Category Archives: Religion

If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent

Reblog of this post by John Pavlovitz of North Carolina. This is the best and only way that I could think to thank him properly for his words and wisdom – and that is to share it with any and every human that I can.

john pavlovitz

KidsFiltered


Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t…

View original post 949 more words

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Taking a Stand

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (8/1/2012):

So we all know and have heard the latest broohaha regarding fast food chain Chick-Fil-A.  Our social network sites have blown up with constant updates, stories, blogs, feeds, protests, counter-protests and such about it.  Most people, by now, are pretty sick of it – at times, myself included.  About a week or so after the news broke that the CEO openly and proudly declared his stance as anti-marriage equality (and thus speaking for the entire company, franchises and all), I read an interesting blog written on The Huffington Post regarding the whole situation.  Here was my comment about the blog, as well as a link to the blog itself:

“It is sometimes so hard to sit by while people who say they are my friend/family who care about MY family, will also say that they have no intentions of boycotting anything. That’s fine. As long as they are fully aware that their money goes to organizations who are determined to keep my family from being equal to theirs. It’s not about the chicken sandwich. And yes, everyone is entitled to free speech, freedom of religion, and an opinion. But please think about it, before you go and spend your money there, of all the times that you have said that you support my family – and then don’t. Either don’t spend your money at a business that supports inequality, or don’t tell me that you love and adore my family. These are the kinds of organizations that keep MY marriage from being recognized, and require ME to adopt my own daughter. Just so you know.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/conor-gaughan/chick-fil-a-homophobia_b_1711566.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

I encourage anyone who reads my blog to read Conor Gaughan’s piece.  It is just another real person writing from his real perspective, trying to reach his readers so that they can see where he is REALLY coming from.

So the supporters have now planned a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day on August 1st, and the opposers have planned all sorts of protests on the same day.  There will be same-sex PDAs/kiss-ins at some chains, while others plan to wait in line and order water, or order food and then cancel.  To me this seems like an open show of hostility that will only make us, the LGBT community, seem petty and ridiculous.  Get mad at me if you want, but I think that the best way to show our opposition to the company’s declared stance is to first NOT GO THERE.  And if we choose to go there for an organized protest, then fine, exercise the right to peaceably gather with signs that show our thoughts and feelings (grammatically and spelled correct, of course).

www.thenextfamily.com

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Protest Rally @ White House – May 2010

All of this has also got me to thinking about my children.  What would I want my children to learn about all of this?  Yes, we used to eat at Chick-fil-A, but it has been a long time, as we stopped going there over a year ago when we first learned of the company’s donations towards hate and anti-equality groups.  Now, Noah is twelve, and when we stopped going there, he didn’t really get it, and we didn’t really try to explain it.  But now that he IS twelve, with all of it in the news and on the lips of virtually everyone, I did try to explain to him the reason why WE, our family, doesn’t go there anymore.  I’m not sure if he understands completely, but I wanted to take the time to explain to him this stand that we are taking.  I also explained to him that yes, one small group (ie: our family) CAN make a difference in the bottom line when there are lots and lots of small groups doing the same thing.  I also explained to him that it is no difference than in school, where I expect him to stand up for anyone who is getting treated differently, for any reason, because it is simply the right thing to do.  Nicholas, on the other hand, is a grown man who lives on his own.  He worked at our local Chick-Fil-A when he was a teenager, and has decidedly chosen to continue to frequent there.  Sure, it is disappointing to hear him say that he loves his gay moms, but he also loves their chicken sandwich.  Did I not teach him to take a stand against bigotry and inequality?  I thought I had, but once they are grown and gone, it really isn’t my decision to make for him.  I love him regardless of where he eats.  And I know that he is young, and one day he will be faced with something in HIS life that will force him to either make a stand for what is right, even if it means giving up something he likes or doing something that might be uncomfortable.

This is the conclusion that I have come to, since I have many conservative friends and family, who think that all of us should just “shut up and get over it:”  It doesn’t affect them personally, so it isn’t as important to most as it is to those of us fighting for marriage equality and equal treatment.  Their marriage is always recognized, and they enjoy all of the rights and privileges that go along with that.  But as for me and my house, I will always and continually teach them about taking a stand in the face of something that is wrong.  And I will continue to teach them to take a stand against anybody doing wrong against another group, whether it directly affects them or not.

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock”

 ~ Thomas Jefferson

Nighttime Musings from the Nursery Rocker

Tonight I am sad.

It’s after midnight, the baby and the boy are asleep.  The wife is asleep.  I should be asleep.  But my mind won’t shut down, thinking about some of the awful things going on today in our country.

Earlier, around 10 PM, I went into the nursery for my nightly position in the rocker with the baby.  Erikka brought me a cup of coffee, and I settled in, rocking our sweet baby girl and reading status updates from Facebook on my phone.  Now, I am sad because of the news today that the Dublin Dr. Pepper plant is shutting down and no longer making the beverage of the gods, but I digress.  This is not the sadness that is currently keeping me from slumber.  What really got to me was another day of political news stories from the current stream of Republican candidate hopefuls for this year’s presidential election.  Almost all of the prospects are a frightening thought for families like mine, and the rights and privileges that we fight so hard to secure for ourselves.

Our current governor, Rick Perry (R), is sadly continuing his campaigning, even after coming in miserably low in recent state primaries.  I suppose that his crowning achievement in his campaign would be his “Strong” political ad video, where he spoke his obvious disdain for gays/lesbians now being allowed to serve in the military, and declared that our current president has waged a war on religion.  I had no idea!  The thought of this man becoming even mildly close to the White House, even as a visitor, makes me nauseous.  The only downside to him not getting the candidacy is the fact that he will come back to Texas and continue his horribly long reign as governor here.

Then there is Mitt Romney, the front runner and former governor of Massachusetts, is probably the least conservative of the bunch.  At first I thought that he might be alright, as he made a comment once (early on) that he didn’t have a problem with same-sex marriage; he has since said that he thinks that it should go back to the individual states.  He has also said that he would prohibit future marriages – and of course there will be no federal recognition – but that each state could recognize those marriages that have already taken place.  Holy shit, really?  Did nobody learn ANYTHING from Prop 8 in California?  Really – going back to class grades basically, a version of separate-but-equal??  What year is this?

There is also a real piece of work, Rick Santorum.  He is a former senator from Pennsylvania, and he is a douchebag.  Some of the things that have come out of his mouth have left me sitting there thinking, “No way.  Did he REALLY just say that?”  He is vehemently opposed to abortion for any reason (as is Rick Perry), even though his own wife has had an abortion because her health was at risk.  HYP-O-CRITE.  He wants the United States to be a Christian nation – HIS definition of Christian – and has no regard for any other religions or beliefs.  Oh, and Santorum’s wife, who asks “the holy spirit to speak through her husband,” was shacked up with an abortion doctor before leaving him to be with brother Rick.  Nice, huh?  And of course, he hates the gays.  He says that if HE were president, he would not only outlaw same sex marriage, but he would invalidate all of those marriages that have already taken place – like MINE.  Them are fighting words Mr. Santorum.  IF that were to happen, which I don’t believe that our country is stupid enough to allow to happen, then he would have a hell of a lot of homos at the White House doorstep waving not only rainbow flags and signs, but lots of legal marriage licenses.  I don’t think it would be pretty.  I mean, really Rick – you seriously want to take the country backwards, don’t you?  This is not progress.  He also has said that it is better for a kid to have a dad in prison than to have two dads or two moms.  Every time he utters another stupid remark, he resembles Hitler more and more to me.

There’s also Ron Paul, a U.S. State Rep from Texas, who seems like a little weasel to look at him.  I don’t know much about his positions, because I don’t pay that much attention to him.  I have had a couple of people tell me that I should vote for him, to which I just keep my mouth shut.  Really?  Anybody who would tell me to vote for any of these bigoted morons, who are hell-bent on taking away my rights and those of MY family, is somebody who really doesn’t have a clue.

And there is Newt Gingrich.  Former Speaker of the House, this asshat is VERY anti-gay anything, despite having a sister who is a married lesbian and director at the Human Rights Campaign (big gay rights organization, FYI).  He didn’t attend his sister’s wedding, but he sent a gift – kind of contradicting your own stance there, Newton.  Fortunately, his sister Candace has said that she will endorse President Obama in the upcoming 2012 election.  HA!  That’s awesome!  And not to mention (although I AM going to mention it), he-who-is-so-anti-gay-marriage has been married (and divorced) multiple times.  But it’s okay, because he was married and unfaithful to someone of the OPPOSITE sex.  This moron is racist, making cracks about African-Americans and food stamps.  He has suggested having poor students in public schools doing the janitorial work and cut those jobs.  He has also stated that a kid would be better off as an orphan than have two mommies.  Yes.

And this is why I am sad.

As I sat in our beautiful nursery, rocking our baby who was created with such thought and love, I scrolled through news articles and saw where Newt Gingrich had made that statement.  A child would be better off as an orphan than to have two mommies.  It actually made me cry.  The thought of my sweet baby girl, alone and without us or anyone else to care for her broke my heart.  No child is better off as an orphan…EVER.  The thought of any of these horrible men becoming remotely close to a position of leadership in this country is scary for folks like me, like us.  Then there is also the ignorant pope, half a world away, making statements this week that gay marriage is a “threat to the future of humanity.”  Oh dear God.  A lot of people don’t have the worries and fears that we do, because they can go and get married and/or divorced as many times as they want to without question or consequence.  The gay/lesbian community have to fight, march, and protest for these rights, so it’s scary to think that someone might take over as leadership and take them away because of their own personal agendas and prejudices.  I know that I have family, and probably several friends on Facebook (and in real life), who will vote Republican ticket.  I just hope that they will really look closely at their candidate’s positions on all of the issues before making the decision to cast their vote.  I know that many folks just vote, straight ticket, solely on the fact that there is a (D) or (R) behind their name.   I hope and pray that the American people will choose very wisely this election season – every vote and every choice will matter.

And I’m still pretty sad over the whole Dr. Pepper thing, too.

Birthday Blogging…again.

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball

So today is my birthday.  My 41st birthday, to be exact (well, actually it’s my 29th…again…if I go by Lucy’s rules).  Ironically, it would have also been Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday (glad I found the cool quote by her).

I was lying on a float in the pool earlier when this blog was conceived in my mind.  Last year when I turned forty, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  This year, however, turning forty-one has hit me much harder – it seems very strange.  But alot has changed in our lives from last year to this, and we now have a baby girl on the way – and this changes EVERYTHING!  I have been freaking out a bit about this new little life who will be joining us soon, and my age has been in the forefront of my mind.  I am, and will be, 41 when she arrives.  I will be 59 when she graduates high school.  If she marries in her 20s, I will be in my 60s.  Oh my goodness that makes me feel OLD.  When SHE turns 40, I will be 81, God willing.  It just doesn’t seem like enough time!  But earlier, as I lay in the pool, enjoying my day relaxing before my hot date with my wife tonight, I started thinking about all of the things I have seen and done in this 41 years; I am truly a highly blessed and favored woman!

  • I remember the day that Elvis died – August 16, 1977.  I know where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing.
  • I remember the Space Shuttle that exploded when I was in 10th grade, while I sat in Biology watching it live.
  • I have been married, and divorced, more times than I should; but those things had to happen to bring me to the place where I was ready to meet the woman who would become my beautiful bride two years ago.
  • I remember when David Koresh lit up Waco; when Timothy McVeigh blew up Oklahoma City; and when two boys shot up Columbine.
  • I remember vividly the day that terrorism came to the U.S. on September 11, 2001 – changing the way all of us live…forever.
  • I watched helplessly as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore up the Texas and Louisiana coasts, killing countless lives, flooding cities whole, and ruining years and years of crops and communities.
  • I became a mom in 1991, and again in 2000; and soon, again, in 2011.
  • I have marched with thousands in Washington, D.C. for marriage equality and equal rights; and I have photographed White House protests against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – opportunities that many have not had the honor to have.
  • I have attended many weddings and funerals over the years, experienced great joys over love and birth as well as heartache of suicide and illness.  I have also attended same-sex weddings, and wept with joy at watching two people overcome the hate of the world to unite in love.
  • I have sung solos in front of crowds of thousands; I have sung in groups of even more.

This is just a TINY sampling of some of the amazing and wonderful things that I’ve seen during these 41 years.  There is no way to cram a lifetime into a blog, for any of us.  If we stop and try to examine all that we’ve seen, all that we’ve done, I’m sure that every single person on this planet could write a novel.  That’s just how life goes, right?  But as I lie on the float, I not only try to remember moments and events, but also try to realize and recall what I have learned during my time here thus far.  Some of the things I have learned:

  • It doesn’t really matter WHO you love, or HOW you love….just simply that you DO love.
  • Our founding fathers stood for the basic belief that “All men [aka mankind] are created equal.”  Why can’t we ALL do that same thing?
  • Family doesn’t always mean the people with whom you are biologically connected.  Family are those who are there for you, who support you, who love you unconditionally whether they agree with you or not.  Family doesn’t leave.  And the family that you have is the family you create for yourself.
  • Every life matters, regardless of gender, regardless of sexuality, regardless of religion, regardless of race.
  • Hate is never warranted – hate is a choice.
  • We only have one earth, and we should all take better care of our little piece of it.
  • Friendships should be valued and treasured and treated like the precious gems that they are.
  • Everyone should say “I love you” every day to someone.  It’s good for your health.
  • I can have a burger and fries if I want to; I can even have a beer if I want to.   I know that I’m overweight, but I know that it won’t kill me to splurge from time to time.
  • My marriage is just as real and important as anyone else’s.  My family is just as real and important as anyone else’s.

Yeah, I’ve learned alot, but like trying to sum up life’s experiences in a blog, it is just as difficult to sum up all of the lessons that life has handed me.  Many of the things that I have learned, I have learned the hard way, through pain, heartache, and many tears.  Best line that I heard while at the movie for my birthday: 

“God don’t care about who you WERE….God only cares about who you ARE.”

Amen preacher, AMEN.

Eyes Wide Shut

The past few days have been hellish – I have had wicked fierce vertigo that appeared outta nowhere on Wednesday morning.  I woke up and was a wee bit light-headed, and thought, “oh I just got up too quickly.”  But it was clearly more than that when I walked to the bathroom and promptly threw up.  And then again when I got up to take the dog out, with the puking in the kitchen sink from all of the motion.  IT SUCKS.  This has also meant NOT doing all of the running around that I typically do every day, my house not getting cleaned, the laundry not getting done, and appointments being rescheduled.  I do not have time to put my life on hold because of damn vertigo causing an inability to drive!  It has been so bad that rolling over in bed will cause the bed to literally come off of the floor and spin.  OK so not really “literally,” but it sure as hell feels that way when it happens.  But I have discovered that if I keep my eyes tightly closed, the room spinning will typically stop sooner than if I leave them open.

So this morning, day three of this bullshit, I shift position – not even rolling over – and here it comes, fast forward spinning of the bed.  I lie still and close my eyes until it stops, and try to not move and just stay relaxed.  The house is fairly quiet, and the boy has left for school.  Right then it was just me and the dog, chilling in the bed, and I just wanted to go back to sleep for a while to escape the dizziness.  But lying there, awake but with eyes wide shut, I became acutely aware of many things all at once – it was wild.

I first became hyper-aware of physical things, by touch.  Things like my toes, and the fact that my toenails seem a little long, and I could easily scratch my own legs if I wasn’t careful.  And my heels – they are usually really, really dry and cracked, but aren’t so bad today, despite the fact that I haven’t had a pedicure in two weeks.  I became increasingly aware that I was having some heart flutters, especially in correlation to the dizzy episodes.  I could feel my heartbeat in my ears, especially the left one, which feels like it has the most fluid in – and I am hoping to be the cause of the vertigo.  My nose is congested, moreso on the left side than the right.  My stomach is gurgling with hunger, as I haven’t been able to eat much the past few days, not wanting to throw it back up…just in case.  The dog, a six pound ball of fur, is curled up right against my ribcage, making it impossible to move at all because her sleeping body is dead weight on top of the sheets/blanket – I bet you never knew how heavy six pounds of sleeping puppy can weigh!

I then become keenly zoned in to all that is going on in the room around me, and outside of my window.  The TV is on the news, volume low because of my pounding head.  I can hear the ceiling fan…barely…on the lowest setting, circulating the air.  The mini-fridge that we keep in our room kicks on and off, with a low whirrr that I usually don’t notice, but now find to be very loud.  The air conditioning kicks on and off, with the main unit outside just under the window behind our bed, making a noticeable start and stop.  There is a chorus of birds outside of my window, welcoming the day loudly and in several different octaves – all of which usually comfort me and make me smile; not so much today.  Today the birds have become an annoyance, at best.

All of these sensations are taking place while I lie perfectly still, eyes closed.  My sense of touch is heightened, my sense of sound engaged.  My sense of smell is weak because of congestion, as is my sense of taste (not eating so much).  But while my sense of sight is diminished, the others take over – and it amazes me.  And of course, I, who tend to overthink things, began to correlate this to other avenues and wonder if the same holds true.  It makes me think of people – those who hold tightly to rigid ideologies and beliefs, rather than embrace anything new or different.

I picture someone like my mother, for instance, who has such a difficult time accepting me, my life, or my family.  She stands her ground, hands balled into fists, and squeezes her eyes tightly to shut out anything that I try to tell her, share with her, or attempt to reason with her.  So I wonder:   While people like this close their eyes so that they can’t see anything but what they want to see, do their other senses take over for them?  And if they do, does that mean that they have to willingly ignore those other influences and sensations as well, in order to continue their unwilling stance for change and/or acceptance of something foreign?

Think about it.  How many people do we know who are metaphorically lying very still, eyes wide shut, unwilling to embrace the changes that are happening in our world?  Do they push out the sense of sound that takes over, with the voices of those who are fighting for equality, screaming for change, begging to be heard?  Do they shove the sense of touch, as people in their lives – family? friends? neighbors? – give them gentle nudges to walk with them as they fight for equal rights, or as they try to hug them with unconditional love despite the inability to be accepted?  Do they smell the air of hatred that emanates from them, often fueled by their own self-loathing; or do they smell the winds of change and love that stream from their fell0w mankind while they stand, chant, and sing about a world where all are treated the same?  Do they block out the taste of bitterness on their own tongues, as they spew unkindness towards their neighbor who is different from them, maybe by race or sexual orientation?  I guess it just seems to me that there are many out there who do these things, every day, in order to adhere to a particular religious belief, personal stance, or public policy – no matter how outdated or antiquated it might be.

For me, it was an interesting insight, to experience heightened senses in the absence of one or two – one that I welcome and embrace, because it ultimately opened my eyes to other things going on around me.  I guess one can only hope that others will become acutely aware of what is going on around them while they have their eyes wide shut.

God Hates….HATE

So word on the web is that hate-filled Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas plans to protest at Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral.  Well, of course they are.

Westboro "church" member in D.C. - October 2009

This was a photo that I took when we were in Washington, D.C. for the National Equality March in October 2009.  They were there, at the convention center, the evening of the HRC dinner that President Obama spoke at that night.  They were there the next day, at the march, in very small numbers – while 250,000 sane people marched and chanted louder and prouder for equal rights.  And funny enough, hatemonger and founder of WBC Fred Phelps was nowhere to be seen at either of these events, and many others.  Perhaps his old and aging ass can’t handle all of the hate built up inside of his body anymore to get out there and spew it for hours on end.

So now they’re declaring on Twitter that they’re going to protest Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral.  Margie Phelps, who has followed in her father’s hate-filled shoes, is the family/church’s attorney and main spokesperson these days.  By now, most people in the U.S. have surely heard of this idiot and his cult that is entirely made up of his twisted family – doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight.  Margie has stated that their intention is to disrupt Ms. Taylor’s funeral because of her work with HIV/AIDS, and “enabling gays.”  Oh Margie.  When will you idiots learn that NO ONE takes you, your family, your “church,” or your “protests” seriously?

Someone said online the other day that Westboro Baptist Church is no more of a “church” than Church’s Chicken is….that’s pretty funny right there.  And SO completely true.  I guess in one sense it might be considered a church, since a church is defined as “a place for public worship.”  These people worship something, although I don’t believe that it is the Christian God of love and forgiveness; they worship Fred Phelps and his god of hate and hellfire.

Funny enough, they also fall into the definition of “cult.”  Check out some of the definitions:

1.  a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2.  an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3.  the object of such devotion.
4.  a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology . a group having a sacred idealogy and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6.  a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
7.  the members of such a religion or sect.
8.  any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I remember being in college – Speech class, 1998 – and having to do a speech on…hell, I don’t even remember what the topic or theme was.  I just remember writing my speech about this horrible website that I had learned of called GodHatesFags.com, and about the man who was behind it all.  My classmates sat shocked and amazed as I spoke of the horrible content on his website, and the message that “Pastor” Fred Phelps preached.  This was about a week after the murder of Matthew Shepard, where WBC protested, much to the chagrin and shock of those who knew of it.   And THAT was the first incident of Phelps’ protests that I had known; the first of many.  It is horribly disturbing and sad that over the past 13 years this country has witnessed as they have protested court hearings, funerals of LGBT community members, military funerals, equality marches, and pretty much anything that normal people would deem as noble and just.  We have watched in horror as they declare that God hates fags, Jews, our Presidents, or anything else that is different from their image of God’s chosen – whatever THAT is.  They have been so presumptuous to declare to the world that they know that they KNOW the thoughts and feelings of God almighty.  Well I wouldn’t even begin to presume that I know anything about God, because I am just one small person in a huge universe of so many unknowns.  But I can boldly say, without much hesitation, that the God that I grew up learning about was not a God of hate at all – so my only conclusion would be that God hates HATE.  The God in MY world wouldn’t hate anything….but that.

So now the Westboro clan are reaching new lows….they’re mocking the NoH8 Campaign photos.  I’m sure you, or someone you know, have seen the photos that were started in direct opposition to Proposition 8 in California that banned same-sex marriage after it had already been made legal.  People dress in white tshirts, put duct tape over their mouth, and have “NOH8” on their cheek for the photos.  Well, I accidentally discovered today that the idiots of Westboro are mimicking the photo campaign with their own:  God H8S.  Seriously pathetic.  And what’s more disgusting than even THAT?  The fact that they are getting the WBC kids in on it.  Yeah.  Classy.

Shirley Phelps-Roper and some other hateful dude
Two of the sad, innocent children who have gotten dragged into the Phelps world of hate. They never had a chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has a saying that I think we could all put on a sign and parade in a circle around the Westboro folks anytime that they are protesting something:  “Be careful who you hate….it might be someone that you love.”

AMEN PFLAG…AMEN.

Secondary Blogging – Twice the Fun!

I somehow stumbled across the greatest website a few weeks ago.  I was on another site that I blog on called Blogher (www.blogher.com).  I was reading blogs and looking through difference categories, and saw a post from a woman for on online magazine of sorts, called The Next Family (www.thenextfamily.com).  Her post said that they were looking for writers, for new contributors/bloggers, especially those who were in same-sex marriages and families.  Well, this was right up my ally, and I was soon in contact with not only the lady who had posted the need, but the edit0r-in-chief as well.  Once I introduced myself, they invited me to come on staff as a contributing writer – I was thrilled!  I have been writing since I was very young, and my dream job has always been to write for a living.  So for now, I blog, and hope that this will be just another step in writing for a living full-time.

The descriptor on the page says, “TNF is a site for today’s modern family. These modern families are the next generation of families–two moms, two dads, gay parents, single parents and urban city dwellers exist in larger numbers than ever. With articles, blogs, a video resource library, products and resources at your finger tips we welcome you.”  I absolutely LOVE the pieces that I read on this site, and hopefully you will, too!  My first blog went up this week.  Feel free to go on over and check it out, along with some of the other folks’ as well – and be sure to let us know what you think.  The blogs that I write for TNF will differ from those that I write here, but I will make sure and post the link each week for my other blog.  Here is my first TNF blog:

http://thenextfamily.com/2011/03/being-gay-and-christian/

Enjoy!

A Life Steeped in Fear…or rather, PRAYER

(reposted from September 25, 2010)

Blog started during a power outage a couple of weeks ago:  As I sit in the middle of the night, amazed to have the technology to allow me on the internet during a major power outage, I think of all of the times throughout my life where my power was out, mostly from non-payment of the bill – but nevertheless…NO POWER.  Some of those times were lows times:  times with no money, times with very little food and even seemingly less income coming from whatever crappy job I had at the time.  There was sometimes no power when a brooding storm headed our way, and the storm itself was responsible for scaring the begeezus out of us.  Tonight’s particular outage seemed to have been done to one of the local transformers nearby.  Greeeeeat.  They say it is likely caused by a transformer down the street.  But I digress.  This outage is fine, and will likely be over while we sleep, where we wake up to lights and sounds and cool air.  But as I sit here, it takes me back to those very different power outages….the low times when I just couldn’t pay it.  Times when I sat with a young child in a hot apartment, praying for a miracle…praying for a sign….praying for something better.

I grew up learning to pray.  I think I was in church from the time I was two weeks old, taken by a mother who went every week to pray for the soul of her husband.  I watched, as a kid, as we went through the routine motions of getting dressed up in our “Sunday best” and driving off to church while my father stayed behind to read his Sunday paper and watch football.  I went to Sunday School, learned the Bible verses from memory, and learned to pray without ceasing and to pray about everything.  Now that’s not a bad thing necessarily, but looking back now, I see that I learned to pray for every situation that came around rather than dealing with it.  I thought that if I prayed about a difficult situation, that I had likely created myself, then magically God would come through with an answer that would get me out of whatever fix I was in.  Now that I am older, I see that it was a good way to avoid cleaning up messes that I had made – me waiting on God to tell me what to do.

When I was older, in my twenties and divorced with a young child, my prayers started to change.  It went from a life steeped in prayer to a life of selective prayers for rescue in times of trouble.  I became one of those people that I had never wanted to be – one who only prayed when in a serious situation with not enough money to make ends meet, not enough food to buy groceries, not enough rent to keep an apartment.  I would pray and pray and pray for God to please send a miracle and rescue me; and when, or IF, something would somehow come through, then God received all of the faith and all of the praise.  But those times when nothing happened or nothing changed?  God received all of the anger and blame for not fixing MY screwup.  I remember praying for people who were sick or dying, and nothing happening.  I prayed mostly, regularly, for God to change ME – to change the fact that I am gay.  This was something that I prayed, no begged, God to change and make me “normal,” because after all, I grew up listening to most of the people in my life tell me how wrong, evil, and sick gay people were.  I would even “help” God and do what I could to change that fact myself:  get married, get divorced, get married again, get divorced again, have babies, etc.  But I soon learned that no matter how much I prayed, this simply wasn’t changing anything about my inherant and true self.  Let me tell you, this was a huge blow to my faith and my Christian upbringing and walk.

Now that I am forty, I hope that I am a bit older and a bit wiser.  I have learned that yes, having faith in something higher than myself is incredibly important and comforting.  But it is because I choose to, and not because I have been conditioned or programmed to do so out of fear.  I don’t pray as often as I would like to, but I pray regularly and thank God for the life that I have, for the joys that I have, for the wife and family that I have.  Sure, I pray for those that are sick and hurting, but not because I feel like I have to; I do it because I am moved to do so out of compassion and love.  Many of my friends grew up just like I did, in a life steeped in fear through religion.  This is not the legacy that I want to pass on to my children.  I want my children to have a belief system and to know God, but because they WANT to and not out of fear of hell.  I pray that my children grow up to be responsible, healthy adults who believe in equality for their fellow man.  I pray that they stay healthy and live long, happy, fulfilled lives.  I pray that my wife and myself will someday be treated fairly and equally in every society, and that we have a long, happy, and healthy marriage together.  These are the things that I pray for now.