Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: A retrospect


I guess this is the thing to do on New Year's Eve, sit back and assess what happened.

I guess on the whole, This year was mostly a bust. This year saw a loss of a job. A loss of prescription coverage. And losing my house. I would not have thought a year ago that I would be in a small town in Michigan, working at Starbucks, trying to make ends meet. And then there is THE NEIGHBOR!

Some good things have happened. Nick moved in at the beginning of the year and that has been a comfort and a blessing. I did get a job that is willing to work with my schedule. And I found a rector that is more in keeping with my style of liturgy and theology.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Amber's Tired

Multitasking


Hey! I am multitasking!

I am being avoidant because I am not doing my sermon for this Sunday. And I am working really hard to not be passive-aggressive.

The passive-aggressive part is easier to explain. The NEIGHBOR is making all kinds of noise downstairs. Now, there is a part of me that wants to bang on HIS door and ask how many "fornicating" elephants HE is keeping? But, of course, when he is making the noise, it is ok. I am really trying to act mature, but there is a part of me that wants to be childish.

The sermon? That is another story. I just have to get it done. Due to Christmas, I didn't get the usual "cogitation" time. But I am sure it will get done.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from Nick, Me, and the Dog

"I am thinking of you today because it is Christmas and I wish you happiness, and tomorrow, because it will be the day after Christmas, I shall wish you happiness and so on clear through the year...Whatever joy or success comes to you will make me glad. Without pretense and in plain words 'Goodwill' to you is what I mean in the spirit of Christmas."

Henry Van Dyke


Hope your Holiday Season is Merry and Bright! And all your Christmases be white unless you live in a part of the country or world where that would cause a huge problem.



This year's installment of "Santas for Nick!" The purple one is the new one. The red one is from last year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Angels we have heard...



This was taken through a nifty pair of glasses someone had given me a few years ago. When you look at a point of light, what you see are two angels flying on either side of the light. I don't know now they do it, but it is a cool effect!

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is why I am proud to be Episcopalian!

Teresa Morrison at The Advocate.com has a great article about the Episcopal church and our Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Morrison writes:
In this age of gay bashing from all sides, it isn’t often we [the LGBT community] encounter a religious leader -- or any leader -- willing to bulldog for our rights, especially when faced with such a potentially high cost to herself and the institution she represents. What I wouldn’t give for such genuine representation in our elected officials.


And this is the reason I am Fr. Ben instead of Pr. Ben.

(Hat tip to Jake)

Some People Still Don't Get It

Matt Hill Comer at InterstateQ has posted a great essay about returning to his home congregation after being away.

He Comer writes,
Today, after seven years of attempting to build the courage and strength, I finally went back to my childhood Baptist church - the place where the stench of hatred, bigotry and oppression was, and still is, thick in the air. Grapevine Baptist Church in Lewisville, N.C., is a place where violence against gays and lesbians is honored, adored and glorified from the pulpit - a place where I heard many times, “Put the queers on a ship, pluck a hole into the side of it and send it out to sea,” or “Put all the gays in their own two states and shut the borders” (with the logical conclusion therefore being that all the gays would die out).


It is sad that although some change has been made, places like this still exist. What is also sad is that it would be easy to think of these people as evil or cruel when in actuality, I believe they are just misguided.

Check it out. Also check out the comment from a congregation member and Comer's response.

Original Blessing

Ok, before I start, I need to apologize to Matthew Fox for the butcher job I will probably do to his book.

When I was a camp counselor back in the late 80's, I read a book that changed the way I would look at God. That book was Original Blessing by Matthew Fox.

I met Fox once, and when I met him, I said, "I needed to meet the person the Pope silenced." He said, "Ah, my papally initiated 'vacation.'"

I really don't see what was so bad about the book and what would get the Pope so irked other than the fact that Fox cannot reconcile a loving God with the vindictive teaching of original sin.

Simply put: A God who would create a beautiful, blessing filled world for us is not a God who would then damn us to Hell. It just doesn't make sense. I agree, it doesn't make sense. A God who loves us and wants what is best for us does make sense. So instead of starting with a hateful, vindictive God, I choose to start with an all loving God.

If you approach the Bible from the perspective of a loving God and not that of a hateful God, things appear much different. God works to bring out the best in us, God's creation. The creator does not hate the creation. So many people portray God as if God hates us. They may say God loves us, but they do not bear that out with their words or actions.

Maybe if people would believe the Bible they profess. God is the loving God who crafted this universe over millions (Yes, millions) of years for us. If we could come to this understanding, then there really might be a paradise here on earth.

Response to longo15

longo15 responded to this post. What he said is posted below.

Hey Pastor,

You are correct in part of your truth journey, for you found friendship and acceptance, but you CANNOT base your whole truth on feelings. Certainly we are called to friendships and community. I am 18 years old and plan on entering into the Catholic seminary. As a teenager, i still am attracted to women, yet as I pray I gain strength in my chastity. I still feel attracted, but it can be overcome. This is true for everyone, although you have an urge to continue in homosexual activity, you must take into consideration what the Bible says. You are throwing it out on translation and speculation. There are times in the Bible when laws are based on certain times in history, yet it is clear in Romans 1 that the law is not temporary. Read the whole chapter and leave nothing out. This is not an insult because I am sure as a pastor you have read this passage numerous times. What baffles me is that you have read it so many times and still managed to ignore it.

This entire argument is based on translation. Don’t you think, as someone who loves God with all his heart, that he is smarter than to leave something as Holy and powerful as the Bible unattended? This is one of the reasons I have converted to the Catholic Church. I do not claim to know all things, but I do claim to know who does, and that is the church. "The Church of the living God, the Pillar and Foundation of truth" -1 Timothy 3:15. This is important in order that all are able to receive the true interpretation of the Bible.

"Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you. Speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction just as they do the other scriptures" -2Peter 3:15-16
Many cannot interpret the Bible for themselves; this is why the foundation of the Catholic Church is so essential! Do not close your mind to the whole truth while twisting scripture to mean what you would like.

For a man in your situation who teaches scripture, it is so important that the correct interpretations are taught. If you are throwing certain parts of scripture out on supposed interpretational errors, you are placing distrust in the word of God. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. The saints will also continue to pray for you Benton.



I really don't know where to start in response. My first reaction was to say, "You are only 18?! I have socks older than you! I have bills older than you! (Actually not, I have paid off my undergrad loans. I wish I could say the same for my grad school loans!)" And although there is probably some truth to that feeling, it is also insulting to longo15.

I do get a little skeptical when I read where someone states unequivically, "This is true for everyone..." In my life, I have found little, if anything that is true for everyone. Ok, I will backtrack, there are two truths that I will claim; those being God loves everyone and Jesus' death and resurrection brings forgiveness to everyone. As I said to Kirb, if we cannot agree on these two points, then I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year. I will not discuss any farther because it would be fruitless.

Ok, on to Romans! I think it is telling that people like to comment on Romans 1 but forget to mention Romans 2:1-4. The chapter and verse designations in the Bible are arbitrary, they were not in the original manuscripts. To put the chapter break where it is is also arbitrary. If we read the parts together, we get the condemmation of the ungodly, yes, but then we get, "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on soneone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, becasue you who pass judgement do the same things." (Romans 2:1, NIV) ...becasue you who pass judgement do the same things! This is a "we are all sinners" kind of thing. You cannot judge because you are just as guilty. So, if we don't want to get into selective reading, then this pretty much ends the discussion. We are being told to quit judging one another. Period.

longo15 said,"What baffles me is that you have read it [Romans 1] so many times and still managed to ignore it."

I "ignore" it because it does not apply to me. Although I may question God, (which has a long and glorious history) I continue to give glory to God. I have not ceased to give glory. So, if what I am doing is causeing me to be gay, then I would need to cease belief in God to become "not gay"? That sounds silly. Maybe you are suggesting that I have not given glory to God; that is hubris. That is also not for you to judge.

When we look at the list of sins in Romans 1 26-32, can ANY of us say that we have not been given over to these sins? "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. THey are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderes, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heatless, ruthless." (Romans 1:29-31) If you wish to claim that none of these can be applied to you, then again, this conversation is over because you: a) do not exist or b) are dillusional. In either case, it does not lead to a good discussion.

The Biblical truth here? We all fall short in faith. We all have logs in our eyes. We need to be loving in our interactaions with others because there will be a time when we will want and need a loving, compassionate, judge. Ok, I guess this is a third thing that is true for everyone. We all fall short and we all desire loving comapassion.

To not provide loving compassion is to not be a follower of Jesus. Calls us to follow in his ways. Jesus did not condemn, he forgave. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind." "Love your neighbor as yourself." Herein lie the law and the prophets. It is not that hard.

longo15 said:
For a man in your situation who teaches scripture, it is so important that the correct interpretations are taught. If you are throwing certain parts of scripture out on supposed interpretational errors, you are placing distrust in the word of God.


Huh? We constantly throw parts of the Bible out. We interpret the Bible with the Bible. The Jesus who calls people to love their neighbor as themselves would not be calling people to buy, sell, or bequeith slave as we find in Lev. 25:44-46. And no amount of contextual analysis will save it. But we do not go around allowing slavery. Jesus' law of love would not let us. We disreagard that one every day and are appalled when we hear about those who keep slaves even though to do so is "Biblical."

And nowhere is it found that one group was held up as righteous in a historic context throught the repression of another group. Whenever mass repression has occurred, history has never been kind.

longo15 said:
Many cannot interpret the Bible for themselves; this is why the foundation of the Catholic Church is so essential! Do not close your mind to the whole truth while twisting scripture to mean what you would like.


Sorry, I cannot go there. I am a recovering Roman. A church that would silence and excommiunicate people for seeking the truth is not someting that I wish to be part of.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Various Thoughts

Well, a year ago today I became an Episcopalian. I guess my life has gone through some changes, but really, I haven't seen too much of a change. I guess now I am under employed, not unemployed. That is a start. I still don't have a call though. I sure hope that changes soon.

I can't believe some people. My manager told a joke to the guests at work that I had told him. The joke: A man and a woman were arguing about making coffee. The man said that women should make the coffee because of the whole "women in the kitchen" thing. The woman said that the man should make the coffee because it is Biblical. "Biblical?" asked the man. The woman opend the Bible and pointed to the book of He-brews. Later, a woman asked to see the manager (who just turned out to be the one who told the joke!). She complained that she was offended that an emplyee would tell a joke that would make fun of the Bible. GET A CLUE LADY! I have told that joke from the pulpit. What was even better is that she didn't realize that the manager she was complaining to was in fact the one who told the joke.

And I couldn't care less about Jamie Lynn Spears being pregnant. I just think that a wonderful opportunity to be really responsible and decide to place the child for adoption has been missed. Of course she will keep the baby. How better to be a role model for future teen moms who will lose such a big chunk of their childhood. (Sorry if I offend anyone.) If kids are going to have sex (and they will) we need to make sure they have the tools they need so they don't get pregnant.

Just my opinion...BUT...





NOBODY! Looks good with a soul patch. If you grew one and thought it looked cool, IT DOESN'T!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To Those In My Home State: PAY ATTENTION!

Christmas Presents: This Year and Last Year


Well, here are the angels, or as Nick referred to them, "The Heavenly Hostesses."

Also, hanging is Nick's Christmas present from last year.

"It's Ok to say Merry Christmas to me"


Ok, have we become so passive aggressive that we need to start attacking each other over Christmas?

I just saw a commercial about this button. "It's Ok to say Merry Christmas to me" What a stupid thing to say! If someone wants to wish me a happy anything, I should graciously accept the wish and return the kindness.

It is ok to say "Merry Christmas" to me, or "Happy Hanukkah," or "Festive Kwanzaa." or even "Joyous Solstice." What have we become when we repay kindness with anger and disdain?

I saw a post about "Joyous Solstice." Sorry but I forget where. I just loved the buttons they said we should be wearing: "12:21 - It's Not Just A Palindrome" and "Axial Tilt - It Is The Reason For The Seasons!" Maybe that is what we should all do anyway. We can agree on that one.

Why can't we just be nice to each other?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Brain Hurts!


(If the picture does not appear to be turning, click on it to bring it up in a new window.)
Take a look at the above picture.

Now, before you do anything else, which way is this girl turning? Think about your first reaction, before you read any further.

If she was turning anti-clockwise, your left brain hemisphere is dominant.If she was turning clockwise, your right brain hemisphere is dominant.Both are equally valid.
  • Left Brain
  • Logical
  • Sequential
  • Rational
  • Analytical
  • Objective
  • Looks at parts

  • Right Brain
  • Random
  • Intuitive
  • Holistic
  • Synthesizing
  • Subjective
  • Looks at wholes
I can make the dancer turn counter-clockwise (or anti-clockwise as our Aussi friends would say) but only with much mental work. Interesting.
(Hat tip to VolaciousNet and YarravillePaul.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Creations for Presents

The flower is picking up a combination of reflected light and natural glow from the setting sun. The "color" of the glass is frosted.

This is one of three. The other two will be coming. I must admit that this is my least favorite of the three.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Biblical Truth vs Literal Truth

(A nice calming picture is good for everyone!)

I hope kirb doesn't mind, I am again posting his comment into another post. I think points that are brought up are worthy of more than just a comment section.

kirb said...
Actually, doc, i do happen to take everything in the Bible as "Bible truth". It seems as though you have written off the Bible in your explanation. Some of the laws were certainly written for that time in history (for example: in Matthew 19:7-8 the pharisees asked why Moses allowed divorce and Jesus answered because of the hardness of their heart, but it was not so from the beginning). Others, such as the Ten Commandments, were written for all eternity. You can not merely throw all of them out. does that make sense?

I would argue that homosexual acts are eternally forbidden based on Paul's letter to the Romans chapter 1. Here, Paul puts it in a theological context. He says that homosexual acts are the result of a darkened mind, those who have rejected God's word. They were also penalized for their perversity.


I encourage you to check out a book called "Beyond Gay". Also, i beg you to look into a group i know of called "Courage". It is for those who have been involved in homosexual activity but are now trying to live chaste lives. I agree that you have been going through some rough times and that makes this all the more important. You, as a paster, are put in a position in which it is crucial to teach the whole truth. I urge you to meditate on Romans 1, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will "guide us into all truth" Jn 16:13 i'll keep you in my prayers constantly, as i am sure all the saints will!!

I would also like a reply.


Ok, there is a difference between "Bible truth" and "literal truth." When we get these mixed we get into trouble. "Biblical truth" - adultery is a serious problem and we need to work to preserve the sanctity of marriage. "Literal truth" - stone those caught in adultery. If you are of the assumption that "Biblical" = "Literal" truth, then our conversation is over. I can appreciate your view of the Bible, but I think using the Bible in this manner is idolatry. I know that we do not speak Greek, let alone Aramaic or Hebrew, so what we are getting in the Bible is already in translation. Even if we could go back to the "original Greek" that is still a translation from the spoken Aramaic. And each time you encounter a translation, you are encountering an interpretation.

Even in English which we both purport to speak and read, we have interpretive problems. I can type the words, "Who cares?" (And, yes, this did really happen to me.) I meant it as in, "Who cares, it is good to have it presented." What was interpreted from the words was, "Who cares, it was a stupid idea to begin with." So even when we can agree on the meaning of words, we have trouble in finding definitive "intention" to written words, even today. How much more when the words we are talking about are close to 2000 years old and from a totally different place and understanding? (And again, the translation thing comes into play.)

If you have not read the article, consider reading just pages 9-13 concerning Romans 1. There are many interpretive stumbling blocks there. To say that one interpretation or translation is definitive is hubris. If you are claiming to have "THE" interpretation, then I wish you well and live well the truth you have found. But I think God has more respect for the intelligence God has given to us all. Conversation is the tool through which the Holy Spirit moves.

Someone (for the life of me, I can't remember who) said that we bring the wrong questions to the Bible. The Bible is not a "how" book but a "why" book. So many of the places people get hung up on things is when they use the Bible for "how."

When I lived with the Bible as a "how" book, I was depressed, despondent, frustrated. I prayed to be changed. I prayed for the power to live a celibate life. I prayed to not notice that really cute guy who was kneeling at the communion rail. I prayed that no one would be in the locker room at the pool when I went to swim. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I PRAYED! I assume you did not mean to be rude, but your comment, "I urge you to meditate on Romans 1, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will 'guide us into all truth'" is one of the rudest things a person can say to another. As I said, I DID pray for guidance. I prayed for guidance and was lead to a therapist, a supportive community, a supportive family, and a wonderful partner. I believe the guidance and truth I sought was found in my partner, Nick. (A pastor also.) Maybe it is you that needs to pray for the truth of the Holy Spirit?

All who use the comment about praying for the truth seem to think that they have already received the truth. Then they say that those who disagree with them will continue to badger them until the badgerers (is that a word?) get what they want. What never seems to enter the mind is that maybe the badgerers are the ones who have the truth of the Holy Spirit. The "church people" of Jesus time did not want to hear the message of Jesus and his followers. I believe they were good people who were trying to do what was good. They followed their scriptures in the way they had learned and had been told. Even when the ultimate "New Interpretation" of the word was in their midst, Christ himself, they did not see it. God is still at work in the world. Revelation did not end with John.

Even God "changes." (I am not going to look up all the chapters and verses because that would make blogging too much like work.) God presents to Peter clean and unclean food and tells Peter to eat it (Acts 10:9-16, I know, I looked up the verse, I lied!!) God says not to call unclean what God has called clean. I have been called. This has been shown repeatedly by various communities of faith. Even with my "gay persona" faith communities have looked to me as a leader. If God has called me to be a leader, why should there be those who say I am "unclean?"

I am sure as you read this, you could envision me as all "wild-eyed" and ranting, but I assure you, I am very calm. Please read it with that tone running through your head. (I almost typed "heart" instead of "head." A Freudian slip of the best kind!) Have calmness running through your heart, too! This post could be used as an example of how the written word could be misinterpreted and how our initial expectations can cloud how we read and interpret. We need to be careful when we make definitive judgement of written words.

I guess this was more testimony than academic, but, hey, the Holy Spirit seemed to be directing me in that direction.

Peace, Kirb.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Response to Kirb

A person who goes by the name of "Kirb" left a comment on a post from a while back.

hello, doc so i was just wondering how you can justify homosexuality in the Bible. due to the fact that you are a protestant and all your beliefs come from the Bible alone, i would like a Biblical explanation of homosexuality. Also i have recently spoken with a lutheran [sic] who says Pastors are not allowed to express homosexuality and that the stand of the Lutheran church is No gay pastors.
One thing that scares me about your whole situation described above is your willingness to throw God out on a whim when you are merely going through one tough time. i would hope that all the preists [sic] who guide me, although they are not homosexuals, would not let hard times effect their faith.


This is the same post someone else decided to post a critique of my ability to deal with life. I find that interesting.

My answer to the first question, how do I justify homosexuality? Well, there are plenty who are far more eloquent than I and whom have taught many lectures I sat through, who have addressed this question. Of course, if you approach the subject from the prospective that the "question" of homosexuality has been absolutely and definitively answered, then these essays will not change your perspective. If, Kirb, you truly want to learn, read the material from the perspective that the Holy Spirit could be working in our world today and God is not done with educating us.

A quick, off the cuff, answer is, "We don't take everything in the Bible as "Bible Truth" (stoning adulterers, silencing women) why are these six verses lifted up for special consideration? While I was in seminary, there were people who were divorced, there were people had tattoos, there were even people going to Red Lobster and wearing blended material! And although these are things that are prohibited by the Bible, there was no problem with ordaining them. But if, as this past week's lectionary states, you will know the tree by the fruit, the fruit of the spirit I see in many GLBT people far exceeds that which I see from hateful fundamentalist churches.

To address your questioning of a leader who can question the existence of God. Well, from what I can see, I am in good company. John of the Cross, Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and even David in the Psalms, have their moments of doubts. If you have read any other parts of my blog, you would see that things in my life have been quite difficult. I do not consider that I was "throw God out on a whim when [I was] merely going through one tough time." Well, if you consider the prospect of losing my job, my home, my car, my friends, my family, and my whole self-identity as one tough time, then I guess I am spiritually weak. But if you would have read, you would have seen that my whole basis of self-identification and every facet of my life were about to change. I was feeling that if I weren't gay this wouldn't be a problem. I was feeling that I had gone through a ton of self-deception to try to convince myself that I was not gay. I keep hearing that all that I have to do is pray and trust and God will deliver me. I have prayed and trusted but God did not deliver me. So either God did not exist or God was some kind of sadist that enjoyed my suffering. It was actually easier to assume God did not exist than to believe that the God who created me and the world wanted me live in loneliness and despair.

Now, if you think that I should have remained depressed and despairing and believing God was purposely not answering my prayers, and just "shut up and believe," well... All I know, is I would not have been good to anyone until I could come to terms with God. Thank God for the billboard! It is through our struggles that we are able to help others. If this were not so, support groups would not exist.

Thanks for your comment, Kirb! I truly mean that! Please look around and ask more questions!

Peace

The More Things Change...

I turned on Logo today and was hit again with all that seemed to pain me over the past year or more. Logo was showing a documentry called Call to Witness. This documentry chronicled the events of the ELCA in the 1990's concerning the ordination of openly gay pastors in the ELCA. How sad, the comments that were made in this 2000 documentry are the same comments that were said last August in Chicago. The same "We said/they said." The church of the reformation is letting others do the reforming.

I would just like to ignore the stupidity in the world. But there seems to be so much of it! Do people go out of their way to be dense? Sometimes I just want to ask people if being that stupid hurts.

Then there is a simple statement of fact; if you do not like homosexuality, don't do it. And all you who protest so much, what are you so afraid of? Start dealing with your life and leave our lives ALONE!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Spamalot


I FINALLY got to see Spamalot! It was great!

I have been a Monty Python fan since I was a kid. I grew up watching Monty Python's Flying Circus on public television when I was a kid. And I guess being exposed to so much absurdity at such a young age has an effect on one's outlook on life. I sometimes find myself chuckling at the most inopportune times because I will think of something "Pythonesque."

The show was wonderful! I am sure I was not the only person in the audience having difficulty not making the whole thing "audience participation." Everyone's favorite lines from the movie were there, ("Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries")plus some new ones. A wonderful addition was the "diva" Lady of the Lake and her complaint of not getting enough stagetime.

The only unfortunate part of the evening is that Nick was not able to go with me. I was able to get one ticket at over half off because someone in the congregation had misplanned. We could not have afforded two tickets at the $68 price. As is, we really couldn't afford one at $30 dollars. But, as Nick put it, "Ben, you have been talking about this show for over two years," so casting financial caution to the wind, I bought the ticket and went. And as I said, I loved it!

I just hope to have an opportunity to go again, this time with Nick next to me!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Self Definition

I have been thinking about the whole concept of self-definition; you know, how we describe ourselves to ourselves. I would have to say that his is different than how we describe ourselves to others. This is our basis for how we function in the world.

Ur-Spo had mentioned in his post about how there are times when a therapist will help someone with a problem, but instead of being thankful for having that "something" gone, the person is upset or even angry. Some had theorized about the person having to admit to a problem or some other things. I think it has to do with the person's self-definition.

If a person has a self-definition as a pathetic mess, that becomes the basis for that person's life. Everything the person does comes from the framework of "pathetic mess." Even though the person may define themselves to the world as competent, to the person, he or she is still a pathetic mess.

To try and help that person change that definition can be the cause of stress. The person may understand how being a pathetic mess is pulling him down, but it is still too scary to abandon that definition. A whole lifetime had been spent on maintaining that definition and creating a life with that definition. To take that definition away means that a whole new set of behaviors need to be learned. Either that or the old behaviors need to be modified. And learning or adapting behaviors feels uncomfortable; uncomfortable and it takes a higher level of energy than just doing "what comes naturally."

I think when I was "hetero," that was the self-definition I wanted to truly believe. I didn't want to give it up. Even though I knew I was not hetero, I was not going to give up the definition and the dream. It took much work to change the definition. It took such things as actually looking in the mirror and saying, "You are gay. You are a homosexual." I had to work to change that self-definition. I had to learn new behaviors. I had to adapt. It was not easy.

Now, I am dealing with changing another self-definition. I am trying to change from a Lutheran pastor to an Episcopalian priest. I know that being able to quickly make the transition would make life so much easier, but then I would have to change all the things I had learned. It feels uncomfortable and it takes a lot of energy. If I could go back to being a Lutheran, at this moment, I would. I know that I will probably be better off as an Episcopalian, but right now, I have difficulty in thanking those who are moving me along this path.

I had to tell the rector that is working with me that I do deeply appreciate her help. Even though at times I may not seem appreciative, I am. I am just fighting an internal battle that will take time. Eventually, the self-definition will change and life will go on. But until then, it is difficult.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World Aids Day

Yesterday was World Aids Day and I didn't post anything. So I saw this on Lemuel's blog and decided to steal it. When you find something this good, it is silly to try to top it!

We need to remember that….

Beyond the ribbon…
Beyond the day of observance…
Beyond the statistics…
Beyond the cause…
Beyond the research…
Beyond the politics…
Beyond even the awareness…



…there is a person.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Aha! Got Him!



No, it is not real. It is part of a photo exhibit at the New York City Library. And it is causing quite a stir. Various members of the Bush administration are holding "a D.C. police date-of-arrest placard bearing the date they made 'incriminating' statements about the war in Iraq." (Gosh, I never thought he looked better!)

Interesting...

(Hat tip to Pam)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spank A Wife For Jesus Part 2

There has just been a rash of hits on my page "Spank A Wife For Jesus." Now the searches that are bringing the people to my page are "Mike Hitchen and Spanking." Mike posted a comment on the post so that is why it is coming up. But I wonder why this sudden interest? Has Mike done something? Most of the hits seem to be coming from England and France. Anybody have any idea?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

If You Eat Fiber On Christmas Eve...


The latest stained glass creation. Just because Nick likes Mr. Hanky.

Two Years...


Nick and I joked that we really didn't have an anniversary day, we had an anniversary season! From first meeting, to first kiss, to the "Star Trek" moment (You know, "To boldly go...")we've had many different dates. As for me, the other dates are kind of fuzzy, but the "Star Trek" moment is pretty easy to trace. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving that year. So since that date can be pinpointed, I made the executive decision to count that as our anniversary. Nick doesn't seem to mind!

For me, as someone who decided that romance was not in the picture, having a relationship that has extended for two years is quite an eye-opener. And actually, it has been no where near as difficult as people say. Yes, we have our differences, but no, I have never been angry with Nick. I can't conceive of him doing anything that would make me super angry. He is just a thoughtful person. And he is so very patient. Of all the things that have occurred over the past two years, he has been there, stable and supportive when I needed supportive stability. Considering Nick is the first same-gender relationship I have had, I think I am pretty blessed.

Happy Anniversary Nick! Every day I thank God for you!

Thanks to the rest of you for wading through all this gooey stuff!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let There Be Turds! Part 2


I don't know what it is with my cats and evacuation problems. But as I posted before, my other cat, Claudia, was having a dislike for the litter box. Now, thinking outside of the box is usually a good thing except when it comes to litter boxes! Well, after raising the box up and providing a landing platform that the cats can get to but the dog can't, we can now leave the door open to "boxland." This seems to have eased Claudia's fears of jumping over the barrier to get to the box. This morning, I found Claudia turds in the box!*

*Some of you may wonder how I could tell the difference. It is not that I make a habit of studying my cats' bowel output, but since Madeline is on what we lovingly call "butt-drugs" to help with bowel movements, her turds are kind of wormy-shaped. This is probably much more than you ever wanted to know, but you know, you could have stopped reading many sentences ago!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Movies


I am going to lay the whole genre of "Christmas Movie" at the feet of Charles Dickens. If Dickens didn't write A Christmas Carol, I am sure someone else would have. The sheer endurance of the story proves how it resonates with our human experience and desire.

A Christmas Carol seems to be the prototype of what I have come to think of as the "Christmas Miracle Story." These are the stories where some unknown "force" (sometimes an angel, but often undefined) is the instigator of a series of events that creates a miraculous change in the protagonist. In A Christmas Carol, we could say that the force is Marley, but Marley actually seems to be more an actor in the bigger drama involving not only Marley but the other ghosts. This miraculous appearance by Marley and the other ghosts and the journey through time, cause, what we are supposed to believe, is an enduring change in the character, in this case, Scrooge. This enduring change makes Scrooge's life so much more wonderful and productive. And, in turn, we are to believe that this type of miracle could happen for us.

One variation on this is the "Replay the Day" movie. Here, the miracle is the opportunity for a "do over" on the day and try to get the whole "Christmas Thing" right. Through the miracle of redoing the day, the person learns the "true" meaning of Christmas. In these, especially, we often do not know what or who the causative "force" is, nor do we know why this particular person is chosen to be the recipient of this miracle. The recipient of the miracle is usually someone that we can relate to but the behavior is usually much more pronounced. But in relating to the character, we can again, on some level, believe that a miracle like this could happen to us.

Then there are the "Change of Heart" movies. The House Without a Christmas Tree in which an embittered father finally sees that even though his wife is dead, his daughter still lives on, is one of these movies. In these movies, there is a miraculous moment at Christmas when the grief shatters and the "wonder" of Christmas is allowed to shine through. The past is allowed to become the past and the present takes on a new immediacy. Of course, we are to believe that this new insight will live on and the characters will now live "happily ever after." Of course, we are left with the feeling that if we can just "break through" we too can find this immediacy and vitality in life.

I don't know if you can have a Christmas movie without this miracle motif. Granted, in the Christian tradition, the whole thing started with a miracle. Hanukkah involves a miraculous saving of a people. Even the Saturnalia festivals were to invoke a miraculous fertility in plants and people. And this motif even spills over into the secular in the form of Santa and his miraculous trip around the world by a miraculous means of propulsion.

What is unfortunate is that this sets us up to expect the miraculous during the Christmas season. We expect to have great things happen. We expect to have great breakthroughs with those around us. We expect to have wonderful things happen. And then when they don't, I know I feel, in some form, cheated. If miraculous things can happen to these "everyday" people, why can't they happen to us?

Well, even so, I am not going to stop watching A Christmas Carol or The Polar Express or The 12 Days of Christmas Eve or Miracle on 34th Street or even The Grinch. I am going to watch them, and I am going to keep dreaming that my Christmas miracle will occur too!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Life at Quest Labs


Well, faithful readers, life at Quest Labs has been interesting!

Yesterday, making coffee, was not really a problem. Yes, we were busy. And yes, it was a consistent busy. But no, when I was there we didn't get hammered. Earlier in the day, they had people backed up and had drinks waiting twelve deep. Let's just say, they were making more in an hour than I would make in a week. But it was not bad.

Then came this morning.

8:08 am, HSBC on the phone. Way to early to get a call. I informed the machine that was telling me to wait for an "Important Message" that 8 am was not the appropriate time to be calling.

8:15 I called HSBC to tell them that I had made an on-line payment.

8:30 HSBC called. I waited for the "Important Message" to tell them I already talked with them. Then the nice voice said, "We know your time is valuable and our operators are still busy so we will call you at a later time."

8:38 am, I called HSBC to speak with a manager to tell them that if they are going to be calling me at 8 in the morning, the least they could do was be on when I pick up the phone. I got "transferred" which ended up being cut-off.

8:40 am, NOW I WAS STEAMED! I called back and talked to a person who would not put me through to a manager until I gave my account number. He then put a "Cease and Desist" on my account. Which I thought would end the calls. He said that the computer was beyond his control and that everybody gets called. And I said if his company would go on-line, they would find how "loved" they are by their customers.

8:45 am, HSBC calls AGAIN! This time I tell the operator that I have had five previous dealings with HSBC in the past hour and I want to speak with a manager NOW! I got a woman on the phone who called me by name and apologized profusely for the continued harassment.

I have not been called further today. The computer can be changed when need be.

Then I go to get dressed and find feces on my pants. This is not the first time this has happened. We try to figure out if it is cat feces or dog feces. Then I notice urine on my clothes. No! Not the cat! But yes, the cat has been using my clothes as a litter box. Why? I don't know. But the last thing I want is to have to get rid of my cat. I have lost so much recently, I don't want to loose that too.

I think part of the problem may be the way we keep the dog away from the litter box. You may remember, the dog seems to have grown fond of cat feces so we put a block up to keep the dog out. But there were a few times when we would hear the bucket that was blocking the door overturn. Maybe the cat got scared of the bucket and would not go into the litter box. We put a heavy storage tote in the door. Hopefully this will be a safer barricade and the cat will use it.

It has been a long morning and I still have to make coffee tonight. I also have to preach tomorrow.

Hope your day has been better!

Friday, November 23, 2007

First Foray


Well, I went out at 8 am to pick up a present for Nick's mom. The store wasn't too busy, but unfortunately, the item was already sold out. So, left the store. How unAmerican of me, I am not doing my part to revive the economy.

As I was leaving the store, Nick called to tell me if I didn't leave to go to the store, to not worry about it. So I had to tell him that I couldn't get the gift. I will keep an eye open for it throughout the season, maybe we can find it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


Is there anything that good old George W can eat for Thanksgiving the would not be cannibalism?

Stuffing? No.
Turkey? No.
Vegetables? Not even going to touch that!!

Well, have a Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for all you who have stopped by in the past year and thanks for all my blog friends who have offered you concern, support, and smiles!

Ben

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh, Come On!


Nick sent this to me. Just when you think the world has gotten as weird as it can get, something like this come up.

SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Things that I have been thinking about...

1) Why has there been a huge increase in hits to my site involving the picture of "Mr Clean" from about a year ago?

2) How did a song from The Sound of Music, "My Favorite Things," become a Christmas song? And when did it happen?

3) I also think we need to be not only aware, but active about the recent Barna Poll which talked about the increasing dissatisfaction in Christianity in those 16-29 years old. The people said "present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%)." Now, we can say that this just represents the fundimentalists, but when I call myself a Christian, I get grouped in with this stereotype.

So, how do we change this view? I think one way is to come out of the closet about our faith! Can being an out and proud Christian be any harder than being an out and proud GLBT person? If we can handle social ostricism for being gay, why can't we handle being an out Christian?

Just thinking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Tribe

I have been thinking about my last post and why it has brought me down almost all day: I think it has something to do with being isolated. Usually, I can go along doing what I am doing but when I run into someone from my "past life" it reminds me how alone I am in this life. Now this is not to say that Nick has abandoned me, not by a long shot. But still, I don't feel like I am part of the Episcopal tribe. Maybe I am not allowing myself to be part of this new tribe. I don't know. I just don't feel like I fit in.

I wish I could be part, but I always feel like I am an outsider. It is like I am trying to find where I fit in this group.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today At Work

This is kind of a whiny post, so I am sorry.

I ran into a former colleague of mine today at work. He looked at me behind the counter at Starbucks and asked what I was doing back there. Then he said, "Or would that be too long of a story?" I said that it was a long story but involved the Episcopal church and decisions made at the ELCA churchwide assembly. He gave me a knowing nod and said we should get together and talk.

I just want to be a pastor. I just want to serve in the church like I used to. After seven years of being a Lutheran, I don't want to have to learn how to be an episcopal. Why is this happening?

The rector I work with keeps telling me that I need to take time to heal, but how can healing occur when everything around me keeps inflicting pain? To be someplace, doing something, would help. But when I get done with a weekend like this past weekend, working and doing church work, I just want to quit. I don't hate my job. I don't hate the church. I am just tired of being in Episcopal limbo.

Seeing colleagues is such a bittersweet thing. I miss the people I came to consider my friends. But when I see them again, it drives home the point that I am not one of them, I am an other.

Sorry about the whine.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I kind of want to cheer...

Ok, I feel torn: We shouldn't be praising people who dabble in identity theft, but sometimes you just want to cheer.

It seems someone hacked into the web site of the wonderfully gracious and tolerant (yeah, right) Ann Coulter. And then they posted the following letter:

I thought it was funny. Ann Coulter is someone who just makes me want to throw something through the TV anytime I see her.

So, although hacking someone's web site is not ok, I have trouble getting overly upset that it happened. (From The Times)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nick Bought Yogurt


That thought nearly brought tears to my eyes today.

Now this post is not supposed to be a cheap attempt at pity. If that were the case, I would tell you right away. No, this post is more a reflection of the subtle ways in which we all get damaged throughout our lives.

Anyone who has read this for a while will know that we are not doing too well when it comes to the bottom line. So we are really trying to be frugal when it comes to just about everything. So when I opened the refrigerator and saw the yogurt in there, I was a bit surprised.

I am the one who usually eats yogurt. (I like to mix it with a bunch of uncooked oat meal.) So to see the yogurt in the 'frig just struck me. Even though money is tight, Nick though of doing something kind for me. Even though yogurt is a bit of a luxury, Nick bought some.

In my life, I have come to expect people to be out to get me. You know, the whole kid thing: as a kid I was horribly tormented so I began to approach the world from the perspective that people are going to continue to treat me horribly. I know that is a really paranoid way to view the world, but those things we learn as children tend to stick.

So it just struck me that someone has NOT gone out of his way to treat me horribly but kindly.

Bullying is such a part of our world. People say, "Kids will be kids." But how do kids learn to treat their peers badly? How do they learn to tell tell kids who are different that they are queer or faggot? There were billboards around Lansing with a picture of a little girt and next to her picture it said, "You yell at a driver and she learns a lesson," or, "You hit your spouse and she learns a lesson." Unfortunately, this is how children learn.

Our neighbor's girlfriend had a baby. Why do I think this baby will one day call someone a fornicating phallus head? Actually, I would be willing to place a ton of money on that occurring.

Just thinking.

Thanks Nick for the yogurt, that was very kind.

Monday, November 05, 2007

News From Quest Labs


Hi all!

I realized that I really haven't said much about what has been happening here since Nick's hospital visit. I am pleased to say that he continues to do well and it appears that the blood pressure medication is working. This is a good thing.

I have been working and supplying at local churches. I enjoy the coffee job, I just wish the schedule was more predictable. But I shouldn't complain, at least I have a job. And I also enjoy the job so it is not a hassle to have to go in. It could pay more, true, but if I had a higher paying job, I would still be complaining about not making enough.

I have been making Christmas presents. You may remember that last year I didn't get my parents' Christmas present to them until July. So this year, I hoped to get things done early so I am not rushing at the end.

I know Ur-Spo may not want to hear it, but I have been enjoying the shift to Christmas around here. There is a radio station that has been playing Christmas music and there is a channel on cable that has Christmas music. Maybe my fixation on Christmas is an attempt to reclaim the "idealized" Christmas that none of us never have. (Well, maybe some of us have, but I didn't.) Unfortunately, this can set me up for a big drop in January when I realize that this Christmas probably is going to fall short also. But I will have to wait and see.

I actually saw some snow today. Either snow or chunks of sleet, or possibly a worker on the roof had some hellatious dandruff. They are not prediction snow until tomorrow, though. We have actually done well, we have not had snow yet this season and we usually have had some form of snow by now.

The psyche of the Good Dr., here, has been ok. I go through waves of acceptance, then then anger, then frustration, and then depression. I try to keep an even keel, but then there are times when I just get so frustrated at the state of being. I am working with a church trying to learn what it is like to be an Episcopalian, but it is taking time. Last week I was at the Diocesan Convention and that helped me to feel more a part. It was a kind of "completion." I was serving communion during the Eucharist and had the first priest I encountered during my transition come through my line. It really hammered home how my life has changed.

Otherwise, Nick and I are doing ok. I am deflecting phone calls from creditors, I feel bad not answering, but I also hate having to constantly say, "I don't have the money." It is rather humiliating.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wow! That was fast!

Gosh, we don't even get a long, dragged out like we did for Craig. Richard Curtis has already resigned (KIRO).

I will say that I feel sorry for his family and for those who still feel the need to be closeted for whatever reason. What a horrible waste of life. As I write this, I think about the possiblility that my father may be gay. I know I posted about this but can't seem to find the link. As long as I knew him, he was a shell. If he could have lived his life truely, how much difference would that have made?

UPDATE: Found the post about my Dad.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

(This will stay at the top during Halloween, any new posts will be below)




Here is a NSFW photo for you!

Heterosexual Marriage Results in Cruising

The statistics are in! Of cruising occurring in a public rest area, 95% of it is caused by HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE! If we want to stop sex at rest areas, WE NEED TO STOP THOSE HETS FROM GETTING MARRIED!

Well, There They Go Again!

Well, good thing I posted the link to the instruction manual "How to Talk to Your Child About the Next G.O.P. Sex Scandal" because the G.O.P. is forcing us to talk about sex to our children, AGAIN!

Wow, I am a gay male and I have never had sex in a public bathroom. But all of these "straight" Republicans, Family Values Voters, are making our public spaces unsafe for our children.

And as a Halloween aside, the thought of Richard Curtis in red stocking and a black sequined top is mighty scary!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Drinking Dinner


Well, we finally got up the nerver to try a five pack of Jones Holiday Soda. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Jones makes a "Holiday Dinner" in soda form. The 2005 pack I had consisted of these delicacies

Brussel Sprouts Soda
Wild Herb Stuffing Soda
Turkey and Gravy Soda
Canberry Soda
and
Pumpkin Pie Soda.

We decided to try them in the order of the meal, of course!

Brussel Sprouts was DISGUSTING! One sip was all either of us could stand. Wild Herb Stuffing was a bit better, we managed to get two sips out of that. Turkey and Gravy was back to the one-sip-wonder. It kind of smelled like turkey, but tasted nothing like it. The Cranberry was probably the best of the whole thing. We actually drank all of that. We thought the Pumpkin Pie would be good. Boy, were we wrong! It was not as bad as the Brussel Sprouts, but it was a close call.

All in all, a funny idea, but it is better as an idea and not as an actual experience!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

He's Coming Soon!



Two months 'til Christmas!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thanks to the GOP

The party that says they are for "Family Values" is forcing everyone to have to talk about the one thing they would like to avoid.

How to Talk to Your Child About the Next G.O.P. Sex Scandal (NSFW)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well, I guess I am more like Dumbledore


A while back, I posted that according to an online test, I was either Luna Lovegood or Albus Dumbledore. Well considering the new revelation from J.K. Rowling, I guess I am closer to Dumbledore.

It seems that Rowling planned that Dumbledore would be gay and that fact becomes an important aspect of the last book, Harry Porter and the Deathly Hallows. Al thought it is not blatantly stated in the book, an attraction between two men changes the direction of the plot.

I think it is cool the way Rowling has placed the character in the book but did not make a big deal about his sexuality. I guess if she had, the book would have received even more vitriol from the fundamentalists.

But I bet there will be all kinds of hoots and howl es as the Televangelists start with the "I knew there was something Satanic about those books" spiel.

Oh well, I just like the fact that in the literary world, a world that has been read by millions, a beloved gay man can hold one of the most powerful positions.

Dumbledore, my hero!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reunited and it feels so good...

NICK IS HOME!

The tests came back negative. We don't know why he felt so bad, but at least it is not his heart. (But a great heart it is!)

Home Alone

I spent last night home alone. Not out by choice. Not because of strife. I spent last night alone because Nick was in the hospital.

On-going blood pressure problems, chest discomfort, and a family history of heart problems finally sent Nick to the local doc-in-a-box. From the doc, he was sent to the hospital. Today they will do some tests.

How will we pay for this? I don't know. Nick is the major breadwinner here. How do we meet the bills? I don't know. What happened to the American dream? Why can't the richest country in the world take care of its own people?

This frustrates me to no end. It becomes a downward spiral: No insurance, don't go to the doctor as needed, wait until it is an emergence, end up in hospital. Along with this is the stress of being in a job with no sick benefits so for everyday of sickness - that is a day of no pay. People are out paying $3000 for a purse while others are dying for lack of care. I don't get it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't Light A Match...

I am probably going to get struck by lightning for posting this. But if lightning strikes, we will all blow up anyway!

Friday, October 12, 2007

First Day Making Coffee

Well, I learned something that I had stated wrongly in a previous post: The coffee establishment I work for does not refer to it as a "skinny latte" it is a "non-fat latte." My trainer chuckled and informed me that it was company policy to not refer to it in that manner.

Otherwise, other than having sore feet and ankles from standing all day, I had a good time! I think I am going to like this job. It doesn't pay a ton, but I think it will be do-able.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Coming Out Day!



Sometimes I feel like I am preaching to the choir here. The question is how do we get the message out to the people who need hear? How do we let the people at Exodus know that although they think they are helping people, they are just creating more problems? I don't know.

Happy Coming Out Day! We are children of God and we are loved!!

Desktop Meme

Lemuel had posted this meme and I thought it looked like fun. Besides, I get to show off one of my favorite pictures. I took the photo on the desktop the night before the Mackinac Bridge Walk.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Job


I start my new job today!

I need to learn phrases like, "Do you want foam on that?" and "Would that be a skinny, half-caf?"

When I was interviewing, the interviewer looked at me and said, "You know, you are way over-qualified." To which I replied, "Yes, but I need a job."

So I begin training.

I need to figure out how this all works. I guess I am hired by the chain with the red and white logo but am working for the Seattle based coffee company. Hopefully this will be more clear by the end of the day.

I do think it will be fun working in a coffee bar.

I will let you know more as this story unfolds.

According to Paul Cameron, I Am Dead...


That's right, according to my favorite Junk Scientist, I should not be alive. He likes to throw around his great statistic that gay men do not live past 42 years but I just turned 43... Humm... Does that mean that I suddenly am attracted to women? Maybe that is how the ex-gay thing works! If I would have known that, I wouldn't have said anything and just waited until I turned 43 and suddenly became happily hetero.

But I don't feel ex-gay...

Humm...

Could Paul Cameron be WRONG?!? NEVER! He has God on his side! He would never push false results to drive an agenda. He would only tell the truth because he knows that God is strong enough to stand up to the truth. If he would have to bend the truth to protect God, maybe what he is talking about is an idol named "god," not the real God. Or maybe he is protecting some kind of false belief because an almighty God could survive our scince.

But you know, those that live a Christian Lifestyle...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life, as it is...

Well, I am feeling whiny, but what's new about that, huh?

I have been working temp and have been getting up at 5 am to be to work by 6. But when I get there, there is the search for something to do. The machines have been down so they keep searching for things to keep us busy. I know I should be happy to have a job, but just "keeping busy" is not my idea of a good time.

The problem is, I want a job I just hate applying for them. Why can't places have a stock application that can be filled out, copied, and then passed out. Having to fill in the same thing all the time is just getting old. I know, "Whine, whine..."

I have been starting earlier to make Christmas presents this year. Last year was just too much of a press. I also am thinking of doing some casual teaching of stained glass to people from the church. The church has given me a space to use so I though giving lessons would be a way to give something back.

So, Nick is working and I am doing temp. I am sick of the whole situation. I am sick of Nick feeling bad. I am sick of looking for a job that is nothing what I trained for. I am sick of calls being all over the place and not being able to take one.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Turd Eating Dogs and Other Things


Well, life has been interesting.

Fortunately, we have not had another encounter with the highly intelligent gentleman from downstairs. Unfortunately, everything we do we hold our breath waiting for the oaf to pound on the floor/ceiling or on the door. Maybe the call from the manager was a good thing.

We found that the poodle dog has been eating the cat turds from the litter box. In the house, the litter box was downstairs, but here, everything is on the same level. We were wondering why the dog was producing turds longer than she was, and why the cats didn't seem to going. Then I caught the pup dragging a turd across the hall about to dine. We are trying some obstacles to keep the dog away from the box.

I am currently working in another brain-dead job. I am "doing things with buttons" for BMWs and Hondas. If you buy one of these in the near future, I may have either sent the buttons to be painted or put parts of the car together. This kind of thing is VERY boring. I don't know how people can do this for years and years.

Today is a beautiful day and so it looks to be a play day. I have to preach tomorrow, but I am rerunning one from the past. I like this one so I am going to do it again. One of the wonders of moving around a lot; you only need one set of sermons!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Three Months 'til Christmas!



Better get that shopping done! You wouldn't want Santa to think you were bad!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Neighbor

Well we had a second run-in with neighbor.

I guess we have fornicating elephants us here, or so he says. He is also wondering how fornicating long it will take for us to move in. And then, he would not shake hands with me and called me a fornicating phallis head.

So we have been informed that if the behavior continues, we are to call the police. And rest assurred, we will.

What is sad is that they will not let gay people adopt but neanderthals like the one downstairs just have to get horney to bring children into the world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Saying "Good Bye"




This evening, Nick closed the door to the house and I drove away. I could feel the tears welling but I was not going to give into them. I got into my truck and drove away.

I took some "Victorian Funeral" pictures of the place. Why? I don't know. Maybe just to have evidence of how the "Kind Christians" really do mess up peoples' lives. Did I lose my house because I was a bad pastor? Did I lose my house because I did anything illegal? Did I lose my house because I destroyed someones marriage? NO! I was a pretty good pastor. I left under no censure. I just left because I was gay, pure and simple.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Even if homosexuality is a sin, is it a sin worth losing ones house over?

You may say, "But you chose to leave your call, you brought this on yourself."

True, I did leave, but the situation was such, and is still such, that staying was not an option. At the time, staying would have involved either fighting the system without the support of the senior pastor, being subject to official discipline, or remain in the closet. None of these options were acceptable.

So I said "good bye" to my call. I have said, "good bye" to my home. My therapist is retiring so I have also said, "good bye" to him.

I was the last patient my therapist will ever see. I guess it is kind of an honor. I will miss him also.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm Getting Tired


Well, probably "We are getting tired" would be better to say.

The house is almost entirely empty and the apartment is almost entirely full. I have SO MUCH STUFF! And Nick has been wonderful in not pushing me to get rid of stuff. I have been forced to get rid of so much lately that being pushed to get rid of more would be difficult, at best. Actually, Nick always asks if I am sure I want to get rid of the various things I place in the "throw" or "sell" piles.

For me, part of the whole thing is realizing that I am not getting rid of the people or the memories, just because I am getting rid of the stuff. Yes, when I look at the stuff, I feel a sense of comfort, but it is just a passing feeling. For the most part, I don't sit there contemplating the various things, I look and then go on. So, if I get rid of the things, I really am not "losing" a lot.

Nick has been great through all of this. He has been so supportive of me throughout all of this. That has truly been a gift. This move could have been a relationship breaker, but we seem to be working through the whole thing quite well.

I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and words. Soon this will be over and normal blogging will return!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yo Ho Ho!

Is "Unity" our new God?

Maybe it is just because I am stuck in the middle of this whole thing, but it seems that "Unity" has become the new object of worship for our churches. (Well, I could say that it is homosexuality, and probably not get a whole lot of argument. But in the "mainline" denominations, I still think it is "Unity.")

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I had heard over and over, "I don't care if we have a gay pastor or not, I just think that pushing the matter will split the church." And so in the spirit of "unity," a Christian church acts in a highly un-Christlike manner.

Now, of course, these people could be totally against gay pastors and are just using the agreement of unity to hide behind. But of the people I met, they seem to truly be worried about the Church splitting. And this was before they knew I was gay.

And then there is the situation in the Anglican Union. Again, if they accept GLBT people fully into the life of the church, factions of the religion have threat end to split. So, does the church sell out a whole group of people just to keep unity? Again, un-Christlike.

Change the argument for a moment. "We don't want black pastors because they will split the church." How absurd! "We don't want a bishop who is in an inter-racial relationship because the African Primates will want to pull out." How stupid! But this is the type of argument that is thrown around.

Christ was accepting of all types of people. Religions have bastardized that principle by saying they are accepting but then placing all kinds of barriers to that acceptance.

What we have is a bunch of people who say they are trying to uphold the teachings and practices of Christ until those teachings and practices cause some to feel uncomfortable. Didn't Jesus cause others to feel uncomfortable? What if Jesus didn't act because it my cause a split in Judaism?

Christianity isn't about being comfortable, it is about doing what is right!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Debtors' Prison

Well, not quite that bad.

I called the IRS and had a very wonderful person on the phone. She was helpful and made what could have been a nasty situation bearable. So, the problem is not fixed, but it is workable.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Can things please slow down?

Just when I was getting some footing in this whole move thing, I get taken out at the knees. I find in the mailbox at the house (yes, it is not "home" anymore) a note telling me I have to sign for a letter from the IRS. Sorry, but NOTHING good from the IRS requires signing. You have to sign for stuff they want to make sure you get. If you don't cash a check, what do they care?

I am not a dumb person, but when it comes to finances, I am at a total loss. I know nothing about it. Unfortunately, this gets me into trouble. If I were intentionally trying to rip off the government, that would be different, but I just am clueless. If they want to take anything from me, they are pretty much tapping a dry well at the moment.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the new place

Well, I am sitting in a chaotic room. And considering that we just moved most of the stuff today, it looks pretty good.

Nick's sister and BIL came over and helped move. WHAT A HELP! We had three ball=busters to move, a washer, a dryer, and a large sofa. Thanks to the help, we got them all moved. My back hurts tonight, but it could have been much worse.

Last night was hard on me. I realized that it would be the last night we would spend in the house. I walked around and remembered when I first moved in. All the dreams I had about the place. Now I looked out and the yard was dark because we sold the landscape lights. The pond is gone because one of the neighbors wanted the liner. Things were gone. The house was not the same. Then it struck me that what was important in the house was asleep in bed. All the things were just that, things, but Nick was sticking by me even when everything else was falling apart.

I met a couple of neighbors and they seemed very nice, one even gave us some dryer duct. But then I met the downstairs neighbor. Actually, I met him yesterday and didn't know it was him. When I brough stuff over yesterday, there was this guy just sitting near the door of the building. I kind of said "hi" as I went in but he didn't say anything. Then he would move over to a picnic table that was near. Then he was sitting again near the door. I was getting a little weirded out by this bum (?) who was sitting aroudn the door. Well, while we were moving funiture, we suddenly heard a pounding on the floor from downstairs. So I walked downstairs and knocked on the door. Who should open the door but the "bum." I said, "Sorry if it sounds like we are moving a bunch of furniture, but we are moving a bunch of furniture. WHen we get moved in, it will quiet down." To which he replied, "It better."

WHAT AN ASS!

It is rude enough that he would pound on the floor, but to now just laugh it off when I went down to explain... I hope this is not a foreshadow. But in walking downstairs, I also want to let him know that pounding is not an acceptable way to send a message.

I'll post some pictures when I bring my camera. It is currently in the house, as is a bunch of "stuff." You know, that danderuff that defies categorization. Most of it should probably be thrown away, but I am not ready to do that yet.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gearing up for the "Big Move"



It seems like this move has been going on forever, and ye gentle readers are probably getting sick of hearing about it. I don't know if it would have been better to just move the whole thing in one swell foop or if it was better to do it in little steps as we have been doing it. Well, either way, we rent the truck tomorrow and move the couch, bed, dressers, coffee table, and other assorted crap.

It is amazing the things that accumulate. Nick has had a more mobile life and seems to be able to let go of thing easier than I do. I tend to want to hang on to the memories and feel a sense of betrayal in getting rid of some things. But I am getting better at realizing that getting rid of things is not getting rid of memories nor is it getting rid of the people who are part of those memories.



I will miss living in this house. I fell in love with this house when I first stepped foot in it. Now it has been stripped and it is becoming increasingly empty. There are big gaping holes of nothingness where tables and furniture used to be. The computer is going today and the (very heavy!) television went Tuesday. Here we have "before" and "after" shots.

Sometimes I feel so childish. Here I am, a 42-year-old man, moved to tears because I have to move. If this were a happy move with something to look forward to, then maybe I would be more joyous. As for now, it just seems to reinforce the feelings of anger and frustration.

And it also seems that every interaction I have with the church becomes one of pain. Going to meetings reminds me how I am an outsider and supply preaching reminds me of how I am sitting fallow.

There are clergy who are getting headlines for their struggles. But there are also us, the ones who are quietly fighting in the trenches. Maybe I should have become a poster child. Maybe I shouldn't have left quietly. I guess I can second guess myself until forever, it is not going to change what already is.

Of course, in the midst of all of this, we cannot be without drama. A watch that I received as an ordination gift needed batteries. Doesn't sound like much, huh? Until you realize that it costs $50 to replace the batteries. Then the watch still doesn't work. So off to get that looked at and possibly another $70 in cleaning. I would hate to get rid of it, it is my "Fire and Brimstone" watch. The background has dancing flames on it. My friend told me to look at it and remember to "Give 'em Hell!" I don't thing Fossil makes them anymore.

Then I take my truck to see why the brakes are making noise. (Actually, I knew why they were making noise, I was just hoping I could get the brakes fixed for a couple hundred.) Well make that over $500! It seems like there is no way of getting a break.