Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time Flies By

I don't know who Dr. Steve Maraboli is, but I do like his quote.

I think I’ve figured out why so many people feel like time goes by faster the older they get.
This Christmas went by fast to me.  It literally seemed as if it came and went in the blink of an eye, and it’s left me wondering what happened to my time.  There were so many Christmas movies I wanted to watch, places I wanted to shop at, foods I wanted to cook… just a lot of other things I wanted to do that I wasn’t able to find the time to get around to.  But it dawned on me the other day that the reason for this is, perhaps, because the older I’ve gotten, the more responsibilities I’ve taken on, and therefore the less free time I’ve had to notice the time going by.  In my busyness, I just don’t think I’ve realized how quickly the time has passed.
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  If time flies by and it’s enjoyable, then I suppose it is mostly a good thing.  If time flies by and you’re not able to enjoy it or get everything accomplished that you’d like to, then perhaps it is a bad thing.
I get mixed feelings about this.  On one hand I can look back and see just how much I’ve actually accomplished (even if I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to), but on the other hand, I can look back and think about how much time has passed and wish that I’d been able to get so much more done.  On this hand, I have to wonder if maybe I simply put too much to do on my “To Do…” list.  Either way, I have noticed that the older I’ve gotten, the faster time does indeed seem to fly by.  It seems this whole last year has honestly gone by in a flash.
Sometimes I wish I could be young again (or, well, younger).  When you’re little, you think you’ve got your whole life in front of you, and all the time in the world.  Maybe that’s a part of the reason behind all of this, too.  Maybe people have that feeling because the older they get, the less time they know they have (before death I mean).  Either way, I do wish time would slow down sometimes.  There are so many moments I wish I could just stop time for a while and enjoy so much more or do so much more.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and as we come to a close on 2013, I wish you each a very happy New Year.  J

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I've been there before, too, Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  May it be a truly marvelous one.  :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty Star, Phil Robertson, In Trouble for Stating Long Held Christian Belief--the World Comes to an End!

Since when is it wrong for a person to express their religious beliefs?  Since when does everyone HAVE to believe that gay sex is okay and should be promoted?  Since when was expressing beliefs from right out of the Bible considered bashing or hateful, particularly when those beliefs are expressed without any sign of malice or hatred?  He said he thought straight sex was better than gay sex.  Maybe he was a bit more graphic than he needed to be, I’ll grant that, but well, gee golly, let’s just go crucify him for stating what at least 90% of the world’s male population thinks.  I personally am kind of turned off by straight sex.  If I said penis was better than vagina (as many a gay men openly have) would that mean that I’m straight bashing?  If I said that those straight people who are sexually immoral, who commit adultery and the like, will not inherit the kingdom of God, because that is what a particular passage or two in the Bible, which I believe in, tells me, would that mean that I’m being hateful, bashing, ignorant, and just a low down dirty individual?  Would I, again, be straight bashing?  I don’t think so.  It’s just me expressing a particular belief.  If you happen to disagree with it, so what?
I am so sick of this politically correct attitude we’ve developed in this country.  It seems to me that we’ve gotten to a point where no one is allowed to say or think anything unless it fits some particular narrative.  Anyone who doesn’t have the one size fits all mental capacity of a Common Core vegetable must therefore be eliminated and disposed of.  Yes, they must be bashed for having their own unique views on things and casted out of society.  What kind of a world is that?  I mean, have we seriously become Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia?  Have we seriously drifted into a political climate where everyone has to say and think and believe in and do the exact same things in virtually every regard?
I suppose what really stung out of his comments the most was his belief that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Well, if you’re a Bible believing Christian, then, yes, you are going to have this belief.  Did anyone out there seriously not know that Phil Robertson was a Bible believing Christian?  I mean, the man carries his Bible around with him throughout half the episodes of the show and virtually every time he appears publically.  And, guess what, the Bible does state that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Oh, wow, was this really something that all us gays out there haven’t known of millenniums now?
You know what gay community, I AM GAY TOO, and I personally am sick to death of so many of you, particularly those in media, entertainment, and/or politics, acting as though the world owes you something.  I am so sick of you acting as though everyone should have to believe exactly as you believe.  You all, when you act that way, become the monsters.  YOU become the intolerant, the haters, the bashers, the mean ones.
All I want is to be left to live my life as I see fit.  Phil Robertson, did not say or do anything that would impede upon that ability.  As far as I’m concerned, he can say and think and do as he likes.  I may not agree with him on every issue, but who out there do I agree with 100% of the time on all issues?  No one.  And since when are my beliefs, or anyone else’s beliefs, more important than another’s?  Since when is the opinion of the gay community more important than anyone else’s?  As far as I’m concerned it’s not.  Everyone should have the right to be heard and treated with equal dignity and respect.  Just because Phil Robertson stated a particular belief, which is far from extreme within the Christian community, doesn’t mean he was going after you or trying to hate on you, or anything else like that.
You want to know what true gay bashing looks like.  It’d be a little more something like this:
“Gays are just completely disgusting!  I don’t want anything to do with them.  They’re gonna burn in hell and I hope they burn good.  Every last one of them should be picked up and carried off the planet so we don’t have to look at them anymore.  God hates fags!  If some queer comes around me, I’m gonna punch him right in the face.  Any son or daughter of mine better not be gay; if they are, I’ll beat the crap out of them.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is true gay bashing.  Phil Robertson’s comments don’t even come close to any of that.
So, my advice to GLAAD and all the other organizations out there wanting to do their own bashing right now for their own political purposes… get the hell over yourselves, back off, and realize you’re not doing the world any favors by becoming what you claim to hate—just a bunch of intolerant, hate mongers. Your beliefs are not the only beliefs out there, and nor should they ever be the only beliefs available to the world.
I may not agree with Phil Robertson on everything, but by God, I’ll defend his rights to say and believe as he so chooses in the faith to the very end.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An Early Merry Christmas

So, Christmas is coming.  We've got up all the decorations, my brother and I have had our once a year Christmas outing, and I've actually managed to get about all the Christmas shopping I plan on doing under my belt (now I just have to wrap everything and get it all under the tree).  And, we've already had some snow, which has definitely helped get me in the mood of things.

On that last note, I thought I'd post something Christmasy that I've always liked.  I can't remember if I've posted this before, but if I have, so what.  I hope you all will like it.  It's the Christmas story episode of the Andy Griffith Show.  This has always been a favorite of mine around Christmastime and it has perhaps my favorite version of "Away in a Manger" in it.

I love how they kind of parody Scrooge a little bit in the character of Ben.  Such a feel good classic.  And I'm glad that there was a time when even on television an extremely popular show was willing to recognize Christ at Christmastime (if only more would do that today!).  He is, afterall, the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Other Worlds

I really don’t know how else to say these things, so I’ll apologize up front if any of this comes across rather shocking or blunt, or even a bit “adult” compared to what I normally write about.

Here goes…

Back in August, I came across another blog while looking up porn. It was a gay themed blog focused on the Daddy/boy, or Dominant/submissive, types of gay relationships. I like that sort of thing—being submissive to other men. And I loved this particular blog. It wasn’t just a collection of images, it was interactive and welcoming. I liked the owner and many of the others who commented on there. And they liked me, too. I loved writing things to them that was sexy or erotic, knowing I could turn them on, loving their responses back to me. I felt like I belonged. For the first time in several years, I felt like I belonged. I felt special and wanted, and that made this little online world I’d stumbled into so special to me. It was, if nothing else, a place for me to escape into. I was allowed to communicate with others who feel like me and with those who like guys like me. That’s not something I’ve been allowed much experience with before. But I loved it. I felt very much at home in that world.

A couple of weeks ago, that blog was unexpectedly ended by the owner. One day he’s posting, commenting, and others are commenting, and the next day, nothing, the blog is gone, no heads up or nothing. I found out he had wanted to end the blog and just didn’t want to have to say any goodbyes to anyone. I’ll be honest, I’ve bawled my eyes out over this. I can understand him wanting to end his blog, but I wish so much he had given me some time to get used to the idea. I wasn’t ready to give up this world. I wasn’t ready for it to come crashing down, to be ripped away from me forever. Even if it was sinful, I don’t care, because I loved it. I loved being a part of it. I loved the people and I loved how right it felt for me to be a part of it. I know I’ll miss it forever.

Something this experience did was help me to realize what I want in a relationship. I like men who are stronger and more dominant than me. I like being submissive and loving and affectionate. I like someone else taking the lead. I like other men wanting me.

I know I am completely unsuitable for being with a woman. Eve knew this. I think that’s why she really broke up with me; she knew I could never really last or be happy in that relationship. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her. It’s not that I didn’t love her even. Or that she didn’t love me. It’s that I couldn’t be what I needed to be for that sort of relationship to work. I wasn’t right for it at all.

I am right for being with another man though.

About a month and a half ago, I was contacted by a man through an online dating site I’d signed up on sometime back. I decided to respond back to him, and the night I did, we literally stayed up for hours talking to each other. It was on a Friday night, and I remember it was around five or six the next morning before we quit talking. To say we hit it off fast would be an understatement.

He’s two years younger than me, loves cars, playing video games, and watching movies. He has a little girl he takes care of all the time and absolutely adores. He is sweet beyond belief, calls me baby sometimes in such an affectionate way that just drives me crazy for him, and he is somewhat bashful at times, which I find incredibly cute. He’s a great guy, and I know I’m in love with him.

It’s been three weeks now since I was last able to talk with him though. There are reasons for this which I understand, but also some reasons which I don’t understand. I honestly don’t know if I still have a boyfriend or not. My hope is that we will eventually be able to be together again, but there are some nagging doubts that I have about this.

This relationship, too, has been something I wasn’t ready to give up. Unlike the blog, I don’t know where the relationship I was in stands though.

I feel so tired of caring. Every time I care about anyone or anything it just gets taken away from me. It seems to be a pattern I can’t escape. And I don’t know how to deal with such losses in very positive ways.

I’m so tired of being lured into a false sense of comfort, believing everything is great and grand, just for something, anything to always inevitably bring my world crashing down upon me.

I’ve felt really stressed the last few weeks. Not even the most recent holiday has helped.

This Thanksgiving didn’t… I don’t even know if I could say it was Thanksgiving. I had a meal with half of my family, but it seemed more like a reunion with distant relatives than anything else. And I didn’t even get to be around anyone from my mom’s side of the family.

When I was younger, it was, in all honesty, the time spent with those on my mom’s side that I enjoyed most about the holidays. With my grandma passing, and my aunt constantly sick these days, all that’s gone now. Mom doesn’t much want us doing anything for her side anyway (just her way of trying to avoid stress).

God, I miss my grandma so much I can’t stand it. Thursday night, my brother and I went and got pizza for us and my nephews. We didn’t have leftovers, we didn’t have games and fun with family… it didn’t even feel like a Thanksgiving. It just felt like some weird, awkward day that didn’t make sense to me at all.

I feel like I always lose everything. If it’s good, it never sticks. I feel so frustrated right now. I know what I’d like my life to be like, but I can’t have it. I’m so tired of feeling bad all the time. I’ll feel good and things will be going right and then, WHAM, I’m knocked right on my ass. I just wish for some period of time I could actually just be happy.

In another world, I was a confident, happy, sexual being who was well-liked and wanted by others. In another world, I was loved and wanted by someone who I loved and wanted. In another world, I was happy with family and innocence. In another world, I felt like I belonged and was wanted in church. In another world, my dreams are still alive. In another world, I still have all the things I’ve lost. In another world, I wouldn’t feel bad about being me. In another world, I wouldn’t have to feel as though I was living a lie with every breath of the day.

I don’t know how you all will look at me now for admitting these things. Am I lost? Am I sinful? Do I even still care? I honestly wonder about that at times. But then I doubt I’d feel so bad if I didn’t care...

I feel like nothing makes sense anymore. I’m tired, scared, in poor health. Nothing seems right anymore. And anytime I think things are improving or starting to look up, I just get my legs kicked out from under me and the wind sucker punched right out of me.

I feel like there’s no way for me to be who I want to be. And even if I got that, I don’t know if it’d be right.

Monday, November 25, 2013

If I Were the Devil

I don't know much about Paul Harvey, but I heard this clip played awhile back on FOX news.  At the time, I thought about how true this warning was.  I thought Mr. Harvey must be reflecting upon our times.  What I did not know, however, was that this was something he actually preached on many decades ago before a lot of these things became true.

Isn't it funny (and sad) how people are warned over and over again, and how if they would have just heeded those warnings, they'd have been better off?  I'll admit, I fear for our nation.  I think we have a president right now who is so ideologically driven, so nearsighted, and so partisan that we are in for some real trouble.  Obamacare alone should be proof enough of that.  But we have leaders all throughout our country that do not have our best interests at heart.  We have ourselves to blame, too.  We do not pay attention to what is going on.  We take the quick, most convenient, most pleasurable, and least expensive ways out of everything we do.  We choose our leaders out of popularity rather than content or substance, or ability.  We try so hard to be politically correct that we end up running from the truth and embracing lies and injustice just to save face.  We ignore God.  We allow minorities to dictate what religious freedoms we should and should not have.  We...

You know what... WE have allowed the devil to enter our lives, to enter our country and rape his way through it like the wild beast he is.  WE have allowed our education to get worse.  WE have allowed the media to lie to us, fill our minds full of garbage, and get away with it, with trillions in their pockets.  WE have allowed our young to grow up parentless, on their own, and without discipline or care.  WE have allowed our leaders to be as corrupt as they are.  WE have allowed all of it.

WE have turned our backs on what is right.  And if I were the devil, it's people like us I would target first.

It's sad that our nation hasn't embraced and learned from Mr. Harvey's warnings.  We've already gone so far down that road he predicted we'd wind up on.  But my hope is that it's not too late for us to turn back.  I hope we will.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Damaged Goods

I can’t sleep…

I’ve felt really down the last couple of days. I have these spells. I’ll feel on top of the world and the next thing I know I feel like everything in the world’s crashing down around me. I know I suffer from depression. This has been a problem for me for a long time now. Why in the world I haven’t gotten help for this already is beyond me. Maybe it’s too much pride to admit it face to face to anyone, or maybe… well, no, I’d say that’s exactly it: too much pride.

I always miss people…

I’ve missed my grandma terribly lately. She passed away about this time two years ago, right around Thanksgiving. That was such a horrible time. Maybe it’s just the fact that Thanksgiving is coming up, or maybe it’s just that my mind has been flooded of thoughts or reminders of her lately, but I’m missing her so much it hurts.

I miss several old friends as well: people I used to go to school with, people I used to work with, people I used to go to church with, and kids I used to teach.

I don’t feel good.

I have so many insecurities it isn’t even funny. My self-confidence is virtually nonexistent, and I’m so full of doubts it’s driving me crazy.

I wish I’d done so many things different in my life. I wish I’d told so many of those assholes who made fun of me in middle school and high school to go fuck themselves and had just done what I wanted, not caring about what they thought of me. I wish I’d flirted back to some of the guys who actually showed an interest in me. I wish I’d not let some of the people from church drive me away from it. I wish I’d tried harder to make friends earlier on…

Damn it!

I hate feeling this way…

I feel tired all the time. I feel weak. And I never seem to have enough time in the day. I have all these dreams and goals and wants, and they seem to never materialize. Or, if they do, it’s just so little by little that it’s frustrating to say the least. It leaves me feeling fairly hopeless at times…

I’ve felt pretty bad about being gay lately, too. This, like depression, seems to come and go at random and without any real cause that I can pinpoint… no, that’s not quite true either, at least not this time. I know what triggered it. I subbed for a few sixth grade classes lately and in a couple of those classes I had to listen to some students talking trash about homosexuals. “That’s gross! That’s weird! They’re going to hell! God hates gays! That person’s gay because of that, and this one because of this.” I hear this from students I like, and it cuts me to the quick. I tell them not to talk that way, but that’s about all I can do to stop them. Afterward, I always feel bad. I always wonder what they’d think of me if they knew I was gay. I always wonder if they’d turn from liking me to hating me. And then I fear that if anyone did know, I’d just wind up losing my job. After all, no one wants a fag teaching their kids.

I don’t even think I’ll post this. If I do, I guess it’ll just be to maybe get a few extra prayers, I don’t know. Maybe in some way it can help someone else who suffers this late night insomnia depression to know they aren’t alone.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Straight Christians Think About Gays

Hi!  My name is Brandon, and I approve of the above message.

Sorry, I've been following politics too much lately.  :)

For a long time now, I've been saying that our definitions do not completely gel.  When homosexuals speak, Christians hear something completely different far too much of the time.  The same is true for when Christians speak as well; homosexuals hear something different than what is meant.

I think this poll/video demonstrates so clearly how we have a major breakdown in communication right now among the Church and homosexuals.  So many Christians really do care about homosexuals, but the vast majority of homosexuals do not believe that.  And, the big cause, really, is due to how we interpret and understand each other--far too often, incorrectly.

I hope there are those on both sides of the divide who can and will watch this and take away something very meaningful from it.  Hopefully it'll help us to understand each other far better, and to change some of the approaches in how we interact with and think about each other.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Duck Dynasty (and Why This Country Needs Jesus)

Even though it has been on for a few seasons now, I didn't discover the show Duck Dynasty until sometime around this last spring.  I'd heard people talk about what a funny show it was, and tell me how much I ought to watch it.  But from the talk, I wasn't too awfully impressed; I just didn't think it would interest me any to see a bunch of southern rednecks and their shenanigans.

I wound up watching several episodes though as they came on after another show I was watching one night.  I decided to watch just to see what all the hoopla was about.

I can't remember which episode I watched first, but something that struck me was the ending.  The whole family gathered at a single table to eat, and said a prayer.  I remember feeling really warm and close to God in that moment.  And I loved seeing a REAL family come together like that and to offer thanks and praise to God.  That's just not something you'll find that much of on television these days.  But I liked it.  And the more episodes I watched, the more I liked the show, and the more I liked the Robertson family.

Since that time, I have continued to watch their show, and I have even read from some of their books.  They just recently put out a devotional book that is exceptionally good, if you are interested.  In all of it, though, I find God as a theme.  I see this family that has such a strong connection to God, who genuinely love God, and try to do right by Him.  I love seeing this.  And I know it has helped me in my own walk with God as well.

A few nights ago, my brother told me he'd come across a video of Phil Robertson (the patriarch of the family), preaching somewhere in California.  He showed me the video, and I was even further impressed.  Not at the man though, but by the fact that God could use someone like Phil Robertson to preach His word, and to do so much to help so many others.

I included that video above.  I'm not going to tell you what's in it.  I just want you to watch it.  He gives such a powerful sermon, and it seemed to me so completely relevant to our times/needs as a country.

I wonder if anyone would have ever guessed that a wild young boy, who gets married in his teens, drinks and rough houses for years, doesn't believe in God, treats his wife like crap, and neglects his children could have ever come so far in the Lord to become the man that he is today.  I like watching Duck Dynasty if for no other reason than to gain that reminder that through God, all things are possible.  Poor can become rich; atheists can become Godly, sinners can give up their sins, and so on.  What I like most, though, is seeing how a family can come together through anything, still in God, and still in love for each other.  Sorry to give it away, but that is pretty much how every episode ends.

I thank God for spreading His word through the Robertson family.  And I thank that family for being so willing to allow God to do so.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


My mom recently told me she thought I was holding myself back. She thought I was adding too many restrictions to myself—that I won’t do this thing for this reason or that thing for that reason, etc—and not taking enough risks. I know the reason she said this was mostly because she wants me to be able to find a better job and to have more opportunities to do things. I have to admit that I felt somewhat bothered by what she said though.

I know it is true that in some ways I have actually held myself back. I think I’ve had some really good reasons in doing so, but I also know that holding myself back is not entirely the reason why I haven’t moved along in life as much I should have, or would have wanted or liked to, by now. I have taken many risks and stepped way beyond my comfort zone many a time. But I have also come up against personal politics, a lack of job openings, and in some circumstances, my own ignorance. My circumstances, to some extent, have just been largely out of my control. I haven’t liked this. I’ve hated it, I’ve prayed relentlessly about it, I’ve worried about it, I’ve asked for advice, I’ve taken advice, I’ve tried to learn from past mistakes, and I honestly feel like I’ve tried my best with all of it. It just hasn’t been good enough though.

When Mom said what she did, it just made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. With what she said, along with a few other things that has happened in the last few months, I feel like she blames me for not being further along. When it comes to holding myself back, yes, I will admit that in some ways I have. I don’t want to move a hundred miles away or to another state. I like where I live. Besides that, I absolutely hate the thought of being away from my family like that. I know I don’t have enough courage to be so completely on my own, so far away from family and friends. Keeping those things in mind, I have held myself back some.

I tried explaining some of this to Mom. She understands, but not fully. She’s never really liked living around here, so she just thinks I’m nuts for actually liking it. She told me she thought I was lucky (Me? Lucky? I couldn’t wait to hear her thoughts on this). She said I was lucky because I didn’t have any attachments. I don’t have a wife, I don’t have any kids, I don’t have family right now that just has to have me around, I’m not in school anymore, I’m not indebted in any way to anyone or anything that would keep me from moving… all in all, I’m free to go where I please and do as I wish.

I’ve thought about all of this a lot. I know my Mom is right. I do have that sort of freedom right now. But in knowing this, I can’t help feeling somewhat sad about it and in some ways not wanting it. I honestly thought I was needed more, and it kind of sucks to find out that apparently others don’t think so. And that just makes me feel so unappreciated for the things I have done for them. I know this isn’t what my Mom wanted me to feel, but it does make me question just how close we really are, and how close I might be to others.

I know what my goals are, what my dreams are, where I eventually want to wind up, and I do believe I am on course for getting where I want to be in life. But it is slow going. And it is easy to want to give up. The trick is to not give up though. I believe the worst thing I could do right now is to just run off any ole place just to get a quick fix. It wouldn’t be a fix. It would just be some short term solution, throwing me off course, and causing me more problems than not.

I know my Mom wants good things for me, and I know she is tired of seeing me try for something that is so slow achieving (and it has been tough), but in this one regard I do believe she is wrong about what I should do. I honestly do believe that if I just keep building up, keep working hard, and keep having faith and patience to get where I’d like to go, I will eventually get there. And that option will be so much better for me and for others around me than taking some short term quick fix.

Having said that, I do feel tired though. I know I’m not doing certain things right, and I’m not just talking about in trying to find a job. The thing is, I really haven’t wanted to care about a lot of things that I know I should care more about. I’m tired of caring. And I know how horrible that sounds, but it is the truth. I’m so tired I just don’t want to care. In this, I know I need God’s strength. But it goes much further than that. I just don’t feel right.

I keep trying not to think too far ahead, but to rather take one day at a time. In this, I know I need God’s hope. I know that’s something I’ve not felt much of lately: hopefulness.

And I know I’m having a hard time dealing with loss. In the last few years, I’ve lost a lot of things. Things I cherished in my childhood, things that shaped how I think and feel about myself, dreams and goals for my future… my grandma. I miss my grandma terribly. She was such an important part of my life. She lived across from me almost my entire life. I was so used to seeing her and being around her. Now that she’s gone, a part of my life just seems empty. I feel like a part of me was torn away. I feel that way really in all the things I’ve lost.

And I hate getting older. I’ve never liked the thought of it. I don’t want to lose people. I don’t want to see one dream after the next come crashing to an end. I don’t want to see and feel my body age.

I turned 30 this last spring. I think it shows on my face. I do look older, more worn, less energetic. My hair keeps getting grayer, my eyes tired, my joints more sore. It terrifies me, the thought of getting older. Even worse, however, is the thought that I will not live to be very old. I have always had a very strong feeling that I won’t live a long life. This, to some extent, is an even more terrifying thought, because it makes what time I do have seem all the more urgent. And I feel as though I’ve wasted, intentionally and unintentionally, a lot of that time. At this point, I had hoped to be so much further along than I am. All combined, however, either outcome makes me somewhat panicked feeling about my future.

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?” – Luke 12:25

I think about this verse a lot. I know I’m worrying too much. In this, again, I know I need God’s strength and hope. I need faith, too, that everything, regardless of outcome, will be as it should in the end.

How much longer must I wait though? How much longer before I can begin living as I’d like to live? Will that day ever come? If not, then what? How do I accept my life being something I don’t like?  I find all of these questions beyond my answer, but ones that carry so much weight.

My mom may be right. Maybe I do hold myself back too much, and maybe I don’t have any attachments. But that’s not what I want, or how I wish it was. Regardless of any faults I might have, this is not where I’d hoped to be in life. This is not how I had hoped my life would be. And yet, even in that thought do I find conflict, realizing that maybe what I want really isn’t in some way what is best for me. Again, how do I come to accept this? When will God ever lay this upon my heart, if it is true?

Perhaps what I really need to do right now, more than anything, is to try to learn how to be better content with the present. God, I know I need your help though.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Not How I Want to Be

When I was in high school, I was becoming friends with another boy in one of my classes. We had been in the same grade all throughout high school, but we had just never really been around each other until the latter half of our senior year. We sat next to each other, talked during free time in class, worked together on group assignments, and even had lunch together. I really liked him.

About a week after graduation, I was in a local store and saw him coming near me. He smiled and waved at me. I looked away and turned down the nearest aisle I could. I still managed to see his smile fade away though, and a look of total confusion and disappointment come over him. I just kept on walking away, trying to get as far from him as I could.

I’ve never seen nor spoken to him since then.

I feel an incredible amount of guilt and shame for what I did. I didn’t mean to be unkind, or to turn away from him as I did; I was just so nervous and shy about being around people at that time in my life. But I know I hurt him, and I wish so much I could take that back.

A few years ago, I had some time off during the summer and I decided to read through the Harry Potter series. I was so entrenched; I literally spent hours every day reading those books. Much of that time was spent reading outside on the porch. That’s something I’ve always loved to do—reading outdoors.

There were a few different times when my grandma would cross the road to work in the garden her and my parents had planted beside the house. I noticed her, but I really don’t think she ever noticed me. And I didn’t call out to her or say anything to her, mostly because I just wanted to keep on reading and didn’t want to be interrupted or bothered by her.

Now that my grandma is dead, this is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I wish so much I could go back and talk to her during those times, and every other chance I could have but didn’t. I miss her so much now that every little event like that stings a thousand times more in my memory than virtually any other hurt I’ve ever faced.

I am so full of regrets like that. I can look back and see how horribly I mismanaged so many things in my life. I can see how much I’ve hurt other people or made decisions that hurt me.

I’m reminded of the fifth Star Trek movie. In that movie, a very charismatic Vulcan travels around offering to take away the pain in people’s lives. He removes the guilt or shame or regret they’ve accumulated, freeing them in a sense, and giving them some degree of peace. Captain Kirk, however, refuses to allow this Vulcan to take away his pain. He tells him he needs his pain; that it’s a part of what makes him who he is.

Even though I agree that one’s past can shape who they are, and I know my past, and the pains within it, has certainly shaped my life, I do wish a great many things had been different.

If I could go back, I’d have befriended everyone I could, and tried as hard as I could to get over my shyness earlier on. I’d have spent more time with my grandma. I would have stayed in school, rather than dropping out for many years. I would never have had sex with that other boy when I was 11 years old, and definitely wouldn’t have continued being sexually active with him in the way we were for so long. I’d have tried harder to trust and forgive others, too.

And there have been other things that have caused me much pain over the years as well; something someone said, an unkind deed, a fear of the unknown, a worry that I’ve displeased God…

I know I am who I am, in part, because of all my life’s experiences—both the good and the bad. I am glad there is at least one person who never holds the bad against me though. I am glad to have a Savior who looks past that, brushes it aside, and sees me for what I wish to be, and what I could be.

My past still hurts me often though. I guess it’s just hard for me to forgive myself, or to accept the forgiveness of others, or to completely move on when so many of the consequences of my past actions still come back to haunt me. This is just one of the many consequences of sin.

I feel bad too much of the time. I know there are people who would say I’m just thinking too much about myself, or being selfish, or something along those lines. Maybe they’re right, at least to some degree. But even when I’m around others, focusing on others, trying to help others, I don’t feel good about me. I don’t like where I’m at in life. I don’t like the course I’m on, and I just feel as though I’m wasting so much time. I can’t figure out how to move forward though, and it just makes me feel so stuck. I know where I’d like to be, how I’d like to be, what I’d like to be, but all of it just seems light years away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gay in Russia

Apparently, Russia has decided to get tough on homosexuals, passing laws and regulations designed to harass, discriminate, and essentially keep homosexuals in the closet and on the fringe of society.

I thought the world—especially countries that claim to be developed and civilized at this point, like Russia—had moved beyond some of this crap. I guess not.

So, I came across the following video the other day. It shows a fifteen year old gay teen boy being lured into entrapment by a group of people who claim to want to help him, but who obviously only really want to embarrass, harass, and torment him. Watch it for yourself. Then read my thoughts on it.

Okay, so first off, I think the people who tricked this kid are monsters. Even though they claimed to want to help him, they certainly seemed bent on wanting to belittle and harass him more than anything else—they wouldn’t let him leave, they got right in his face, they threatened him with violence and were somewhat violent, and they told him they were going to tell everyone at his school and on Facebook what he’d done. In my opinion, these people were nothing more than violent and heartless—as I already said: monsters.

As for the kid, I think he was most likely gay, even though he claimed not to be. I mean, if I was ambushed in such a way I’d probably claim not to be gay as well. I do think it was a bad idea for him to try meeting up with a stranger for paid sex. Although, in a culture that treats homosexuals with such contempt, this may have been the only way this young kid believed he could actually meet up with other gay people. So, I can, without excusing his behavior, at the very least have an honest understanding about it. There again, maybe he just really needed the money. Regardless of his reasons for being there, he did not deserve to be treated the way he was. He was just fifteen years old. More than likely he really hadn’t been in such activities before or even really been involved in any capacity with other guys before. His parents and friends didn’t know he was gay. He was scared. I mean, what part of what these other people did to him did they think was legitimately helping him? If anything, this particular experience will probably only cause him to have problems—emotional and otherwise.

I pray that he will be okay.

Human rights have never been anything strong in Russia. Throughout communist rule, in particular, there were many people abused on a systematic and frequent basis. The current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, seems pretty determined on reverting back to the old ways, and his policies have achieved that in many regards. I wish the people of Russia would realize what harm they’re doing and would change some of their attitudes and laws.

I’ve had people mistreat me for being gay before. Most of those people didn’t even know for sure, but only perceived that I was gay. I’ve been called names and been threatened with violence.  I’ve had people completely turn away from me because they either knew or thought I was gay. It sucks to be treated like that. It sucks to be treated like a lesser person, of little or no value, simply because of something about me that I never asked for, didn’t want, and couldn’t change.

I don’t understand why people can’t just leave others alone. Why do they feel that they have to interfere in the lives of everybody else; condemning, belittling, and judging people as though they are somehow flawless themselves?

There are two things I think everyone should keep in mind. The first to the love their neighbors as themselves, and the second is to worry less about the speck in everyone else’s eyes while they have planks in their own. The world would certainly be a far better place if more people would adhere to these two things, or to at the very least attempt to live by them.

I am a gay man. Some people may not like that about me, some people may not want to accept that about me, some people may not want to hear it or know it at all, and may want to treat me like total crap because of it, but it is a part of who I am. It just is what it is, and it’s not anything that I, or anyone else, should be mistreated for. When people do act that way, I try not to let it get me down. I know in my heart that I am who I am, that I do have value and worth, and that even despite all my flaws, God does want and love me. No words or actions on the part of anyone else can ever take that away from me.

I hope and pray that the kid in this video can come to a similar understanding and won’t let what happened to him get him down.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Born Again

I really like this song.  It is a good reminder that, in Christ, we are made anew.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Domino Effect

After the recent Supreme Court rulings concerning gay marriage, you can rest assured that gay marriage is coming to the whole land and that equal protection under the law will ensue. I think this is a really good thing, a wrong that has finally been righted, and I rejoice because of it.

I don’t think it really matters what I think, or what anyone else thinks, when it comes to the individual life choices of each person. Each person must live and die according to his or her own beliefs, and in this country, we have traditionally allowed for such a thing in most regards. However, we have tended to reach a bit too far into the bedroom, when really we should simply mind our own business and allow people the freedom to live as they choose—so long as they aren’t hurting others in the process.

From a legal perspective, I see nothing wrong whatsoever with allowing gay couples the right to marry. And I say this because, legally speaking, marriage is not defined by the same standards as Christian (or any other religious) marriage. We do allow secular marriages each and every day in this country. A man can fly to Vegas overnight, get drunk, marry the first hooker that walks by him, and be divorced the following afternoon. Was it right? No, but we have allowed that sort of thing for decades now.

We have allowed secular marriages to take place. We have allowed people to marry and divorce upon their whims, and haven’t gotten in the way. We have done this for heterosexual couples. However, when it comes to homosexual couples, we as a society, for the most part, have not legally recognized their unions. We have not permitted them to marry. We have not allowed them the freedom to decide upon what sort of unions they enter into, and have not granted them the same rights as we have heterosexual couples. My question is why? If a gay couple wants to be married is this really so wrong (outside of a religious context)? Keep in mind that marriage, as it has already been defined on the books in most of this country, is not singularly allowed with only religious implications in mind; we do have secular marriages and have for pretty much our entire existence. This being the case, why not allow the marriage of homosexual couples? Why not grant them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples? By not allowing these things, you are legally discriminating. You are purposefully acknowledging that one union is not as good as another, and this forces those who may disagree with you to live by your personal beliefs, rather than their own. And what gives anyone the right to force their beliefs on such a matter onto others?

Whether I agree with gay marriage or not, I do not think I have any right to force my beliefs onto others. I don’t have a right to prevent people from marrying, nor do I have a right to force anyone to marry.

I keep in mind the golden rule when thinking about this: “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I would not want anyone telling me I could not marry the person I love, or that I could not get the same sort of benefits as other married couples just because they don’t like my choice of partners. So, I will not tell anyone else they cannot marry the person they love, or cannot have the same benefits granted to everybody else. Instead, I will allow them the freedom to make their own choices, and grant them the same privileges as everybody else.

In doing so, it doesn’t mean that I am going against the church, or turning my back on traditional marriage, or anything like that. It just means that I think it is right to allow others to make up their own minds and to live according to their own beliefs, without me shoving my own beliefs down their throats and forcing them to live in a way that isn’t right for them.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Anyone who knows me well would probably say that I don’t handle change very well. I like getting into a routine and knowing what to expect. I feel a sort of comfort from this. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t enjoy a little spontaneity every once in a while or that I can’t recognize when change must happen, or that I’m completely against anything ever changing. It just means that I don’t tend to like life changing surprises, especially if I’m ill prepared for them, in disagreement of their effects, if it means I have to completely readjust or rethink my plans in life, or if I have to give up some greater level of control over my life.

Having said all of this, I will now say something that will sound completely contradictory. For quite some time now I have been earnestly trying to allow God to lead me in my life. I think if one is truly going to call Jesus the Lord of their life, then this must happen. Naturally, though, this means that I am not going to be the one planning a good part of my life, but rather having it planned and directed for me by God, and interjected by many, many possible changes—and God has certainly thrown me some curveballs to have to deal with.

When change is introduced in one’s life, it is easy to worry. I try not to worry though, desperately recognizing the truths that it cannot add even a second to my life and is nothing more than a chasing after the wind, meaningless. Keeping this in mind has certainly helped me to accept and look for the good in any changes that have taken place in my life though, and to not be so completely against them.

Something I’ve thought a lot about the last few weeks, considering the closing of Exodus International, is exactly what sort of help and/or change Exodus actually brought about in me. I believe I was genuinely helped by them, and because of their help, certain things have definitely changed in me. It was not help through reparative therapy, though, but by the hope of it, and mostly by their simply reaching out to me in kindness and understanding at a time when I really needed someone to.

I didn’t want to be gay. This thought dominated me from the first moment I realized I was attracted to other men. I thought my parents and other family members would reject me, I thought friends would reject me, and I thought God would reject me. I didn’t want to be rejected by anyone for this reason. I was though. And I did have a certain level of self-hatred because of it. I was different and I didn’t want to be. I felt inferior, like I was broken in comparison to other guys. All of this was because I was gay, and I thought that if I could just not be gay, everything would be better.

I prayed for God to change me, to help me, more times than I can even remember.

When I sought out help from Exodus, I literally had no place else I felt like I could turn to. I don’t exaggerate when I say that. They were the only refuge I could find to help me in any way regarding my struggles (and believe me, I tried). I felt like they understood me. They welcomed me. They told me I could change, but to focus first and foremost on my relationship with God.

I should clarify something here. I said “they” told me, but what I should have said more specifically was that my counselor, Paul, was the one mostly telling me this. He was one of only about a handful of contacts I ever made through Exodus, but was my primary contact above all others. Paul helped me the most. He listened, comforted me, gave solid Christian advice, encouraged me, and prayed for me—he is one of the kindest and Godliest men I have ever known, and there is nearly nothing I can think of by looking back that I can say he was wrong about. He just wanted to help, and I think he knew how much I needed it.

Even though Paul did believe it was possible for me to change my sexual orientation, he never pushed that. He always tried far more to encourage me to build my relationships with others, to develop and work on some goals in life, and to grow stronger in my faith (he looked beyond my sexual orientation). If anyone ever pushed orientation change, it was me. After all, I was the one who wanted it, and wrongfully thought that a lot of my life’s problems would go away if I could just change.

After many years of trying, I realized the change I wanted wasn’t happening. I admit that I got far too tired of trying, but more importantly, it no longer made sense to me to try. I no longer believed I should try. This isn’t to suggest, however, that certain positive changes weren’t taking place during that time though. They were. It’s just that my sexual orientation wasn’t one of them. And in some ways, I realize that this may be for the best.

I believe the world needs gay Christians—people who can help build a bridge between the church and individuals who have all too often felt completely excluded or pushed away from her. Having a foot in both worlds, I can certainly help to build that bridge. Furthermore, I recognize that trying to change my sexuality just isn’t worth my time when I think about all the greater things I could be doing with it; not just for myself, but for God and others as well. I’ve realized that in some ways, it is definitely better to simply accept my sexuality for what it is, rather than to focus so much time worrying about it. That, in itself, has been a tremendous change for me.

Looking back, I can say I have changed or developed many beliefs over the years, either entirely or in part. For one, I don’t think I care nearly so much about what others think or believe as I used to. And this is good because it means I can just be myself and not be so hurt by the action or inaction of others. Secondly, I’m not so quick to act upon the advice or thoughts of others without first doing a whole heap of thinking on my own. Keeping an open mind and being willing to listen to the thoughts and ideas of others certainly can go a long way. Thirdly, I have decided that at least some people in this world really are worth knowing and I should try harder to get to know them. Fourthly, I’ve realized that worrying gets me nowhere, even if I still find this a hard habit to break at times. Fifthly, I know God doesn’t hold anything against me for being gay, which is a huge load of relief. Sixthly, hope is incredibly important, but no less than faith and reason. Seventhly, it is good to be humble and to admit my weaknesses. Eighthly, not everybody is going to like me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still try to like and be nice to them. Ninthly, it’s good to have goals and dreams in life, just so long as I don’t forget to live a little in between the planning, working, and (hopeful) eventual achievement of said goals and dreams. Tenthly, it’s better to think positive and look for the good in every situation, and in every person, than to think the worst. And the most important is to hold onto God no matter what, trusting Him in all things. I say this because He’s the only person I’ve ever known to be with me completely through thick and thin. He has done so much for me. Without him, I’d be lost. I also say to trust Him in all things because only He can ever truly know what is best for us.

When I think of change, I recognize it as something that can be good or bad, expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted, but something that does happen for each and every one of us. It is unavoidable. And we can either make the best of it, or the worst of it.

For many years, Exodus’ slogan was “change is possible”. I know many people never felt that they actually helped to change anything for them, but for me, they did. They may not have helped me to change my sexuality, but they were a part of many other changes, which have certainly done me and others a great deal of good. There is no doubt in my mind that God did in fact use them to help me as I’d pleaded so often for Him to do. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

With all of this in mind, I say to be hopeful, to trust God, to follow God, to look for the good in all things, and to try your best not to worry. And do not be troubled in whatever changes come your way.

This, at least, is what I am going to try my best to do.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gabriel Tells It Like It Is

There’s “no bloody point”. That’s for sure. There is no reason in the world for anyone to feel bad about being gay. And there is absolutely no reason in the world to try changing your sexual orientation. Just let it be what it is, don’t worry about it, and don’t let it get you down.

Go back five or ten years ago and it would have been unthinkable for me to believe these things. But with many years under my belt, many years of trying to change my sexual orientation, and much knowledge gained throughout that time, I can say that this is absolutely true.

God may not have meant for anyone to be gay. I don’t know that. For all I know, maybe he did. But what I do know is that a person’s sexual orientation, or their sexual attractions, does not matter in the least little bit. It’s what you do with those attractions that can make a difference.

If you believe homosexual sexual experiences are sinful, in conjunction with traditional Christian thought and teaching, then you should abstain from them, lest you be in sin. If you do not believe they are sinful, contrary to traditional Christian thought and teaching, then let your conscience be your guide (that means that maybe you are sinning, but that depends on what is undeniable truth, something that none of us might ever know beyond any shadow of a doubt in this lifetime, and which could go either way according to our understanding of the truth and upon how we are judged).

I have reasons to believe homosexual sexual experiences are sinful and reasons to believe that they are not. I’m not one-hundred percent sure what is the truth. Certain things, I believe, may not be entirely accurate or as well thought through as they should have been concerning traditional teachings. However, certain other things concerning traditional teachings do hold some weight for me. I can see how perhaps God did not intend for anyone to be gay (at least in the beginning) and how there is an element to heterosexual sexual experiences (through marriage) being of a greater design, at least in regards to being able to produce something totally new through the union of such a couple. However, I can also see how certain authors of the bible and others throughout Christian past might have based their beliefs against homosexuality on certain untruths—probably unintentionally, but perhaps also out of certain cultural biases or misunderstandings at the time in which they lived. I can also see how biblical teaching may have been misunderstood throughout the years through varying translations and the like of the original texts.

Something I’ve learned is that throughout Christianity, there are people (both gay and straight) who have believed differently on this matter. Some people believe traditional teaching is truth, therefore making homosexual experiences sinful, while others believe traditional teaching is wrong, making homosexual experiences okay. Perhaps anything anyone can ever really do to know which stance to take on this matter is to allow the Holy Spirit to influence them, and to dictate their beliefs and actions upon that influence.

But, again, I say there is no reason in the world to worry about what your sexual orientation might be. If you are gay, so what? You’re not sinning just by being gay, or by having sexual attractions or desires for those of the same sex. Depending on your beliefs, you’re only completely natural, or you’re just being tempted. That is all—so long as we’re only talking about attractions and desires, rather than actions taken upon them.

Please read Gabriel’s article about this (the link above). He is a very wise old friend of mine and he can write about these things so much better than I can.

I know what I’m saying may be very difficult for some people reading this to accept. I’ve been there and done that. As I said, go back just a few years ago and I’d have not believed this at all. I was so convinced that I was just some sort of freak that I couldn’t see the truth. I couldn’t see how much love God really has for me, or how little one’s sexual orientation really does matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m not asking you to trust me about this though. I’m just asking that you keep an open mind and try not to hold something that you may dislike about yourself over your head. Don’t let it ruin your self-esteem. Don’t let it destroy your value as a human being. And don’t ever allow anyone else to do those things to you either—whether concerning your sexuality or anything else about you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

If You Could Read My Mind

I love this song.  It's so soothing, peaceful, and just overall beautiful--even if it is about a failed relationship.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Not Too Well

I’m not sure what it is, but the last couple of days I really haven’t felt very well. I’ve felt down, or depressed. This happens to me every once in a while and thankfully it has been a while now since the last time. But it seems to have landed squarely on me yet again.

I’m feeling a lot of pressure. I need a job (and there are a few I’m trying for--please pray for me about this), I have many family members needing my help, I have several projects of my own I’d like to finish but never seem to get enough time to finish them, and there are many decisions I’m just having to make very quickly. I feel tired, and to a very large extent, I just wish everyone around me would back off some.

On top of all this, I really wish I could find a boyfriend. I’m getting older and I know the older a person gets the harder this sort of thing usually becomes. That aside, I’m just ready for that sort of thing. I mean, I could spend my whole life alone and probably be content enough, but I would like to find someone who I truly could spend my life with and be happy together. I don’t think I want to be alone, content or not.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, mostly dealing with changes in one’s life and trying not to worry. I haven’t posted it yet, because since writing it, I seem to have worried quite a lot about a lot of things, even though I’ve been trying really hard not to. I probably will still post it eventually, but I might need to rework it some first.

You know, I really don’t like a lot about my life. It’s not that things are really bad. It’s just that I’m tired of the way a lot of things have been. I want to have a better job, I want to be out on my own, I want my parents to actually give a darn and “parent” me when I need them to and to get out of my way when I need to take the lead myself, I wish I didn’t have to worry so much about money, and I wish… I just wish I didn’t feel quite so stuck feeling all the time. I feel like I can’t be who I want to be—in virtually any regard—and I’m so sick of that feeling.

I’m sure I’m just whining, and probably no one really wants to hear or read any of this. I guess I just need to vent a little and this forum seems to be a great refuge at the moment.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Zimmerman vs. the World

Scenario 1:

It’s a dark night and it’s raining. A neighborhood watchman sits in his car and sees a young man walking by. For various reasons, he finds the behavior of the young man to be suspicious. He calls 911 and is told to wait for police. Worrying the young man, who fits the description of other young men who had recently robbed several houses in the neighborhood and not been caught, may get out of view and do who knows what, he decides to follow him and see where he goes. The young man notices a man is following behind him. He turns around and confronts the watchman, initiating a fight, wherein he winds up on top of the watchman, throwing punches at the man’s face, breaking his nose and causing his head to be repeatedly thrown back onto a hard sidewalk. Fearing for his life, the watchman—even more scared now about this young man than he was to begin with—begins screaming for help and trying to reach for his gun. The young man sees the gun and also begins reaching for it. But the watchman gets it first and shoots the young man who is on top of him. The young man falls to the side and the watchman restrains him. Fellow neighbors begin showing up to the scene, and the police arrive. The young man dies, and the neighborhood watchmen claims self defense. He is initially free of any charges being brought against him, but is eventually arrested, murder 2 and manslaughter charges are brought up against him, and he is tried in a court of his peers who agree he was defending himself, having no ill intent in the matter. He is found, rightfully, not guilty of any crime.

Scenario 2:

It’s a dark night and it’s raining. A young kid is walking back to his home. He is minding his own business and doing nothing wrong. Nearby, a neighborhood watchman is on guard. He is mad about all the black hoodlums who have recently robbed his neighborhood and gotten away with it. He sees this kid walking by. The kid fits the description. He’s black and young. Furthermore, he’s wearing a hoodie over his head. The neighborhood watchman believes the kid must be up to no good. He calls 911 and is told to stay in his car. He decides he’ll follow the kid instead, because he just can’t stand the thought of another one of these “fucking niggers” getting away with it. He menacingly follows behind the kid. The kid sees him and becomes scared for his life. The kid turns around and confronts this man following him. Then the neighborhood watchman pulls out his gun. The kid begins fighting the watchman, defending himself. He screams for help, but no one comes. The watchman is able to shoot the kid and he dies as others show up at the scene. The neighborhood watchman has just committed a brutal hate crime, but he is able to get away with it simply because he is white and the kid was black. However, after much strength in outrage, charges are brought against the watchman and he is tried in a court of his peers. For some unknown, outrageous reason though, the jury of that court finds him not guilty. The racist, gun happy, wannabe cop is wrongfully allowed to go free.

This case has honestly frustrated the hell out of me. To begin with, I am saddened that a young seventeen year old was shot and killed. And it probably wouldn’t have happened had George Zimmerman simply stayed put after calling 911. However, had Zimmerman stayed put, and had Trayvon Martin actually been up to no good as he believed, then Martin could have committed a crime and gotten away with it. Furthermore, it’s not a crime to walk behind someone. So, I can’t completely say that I think Zimmerman was wrong by following Martin, regardless of his reasons for doing so.

I’m also frustrated by the way so many have responded to this case. A lot of assumptions have been made, and the media itself has even outright lied about some of the facts surrounding it. Certain pieces of evidence or information were purposefully withheld from the defense. The Black Panthers offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of Zimmerman. Several black leaders and politicians tried interjecting themselves into the case, and even in some regards stirred up emotions against Zimmerman. I’m bothered by most of this because it stirs up a mob mentality, jeopardizes our legal system, enrages people unnecessarily, and skews the truth.

It also frustrates me that the facts of this case do more to back scenario 1 than they do scenario 2, and yet so many people have wanted to completely ignore so many of the facts in order to promote their own agendas, or perhaps their own biases.

I’ve heard many people say, “Well, why was he (Zimmerman) following this kid/child?” My response is to first clarify what a kid and/or child is. A seventeen year old, over six feet tall, former football player is not exactly a child or kid in my mind. The notion that Martin was a kid was fueled first and foremost by the media who showed only a photo of Martin when he was 12, rather than 17 at the time of the shooting. He was a teenager, or a young adult male. He was taller and by all accounts even stronger than Zimmerman. Secondly, I would respond, “Since when is it a crime to follow, or to walk behind, another person?” It doesn’t really matter why Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin. I say that because Zimmerman following Martin does not give Martin the right to turn around and start beating Zimmerman up. That is, unless Zimmerman pulled a gun on Martin first. However, we have no proof of that happening, and should not start reaching conclusions based on unfounded assumptions. And, lastly, could it be that perhaps Zimmerman only followed Martin because he wanted to keep tabs on him? Could it not be as simple as that? Could it not be that Zimmerman thought Martin was acting suspiciously (whether warranted or not), that he knew it would probably take the police ten to fifteen more minutes to respond, and that he just wanted to keep a watch on what this young man was doing and where he was going? How different is that from anything a regular cop would do?

On another matter, I want to address this whole issue of race being some motivator to Zimmerman supposedly going after Martin. For starters, Zimmerman is not fully white. He is only half white. His other half is Hispanic. So, being of mixed race, I do find it incredible that Zimmerman would be racist. More than likely he had himself been made fun of or ridiculed at some point in his life for having parents of mixed race. That’s in the first place. Secondly, he had many black friends who came forward early on saying there wasn’t a racist bone in his body. He’d taken a black girl to his prom, he had grown up with black kids in his house, and he’d even mentored black kids as an adult. All those things bring some serious doubt to my mind that Zimmerman is a racist. Furthermore, it occurs to me that a great many people in the media lied about Zimmerman’s past statements in order to make him appear racist. He was reported as saying, “These fucking niggers always get away with it”, when in fact he said, “These fucking punks always get away with it.” Now, we may be splitting hairs here to some people’s minds, but there is a difference between the words nigger and punk. Nigger is used as an expletive of sorts against blacks. Punk, however, could be used to characterize anyone of any race, and infers to them being a ruffian of sorts. There is a big difference between the two I think. The first would indeed make Zimmerman out to be racist. The second, however, makes him a concerned citizen. The media chose to lie about what he said in order to make him out to be a racist. I find this completely negligent and disgusting on the part of the media. It is their fault, in part, for fueling flames and riling people up in anger unnecessarily.

At best, perhaps Zimmerman did follow Martin and find him to be a suspicious character because he was black, but not because Zimmerman didn’t like blacks, rather because it had been young black men who had recently broken in to a few homes in the area and Trayvon Martin simply matched their description. There is absolutely nothing about this case which would lead me to believe that Zimmerman was some horrible racist out to take down a young black man. I dare anyone screaming that that’s the case to actually produce any real evidence of it. So far, I’ve heard nothing but speculation and assumption.

Let me speak my mind now, and hate me if you will…

Not every bad thing that happens to a black person happens to them because they are black. Just as not every bad thing that happens to me happens because I am gay. Had Zimmerman been black, or had Martin been white, we would never have heard of this case at all. George Zimmerman never would have even been arrested and tried if either of those things were true. There just wasn’t any evidence to warrant an arrest. But because Zimmerman wasn’t black and Martin was, and underage at that, so many black leaders saw this as an incident to exploit and they did just that. And why would they do such a thing? Because it gives them a job, a voice, and political power. America is not in the 1950s anymore, nor is the south still full of institutionalized racism. Yet, so many black leaders obviously have felt that they cannot admit this. Naturally, if they did, they’d be out of a job, have less of a voice, and even less political power. That is why this case has become what it has. That is why racial tensions have been strained by this case. And I personally think that that has been an atrocity.

I am not a racist. I have had black friends in my life. Hell, my favorite childhood toy was a black rag doll. I have never been put off about being around blacks. But what does put me off is when I and others are accused of being racists whenever we don’t like something a black person has done. I don’t like President Obama, for example. Not because he’s black, but because I think his policies have been horrible for this country. On most issues, I think President Obama couldn’t be much more wrong than he’s been. But that does not make me a racist.

And it doesn’t matter to those who accuse George Zimmerman of racism that his background doesn’t support their claim, or that Martin beating the crap out of him is why Zimmerman actually shot him, or that it was Martin who actually undeniably brought racism into the altercation by calling Zimmerman a white cracker. No, none of that seems to matter. Nor does it matter that Martin had been suspended three times from school for fighting and that he had marijuana in his system at the time of the altercation. No, in their minds, he was simply an innocent twelve year old boy who was shot only because he was black. But I tell you, there was no proof whatsoever to assert this. It is a fiction.

In my opinion, justice has been done. The evidence provided just did not prove any racism or ill intent on the part of Zimmerman, nor that Trayvon Martin was just some innocent victim. What the evidence proved was that Zimmerman had to defend himself against Martin. That’s why he shot him. But for all those who simply refuse to see this, I ask you this: what would you think if Zimmerman had not shot Martin and Martin had continued beating him to death? What would you think of Zimmerman had he had no gun? What if Zimmerman had not been able to defend himself and Martin had gotten in just another blow or two? Had Trayvon Martin killed Zimmerman, would you still feel the same? Had George Zimmerman been black and Trayvon Martin been white would you still feel the same?

Having seen the complete nonsense surrounding this case, I feel so completely ashamed of so many of my fellow Americans. But I am glad that we have the justice system we have. Had Jesus been tried in America, the Pharisees would never have been able to pressure a conviction against him. He would have had his day in court and he would have been found not guilty. Now, I’m not trying to compare George Zimmerman to Jesus. Far from it.  For all I know, Zimmerman may have been guilty. But what I do know is that like Jesus, George Zimmerman has had many people outright lying, ignoring the facts, and inciting rage against him in order to pressure the powers that be to crucify him. Again I ask them though to provide their proof. Local authorities initially found none to bring charges against him, and after all the evidence was presented in court, except for a few more pieces which were excluded and which more than likely would have favored the defense, a jury of six people determined that George Zimmerman was not guilty.

As far as I’m concerned, justice has been done, and all those just trying to stir things up ought to just shut up and accept that for once in their lives they just might be wrong about something.

Having said all this, I am sympathetic to the fact that minorities have had to endure a great amount of injustice throughout the years under the law. But with the facts that have been presented, I simply do not believe that this was one of those cases, and that by trying to make it into one, they discredit themselves and weaken their own cases in other instances which truly are injustices worth fighting.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Exodus No More

I think the earliest I ever realized I liked other guys in a romantic sense was when I was in the fifth grade. I was sitting out on the playground with a few friends and one of them started talking about and making fun of “queers” and “fags” (those were his words). I remember not really knowing what he was talking about, and so I asked him. He said it was guys who like other guys. At that moment, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I’d already been noticing other guys in that way. What I learned from this is that if I didn’t want to be made fun of or lose any friends, I’d better keep my thoughts to myself. More than that, I learned that I didn’t want to be gay.

Throughout middle school and high school, I was made fun of a lot by other guys who thought I was gay. There were lots of jokes and innuendos. Maybe no more than anyone else experiences, but it was still enough to make me feel as though there was something wrong with me.

I heard people at church and at home, friends, and family alike, talk about how homosexuality is a sin. I read the bible and concluded the same thing. I believed it is, and to some extent still believe it might be, a sin for two men to be in a sexual relationship with each other. But I believed something far worse, too. I believed it was sinful simply to have those sorts of attractions. I believed there was something about me that wasn’t supposed to be. I believed there was something wrong with me.

After high school, I experienced a really lonely and confusing time in my life. And it got so bad—I struggled so bad—that I very nearly took my own life. Thankfully, I was too scared to do it, and cared too much for my family to put them through such a thing, to carry it out. Thankfully, God heard my prayers for help and guided me back onto solid pavement.

After a very poignant rescue, and another month or two of thinking things through, I determined not to worry anymore about being gay. I realized if God would save my life as He did, that He must not have abandoned me. I knew in my heart that even if others may hate me for being gay, God didn’t. I felt a great deal of hope from that, and I used that hope to turn my life around. I put aside thoughts of taking my life, worked to build up my faith, to work harder on finishing goals in life, and to simply try my best not to give into temptations to sin. I determined that so long as I wasn’t actually giving in to my desires to be with another man, the temptations I felt to do that were nothing more than temptations. I determined that those temptations were not sinful in and of themselves. I still, however, cared about what others might think of me. So, I still tried to keep my sexuality to myself.

In 2005, my brother found out I was gay. His response was one of total rejection. It meant a lot then, and it still means a lot to me now, what my brother thinks. His response literally threw me into one of the worst states of depression I’ve ever been in. It opened up many old wounds and made me question a lot of my decisions. It made me question the hope I’d previously found. And it made me determine more than ever that I didn’t want to be gay anymore.

I ended up at a point where I knew I needed help. I knew I needed to be able to talk to someone about my struggles with homosexuality. But I couldn’t bring myself to actually do any talking with anyone about it. I went online instead and eventually came across Exodus International. I read the testimonies and some of the books listed on their website and connected to their message.  I felt understood for the first time in my life.

I eventually found a wonderful Christian minister through Exodus who was willing to counsel me. He was actually willing to listen to me. He was never judgmental. He never pushed me do anything I didn’t want to do or wasn’t willing to try. He was just kind to me. He offered advice, encouragement, prayers, and a shoulder to lean on. I owe him so much for the help he gave me.

Yesterday, I found out Exodus International will be shutting down.

I don’t know exactly how to feel about this. On one hand I feel a profound sadness about it; sadness, because I know how much I was helped through Exodus, and how much others have been helped by them. On the other hand, I feel it is for the best.

I can’t deny what help, what hope, strength, encouragement, and wisdom I gained through Exodus. They helped me not only feel more understood, but for me to understand myself better as well. I made friends through them. I started this blog (in a roundabout way) because of them. Knowing all of this, I don’t see how I can ever completely say that Exodus’ closing is a good thing.

However, I will concede that Exodus’ closing may truly bring about a great deal of good. I know not everyone Exodus worked with was helped as I was. Seeing so many negative responses toward Exodus now and throughout the last few years, it really has made me wonder if maybe I simply lucked out for some reason. I do believe, perhaps, that I understood their message slightly differently than most others. I was never told that changing my sexuality should be a real goal of mine, only that it was possible for God to bring about such a change—and that if it happened, it would be His doing above any efforts of my own. Perhaps others were told something different, or perhaps they understood it differently than I did, I don’t know. But I will say now, as I have many times before, that Exodus’ approach was not the best.

Reparative therapy is not the best approach to use when dealing with someone struggling with their sexuality. Exodus used, believed in, and advocated those practices throughout the years. I don’t believe they work. That is, I don’t believe they can ever really help bring about a change in one’s sexual orientation. The only reparative therapies I was ever willing to engage in were gender role related, and I can say that they helped me better understand myself and know how to better relate to other men. Rather than be a sort of blank slate as I felt I was beforehand, they helped me figure out and embrace those things I like best about being male. But these therapies, I certainly do believe can and have brought about a lot of pain for a lot of people, including false hope.

What I would really like to see happen out of Exodus’ closing is that a new bridge can be created between the Church and LGBT individuals. I would love to see those who worked for Exodus, or who was helped by Exodus, go forth and bring awareness to those issues which unnecessarily, undesirably, and regrettably separate LGBT individuals and otherwise from inclusion in the Church. Reading the reasons for which Exodus is being closed, I do find some hope that that will happen. For that reason, I can’t be too very sad to see Exodus come to an end. From its death, I see and hope for a new birth—the result being something far better than what was before.

With that in mind, I pray, “Lord, please help your Church be able to better reach out to others. Please help us to make a positive difference in the lives of others and to show them your love and grace. Please help us to better understand each other, Lord, and to be more accepting, forgiving, and smarter in our dealings with others. In your son Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Sunday, June 9, 2013


It occurs to me that one of the greatest frustrations and struggles I’ve had in my adult life is to avoid certain sins I am prone/tempted to commit. At times I have had great success at resisting these sins. Other times, I have failed miserably.

I used to get really depressed every time I had a fall. I would try really hard not to, would make it for some time, and then would inevitably have a stumble. And I’d beat myself up over and over again for each little stumble I had. I’d pray for forgiveness, try again, have some success for a time, and then fall again. It was a horrible pattern that I couldn’t seem to break free of. And I’d listen to people tell me and others that it just takes time, that I was probably just setting myself up to fail somehow, and that if I’d just pray harder, fight harder, believe harder, and have greater patience, I would eventually reach a point of not sinning but very rarely, or being able to avoid certain sins altogether.

That hasn’t worked.

I’ve thought a lot about why I haven’t been able to completely keep myself from sinning. Why haven’t I had greater success? I think the answer is simple: I am a fallen human being, stained by sin, tempted by the devil, and made weak. I cannot do anything on my own to bring about my salvation, nor (more likely) totally go without ever sinning again. With this in mind, I think if humans were capable of ever completely resisting sin in the first place, then why did we need Jesus? We wouldn’t have. We would all have simply been able to uphold every letter of the law at all times and would have been saved by our own doing. We couldn’t do that though. We needed Jesus to save us. We needed a new covenant.

When I look back at the last several years I can see that more often than not I was trying to live up to the old law, looking at my faith in a very legalistic mindset—that if I’d just say and do all the right things, I would be okay. The problem with that mindset is that it devalues the sacrifice Christ made for each of us. He saved us, taking our sins upon himself, and offering us forgiveness and grace. We are not bound by the old laws. When we act as though we are, as if our salvation is dependent upon our following the law in the strictest sense, we make Christ’s sacrifice meaningless.

Jesus made things very simple for us. He told us to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. And He told us to believe and have faith. He also instructed the people he helped and taught to “sin no more”. On this point, was Jesus telling us we could and should never sin again? Or was he telling us to simply try our best not to sin anymore?

I believe both.

I believe with Christ’s help, it is possible for a person to never again sin. However, I also believe that, for reasons known only to Him, we may not always be given the help we need to stop sinning. I believe this because I know how hard I have tried and how hard others have tried, desperately tried, only to wind up failing. In the past I’ve tried to the point of near insanity (and I mean this in the most literal sense), and hated myself fiercely for any failings. And I was wrong to do this.

I get really frustrated with Christians who seem to believe that people should never sin, and who judge, belittle, and condemn anyone, including themselves, who do occasionally sin. I despise the attitude that church is only for sinless people. And yet, that is such a prevalent attitude among so many Christians. I’ve witnessed this firsthand myself. And what damage do Christians cause by having this attitude? How many prospective Christians do they run away from Christ by having such a legalistic mindset? How much damage do they cause themselves by their arrogance and lack of humility?

One thing I’ve learned the last few years is to not beat myself up so badly every time I have a fall. I’ve tried in earnest to change my attitude from one of legalistic adherence to one of accepting love, forgiveness, patience, and grace. I am not a perfect person. And I may never be a perfect person the whole time I walk this earth, regardless of however hard I try to be. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, but just that whenever I come up short, it’s not the end of the world. There is still great hope for me.

Trust is something else I’m trying really hard to learn. Not so much trust in other people, which I have worked on some, but to let go and fully trust God—to believe that He will lead me and guide me in life to where I need to be, to what is best for me and Him. Doing this has certainly helped to bring about a lot less worry in my life. It has also helped me to accept and believe in His promise of forgiveness, to know that I am not damned by a single wrongdoing, but offered redemption instead.

“Lord, I pray you will look after all those struggling to overcome sin. I pray you will lead them and comfort them, and forgive them when they are weak. Give them the patience to endure, and the trust to continue following you no matter what. Help me in this same regard, Lord, and in all other ways you know I need it. And please also help the church to better know how to welcome and work with people of all backgrounds toward your glory, Lord. In your son, Jesus’, name I pray. Amen.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

China Doll

A few weeks ago, I went with my family to see Oz: the Great and Powerful. Overall, I really enjoyed this sort of prequel to 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. One thing I particularly found memorable was a scene with a little China Doll character.

At the beginning of the movie, Oz (the Wizard), while performing a “magic” act, unintentionally convinces a little girl in a wheelchair, and her family, that he has the ability to make her walk again. They plead with him to help her, but he knows he is unable to and quickly leaves off stage, telling them he cannot help. Later in the movie, while in the Land of Oz, Oz comes across a small China doll whose legs have been broken off after an attack by the wicked witch. She is saddened by the loss of her legs and thinks she’ll never be able to walk again—this is an obvious parallel to the little girl in the earlier scene. Hoping to help her, he uses some glue from his bag of tricks to reattach her legs. After some shaky first steps, she is once again able to use her legs and walk. She is overjoyed with happiness for what he has been able to do for her—something that he could not do for the little girl in real life.

It is such a sweet, innocent scene, and it warmed my heart. It got me to thinking about how much most of us wish we could do more good in this world than what we often have time or the ability to do, and yet, in the Land of Oz, all things are possible. It reminds me that with God all things are possible; and even if things are not always as we’d wish them to be, we should always have hope for better things.

Something else it got me to thinking about though is how we are sometimes better off in certain places, or under certain circumstances, than we are in others. I really do believe that there is a place for each of us, a purpose for each of us, and that, even though it may take us some time to find our places in life, they will eventually be revealed to us. Oz’s place was not amongst the people of real life, but amongst the people of Oz. Columbus’s place was not to stay and farm the rich land of Europe, but to explore and find a whole new world and other civilizations. Jesus’ place was not to stay amongst the people of Nazareth, but to venture out and save the world. We are all meant for something. And even if that something is small and appears to be of little significance in comparison to others, it is assuredly of more importance than most of us could ever possibly understand.

I think sometimes about what my place is—where am I best suited for and what am I best suited to do? Even though I think living in a rural, conservative place is annoying or frustrating at times, I know in my heart it is where I am meant to be. Even though I love building houses and furniture and designing things, being a teacher is what I am meant to do. Even though my family sometimes makes me want to scream, I know we are a perfect match for each other.

In a lot of ways, I feel like I have figured out my place and purposes in life. But with that said, I still wonder what God has in store for me. I wonder where He will lead me, or what he will have me doing, or who he will have me being around. I wonder what direction my life will take (so long as I continue allowing Him to guide me and have hope).

Where is your hope? Where is your place? What is your purpose in life?