Thursday, December 29, 2011

Davey Wavey Comes Out with a Great Way to Come Out to Your Parents

Davey Wavey from Youtube never fails to amaze me. This video of his is such a truly wonderful resource for anyone struggling to find a way to come out to their parents. It would have been so much easier for me had I known of or been able to use something like this back when I came out to my parents.

Thank God for the age of the internet and for Davey having the care and compassion to make something like this.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Light in a Very Dark Place

Hello, everyone. I hope you had a good Christmas. I can’t say it was the best of Christmases, but it probably wasn’t the worst either. It was different though. To be honest, I did feel depressed throughout most of the holiday. I’ve been fairly depressed for the whole last month now. The reason is that my grandma passed away the day after Thanksgiving, and I’ve been missing her terribly.

Every day I have some memory or thought of her pop into my mind. I find myself wishing I could talk to her one last time, or have one last cup of coffee with her, or spend one last family get-together with her, or take one last drive out in the country, or play one last game of rook, or be a kid again to spend the night with her one last time, or even just to hear her voice and see her smile again. I just wish she was still here so badly that it’s killing me inside.

So, that’s sort of where I’m at right now. I’m not doing too well. But I am trying to pull through and remember that death is not the end of one’s life, and that God still has plans to give me hope and a future. In the meantime, please pray for me and my family. I think we could all use a little extra praying for right now, and would great appreciate that.

Again, I hope all of you had a good Christmas. And in case I don’t get time to write again before the New Year, that you each have a good start to the New Year as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

60 Minutes Looks for a Clue

I found this to be a really interesting video. I especially thought the whole notion of hormones at birth was intriguing. I've often wondered, as a gay man, whether or not being gay was due to some hormonal issues. I didn't see any proof in this video that that is indeed what causes homosexuality, but it does lend a person to wonder about it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Remains of the Day

After reading a story about the Air Force dumping the remains of troops in a landfill in Virginia, I can't help but have no wonder at all as to why our country is falling apart. People just do not care and have no respect whatsoever for their fellow man anymore. Really, it is pathetic. These troops deserved so much better.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Face of One Bullied

I saw this video a few minutes ago and thought it worth posting on my site. I really do feel for this young man. I feel sorrow and sadness, as well as compassion. As a teacher, it is my desire to help students like Jonah. No one deserves to be bullied. No one!

I pray Jonah and all those others like him will find some source of solace, and that they will have the strength to always keep marching forward, until the day they finally do reach that better place in life. And if you're one of those reading this now, I say to you, keep your chin up, know that there are people who do love and care about you (or will), and know that with time, things can and usually do get better. So, take hope in that. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Contentedness: Being Happy Without Everything You Ever Wanted

Rarely does anyone ever get everything they ever wanted in life. We all have our wants—those things we wish we could have, but don’t have. And this is the case for most of us throughout our entire lives. There will always be something we’d like to have. Certain things we may want very badly, maybe even to the point of losing sleep over, or becoming depressed or hopeless about. Maybe you’d like a home of your own, or a first car, or enough money to pay the bills and have some left over for a change, or a friend, or maybe even a family of your own. Some things to want in life can quite literally be that life changing that they can make all the difference in the world. Some things to want in life are for the good of others, too. Maybe you want someone’s health to improve, or for a friend to get a good job, or for a couple to have their first baby. Some things to want for others are noble and good intentioned, and for those others to get those things, it literally can be life changing for them. Other things, however, may not be so profound. Sometimes all we want are petty things that, even though we’d like to have them, we aren’t going to lose any sleep if we don’t get them. Maybe you want that new computer, or Kindle, or new purse, or new pair of jeans. These things just aren’t as life changing as the others, but we can still become consumed by our desires to get them.

But how do we handle not getting the things we want in life? Some people resort to thievery to get want they want. Some people get angry. They then resort to jealousy, complaining, blaming God, or maybe even doing something as drastic as committing murder. Some people just become sad and eventually lose hope. Some people keep their hope, knowing that they may, if not immediately, at some point be able to get what they want. And some people become constant worriers, always looking at how bad things can get if they don’t get everything they want, or looking at how bad things already are without having what they want. Then there are those that know, even if they don’t ever get this or that in life, they can still be happy without, and they live their lives each day knowing life can still be good with what they already have—these are the optimistic, hopeful, glass-is-half-full-no-matter-what kind of people. These are the sort we should all strive to be like.

We don’t have to have boyfriends or girlfriends to be happy. We don’t have to have wives or husbands to be happy. We don’t have to have our own children or grandchildren to be happy. We don’t have to have a thousand and one friends on Facebook to be happy. We don’t have to have the world’s best job, or the most secure job, to be happy. We don’t have to have the most expensive car to be happy. We don’t have to have a home of our own to be happy. We don’t have to win the lottery to be happy. We don’t have to have others smile, nod, and say “Good day” to us each day to be happy. We don’t have to be the center of attention to be happy. We don’t have to have the best health to be happy. We don’t have to have the new jacket at Penny’s to be happy. And we don’t have to have the new iphone to be happy. We don’t have to have most of the things we want in life in order to be happy, or to say that we indeed do have a good life.

The truth is that most things in life come and go. Sometimes we have a lot of what we want, and other times we have very little of what we want. But in all things, there is only truly one thing any of us can ever have and keep if we want it. We can all be saved through Christ. And through Christ, we can be happier, healthier, and more blessed than through obtaining anything else. We can be content with the things we do have, knowing that everything we have is a blessing and gift, and that we could always have so much less, no matter how much or how little we think we have (even if at times it seems like nothing at all).

Even if we don’t have all that we want in life, we can still be thankful for and happy about all that we do have. We can still be happy and content not having everything we ever wanted.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I’ve always loved Halloween. There’s candy, dressing up, going trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, going to parties, listening to spooky stories, watching scary movies, and it comes during my most favorite time of the year: Fall. It’s just always so much fun.

The other night, some of my family got together for a Halloween party. It was the first time many of us had been able to get together in months now. The biggest highlight of the evening turned out to be going on a town scavenger hunt. My brother and I came up with a list of places or things around town to have to take pictures of, only giving clues to each place or thing using the Halloween theme (such as the bank clock being called “A tick tock clock of doom”). We split the family into two groups and each group drove out town trying to find all the items on the list (my brother in one car and me in another—both refereeing in the event). It turned out to be one of the best times my family has ever had together. And, again, just another reason for why I love Halloween so much.

I realize that not everyone likes Halloween though. While subbing the other day, we had some time to pass in between lessons, and so I had the students make hand ghosts on a sheet of paper. At the top of the paper, students had to write “Happy Halloween”, and at the bottom they had to write their names. Most of the students seemed to really enjoy the activity. But I did have one student object, stating that her family doesn’t celebrate Halloween. I told her it was okay and that she didn’t have to participate. A few minutes later, she made a comment that people do bad things on Halloween and that Halloween was an evil holiday. She asked me about these things directly. I responded that, yes, some people do bad things on Halloween, but that most people just want to have fun out of it.

This all got me to thinking though. You know, here is a time when most people just want to have a good time—nothing evil intended out of it—and yet, this girl had it in her mind that nothing good could come of it. The thing is, people can make something bad even out of the best of things. People get drunk, commit suicide, covet, and do all sorts of bad things around Christmastime. Yet, this girl (and I’ll presume her family, too) probably doesn’t have a problem with Christmas at all.

Everything is what we make it to be. Something good can be turned into something evil. Something evil can be turned into something good. The point is to not go looking for the bad in everything, but to look for the good instead. I wish I could have told that little girl all this the other day. I respect her beliefs and those held by her family, but it really does annoy me when people want to look at Halloween as just a time for evil. It’s only a time of evil if you make it out to be.

Anyway, at least I’m glad it’s Halloween. So far it’s been great.

Happy Halloween, everyone! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unfair: When Life Gives Us Lemons

A lot of things in life aren’t fair. It isn’t fair for a kind person to be belittled. It isn’t fair for a helpless child to be abused or neglected. It isn’t fair for a mentally challenged individual to be fooled, or deceived, into wrongdoing, or to be taken advantage of. It isn’t fair for a woman to lose her job because she wouldn’t put out to the boss at work. It isn’t fair for a gay high school student to be bullied into desperation. It isn’t fair for the athlete to be called dumb just because they are an athlete. It isn’t fair for the hard working individual to see their job go overseas just so the share holders of their company can save another couple millions on top of the billions they already get. It isn’t fair whenever a person buys a car and a few months later it becomes a complete lemon. It isn’t fair whenever two parents save money for years in order to help afford buying or building a new home and then they get screwed over by the banks and lose everything. It isn’t fair whenever a person gets lung cancer because they’ve been around secondhand smoke all their life. It isn’t fair whenever someone loses their spouse in a car wreck. It isn’t fair whenever your child develops leukemia and dies from it before the age of two. It isn’t fair whenever the best person for the job doesn’t get the job. It isn’t fair whenever a person exposes their own sin and is then shunned and belittled by the very Christians they sought out help from. It isn’t fair to be tempted by something so strongly that at times there doesn’t seem to be any relief from the temptations. It isn’t fair for a person who’s worked their whole life to see their pension be taken away. It isn’t fair for a woman who loves children to not be able to have children of her own. It isn’t fair for the father of a conceived child to have no right to stop the mother from having an abortion. It isn’t fair for a family to witness their home burn to the ground because of some electrician’s shoddy electrical work. And nor is it fair when you’re picked last for the team because you’re apparently “too smart”.

So much in life isn’t fair. We all get raw deals in life. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. None of it is fair. But that is just life. Life isn’t fair, or easy. There are always battles and struggles to have to go through. In all of it, we can make the decision to keep trudging forward to always try to do what is right, or we can decide to give in, give up, and fall to the wayside. How we act when life throws us lemons impacts each of us and those around us in so many profound ways.

Our resolve to keep trudging forward is what makes all the difference in the world. Our hope in good eventually outweighing evil, and God fulfilling the promises He has made to us, keeps us on a path that, even though it may seem harder at times to stay on, truly does lead us to a better place. When we keep our hope and keep our faith and keep moving forward no matter what life throws our way, we become the light of the world and victorious in Christ. Our lives will always be better, even if it seems harder at times and perhaps even less fulfilling at times, when we stay on course. And even though the journey may seem long and difficult, God will always be with us through whatever struggles we have. The devil would love for us to believe that God has abandoned us, forsaken us, deceived us, and/or left us for dead, but that will always ever only be the devil’s own doing—his way of trying to make us stumble, blame God, and to turn away from what we know is right and true. But if we resist him, and hold true to God and to what is right, in the end will we always be better off.

When life is unfair, it is hard not to complain, get angry, depressed, or fall off course. It seems so contradictory to try and do what is right only to get bad things in return. But we have to keep in mind, it is not God sending those lemons our way; it is the devil. We cannot ever forget that, or we will truly become lost. It is when those lemons are being hurled at us that we should hold on the strongest to what we know in our hearts is right; when we should turn to God and cling onto Him with every ounce of our being. And, if we do that, even though we may have some length of time struggling, He will always see us through to a better end than what we’d have with the alternative.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everybody's Gay

I hear people talk about having gaydar and just knowing when someone else is gay, but the truth is I have no idea how to determine something like that just by looking at someone. There have been a lot of people who I thought might be gay, but who turned out to be very much straight. Then there have been a few who I would have never thought was gay who actually were gay. So, if you’re like me and your gaydar just doesn’t seem to work, how can you find out if someone truly is gay? Of course, you can just ask a person, but personally I find this a bit rude and awkward. So, unless they just tell you they are gay, how can you know?

One of the biggest methods I have used, and that I think is probably the most reliable method in determining someone’s sexuality, is to look at their eyes. Who gets their attention? If a man and a woman walk by at the same time, which one will be looked at? If a man is gay, of course his eyes may follow that hot looking guy as he goes by, and he may completely disregard the hot looking woman. If a man is straight, of course his eyes will go to the woman, and he will completely disregard the guy. Without a person actually telling you that they are gay, I think this has to be the best way of determining which side their bread is buttered on.

Now, in all truth, some people are as obvious as night and day, and they make no bones about it what they like. But not everyone is so out. A lot of gay people, if not probably the majority, don’t actually go around advertising that they are homosexual. Not all gay men are going to wear makeup, tight clothing (some of which are women’s), and rainbow colored jewelry (as certain stereotypes depict). And not all gay women are going to have close-cropped hair, wear flannel shirts, and get their arms tattooed. Nor is every gay guy very effeminate or gay woman very masculine in voice or mannerisms. Some people are those ways and are indeed gay. There again, some people may be like that and not be gay. And, though I would question any guy wearing rainbow colored jewelry, I have actually known a straight guy who a few years ago got a rainbow colored tattoo not realizing the rainbow had become a symbol for the gay community—wasn’t he embarrassed.

The point I’m getting at is that a lot of people want to look at stereotypes as clues to ones sexuality, but that a lot of times, those stereotypes are just that: stereotypes that don’t really mean anything. Sometimes you can go by the stereotypes and get things right, but sometimes you can go by them and get things wrong. Just think of the big and built football player who turns out to be gay, or the sweet, mousy looking florist who turns out to be gay. Or how about the quiet artistic high school boy who turns out to be straight, or the athletic tomboy who turns out to be straight? None of these people fit the accepted stereotypes in our society.

And so I say the hell with stereotypes. Not just in using them to determine someone’s sexuality, but just in general. They are stupid. They are stupid because they do not always cross cultural lines and because they do not take into account all the different forms of human self-expression. Some straight people may like some traditionally gay things and vice versa. Who knows?

So, if you ask me, the only real ways of knowing if someone is gay is if they tell you somehow that they are, if they get caught in some sort of gay act, or by maybe some close observation of the eyes to see who tends to more frequently catch their attention. And by no means are any of these three methods completely reliable. I’ve heard straight people say they were gay as part of a joke or whatnot, or straight guys doing gay porn for money or doing something out of mere curiosity, and maybe even a straight guy’s eyes go more to other guys than gals because he is self-conscious in comparison to other guys, or whatever. So, even those aren’t completely reliable ways of knowing for sure if someone really is gay, but they are definitely more reliable than looking only at the stereotypes.

What I really want to get across here by all of this is that I wish people would just stop obsessing about who is gay and who is not gay. It seems that anymore, everybody is looked at and questioned from one time or another for one reason or another. Oh, you sounded a little high pitched when you said that… you must be gay. Oh, your hair is so short… you must be gay. Oh, you like sports or don’t like sports… you’re gay, you’re gay, you’re gay. It just gets so old listening to people trying so hard to figure it out so that they can out everyone. I even heard lately a theory that Mike and Frank from American Pickers are gay. What!? As far as I can see, there is no basis to that accusation whatsoever. Just because you see a show where two guys drive around all the time, cross country without their women, doesn’t mean they must be gay. And so, as I said, it just gets old with me how everyone keeps trying to figure out if this person or that person is gay. If they’re looking for a date, I suppose it matters, but for a lot of people it’s just that they’re looking to throw some dirt on someone else just because they see an opportunity to do so. And I get so tired of that sort of thing. You’d think the way people act these days that everybody must be gay. But why should anyone really care?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's Going On? (or: A Tale of Two Tuesdays)

Last Tuesday was just one of those days. It began early with a visit to the doctor’s office with my grandma (her visit, not mine). I sat in the waiting room for about an hour before she came out and told me she was given another appointment for an x-ray at the hospital the following morning to help determine if she was having small pin strokes. I was worried upon hearing that. When we got back to the car we decided to go for a little drive just as an excuse to stay out a little longer, and since she’d been cooped up quite a bit lately I figured it’d do her some good and take her mind off of some things.

Our little drive turned out to be the best part of the day. When we got back, my mom called me saying that dad had been trying to get a hold of me, something about my grandpa. So, I said goodbye to my maternal grandma and headed home to call Dad. It turned out that he had had to leave work because my paternal grandpa had gotten ill. He had been looking for me to see if I could go and stay with him so that he wouldn’t have to leave work. My paternal grandma, who usually would have taken care of the problem, just so happened to be out of town with my aunt for her own doctor’s visit. But it turned out dad was able to take care of him and he got to feeling better by the time my grandma got back in the county. I was likewise worried about all of this.

Then, a few hours later when mom got home, she had brought my cousin’s girls home with her because my cousin’s wife’s mom had been taken to the hospital due to her cancer, and so they needed someone to look after the girls. At this point, I cancelled going to the movies that night with my brother (something that had been planned for over a week at that point), which caused a big fight between the two of us—the last thing I needed at that moment. That crisis got resolved though. Later that night, however, when my cousin and his wife showed up to get the girls, my cousin’s wife passed out on the front porch as a result of her blood sugar dropping due to diabetes. We finally got her taken care of and they all left.

And as if that hadn’t been enough drama and turmoil for one day, my nephews decided to throw one of the biggest tantrums of the year while getting ready for bed, to which it took no less than an hour getting them calmed and settled.

By the time I got in bed I literally felt like it had been the day from hell. I was exhausted, worried, and an emotional wreck. All in all, it was just a horrible day.

Today, however, has been in stark contrast to last Tuesday. I slept in to about 9:30am. I sauntered through to the kitchen and made a cup of what turned out to be some very delicious coffee. I watered some plants out on the porch and sat on the swing enjoying the mild weather for a few minutes. Then I went back in and got the computer out and checked my email and the latest news. I did some writing and listened to some music. There have been no reports of anyone being sick or anything else bad happening. There’ve been no worrying, blowups, or other crises going on. And it’s honestly been rather quiet around the house for a change.

Altogether, it has been turning out to be a really good day. But, looking back to last week, it just amazes me how different two days can be. One day, things can be falling apart all around you, and the next day, everything goes just as good as can be.

I am glad for the good days.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Better Days

A few years ago when I was struggling to the point of just not even wanting to live anymore or wake up in the morning, this was one of a few songs that really did help lift me up. I still love this song, but it is hard for me to listen to now because it reminds me of just how awful I did feel. I am usually reminded of one particularly painful day when I was coming home in the evening, crying in my car, and this song came on the radio on K-LOVE. But there is just so much hope in this song. If you're having a rough patch, maybe it will help give you some hope as well for some truly better days to come. This is Better Days by the Robbie Seay Band. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Point of Grace - How You Live

I know this song is a few years old now, but it's one I've always really liked and thought maybe some of you might like it as well if you've never heard it before. There are so few songs out there with such a meaningful and great message as this one presents. It's just beautiful, and so inspiring.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

God's Poll Numbers?

Earlier today I heard on CNN that a poll had been conducted asking people to rate God's job performance. I thought the idea of such a poll was ridiculous at the time, and after reading some more facts about it here, I am confidant I was right: this poll is ridiculous.

It is more than ridiculous, though. The fact that people are being asked to judge God on his job performance is just wrong on so many levels. Who are any of us to fault God with anything? He's the creator and master of all the universe, for crying out loud. How can any of us ever presume to know better than He does?

The arrogance of this poll just astounds me. At least more (although only slightly) than half of Americans approve of how God is handling things though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I’ve spent the last several years trying to figure myself out. What job I want, where I want to live, whether I want kids or not, what sort of writer I want to be, whether I’m gay or not, whether or not I want to be openly gay, whether or not I want to try to become straight, what my religious beliefs are, what sort of friends I want and how to get them, etc.

I feel like I’ve figured out a lot of these issues. And it’s been hard dealing with each of them. None of the right answers have just fallen on my lap, or been given to me. I’ve fought and struggled, went to pieces and picked myself back up again (and on many occasions was actually picked up by others). But none of the decisions I’ve had to make were easy. None of the things I’ve gone through concerning these things was easy.

Today I went for a long overdue haircut appointment. I walked in, got a seat to wait my turn, and was polite and courteous to everyone else there. I was glad to see the lady who cuts my hair. She’s only cut it three or four times now, but she’s always worked in the established I’ve gone to for the last eight years or so. So, I knew her well enough, and was glad to see her.

After a few minutes, my hair stylist struck up a conversation with one of the other two people in the room being waited on. I sat back and listened as the two of them talked about a recent high school graduate who was no longer welcome at the establishment. This got my attention because I’d never known anyone who was not welcome to get their haircut there. As the conversation continued, I found out why. The person they were talking about was an openly gay teen who had been getting his haircut there for years. The reason he was no longer welcome was because he had brought his boyfriend into the store to get his haircut with him, and because my hair stylist and former one (who owns the store) did not approve of their relationship.

I listened to this conversation with such a huge gut wrenching feeling. Neither of these two people who I have known for years now knows that I am gay. They don’t know all the pain and struggle I’ve gone through in trying to come to terms with the fact that I am sexually attracted to other men. And they probably have no idea how much that young teen boy has gone through either.

The conversation continued. I listened as they talked about how far our society has gone to accept homosexuality and make it okay or cool to be gay, and how our schools are teaching kids it’s okay to be gay, and how immoral all of it is.

I felt crushed. I felt like what had started off as a good day had all of a sudden been totally trashed. And, still, I could not find the courage to out myself in front of them and tell them what I really thought of the whole thing.

No one has to like what decisions I make in life. No one has to like anyone else’s decisions in life. But when someone makes a decision about the way they want to live their life, in ways that do not affect the way other people live theirs, I find it immoral of anyone to judge them for that.

I don’t care if it is a sin to be in a homosexual relationship or not. If someone chooses that for himself or herself, what does that matter to anyone else? Feel sorry, sad, talk to with care, or pray for the person, but do not act as though they’re the scum of the earth just because you disapprove. What gets me is that both hair stylists wouldn’t bat an eye if an unmarried, sexually active, straight couple came into their store, or if a straight couple shows public displays of affection, but somehow they do have a problem with gay couples. There is hypocrisy there.

People don’t have to like the decisions I make in life. But then again, these are my decision, not theirs. These are decisions that I have had to wrestle with to come to some conclusion. So, until they’ve walked in my shoes, I find it incredibly rude and uncaring for them to make a big deal about what I’ve decided for myself. It is my life, and certain decisions, like whether or not to be gay, are personal decisions that do not affect the way other people live their lives anyway. Sometimes I just want to tell other people to go to hell. Because that’s how they make me feel: like hell. And I’d say that’s exactly how they made that young gay couple feel. They rejected them outright.

Today, I wished Jesus was who I went to to cut my hair. If he was, I know I’d have not heard the conversation I heard today. And I may have even seen that gay couple sitting there beside me, waiting for their turn. Jesus never turned people away from him. So why do so many Christians today feel that they need to do that to others? It’s because they dislike, are scared, and are angered by those who are different from them, and because being around people who are different makes them question their worldview. Well, if you ask me, that’s not living very Christ-like.

My name is Brandon. I want to become a great teacher. I want to live near where I grew up. At this time, I’m not so sure that I want kids of my own (I have my nephews). I want to write children’s books, spy thrillers, suspense mysteries, and some historical nonfiction books. I am gay, but celibate. I do not want to be openly gay to everybody. I don’t care if I ever become straight or not—it really doesn’t matter. I am a Christian. And I want friends who will treat others the way they’d like to be treated, as I treat others the way I’d like to be treated. These are my decisions, and I accept them in full. If you don’t accept them, keep it to yourself, because at the end of the day, it’s my life and I have to live it the way I see is best for me, not as you see is best for you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On Friendly Ground

I’ve never been able to understand other peoples’ concepts of friendship. For me, once you’re a friend you are, generally speaking, always a friend. And it doesn’t matter so much to me if you’re a friend from work, school, church, or elsewhere.

A lot of people seem to want to categorize their friends in a way that I just don’t understand. Friends at work are only friends while at work. Friends from school are only friends at school. And the same applies to the other imaginable categories. But why is this?

I know there are several people who I call friend that would probably only call me an acquaintance. And herein is a very subtle line, because there are some people who I’d also only call an acquaintance who may in fact call me a friend. Really, should there even be a difference though? I think there is an obvious difference. For me, an acquaintance is someone who you are on friendly terms with, but is not someone who you know very well or have spent much time with. A friend, on the other hand, is someone you know fairly well, who you’ve most likely shared some emotional bond with.

But what I don’t understand is how some people can toss their friendships with people to the side, as if it meant, or means, nothing. Friendship is one of the best things a person can have, and yet I see people all the time who don’t seem to care about their friends. I know I’ve not always been the best friend in the world. I tend to isolate myself far too often, and in doing so I end up pushing people away that I don’t mean to push away.

Time. Now there’s something that can end a friendship. For me, time usually means nothing. As I said, once a friend, usually always a friend—that’s just how I roll. But for some, if you’ve not been around each other for awhile, well, that just means the friendship is finished. I don’t get that. In my mind, if there has been some time go by, well, to be reunited or reconnected somehow should be a good thing—just pick up where you last left off.

It bothers me when I care about people who no longer care about me simply because we haven’t been around each other for a while. I don’t change so much, so I just don’t get it. Why not keep on being friends? Do other people totally reinvent themselves every few months or so? I mean, I do realize time can change things. I’m not completely the same person I was in high school—far from it—but I can still be friends, or at the very least, friendly, with people I was friends with in high school. Other people can’t seem to do that for some reason.

But then I’ve never understood relationships between people anyway. In a lot of cases I’ve always seemed to be the odd man out. I just don’t understand why people can’t be friends with each other without all the restrictions.

Oh, well you’re only a friend when I’m at work; you’re only a church friend; you’re only a friend at school; It’s been too long for us to still be friends… I just don’t understand any of those sorts of thinking. So, if you are a friend of mine reading this now, I’d like you to know this: If you are my friend you are my friend, regardless of where we see each other the most, or how often we communicate with each other. You’ll always have a friend in me. If you are my friend, I value you too much for those other things to make any difference.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans ™ always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

I found this list online and couldn’t help but find the hypocrisy both amusing and sad. If anything, this list should help open the eyes of a lot of people. I believe if we are truly going to live in the land of the free, we should allow homosexual couples to marry. If it is an adult, consensual relationship, then who are any of us to dictate or interfere with it? Whether we believe it is sinful or not, it is not our place as Americans to forbid people from entering into such relationships if they should so choose. And as Christians, we cannot impose our beliefs on others.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Simple Things in Life

In the last few months I’ve been searching for a teaching job and giving some serious thought about where I want to live. Because of the poor economy, new teaching jobs have become rare where I currently live. The reality of the situation is that in order to find work I may have to move, and this has caused some concern on my part.

After years of increasing dislike with my surroundings, I would have thought that moving would be a good thing. Now, I’m not so sure. I keep thinking about all the things I actually do enjoy about where I live and what things I’d have to give up in order to move. This is not to suggest that I wouldn’t find things to like about living someplace else, but just that it wouldn’t be the same. As I said a couple of posts back, I’m not very readily accepting of change. Change takes deliberating, adjusting, and coming to grips with whatever has happened or needs to happen. It just usually takes me some time to wrap my finger around such things to a point where I feel comfortable.

I like living close by to family. I like that I live near a lake. I like that I live near a creek and woods. I like that there is something to like about all of the surrounding counties. I like that there is a good track nearby to go walking. I like that most stores and businesses are on one strip. I like the local school system. And I could go on and on, but I’ll finish just by saying that there really are many things I actually do enjoy about where I live. There are numerous things I also do not enjoy about it, but I can’t say that there is nothing I enjoy. And these things I enjoy have become clearer in recent months than they used to be.

With all this in mind I think I can say that I (and perhaps most people) tend to overcomplicate things. I can look at a situation that should be rather straightforward and simple, and next thing I know, it’s all complicated and difficult (if not paralyzing). It honestly doesn’t take much to make me happy. Sometimes I struggle with being happy, but I find that what usually triggers my unhappiness is when I fear, worry, or get too angry about something—all three emotions that should be kept in check at all times. Most things we fear we really have no reason to be afraid of—like the dark. Most things we worry about we wouldn’t have to worry about if we would simply allow God to lead and take care of us. Most things we get angry at we may have just (or even unjust) cause to be angry at, but we should always keep how we express that anger in check and not allow it to consume us or be displayed in negative ways.

I tend to fear, worry, and get angry perhaps a bit too easily at times. I look at the future and I fear and worry that things will not turn out as I would like. And then I can get angry at my circumstances, other people, or even at myself. None of these things are good to do. They usually only cause the complications. But, alas, this is just human nature and we all go through these things from time to time.

But most things really aren’t as complicated as we make them out to be. If we can keep our emotions in check and not get carried away, then our lives can be so much simpler. We don’t have to fear, worry, or get angry. We can just live and let whatever will be, be, and try to always make the most out of whatever our circumstances are. If we trust God to take care of us, all will be good in the end, wherever life takes us. And in all things along the way, we can always draw strength from the one who everlastingly loves us.

With these things in mind, I can look optimistically at my future. I don’t have to worry about not finding a job, or fear the unknowns of a new town to live in, or be angry if there are a few bumps along the way or if things don’t always go exactly as planned. God will take care of me and see me through.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God Only Knows

I love this song. And for several reasons. First, it reminds me just how much I have needed everyone else in my life. Secondly, it reminds me that "God only knows" how things in my life could have been different and could be different and what the consequences of those differences would have meant or would mean in my life. Thirdly, it reminds me that God really is in control of my life. Fourthly (and I know this is far less important that the other reasons), it reminds me of summer. And fifthly, it's just a darn good song.

Thank God for the Beach Boys. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things Change

I’ve never been one to handle life changes very well. Maybe I don’t handle any changes very well. I know things need to change from time to time, and I’m always open to suggestions or ideas from others. If someone comes up to me with a really good idea, I have no problem going with it, even if it means change on my part, because I know good is better, naturally. But when it comes to major life changes, I find them to be extremely difficult to go through.

I miss a lot of people. I’ve never been a social butterfly, if you will. I’ve never been one to get out much, and even if I did, in this neck of the woods there just honestly isn’t that much to do. I mean, literally, it’s a choice between going into the next county all the time (which takes gas money), or sitting in the local Kmart parking lot (boy, ain’t that fun!). And so, I just don’t get out much. What that means is that most friends I’ve made over the years have been people I went to school with, worked with, went to church with, or that I met online. I’m grateful for these friends, but when there’s a change in school, work, church, or online activity, I seem to lose touch with many of them. I miss my friends from high school. I miss all the different friends I made at my former job. I miss the people I used to go to church with. I miss my friends from college. And I miss some of my online friends. When things change, I know I am liable to end up falling out of touch with people and missing them. And so, I’m resistant to change.

I reflect a lot on my life. Certain moments, activities, and events I look back on with great fondness. Those are the good times, and… I miss them. I miss when my dad and I played video games together. I miss those calm, peaceful, nights when I worked at the lake. I miss student teaching. I miss going to Wednesday night prayer meetings. I miss going to college. I miss my old girlfriend. I miss when my nephews were babies.

There’s just so much I miss.

I’m too terribly sentimental about things. I leave a hotel room at the end of a vacation and stop and take a last look around to remember it, because I know once I walk out the door, I’ll probably never again be back in that same room. I understand completely why Lot’s wife probably felt that she had to look back before the destruction of Sodom. And I also understand why God told her not to look back. Sometimes it is best not to look back—especially if what you’re looking back at is on the shady side of things (or just outright sinful). But what if what you’re looking back on are the good times in life? In these cases, I think it’s best to remember them well, to cherish them in the bad times, and to always look to the future to include just as many, if not more, good times than the past.

It worries me when things look to be changing. There’s a great deal of unknowns that go along with that change. Will things be better, worse, the same but just different. You never really know upfront. But what helps me get through those worries, and to not worry as much as I otherwise could, is the fact that I know God is leading me in my life. When I look back, I see all the different ways he has guided me, and I see that He’s never failed me. I trust God that my future will hold great promise. I cling to the promise God makes to each of us in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I believe in this with all of my heart. And so, whenever I begin feeling a bit too sentimental and clingy to the past or present, or worrisome about the future, I just try to remind myself of the promises and faithfulness of the Lord. With that in mind, things can change, and I can know that in the end I’ll be all right, that God will take care of me, and that there’s no reason to worry about whatever may come. God will see me through.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, 2011

When I think of Memorial Day, a few things usually come to mind. I remember going with my paternal grandma to the graveyards when I was a kid. She has always been keen on visiting the hundreds of graves of those she’s known. On at least two separate Memorial Day weekends she took me along with her. Now, some may think this would be boring or perhaps even morbid for a kid, but I did actually enjoy going along with her. I enjoyed it because my grandma would tell me all sorts of stories about the people whose graves we visited. I learned a lot about my family’s history that way. And I also really enjoyed all the unique places we’d go. You wouldn’t believe how many graveyards really are hid around the countryside. I remember us going to a few that only just had what could be called a road leading up to them. Some were in the woods, some were overgrown by thick bushes, some were on the hillsides, some within others’ property, and some were really kept up and so forth. Seeing so many of them, I’ve always kept in mind how easy it must be to become buried in a patch of weeds (it really is dependent on the caretaker, and whether or not anyone lives who does still care about the condition of the graves of those buried there). My grandma and I really did visit a great many of sites that were getting quite overtaken by nature. And that’s sad, really, to think about, because it means that a good portion of those who have been buried in such cemeteries have probably been forgotten; either their family and friends moved on, died off themselves, or just simply forgot about them. I find an unkept grave a very sad thing. Perhaps that is why I’ve often thought more favorably toward cremation (at least for myself).

Memorial Day also makes me think of my maternal grandpa, who died when I was around four. I don’t have many memories of him, but I do recall a couple with great fondness (I really do wish I could have known him better). I remember him on Memorial Day because my maternal grandma, mom, and aunt have always made sure to lay flowers on his grave on this day, and they always make a big to do about it. I also remember him because he was buried, and the first thought about having gone to the cemeteries with my paternal grandma as a kid always leads me to think of the cemetery where he is buried. And then, perhaps the biggest reason why I remember him on this day is because he was a soldier in World War II.

This leads me to my next thought about Memorial Day: the soldiers who have died in defense of our country. I’m not sure why, but I mostly want to reflect on WWII soldiers and the sacrifices they made during that war. It is probably only because I relate to that war having knowledge of my grandfather’s activities in it, but also because, I admit, I have played a great deal of WWII shooter video games. Because of those two things I just sort of automatically picture WWII troops whenever I think of soldiers (not to offend or belittle any other veterans—you’re all awesome).

After that, Memorial Day makes me recall all the holiday weekends when I worked on the lake. Good grief those could be busy weekends. We’d all work ourselves to death nearly. But they were good because it meant a lot of extra change in my pocket and I always managed to get a good tan that weekend to kick off the summer with. And, of course, I recall family trips and get-togethers as well.

I am glad we celebrate Memorial Day in this country. I know a lot of times people don’t often actually reflect on those who have died, but instead use this day only as a great time off. I don’t hold that against anyone, per se, because it is great to get some time off every now and then however you can get it. But I do wish more people would actually take at least some time to think back on those who have gone on. It only takes a little bit of time to actually reflect on past friends and family members, and I think it is especially befitting to at least take some amount of time on this holiday to say a quick prayer for and to thank all those who serve our country. After all, that is what this holiday was created for.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this day. I hope everyone has had a good holiday, whatever you did.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Differences (or: What if?)

Today I woke up with thoughts toward going on a road trip—the view out the window just said it was too good a day to stay at home. There are some nice hilly areas south of where I live with lots of waterways and sites to see. I love going on drives like that, just seeing what nature has to offer. I find it peaceful, really. But, however, I did not go on such a trip today. I was approached, instead, by some of my family to go shopping, eat out, and watch a movie in the city to our east. I thought long about this, but, likewise, decided not to go.

So, what did I do today? I spent today in quiet peace at home by myself. Even though it was such a beautiful day out, something just told me it would be better to stay at home. So, I sat out on the back porch swing and drank a cup of coffee for about thirty minutes or so, played through the second Call of Duty video game for about five hours, read two chapters from a James Bond book I’d not got around to reading yet, did some writing, watched a little television, and just in general, was a true bum.

I don’t regret how I spent this day. But the thought does cross my mind how the day might have been different had I taken one of those other plans. Had I left the house today, just what would have happened? I could have had a better day, or a worse day. I might have had the best trip of my life, or I could have had the worst, or even worse, the last trip of my life. One can never know just how different things could be for them if only they’d made one decision or action differently in life. And for that matter, just how different would their actions make the lives of those around them?

When I look beyond this day at the rest of my life, I see good decisions and bad decisions. Some things I’m sure were the right things to do, and other things were definitely the wrong things to do. We all have those what if moments though, where we imagine how differently our lives could be if only this or that had been different. But that is just life. We can make the most of any situation, deal with the consequences of our actions, circumstances, or the actions of others that impact us, and try to move on as best we can. Or, we can make the least of things. We can enjoy the lives we’ve led, or dislike them. We can approve of our actions, or disapprove of them. Either way, each person’s life is defined, at least in part, by what actions he or she has made.

I could have gone on one of two trips today, but I’m glad I didn’t go on any. Could my day have been better than it was? Possibly. But I stand by my decision, and today was what it was.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Aren't We a Bunch of Misfits

I think about how much being online has helped me the past few years. When I needed help dealing with being gay and Christian, trying to figure myself out, looking for anyone who I could talk to and who would understand, I was able to turn to online resources.

I found Exodus International to begin with. Now, I know a lot of people don’t like Exodus, and there are several reasons not to like Exodus, but regardless of those reasons, Exodus did help me… tremendously. You see, growing up where I did, being gay just wasn’t acceptable at all. There was only one person I knew who I went to school with who was gay and came out. And when he did, the harassing and torment the other students put him through drove him right out of school. And it wasn’t much better for anyone else who was thought to be gay. I was thought to be gay—even though I didn’t even know how to feel or think about the issue myself at the time. The point is that being gay was not at all something that one dared admit to anyone else—even if you were Christian trying not to give into your desires, as I was. There do seem to be a lot more high school kids willing to come out these days, but a good deal of them are still met by a very large degree of discrimination and bullying. They’re looked down upon.

I never thought I could tell anyone I was gay. To do that scared me something fierce. For anyone just to find out on their own I was gay scared me as well. I always feared that if people knew, they’d treat me far worse than a lot of them already did. And so I kept quiet for what seemed like a very long time, and pretended that a very big problem in my life wasn’t really all that bad at all.

When my brother found out I was gay in 2005, and confronted me about it, I was tormented beyond reason, and I had no clue who to turn to for help. Alone—for too long—I finally searched online for someone who could help me with my problems. What I found was Exodus International. On their website, I read other people’s stories, saw their pictures, and read their articles about all sorts of particular related issues. For the first time in my life, I discovered how not alone I really was in the world. I discovered there were a lot of other guys just like me, struggling with their identity. I saw how similar our stories were, how alike we looked, and I drew much strength and wisdom from their writings.

I eventually decided to seek out a counselor from Exodus so that I could talk to someone on a personal level. I found Paul. Paul was very good to me. He listened, didn’t judge, gave me advice when needed, and pushed me to be a better person. He helped me more than he could probably ever know. We emailed each other for a year or two, and finally I got the nerve to talk with him on the phone (keep in mind how terrified I was at the thought of other people knowing about me). We talked to each other a few times, and that in itself was a huge help. He talked to me like I was normal, a friend, and someone who still had value and dignity as a human being. Knowing Paul certainly helped change my life for the better. He helped me break down so many barriers and gave me so much hope and strength. I am eternally grateful for him.

Exodus also helped me in another way. On their homepage, they frequently linked to articles written by people on other websites. I soon found myself commenting to others on what they had written. By that, I met two very important people in my life. One was a young college student battling with same-sex attraction in Maryland, who had written about his struggles in his local university newspaper. I wrote to him at first to encourage him. I wanted him to know how brave I thought he was to write what he had, and to let him know he wasn’t alone, and that I would be praying for him and would help him if he needed it. We began emailing each other, and eventually we became great friends. This particular friend has meant more to me the last few years than he could ever know. He is a friend unlike any other I have ever had, and I thank God for introducing me to him. The other person I met, I also thank God for, because he pushed me to think about gay issues on a much broader spectrum and from many alternative positions (to not be as closed-minded), and because he introduced me to College Jay’s blog. When I read Jay’s blog, I loved it immediately, and I thought, “Why don’t you make your own blog?” And so I quickly did make my own blog—this blog. Through it, I have met so many people. I’ve made several friends simply because of this blog. And I’ve gained much strength, wisdom, guidance, and love from them, too.

It always amazes me how much one thing can lead to another. One website led to a much needed counselor, to an endless array of self-help resources, and to two friends. One of those friends led to a blog, which then led to many more friends, as well as sharing of ideas and encouragement. Everything becomes so interconnected. And that’s the power of the internet. It can connect the world in a way that just wasn’t conceivable only a couple of decades past. Without question, the internet has helped change my life, and a great deal of others’, in some very positive ways.

As I stated earlier, I live in an area of the country where being gay, in whatever sense you may be, is not a very popular thing to be. Growing up, this made me fearful, unconfident, self-loathing, and alone. But the internet helped change all that, because it allowed me the opportunities to meet some of the most wonderful people I’d have never known otherwise. And each of these people helped me. They befriended me, encouraged me, sympathized with me, taught me, prayed for me, and motivated me to become a better person. And as much as they did those things for me, I hope I’ve been able to likewise do for them.

We are the misfits, who found each other in this mysterious other world. And I thank God for leading me to each of you. I know I am a better person today, happier in life, mostly figured out, with more friends than I ever had before, and more possibilities and hope than I ever dreamed I’d have. Just ten years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be where I am today. And again, I have to thank God, because he led me to the ones who helped me to get where I am today. He saw me through. He’s answered so many of my prayers. And I can say without question, He used the internet to help answer a great many of them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bin Laden, Dead

When I first found out Osama Bin Laden had been killed a few weeks ago, I have to admit, my first instincts were to rejoice. I was glad he had been killed. To some extent, I am still glad about what happened, but I want to clarify my thinking.

I am glad Bin Laden is no longer alive to be able to spread his message of hate, to cause and promote violence throughout the world, and therefore influence and cause so much harm, sadness, and destruction in the lives of so many around the world. I am glad he was killed for this reason only.

Am I glad he died the way he did? No. Am I glad he lived the sort of life he did, which led to the sort of death he got? No. Do I wish him in hell or believe he’s in hell? No, and I won’t speculate on the matter either--that's for God to judge, not me. Would I have rather him turned himself in or have been captured rather than killed? Yes. Did I wish he’d have reformed his ways? Yes.

I am not glad Bin Laden led the life he did, which caused his untimely death. I am not glad he is dead for the pure sake that he’s dead. I am not glad he’s dead because I think he’s in hell. I am not glad he’s dead because I thought it’s what he deserved. The only reason I am glad is because now he can no longer cause the evil and harm to others that he was so dedicated toward.

I feel the same about Bin Laden as I did Saddam Hussein, or other people put to death or killed because of their violence. It saddens me that they led the lives they did which caused such violent and untimely deaths for themselves. Hitler’s death, for instance, was nothing to be happy about when considering the life, promise, and hope he gave away. He was a man who had the potential to be a great leader who could have taken Germany to true prosperity, freedom, and peace. Instead, he used his power and life to promote some of the worst evils ever committed against mankind, and led his country and people to ruins. He drove himself mad and, ultimately, out of desperation, fear, and hopelessness, took his own life. History will forever remember Hitler as being perhaps the greatest evil threat ever posed to humanity. That’s not a happy story or a life worth emulating. However, I am glad Hitler died when he did. His death meant the end of a great deal of human suffering. That is something to rejoice about. Not his death, but the affect his death had on the rest of the world. It is the same with Bin Laden. His death is nothing to rejoice over, but the results of it certainly are.

I rejoice in the fact that Bin Laden can no longer do any harm.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mary, Mother of God

I used to be very much opposed to many Catholic beliefs. I didn’t believe that the Eucharist actually was Christ’s flesh and blood, but only a symbolic representation of them. I didn’t believe it necessary to seek out forgiveness of my sins from other Christians (those sins which I didn’t directly perceive to pertain to them). I didn’t believe (or actually just didn’t know about) the sacraments. I didn’t believe Mary was or should be called the mother of God. And I didn’t believe in the hierarchy of the church (I still question this point to some extent, but I have grown to accept that some degree of leadership should be about to help connect all groups of Christians).

These are all points in which I have changed my views in the last few years. I very much believe in the sacraments now. I find it hard to believe Christ’s presence can’t be found in certain events or things. I believe one Christian’s sins do in fact affect the rest of the body of Christ, and so therefore forgiveness should be asked for from other Christians (a priest or other Christian of authority to speak on behalf of all other Christians that indeed your sins have been forgiven). I believe the Eucharist literally is transformed into the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. I accept this somewhat cannibalistic notion because Christ is noted in the bible as having said, in so many words, that the bread and wine are his flesh and blood, and because the oldest established Christian beliefs pertaining to this, belong to Catholics, who accept Jesus’ teaching on the matter very literally. And I do believe Mary is and can be called the mother of God.

On that last belief, I can use some very basic reasoning to justify. Jesus said he was God. Jesus was born of Mary. So, therefore, Mary was the mother of God. I think it’s as simple as that.

I know a lot of Christians don’t believe this, but it’s because they want to debate which came first (the chicken or the egg?) in this matter, but that really isn’t necessary or an accurate approach. Of course, with most humans, our beginnings are from conception within our mothers from which we are born. But God’s beginning was not as ours. He was well alive and in spirit long before his conception as a human. Looking at things in this light, stating that he was born as a human through Mary, we should have no problem calling Mary the mother of God. A lot of Christians want to look at the Catholic’s view on this as Catholics saying Mary was before God, but that is a serious misunderstanding. Catholics simply recognize that Mary gave birth to God, as God being in human form (part of the trinity). If you’re a Christian who believes Jesus was God, and Mary was indeed Jesus’ mother, then Mary must have been the mother of God. If you don’t believe that, then you must either believe Jesus wasn’t God, or that Mary wasn’t really Jesus’ mother.

Anyway, my whole point to all of this is that as I’ve grown into my faith, my beliefs on certain points have changed. I’m not saying I’ve become Catholic, but I am much more sympathetic to those viewpoints than I ever used to be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Come On, Sugar

This song just makes me want to dance. I love it. It's called Come On, Sugar, by Joseph Birdsong. Joe's a member of the 5awesomegays on Youtube. If you've never checked out any of his videos, you should. He's so funny, and his energy is completely contagious.

Now that the song promo is out of the way, I want to apologize for not writing much lately. It occurred to me a few days ago that my blog's fourth anniversary has come and gone. As always, with each passing year, it amazes me how much time has transpired. I go back and read some of my older posts sometimes just to see how much life has changed. I can tell you, it has changed in some very significant ways. But to get back on point, I hope to write a bit more regularly in the following weeks. I've been trying to get my butt in gear and actually get more focused on my writing, not just for this blog, but for other projects as well. I have several books in the work, many started, but I do need to work harder to finish them. I swear, I'm all beginnings, but I suppose that's better than never even trying.

Anyway, just to fill everyone in on a bit of what's been going on with me, I'm heavily in the job searching business right now. Having graduated at Christmas with a teaching degree, I realized it might be a struggle finding a teaching job until next fall, but I am really getting desperate for work. I'd really like to get the next phase of my life up and going, and I just really miss being in the schools more.

Also, I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago. That put me out of commission for awhile. I honestly thought I'd broke it when it happened. It hurt terribly the first few days, and I couldn't even walk on it or without the aid of crutches. I am, thankfully, a lot better now, but believe me, when that baseball is soaring high over your head and you're standing on wet grass, don't be an idiot like me and try to jump up to grab it. Just let it go flying by, because otherwise you'll be likely to do what I did: come smack down in the wet grass, twist your foot inward, and find yourself screaming in the worst agony imaginable as the ligaments rip and tear apart inside your foot. Believe me, it's not fun. Let the ball fly by.

And that's pretty much the highlights of my life right now: sprained ankle, looking for work, and trying to write more (naturally, there really has been more to it than that, but I have to keep you wondering what else there is for future posts).

Stay young and free, whatever age you are! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Family of God

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by his blood
joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
for I'm part of the family, the family of God

I love this song. It's one of my favorite hymns. A few years ago when I was really struggling to feel as though I belonged anywhere, this hymn really did help me to feel as though I belonged in church and with other Christians. It really did help me to feel as though I was a part of something so special, even though so much of the time I honestly felt so unapart of it. This song helped me. Maybe it can help you too. I wish I could have found a better video, but at least with this one you can get a pretty good idea of it, and maybe you can find a better version on your own.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the Image of God

I have heard people say that the way we view God is often in relation to how we view our fathers. If we view our fathers positively, we will likely view God positively. If we view our fathers negatively, we will likely view God negatively. I believe this is true because it seems to mirror how I have felt about God before. There have been times in my life when I felt a lot of anger, disappointment, sadness, or frustration with my dad, and, looking back, I can see how during those times, some of those same feelings were projected onto God as well. Then, there have also been times when I got along really well with my dad, felt very close to him, and likewise felt that way toward God. Knowing that God is the ultimate father, it is simply hard not to compare our earthly fathers to him. However, I would say that our view of God may be influenced by more than just our fathers.

From biblical teaching, we know that God is always referred to in the male form, but that he created both male and female in his own image. So, mightn’t our view of God also be in light of how we view our mothers? I think it is certainly possible. Our mothers, above all, can show us the gentleness of God, the patience of God, and the unconditional love of God, perhaps better than our fathers ever could. I say this because these are characteristics more commonly expressed by females than males, but not to mean that all women are like this or that no man can be; either could be true. With this in mind, if the relationship with our mothers becomes strained, might we not also experience a strain in our relationship with God?

There is another area of influence which goes beyond gender itself, and one which I believe more commonly influences our relationship with God than anything else does, and that is in our relationships with those of authority. Our fathers and mothers are certainly authority figures, but so are church elders and deacons, preachers, grandparents (or older relatives), teachers, politicians, and employers. These are people we can look up to or look down upon, have good relationships with or poor relationships with. If we feel unloved, uncared for, and unwanted by one or both of our parents, by a teacher, an elder or deacon in church, a preacher, or our boss, might we not also feel that their treatment of us in this regard is an extension of how God feels about us? If we constantly disapprove of and mistrust our political leaders, might we not also grow to feel the same about God? All of this is possible, because of the correlation we may see consciously or unconsciously between those having great authority over our lives, and God, who we are told has the greatest authority, not only over our lives but over everything.

Two other areas of influence may be in our relationships with peers and how we view ourselves. If our peers reject us, then might we not also feel rejected by God? When one is friendless, it is easy to become isolated, lonely, bitter, resentful, and just in general to become an outcast, if not in reality then at least in mind where the thought that nobody, including God, must want anything to do with you. And if you begin to think little of yourself, for whatever reason, it can certainly become difficult imagining anyone else feeling any better about you. If our peers flock to us thinking we are really something special, though, then might we not also feel that God wants to be with us and thinks we are special? If we feel good about ourselves, or like whom we are, then might we not also be more likely to think God will like us too? I think it is possible.

Looking at all of this, it is very likely, at least to my mind, that our view of God can be greatly viewed as an extension of how we view others in our lives who hold similar traits to God. Here’s an example just to illustrate this theory. If a man’s father wants nothing to do with him, his mother isn’t gentle, caring or considerate in her approach to him, his preacher, teacher, or other authority figures are not patient with him or have broken his trust somehow, and his peers reject him, then might that same man not also come to believe that, in general, he isn’t wanted, loved, respected or cared about by anyone, including God? After all, if everyone else treats him a certain way, why would God be any different? Mustn’t there be something about him that makes him unworthy of God? It is easy to see the mindset that can form against God when looking at how people treat each other. Maybe that is why Jesus commanded us to do to others the way we would want done unto us. Our influence over each other is so profound and lasting that it can reach all aspects of our lives, including influencing our relationship with God.

The good news, however, is that God is not everybody else. He is flawless, perfect, and pure in everything he does. Humans are not this way. We are fallen, imperfect, and certainly far from pure in most cases. Just because someone fails you, that doesn’t mean God will do the same. Just because someone hates you, doesn’t mean God hates you. Just because someone rejects you, doesn’t mean God will reject you. What we have to keep in mind is that we are in God’s image, and not the other way around. God is not an expression of us, we are an expression of him, one that has been weakened and flawed because of our sin. So when we view God through the lens of how we view others, we are wrong to do so. We can certainly see God at times through other people, but that doesn’t mean that we can see God in everything somebody else does. Only Jesus holds that distinction. The rest of us, too much of the time, fall short.

Friday, February 18, 2011

CNN (and other liberal media) v. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has apparently kicked up quite a bit of controversy in a recent interview he did with Rolling Stone magazine. In the interview he was asked about his thoughts on a wide range of issues including religion, sex, healthcare, abortion, and certain other political thoughts.

On the issue of abortion, Bieber stated: “I really don’t believe in abortion. I think [an embryo] is a human. It’s like killing a baby.” When asked if he is anti-abortion even in cases of rape, he said, “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

When I read some of the responses to his anti-abortion comments yesterday attached to a Netscape article, it seemed that most were of the opinion that until Bieber grows a vagina of his own, he should have no right to comment on abortion. I particularly found many of the responses insulting.

To begin with, abortion is not just a woman’s issue. Regardless, ladies, of what anyone would have you to believe, if you become pregnant, the fetus inside of you is not yours alone. Remember, it takes two to tango, and the creation inside of you belongs, in half, to someone else. It’s the same concept as if you swallowed a diamond that belongs equally to you and someone else and then claim that the diamond solely belongs to you because it is now inside of you. Nice try, but, sorry, no. Just because the diamond is inside of you, that doesn’t make it yours alone. It may do all those who believe so strongly in abortion to keep this in mind before they choose a sexual partner. You don’t want to get pregnant, then don’t have sex, and don’t have unprotected sex. And if you do become pregnant, the guy involved will have at least some say or involvement in the matter (usually far less than he should). Regardless, the guy will be in your life to some extent and you will have to deal with him. But to suggest that Justin Bieber should not be allowed an opinion about abortion just because he is male is so gender biased it is ridiculous. Abortion is not a woman’s rights issue, it is a human life issue, and that affects all of us, male and female.

What disgusts me the most about the reaction to Bieber’s comments however is the notion that his age (16) makes him too young to intelligently comment on such a thing as abortion. Several media hosts, including the ladies on the View and CNN’s Kyra Phillips, have brought the young pop star’s age into question.

While discussing the interview with her guest this morning, Phillips had the following things to say about Bieber. “When you don’t really know what you’re talking about at the age of sixteen, should you be addressing controversial issues like abortion?” She went on to say, “It just seems like something this young kid shouldn’t be talking about.” Her guest reacted by saying, “There’s no place for him to be commenting. He’s sixteen!” Then at the end of the discussion, Phillips concluded with, “He’s [Bieber] still very young, he’s got a lot of growing up to do, a lot of experiences to have, and then maybe when he matures a little bit he can talk about these issues.”

Now, I’m sorry, but are you, Phillips, really insinuating that because of his age, Bieber cannot talk intelligently about the issue? Furthermore, that he is wrong in his beliefs and will, in time, with more “maturity” realize he is wrong? Just who exactly do you think you are to suggest such a thing? The kid gave a valid opinion. He’s not eight years old, he’s sixteen. I’d hate to know a sixteen year old who has not given some thought about such a thing as abortion (especially considering the amount of teen pregnancies that still exist in this country). I remember students having opinions and writing essays about abortion when I was in the fifth and sixth grades (ages 11 to 12), and many of their arguments were based on the same ones I hear people talk about today. Believe it or not, young people do have opinions on matters such as this, and not all of them are uninformed, naïve, or misguided opinions. A lot of young people actually do research and take all of the arguments into consideration.

What the media is really concerned about is that Bieber—this phenomenal pop icon—actually, heaven forbid, has some conservative beliefs and doesn’t mind sharing them. It’s not about his age, it’s that he has a huge following, mostly comprised of teen girls, and the media can’t believe he would actually express a conservative viewpoint to all of those young female followers. So, to counter him, they have gone on a bashing spree to discredit his intelligence.

What’s more is that Bieber does not have some wild and absurd viewpoint. His opinion on abortion mirrors that of most conservatives in this country. I, a man in his late twenties, actually agree with Bieber’s viewpoints on abortion. When you are pro-life, you believe abortion is wrong, even sometimes in cases of rape. Having that belief, at any age, does not make you unintelligent. My own belief in this matter is based on the fact that I was conceived out of wedlock. My parents were unmarried high school students at the time. I realize they could have aborted me, and by some peoples standards my parents would have been more than justified in doing so. They were young (my mom only a year older at the time than Justin Bieber currently is), unmarried, had hopes of going to college, and knew they would face ridicule from others. I am glad they chose to let me live. I have seen politicians, businessmen, and others talk about being the product of rape, and likewise, being grateful that they too were not aborted, but given the chance to live. When you are the product of such experiences, you are more than intelligent on the matter. You are an expert, and your opinion should matter a great deal. When others express similar opinions, there viewpoints should matter as well, and not be belittled for reasons that are purely political.

So, I say to Kyra Phillips, and all those others who have tried to belittle Bieber, that you should be ashamed of yourselves. If you disagree with someone, that is one thing. You have a right to disagree. But to insinuate that someone is unintelligent or naïve simply because they disagree with you is morally wrong and unacceptable.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Political Ramblings

I have to say there has been a lot going on lately. I haven't written about it yet--though I've certainly wished to (I've just been too distracted)--but I want to say a few words about the decision recently made by congress to repeal the military's policy of "Don't ask, don't tell", which banned homosexuals from openly serving in the military. I say now, it was about freaking time this was done. For a long time I have believed this ban to be one of the last great means of discrimination in the workforce. I know and understand some of the arguments people have had in favor of the ban. Some straight troops just do not want to shower and dress and sleep in the same places as gay ones. I can understand this. The problem, however, is that this was and is already happening--the straight troops just didn't know it. Perhaps people are just happier not knowing about the truths around them. But, I fail to see where this objection is sufficient to discriminate against gays. Implement a policy of respectfulness and, maybe, even a schedule of bathroom times (because in all honesty, I can understand straight guys not wanting gay guys to see them naked. As a gay man, it would make me somewhat uncomfortable as well on certain levels). Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject. I just feel it was about time our government did this. It should have happened years ago. And I commend the democratic congress and President Obama for seeing this through (finally).

Something else I want to mention is the situation going on in Egypt. I won't take a side on the matter, because it's simply not my country and I don't know all of the issues going on. However, I do hope the level of violence seen in that country in the last few days will subside and whoever wins the conflict, a greater level of peace, prosperity, and freedom will come to the people there. And not only in Egypt, but for the people facing similar troubles in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and other countries in the region as well. And now, to say something that I'm sure a great many will hate me for saying, this was something George W. Bush predicted would happen. Once people get a taste for freedom, freedom will spread like wildfire. To me, it looks like what Bush was saying all those years has actually started to take place. Maybe he knew a bit about what he was talking about after all.

Now I leave you with this incredibly great song by the Newsboys titled Born Again. Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Darling I Do

This is quite possibly the most beautiful song I've ever heard.

Of late, I can say that life has been good. I am officially a college graduate now, which is something that seemed so very long in the making. I honestly didn't know a few years ago if that would even be possible. When I first got back in school, it had been after a five year hiatus. To say that I struggled is a bit of an understatement. But, I stuck with it. I have God to thank for that, because if it hadn't been for him, I'd have dropped out again after just a couple of months. Now, two years later, I think I can say without any reservations that going back to school and earning a college degree is the most profound decision I ever made in my life. God saw me through it every step of the way. And I saw God intervening time and again to help me. He gave me friends. He gave me strength and determination. He gave me knowledge. He gave me self-confidence. He gave me love. And He gave me a plan for the future.

I have known plenty of people with eyes closed to God. And that's very sad. They cannot see all that he has done and is doing for them. They miss out on so much. I've been there myself. Lately, however, I keep seeing God at work in me and in the events taking place all around me. I'm glad I can see these things. Life is better because I have seen these things. They help me to know that I'm not going through life alone--someone is with me at all times. I find that very comforting.

With that in mind, I find myself singing the song above substituting the lyrics "Darling" with "Jesus". It just seems befitting to do that.

Since this is my first post of the new year, I want to wish anyone who reads this a very wonderful, blessed year. May you each see God working in your lives each and every day of it.