Thursday, August 31, 2006

I was wrong.

Feedback won.

I still don't think he deserved it.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero!

I think Fat Momma is going to win tonight. At first I thought Feedback was going to win, but then after watching some of the old episodes again, I cringe a little. Feedback always seems to be doing things just to make Stan happy. Everything seems to be directed on impressing Stan. Now, with Fat Momma, she seems to be driven by who she is as a person. She is not trying to impress anyone. So, because of her pureness of desire, I think she will win.

But I don't think we have seen the end of Feedback. (Think: Clay Aiken)

I don't know what is happening!

I have been told that you cannot see all 100 or the 100 things. I don't know why. If anyone knows, please let me know!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The 100 Things!

I guess this is something every blogger must do. So here it is. I am unemployed right now so I have the time.

1. I am a Christian. Have been all of my life. I have question things and still do, but Christianity works for me.

2. I was raised Roman Catholic, went through a "Happy Agnostic" stage, became ELCA Lutheran, and now am moving to the Episcopal church.

3. Two cats allow me to share their house with them.

4. I am in a relationship.

5. The architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright causes things to happen to my body that could become embarrassing.

6. I am addicted to caffeine.

7. I love tattoos and have three of my own.

8. I have been gay my whole life but it took me 40 years to finally admit it to myself.

9. It took less than a year to admit it to everyone else.

10. I went to a National Math Tournament just to go to Six Flags over Georgia to ride the roller coasters.

11. I was a state finalist in the Wham-O hula-hoop contest when I was 10.

12. I do stained glass.

13. I like BIG art. Why make a sun catcher when you can make a whole window?

14. The first computer I ever used was a Commodore Pet with a cassette drive.

15. I have had a play I wrote produced.

16. I have all of the Partridge Family albums on vinyl.

17. I won tickets to an amusement park because I had all of the Partridge Family albums.

18. I share my birthday with my grandma, my nephew, and John Lennon.

19. My workstudy job in college was planetarium operator.

20. I have seen a total solar eclipse.

21. I was on the "Mr. Lucky" show as a child; back in the days when they had kid shows on after school.

22. One Christmas, I saw Santa walking toward our house, screamed and ran to the bathroom!

23. One Christmas, I freaked out the neighbor's granddaughter. I was wearing a Santa suit and knocked on the window and waved. I later learned that the little girl's father had just told her that she needed to behave because Santa was watching!

24. I broke my ankle without knowing it.

25. I liked Pulp Fiction better than Forrest Gump.

26. I've been to the Field of Dreams more times than I can count.

27. I have completed a tri-athlon.

28. I couldn't complete a tri-athlon now.

29. I've been hot-air ballooning. It was a life-long dream. If you ever get a chance, do it!

30. I was almost a black-belt in TaeKwanDo.

31. I've been to Hell. (Michigan, that is!)

32. I own two lava lamps and a lucite grapes swag lamp.

33. My cats are named after two vampires from Interview With The Vampire. (Claudia and Madeline)

34. I knew a woman who could stick her tongue up her nose.

35. I had my tonsils out when I was 11 months old.

36. My tonsils grew back.

37. I have two godchildren.

38. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

39. I celebrate Christmas year-round.

40. I once lost the use of my legs.

41. I hate ketchup, mustard, and pickles.

42. I have around 800 beer cans.

43. I started playing the piano at 20 and it sounds like it!

44. I once fell out of bed and broke my leg and my ankle in four places.

45. I has intended to be a doctor until I broke my ankle and my leg.

46. I missed almost two months of college because of the break.

47. I worked as a psychologist before I became a pastor.

48. I have studied French, Koine Greek, and American Sign Language.

49. I love beef stroganoff.

50. I am not very athletic.

51. I never went out for any sports in high-school or college.

52. I lived in a house that was so small you could sit on the toilet and lean your head on the wall in front of you.

53. I've had light-up pink flamingos in my yard.

54. I went to the same high-school as Kate Mulgrew (aka Capt. Janaway)

55. I am the youngest of four kids.

56. I am a universalist.

57. I am not a fan of football.

58. I played the Cowardly Lion in a summer production of The Wizard of Oz.

59. Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush changed my view of music.

60. I have WAY too many interests.

61. I saved my money from my paper route to buy an Atari 2600.

62. The first R-rated movie I saw was Rollerball.

63. The 2002 "remake" of Rollerball sucked.

64. I am an architecture geek.

65. My first crush was David Hartman on the TV show Lucas Tanner.

66. I would wait all year to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

67. Christmas movies make me sad.

68. I enjoy cross-country and downhill skiing.

69. I am a bass.

70. The first concert I ever went to was VanHalen.

71. I was at Lallapalooza I in Chicago.

72. I almost died by being buried in sand.

73. As a kid, I had friends who could carry on entire conversations in Pig Latin.

74. I belonged to a frat.

75. They didn't know I was gay. (But then again, neither did I!)

76. The only foreign country I have been to is Canada.

78. I never had calamari until I was 30 and then I loved it!

79. I used to love flying, now I start panicking weeks before I have to go.

80. I have a severe fear of dentists.

81. I fell flat on my face skateboarding and never did it again. (Skateboarding, that is!)

82. I have been in two motorcycle accidents.

83. I now always wear a helmet.

84. Bald men hot.

85. I love the mountains.

86. One of the coolest weather phenomena is a thunder snowstorm.

87. Robert Mapplethorp and Man Ray were great photographers.

88. Early synthesizer music is cool!

89. Everyone should visit the House on the Rock at least once in their lives.

90. I have nail fungus on my left big toe (you couldn't live without knowing that!)

91. I lost my virginity at 22.

92. I had sex the fist time with a man at 40. (And that was in front of the fireplace!)

93. I never owned a G.I. Joe.

94. I got my first erector set at 28 years old.

95. In fouth-grade, I built a scale model of the Sears Tower. It was over five-feet tall.

96. I used to experiment with hypnosis when I was in high-school.

97. I wanted to be a parapsychologist in high-school.

98. I had gotten into the habit of putting both toilet seats down when I found my cats drinking the water.

99. Pop Tarts and Diet Pepsi IS a nutritious breakfast.

100. Bill the Cat and I grew up in the same city.

There you have it. And I will add, all of the above could be totally wrong!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Faith and Courage

I have been thinking about this for a while: I think that to be truly faithful, you need to be truly courageous.

To be faithful means to do things that may seem to be contrary to what the world is telling us to do. It may mean giving to a charity when the world is telling us to get a new car. It may be giving our time when the world is telling us we need to go to the gym or cart the kids around. It may mean getting the kids involved in helping instead of being in another little league.

Being faithful may mean giving up the high-paying job that pulls all of our time from our family and move to the lower paying job that allows us to eat with our children and read to them at night.

Being faithful may mean standing up to people who would condemn those who have a different sexuality than what is considered "normal." It may mean that some of the heterosexual folks move from saying "it is a shame that there are not equal rights for GLBT people" to actually standing beside us as we make our objections known.

To say you have faith but then go out and hoard, separate, and fight for the trappings of the world is not faith at all. It is solely relying on oneself.

Our works don't give us faith, but as John would say, "Faith without works is dead."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Feelings Meme

I stole this from Spo-Reflections. I thought it was interesting so I decided to do it instead of doing important things like checking on the job classifieds!

The most joyful I have ever felt; The most joyful I have ever felt was on my ordination day. I was surrounded by my family. I was on the threshold of a new life. I weighed 180 lbs. I had my whole life ahead of me and I was going to go out and bring the love of God to the whole world! It was a harmonic convergence of great things!

The most angry I've ever felt; The most angry I have ever been was with my brother. I was trying to get my life together after leaving my first congregation and was trying to decide do I go back into the church or do I pursue a career in psychology. My brother kept telling me that the store across town is hiring janitorial staff. I DIDN'T WANT TO WORK AS A JANITOR! I didn't have ten years of college under my belt to aspire to get a job as janitor. (I do not look down upon those who work in the maintenance and janitorial areas! I was really messed up and having my brother push me was just too much.)

The most at peace I've ever felt;
This may sound weird, but I think one of the most peaceful times I have had is after I sent out my resignation letter to the congregation. There was such a build-up to that moment that actually getting the letter out was strangely peaceful.

The most shocked I have ever felt; I was in Baton Rouge for a wedding and I got a call telling me that my father has had two heart attacks. I had to fly back home not knowing if he was alive or dead.

The most embarrassed I have ever felt; I was jacking-off in the basement when my sister and her friend came down the steps! It would have been bad enough if it were only my sister, but she had her friend with her!!

The most sad I have ever felt; I think this would have to be when I was finished with my internship. I had such a great time, I didn't want to leave. I also now know that I had a crush on my supervisor. I couldn't admit that to myself then, but now I see that my heart was breaking.

The most frightened I have ever felt; Telling my parents I was gay. It turned out way different than I expected, and for that I am glad. But before, I didn't know what to expect and I was totally frightened.

When it rains...

I find it interesting how I tend to be myoptic.

Things start going bad and then I seem to focus on all the bad going on. I needed to see the doctor, but not really. I lose my wallet. I have no money. I don't have my ATM card. I have to get my license. Ay!

So then I go to Nick's for the weekend. And actually, the weekend goes well.

I come back and go out into my backyard and find that there is about an inch of water in my pond! The hose from the pump got knocked free and all the water got pumped out. Actually, there was so much water out of the pond that there was no water being pumped. It appeared that the fish were still alive, but I didn't know if the pump was dead. I began to put water into the pond, and thank-you Jesus it worked. I'll tell you, though, I though, "Great, what else can go wrong now?"

So I have everything in for the Episcopals. Now it is the waiting game again. I am trying to find a job, Nick is trying to find a job. Arg...

One of the problems that I have is that I don't want to be applying for jobs that are upper-level because I do not want to stay in it for an extended length of time but I don't know what other job will allow me to keep my house.

Oh! Someone charged something on my credit card. We may be able to find out who has it!

One of my favorite songs

Thanks Agent XXX for giving me a smile today!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oy Vey! And it isn't even noon!

I am already tired and it isn't even noon!

I had a bunch of papers (one form was a physical form) to send into the Episcopal Church. I have misplaced the physical form so I though I would contact my doctor's office to see if I could get a copy of the one in my file. They check at the office and tell me that there is no physical form in my file. I make an appointment to get the thing filled again and am told that I need to be at the office at 7:00 am.

I get up to go. I get ready and then start looking for my wallet. I look all over and can't find it. (Now I was looking for the forms last night so I thought I may have misplaced my wallet while looking.) I stop at the mini-mart that I stopped at last night and they didn't have it there. After which, I head to the doctor. I get to the office and the doc comes in. We check the file and there is the form! (Grrrrrr)

I get home and start looking for my wallet and cannot find it. So I go and get my credit cards reissued and get my driver's license reissued. What was nice was I was within the 45 day window of getting my license reissued so I didn't have to pay the reissue fee. I will have a license that has a picture of me bald on it for six years but we can't have everything.

Now it is off to Nick's for the weekend.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm going to get killed doing this...


Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.

I was waiting to get some food in the drive-thru when I saw a napkin come flying out of the window of the car in front of me. Being a bit miffed that people would just throw their junk out of the window, I walked up and picked up the napkin and handed it back to the woman in the passenger seat, saying, "I think you may have dropped something."

She was an older lady (grey-haired). She immediately threw the napkin out the window again. I picked it up again and said, "My, gravity is kind of weird in your car."

The driver started to yell at me to keep my hands out of her car and that she was going to call the cops. I thought that would be fine, littering is a crime.

What is it about people that makes them think that they can just throw their garbage into the world. Do they think that it is going to disappear? Do they just assume that someone is going to clean it up? Do THEY like looking at trash in the street?

And why get so angry at me? I just pointed out where they were trying to infringe on my rights. I have a right to look at a world that is not covered in trash. Am I so wrong because I am bringing it to their attention that they are polluting?

I could go on, and don't get me started about cigarette butts!

Maybe some day someone is going to kill me because I am bringing their misdeeds to their attention, but if we never say anything, will things ever change?

Another spin around the Sun

I was just thinking: It was about a year ago I stumbled into a MCC church and met Nick. He was preaching that Sunday. Actually, I really didn't even speak with him then. As I remember, there was a few "explosions" among some members of the congregation and Nick was trying to put those out. So I ended up going out for lunch with one of the members of the congregation. It was very nice. It was nice to be able to be out and about and be able to check out the guys and not feel guilty.

I later contacted Nick to talk and to try to understand what it means to be gay. I hoped to have a spiritual mentor to help me through this whole thing. It was difficult and scary to be alone and trying to learn what it meant to be gay, male, middle-aged, and a pastor.

We met a few weeks later just to talk. As you could guess, I had a ton of questions. I had heard so much about the "gay lifestyle" and really didn't have any idea what this meant. I also had to deal with the rules of the ELCA which say it is ok to be homosexual, you just can't do anything about it. So we talked, then we had burgers and beers, and I went home.

I may have went home alone, but I was changed. I was on a journey I had never thought I would travel. But I was on my way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Apology

I was feeling very upset with myself. The Senior Pastor rally didn't deserve the pot-shot I sent his way on Monday. It was purely passive-aggressive and he deserves better than that.

The sermon he gave on my last Sunday was really quite wonderful and very kind. He did not need me lobbing a gernade at him because the congregation did not fight to keep me. Actually, I didn't give them much chance to fight.

The Senior Pastor's first response didn't give me much hope that I could count on him as a support. So I decided to not pursue fighting the ELCA's rule. But hearing about the other congregation that supported their pastor, made me upset. I really don't want to leave, but I guess that is in the cards for me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My, they are efficient...

I checked the ELCA site to see if I was still there. Well, after only a week, I am no longer listed. Oh well, life continues, I guess...

I was with the senior pastor yesterday, we had some financial things to take care of. Primarily, I had to take my name off the checking accounts.

I don't know if I did this to "just let him know" or if I was being passive-aggressive, but I told him about Pr. Schmeling and how his congregation stood behind him to fight to keep him in the pulpit. I think I was being passive-aggressive, in retrospect. I guess I am still a little (little?) bitter.

I then also told him that he may want to know that I am not the only person in the congregation who is dealing with this. I did not give him names or numbers, but I did tell him that since the letter has come out, I have had people tell me about their homosexuality and some of them are married. I told him this so he knew that people will be watching how he handles this. My leaving does not make the problem go away, but has implications to those who are currently in the congregation.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Which Kate Bush Album Are You?

Which Kate Bush album are you?

You are Neverforever, my little babooshka! You are much more mature now, and you wear your activism and politics on your plastic sleeves. You realize how important and influential you are and are your friends, but that's not necessarily what you want to be.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

The battle continues

I am not the only gay pastor in the ELCA. However, some have more courage than I do. I hope and pray Pr. Schmeling is able to honor the call of his congregation and serve as the Holy Spirit has called him.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mr. Clean

Well, I have always wanted to shave my head so I took the plunge and had Nick get out the trimmers and cut it all off. He was kind of sad as he shaved it off. He kept saying, "But your hair is so soft..."

Then I tried to shave it farther and that didn't seem to work. So I used some Nair to get the hair off. Two treatments of Nair didn't work but a new blade on the razor did. Unfortunately, I have two moles on my head that I didn't know I were there so then I ended up with two blood fountains on my head. If I don't keep it bald, it will be because of the moles.

I am still trying to get used to the fact that I am no longer a Lutheran pastor. Nick and I went to the Episcopal church this morning and it was a bit on the underwhelming side. But that was just one service in one church. I am sure there are other churches around that are a bit more lively.

I have revamped my resume because I will probably be unemployed for a while. The Episcopal church works on the interview model, the person interviews for the position and the congregation decides. Some denominations appoint the pastors, but not in the Episcopal Church. So I have to get my paperwork in and then start interviewing. Maybe I could do some supply until then.

I talked to my cousin today and had to explain why I wasn't a pastor anymore. I was not sure how her response would be but she was cool about it all. But I got to see my Goddaughter dance and that was really cool!

The "Dark" side?

Stolen from Chai and Sympathy

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lighthouses and What You Can See From Them

 Grand Traverse Lighthouse
 Lansing from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse
 Big Sable Point Lighthouse
Chicago from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have not become Steve Murphy

At my former call, (well, I guess now it would be former, former call) I would tell people that if I disappeared and they got a message from "Steve Murphy," that would be me. Well, although I have disappeared for a while, I have not gone "Steve Murphy."

I have been spending time with Nick the past few days and trying to come to grips/forget the past few weeks. It was great to be away and not have anything pressing. I will refer you to Nick's blog because he does a better job of describing our time. It was enjoyable to just spend some time together and not have to worry about the day-to-day things of life.

Last Sunday was my final Sunday in my congregation. In many ways, I think I am still in denial about what is going on. I still don't think it has sunk in that I am unemployed. There were times over the past few days where it would come slamming into me and emotionally knock me over. Nick was great about just holding my hand and telling me that it was not that bad. Yes, things were going to change, but God was still involved in this whole process.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fit for "Movie of the Week"

I was finishing emptying out my office. I chose a Saturday night because I didn't want anyone around when I did it. If I was going to get all weepy or something, I didn't want anyone around.

While I was moving, a couple from the congregation came into the building. They told me that they were going to practice a song. I said that was ok, and I kept on moving. So while I was walking boxes to my truck, I was hearing in the background, "In Christ Alone..." It was kind of surreal.

I tried to keep my mind off the song. I also listened and thought, "I really need to trust in Christ because if I don't then this whole thing is a farce." I also thought it was interesting that this couple, who had been fairly close to me before the letter but since have only been "how's the weather?" I kept wondering if these people would grant me the understanding they were singing about in their song?

After church tomorrow, they are going to have a reception for me. I understand why the reception is a good thing, I just am not up for it. I am honored that people would want to honor me, I just am running out of emotional energy. But after that, Nick and I are going to a cabin on a lake somewhere. No, we do not know what the name of the lake is. Everybody keeps asking us and we don't know. But it is a small lake and a nice cabin. The weather has been cooking at night so that means some cool snuggling weather.

I am looking forward to some time to just kick back and breath. I hope some healing will be able to happen too.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Trapped in an elevator

Last Tuesday, I had something interesting happen to me. I was at church and there were a bunch of kids running around. I heard the sound of a screaming child but did not think too much about it because there are often crying children when there are a bunch of kids running around. But then I noticed that the sound was coming out of the elevator. I pushed the button and the door opened. Inside, I found a little girl pounding on the door and screaming. I just wanted to cry, she must have been so afraid!

What has intrigued me is that this experience has not left me. The little girl haunts me.

I think I may feel like that little girl. I feel like I am trapped without a way of freeing myself. I need someone to notice I am trapped and then to rescue me. I know that I am capable to rescue myself, but the little boy inside of me is feeling trapped and helpless.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

People Change

I have been kind of hard on the senior pastor. He has been kind of slippery as to his exact feelings about the who "gays in the pulpit" thing. Finally, yesterday, I asked him, point blank, "What do you feel about the ELCA ruling about gays?" He said that his opinion has changed. He is not totally jumped on the gay pastor bandwagon, but he is much more likely to be accepting of gay pastors. He said that he was not quite all the way there, but he was much closer than he was a couple of months ago.

If nothing else, my coming out to my congregation has helped the senior pastor to learn that gay people are not scary and not necessarily what TV portrays. Gay folks can be "just like real people!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This is just way too cool!

What A Clip - video powered by Metacafe
I found it on myspace and think it is great. A fun piece of animation. If you are interested in more, check here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why can't they just live together?

Here is a great article about the dreaded "gay tax."

Maybe I am that selfish

This is something that I never expected: I notice that letters and cards that I have been getting from my congregation have not been making me feel better. If anything, they have been making me more angry.

Let me explain; I get a card and there are very kind words about how sorry the sender will be to see me go. Words of how the sender has loved me and how I have helped the sender grow. Then there is wish for God to bless me and my ministry in the future. Ok, that is so very kind. People took time out of their lives to send me good wishes. And for that I am very thankful.

What angers me is the resignation I feel in the cards. "Oh well, we like him but 'ta ta!'" There is a feeling that what is happening is inevitable.

What I feel is "this is not inevitable!" If there people are sad that I am leaving, then do something! Be an active element in this! Don't just sit back and allow the world to turn around you. If you don't like it, change it!

Until the heterosexual population realize that this struggle is their struggle, nothing will happen. This congregation is going through this pain of change because of a rule that is based in ignorance and fear. This congregation is going through the expense of finding another pastor because of a rule that most (or at least those who voiced an opinion) disagree with. In this case, my struggle has become their struggle.

I am angry because people whom I considered my friends seem to care less that a stupid rule is causing me so much pain.

Ohh...that sounds harsh.

Maybe they don't know what they can do to make a difference. I would prefer to think that people don't know. For some of these people, I am sure this is the first time they have encountered such problems. For some, I may be the first gay person they have ever known.

I hate myself for getting angry in the face of peoples' kindness. Maybe I need to remember this feeling to see how I can use my passions to make life better for ALL people.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Well, that is done...

The sermon went well. I thought I was going to lose it right at the beginning. I looked at the sermon sitting on the pulpit and just had to stop and breath. I then started in and between tears manage to finish. There were some folks out in the congregation that I knew I couldn't look at or I would have been a blubbering mess.

I had planned with the other pastor to take over for a bit so I could get myself together and managed to make it back and finish the service.

I almost lost it again during communion when a couple who I am very close to come to the rail. I again had to breath so I could finish.

After the service, I have never gotten so many hugs in my entire life!
Another step toward leaving. I am going to really miss these people.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The "Good Bye" sermon

This is the text of the sermon I will be preaching tomorrow. I don't know if I will be able to make it through because I get choked up just thinking about it.

I know that often I will start a sermon by telling you the difficulty I had with the text. Often the problem is something that I need to hear but I really don’t want to hear. Or something in the text says, “Preach Me” but I don’t really want to preach about that. Sometimes the scripture just doesn’t make sense to me. Well, I had difficulty with today’s sermon, but the difficulty was the realization that this would be the last time I would be preaching here.

I could be all kinds of self-serving and get on a soapbox and yell and scream about the injustice in the world. Or I could go on about how things need to change and how if anything is going to change, you are the one that needs to do it. But there is something about that, which just does not feel right. This whole thing is not about yelling and screaming or about making anyone feel guilty or ashamed. The way I see it, what we are dealing with is God working in the world.

In Biblical times, the people could go out and search for Jesus. They could follow him around the lake and be waiting on the shore when he arrived. They could be fed from his hand and search him out again when they were hungry. In Biblical times, Jesus was there to answer the questions the people had.

Today, things are a little bit more difficult. We don’t have Jesus standing bodily in our presence. We can ask questions in prayer, but we do not (or at least usually we do not) have a booming voice coming from the sky telling us the answer. We try to do what is Jesus will, but often we are just left scratching our heads wondering if we really have it right.

I don’t know about you, but I really hate that feeling of putting effort into something and then not being sure if I picked the right thing to put all of that effort into. It is kind of annoying. What helps me is knowing that others often feel the same way. Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk and one of the “biggies” of contemporary Christian mysticism, states this feeling far better than I ever will. He writes:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

I hope that these words speak to you also. No matter what the situation, we are never left to face our perils alone. In our gospel reading for today, the reason the people were following Jesus many not have been the “proper” reasons, but this did not stop Jesus from loving the people and caring for the people. Jesus didn’t send the people packing because their intentions were not “proper.” Jesus stayed with them, taught them, and loved them.

So we continue to move on, or at least I hope we do. We may not know where we are going but we trust that in God we are going in the right direction. And we trust that in Jesus, God’s eternal will, will be carried out in our world.

But today I have a challenge for you: Whatever side of the debate you come down on; if you are upset that I am leaving or if you think my leaving is “good riddance,” whatever you feel, don’t just sit back and allow others to make decisions for you. Stand up and speak up! If you don’t agree with what is happening in YOUR congregation, then be the change you want to see! Even though the crowd may have sought Jesus for the wrong reason, they did go out and seek out Jesus! They didn’t just wait for Jesus to come back around to their side of the lake. And although Jesus would have probably wanted the people to follow for other, “better,” reasons, he did not send them back to rethink their motives, but accepted them where they were and blessed them. The fact that the people were seeking Jesus was enough for Jesus. No matter what, keep seeking Jesus, I don’t make many guarantees from the pulpit, but I guarantee that if you seek Jesus, you will find Jesus.

It may not have dawned on you, but you, as a congregation, should take my leaving as a compliment. My leaving is proof of the love and acceptance I have found, here in this place. The journey my life has taken has been difficult, and the work that needed to be done could not have been done in an environment full of hostility where people were constantly on the attack. The caring and support I found here allowed me to first heal from the wounds of my recent past. But then the care and support continued and I was able to dig even deeper and touch those dark places that were too scary to bring out into public.

So often we talk about confession and forgiveness. We speak of them in that manner, first we must confess, and then forgiveness is given. But those of you who have debated with me know that I tend to believe the exact opposite. We need to know that there will be forgiveness before we can ever contemplate confessing. I know that forgiveness is present in the death and resurrection of Christ, it is not something that I even question. However, I also know that forgiveness is found in this congregation. Maybe in this case, forgiveness is not the correct word; I don’t think I need to be forgiven.

What I know is that understanding is found in this congregation. And in that understanding I have not been disappointed. Even before my resignation was sent out, I have found immense care and understanding. However, since the sending of the letter, that care has grown even larger. Your cards, e-mails, kind words, and hugs have meant so much to me. That care and understanding has helped me through some of the most difficult days I have ever experienced.

In a world that would use Jesus as a means of spreading hate and judgment, there was a comfort in knowing I was surrounded by a community that understands that Jesus came for all people and the love of God is so much bigger than any petty discrepancies we may have. And in spite of how backward this sounds: If I didn’t feel that love from all of you here, I would not be here preaching my last sermon to you. I would still be lonely and depressed, hiding away those deep, dark, secrets, hoping no one, myself included, ever found them. But your caring has allowed me to bring those deep, dark, secrets to the surface and allowed Christ’s light to shine on them. It is this light, the light of Jesus, shown through all of your lives, that has brought so much healing into my life. So for that I need to say, “Thank-you.”

Yes, you are a loving, caring, people but with every gift come a challenge. This gift of caring and healing is a great thing. Considering all the hurting people in the world, how can you focus the light of God’s Son, Jesus, into the darkness of the world? How can you take this love and care that you have shown to me and spread it out into the world?

Contemplation of spreading Jesus love can become frightening. It can take you to places you have never been and it can set before you totally frightening options. But it is in these hidden and frightening places that Christ’s love most needs to shine. And it is into these places that this congregation can move. There is so much love and care in this place that it can’t help but overflow. The care and concern that I have felt, if that were unleashed upon the world, the world would not know what hit it!

Christ’s love is at work in this place, thank you for sharing it with me.

What did we do without them?

Don't you just hate it when you are riding your bike along and want to turn and all those meatheads drives ignore your handsignals? (not finger signals!) Now you can use the Indicatears to let the world know which direction you plan to go. End those pesky broadsides by unobservant drivers! Also makes you look cool at any party!

(Thanks to !!omg blog !!)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Book in the Mail

I just got a book in the mail today. I had just been talking with a colleague about this very same book yesterday. So, unfortunately, I was primed to dislike it from the get go.

One of the first thing that struck we was the section entitled "Four Common Myths." I then say the "myth" "...that homosexuals lead happy lives." (p. 25) The author then goes on to enumerate the things that homosexuals fear. First is "Homosexual persons live with the fear of being found out." Second: "Homosexual persons live in fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases." Third: "Homosexual persons live in fear of violence." Fourth: "Homosexual persons live in fear of aging." Fifth: "Homosexual persons live in fear of God." I wanted to puke right at that point.

What I hate about these types of assumptions is that they never separate the cause from the effect. If people were not so afraid of the negative response they receive from the world, would they be so afraid of being found out? If homosexuals were more supported by society, would they be as promiscuous? If you are damned to hell, you might as well enjoy the trip! Fear of violence? The book says that the violence is from within the gay community. I'm not afraid of other gays anymore than I am afraid of anyone else. I am afraid of those who are so afraid of coming to grips with thier sexuality that they attack those who have come out. The book also mentions the domestic violence in the gay community. My first question is: Is this any worse than in the population in general? I would again hasten to ask what supports are given to gay couples? And the shirts are called "Wife Beaters" not "Partner Beaters."I don't know if he is a wife beater but he is wearing a wife beater.

We continue with fear of aging. This is something that we never find in the heterosexual community. We are a society obsessed with being young, why should the LGBT population be any different.

Final, who wouldn't be in fear of God if you were told that what you are at your deepest lever is despised by God?

So, do we get rid of violence toward gays by getting rid of the gays? Do we get rid of gays fearing God by getting rid of gays? ARRRRGGGG!

The ride continues

I have been kind of "fluff posting" lately. Sorry. I think part of it has to do with trying to not bore people with the "same old, same old." My moods are on a rollercoaster (which would be great if we were in Cedar Point!) and I am getting tired of being up one minute and down the next. My biggest struggle is getting the sermon for this Sunday done. It will be my final sermon here and my official "good-bye" to the congregation.

Is there anything to be learned by this feeling? I guess to keep playing the old tape, "This sucks." I guess I am not feeling anything different than loads of others who have come out. I guess what makes me angry is preaching about inclusion while being a living example of the exclusion in the system.

So, at the risk of becoming a "Johnny on note," I'll just stop for now.

Happy Rhodes Video

From what I have been told, this is the only Happy Rhodes (Yes, that is her real name) on the internet. If you like Kate Bush, give her a listen. If you are a Happy Rhodes fan, this is a treat!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You can take the kid out of Dubuque

I scored a 79% on the "How Dubuque are you?" Quizie! What about you?

We all have one, some of us are proud of it, some not. I am talking about our hometowns. No matter what, our hometown form the base of what we are. They give us our initial tools of dealing with life. I guess I am glad to have grown up in a town that is small enough to feel safe but big enough to allow adventure.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

World's Shortest Personality Test

Your Personality Profile

You are funky, outdoorsy, and down to earth.
While you may not be a total hippie...
You're definitely one of the most free spirited people around.

You are very impulsive - every day is a new adventure.
However, you do put some thought behind all your actions.
Still, you do tend to shock and offend people from time to time!

Pretty good if you ask me.

How do you say, "Good Bye?"


In seminary,they never teach you how to leave a congregation.

What do you say when you know you will be gone but the congregation continues on? Do I treat it like any other Sunday? Do i use it as a soapbox to advance "my cause?" Do I allow the congregation to be comfortable, hoping they will remember me in a good light? Do I challenge them?

I want to challenge them. I want to empower them to take action in their world. Even if they go against my soapbox cause,
I want them to put feet to their conviction. I don't believe my leaving is a "non-event" in this congregation, but I don't want to blow it all out of proportion either.

I was practicing a solo that I hope to do on Aug. 13. This will be my last Sunday and I hope to make the song a gift. But I will tell you; it is getting harder and harder to practice. The song is a version of the "Our Father" but it is not the traditional one most are used to. Heaven forbid I do the "common" one. But I finish running through it and I have to take a fifteen-minute break to wipe my eyes and re-gather myself.

I feel my leaving is wrong on so many levels. One person here said that she was angry that I would even have to write such a letter. No one else has to write a letter such as that. I agree. In effect, I lost my job because of my sexuality. It had nothing to do with my job performance.

I know, I chose to leave.

Should I have stayed and fought? I think if my senior pastor would have said, "This is wrong and we are not going to stand for it" I probably would have chosen to stay. But he didn't. So, if my colleague will not side with me, why should I stay.

Granted, the senior pastor has gotten better, but he still is not strong enough to lead a battle that may get a little messy. Messy does not work in his world.

I don't want to do this sermon this Sunday. I want this all to just go away.

I know. I'm whining. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm so hot!

Well, I would like to think that. Actually, the temperature here is in the 90's and I don't have central air conditioning.

I hate having to take psychotropic meds. I know that I feel good when I take them, but when I get out of my routine, then I get into problems. I forget to take the Welbutrin and then I get all kinds of bummed. For those of you who have had clinical depression, you know what I mean. So, bummed combined with hot makes for a long day.

And then there is the sad realization that I think $2.94/gallon of gas is cheap.