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From NakedPastor.com:

Gotye's "now you're just somebody that I used to know".

I love Gotye’s song.

This prayer from the cell can be taken many ways. Here’s a few options:

  1. Does it mean, flatly, that I no longer believe in God?
  2. Or, does it mean that the god I used to know is no longer a viable one, that it was more like an idol, no where near matching the actual God?
  3. Or, does it mean that God broke up with me, left me, abandoned me, and that I simply don’t know him anymore because he’s gone?
  4. Or, does it mean that I used to think I actually knew God, but the deeper I go into The Mystery the more I realize I don’t have a sweet clue, that I really don’t know anything at all?

Take your pick. Or perhaps you have another?

Yup, I know that prayer.  & I’ve meant each of the those things at different times.  Now it’s more of the, “Damn, I’m clueless & have a lot to learn” variety.

I like to think that I’m an amasing specimen of humanity at times.  You know the one that has only meaningful relationships, oozes unconditional, unrequested love out of overy pore, has it all together, and still manages to cook phenomenal meals everyday.  Even if the thought passes quickly.

turns out I’m actually just an average guy, in an average, messy home, with lots of hermit-tendancies, serious issues of procrastination and being on time, and no garden.  But I have plans!

And I plan on working some of them out here!

Maybe…

 

ps. Inspiring post on Simplifying:

http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life/

I’d like to imagine that I have the perfect piece of advice to share with you.  Strike that.  Make it, ” the nugget of wisdom that’ll revolutionize you’re life.”  It’s that good.

It won’t hurt, of course that I should be making bank off of you wanting me to devulge such important information.

But as you know, you cruelly brilliant person, you, I don’t.

As much as I’d like to have the answers to how-to-respond-to-a-riduculously-blind-fury-that-overcomes-you-for-no-reason-except-someone’s-petty-frustration, it just isn’t there.  Oh, I want it to be, of course, but reality sets in eventually.  And I won’t be becoming the next millionaire sensation tonight.

*sigh*

So back to the reality.  I’m in my first relationship.  It wasn’t puppy-dog tails, fireworks and rainbows for me.  Ever.  [odd tidbits: the puppy ran away & got ran over 2 hours after coming home, the fireworks were cliche & I have issues with rainbows]  But it was about finding & extending the home that exists within myself, getting lost with the craziest match & waiting till the realization that losing him wouldn’t crush me, but would forever be my “what if” that held me down.

Love is something that I felt experienced to talk about before I met someone.  I’d studied & listened, absorbed and digested, and quietly and vocally mused about this crazy notion.  Old married folks, theologians, latino compadres, romance movies, dogs that never ran away, compassionate doctors overseas and even Jesus offered input.  I’m still convinced that I had/have a decent foundation on this love deal.  Most varieties of it, at least.

I understand the depth of forgiving-till-you-lose-count and looking-past-the-pain-they-inflicted.  The concept of “the least of these” and how there should never be an us vs them, or me vs you.  It truly is possible to take off your shoes and give them to the vet on the corner of 5th and virginia.  But I haven’t done that.  My shoes keep my feet warm, and my expressions of love may mostly match my theology, except where the expression is simply blank, trying to not look apathetic while struggling with what it should look like.

The reality is, there’s so much that I know or understand, that doesn’t make it outside of myself.  & love is restrained if it doesn’t venture to others through our fingertips, through our time spent, through our shoes offered.  Wise words? Perhaps.  But my experiences still leave me lacking.

The reality of my life is that for someone so perpetually convinced to be understanding and compassionate, I can still be shocked by the dripping rage that flashes through me without provocation.  Really.  It just happened.  And my almost-but-not-quite-holier-than-thou self is very displeased.  This does not happen.  Not to me.

I thought.

But then I had to send the man that I care so deeply for to bed without me.  The shock to my system was great enough that I knew I needed to sit down, and calmly, objectively, write out the solution to it all.  The answer to my shocking self-discovery.  & revolutionaize your world in the process.

…it sounded better than looking at posts of phenomenal homes to distract and assauge my battered ego.

And I have no wisdom for the ages.  Not even a trinket of a consolation prize.

…except that maybe it’s okay to have a few messy parts of ourselves.  As long as they don’t keep us from where we should be.  Or is it, as long as we recognize those parts of ourselves and keep it from taking over all of us.

Image

A funny thing happened recently.  Actually lots of funny things.  I’ve managed to radically change my life since I first started intermittently writing here.

Turns out, I fully believe in the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the church based on my understanding of scriptures.  QSU Guy & I got very serious. I let go of my hesitations towards being unequally yolked by understanding that it is warned against but not necessarily short-of-God’s-will.  We moved in to a home together.  I successfully begun the first steps of starting my own home-cooked-meals-to-order business.  Attended another GCN conference and got reminded that I have been put in a crazy position to love on a seriously diverse crowd of folks.  & I decided to marry QSU guy.  Right after my college graduation ceremony and a very unexpected death of a grandmother I haven’t seen for years.  Which put me back in touch with the biological father and that whole side of my family.  It was wonderful, the blessings that came out of such tragedy.  Then I picked a date & gave everybody less than a month’s notice for the wedding.  So I just got married.  And my parents attended, in spite of vehement disagreements.  And it was still light on stress and expenses, and laden with love being poured out on us.  And perfect.  More than a couple of imperfect boys could have hoped for.

Yup, lots of change over the course of the last two years, and I can’t wait to see where the next ones’ll take us.

 

PS. That’s my own labor-of-love cake.  10+ hours of chocolate, sweat and tears.  & now it’s breakfast…

Somewhere on Facebook a friend shared a like of a testimony.  I love testimonies, because they’re people’s stories of themselves and God.  This particular one was by Scott Lybrand, host of blog Gay Restorationist.  Here’s some random clippings to whet your appetite:

Waking up.

I came out of the blackout to discover that I was behind the wheel of my Buick, driving down a large, tree-lined boulevard I didn’t recognize. How had I gotten here? In what direction was I driving? Who was the person in the car with me?  How had I gotten so drunk?

A few years earlier, my life looked completely different. In 2003 I graduated from Harding University, a Church of Christ school in Arkansas with a B.S. in Chemistry, and moved to Chicago to study at the University of Chicago Law School. I came to Chicago afraid I would be out of my intellectual depth, but I quickly discovered I thrived in the work hard/play hard environment. Which is to say, I knew how to work hard, and I desperately needed to play hard after 18 years in Texas and 4 years in Arkansas.

Screw you, God. … God versus Gay….


During this time of downward trajectory, I made one great effort to save myself. One day, my lesbian-latina-Yale-educated-atheist-feminist roommate told me to snap out of it. “I can’t believe I’m saying this” she continued “but…you have to go to church. Now.”…


When I arrived at the meeting, I looked awful, smelled worse, and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I sat in the back row and didn’t raise my hand when the moderator looked directly at me and asked if any new people were in the room. I tried to run out of the room as quickly as I could after the meeting, but was stopped by short, angry-looking bald man. I thought I was going to be scolded for not raising my hand or for some other breach of etiquette. Instead, he looked me in the eye and said, “You never have to feel this way again.” That moment was, and continues to be, the deepest moment of grace in my life.

…I testify: resurrection doesn’t just happen at Easter, or at the Eschaton. I experienced God’s resurrection in my own life. I am a queer, bourbon-soaked Lazarus, and I tell you that I have been raised from the dead. I was dead, but I am alive. And I feast at God’s table, because God is love. Thanks be to God.

 

Click here for the rest!!

It’s wonderful.  Completely not my story, but I can still somehow relate to the desire to pick up and walk away from God, from church, from life.  And I know what it means to be chased by a stubborn God who has his own desires.  Plus, Scott’s story actually does follow a bit of the stereotypical notion society has about “the destructive ways of that lifestyle, with the reality and ending the doesn’t fit the stereotype.  I love it when God seems to think of different endings than society expects.  Here’s a hint: Scott’s still gay, lol.

But take a few minutes to read it if you will.  Besides being wonderfully written & infinitely touching (I really did tear up for most of it), Scott’s story is encouraging.  It reminds us of how involved God makes himself, how loved we are, and how we can’t make it out on our own, but do have a higher power that wants to help.  That’s why I love testimonies.  They help us dwell on all that is good, noble and pure.

I heard a sermon about reading scripture a while ago.  It wasn’t condemnational, but inspirational, which is rather surprising considering how much I (we?) tend to fail at it.  But the perspective was not to  view it as failures, but infinite opportunities to pick it up again, infinite times to be the lost coin found again by a desperate lover.  And it pointed out that there was no implicit need to have an in-depth bible study every time the book was opened.  Why must every scripture be tiresomely strangled of a meaning or application to fit into our lives.  That’s what I’d tried in the past, and I can vouch that  it’s exhausting.  What does the number of men in the tribe of Benjamin versus those from Judah teach me?  Still don’t know, but I know they’re different numbers now.

Apparently, it takes about 3 months to read the bible cover to cover, if you read at a slow pace, for 30 min every day. I don’t remember when I started, but I’m in Numbers so far, and even enjoyed Leviticus until the very end.  After hearing the 3rd repetition of sacrificial  requirements, it’s easy to go glossy-eyed.  But I would just sit down, set a 30min timer and read like it was a novel, not a textbook.  Isn’t it?  The Word of God is not the Bible, I’ve been told.  Doesn’t that sound blasphemous.  But the book itself says so.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word of God is a living, perfect being who inspired many faithful men to write down some of the things He wanted us to know.  But the book was made for us to find Him, to see his love, to understand the graciousness of a Just God who pulled those whiny captives out of Egypt, cast plagues when they turned against Him, but repeatedly, time and time again, accepted them back because He just couldn’t stay away.  He loved them more than they deserved, He provided ways for them to understand their depravity and learn to trust and follow Himself all the better.  He kept track of just how many were in that massive traveling nation that walked into the land He set up for them.  He goes against my logic and communicates with a spiritual diviner of the enemy who ends up blessing Israel 3 times after trying to curse them.  The God I thought I knew wouldn’t go that far.  He wouldn’t lower himself to speak with a pagan spiritualist who was trying to invoke Him to destroy Israel.  Seriously, this story’s got some juiciness… And I am hopelessly in love with it, sappy romance novel that it is.  Still surprises me that it’s nonfiction too.

1. Spring Break

I took my QSU Guy with me to our college group’s spring break trip on Catalina Island.  We held hands, laughed & met so many folks (including a couple of unexpected lesbians), went hiking, got into our first real fight, and spent hours immersed in God’s presense.  Literally: he spent 8hrs/day going through Mark & I learned and utilized prayer ministry round the clock.  It was a christian college retreat.  That we attended together.  O.o

I arrived frustrated and hard-hearted towards most of my peers, dreading the moment someone would tell me how I wasn’t allowed to dine with them or pray for them.  I was already furious at the thought that someone would pour hatred out at QSU Guy, who was genuinely trying to investigate God for himself.  And over the first couple days, it was a very dry experience.  Till God really hit me for being such a loveless jerk (who has ironically always detested uncompassionate people and the use of us vs “them”…).  It’s shocking what He’ll do when you ask and seek.  On a small hiking trail before dinner, my bitterness was turned to concern and compassion for all the students at camp.  Instead of learning about prayer, I found myself praying outwardly, for the hundreds of people I would see and directly with those who would ask us for prayer.  And boy, did we ever see prayers answered!  The impact of that week on my spirit and relationship with God was astounding.

By the end of the week, the only people that confronted QSU Guy or myself  were wanting to thank us for being willing to be authentic and place so much trust in the fellowship.  Straight students and staff told of how they and their peers had been struggling with how to treat homosexuals before the trip, and were grateful to get a chance at living out love.  A counselor who helped establish my branch of InterVarsity laughed as he told me how excited he was to getting back home and answering all the confused and charged questions about the gay couple.  Maybe it was an understatement to say that the impact was astounding…

2. Catering

SB asked me to do appetizers for her wedding.  It was gorgeous. Simple colors, beautiful dress, “country-chic.”  I loved it.  Spent days planning, and did all the shopping and cooking the day of and before the event.  After how loving SB was to me, I was estatic to be able to do anything she would possibly desire, free-of -charge.  QSU Guy & I ended up unoficially being in charge of not just appetizers, but everything SB’s mom worried about.  We ad-libbed when this was happening or where that was; we cut cakes and replenished chocolate fondue; we cleaned and served, on and on an on.  I’ll confess that I love the high of being the person who’s expected to have all the answers and pull off mini-miracles.  The best part what actually hearing SB’s mom thank QSU guy & I for taking the stress off of her.  It’s one thing to do a great job, or be acknowledged for it.  But as a young christian boy with  boyfriend, it means so much more when we were knowingly invited and allowed to take part of such an intimate and special event.  She apparently told everybody that if it weren’t for those 2 boys, the reception would have failed horribly.  And then she tipped us both very generously and unexpectedly.

3. Interview

I got an email from another staff worker that left me in tears:

So, I had a question for you. I have been wanting to write a more in depth prayer letter/article that highlights what God has been doing in the gay community within our Intervarsity chapter and I was wondering if I could interview you? I am planning to ask a few others, but I thought I’d ask you first because I believe that you actually have the most to say since you’ve been a part of Intervarsity the longest.  I believe God has been putting it on my heart to write an honest story about openly gay students in our chapter, how that has affected their faith, and what role has Intervarsity played(the good, the bad and the ugly).

I am also actually going to be doing a 6 week internship with the National Writing Staff Team for Intervarsity/USA this summer and want to take this story back to the headquarters because I believe that the headquarters needs to hear honest stories about the ways that Intervarsity has been a blessing to the gay community AND the ways that Intervarsity has failed to bless the gay community.

Intervarsity needs to hear these stories because I truly believe that it’s only through hearing stories that Intervarsity can continue to grow and change(locally and nationally).

I know that what i am asking you is a big deal and I totally would respect your decision if you would rather not take part in an interview.  I am so thankful for you and for the ways that you have really loved so many people in Intervarsity and I hope you know that you are nothing but a blessing to us!

I was stunned by the bravery of what she’s doing, and awed by how graciously she’s going about it.  We’ll be meeting this week.

4. Feast

I had dinner with Ms Kathy/Lady on Fire and 12 gorgeous GLBT folks from near and far.  Actually it was a full out feast, surrounded by Christians who’ve dedicated themselves to Christ’s work.  Ms Kathy does it all, and just won a contest to minister to the GLBT community at Pride Parades: Then there was her activist daughter (the other token straight), the feisty Native American who rocked their world, a young Filipino who feeds people in his spare time (ie: catered for 150 & did our feast the same day, b/c that’s how he expresses love), the oddly-paired guys who date long-distance, love youtube and live some of the most righteous lives imaginable, a mysterious woman, the creator of the affirming christian radio and a new, brilliant blog 5 dogs and my beau (who I’d probably describe as flirting with Jesus, after spring break) and myself.  Stirred together with great food, some Apples-to-Apples, and light libations resulted in a hilarious night of goodness.

5-1000. Oh, the little blessings do definitely consider, but these were what struck me as particularly surprising and glaring.

Love and Peace.

Yesterday’s all-you-can-eat sushi reminded me how much I love a good variety of sushi (especially nigiri) and why I rarely go (I can put away a good more than I should). Here in Reno, sushi is evasive. Particularly the phenomenon of all-you-can-eat for $12-$20. We have one of the highest densities of sushi restaurants per capita, and everybody seems to use sushi as a way to celebrate or just have a special lunch/dinner out.

As humans, we need some form of special time to spend with those we love. And we have to remember to include ourselves and our God. As I sit here typing, I’m also cherishing the unplanned 2 hour dinner yesterday, where I was able to spend time with my QSU guy. I’m also so grateful for choosing to read some books that I wanted & then spend some time in scripture this morning. I’d forgotten why Elisha was so amazing, and am still processing just how God shone through all the crazy happenings.

I’m nearing the end of Gary Paul Nabhan’s Coming Home to Eat – the pleasures and politics of local foods & find myself all the more drawn to eating food who’s source I can identify. This next step in deciding how to eat well (& economically) coincides with me getting more involved with our local *food co-operative. The things they do astound me. Gary Paul’s really clarified the importance of why we should eat food that’s been grown sustainably, and how our food choices are directly equal to our stewardship of the world. And all he does is tell his personal stories and encounters! I’m hopeless in light of a good story teller. …like Mr Jesus.

The other book that I spend my ‘me’ time on is by Chastity Bono, the apparently very vocal, lesbian daughter of Cher. (I was recently corrected that Chastity is now Chaz, and identifies as male) I had no clue when I picked it up from the thrift store. Family Outing is my story, possibly your story, and dozens of others as told by so many people Chastity has interviewed and then organized beautifully. It’s a book of stories. Tear-drawing tales of people that recount their negative and positive stories growing up, discovering themselves, and discovering their friends and especially family’s reactions. I’m at the end, hearing how the parents of previous interviewees tell their own stories. It’s been a healing book. Seeing my own quiet lack of acknowledgement and simultaneous prayers of desperation, as well as my gradual restoration and growth in myself and God in people whom I otherwise would never know does build me up. Our stories, our testimonies, our lives, are meant to be shared and only through them will others learn. (Oh, dear, I get a bit excited obviously).

In quiet honor of my attempts at food awareness and being ok with who I am, I left to write all this up with a packed lunch of a delectable soup I made from Sweet and Japanese potatoes, and a sexy scarf around my neck. Oh, the fashionable foodie that I aspire to be… Or is it a queer cook?
😀

I’ve always wanted more male peers. Dunno why, but I don’t keep ’em very well. And I just gave up the closest male (boyfriend to be specific) relationship in my life a few days ago. Only to find out that my next best guy friend also wants to be my next best boyfriend too. o.O
The good part is that he’s suddenly become inspired to become closer to Christ and get a physically demanding hobby. The downside is that those were 2 of the things I’d mentioned were on my list-in-progress for what I’m looking for. (I’m not looking now, but taking the advice of this ever phenomenal lady to figure out what’s really important to me first).
I feel the need to watch some daytime TV to figure out what would make the most appropriately dramatic story twist now… Maybe my old high school friends need to show up and slap me for for not being a good father to our child I just found out about. Maybe not. Thank you God for not providing me with cable.

Aside, does anybody else dislike the sound of a “gay man’s voice?” There’s a particular quality that some guys have that bugs me. And I just heard another recording of myself that had it loud and clear. It’s almost as frustrating as the realization that I talk in a higher pitch to strangers on the phone (a typical fem quality) and drop my voice for my super masculine uncle. QSU guy was always laughing at me for that one, but insisted that I don’t have too much of a gay man’s voice.

Why Testing Sanity?

Just to get some things out there. To get some feedback and critical judgements. To get things together enough to talk to the people in my life that deserve more than "I don't know." To meet you & hear what you have to say about matters.

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