Tuesday, August 28, 2007
If you have read this blog for any time, you know that things here at Quest Labs have been pretty touchy. I have been having trouble with the Unemployment System here in Michigan and have been waiting for over a month for a check. I called this morning to see about the check that was supposed to be arriving. I found that it wasn't sent yet and that if I would only follow the rules I wouldn't have these problems. After telling the phone person that I do not expect to be lectured by someone who is to help me, the phone person proceeded to tell me that I needed to get a calender and that my check was again going to be delayed. At which point I said that that was wonderful and the state could deal with my estate. The phone then got thrown across the room.
I then decided to call someone, somewhere. I am not good at asking for help so this was quite a step for me. All the places I called (except 1) ended up being answering machines telling me that my crisis was not at the proper time. That I if I wanted help, I would need to not kill myself until after 4 pm. Even the National Gay Lesbian Crisis Line had a message. I was getting desperate.
I finally called the Trevor Project which says it is the only 24-Hour National Youth Crisis Hotline. Now I know that I am not a youth, but I was getting desperate. So I call and when I get someone on the line, the first thing he says is, "Is this a joke?" To which I say, "No" then he says that they only deal with teens to which I say "Fine." I hang up and throw the phone for the second time.
Then I got pissed. And the getting pissed gave me something to keep me going. So in the end, they did help; it just sucked how it happened.
I also go in touch with the unemployment office and registered my complaint about their staff and got the whole check situation worked out.
I still find it scary that when I needed someone, I couldn't find anyone. I can envision a scenario where this whole thing ended very differently.
I am so sorry I do not have crises at select hours. And I am also sorry I am not a teen. I will have to work harder on that.
I am melting down here and trying to call GLBT help lines. I have now recieved 4 or 5 answering machines, a question if I was serious and then was told they only work with teens. SORRY! I guess the lives of adults are not worth saving. I am pissed and if pissed keeps me going then thanks to you all and you can all kiss my ass.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Very High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||High|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Low|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||High|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Moderate|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Very Low|
Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
The title of this post is a google search that lead someone to my blog.
That search reminded me of so many things that I really dislike about the "Christian" religion. I didn't say Christianity because I do not think the sentiments of that question are necessarily Christian. I just picture a white, middle to lower SES, fundamentalist/Pentecostal/Evangelical, girl, having nowhere to turn. Instead of going to mom and having her say, "Tell him to talk a cold shower!" She must go to the Internet.
And the word "lustful" makes me stop. What ever happen to, "Mom, Joe is getting a little pushy, what should I do?" Instead of learning how to defend herself and stand up for herself, she just jumps to the dichotomy of dump/not dump. I feel it is this type of either/or thinking that is fostered by the fundamentalist religions that leave our children (and even our adults) without any kind of common sense. It is this either/or thinking that steals people, and in this case teen girls, of their ability to make choices for themselves and do what they think is correct.
When you make your entire salvation dependent on one choice, (Do I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior) then suddenly all other choices become suspect. "Maybe if I choose Jesus but I then think lustful thoughts Jesus will leave me." Or the biggie: "If Jesus hates fags, maybe Jesus also hates people who think about sex. If Jesus can ditch fags who prayed the sinner's prayer, maybe Jesus will ditch me too."
When we tell people to check their brains at the church doors, how do we let people know when it is time to reconnect? When you tell people that what they can see and know is wrong, then you can expert people to start doing irrational things.
I don't think God gave us irrational brains so we could get rid of every shade of gray and just dump the lustful boyfriend.
My response to the question: "Don't dump the boyfriend, tell him you are worthy of respect and make him treat you as a person of worth." And if you are scared because you feel lustful back: "Welcome to the wonderful world of life! How do you deal with these feelings in a mature and responsible way?" Black and white faith deprives us of the ability to become responsible, mature adults.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Well, today I had my interview for the possible chaplain position.
I would love to be able to say that the interview was a slam-dunk, but I can't. I interviewed with three different people. Two of the people seemed to like me. One, the HR person, I would not want to take on in poker. She gave me no idea.
If I passed this interview, then I get to have a second one. And if I pass that one, then I get one with the residents of the facility. So, assuming I make it through the interview process, I could have a job by next summer.
We did well with the apartment credit rating. Or maybe I should say that Nick did well with the credit rating. The person from the apartment complex called and said that "Nicholas" had an "A" credit rating. After first figuring out who "Nicholas" was, I realized this was a good thing. Since Nick got a rating of "A" credit rating, we don't have to put down a deposit. I noticed she didn't say what my rating was.
So that is the state of things. We have an apartment, Nick has a job, and I am still in Episcopal limbo. Oh well.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Last night, the spectre of depression hit both Nick and I. It was not a whole lot of fun. We started to pack and it just knocked me. Like I said, it is usually unexpected and then it saps all my energy.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
But while we were there, we decided to look at a couple of apartments. Well, surprise! We found one! It is pretty nice and not that much smaller than where we are living now. Granted we don't have a basement or a backyard. I keep saying we will have to lower the dog off of the balconey so she can relieve herself.
The only thing that is stopping us is the credit check. Now let's think, to be in foreclosure means the credit is crap. But we will find out on Tuesday.
Tuesday is also when I have my interview. We are "acting as if." As if I will get the job and as if we will have enough money to pay for the thing. But the rent is about $200 cheaper than usual and the pet costs would be waved. The place is almost exactly half-way between my job and Nick's job. It all seemsed to fall into place. So we are on another ride.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I was reading some over at Kelly Fryer's Reclaiming the F Word. One of the things that she brings up that I think we forget: There are plenty of churches for the believers. We need places for the disestablished and the outcast. So people get mad and leave, they will find a church. But the people who have been tossed to the side, if they are ignored or cast out, they have nowhere to go. That is the bigger sin.
Well, it is another day and I am, thankfully, in a different mental place. Nick is such a great person, he puts up with me when I become this catatonic, sniveling, thing.
My outlook is again on an upswing. I am looking forward to the interview next week and hope that it goes well. If that job does not come through then things will get really weird. But for right now, we are moving ahead as if this is going to happen.
What does bother me is how quickly I can go from sane (well, as sane as I can be) and functioning to totally off the edge. The emotional bank account is really low. It seems like nothing has a chance to stabilize before something else is thrown into the mix.
I missed a meeting last night. The meeting was the Worship committee at the church with whom I will be associating. I really did not want to go there and meet the people while being in a horrendous mood. There will be other committee meetings.
Why the pictures of the flowers? I just thought they were pretty.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
If you are getting sick of whiny posts, then you best leave now. This is not going to be much better.
I met with a rector of a local Episcopal church yesterday. My feelings about the whole thing are almost more than I can state. I am happy that things are starting to move but I am upset that a bunch of stuff was going on without my knowledge. The canon has been sending e-mails about my Anglicanization to her without sending anything to me. I would have liked to have known what was being done. I also would have liked to have known that my chances of getting a call were nill before I became destitute. It would have been nice of them to treat me like an adult.
I am thoroughly losing any respect I have ever had for organized religions.
I have gone through school, I have graduated. Now I feel like I at square zero. You know, the way I'm feeling is that I really don't need the church. Why put up with all the bull. Serving God's people shouldn't be so convoluted.
I am just all kinds of angry and don't really know how to channel this anger so as to do good and not just get me in another intractable bind.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The past week or so has been quite tiring. As I said, I went to the ELCA Biennial meeting. I thought it was funny that I never went when I was a Lutheran. But now that I am an Episcopalian, there I am at the assembly. Realizing that I was not part of the "in group" was difficult. I really think I am a Lutheran at heart.
I preached this past Sunday, the last of four Sundays at the same congregation. The amount of affirmation I received was overwhelming. Now I am not one who is out looking for "signs from God" in every little thing that happens, but feeling of accomplishment and the outpouring of support really seemed to affirm my call to the church. But then I keep thinking, "I am being affirmed, but where is the call?" And I get frustrated.
HOWEVER...I do have an interview next Tues. for the chaplain position. And I guess I should not question a possible call. A congregation can come in all forms.
A year ago yesterday was my last day at my former congregation. Time flies
Although I was only there for one day, I did watch chunks of it on the internet. You gotta love technology!
One of the things that really p*ssed me off was the "Greeting" from the President of the Lutheran Chruch Missouri Synod. In general I thought it was pretty civil concerning the rocky history of the two sects. Where I got hot under the collar is when the the Rev. Keischnick said he prayed, "that we will be able to come to harmonious conclusions regarding the authority and interpretation of the word of God, so the distance between us will not be widened, but will be bridged." Which is ancient right-wing for, "If you don't interpret the Bible the same way we do, we will take our Saviour and go home."
If the ELCA allowed GLBT clergy, then they were not going to interact with the ELCA. WHO CARES? Why should the ELCA listen to them anyway? They are back in the dark ages. They will not ordain women and they do not believe anyone except them can pray appropriately. Not the kind of Lutheranism that I understand. We know that when they say, "conclusions regarding the authourity and interepretation of the word of God," that means to interpret it THEIR way. They are not willing to conceed that the Spirit may be moving them to change.
I thought his comments were pot shots and had no place at the Assembly. I thinik the LCMS should be ashamed at using such strong-armed tactics.
The article from The Lutheran can be found here.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
This post is not about The Bloated Goat but Nick and I had lunch there just becuase it was the wildest name for a bar that I have ever encountered. And it was pretty much what a dive bar should be. We went there, had lunch, left, and smelled of smoke the rest of the day.
What I really wanted to talk about is the ELCA decision of Saturday. The decision was that bishops wouldn't go after pastors in comitted same-sex relationships. It didn't toss the stupid rule that causes the problem, it is just telling bishops to ignore it.
Now some people are calling it a great step forward, and I guess we need to celebrate accomplishments. But I really have some problems with it. It still is creating a kind of "don't ask, don't tell." Pastors can be more open, but there is still a feeling that this is something that has to be hidden and something to be ashamed of.
This is all so anti-Lutheran. Luther was a man of action. He saw a problem and did something about it. If he were around today, the 95 theses would never have gotten posted to the Navy Pier doors. We would be sending it to the various and assorted committees makeing sure everything was ok. Maybe the Pope would be offended. The Jesuits may get angry and split off from the church. Maybe Nuns would want to marry their goats and priests their alterboys. We better not do anything let Luther do anything.
Yes, Luther posted the theses. And yes! The church split! IT NEEDED TO! Maybe the ELCA needs to leave the ones who want to revert to a law driven spirituality wallow in their laws and continue to move the rest of the church forward.
I am saddened by the actions of the ELCA. I feel the people caved in to fear. They were afraid action would split the church. I am afraid lack of action will cause a split.
Friday, August 10, 2007
But being at the assembly, I saw people who I knew and with whom I had a past. I saw people who knew me before I was gay (Well, you know what I mean) and before I was a pastor. It was a reminder of that past life.
I met some very courageous people. In some ways, when I look at them, I feel like I took the "easy way" out by not staying and fighting. But I also realize that I did what I felt I needed to do and I there are no "do-overs" in life. So I need to just keep moving forward and helping others when possible.
What is scaring me is that whole loss of community feeling. I am no longer a Lutheran (at least in name) and I really don't feel like an Episcopalian. Being in this limnial state is very uncomfortable for me. I feel like I have no direction; like a ship's captain stuck in the Doldrums. And what is also unsettling is I don't see this ending.
Oh well, off to write a sermon for this weekend.
Go out and be the change you want to see in the world.
Oh, how could I forget! Thank you all, my online community, you mean a great deal to me! You have helped me in so many ways!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I decided to go to Chicago yesterday. "Why?" you may ask. I went to Chicago to be a presence during the ELCA Churchwide assembly. The assembly is going to consider the question of whether to allow partnered gay clergy to openly lead congregations. I was part of over 30 clergy that were present and of over 80 clergy in a devotional book.
The assembly is being held on Navy Pier. I had not been there since the big revamp of the place. It was really quite cool. The weather was damp so the skyline was a bit obscured.
Every so often the sun would break through the clouds and shine on the lighthouse in the bay. It was cool.
Within the building on Navy Pier, there is a permanent installation of stained glass. Of course I was in heaven. The one here is a glass Christmas mosaic. There were also many Tiffany windows and some Arts and Crafts windows. Definitely worth a check. (Click on the picture to see the detail. I am so envious!)
There was a worship service sponsored by Goodsoil. Two years ago, there were approx. 350 people at the service, this year there was over 650! The ELCA is going to change, the question is just when.
On the way home. I stopped in to see Morgen from It's a Blog Eat Blog World. I got to his shop at 9 am, his shop opens at 10 am. I probably should have hung around, but there is not a whole lot to do in Dowagiac MI for an hour. So I headed on home.
Monday, August 06, 2007
I was going to do stained glass for the windows. The light in the house was going to sparkle with jewel tones. A Salvador Dali tribute window was going to be in the bedroom and a garden scene for the bathroom.
The area around the pond was going to have paver blocks that would be like quilt blocks and the pavers would be laid out like a quilt. I also wanted to put an outdoor fireplace back there and finish the pond. I also wanted to put a pump on the greenman on the garage after you rounded the corner.
Now the backyard is overgrown. Why bother to keep it up? The house is going to just sit because it won’t sell; the market is swamped. On my four block street, there are eight houses for sale.
My house was my statement of “moving on.” I figured I wasn’t going to get married so it was stupid to wait to buy a house. I wasn’t going to be getting wedding presents so I bought Fiestaware. (China is really not my speed.) I knew I would be doing my own decorating so I bought the leather sofa and chair that I wanted and the obligatory large screen TV. And antiques; lots of antiques. I was planning on creating the home of my dreams.
But now it is over. We have to start packing, not knowing where we are going to go. We have to sell stuff not knowing if we will need it later.
Why does the church that I love hate me?Some people wanted me to go to Chicago for the Churchwide assembly. They wanted me to tell my story. I don’t think I could. I think I would become too despondent. I also can’t afford the fees to get into the assembly. I feel sorry for those who stayed to fight, but in my case, I still think I did the right thing by leaving. The senior pastor was not supportive and I didn’t want to pit the congregation against each other. Maybe it is an excuse, I don’t know.
I have been having a great time preaching at a local congregation. It is times like that that really reminds me of how much I miss the congregation. I know that there are always going to be pain in the #*#&* people but I do miss being a spiritual leader.
I'm not going to go to the ELCA Churchwide convention as part of a protest. I just don't know if I really want to open all this stuff up. I mean, I am having enough trouble dealing with this season of anniversaries without fighting for the church that let me down.
Seven years ago I started in my first call.
Three years ago I took possession of my house which is now in foreclosure and will be final at the end of September.
Nick has high blood pressure and it cost $80 just to see the doctor. This is the cost without insurance.
We are looking for a place to rent but are having trouble finding a place that will allow us to have pets. And I still don't have a job. And unemployment is coming to an end.
Sorry to be whiny. Things just suck as of late.