“There is a saying that to understand is to forgive, but that is an error,. . . .You must forgive in order to understand. Until you forgive you defend yourself against the possibility of understanding.” -Marilynne Robinson, Home (2008)

We the undersigned, in the spirit of love and peace, earnestly seek to create a climate for reconciliation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gays and lesbians who have been affected by the policies, practices and politics of the Church. We recognize that issues surrounding sexuality and gender orientation are complex; that understanding of these matters has evolved, especially over the past several decades, and are continuing to evolve as scientists, therapists, theologians and others continue to explore and ponder their meaning and significance; We believe that people of good will may have differing views about homosexuality, while maintaining amicable relationships.

True reconciliation requires that parties on both sides of this issue be willing to honestly examine their attitudes, behaviors (including past behaviors), policies and practices—and be open to understanding, forgiveness (both asking for and accepting), and apology.

For individuals who have suffered or been forced to watch a loved one suffer mistreatment, misunderstanding, or demonization as a consequence of the LDS church’s official policies, actions, and teachings regarding sexual orientation, we understand that true reconciliation will require rejecting redress through hostility, will take time, and be a difficult process.

For Church leaders, reconciliation requires examining ways in which official statements, rhetoric, policy and practice have been injurious to gays and lesbians and their families and friends; have caused unnecessary pain and suffering, rejection, psychological and spiritual damage and even death. This means scrupulously acknowledging such practices as “reorientation”– reparative, revulsion, and shock-therapies; such teachings as homosexuality being an evil perversion, a condition that is chosen and changeable and one that can be overcome through fasting, prayer, sacrifice and heterosexual marriage; and using scriptures that are taken out of context, mistranslated or that are highly selective to condemn homosexuality. It also means to repudiate publicly circulated articles, essays, books, speeches, and conference addresses that have stereotyped or demonized gays and lesbians.

We believe that the time is right for healing over this issue to begin, for those on both sides to manifest forgiveness, magnanimity, and especially, love. We believe reconciliation requires us to strive for open hearts and minds so that we might live together in peace and mutual respect. It is long past time for those on both sides to begin treating one another with greater dignity, respect and understanding.”

…calling all parents.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 by Gay &...

I was supposed to post about my “fatherhood” experience, but that will need to wait.  I was on GCN today and I read a post that I need to address.  There is a forum to ask for prayers on certain matters.  I often read these and pray for the people/requests presented, but I have to admit that this can often be a melancholy endeavor.  I need to ensure that I am in a strong mood before I delve into depressing stories and sad requests.  Today I was pleasantly surprised.  I read a post from a father in Texas whose 17 year old son came out to him and his wife a few nights ago.

 

Initially, I was nervous.  The subject of the thread was “My son revealed his secret two days ago” from a username that was clearly from Texas.  Before I even clicked the link I could feel my stomach drop from fear of reading another story of a teen being told they were wrong, ugly, or an abomination.  I clicked the link and was immediately drawn into this man’s story.  He had come home to his wife pacing in the kitchen.  She told him that their son had come home from school and was in his room crying.  He and his wife went upstairs to talk to their son.  Through tears the son admitted to his parents that he is gay.

 

The father goes on to explain that is proud of his for his strength and courage.  He explains that he only wants to love his son and show him his support.  He was petitioning GCN members to see if we had advice on how to approach his son in a positive, supportive way.  In writing this I can feel tears welling up.  This is the story I always want to read. 

 

Let me juxtapose this great story with a horrible one.  While working as advisor to the GLBT group on my last campus, I met a high school student who told his mother he was gay and she threw him out.  He was not even allowed back into the house to get his belongings.  His mother said, “No son of mine will be a faggot.”  He moved out to California to live with his grandmother.  About a year later he is doing alright.  Needless to say, he still does not speak to his mother.

 

These two stories make me think about my brother, sister, and cousin.  They all have young children, and I wonder what their reactions would be to hearing that one of their children were gay.  I think it would be idealistic to say that they would all be like the first parent.  I have tried to have the conversation with them about this and how they will plan for this possible outcome.  It is a tough discussion to have with my siblings, but it is important. 

 

Most parents, deep down, want their children to have a better like than they did.  My parents always told me that they were not upset about my orientation, but that they were nervous about the hardships I would face in my life because of it.  I respected and loved them for this.  The Texas father has taken this approach as well.  If you are reading this and have children, think about this question.  How would you handle it?  What would you ask? 

 

In honor of Father’s Day I promise that my next post will be about my new “fatherhood”.  Thanks for reading, and please comment.  Your comments make me want to write.  Peace!

…needing some popcorn.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2009 by Gay &...

Gay cinema has evolved since the late ’90s.  Most gay cinema used to be shot with a handheld (or shoulder mounted in those days) camera.  The acting reminds you of a bad high school musical, and the writing was done by a gay chimp randomly hitting a typewriter.  All in all, older gay cinema was a crap-shoot.  Some have become classics (Trick, Priscilla, Tu Wong Fu), but most are buried away in some VHS box. 

 

Since the advent of Netflix, my fiance and I have watched a lot more gay cinema.  TLA has created some of the best (and worst) movie we have seen.  Some are not the best quality and will not be winning any Oscars soon, but I am not bored by a romantic comedy between a guy that is cute and girl that is…well…a girl.  I can watch two guys courting, being cute, or living together and relate that to my life. 

 

When I first came out I can remember being surprised that gay cinema existed.  It is rarely on the front lines (like Brokeback Mountain).  Old school video stores usually scattered them into mainstream movies, and if you were not looking for them you could never find them.  To be honest, I also prided myself as a “normal” gay man who did not need gay cinema.  I was just going to fit in and watch mainstream movies. 

 

I have grown and changed from this thought.  I enjoy watching a movie that has no plot, but has a lot of gorgeous men talking about things.  Seriously, that is nice, but I also enjoy not having to replace the woman in the movie to be able to relate.  I like hearing characters say things to one another that I want my fiance to say to me (hint, hint…j/k).  I enjoy watching how we as a community portray and tackle issues. 

 

Tune in next post for a discussion on “fatherhood”.  Thanks for reading.  Don’t be shy about commenting.  I enjoy reading your feedback and thoughts.  Until next time…peace!

…an editor I am not!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2009 by Gay &...

While you read my posts I am sure you have noticed a lot of grammar mistakes, misnomers, and general writing mistakes.  English as a language is one of the most difficult modern languages to learn its rules.  Our idioms and lack of rules make our language an enigma to those wishing to learn it.  With all of this being said, people have a horrible grasp of the English language.  Starting to commute and listening to NPR daily allows me to hear a lot normal people comment on a variety of topics. 

 

Coup pr0nouced “coop”

I am not sure if you heard, but the republicans in the NY Senate stage a coup with a few democrats and took over as the majority.  It has been a huge story this week on NPR.  A caller called in to discuss this situation.  He made some great points, but he ended by say “coop” instead of coup.  This made all of his arguments moot in my mind. 

 

“I almost went into cardiac duress…”

My next source just screams unreliable, but I need to discuss it.  I was watching MTV’s Real World/Road Rules something (I am not sure if it was Duel or Gauntlet) when one of the females said that she was so scared because needing to jump from a height.  She panted, grabbed her chest, and said that she almost went into cardiac duress.  When asked about this she reiterated that she almost had a heart attack.  One of the other contestants told her that it was cardiac “arrest” not duress.  She did not believe him.

 

This is important!

Speaking correctly and articulating yourself clearly is important.  We have all been in the situation where someone is speaking publicly and he or she cannot seem to get their point out.  We have all been in a conversation where someone cannot articulate their point and you want to scream.  The use of the wrong word can take a great argument and derail it.  A professional advertisement with a typo or grammar mistake makes me want to avoid ever utilizing that service. 

 

All in all, we could all benefit from a Word-A-Day calendar.  Do not rely on Microsoft Word to underline everything for you.  Stop and re-read emails, letters, and anything typed.  There are differences between “your” and “you’re”.  Stop and wonder who will read/hear this and choose your words carefully.  Best of luck navigating the English language!  Thanks for reading.  Please take a moment and correct my posts!  Take care!

 

cardiac duress

coop – coup