Being a Gay Christian

Here are my struggles to reconcile my religion & sexual orientation. I used to think that being a Christian and being gay were mutually exclusive. God revealed to me that I am his child, created Just As I Am. God’s awesome gift comes with challenges, yet opportunities to share the good news to many who have rejected religion. Or who have suppressed their sexuality to keep their religion. I welcome this ministry and the unbelievable strength he gives me to do it.

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I'm gay and while that does tell you which gender I want to fall in love with, it tells you nothing about my lifestyle. As you read you'll learn about that.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I feel compelled to write something but can't focus on a topic. Typical ADD acting up again. My boyfriend left yesterday after a 4 day stay. I know part of what I feel is depression from missing him. Plus in a few days I'll be heading out to visit my son. That will be fun, but there is a lot to do to get ready.

But I thought I could share what's rattling around in my head

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As I have said, I am not a 'young earth' believer. I trust science to reveal God's creation and my faith is never threatened by anything we can discover. God doesn't want me to stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes in the face of world changing scientific discoveries.

But a silly question came to my mind... what did God do for 13 billion years waiting for humanity?

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If God loves life and children, why was the infant mortality rate so high before human medicine stepped in?

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What's wrong with the weather? Last year it was drought. This year it storms every day. The gloom is wearing me down.

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I admit that I interpret the Bible. I believe everyone does. Even to take the Bible at face value is an interpretation.

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If you think God plans on condemning gays to hell, why aren't you praying for him to show us mercy?


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I don't have answers to these questions or thoughts - just wanted to share.


PS: And I'm getting a lot of spam comments.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From the Donkey's Mouth

While I was going through my decision on leaving my job last year, I wondered what Bible scripture might apply. As I wrote in my last entry, God had been practically screaming at me and I was like wait one diddle-lee-dee moment... let's not rush into things... for two years.

I remembered the story of Balaam - at least part of it. The part I remembered was of Balaam walking along the road with his donkey and the donkey keeps stopping. Balaam repeatedly beats the animal until it moves forward again. Finally after the third such incident and Balaam being quite incensed, the donkey turns and talks.

Now in today's word we are quite comfortable with anthropomorphized animals so a talking donkey (I'm thinking Eddie Murphy in Shrek) is no big deal.

But to Balaam it was a BIG deal especially when the donkey says there's a big scary angel blocking the road with his sword drawn.

So I kinda thought maybe that was a fitting story representing my stubbornness resisting God's message when all around me are telling me to listen. So I found Balaam in Numbers 22 and when I read the whole story all I could do was shake my head.

First off Balaam is an Old Testament prophet (but not an Israelite who happen to be marching out of Egypt to take over the promised land and killing the folks who already live there). The local king sent for Balaam to curse these invaders. Balaam makes them wait overnight for his decision on whether to return to the king with them.
God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
Now this kinda seems like a dumb question to me. Maybe it's mean to be a trick question. Anyway, Balaam tells God who they are and why they are at his house and God says not to go to the king. Balaam sends the king's messengers packing, but soon they are back with an even bigger speaking engagement fee for Balaam.
18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”   21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.
OK this is puzzlement number 2 and 3 for me. But God can change his mind - twice. Oh, and not bother telling Balaam that he changed his mind again after he told him it was ok to go. Now comes the part I remember with the donkey. God told Balaam to go to the king but along the road he sends an invisible angle that only the donkey can see.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
Puzzlement number 4 - if God wanted to stop Balaam, why choose an invisible angel???? But the story has one more surprise. Balaam tells God, he'll go back home, no problem.
35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
So God tells Balaam to go ahead and go to the king. WHAT ????

What's the point of this story? That God is fickle and just because he tells us one thing at night, don't be surprised that he changed his mind the next morning... and didn't tell you. And then threaten to kill you for disobeying a command he never spoke to you. Now we don't know Balaam's heart and maybe that plays into things here, but that's not an obvious inference.

I did check the Matthew Henry commentary and it infers several pages of explanation from the very few verses. It reads from the point of view that since God can't make mistakes AND the story is absolutely true something else was going on - obviously Balaam was a greedy sinful guy that God was exasperated with. But the God I believe in is patient to a fault. I prefer to believe that the writer of this left out a lot of the pertinent detail and allowed us to miss the moral of the story which requires considerable assumptions to get to the Matthew Henry explanation. How about assuming that God's perfect and the guy that wrote this wasn't?

The Henry commentary also faults the king for fighting the Israelites as they could have lived side by side in harmony. Just like today... er.

In the end, what matter if Balaam did curse the Israelites to his last breath? It wasn't going to thwart God's plan. 

Well, needless to say this story didn't fit my decision process with God one bit. And it illustrated one more reason that I am not a Bible literalist. I can't conceive of a God that would have done such a thing. It reads like an episode of Punked.

If you feel I am being irreverent and cynical, I can agree to that to make a point. I refuse to just sit back and nod. God's ok with me asking questions - how else do we become more enlightened.

As for talking animals, I guess I'll think twice if my cat ever looks me in the eye and says "an angel is going to kill you unless you change my litter box."




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Friday, May 03, 2013

Stay Invisible

After I posted yesterday, I checked my posts wondering how long my absence really was. May 2011 - two years ago! I knew it had been over a year. I knew I had been in corporate hell for over two years, but I didn't realize my postings had been so long ago.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to share the things that I meditate on. When I'm not writing, I am not meditating. So a two year absence signifies close to two years of spiritual apathy on my part. So it wasn't just the work that was driving me into the ground, but the fact that it was depriving me of the study and thought and meditation that is so very important to me.

Recently the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins, specifically some of the reactions to it, have been nagging at me. First off I am glad he has found the courage to do this, to be the person I believe God created. Also I must point out that I am not an avid sports fan. I do follow the Packers because my boyfriend is an avid fan so whenever we are together on a game day, we are watching. I do enjoy it, but rarely watch on my own.

Without being a sports fan, I can tell you that there are and have always been gay professional sports stars just as there are gay politicians, gay priests and ministers, gay police and firemen and gays in the military.

So when Phil Jackson, longtime NBA coach, says "question about gay NBA players [are] "Ridiculous," [and] says he doesn't think there are any" I find it laughable. I can guarantee to Phil that there are and always have been gay players in the NBA. Because he doesn't know who they are is more a testament to his intolerance than it is to the players. We are very good at hiding in plain sight.

I want to write more on this topic later, but now I want to focus on the next odd statement that came out. Dr. Ruth whom I admire stated that while she admired Jason for coming out, that sexual orientation is a private matter. I have heard this comment from many gay people as well. 

I will agree that details of anyone's sex life are private but one's sexual orientation should be public. One's race obviously is and often one's nationality. The problem with keeping one's sexual orientation private is that the common default assumption people make about someone is that they are heterosexual. This assumptions dictates many of the ways people interact. 

I have experienced many uncomfortable moments because the people around me, including my parents, assumed I was straight. Many of those now feel like fools now that they know different. If I know you are gay, I won't try to set you up with my opposite sex cousin. If I know you are gay, I will feel quite comfortable sharing my appreciation of the hottie jogging down the street. 

No I had to listen to straight guys go on about a woman's "bodacious ta-ta's" and try to find ways of slipping out from the numerous dates with women my dad tried to set me up on. So sexual orientation should never be assumed and to get here, we all need to be more open about our sexuality.

Finally, I read the article about LeRoy Butler (famed Packer BTW) who lost a lucrative speaking engagement at a church because of his support for Jason Collins. Now the church is within its rights to cancel Butlers speech to youth about bullying. But they went on to try to encourage him to recant his support, to deny his character. 

LeRoy made a wonderful point that the church was trying to bully him into doing something against his values - ironically the very topic he was scheduled to speak about.

So these are the points that most gays have to live with all the time:
  • if I don't acknowledge you, you don't exist
  • if you are different keep it to yourself and just deal with everyone's insensitivity
  • if you don't agree with us we will punish you
 

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Return and Trusting God

For those of you who have found and read my blog, I appreciate you. I wanted to let everyone know that I am still around, still gay, continuing my 7 year long distance relationship to my wonderful guy, still a Christian... but I am no longer employed by the rather large employer who was draining my life from me.

It was a big decision, one that God had been encouraging me to do for several years. One I had resisted even longer. It was very difficult to give up a very well paying job when there was no place to go to. I was not ready, I told myself. I don't have enough saved up. I should find another job first. The reasons for my inertia were countless.

The reasons for leaving were also numerous. Two years working for a woman who was impossible to please (not just me but her entire team had the issue), ever increasing workloads with 55-60 hour weeks for 3 months, taking away people on my team without replacing them, not enabling me to transfer to a different job...

This job was never a good fit for me. I knew this long ago. I was a square peg and they increasingly demanded I fit into their uniformly round holes.

Stress was high, my health was deteriorating and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Except for the one God kept showing me.

I have written before about the ways, some quite humorous that God communicates with me. This time he used a psychologist, TV commercials, the ex-wife and the very nice emergency staff at the local hospital after I went there with some chest pains.

I tell people that when God's still small voice fails to get my attention, he will eventually resort to a firm virtual slap upside the head. 

But what about the money, the security... and the inertia?

And God said, what about your creativity, your dreams, your stress and your life?  You have enough to get by for awhile. Besides I have other things I need you for.

A close co-worker told me she could tell I hadn't changed jobs much in my life. This job isn't worth it. She was right. Of course, God was right. So I told God, if this is what you want, I trust you will catch me when I let go and jump from my secure nest.

So I turned in my notice and left at the end of 2012. Its been 4 months now and I am returning to the person I used to know. Not returning exactly, liberating the real me. I have wanted to return to this blog but it takes time to heal.

I feel there have been three major traumas in my life, long term chronic traumas that I have finally escaped. The first was being in the closet, the second was being married and the third was the job.

People are telling me how much different I am now, how much more happy and content.

And I am.

Thanks, God for forcing me to trust you.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

How Many More

"How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?" Rep. Steve Simon of Minnesota asked.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Go Unto All the Lands...

I am not against proselytizing, per se, but when it becomes a judgemental assault on another individual, I believe it has drastically crossed the line.

Many religions, including Christianity, have a violent period in their history when evangelism looked a lot like open warfare, even masacre. Too many innocents were given the choice of repenting and/or dying, and many were not even given a choice. Of course today we are much more civilized, right?

Sadly, the bully apostle is still at work, though somewhat less lethal in most cases.

I am all for the free exchange of ideas. I enjoy discussing religious ideas and reading various authors as part of my meditations. I don't mind when I am challenged by an idea I may not agree with for it gives me a chance to listen to God's wisdom.

As a person who is trying to live an authentic life consistent with my values and morals, I have been on the receiving end of some rather unpleasant judgement and proselytizing. I am at a point in my life where I will not back away from a challenge, nor will I return to the energy-sapping shame that I suffered from during much of my life.

But I more offended now when I see others suffering what some have called "Bible abuse" or I have thought of as "Attack of the Pharasees 2011."

This takes so many forms from physical assault to hell-fire sermons to the perverse interpretation of hating the sin but loving the sinner.

Today I was checking my blood pressure at work. Next to the room with the BP machine is an empty room set aside for personal meditation including an accomodation to the many Muslims who work with us and whose faith requires frequent periods of kneeling prayer.

While I admire those who practice their convictions, I was deeply offended by what I saw as a mean-spirited, intolerant assault on Muslims.

On the floor of the room was a pile of Christian tracts from one of the fundamental churches where I live. To me this was no different than a Shia yelling condemnation in a Catholic church service or someone replacing the cross on an altar with a Star of David.

It was crass, disrespectful and just patently offensive. In other words, a direct assault on someone's faith.

This is not the first time I have found and reported such literature, but the first time I saw it in a place specifically set aside for people to exercise their faith without interruption.

It's not too many steps from there to "convert or die."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Creation and Existence

As we close the first decade of the new millenium, it's a good time to write. First I want to let you know that I am still here and doing well, though there have been many personal and job related issues demanding the attention I would rather direct in other ways. I can't guarantee my ongoing availability but will write when I can and feel a calling.

Two things happened recently that prompts the topic at hand. First, a few months ago I took a short road trip vacation to ease my mind. Driving for me is a meditative time - when done correctly. That means finding winding backroads with little traffic that provide a constantly changing picture of creation both natural and human. I appreciate the architecture of both the natural world and humanity's version of creation via homes and towns and churches and roads and barns.

On my final day of exploring the Ohio River Valley through Ohio, W. Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, and after a hearty meal and a side of humanity at a local Waffle House, I noticed an interesting red box on the map along my route - the Creation Museum.

Well, I have to check this out, I decided and made the short drive to the place. Half expecting to see something resembling a large metal barn or factory, I was quite surprised to find a modern archtecturally pleasing complex complete with an intricate garden and a guard directing traffic as he smiled and bid me welcome in a strangely Stepford manner.

I was interested to see how certain people justified their belief in a 6,000 year old planet where dinosaurs and people walked hand in hoof and where all the geological wonders of the planet and astronomical marvels were created by a vary hands on God. And I firmly believe in the signs posted to honor their beliefs. I just don't share them.

Well when I got inside, there was much promise of a creationism marvel, but when I saw the $25 ticket price I balked. I only could spare a few minutes for a quick run through and the price seemed excessive for that purpose. I regretted not seeing the evidence they had chosen to convince me that the Bible contained God's own literal account of creation and that science was a mere deception.

More recently, as I was looking for content for my new Kindle, I happened on a free book written about 130 years ago titled "Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions." Considering that much evidence for such a book has been around much longer than 130 years, I began reading it.

I currently finished reading the first chapter concerning the creation stories (you did know there are 2 quite different ones in Genesis?) and it got me re-thinking about the museum again.

First off, I believe that a God that would create a universe billions of years old is far more believable and worthy of worship than one who took 6 days. Second of all, if the creationists are correct, that makes God rather deceptive in that we have been given the intelligence to discover the intricate wonders of creation only to find that our faculties are lying to us. I kone God has a great sense of humor, but not a cruel and sadistic one.

Take just the light of a distant start. We can see in the night sky the light of stars much farther than 6,000 light years away. Now which is easier to believe? That God created that star millions of years ago so that its light is just now reaching us? Or that God created that star only 6,000 years ago and also created the electron stream of light particles between us so that my eyes now would see the light that shouldn't be reaching me for a few more million years yet?

I also remember when my son and I stood at the rim of Crater Lake in souther Oregon. The sign before us told of a mountain thousands of feet higher than the 8,000 feet that is left. And that the top 6,000 feet were blown off in an explosion around 7,700 years ago that far surpased Mt St Helens in power and was likely witnessed by the Klamath tribe.

The interesting thing in the book is that dozens of religion's (eastern, western and new world) creation story is almost identical to the Biblical one. And most of these religions predate the Hebrews significantly. Now I also believe that ancient myths usually have some root in fact. For example flood stories probably coincide with the end of the last ice age and the dramatic rise in sea level.

These creation stories shared remarkable details such as creating man from dust, that woman was the cause of the fall, of a tree of knowledge and immortality, of a paradise and a serpent and even a dragon / cherubim guarding the entrance, and many, many more including a woman named Ivi. BTW, if you think a Cherubim is an angellic being, you might want to read a bit more about them. They are not something you want to meet on a dark night and equating them to a dragon is a reasonable thing to do.

So what event are all these similar creation stories talking about? To me that is the marvelous thing; to try to imagine what a world of cultures and peoples could be really describing. Was there really a paradise where people got along? Where food was provided by God and required no agriculture or hunting or gathering? Was there a time we really could talk to the animals? And was there a real tree with fantastic fruit?

So what do I believe? That the reality of creation is much more complex than we can currently understand. That while Adam and Eve may mythically represent first people, humanity did not descend from only two individuals. And indeed the universe is far older than creationists believe and that I cannot suspend rationality to join creationists in something that, to me, makes almost no difference in my faith. I also cannot believe nor respect a god who consciously and thoroughly deceives his people.

The book also points out that there is a theological quandry tied to the creation story - if man did not actually fall from God's grace in paradise, then why would he need a redeemer in Jesus? The real question is, does it matter? How important is it that Jesus brings Christians the return to God's grace denied us by the actions of Adam and Eve? Christ did so many wonderful, and mundane, things does this one responsibility negate the others?

It also seems like there is a lot of jumping through spiritual hoops (not to mention the millions of dolars to build a state of the art museum) to support the basic assumption that the Bible in inerrant. Of course some need the Bible to be inerrant, to be the 'facts' supporting their beliefs and supporting their actions. It seems an act of desperation akin to an osterich burying its head in the sand. Gone (in the West anyway) are the 'good old days' when heresy could be punished by death.

So whether you believe the universe is 6,000 years old or 6 times 2 or 3 billion years old...

Happy New Year!

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