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."


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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It still haunts us.

21st Century Annoyance

Maybe this is just something that happens to me. (And if so, I will become even MORE paranoid!)

I am frustrated at the lack of follow through for messages. In the past couple of weeks, I have left phone messages and e-mail messages for various people and have not heard anything back. Now these are not just some "Joe/Jane Schmo" but people in positions of "power."

One person is from the diocesan office. Now this is not the first time that I have had difficulty with people in the office. I have found that it is pretty useless to leave a message because people will never return a call. Even if the person is busy, at least leave a message that you have received my message. Just to do nothing is annoying.

Another situation is leaving an e-mail for a person who is on a national LGBT help site. There are people designated to be contact people for the various regions of the country. But when I have contacted the person with questions, I have not received any response.

In both of these situations, if you are going to put yourself in the place of publicly saying you will help people, then it is rude to not answer your messages. People are counting on you! I am asking questions because I need information, you are the people either designated or self-designated to, if not answer the question, be able to guide me to people who can. To just ignore the messages is, as I said, rude.

Has anyone else encountered this? Is this just another social kindness that has gone by the wayside due to our "in-touch" society?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Let me tell you about my dad...

Yesterday Nick and I had a yard sale. We sold the entire yard! No grass left!! JUST KIDDING! Actually, we did a pretty good job. We sold a bunch of furniture and and some other odds and ends.

But the funniest thing of the day (well, Nick doesn't think so) was this annoying guy who kept referring to Nick as my dad. "So, you and your dad are moving, huh?" "Can you give me your grandmother's number?" (meaning Nick's mom) This guy was just an "in your face" kind of guy and I don't think he had any idea how annoying he really was.

But we did get a fair amount of stuff sold and we continue to move.

I preached this morning and the first service was probably one of the worst I have ever done. I was part way through the sermon and the thought that went through my mind was, "What the Hell am I talking about?" It is pretty sad when the preacher is boggled by the sermon. The second service went much better! I even understood what I was talking about.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How Ironic

I heard a news article on NPR this morning talking about the thinning of the Arctic ice sheet and the wonderful benefits we can achieve from this. One of the great benefits will be the ability to extract the oil from under the ice cap.

Now does anyone else see the humor (?) in this? Because of greenhouse gasses, we have less ice on the ice cap. This thinning of the ice allows us to drill for oil and produce more oil. This allows us to burn more oil thus increasing the greenhouse gasses. This works to increase global warming and continues to think the ice caps.

The people on the radio sounded just so happy about this and how we need to jump on this windfall before we lose it.

I just couldn't believe they didn't see the irony of the situation.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bridge Walk 2007

This is an elk that is part of a herd kept by the BPOE (Benevolent and Protective order of Elks) in Gaylord, MI. We stopped to see them on the way to the bridge. I used to live in the area so it was kind of old home week. It was fun to take Nick to see the things of my past.

These two are pictures of the Cross in the Woods. This was kind of cool in a schmaltzy sort of way. The cross is huge!

This is the Holy Family statue. I needed to take the picture because I am a collector of Nativities. I thought this one was very nice.

Here we had our home away from home. Of course, to keep our "Family Cred" we had a queen sized air mattress with 600 thread count sheets. One can only "rough it" so much.

And as the sun sets in the western sky, we look upon the edifice we were about to take on tomorrow.

We got up at 5 am and got moving, showered (which was about 4-5 city blocks away), and packed up camp. We then drove into town, parked and walked to the place where we could get a bus across the bridge. We stood in line for about an hour and then spent another hour crossing the bridge. Everyone starts on the St. Ignace side of the bridge and walks south to the Mackinaw City side. Both ways of spelling the name (Mackinac and Mackinaw) are pronounced the same way, "Mack-in-gnaw," and don't believe anyone who tells you different! We walked on the two northbound lanes while traffic was diverted to the southbound lanes.

You really get some neat views of the bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. (Just short of 5 miles.) While driving, you cannot stop and take pictures, this is the only time when pictures like this can be taken.

I have to admit, when we started walking, I thought this would be a perfect time for a terrorist attack. Some well placed bombs and thousands could be killed. There were military folks positioned along the bridge and the coast guard was in the water. Also in the water was a group of swimmers who swam the straits, a very impressive feat!

While we were walking, a freighter passed under the bridge. This is the smoke stack at the rear of the ship. The deck of the bridge is 199 feet above the water level. It took us about an hour and a half to walk the distance. When you get to the other side, they give you a numbered certificate which gives you an idea of how many people crossed before you. Our numbers were around 15,600. They were expecting over 50,000 people to cross. And although the foot traffic was supposed to stop at 11 am, there were still people crossing at 2:30 pm. Nick and I went to the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace and had to cross the bridge. There were still people crossing!

The Mystery Spot is supposed to be this incredible place. It was cute but actually kind of hokey. Not worth the seven bucks per person to see it.

I have to publicly thank Nick for walking with me. He messed up his knee on Sunday and was in pain the whole way. He is such a sweety!

Edit Note: This article said there were over 57,000 people who walked the bridge and the one hour wait doesn't seem so bad now!

Edit Note: Nick's take on the trip can be found here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Move Begins

Well, it starts. We have signed the lease to our new apartment and have started the moving process. (I guess you could call it moving, it often brings tears to my eyes.) Nick explains the whole thing about the contract. I kind of felt weird about it but we really didn't have any other options.

As Nick said, there was a chair that decided to jump out of the bed of the pick-up while I was driving down the interstate. I was in the middle of town so I was very lucky that the chair didn't hit another car and cause an accident.
Here you can see where the chair got scratched up and where the material got some road rash.
Here is where the wheel got dinged.
Here is where the arm got scratched. Again, not bad considering.

And here we have the car tag for the parking. Notice what the number is? Oy Vey!

Signing the contract was difficult for me. This apartment seems to be a constant reminder of all the dreams that I have had that are coming crashing down around me. As Nick said, it is punitively expensive to break the lease. That means that dreams of a call in the near future will have to stay that, just dreams.

And then there is the whole moving out of the house thing. This was my first house. I had come to the conclusion that I was probably never going to get married so I went house hunting, furniture shopping,and even bought Fiestaware because I would never have a wedding to get china as presents. In buying the house, I was saying to the world, "I am adult." Now my dream house is going away. This isn't the way it was supposed to happen.

I got a phone call from my former colleague while taking some furniture to the apartment. He said he had heard that I had lost my house and was moving into an apartment. He said he felt kind of guilty about the all the stuff I am going through. I wanted to yell into the receiver, "YOU SHOULD!" But I didn't. I did tell him that often it is difficult to believe that God is in this process and I often get discouraged. Hopefully the next time the whole sexuality thing comes around, people will realize that they are dealing with real people with real lives, not just some hypothetical "gay pastor."

Tomorrow I preach at one local Episcopal churches and then Nick and I are heading up to the Mackinac Bridge for the annual Bridge Walk. There should be a whole bunch of people walking this year as it is the 50th anniversary of the bridge. The whole bridge is just under five miles long. It is actually pretty cool. (In both senses of the word!) While in the middle of the bridge, you are over 200 feet above the water and it gets pretty windy there. This will be the second time I have walked it.