Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's Been Up

I don't know if I ever wrote about the last service at the church.  It has been a while now, and that probably helps to give me some clarity.  To say it was a surreal experience would be a gross understatement.

The situation of the stained glass continued.  Even on the day of the last service, we were dealing with the whole "we feel we deserve the stained glass."  Even after telling the players that if it was donated to the church, it belonged to the church, it still continued.

I got to the service early, which was a good thing.  A colleague arrived early which was nice; having the support during this time was need.  The bishop arrived shortly thereafter and proceeded to piss me off.  I asked what I needed to do and he looked at me like I lost my head.  He said, "Nothing."  I said, "So do I sit in the congregation?"  Again the look like I was nuts.  "No, you vest and read the gospel."  (I hate being made to feel like a fool when I have no idea what is happening.  I have never closed a church before.)

Only two of the board members were present.  One was sick, but the other two just decided to not show up. I guess it just exemplifies the situation.  The leadership could not even come.

There were colleagues, former parishioners, and local clergy there.  The people that I did not want to show up did not show up.

All in all, it was a good thing.

After the service, we too off for Iowa to celebrate my parents' birthdays.

30+ Day Challenge

Day 22: 3 Wishes.

World Peace
Unlimited Cash
True Happiness

OK, now that we got that over...

I would wish happiness for those who are dear to me.  I would want my parents to not have to worry about life and to be able to enjoy their "golden years."  I would wish happiness and contentment for Nick.

I would wish enough challenge to make like interesting but not so much as to become frustrating.

I would wish that people could see themselves as the wonderful, unique creations that they are and value that in themselves and in others.  Value it so much that they could not harm either themselves or others.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 21: Something that stresses you out.

What stresses me out is worrying about how people may react to things.  I keep coming up with all kinds of scenarios as to what is going to happen.  Usually, it never goes the way I had envisioned, but the mere possibility can keep me awake at night and make me nauseous.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 20: Your Dream Wedding

I had once thought of the whole white horses, medieval kind of thing.  Then I thought about on top of the Eiffel Tower.  I thought in the park with Tommy Bahama shirts and shorts would also be cool.  

Of course, it is not how the wedding occurs, but to whom the wedding occurs.

The possibility would be to have the wedding at Eagle Point Park in my hometown of Dubuque, IA.  This is a beautiful park on the bluffs of the Mississippi river and was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style.

It that didn't work, the River Room at the Grand River Center would be wonderful.  It is a large glass room that juts out over the Mississippi and give wonderful views of the river.

But again, even if it was just a JP, as long as I was with Nick, it would be my dream wedding!

Friday, May 27, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 19: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
(Actually, iTunes because I don't have an iPod)

1.  Regina ~ Sugarcubes
2.  Oxygene (Part V) ~ Jean-Michel Jarre
3.  The World Is My Oyster ~ Frankie Goes to Hollywood
4.  Wane Now Ye Shepherds ~ Patricia Spero
5.  Chanonry Point ~ Phil Cunningham & Manus Lunny
6.  A Mighty Fortress Is Our God ~ Tom Witt
7.  Smile ~ Glee
8.  Hot Meat ~ Sugarcubes
9.  King of Wishful Thinking ~ Go West
10.  Walls ~ Shout Out Louds

Pretzels anyone?

I saw this and had to share it, this is just too weird!

Wedding Present

My nephew is an Iowa Hawkeyes fan.  He wanted a Hawkeye in glass for his wedding.

This would be almost impossible for me to try to make in stained glass with my skills and tools.  So, instead I made this:

Same colors.  I think it will have more longevity than the Hawkeye.  Hopefully when they are celebrating their 25th anniversary, they will still be enjoying this instead of having it relegated to a dusty corner of the 'man cave'.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 18: Something you’ve learned.

I have learned that if one is in the position of leadership, one must lead.  I think I would kind of lag back in the hope that someone else would jump in and take the reigns.  But being a clergy, we are the ones who are supposed to be casting the vision and leading.  When we don't lead, then the system gets bogged down trying to figure out who is at the helm.

I had a professor in seminary who would say, "Often wrong but never in doubt."  I think that is important to remember as a leader.  If you are in doubt, then the whole system gets bogged.  But if the leader makes a choice, even if it is wrong, the system can move and can make course corrections.  The PERFECT answer may never appear, but if you don't move, you will may never even get close.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 17: Favorite Picture of yourself ALL TIME. Why?

I like this picture because it reminds me of how happy I truly am.  I used to dread life, but now that Nick and I are together, my life has been so happy.  Granted, we have our ups and our downs, but I would never trade Nick for anyone!

7 months!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 16: Nicknames

(Oops!! I missed a day!)

Well, it is hard to speak of nicknames when using a pseudonym.  Any nickname that I mention generally refers back to my real name.  The reason I want to keep my real name out of this is I like having this blog to share thoughts and vent feelings.  If my congregations knew about it, I could get into a fair amount of trouble.

There are some that I can refer to that do not reference my name.  One is Preacher Boy (for obvious reasons).  Another is Steve (for not so obvious reasons).

Steve came from a t-shirt I had that had a Rorschach on the front and on the back said "My name is not Steve"  The Rorschach was a marketing brainstorm I had that didn't get off the ground:  I was going to make shirts with ink blots and call them Rorshirts.  The "My name is not Steve" was a mistake a shirt place made so I got the shirt free.  When I wore the shirt at camp, the name Steve stuck.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jesus is coming! Look BUSY!

You know, all this talk about the Rapture has gotten me thinking.  I think it is rather sad.  Not sad for the people who are having fun with it, (and I will admit that I am one of those people!) but for those who believe it.  I think it is sad that people are so caught up in the need to "get right with God" that they go overboard with the whole rapture thing.

The Lutheran take is that since we cannot know the day or hour, that all the predictions of the rapture are useless.  We are to always be prepared for Christ's return.  We are to live our lives always not just looking busy, but being truly busy about God's work in the world.  This is not something that we are supposed to be doing on one day to make a good show, we are supposed to be doing it all the time, because that is what Christ would want.

Now, of course, being human we are going to mess this up.  But that is why we have forgiveness; not so that we can just be lackadaisical in our lives, but for the assurance that when we do fall short, we have not failed.

(Gosh, I have been away from the pulpit for too long!  Sorry!!)

30+ Day Challenge

Day 15: Something you miss.

I miss my house.

As I had said before, this house had everything that I loved.  It is the reason I started to do stained glass.  And losing it was so wound into the whole anti-gay sentiment in the world.  I lost my job in the church not because I was a bad pastor, but because I was gay.  Not because I did anything illegal, but because I was gay.  Not because of anything I did, but because of what I was.  I could have lied and kept the call and the house, but that would have killed me and probably killed my relationship with Nick.

Am I sad I lost my house?  Yes.  Would I change the way it happened?  If it meant losing Nick, no way.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Pattern

Maybe I am just a perve, but I am having fun making some male patterns.  As I said, there are not a whole lot of them out there.  Now I just have to get the time to make them!

Here is a new one, I call it "Red Undies"

30+ Day Challenge

Day 14: Favorite Place to Eat.

Ok, as far as restaurants go, I am pretty easy.  I LOVE brew pubs.  Give me a great beer and a burger and I am happy.  Throw in a trivia game and I am in heaven!

I am not into fru-fru restaurants.  I always am afraid of what I am going to eat and that I may be using the wrong utensil.  And having a waiter stand behind me waiting to move my chair or refill my glass just makes me nervous.  (Yes, I have been to places like this.)

Of course there is a whole different way of thinking about "favorite places to eat," but I am NOT going there  you sick puppies!  ;-)

And out of the Brew Pubs that I have been to, my favorite would have to be the Potosi Brewery in Potosi, WI.

Not quite sure why I like this place, but it is just very nicely designed and the people who work there are a lot of fun!

Friday, May 20, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 13: Something you’re looking forward to.


Right now I am looking forward to passing my kidney stone.  Not so much because I like passing kidney stones as much as I want it to be done!!

I am looking forward to summer.

I am looking forward to making some more stained glass pieces.

I am looking forward to the day when we can all live in peace and harmony.

I am looking forward to getting a new call.

I am looking forward to the pizza that is about to be delivered.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 12: Dream house

OMG!  I could write an entire coffee-table book about this one!  I have been dreaming about this for years!  The ultimate question for an architecture geek! 

Falling Water:  A Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece!

The Gamble House:  Greene and Greene, an Arts and Crafts masterpiece!

The Robie House:  Another FLW masterpiece.  I was able to tour this once.  It was so cool; I was the only person on the tour!

The House on the Rock:  Alex Jordan.  Almost more a collection of collections than a house.  But oh so cool!

The Quest House:  Unknown Architect.  This is the only house I have ever went through the process of buying.  I lost it when I left the ELCA.  I loved this house; it was all those things I loved in a building I could afford.  It had a fireplace, hardwood floors, arched pass-throughs, and an incredible back yard.  I still get a little misty thinking about it.

But my ultimate dream house is anywhere my Nick is!  As long as he is at my side, I can take on anything!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 11: Bible verse.

Phil. 4:4  "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

This is one that I need to keep in mind.  It does not say, "Rejoice in the Lord when things are going well and curse the Lord when things are going not so well."  It says "rejoice in the Lord, always."  

This challenges me to not get totally bummed by the low times in life.  In stoic tradition, I should not get too overwhelmed by the down times in life because these are transitory.  And in the end, God wins.  As I have heard, "In the end, God wins!  If God has not won yet, then it is not the end."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 10: Something you don’t leave the house without.

Well, I guess the answer would be the THINGS I don't leave the house without.

The first would be my faith.  (How is that for a clergy-kind of answer!)  For all the times that I get angry with God and say that I am becoming an atheist, I still rely on my faith when things happen.  I hope that I am able to thank God for the good things while relying on God during the tough times.

Key!  Actually, it is impossible to lock the apartment without the keys.  Things management does to prevent giving out spare keys or sending maintenance out to open a door.

Cell phone.  The phone has become more than just a means of communication.  It is now the way to get directions, find out what is around, where to eat,... etc.  When I don't have the thing, I feel lost.  How sad is that!

New Toy!!

The 30-Day Challenge will return, but I have been busy!  We went home for my parents' birthdays (Dad, 90; Mom, 80) and I have been playing with a new program I got.

GlassEye2000 is a CAD program designed especially for stained glass.  I have been doing things like reproducing patterns from antique glass

To "stealing" some patterns that I have seen in the world:

To creating patterns of my own:

(Finding male nude patterns is almost impossible!)

This summer could be a lot of fun making cool stained glass!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 9: Favorite TV shows.


Just gotta love Glee!  I love the characters and I love that they are tackling the difficult problems of high school.  A little hokey?  Yes.  But still good.

RuPaul's Drag Race

I have grown to respect the art of Drag because of this show.
Moral Orel
Red Dwarf
Being Human
Burn Notice

Go The F&$k to Sleep

This is way too funny!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 8: Something you’re afraid of.

Probably one of the biggest fears that I have is that of looking stupid and being the object of ridicule.  I have always prided myself of being self-sufficient and of knowing what is going on.  To be unaware and then to have that pointed out publicly is horrifying!

Monday, May 09, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 7: Favorite movies

This is a fun one!

I love the movie Field of Dreams.  I think of it as a chick-flick for guys.  It is just a good movie with a good message.  And Kevin Costner does some incredible things for a pair of jeans!!

I may be a bit off base by thinking of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a "feel good" kind of movie, but it always gives me hope.  Many people pan this one just because it stars Jim Carey, but he actually acts in it and is VERY good.  A bit of a mindbender, but definitely worth watching.

Taming of the Shrew for a new generation.  Ten Things I Hate About You is just a fun movie.  (And that it has Heath Ledger in it helps too!)  The music is fun, the acting is good, and the story-line is very watchable.  And it ALWAYS seems to be on some station on cable.

"Wanna Date?"  What happens when you transplant your girlfriend's head on a body made up of parts from prostitutes?  That is the premise of Frankenhooker.  A totally terrible movie, but just a lot of fun.  One of the things that make me sad it the b-movie seems to be a thing of the past.  With Troma Studios fading into the background, where are we going to get our dose of schlock?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 6: A picture of something that makes you happy.

Of course, I could put a picture of Nick,

Or I could put a picture of some hot guy in a speedo

But actually, the picture that makes me happy is:

I love this picture because we were having such a great time in Key West and it was our first real vacation together.  I hope that we are able to go back again.  This time, instead of driving the whole thing, we are planning on flying in and just spending a week being beach bums!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 5: A song to match your mood

Life in a Northern Town by the Dream Academy.

It was a beautiful morning this morning.  The sun was shining; the weather felt nice.  One of those kind of morning that makes you love living in the north.  This was also a popular song when I was in college so it brings back all those warm-fuzzy memories from that time.  A time when things seemed so serious, but were so free!  

Friday, May 06, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 4: Your parents

What can I say about my parents?  Well, I am about as different from them as you can get.

My parents are of the depression generation.  My father will be 90 on Sunday, and my mother will be 80 two weeks later.  My dad was 43 when I was born an my mom was 33.

Both of them came from large families and both of them took care of their families.  My paternal grandfather died when my dad was around 12, so he and his brothers become the bread-winners for the family.  My mom took care of her brothers and sisters and also went out to work to bring money into the family.  As such, neither my father or my mother finished eighth grade.  They were out making money, that was more important than school.

My parents are also very concrete people.  I, on the other hand, so far out into intuitive-land that I frightened them.  I was building tesseracts out of toothpicks and making hot-dog cookers that you could plug into an outlet.  This sort of thing made them fear that I was going to end up unemployable; they were familiar with the life of the factory, there was no place for a dreamer in that world.

We also walk in different worlds through our education.  As I said, neither of my parents finished eighth grade.  When I started college, I immediately started to move in different worlds then they could ever conceive of.  When I ended up in grad school, it got even stranger.  One of the first times I introduced my parents to my secretary, it was truly surreal; their children did not have secretaries.

When I went to seminary, I think it was my mom's dream come true.  Of course it would have been better if it would have been a Roman Catholic priest, but a Lutheran pastor would do.  I also think that is why it took me a while to end up in seminary, I wanted to make use it was my idea, and not just something that I am doing to make my mom happy.

When I came out, it was almost a non-event.  I quite literally told my mom during a commercial break. Her response, "Oh, will you end up moving?"  My answer, "Probably."  Her response, "That is too bad, I like your house."  And that was it.  Dad was pretty much the same thing.

My parents and I get along well.  They also get along well with Nick.  We still do move in different circles and have very little in common.  Also, living over 400 miles from them does not help us to become parts of each others' lives.  But I still love them, and even with our difficulties, they are still there and support me.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 3: Your first love.

You know, this is a tough one.  Are we talking about "True Love" as in mature for life?  Or are we talking about "Puppy Love" or "Deeply Crushed" which can feel every bit as life shattering when it ends.  And being a teen, frightened yet intrigued by what you are feeling, this can be totally messed up.

So my first real "Puppy Love" was a swimmer in high school.  He had a beautiful body!  He was fun, he was intelligent, he was a deep thinker.  And my, did he do nice things to a pair of Speedos!  We both went to the same college, but we fell out of touch, each moving in different circles.  He got married and I lost touch with him for many years.  We are now friends on FB, but really don't communicate.

Next puppy love was during college.  He was a fun, pre-med. student.  He was cute and feisty.  This was an entirely one-way relationship.  He went on to become a doctor and I have pretty much totally lost track of him.

The first "Killer Crush" was my internship supervisor.  He was a triathlete with a great physique.  He was married, with kids, and I adored his family.  He helped me to grow as all supervisors should, but he also gave me the attention I was wanting from a man.  (NOTHING SEXUAL!  You pervs!!)  I really bloomed being around him.  When I finished with internship, I went through a very deep funk, not being able to be around the supervisor.  I was smitten!

But my first love would have to be my partner, Nick.  He was there as I was coming out.  He was supportive when I needed it.  He was kind and patient.  He was not demanding and willing to wait until I was ready.  He let me set the agenda and call the shots.  He helped me to find my identity as a gay man without dictating how it should go.

I love Nick for his kindness and his patience.  It took a while to get here, but I am happy with the way things are going! 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name.

As a kid, I was a fan of Jonny Quest.  I used to watch the show every Saturday morning.  

Now, I know that they were not trying to present a model of a gay couple, Benton Quest/Race Bannon were almost an ideal example of a two-father household.  They both did the parenting, they both cared for situations.  They were both manly men.

There was a backstory about how Benton became a single parent, and I remember something about Race going on a date or something.  But in general, there was no addressing how Benton/Race were related to each other.  They were just two guys who did everything together.

So, for a young, confused kid, they presented a great role model.  I know I did not have that developed of a concept at the time, but the image stuck.  So when I was looking for a pseudonym for my blog, Dr. Benton Quest came to mind.  He was smart, he was self-assured, he was attractive, and he was a ginger!  He had a career and a partner who was every bit as masculine and self-assured as he was.  To me, he became the ideal of what a gay relationship could be.

So thanks Hanna-Barbera Productions for presenting the world with a great example of what a gay marriage can look like.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

30+ Day Challenge

Day 1: Introduce yourself with a recent picture and 15 interesting facts

Hummm... 15 interesting facts.  (What constitutes interesting?)
1.  I am the youngest of four kids.
2.  When I was 10 years-old, I was the state Hula-Hoop finalist.
3.  In high-school, I had a one-act play I wrote produced and won 3rd prize.
4.  I have been doing stained glass for about 6 years.
5.  I use potato chips as spoons to eat pork and beans.  (You should try it!)
6.  I have three tattoos.
7.  I have one piercing.  (Which I  cannot show in public!)
8.  I collect nativity scenes.
9.  I have worked as a nursing assistant, a psychologist, a barista, a cashier, a paperboy, a camp counselor, a pastor, and currently, a priest.
10.  I have been with my partner Nick for over five years.
11.  Nick is my first (and only) male partner.
12.  I have met one of the doctors who pioneered the open-heart surgery and had him narrate an actual open-heart surgery as it was occurring.
13.  I am a HUGE Frank Lloyd Wright fan.
14.  I was, at one point in my life, a triathlete.
15.  I am very introverted so being a priest can be a challenge.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Not In This Lifetime!

I found this over at Large Tony's blog, West of Mayberry.  I decided it might be interesting and maybe could get me out of my funk.

These are the topics in the 30 (64) Day Blog Challenge:

Day 1: Introduce yourself with a recent picture and 15 interesting facts
Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3: Your first love
Day 4: Your parents
Day 5: A song to match your mood
Day 6: A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 7: Favorite movies
Day 8: Something you’re afraid of
Day 9: Favorite TV shows
Day 10: Something you don’t leave the house without
Day 11: Bible verse
Day 12: Dream house
Day 13: Something you’re looking forward to
Day 14: Favorite Place to Eat
Day 15: Something you miss
Day 16: Nicknames
Day 17: Favorite Picture of yourself ALL TIME. Why?
Day 18: Something you’ve learned
Day 19: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 20: Your Dream Wedding
Day 21: Something that stresses you out
Day 22: 3 Wishes
Day 23: 5 good things that happened since you started the challenge
Day 24: Your favorite song
Day 25 : Your favorite book
Day 26 : Your favorite quote
Day 27 : A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 28 : A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 29 : An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 30 : A talent of yours
Day 31 — A hobby of yours
Day 32 — A recipe
Day 33 — A website
Day 34 — A YouTube video
Day 35 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 36 – something you ate today.
Day 37 – Your idea of the perfect first date.
Day 38 – An animal you’d love to keep as a pet.
Day 39 – The item you last purchased.
Day 40 – Y our favorite place to eat.
Day 41 – A TV show you’re currently addicted to.
Day 42 – Your celebrity crush.
Day 43 – Something you crave a lot.
Day 44 – A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.
Day 45 – A photo of something that means a lot to you.
Day 46 – How have you changed since last year.
Day 47 – Something you could never get tired of doing.
Day 48 — Talk about a regret you have.
Day 49 — Share a story from your childhood.
Day 50 — Explain how you got one of your scars.
Day 51 — How do you think others view you?
Day 52 — A poem you wrote.
Day 53 — Tell us about your best friend.
Day 54 — A talent of yours.
Day 55 — Your deepest fear.
Day 56 — Reveal your most guilty pleasure.
Day 57 — If you have tattoos, show them. If not, talk about the tattoos you want or why you don’t think they are right for you.
Day 58 — Talk about the last “random act of kindness” you encountered.
Day 59 — The last thing that made you cry.
Day 60 — Say something to your 15 year old self.