Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Second Hand Jesus and Sharks with freaking Laser Beams!!!

So what, its like 2010 and we still don't have any decent implantable biotechnology interfaces that are covered by my health insurance plan. What is the freaking deal? I need to be able to text from my forearm, at the very least, view the Net on my retinas and have some kind of Facebook and Blogger interface for networking and sharing my life. One where I point, click and nod with my fingers and eyes to share the most amazing bits of life that never get captured by me when I sit down to write a few things on a crude keyboard, or thumb through pics looking for at least one that caught my mood. Why the hell am I still carrying around a physical phone? Are you serious? Come on and hurry up with this crap, ya lazy ass scientists! What are you doing over there? Curing cancer? I need all of this and OH!!! Also some freaking Sharks with freaking Laser Beams on their heads! Is that too much to ask? I mean,'s 2010. Where is my damn flying car? Don't give me that happy crap about development, research, soaring manufacturing costs, just get me results and I mean like yesterday!

So another day is over and I actually have some time and energy to write out some thoughts at the end of a day for a change. I usually just blather on in the mornings about whatever random crap hits the back of my eyelids, but I came here tonight with an idea in mind, believe it or not! I want to write a few things about belief and faith, but not your usual 'christian' crap that seems to get shoveled around like a re-gifted Roomba at a white elephant party. There won't be any big theological words or deep concepts because I am pressing a bit back further than all the usual dogma and organized religion. I want to talk about the stuff that gets imprinted on us as kids by the adults on our lives, the social structures that reinforce them and the resulting fall out of growing up in this country living on borrowed beliefs and mortgaged second hand Jesus'. Plural Jesus? Jesi? Jesusses? Anyway, you get the point, so here we go.

So, as a kid, I went to Sunday School. I learned the little songs and verses. Jesus Loves Me, Father Abraham, Jesus Loves the Little Children...all of those. I am sure if you grew up in a somewhat religious home anywhere in the States, your experience may be the same. We looked at stories on flannel graph boards with cut out figures of men in dresses with towel on their heads (not to be confused with the men in dresses with towels on their heads who are trying to kill us now in the world?) and random  fuzzy animals, all while listening to some well-meaning lady who felt compelled to help with the 'Kids Ministry' either due to the fact that she was single and her biological clock was ticking, or she felt obligated to do so, since she had spat out about 5 kids and everyone leaned on her and told her that it was her 'calling' and 'gift'. Since when was getting knocked up and having multiple kids a spiritual calling? Sorry...topic drift. Where were we? Yeah, Sunday School.

So there I am, little Daemon, learning all these stories from the Bible and not really having a mental and emotional filter in place to deal with them, or to even consider the fact that these people might have an ulterior motive for indoctrinating me in this belief system. God, Creation, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath...all the usual and palatable stories from their holy book that were fit to tell a kid, while reinforcing their morality and belief structure, thus ensuring the propagation of their religion, the financial success of their future and another number to be counted on their attendance rolls. I was a good little 'Christian' boy, I guess, and did all the usual things that good little boys do...and then some.

Dad and Mom and my siblings went to this church and we were a happy family. Service would find us all lined up in our pew, polished and spit shined and after we finally got out of the building there was restaurants to eat at and Sunday naps. Then there was Sunday night services, Wednesday night Services and all the other stuff that an active family does in their local church. My Dad was a pastor but also worked a full time engineering job and Mom worked as an executive in insurance, but she also worked at the church and school, as well. All these stories and songs were reinforced by 18 years of a religious private school and I learned early in life some simple things...well, not just them beaten into me from the time I was about 2-3 years old by parents, teachers, preachers...just about any adult authority figure in my life.

The first one I remember is..."Daemon, you are a sinner. A very bad and horrible person. The things you do make God very mad at you and the baby Jesus gets very sick when he thinks of you. Now, I realize I am being a little sarcastic, but this is what they teach kids. You are a bad person."

After that lesson comes this wonderful gem. "Daemon, since you are a bad, evil are going to Hell. What is Hell you ask? It is where the Angry God and the Sick Baby Jesus send you, Daemon, to burn in flames of fire forever and ever and ever.What?! You don't want to burn in some fire forever and ever with mad God and Sick Baby Jesus hating you?

Well, I am so glad you are crying  and emotionally traumatized, cause now I can tell you anything at all and you will believe me because I am the adult and you are the kid, thus ensuring the future of this organization and the greater chance of controlling you for most of your adult life. What I need you to do is close your eyes, fold your hands and talk to some one you cannot see to come down into your heart and save you. Now, I realize this is confusing, but this imaginary friend is actually the Sick Baby Jesus all grown up and come back from the dead like a Zombie, but he is also like a Vampire cause He wants you to drink His blood, but we will get to that later. That is where they pass around the crackers and grape juice and make people feel very guilty so that they will pledge to give more money to the corporation that owns this building.

But the Sick Baby Jesus is also Angry God's son and there is a Ghost Guy involved somewhere, but that is not important. What is really important is you talk out loud and then fill out this little card with all your information. Now you will get extra cookies and juice and we might parade you around like a little pony, but don't worry, the adults really dig this shit. Sorry, shouldn't have said shit in front of you, little Daemon. Forget that happened. Yay! You get to go to heaven now as soon as we do some other stuff..."

Now after all of that came years and years of the same indoctrination and programming.  Dunking you in water, guilting you into volunteering for free labor...all kinds of activities that seemed perfectly normal to me at the time, because everyone I knew and my entire family was involved in this whole scheme. When everyone is crazy, no one can stand up and say that the Emperor has no clothes on. It was also very strange that though I could pray at home, I could only talk to Angry God at church if I went down  front and filled out those note cards. Angry God must have a seriously extensive filing system!

See...we grow up in these systems of belief, or unbelief, and tend to base our love and loyalty to family units, friends and social groups based on these belief systems. They are deeply programmed into us as children and nothing, not even life experiences to the contrary, can truly remove their deep and hidden roots. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not attacking all religions or faith based organizations, but I am attacking most of them. They take impressionable kids and "for their own good" feed them whatever brand of propaganda their parents and groups subscribe to and turn out carbon copies of emotionally programmed people that are tied by their heart and balls to some system that eventually turns out to let them down and fall flat in the face of reality.

Many of them find their faith again later in life, but the trauma inflicted by these short lived  and near sighted schemes is often horrific and brutal. The only way the system works is if you live in the 'bubble' the system has built and NEVER, EVER, EVER, step out of it! Not for school, not to make a friend, not to date, not even to talk to strangers, unless you are trying to get them to join the system. You also must keep coming back to the building several times a week to turn in your money and receive more guilt and programming. I know it makes you feel like shit and poor, but it really is good for you. We promise. Don't forget about Angry God and Sick Baby Jesus grown up to be a Zombie/Vampire!

"But here is the real deal. Jesus does NOT love the Little Children...and He really doesn't love you, Daemon. We forgot to mention that. Angry God and Sick Baby Jesus really, really hate Faggots and Homosexuals. Whatever you do...don't ever be a Sodomite or an Abomination. If you do...none of this Heaven stuff applies to you. You go directly to Hell. But don't worry about that right now...we know you aren't one of those sick, perverted, evil people...right?"

So what did I get stuck with for 18 years growing up? A strange system that enveloped my family and friends, controlled them in every area of their lives and always placed me in a place of condemnation, confusion and self hatred for being in love with and dating a boy. My parents loved Chris and I, but they kept attending these kind of places. I knew that something didn't add up...but what they had exposed me to and filled my heart and mind with as a child had scarred me in such deep ways that even I could not get over. God does hate me. Jesus is sickened by me. I am evil. I believe that in some place in my heart and soul even to this day. Even after finding my faith a few years ago and realizing God IS real and that there was truly hope for a person like me.

These beliefs they hand us, that they have handed you...are they yours?  Do they work in real life? Do they bring you hope and comfort? Or are they just another second hand Jesus who hates your guts and can't wait to set you on fire?


PS: "Almost forgot to mention, little Daemon, along with their extensive filing system and water dunking tanks, Angry God, Sick Baby Jesus and the Ghost Guy are really, really bad with money. Like super bad. Like maxed credit cars and second mortgage please keep giving us all your money to give to them. If you don't they just might have to set all these people on fire, too. Yeah, these pictures of all the little black children in Africa and yellow kids in China. They really need your money, have we mentioned that? Money good! Fire Bad! Okthnksbai! :)"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Coming out and Lust...

Just woke up a few minutes ago and the mind is slowly coming awake. It always take me a bit to remember who I am and what is happening, especially after nine hours of hard, non-stop sleep. I laid there for a bit this morning as my body and brain booted up, taking physical and mental inventory of how I felt and have concluded, I feel great! To be back in good health feels fantastic, though I can certainly tell that I dropped quite a bit of body mass over the last month cause the pecs are feeling and looking pretty small in the mirror. Time to get back to working out on a schedule again in a few days, once I am off this antibiotic and codeine stuff. I have jumped back in too hard and too soon before and suffered for it. This picture is how I feel some mornings, watching myself from my bed, from my head, inside of me, observing me, always wondering...

Clothes are making a soothing sound tumbling in the dryer now and I really wish I had written down my schedule for work yesterday. I guess my best option is to head in at open of day and just take it from there. Work was frantically busy yesterday for a Monday and I ended up working lunch into dinner and then taking a short break and turning around and working till close. Made for a tiring, if not profitable day. Sunday night was a bit eventful due to the fact that during our closing duties and winding down time the friends that I have made at work decided it was time to play twenty questions with me. I guess the break in period is over and it was high time for them to start getting the goods on the new guy.

It all began innocent enough. They have certainly revealed more information about themselves than I have divulged in the last month so I knew, in some part, what frame of reference many of the questions were coming from. Sitting there rolling silverware it started with the question if I had any kids, to which I replied in the negative. It was quiet for a bit, then another asked me if I was married, to which I replied, no. I guess I am not really one to lay my cards on the table, but my mind was also wondering exactly how to handle all of this. It had become apparent that one of the girls at work liked me, but I really had not interacted much beyond the usual casual flirting. Finally, Martin broke in and asked, " Why is a guy like you not married or at least have some kids?" I didn't really say much so he followed up with the usual, " Well, of course you have a girlfriend, right?"  No girlfriend... (btw...I really suck at writing dialogue, but you get the point) Then a little light clicked on for Cody and he paused and then asked, " do you have a boyfriend?" To which I replied that I did not have a boyfriend...right now.

Cat successfully out of the bag! You could tell some conversations had been had between them, simply by the silly look on Dillon and Cody's faces.

So yeah, I came out at work the other night. It is always a debate in my mind how much of my life to share with those I work with, especially at a new job, but with the nature of the restaurant business and service industry (think: strange and crazy dysfunctional family) it was bound to be asked eventually. There really isn't much personal space for a tight knit group of people that work and play so hard together for so many hours in such a tight space, day after day. We had a cool conversation about their experiences working with gay guys and having gay friends and that was that. Talk veered around faith and religion, a bit, as they know I am a Christian, but all in all, a real simple conversation.

I am sure word gets around fast, but really haven't heard anything else since then, which is really the way it should be, I think? The new guy is gay, big deal? At least I have some space to dialogue about it, if it comes up and I am happy to know that in this day and age, the peers I work with do not find my sexual orientation any more important than what we want for lunch, or where we are going after work. I do not know of any other guys that are out at work, but I certainly have my own thoughts on a few of them. I work with a great team and am really enjoying the time spent with them, and many of them are certainly easy on the eyes.

Which brings me to the topic of lust. It is a biggie in my life right now. Our restaurant is located in a huge outdoor hunting and fishing destination and the days are full of a huge variety of men and guys who come into eat with each other and their families. I see the gay guys out with their families for the holidays, the straight military guys, the homophobes, the country guys, a huge cross section of people that come through our doors each day. Many times (read almost all the time) there is always a selection that catch my eyes and seem to hold them for different reasons. I don't really have a type per se, besides male, but I do fight with lust. it can hit me out of the blue, especially when I least expect it. Waited on a family yesterday with a gay son who I found just spectacularly beautiful. Rare blue eyes and blondish red hair, flawless skin, beautiful smile and amazing build. He was probably about 24 or so, maybe a bit older and we certainly had a lot of eye contact and smiles going on. I think his Dad was pretty amused by it all actually, as he kept finding reasons to talk to me, request some other odd thing and generally keep me near their table. I kept my flirting to a minimum and as always performed my job to the best of my ability.

How do you guys handle lust on a day to day basis? I am not talking about just seeing someone you think loks nice, or admire, but that raw instinctual urge that instantly turns sexual and emotional? It almost objectifies that person as a commodity to be had, of that makes sense. "I want him", is how it expresses itself in its most base nature in my mind. Being single is not easy for me, because I know I have the freedom and space to make the choices I want, though that would not always (and has not been) beneficial to me both spiritually and emotionally. I am not sure what to make of it all. It is rather easy at work to keep my actions in check, since I maintain a high degree of professionalism, but outside of work it is not so easy. I know I am supposed to exercise some self control over my thoughts, but it is certainly not easy. In my interactions with friends it is much simpler. I know them as people, who they are, what they consist of, and that generally removes them from the sexual arena in my mind. It is not always easy, but seeing them as brothers and family is a great way of keeping my mind out of their pants and off their body.

I dunno...I am just rambling now I suppose. Guess it is time for me to shower, get on the outside of some coffee and start my day, but I guess that was what was on my mind. Came out at work...always horny. Story of my life. Thoughts?


Monday, December 27, 2010

We have a Go Mission

Good Morning Blog Buddies! I am feeling amazing this morning. It is so good to finally be in good health again after six long weeks of being ill with the creeping crud. You do not know how much we take our voices for granted on a daily basis, until they are not there for us to use. To finally be heard and understood takes a huge burden of stress and frustration off of my shoulders. :)

Just out of the shower and cleaned a polished for another day of work. I am really thankful to be back in the restaurant business and be in a great place where I can serve people and provide a smile and some hospitality. The holiday season is fast approaching its end, so the customers are getting back into their paces and that frantic shopping spirit is fading fast.

Frost was all over the trees this morning and it truly looked like a winter wonderland when I stepped out of the shower. After getting shaved up and ready for my day, I realized that I had neglected to close my blinds in the bedroom and bathroom, so my apologies to any neighbors who had to suffer through that early morning show! I guess if I can see outside, then they can see inside! Oops!

Don't have much time to write this morning as I am just about to head out the door, but wanted to grab a few moments to just settle my mind and put some thoughts down. First of all, my family is fantastic! I could go on for pages about all that they have done for me this year, but I will save that for a later post. Second, to the friends that made this Christmas season so special, thanks for all the hugs, the thoughtful gifts, the words of encouragement, the bone crushing hugs, the times to talk and share and for cuddling with me on cold nights, even when I was a sniffing and face leaking mess. You truly show me love each and everyday and I am forever grateful.

More news later today as this year fast approaches the end, but I will find time and space to share at a later time today, hopefully. Tip of the day: compliment a total stranger and make time to let those you make life with know they are loved and appreciated. You can never tell how much that may mean to those people! Ciao!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Final preparation and time to think

The final touches have been added to the tree and decorations. The gifts, as they are being wrapped, are starting to pile up under the tree. Christmas music is in the air along with the scents of all the baking I am doing. Somewhere in all this codeine induced haze, the Holiday Spirit is finally finding me. Cookies are just out of the oven, soon it will be time to start on my secret recipe fudge, everything is prepped for the pies and cakes. In each room, the warm scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and happy fills the air. A few candles lit were just enough to get me going this morning and I know this weekend is going to be a great success with family and friends, no matter how I might be feeling! I am soooooo excited!

Being sick gives you time to think. Those extra hours in bed, in that in between spot of awake and asleep, all kinds of thoughts and memories start swirling around. As I laid there this morning, struggling to come to the surface, I was struck once again about all I have to be thankful and grateful for. My family, the friends I count dear and all the numbers of people that make my life so rich and amazing. Who ever would have thought it would have turned out this well?

A bitter sweet kind of nostalgia ran across my mind as I thought back on the Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse of the other night. It seemed a fitting closure in my mind to my relationship with Michael. That was our anniversary and this holiday will not be spent together this year. So many "hoped for's" about the future that did not come to pass, but also many great memories and lessons learned about myself and daring to share life with another. I do not know what this year holds for me as a single guy, but I am okay with that, I think? My mom must have asked me ten times if "someone" would be coming with me for Christmas Dinner and I kept reassuring her, "No, is just me this year." She always wants to make sure she has gifts for anyone who happens to join us and also knows how unpredictable I can be, especially around the holidays. She told me she would be ready for "him" just in case, you know. I think I get my eternal optimism from her. Hope springs eternal in matters of love and heart. I am ready for "him" too, or at least more ready than I was a few months ago. *Sigh*

This is truly my favorite time of the year. Lights everywhere, smiles on faces, shoppers bustling about and inside of each and every person is that little kid who just can't wait for Christmas. I think it brings out the very best in each of us, this holiday we celebrate in our own ways. My heart goes out to those who have no one to share with and my family each year makes a special point to bring Christmas to another family who is in need. Gifts for the children and parents, food for the pantry and a Holiday Dinner, something for each one we know that would do without. This tradition started years ago when I was a kid and has become more special for us each year. It is now more of a focus for us than our own Christmas together. It is a time when we come together to share with others what we have been so richly blessed with. The smiles on faces and tears in all of our eyes make some of the simple sacrifices worth it all.

I have to get back down to the kitchen now, but wanted to just put a few thoughts down as I went this year. My thoughts are turning back to home and I am so happy to be able to share this time with my Dad and Mom, sister and brother and all the friends we make our family. I love each and everyone of you.


Posting from Bed

Hello All! Just me here, poking my head and arms out from under the comforter where I have been curled up and sleeping for most of this day. The long and short of it is that I am sick. Not sick in the head, though that may be the case at times, but ill in the body. I have been ignoring the symptoms and signs for about six weeks now and kept working both jobs and hanging with my tough schedule of work hard and play hard.

It caught up with me. Big time.

Today found me at the hospital submitting to all kinds of tests, x-rays and all the poking and prodding that comes from being used as a human pin cushion by sadists bent on humoring themselves with my pain. Wait...I mean doctors. The good news is that I do not have pneumonia, the bad news is I have a combination of acute bronchitis, laryngitis, influenza, sinus and dual ear infections.

Huh? I don't remember feeling that bad, but the tests don't lie. So now I am back home, thank God, with an array of medicines, pills, inhalers and what ever along with a healthy soreness in my bum where they kept jabbing me with shots. I am sorry, they call it "the upper thigh." It is NOT my upper thigh! If I am naked and you stick a needle in my ass, I am sorry, it is my ass that hurts, no matter what you call it! At least my nurses were cute. I sure didn't mind getting naked in front of them but am also glad that nothing came up too much! It is awkward making eye contact, even with a health professional, after they have seen and touched your junk. One guy....grrr. Short, dark eyes and curly hair, strong, warm and soft hands....moving along!

Anyway, so posting here from bed after some much needed sleep and I must say, I already do feel a bit better, or that may be the codeine talking, not really sure. At any rate, by Christmas Day I should be feeling good and able to join in with all the activities of family and friends. What a strange holiday season this has been. All this sleep and even a day off work has helped so much!

This would be some perfect weather to be cuddled up with someone, but I must say, I wouldn't want to snuggle up with a sick guy, no matter how attractive. Call me crazy, but there is just something a bit un-attractive about a coughing, snot leaking, no voice sounding  Maybe nurse him back to health, sure, but snuggle time...not so much.

My brain isn't working so well at the moment I am discovering, so I am going to cut this short. Nothing huge to say really tonight, just that I  have been sick, I am recovering and hope to be back on my feet by the weekend. More news later and maybe I will get around to writing a follow up on Sex, Sex, Sex.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Teenage Dream

A friend of mine shared this video today and it was the first thing that I watched after I got home from work. He really has some talent and is pretty cute as well, IMHO. Reminds me of the scene in Glee I caught a few weeks ago. Hope you enjoy! I freaking love creative people...and if they happen to be hot guys, that helps too. Just keeping it real! :D


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The "War on Terror" and the Repeal of DADT

This clip was shared on a friends blog and I loved Jon Stewart's take on the issues. This guy makes me laugh and think all at the same time.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moral Kombat
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Real Conversations

It is wee hours of the morning, but my mind is running 120 mph in second gear, so the RPM's are high but am not red lining the drive train just yet. Needed to stop here and get some stuff downloaded out of my head before my body will accept the notion of a night's restful sleep.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Preparing for the holidays, getting the house decorated, shopping for gifts, helping friends, working a butt load of hours, catching up with family and desperately trying to carve out a bit of space for myself when I am able.

Work is going smashingly. I truly love my jobs and the amazing people I work with. I have been so blessed this season financially that it is really hard to take it all in. While success has always found me, my employers and customers have went out of their way to ensure that I am appreciated and for that I am deeply grateful. Just the other night I waited on a foursome, and the gift they left for me truly had me in tears. I picked up their check and the older gentleman, the father I presume, said he needed no change, that it was all for me. I said thank you, wished them a pleasant evening and rushed off to attend to my other tables and two banquets I was captain of. When I returned to my station to close checks, I was stunned and into my head sprang the verse, "My God shall supply ALL your needs, according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus." I pride myself on the service that I can provide people and am fantastic at my job, but man, this really got to me. I am actually tearing up just thinking about it now. That God, even with all my problems and fuck-ups I make, still loves me so much that me can move strangers to show me His amazing love! I do not deserve any of this.

The last few days I have had the opportunity to connect with a new friend and share some intriguing and fascinating conversations. Everything from theology,  the finer points of doctrine, to the things in life we enjoy and our pasts and present lives. I guess in making a new friend it has got me to thinking about how very rare that authentic and meaningful communication occurs these days. Our lives get so full of business that we often do not have much time for anything more than fleeting and surface dialogue. To be able to open up and simply think out loud with another person, without any preconceived notions, ideas or agenda has been truly liberating for me, to say the least.

In the past, my life has always been full of incredibly close relationships, Whether it was my partner or boyfriend at the time, or friendships made through childhood and college to those connections with my shipmates in the Navy, I was always blessed with an abundance of diverse and challenging people to share life and space with. As of late, those connections and interactions have become more scarce. Life takes us away from life and somewhere in the midst of it all, we lose touch with others and more sadly, with ourselves. There is a certain safety that is found in the null space of meaningless conversation that lets me retreat back into my head and heart and neglect sharing who I am and what I deal with on a daily basis. When we make the time to connect and share heart and head space, something amazing happens. It is almost like a transfusion of life and in the trading of ideas and exchange of history, I rediscover that person I was and the one I am becoming.

Tonight (this morning) before bed I think of another verse, due to where our conversations touched on. David said in Psalm 51 the phrase, "my sin is ever before me".  I took a walk down memory lane tonight and found some dark corners that I had not thought on in years. Things that some would consider secrets and shameful that are merely events that have transpired in my past. I never carried a huge emotional load attached to them as I had to compass or bearing to compare them to, but now, on this side of my faith, I feel an incredible pain and loss for some of the choices I have made growing up. When everything was happening, I simply lived and reacted, survived and experienced. I never told myself or others "No" and simply made the choices to sacrifice anything and everything as long as it got me where and what I wanted. I almost became an emotional cannibal of sorts and would continually tear off huge pieces of myself in exchange for the position, power, experience and connection that I have always so deeply craved. Even as recent as this week, I have found myself in places and with people that simple choices eventually brought me to. Even in these near mistakes some peace and victory can be found. Waking up with your arms around another person who cares for you is rarely a bad thing, especially when good choices have been made and no regrets exist.

It was pointed out to me tonight, that possibly in all these years I have been searching for something.  Or maybe I am searching for someone? I know that I am a life long wanderer and desperate sojourner. A motto in life for me has always been, "I walk the earth." One that ties in crushingly with the concept that, "No man careth for my soul." Even my name reversed spells out the call of a nomadic existence. Always running, always moving, the next horizon, the next new space and place...

So these real conversations... they happen. They are not planned. They cannot be forced. They organically spring from time and opportunity. The ability and responsibility we have to be vulnerable towards one another, to share love and compassion for others on this journey and to lay aside, even for awhile the pride and arrogance that all too often masks the small child that hides within. I have been challenged in my thinking, pushed beyond the scope of my small faith, inspired to live in a different way and had my burden lightened simply by talking to another friend. Somewhere in all of that, an intersection happened and I am elated and excited to know that none of us are truly alone in this life. Not as long as we keep reaching out, with open hands and hearts, to share what little truth some of us may possess. It is in these meetings of the minds that life happens and I see just a tiny glimpse of what true community and ministry between Christians is supposed to be.

Those who love us are fearless enough to confront us when wrong, compassionate enough to listen to confessions and gracious enough to extend simple forgiveness illustrated by a listening ear. Though time and distant separates us all after a fashion, there is still always room for yet another soul in our lives. I have never heard anyone ever express the sentiment that they had too much love, too many friends and an over abundance of compassion shared with them.

In my life, I have always deserved my enemies...but never my friends.

My request to you all is to seek out those friends, those emotional lodestones, the compasses that live in others that we all have somewhere and make connections. Share life. Talk about where it hurts. Share the joy and happiness as you find it. Bear each others burdens. Talk about all the silly stuff we forget about as we grow into adults and make life amazing and connected for the people around you. This is why we are here. This is why we care. In it...we can make a difference.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowy Sunday Morning

Woke up this morning to a blanket of snow all around the house. It truly feels and looks like Christmas time now! The last few days have been a freakin' whirlwind of work, activity and getting ready for the holiday. I truly forgot how busy things can get with family, friends and all the different organizations I am a part of. Went to a fund raiser yesterday at the Armacost Car Museum and got to see Ben's car that was finally completed by their team, truly a work of art! Had a great time visiting with all the car clubs and then had to beat feet to get ready for work.

I am enjoying being back in the restaurant business after all the years away. I missed the energy and bustle that comes with making peoples nights truly spectacular. I also missed the stacks and stacks of cash! :) I love the people and place I work at. it sits right on the water and last night was amazing. The snow was blowing outside, the fire was roaring in the twelve foot tall fireplace and it was truly merry and bright.

Today looks like more work for me I am afraid. This is the second Sunday I have had to miss church on account of schedule conflicts, but that looks to be resolved by this next week. Working night and day is certainly burning me at both ends, but it is good to stay busy, since free time and I do not mix so well.

I will be back later to throw out some more of my thoughts on sex and being a Christian. It has certainly been on my mind the last week and I am trying to discern what I truly believe and have been reviewing my life as well. So many things that I want to write about, but not enough time to do so! I hope you are all well and looking forward to this coming Christmas season! Time for me to get dressed and head out to work now, so talk at ya soon!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sex, Sex, Sex: Part One

This post is NOT going to be some sordid story about getting laid or a collection of verbal porn, ripped from my life and displayed in front of the world as some kind of visceral trophy. It is simply about sex.

Over at GCN ( we have been having a discussion about "casual sex" that I started in hopes of finding out others opinions on the matter. Needless to say, it has been quite interesting. Peoples morals and belief systems seemed to be tied quite closely to how they perceive and practice in their own personal lives.

Now, I am in the middle of getting ready for work, so do not have a huge amount of time, but at least wanted to bookmark the idea for myself to come back to. What do I think about sex? What does it mean to me in life, in the context of a relationship and out of it? I am learning quickly that much lore about sex from others is something learned and taught, a set of adopted values, rather than an experiential and authentic view of it, based on that persons own personal experiences.

Sex is always pretty much in my head, on my brain, right behind my eyes and throwing all kinds of chemicals through my body. It is definitely up there on my priorities in life. I like sex, eating, sleeping, recreation, friends and family, not necessarily in that order, but in some kind of fashion there of. Please do not think I am ignoring love and all the amazing things that come with relationship, I simply only have a few moments to jot a few things down before I hit the shower and start my day. Man...I love coffee!

I will be grabbing some time later to write about this topic. Sex as I see it and have lived it. I am sure that many will not agree with me, but I do not want to simply regurgitate something that was handed to me, nor do I want to write my experiences on others, like some type of emotional transference. I do see it as a basic need in my life. It may be the way I am chemically hard wired, but sexual interaction with my own body and others is something I enjoy and that completes how I view myself as an emotionally and physically stable and happy human. When not in a relationship or having sex with a friend, I jack off usually at least 2-3 times a day, as I need it and find time with such a crazy schedule. I am not saying that is "right" or "wrong" merely stating that at least a few orgasms a day keeps me on an even keel and a smile on my face instead of a teeth bared snarl. I kind of start feeling that thing swinging heavy between my legs and start hunting if I do not.

So I will get back here and start putting some of my thoughts down, once I get a space in the day hopefully to do so. :)


Monday, December 6, 2010

Slow down Time!

December is a fast and sneaky month. He sits back all year, quietly in the corner with promise of Holiday and Happy and then when he shows up, it is a full tilt run. Can it really be the 6th already? I still have way too much to do and not enough days to get it done. The schedule is filling up fast and I still have more decorations to get up, gifts to buy, cards to address and I am usually more on top of things, but it got me this year. Guess I was kind of busy with life?

Today is my first boyfriends birthday. My very first love, my first kiss, my first everything...that special one that you hold in your heart for the rest of your life. That one who carves out a place that tells you for the rest of your days that true love is real.

I still remember the first time that I saw him and how I instantly knew something different had just happened to me, even though I did not have a name for it. I had come running back into my cabin at summer camp to grab my back pack for a hike and heard someone crying. He was sitting on the top bunk, balled up in the corner. He had just found out that his parents got divorced. Even covered in tears and upset, he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. It was like something in me clicked and said, "Him".

We started talking and kept talking into the early morning hours. We wandered in the woods orbiting each other, looking, speaking, wondering. What was happening to us? What was this feeling? We had to know.

We were each others shadow for 8 amazing years. Where you saw one, you saw the other. Eight years of shared time and space. Our families quickly learned they had both just adopted a new son. I was at his house or he at mine almost every night of the week and weekends. Family vacations, church, school, High School, College, all of it. Always one year apart but not one step behind. I will never forget looking up into the reviewing stand at my Pass and Review Ceremony for the Navy. He had traveled all that way with my parents and family to be there, to wish me well on my new journey, to say I am proud of you, to say I will miss you, to say goodbye.

Time flies...

We are still great friends after all of these years. He is married a girl!  :)They have a beautiful baby boy now and are so in love! His wife invited me to the birthday party, but we felt it best, to keep our distance, as we usually do. Something we were or shared still pulls at our hearts and in moments of duress we still call out to one another. Over the last few years, when we found ourselves in a jam, there is still one person we call when it hits the fan. I think that bond will always be there for us both. We respect each others space but also know that there is no distance, no time and no space that will bar us from coming to each others aid, should the need arise.

It is funny how life works that way. How it moves us on. Even after years have gone by, there are times when no other face or voice would do for us. He has called me to his rescue and I him, always keeping in mind each others current life and never stepping over boundaries between men and family. Our past is just that.

I had never updated my emergency contact card in my wallet and was stunned to see his face on scene after my car wreck. The police had found his name and number and called him at 3 am while I was being worked on by the EMT.

He showed up.

We always show up.

I think that is what love does.

So Happy Birthday to you Christopher. You have built a beautiful and rich life. You are the best man that I know and I am so proud of you. Enjoy this, your day, and know that another soul carries you in his heart alway, no what the matter. Forever is a long time. Remember when I told ya that? :)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Different Timing

Life is strange at the moment. The carefree days of Summer and Fall are past and I have having to physically and mentally adapt to a new way of living. The commitment of two very different jobs has left my schedule at odds with each other at times, though no conflicts as of yet. The thing that is sorely missing is a dedicated time for sleep.

I have always been a bit of a night owl, so my over night job fits neatly into my life. I still feel like a little kid who is sneaking around to stay up into the wee hours of the morning. My day job, on the other hand, often requires me to get home at 6:30 am from working all night and then turn around and head into work at 9:30 am. I think my old job of 12 hour shifts is starting to look all the finer, in retrospect. At least then I had an uninterrupted time to lay down and sleep a bit of the weary off.

Such is life though. I am happy to be employed when so many are not and also having a blast being back in the restaurant. Whether I am cooking on the line, prepping for the days banquets and clients or simply waiting tables, the energy and fast pace of hospitality is like a drug to me. I can see that this choice in school and next career is going to be a rewarding but tiring one! :) Nothing like a little excitement to keep things going.

A friend asked me how I am doing right now, and my honest answer was...I do not know. I really have not had time to think about it. Some days and nights are three shifts in a row and the time that I do spend at home are hitting the shower, grabbing a quick nap and taking care of the necessities of eating and house work. I am not sure how I feel right now about life.

I have decided (hopefully) that now is a time to remain single and turn my eyes towards all the things in my life that could use some attention. Relationships with family and friends, seeking to be involved as possible in my community and church. Finding a space for myself and really processing through this year. What a strange and unplanned trip it has been.

Looking back over these last 11 months in the quiet times has been enlightening. I have a had time being present to people and situations, truly engaging in whatever is happening at the moment. I have discovered I am terribly self conscious and always carefully modulate my behavior, language, dress and actions in order to satisfy some perceived audience. I feel that much of my life has been a solo movie, starring an actor, doing the best imitation of myself. Striving to find an authentic voice and way of living is presenting more of a challenge than I originally anticipated. I am so disconnected and disassociated at times, that nothing seems to truly impact or imprint me. This, I think, has contributed to the perception of others, that my life is perfect and I am the most laid back guy on the planet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I need to find my emotions. I seemed to have misplaced them at some point in my childhood. I tend to live in two spectrums; either happy or simply just confused. I think there are more things to explore than those two sides of a coin.

What this next month will bring, I am not sure. It seems now that I have determined to remain solitary for a while, the different guys I have been meeting and who have asked me out seem to hold an even greater mystery and allure, but maturity and foresight keep reminding me that there is no space for another right now. If I can keep my sexual appetite in check and focus on what is truly important, I think this next chapter is going to be much more simple. At least I hope so. I guess I will not be surprised if all this changes on a whim, but for right now, my mind is made up on the matter. I am content to just be a happy dork at the moment.

Sort of...



Monday, November 29, 2010

Awake during the day!

Got home from work this morning around 5 am and got some much needed sleep! I am enjoying my night job quite a bit. It is kind of a no-brainer and I would love it if I didn't have to put up with two things. The first one is lust. I head up a night crew at a local grocery store now (how is that for a career change!) and I work primarily with college guys and high school senior athletes. It is sure easy on the eyes but one thing that stunned me is how much I can objectify guys as sexual objects at times. It is hard for me to keep my eyes off of bodies and relate to other guys in a direct and professional manner at times, especially if they fit "my type". This is something that I could use some prayer on. It has been pretty humbling. It is one thing to confront that with close friends and yet quite another with my peers and employees at work. I need to get past this somehow in my head and see people, not bodies, butts and cocks. The other thing is the culture of homophobia and gay jokes. I swear at times it is like working in a locker room at times with all the talk and insecurity displayed. I am going to have to take a stand about maintaining some professional conduct and also consider my options about being out at work. Would they be so cruel and crass about stuff if they new that the new guy is gay? I also know there are a few other gay/bi guys at work and the pain they feel at times really shows. I am not sure what to do right now, but am thinking on it.

It is soo cool to be awake during the day and not some nocturnal creature of the night! I start my day job today at a local restaurant and I am so friggin' excited to be getting back to waiting tables and cooking in the kitchen! My passion has always been in the food and service industry and with my sights set on Culinary School, this feels like Christmas has come early! I have a few hours before I head out, so am cooking breakfast and going through my morning routines that I have sorely missed the past few weeks. It feels good to be rested and seeing the sun all at the same time!

I am planning on getting my decorations all up this week and at the risk of sounding like a dork, I am really digging listening to Christian music again. I have been exploring some new music and lately nothing in the car and house has been something uplifting. Guess I missed hearing about Jesus in music? I got to remember the simple stuff. I get so distracted at times I guess.

Another weird thought this morning, I have not had sex since September. Not once, not with anyone. I know that might not sound like a huge thing to some of you, but for me that is quite a victory. I am not saying I have always lived as some promiscuous bastard, but I have always either been in a relationship or at least had something on the side. I find my sexual appetite is just as strong as ever, but I am trying something here that friend from church challenged me to do. Just stop chasing after sex and intimacy with guys for the moment. He didn't say that I could not do it, but he strongly hinted that he didn't think it was possible. I am kind of stoked about how it has been going! Is that weird? My life is a bit more simple. I don't feel like I am hunting for something all the time and my emotions are a lot more stable about life. Weird...I would have thought that a couple months without sex and I would be a angry, frustrated idiot, but I guess not? Now, I still haven't done anything about porn and jacking off all the time, but I am taking some baby steps. I just want to see some discipline and self control in my life for once and it looks pretty good I must say.

Welp, time to eat breakfast and get my day started. Want to get my haircut and look sharp for this afternoon. Hope you are all well and that life finds you in a good spot!


Friday, November 26, 2010

True Colors

I so needed to see and hear this today. It does get so much better. If you are in a hard place and need a lift...just press play and sit back.

We are not alone...

Watching all those faces and hearing the voices of so many like me and those that love them lifted up saying, " Hey, it's okay. You are loved. I see you." Hard not to cry and laugh all at the same time. :)

Be blessed today,



Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

~William Ernest Henley

Why a Blog?

I just thought of something this morning? Why do I blog? What is the reason that I take time to ponder things and write them out here in this space?

Kind of in a strange mood this morning. Thanksgiving was great this year but also very different from those in the past. I worked all night on Wednesday and got off work at about 6 am. I was hoping for some sleep before the day began, but it never happened. I was able to lay down for about 15 minutes but then time and family schedule pulled me back up into the shower to start the day.

The dinner was great and time spent with family and friends was amazing. It is always good to get us all together  in one place and share time and talk about what has been going on in this year. I got there early and set into the task of helping my sister and everyone cook. This was the first year my little sister actually cooked the turkey so it was fun seeing her joy in how fantastic it turned out! I was pounding coffee while carving it up, listening to music and hanging out in the kitchen while everyone who showed up to help. After a few hours, people started pouring in and the house was full. I, on the other hand, was completely beat. I had about 6 hours of sleep in the last 2 days and it was showing. I loved how when we came together, everyone grabbed each others hands and we stood there together, joined as a family and group of our friends to offer thanks for all the ways we are truly blessed. It is so good to be hooked back into this crazy group I call family. There were times in the past when we were apart and this year was so blessed.

I made it through the dinner and then started fading fast. I attempted to take a nap in one of the guest bedrooms but kept getting interrupted by picture time, by "Pin the tail on the turkey",  by the patter of little feet and the constant calling for me to come back just one more time. Finally I had to call it a day. I felt pretty bad leaving early as we usually watch the game or a movie and stay up late into the night talking and sharing, and then head down to the Country Club Plaza for the Lighting Ceremony, but my bed was calling my name and it was not kidding around! I made the rounds saying goodbye and exchanging hugs and kisses and went back home to sack out. While it wasn't the usual holiday for me, it certainly was much better than others I have had in the past. Some years have been so hard.

This year was weird. Being single today was a bitter sweet feeling. I felt kind of strange not having someone special to share it with. My heart still hurts and longs for one that I walked away from. I wonder how he was today. I couldn't even bring myself to call him. I know people were wondering where he was, but I am so thankful that no one asked. I think I prolly would have just started crying.

So why do I blog? I think I come here to say the things that are hard to say. To find a space where I can vent my frustrations and explore the doubts and fears I have about life. This is a spot where I have the freedom to say and feel exactly as it really is. Some of the guys who show up here know me, many more do not, but it is a bit of sanctuary. I write in my journals all the time, but that is different. In those books I write for me and would freak out if someone read them, that raw unedited dialogue in my head. Here I write or think out loud, hoping to share where I am at and who I am. I guess I am hoping for some guidance, for some understanding. For someone in this huge world to see a piece of my life and let me know that I am not alone. That this experience we share called life finds us all at odds with ourselves and the worlds sometimes.

I also write to share my joy and happiness, the hope I have for the future and all the turns in my path that I find myself on. I really don't know who reads these words. Sometimes I almost feel I have to edit my thoughts on the off chance that someone will get offended or misunderstand me, but isn't that often the case? That no matter how well we try to communicate, someone out there isn't going to get it? This place just lets me sit down every now and then, put my feet up and talk to myself out loud, while inviting others to participate with what is going on in my head. Life is strange like that.

Without the sharing it starts becoming pointless.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pain inside

NOTE: This post was written when I was very upset and frustrated. I find myself in a more calm place now but wanted to warn you guys that it does contain profanity and some things that will be offensive. I want to stress I do love my friends, even when we do not agree and I  hope that you will read this for what it is; simply a snap shot of some of the stuff that storms through my head when I get down.

It is currently 5:25 am in the morning and I am in the middle of watching a documentary called FagBug. I finally just stopped it and needed to write some stuff down that is going through my head, I guess to just get it out there in words where I can look at it.

Anyone can look at my blog here and see what kind of struggle and confusion I am going through in life right now. I am a gay guy raised as an almost Christian, who then found faith later in my life and is now struggling with being a Christian and with being gay.

Some days I am cool with it all. Stuff doesn't bother me, life goes on. Other days it is a complete and total fight. This is one of those days. I feel kind of torn up inside and the more answers I seek and questions I ask from people the more jacked up and confused I get. I had no idea that choosing to accept my faith would result in such a huge confrontation between friends, family, strangers, churches and myself. I am getting to the point where if I could UNbelieve it all...I would.

There are Christians who hold the belief that my orientation and "lifestyle" is a sin and throw all kinds of verses at me, basically preaching hate at me from their pious and holy places. To them I am the scum of the earth, and you know... since I have heard that my whole life from preachers and churches, it is kind of hard to not let it sink in. You make me feel like total shit. In the past, you convinced me that God does hate me and I deserve nothing better than hell. Some days I am scared to death you are right and that there is no hope for me. You all single handedly can take this amazing and beautiful life I have and make it look like a worthless, perverted, fucked up thing. You hurt me with your words.

You make me feel that God is just like you, sitting up there judging me and wishing for the day when He gets to torture me for being such a jacked up sick fuck. It is hard to not believe you at times. I hear your message and feel its effects each and every day. I can't get your voices out of my head. I hate you for that, for telling me that stuff my whole life, even as a little kid. How cruel and screwed up are you people to treat children like that. To make me hate myself and wonder what was wrong with me? Do you know what that is like, hearing that stuff in Sunday School, knowing they are talking about you and having absolutely no one to talk to about it? I hate you. I really do.

Then I have these "Ex-Gay" people who I ran into shortly after finding Jesus and they told me this whole story about brokenness and confusion and held out some fable about change and hope. I tried to buy into that but in the end I found I was surrounded by a bunch of liars and frauds, peddling psycho babble and platitudes with no real basis in the Bible or belief. I did your little program things, attended your Conferences and even spent time at a residential program for about 3 months till I saw through the hopeless sham it was. You were trying to alter  peoples behavior and exterior and the sad thing was I was the most masculine guy in the whole group, including the leaders!  I just happened to like guys. I do not need someone to teach me how to walk or talk or how to relate to other guys. I know what to do and who I am!

There was nothing about being a "man" you could teach me, except maybe how to love and have sex with women...but you guys didn't do that either! I saw some of your sham marriages. What a crock of shit! I have never felt so preyed upon by older gays before in my life, outside of the gay clubs and bars I hit when I was 19 years old. Trying to just get through the days with the confusion of my housemates, the inevitable attractions and relationships that occur, no wonder I just took off  one morning with out warning and never looked back. What kind of bright idea did you have when you decided to take a bunch of young gay guys and put them in a huge house together and then tell them...don't be gay anymore?  I know all the stories. I have heard all the excuses. I have read your material and propaganda. I am done with you guys! It is a load of crap and you know it  deep in your hearts. You're just too cowardly to admit it. You hide behind your jargon and cute phrases. You have denied reality and found a source of power in your self loathing. You would make me sick, if it did not make me so sad. Thanks for jacking with my head. Thanks for selling a load of garbage to an impressionable young Christian. I hope you feel better about yourselves.

elses life is something to be toyed with? I am a real person! I had a life and future.

Then I met "Christians"  and they insisted that I turn my eyes inward and start dissecting and ripping my life apart, discarding what they counted as trash and refuse and attempt to smash and mold me into something they said God would love. This is nothing but narcissistic self destruction. You all took the very things I cherished most about myself and stomped on them. You tell me I am pure evil and the greatest threat to this country. You hate me, even as you preach love. I cannot walk with you anymore. I will not listen to anything if nothing makes sense. I quit your game. I must find peace.

Why do you have to mess with me? Why do you think that you have to change me to feel better about yourself? I am so confused and hurt right now. I know this post sounds angry and mad but I had to get it out of my head. I will shut up now.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scared and Worried

I just heard from Craig that my friend David is missing. He is up in the  mountains near Rifle, Colorado on a hunting trip. Keith and David did not return to the campsite this evening and now a heavy snow storm has moved in. Search and Rescue has been out scouting for them on snow mobiles, but no sign as of yet.

They had to call off the search once night and the storm hit, but they did leave a vehicle at the campsite in case they show up tonight. I spent some great times with David and everyone in the mountains this summer and am hoping that Keith and him are alive and well come morning. If you pray, please do so. My stomach is in knots now.


On being Impulsive

My schedule of life, sleep and work is certainly at odds with each other. There is nothing guaranteed each day except that it will always change. Transitioning from a life of ease all summer long to working two jobs has been interesting to say the least. Some days find me up for over twenty four hours straight while other days are slept away trying to let my body and mind recover. It is almost a culture shock really, but I am enjoying the work and the people I am with. Neither job is what I would call a career but they also don't require much brain power so give me plenty of time to think and listen to music, which I enjoy.

Yesterday started out at the doctors office for some tests and a check up and I had been awake since Friday morning so was feeling a little faded by the time I got out of there. Came home, cooked breakfast and went to bed. Got about 7 hours of sleep and then woke up with a few plans, beautiful weather and a pocket full of money. Not always the best thing for me.

The original plan was to get some coffee at Broadway then head over to church for our art auction that was a benefit for Advent Conspiracy. That was the general idea, but the random got in the way. I decided to stop into a friends club and grab a drink...and then a whole night of craziness ensued. Ran into an old friend from high school, all my regular buddies and we started bar hopping. None of this was planned but I am learning once again how impulsive I truly am. Nine times out of ten, if some one asks me if I want to do something, I will say yes, regardless of the consequences. I don't really think things through I guess. From the club we went to Tomfooleries, then another friends bar, all through Westport and then hit the cigar shop. From dives to underground speak easies, fancy A-list gay watering holes to the scrappiest hole in the wall joints, and each place the drinks went down like water. After a certain point...I simply do not remember anything at all, but that tends to be the case when I over drink.

I ended up blowing about 150 bucks all told and all I have to show for it is some hazy memories and a cigar. I could sit here and justify it to myself, but it really was just a waste of time and money. I used to live like that all the time and had really thought I had seen some change and progress in my life, but I guess old habits die hard. The one consolation I guess was not waking up in some strange guys bed or worse yet, in a good friends bed.

So today was a wash. Slept in till about one pm or so and have just been putting my head and mind back together with the help of copious amounts of water. I wonder what is wrong with me? Today I feel odd. Like I am sitting back and watching some other guy live my life. What am I searching for? Why do I feel incomplete? Is all of this worth it, this striving? Is anything worth it? Should I just chuck it all and just live how ever I want?

Maybe things will look more clear tomorrow. I hope so at least.


PS: The pics are of my friend Liberty. He's a dork, but I love him!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is it a choice?

I like this little well as the swipe they take at Bob Jones University at the end. Cue the protesting about an "agenda". :)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I stayed up till 4 am and watched this film last night. Amazing story and message about searching for self, for love and the differences between us all. Thanks for the recommend Mathieu!

On a weird emotional note, Trevor Wright, who plays Zach in the film, reminds me so much of my exboyfriend, Nicholas, especially those eyes. Hmm...this movie made me laugh at times, cry at others. Saw so much of myself and growing up in parts of the story. Check it out if you want. I am sure it will have some message for you as well, if nothing know you are not alone.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Choosing to be Straight

 This was posted by a friend of mine...just had to laugh! 

Choosing to be Straight
I am not sure what process people go through to choose to be straight.

Do they make a list of pros and cons of being attracted to the same or opposite sex?

Do they study ancient texts of the Bible or read the New Testament word by word?

Do they consult with a religious leader, family members, and friends?

I cannot say because I knew I was straight at age 5. I had a crush on a classmate in kindergarten. I remember it and her clearly. We are still friends nearly 40 years later.

It is amazing that I made the right "choice" since I had no religious instruction at that point and was not familiar with the text of the Bible. There are a few possible conclusions I have drawn as to why I made that choice:

1. Divine inspiration or intervention
2. Sheer luck
3. My own awesomeness

Thank God I made the right choice at age 5! I mean, after all, there was a 50-50 chance I would make the wrong one. Who knew how critical to my life that decision at that age would be for my future?
Imagine if I had made the wrong one:

1. I would have chosen to be ostracized by society.
2. I would have chosen to be shunned and abused by many Christian "faiths".
3. I would have alienated family members and friends.
4. I would have tripled my odds of attempting suicide.
5. I would not be able to marry my partner.
6. I would not have the same rights as other people in this society.
7. I would be crushed every time I heard slurs commonly spoken in daily life about "people like me."

Good Lord, I would never make a conscious decision like that! Who would? Thank God I knew at five what Christian fundamentalists and homophobic people have been telling everyone for years.
Phew, that was a close one! 

Climbing trees...

Luke 19 

And he entered and was passing through Jericho.  

And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich.

 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the crowd, because he was little of stature.

 And he ran on before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 

 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. 

 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 

 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner.

 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. 

 And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 
 For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

I hope you read the passage above, because that is all that I will be talking about in this post. This was the scripture that was spoken about this last Sunday at my church, Jacob's Well, and has been on my mind for the last two days. I realize I have not been posting as much lately, but life is certainly becoming more busy and I am realizing much that I say here has little content or reference to what is truly going on inside my heart and head at times. Relating the facts of my life has always been simple and easy, but to truly dig into what I am feeling and how I am growing is not an easy task.

You know, we read this story, or hear it and the first thing that pops into my head at least, is the Sunday School song about Zacchaeus and how he was a "wee little man". I had never really looked at this story to see what it means today, in light of our culture and current events. This is what I have been kicking around...

Jesus is passing through. This we know. As His disciples, His church, we know that we are called in this world to be an example and witness to others of Him. The things that he taught and more importantly, lived out, are still the message of hope to this world that He wants us to communicate by our words and actions. I think we could all agree on that.

There is this guy Zacchaeus. Now he could be anyone, but one thing we do know. He is a high ranking tax collector. In that day and age, he was the scum of the earth. He was aligned with the Romans and took part in oppressing his own people financially and profited from it. In other words, he was the type of person the churches or religious groups of the day hated. We have many of those today, do we not? "Worldly" people with lifestyles and habits that are not approved by the organized groups who say they hold the ticket and keys to God. So Zacchaeus was one bad guy. We got it.

Now he had heard that Jesus was coming by and wanted to see him, maybe talk to Him? For some reason he had an interest in this guy that he had heard everyone talking about. He shows up and because of the crowd, cannot even see Him. So he climbs up this tree so he can see Jesus. Jesus spots him and says, "Hurry up and get down here, I am coming to your house today." So he comes on down and meets up with Jesus and he is seriously happy! Not only did he see Him, but Jesus looked up and said I am coming on over to your house. He gets to be the host. Suddenly he is not longer the scum of the earth, at least in Jesus's eyes. That is because he never was.

The crowd then gets all pissed off because, what the hell? Jesus is going over to some sinners house? I am sure they were disgusted by Zacchaeus and his life and his actions and they could not understand why in the world Jesus would want to hang out with someone like him. It made no sense to them at all. Why wouldn't Jesus want to come over to the "good peoples" house and sit around with the accepted Godly leaders of the day? Who is this Zacchaeus guy?

So during the course of the afternoon, Zacchaeus stands up and tells Jesus that he is going to give away half of all his stuff to those who have need and also pay back FOUR times the amount that he has take from others in any kind of dishonest manner. His life actions were showing what he believed. This wasn't something Jesus asked him to do, in fact it was more than the law of the day demanded. His personal convictions led him to take actions that he saw fit in order to show that his encounter with Jesus Christ that day had personally changed him. This wasn't something the crowd of leaders pushed on him either. His actions were his choice alone.

Jesus says that this day salvation has come to your house and calls him a child of Abraham. He puts him on equal footing and standing as all the other "good people". The story is then closed up with statement that Jesus came to seek and to save, that which was lost.

So what does all that mean to me?

I think it makes a great picture of what the church has become today. Zacchaeus is the single gay guy or gay couple, the gay family with children, the person who drinks alcohol, maybe does recreational drugs. They are the single unwed mothers, the homeless guys, the people from some other ethnicity different than our own, the divorced people, the dating couple who live together, the illegal immigrants,  all the people who do not look or act like whatever your version of Church is. He is the one that the crowd, the Church, shuts out. The ones that cannot get to Jesus, not only because of their standing in the community and stature, but simply put...because the crowd will not let them. They are cast off, the condemned,  the maligned the hated and cursed in the eyes of the professional Christians of the day.

Now these Zacchaeus', of which I am one, have always been pushed away, blocked out, told to stay away, have heard that Jesus is coming by. In our lives, either through the words and actions of another person who loves us, our families and upbringing or simply our own journey of faith, we hear about the Gospel, We know Jesus is coming. Something is stirring in our lives spiritually and we go to seek Him out. Because of the words and actions of the "christians" we know we will never get a chance to be near we climb a tree.

That tree, whatever it may be in our own lives, puts us in direct line of sight with Jesus. We have to get above the heads of this crowd, these people who say salvation is not for us. And what does Jesus do? He looks up. He truly sees us and says, "I am coming to your house today." He give us a chance.  You see, Jesus already knows where He is going. He is not led by handlers. He is not controlled by denominations or pastors and preachers. No one holds on to Him as a possession to be doled out to those they count worthy. He is a person unto himself and no man will stand in His way. He is coming to our house, even when they don't like it at all. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.

We see this all around us today. So many groups of people that the church has always "traditionally" shunned and condemned. We have been told to change our ways before we meet Jesus. You cannot be like that here! We are told to get out of their churches or start our own. We have always been the outsiders looking in. But get this! Zacchaeus was a tax collector when Jesus met him and he was a tax collector when Jesus had gone. 

His encounter with Jesus changed him internally and he began living out differently to those around him. He did not become taller. He did not quit his job. He was still Zacchaeus. I am sure those crowds of people still hated his guts, but he had met Jesus.

Have you climbed a tree lately?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salute to my Fallen Brothers in Arms: Duty... Honor...Country

Duty...Honor....Country”, began General Douglas MacArthur in his final address to the Corps of Cadets at West Point, “those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

These are some of the things they will do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman…

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong…

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, and Country…

General MacArthur ends…“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished—tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, and the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, and Country.

“Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps. I bid you farewell.”