On Gratitude. 

Here is an unedited chapter from a book I wrote in November 2012. It’s so interesting to see how that book changed my life. 


This writing was the genesis of my exploration into the power of gratitude. To continue this conversation please go to our online group: Our Gratitude Circle

November 24, 2012: Gratitude

In an effort to continue to write I have asked my friends to give me inspiration. I love questions. This one comes from Paul “The Ripples Guy” Wesselmann: 

How can you be more grateful for the less enjoyable happenings of today?
In the past month I have experienced a lot. Gone through counseling, left a church, came out of the closet, had people speak evil of me, and even have people I thought highly of go and talk behind my back, kicking me out of the role I had in leadership in the church, and didn’t even give me the honor of telling me to my face. Am I a little bitter? Possibly. If all of that isn’t enough, I had a friend pass away, and I got to speak at her funeral today. I have cried, I am broken, I’m hurt, I am experiencing suffering.

So how do I remain grateful. I think a list would be in order so I will try that. I will give you my personal list of 5 ways I stay grateful during these less enjoyable happenings.

1. Tucker: My sister has this little bundle of joy named Noah Tucker. He is the most beautiful boy in existence. I make sure I spend time with him every week. He is eight months old, and already so smart. 
During this past semester I have been taking a developmental psychology courses and getting to have firsthand experience with my nephew. It’s like the greatest homework ever. One of the things I have learned in class, is about the development of emotions. It is quite odd that one of the first emotions is “Curiosity.” Not hate, anger, fear, shame, guilt. All those things we learn from the people around us. But we are born with this operating system and it’s primary functioning style is “Curiosity.” 
It is so much fun to watch this child be in his Curiosity. He plays, he explores, he tasts things, he manipulates them with his hands. He wants to do so much. I just sit back and get curios with him. We find out what things taste like. Like my step-dads hangers for his suit pants. They taste cool. And for a kid with no teeth, I bet they are amazing. 
As I step away from this play time with him, I have to look at my own curiosity. Have I lost this sense of wonder? Have I stopped figuring the world out, have I stopped exploring? Maybe being ungrateful happens because I get use to my surroundings, that I never step outside of my box to explore something more. Maybe a key to unlocking gratitude is exploring the unknown. 
Imagine what it would be like to get curious about your partner, your friends, your family, your church, your neighbor. What would it be like to get to know them more? There is so much we take for granted, and taken care of by just getting curious. You may find out some new things about them, and be grateful that they are in your life. Get Curious.

2. Legos: My sister called me up a couple days before my birthday and asked me, “what do you want for your birthday?” I thought about the keyboard I needed. The $300 I needed for tuition, and a bunch of other things that would make life easier. Then I had another thought, so I sent her a message, “LEGOS.” 
I have been looking at this one set of Legos for about a year now. It’s just a box of like 650 Legos. No instructions, just blocks. I wouldn’t buy it, because it was $30 and I need that money for other things. But I wanted these Legos. I remember playing with them as a kid. Every time I got a new box I would spend the morning putting them all together. It was so much fun. But when they came with instructions I would build them and then leave them there. There wasn’t much else I could do with them. 
Not my new box of Legos. I put them out in a basket. I run my hadns through them. I sit down with people and put things together, and there is a lot of fun things you can do with Legos. 
Like there are a lot of fun things you can do with the leaves piling up in your yard. Sometimes we have to just have complete abandon, and play. Play is good for the soul. Play is so simple, and we learn so much in it. We get out of our thoughts, and find rapture that takes us away to the ability to be serene, and at peace with the world. 
So bake a mud pie. Play with Legos. Color outside of the lines. Buy some Play-Doh. Have fun. You know you want to. Just Play

3. Friends: These are the true treasures that you get to collect through out time. I have heard people say, you only get one or two real close friends, but That isn’t true. I find that when I am an open loving friend, all of my friendships tend to be ones that are so close and connected. People love more, open up more, and there is a level of trust and sharing that can’t be found anywehere else.
When you chose friends to spend time with. Find the ones that listen to you. Find the ones that care. Find the ones that know how to give their opinion, and actually acknowledge that there opinion is just that. Find friends that know how to reconnect you with faith, reconnect you with living, reconnect you with who you are. I love Beth, Whitney, John, Corey, and there are so many other people that have been there for me in the past few weeks. I can call them up I can sit with them, and they don’t have a speech prepared about, “what I should do.” I love these people. 
But to have friends you have to be a friend. I am so glad that I have spent the hours being there for people. It takes a lot of time to invest in friendships. And I never did it thinking that one day I would need them. But the moment I needed their friendship, I was able to just pull from the well that I had been depositing in. So I’m so thankful for being a friend. True gratitude happens when you can be a friend to everyone, even to your enemies. I had exes that came to me during my coming out experience and told me they were praying for me, and supporting me through it all. I have spent the time to be a friend. Be Friendly

4. Family: I have heard people say, “you choose your friends, you are given your family. “ Well I choose my family. My family is an amazing unit. We have come through so much, and they continue to call me into greatness. They are my biggest advocates, my biggest fans, they are my family. 
When I am not myself my family sees it. For the past year my mom and sister could tell the hurt in my life and would ask me questions about my loneliness. They would have me share, and they had concern for me. They would call me up, spend time with me, and make sure I was there with them. They knew before I knew.
Staci (my sister-in-law) gave me the greatest gift this thanksgiving. She hugged me, and said, “I’m so glad I have my friend back.” How many times do we put up walls between family and not experience them. How often did she want to share with me but for some reason my ‘self-righteousness’ got in the way? How many times did me trying to be above it all put me in a place where my family couldn’t get close? I finally came back, and I’m so glad my family never left me. 
Family is so much more than just blood. It is conversations along the way. It is the traditions, it is the fights, it is the times you went out to McDonald’s together. It is everything along the way. There is history, there is a story, and it needs to continue. Spend time with you family often, and never think of yourself too good to hang out with them. They are the ones who have been supporting you all along. They have believed in you, they have fought for you they love you. It hasn’t always been perfect and that’s why in family we can find forgiveness. Love your family

5. Words: We use them every day. We have been learning and manipulating them forever, but they can go by unnoticed and taken advantage of without any care for them. This past year I have learned to listen more and speak less. I have learned to choose my words wisely because I will eat them one day. I have learned to use my dictionary and understand the words that I’m saying. 
I have taken apart the language of the mind, and seen where some words have been tearing me apart. I love words. I love new words, I love knowing words. I love the WORD. I love how the WORD contains thoughts, ideas, beliefs, intention, and so much more. Words can do more than describe, they can create, they can speak things into existence, and words can be so much more than just black letters grouped on to paper. 
Words can inspire, can implore, can encourage, explore, and give new meaning to life. Yet we treat them as meaningless, and we say things we “don’t mean” and yet they hold so much meaning. We call someone dumb, retarded, a fagot, stupid, fat, ugly the list goes on, and we don’t realize the impact they have. I would rather be beaten with sticks and stones, cause words have the power to break you. I have had people speak evil of me, I have spoken evil of others, and today I value my words. I put great thought into the words I share. I make them clear, pointed, and loaded with intention. 
I value a conversation where people know the power of words, and I look for people who want to know more about words. In a simple conversation you can explore a person’s minds by the words they use, and you can create a new person by showing them new words. We teach our nephew words, and it is amazing that at one year when he can only say one word “Mama” his understanding is at about 1000+ words. What words are you using? What words do you know? What words do you use to show you love? How have you used your words?” I remember teaching toddlers and when they would fight, scream, or throw a tantrum we engrained in them a mantra. Use your words.

So this is I am grateful during the less enjoyable happenings of today. I get curious, I take time to Play. I remain Friendly. Love my family, and carefully use my words. Times may not always be want we want. But we can choose what we will do with the time. Stay grateful. If you don’t know how to be grateful: Get curious about it. Play with being grateful. Be friendly to those people around you. Love on your family. And choose your words wisely. You never know. That experience alone might bring out the gratitude in you. 

To continue a conversation for gratitude please join our online group : Our Gratitude Circle

Memories

Guy Fawkes Day!

12212490_10153253771377291_1524352821_n

In 2012, I spent every evening sitting on a computer in Pete’s Place located in Corbett Center Student Union at New Mexico State University. Little did I know that the writing on those pages would not only change my life, but the words became the very creation of a possibility of a new life into which I would find my life. Here is the writing that started it all. (It has not been edited, and I don’t think I ever will) I hope you enjoy. Please share your thoughts:

“My mother said I broke her heart…but it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us…but within that inch we are free.”
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Living in integrity, is an area I must work on. Does it wise for me to put on a mask and be a person that so easily fits in, or do I take off the mask and risk people seeing me? By not being authentic, I am safe from ever being hurt. I can stay under the radar, fit in, and there by play the game of religiosity, and order that comes so easy to the masses. I can be a sheep, and follow the leader as if I am a lamb being led to the slaughter.

Or I can be myself. When I look at personality I see how we are so quick to create a being that fits in with an ethnocentric view of reality, but is this the best version of me? Am I truly living out the potential of what I am called into being? Or am I receding to a comfortable place, where peoples acceptance is more important than actual living. Taking off the mask, I find is a vulnerable, capable, new person, whose love of adventure, is caught up in a search for truth. When I live behind the mask, I sacrifice that very adventure, to live a mundane existence.

So I may break hearts, of people and I may hurt them, but this is inevitable. For me to truly be me, I have to give all that I am and be all that I am. Holding back, is not loving, but only a crippling fear, that sucks out of me the very life force, that sustains me. Living below the radar, I find that I am lost, and being unfulfilled. This comfort zone is no place for me to live.

I guess I could go on living this way, if integrity wasn’t so important; if my name meant nothing. If what I did didn’t matter. But this is slavery, slavery to the masses. I start serving god and people out of this crazy idea, that If I don’t do what is expected, I will not fit in. If I don’t follow these rules, I will not be loved. The only way to enjoy blessing, and escape cursing, is to put on the mask of holy righteous living. There I became a Pharisee. I was a fake. I became religious. I put on the sheep’s clothing, but inside there was a ravenous wolf tearing away at my heart. Eating up this lamb that I am.

I find that at the moment where I meet integrity; the moment where being authentic really comes into being, is the moment where I have to be honest with myself, and then honest with others. It is the moment when I have to stop hiding, when I stop pretending to be something I’m not, and when I choose to not stay behind the lies, and stories I make up. I am not who I have been, and I am not who you think I am. I have lied, I have been pretending.

I was afraid of being hurt by you, I was afraid of not fitting in. I was afraid that you would leave me out in the cold. I knew that the only way to get help was to change who I was, and not talk about what was going on inside. I never shared my struggle. I never thought you cared. I found delusions and believed them. They worked for a while. These stories became what I stood on, but they were just that, stories. No matter how much I believed in them, no matter how much I tried to puff them up, they still stood against the reality, that this was not who I am.

So do I continue to lie? Would this help further the cause? Would it help the group dynamics? Would it be a sacrifice? Would it help me? Or would I continue to die slowly inside? Would I continue to be cynical, cold, cutoff, unloving, sarcastic, and bitter? It tears me up inside when I see people living free, and I am stuck behind the chains of this mask? I’m bound in silence, to struggle with who I am, because the only way to fit in is to not tell you who I am.

So I take off the mask in dark places, or in the shadows where we meet. I take it off with people who have lived with their masks, and carry them now as trophies. As a badge of honor. That they too, once lived behind the mask, but now they share their masks with the world. They found that living without the mask, they were able to see more, conquer more, love more, experience more. They risked their lives, and lived to see a brighter day.

But I’m still scared, that you’ll leave me. I’m still scared, that you’ll run away. I’m still afraid, that you will want me to leave, or push me away. Thinking this, I now know that it was never really me that you loved. You only loved the mask. You loved the illusion of me, but you didn’t love me. For you never really knew me.

Yes I did great things in your presence, but you didn’t know me. Yes I helped you, and fed you, and comforted you, but you didn’t know me. I never let you in. I never let you see behind the mask. You saw the mask. All the behavior was done, to draw you in, to make you like me. I never gave you the greatest gift I had to offer. I never gave you myself.

You loved an illusion. An idea. You fell in love with a figment of my imagination. A character I made up. I was an actor on a stage, spinning a story, for your pleasure. You fell in love with the marionettes puppet show. But now I am cutting the strings, I’m pulling back the curtain, to reveal that all there ever was, was a decrepit actor on a stage. He was working to make ends meet, and fighting to work out some measly existence. But at the end of the night he took off his mask, and went home alone, and you went back to your house, loving the story, loving the stage, loving the character, but never knowing the actor.

I’m taking off the mask. I’m taking off the pain. I’m opening up to something new, and I’m releasing myself to live. NO more acting, no more stage, this is me. I’m walking into the light, to be known for once without the mask. I’m empty. I’m hurt, I’m vulnerable, I’m afraid, I’m alone, and I’m here.

I do not know what life is like without the mask. I do not know how to share myself, without that wall there to protect me. I do not know how to keep myself from pain and hurt; from the ridicule that I endured along the way. I know I will never live with the mask, But I’m so scared to walk without the comfort of it. I’m scared to walk alone, to stand up in the crowd and say, “This is who I am.”

I want you to know me. I want you to see into this hollow shell. These shallow conversations we’ve had have been nothing. There is a deep soul here that longs to share everything with you. I long to love and be loved, but I’m so afraid to take the risk. Why do they stand there with daggers? Why do they torment me? Why does the idea of you, and what you can do keep me locked up hiding behind my mask? Why do I care?

I imagine a place where no one wears masks. I imagine a place where we are free. I imagine a land, where we are loved for who we are. Where we love people and see into them. Where we hang our masks on the wall, and praise the days we took them off. I imagine a place where mask-wearers are welcome, and we comfort them, so that they too can experience the freedom of life beyond the mask. Where is this place? Who are these mystical dwellers of the land beyond the mask?

What if they are waiting for me to take off my mask? I guess I could always put it back on. But I’m tired of hiding. I can hide no longer; I must take this final risk, and live free. I would rather die without the mask, fully being known, than live forever in the bondage of this hell. This mask of hell, has taken so much from me. It has kept me from loving; it has kept me from being loved. It has kept me from myself.

I’m ready to create this life beyond the mask, this life where I am free. I’m ready to stand where I am vulnerable. I’m ready to die where I am free.

I’m ready to move away from…

Why do you serve?

Life transformed the day I realized that I could serve for the sake of serving. Up until then service was a means to an end. Acceptance, salvation, peace, love, and many more things were at the end of service. But when service became a way of being, and not just acting, I became the source of all that I was seeking. And now I could extend all that I was looking for to those who were in need. 

It’s the difference between teaching your children to share, and teaching your child the benefits of sharing. Our current models for teaching this basic skill is force and manipulation. We talk to our two year olds like they aren’t capable of understanding. And thus they grow up hording their wealth, and serving those in need becomes a way to please those who have rule over us. God, the government, or the people we find ourselves surrounded by. We don’t give out of the Abundance of our heart. We give to get you off my back, or so that you will say tha I am a “good boy.”

That may be simple but I watch people serve everyday. People want a paycheck, a tax write-off , access to heaven, access to gods blessing, or maybe even access to certain community. We serve because it looks good. And we will serve for this reason even if it kills us. And it just might. 

But when you serve from the heart, serve from your inner most being, you no longer need outside validation. Service becomes who you are and your actions follow suit. You no longer become interested in recognition, in fact you become accustomed to people resenting and even hating you. For those who serve it is not something we do because we will fit in better with the masses. We do it because we see the needs of our community, we see the pack of leadership, we see the hurt and pain caused by those who are in power. And for us that serve we aren’t trying to make a political statement or even make some legal motion that would make people serve, we serve because that’s what there is to do. 

Good Friday? Good for who?

“Hear the cries of the shackled from the onset of time,
For the chains of defeat theres no key.
See the tears of the broken, the cries of the slaves:
Is there no one worthy to set us free?”  – Worthy the Lamb

It is so fitting that we come to this Good Friday with such unrest. Political, religious, fear-filled unrest. To look back on this day in history not much has changed. The Religious zealots of the world lost their power to use capital/corporal punishment, so they try to influence the State to take over matters. This tension is not new. But one things is left in the void. The Person who will take responsibility for all of it.

You see blame is all that the religious people have in their power. They have a law that they think is higher than the law of the state, but they demand the state to give them power to enact their laws. The state has been given power to use punishment. I remember reading a book about Pontius Pilate, and learning about the laws and the reformation leading up to the crucifixion, and all of the struggles for power, and how Rome felt like they were there to keep the peace. Religious people are nuts when left to their own devices.

To prove my point, I had a man come knock on my door in the middle of the night telling me that God told him that I had never been baptized and that he needed to help me do that. I was a Pentecostal Preacher at the time, telling us something like that, is a joke (all UPC ministers preach is Jesus Name Baptism). The man went on to tell me how he would go to cemeteries and help people that had died receive salvation. So…. Maybe he was nuts, I don’t know. I’ve done some kooky things as well.

I had a “Christian” conservative ask me the other day if I believed in and followed Sharia Law. I laughed because the Law that he would have me keep, is just as bad. If he read the law the way it was written, he would never shave, not enjoy the luxurious life he has in America, and his wife, dear God, she wouldn’t be allowed to wear makeup, pants, cut her hair, or speak in public settings.

But those people are now in power in the State and are imposing and enacting these laws, and everyday I wonder when it will be that this all comes to a head. What will it take, or better yet? Who will it be that is willing to end the unrest?

Its not for lack of want, we all want to do something, but will we? Those who have been willing in the past gave their life. Moses, Esther, Jesus, Ghandi, MLK Jr., Yous ee these people are the ones that finally say, enough is enough, I will put my life up as an offering to stop this.

What was purchased with the life Jesus gave? He made away to allow everyone into the Kingdom of God. He put the Religious leaders of His day in line, broke their customs, and started a movement of people that were standing up and saying, “I’m allowed in.” And when those followers tried to exclude people, and even tell them that they would have to get circumcised, his Disciple hears from heaven that its time to stop distinguishing between clean and unclean. We will use that scripture to apply to eating our bacon, but not extend it further. How big is God’s grace?

Esther put her neck on the line, and look what she caused. Ghandi, schooled us, and showed us that we don’t even know who Christ is. While the Christians of the day use the government to bully people around the world, Ghandi used humility, fasting, prayer, and with non-violence gave his life to the freedom of his people.

Do you see where this is going? I wake up with this question everyday? Who will it be? Who will be the one that finally makes the mark? Finally settles it for once? Or maybe what I’m not seeing is how that person could be me?

I remember sitting in the theater watching Wicked, and how the storyline started to curl inside of my mind. Sometimes being good is considered and viewed as being wicked to the rest of the world, sometimes being good will be ignored, laughed at, mocked, resented, silenced, attacked, punished, or even get someone killed.

So I wonder on this Good Friday, who among us is Good. Who among us is Worthy? Who among us will finally set all people free?

you sought me

I sometimes wonder what God will say to me the day I finally meet up with the dude. You see I grew up an Apostolic Pentecostal, and worse, in the United Pentecostal Church. Ah!!! I really can’t say anything bad about the organization as a whole. I loved their publishing house, i loved their doctrine, and i loved their worship. No church denomination has better worship.

But like any denomination their are problems and those problems are that churches are completely run by people. They are human structures. No matter what you tell me you will not convince me otherwise. If god was running the show, or better yet, Jesus, it would be another story. But i digress.

But it was in this church that i learned how to really study the bible from a new context, that was different than mainstream Christianity. Where most Christian denominations talk about the Trinity, our church beat into our heads The Oneness of God. I was raised from early on knowing that all the other churches were going to hell. It was so hard to live a life like that.

But I took a long break from the church when i was young, and found myself in desperate need of a savior. And i too heard a story of a man who loved me so much that he died so that i could be forgiven .And when you are feeling guilt and shame because you have become the outcast of a community, someone who will wipe all the stigma away is someone worthy of praise, worship, and even obedience, because you owe your very existence to them accepting you and taking you into their community.

You see as humans we all want to be accepted. Its just natural. and if you really look you could see that most of your behavior in life is controlled by you desperately wanting to keep up some image with the people you cohabit with. Now that is, overgeneralizing, and probably hard to hear, but I would ask that you at least take on that frame and see if you see some new actions you could take. (I really do have ADHD, i think sometimes i get mad at people and i start ranting with them in my head. guess this blog will be a great way to air it all out).

So yeah before i get to what I want God to say, i want to share about my concept of God. SO growing up in the UPC, I saw that No man haas ever seen God, because God is in and through everything, God is beyond it all (its like an existential thing every time i try to explain it), but yeah, God is.. And one day God felt the suffering of the world, and wanted to end that, and created himself (and i say himself because i don’t know a non gender normative term, and i feel comfortable with this because its how I relate, and i get that could be constructed) into a human, and that was Jesus, and God was in Jesus, but that spirit god still consumed everything. Its weird. You know what, there is wikipedia if you want to know about that. but if you want me to teach you a bible study on it, get ready for 6 hours of you being  bored, and me getting excited. because its mind-blowing to see god in that light.

So I loved worship and mostly it was because i could just get lost in it. I have an active imagination, and when i worship, i dance and sometimes close my yes and i just get lost, and its just beautiful. But a recurring theme in worship is seeing Jesus, and worshiping him. So I have one concept of god as just this everything/nothing sprit/essence, and then i body that in Jesus, because a human i can understand. So i’ve studied the dude. And i do believe he existed, and that he was who he said he was. I believe he did what he said he did. and i’m so glad he did it.

So i loved bible stories, and used to study and research all of them. I would do historical studies, and word studies, and learn about past cultures, I started my undergrad at a christian university, and took a bible as history class. I wrote a paper i think it was called “History led by a promise.” I started to show how their were links from the beginning throughout the bible and that was great. But that assignment, started to have me look for things, i started looking for answers. I would read the bible and if i found something incongruent with that loving accepting god I experienced in the beginning i would hunt it down.

But i wouldn’t share it with anyone. no I kept my opinions to myself. but it was this in the beginning that had me search out ways to stop being gay. and i found hope, and i heard stories from people, i shared mine, but every night i went home and cried, and felt so alone. So in my despair i started to go through my bible. I remember at that Christian university i got into philosophy and learned how to make an argument.

SO i went through the bible and i found my argument for that day when i die, well actually it was the day i yelled it out to god in one of those pentecostal worship times. I didn’t know it was building up to the place i got.

But i read in the bible great stories Abraham Moses, Esther, a samaritan woman, and another woman who had been cast off by society because of the issue she had with losing blood. And my favorite stories were the ones where people confronted God.

Abraham arguing and bartering with god to spare the land of sodom, and he talks him down to only 5 people being righteous. Then Jacob, wrestles with an angel to get a blessing. Moses in the desert gets in god faces and tells him how foolish he would look if he destroyed the people god and promised to destroy after they turned from him. After moses rebuke, it says that god repented. And we go further, and see further exception where god allows for divorce, and even forgiveness for that. But then you see the apostles struggle with are gentiles subject to our law, and it was the cultural issue of their day, and you hear them talking about it in different lines, but their were exceptions now to allow for different cultures to have access to god without having to learn and engrain thousands of years of cultural heritage.

but i saw all of that and then i heard the story of the outcasts, gentiles, that in their culture they were the cast offs of society, so dirty that you couldn’t touch people, or touch things that would come in contact with people. and one girl who had been so cast off for 12 years, because of cultural and religious laws at that time (which were the law). It was the way of life.

so this one lady pushes through a crowd, and risks being thrown out or stoned to death because of how unclean she was and culturally they believed that she was equivalent to someone who had a horrible contagious disease. Her very presence would be a cancer making everything diseased. She needed to be put away or shunned from society until she was clean enough to return.

but she heard about this Jesus. and I don’t know what she heard, but i figure it had something to do with what i heard. because along with all of what i have told you i also believe that when you reach out to god he will answer. and that he will make away to work with you. This lady crawled through the crowd and then got in this man Jesus’s face and when he shared that he wasn’t supposed to heal her, it wasn’t his mission, she just got down to the point and when the healing happened he tells her, “your faith has made you whole” he didn’t say he healed her, or it was something about him, he acknowledged her faith and i see something in that.

You see two sundays before i left the church  i was dealing with the burden  of the recent laws in Uganda and the young people i saw being bullied, and committing suicide. It was so hard to deal with this, and thats when I got into prayer the way pentecostals do. we cry, we shout, we speak in tongues, and their are tears, and sweat, and snot. and its vocal. but i just screamed out to god. and i explained my logic, and how i saw that he had made all these exceptions int hobble, and changed his mind, and made some corrections on the way, and i just challenged him to make away for us as well. and if he couldn’t Then i asked if he would take my life as a ransom for the rest of gay people. That if he couldn’t die for them, then I would do it.

And i did. I came out. Social Suicide. and it was quick. I quickly became pushed out of the church. with a first text from the pastor telling me i was selfish, and not worthy of respect, he told me how i hurt everyone. and a bunch of other things. Then he sent a group text to our whole church network, blackballing me, and asking the church not to support me. It was quick that i had to walk away from god, because he wasn’t there.

I felt i was now on a war path with god, or that maybe he was upset with me, but i wanted to wrestle for this one. its wrong, and i know it. and if i have to go to hell for it then i will go through that, but know that even there i will be crying out, God you are a liar, you said your mercy endures forever.

but that’s another rant. I got off that. it comes back some times but most of the time, i do believe there will be an experience where i come to meeting with god. and i hope it is as existential/psychedelic as i want it to be, and i hope i get the chance to just meet god in Jesus. and when that happens, tonight i finally heard something that i think god will say to me.

Because tonight as i listened to this “ex-gay” spew his rhetoric about whats intended for gay people, i think, you gave up, and listened to the religious culture of your day, you’ve been pushed into a box of thinking that your expression of faith is something authentic, but it is culturally structured. And Jesus breaks cultures, and gets to the heart of what matters. and it takes the dirty of the world to step out in faith to make the difference. to find their wholeness.

And i know God is behind me in this, because i keep getting assurance from people who pray with me, and for me. pentecostals believe in signs and prophetic words. and they’ve been stacking up, and if i wrote my own gospel, you could see how i believe that i’m  called by god to make a difference . to make away for everyone at his table.

and tonight as i went to meditate and pray i gave all this story again to god, and i found that things are finally coming to a place where i see my calling and i see things working towards what i see possible, and tonight i asked god why things are going my way, why am i getting what I want. and all i heard was,

“You’re faith has made you whole.”

and i got that. that my faith in what he would do for me, and that he would honor my request, and that I would risk my life, my culture, my family, my fame, my popularity, that i would put all that on the line for something as great as this, his response was “your faith has made you whole.”

But i couldn’t sit with that. and i asked “why?” and that’s when i heard. “because you sought me.”

But

Somethings Happen

Grateful for my friends

IMG_8058.JPG

IMG_8060.JPG

It’s moments like this when I get triggered.

So when I see something like this my mind goes back to what happened when I came out. And I process it and rehash it and it completely consumes me.

Ten days after coming out I wrote out a list of everything that happened. And today I would like to share that list with the world:

This is what I wrote ten days after I came out. Just to help me come to terms with what happened:
I told my pastor,
He tried to compare it to quitting smoking.
He preached that homosexuality was wrong.
He said that homosexuals were perverts.
He didn’t listen to me.
He justified himself, and told me I was extreme and harsh.
He apologized for hurting, and justified some more.
He lied, on Facebook, about what I said to him.
He kept preaching against homosexuals.
Armando taught against homosexuals, saying that they are pedophiles.
He didn’t call me.
He sent me a text.
He said I was selfish.
He said I didn’t deserve honor.
He told me I should have left before I came out of the closet.
He told me I hurt them.
He didn’t call.
He sent out a mass text to the entire church, stating that they didn’t support me, or my agenda. They cancelled my class, and the workshop I created for them.
No one called.
No one called.
Sookie wrote me a letter.
She told me that she didn’t want me to share my new life with her.
David and Beth talked to Chris.
Their conversation upset me.
Mondo had a conversation with me.
He kept asking about what happens if gay people go after their boys.
I got upset at the ignorance.
He told me about his uncle who killed himself.
I got upset that he didn’t see the correlation.
He told me about his other brother who doesn’t feel comfortable at church.
Vanessa hugged me.
She was crying.
I thought I hurt her.
I wanted to die.
I went to house church.
It was good, just not the same.
I took a nap.
I called Chris.
He asked loaded questions.
I couldn’t answer them.
I couldn’t answer them because I thought it would make him feel like he was winning.
He lied to me.
I called him on the lie.
He tried to move on to another subject.
I called him on the lie.
He tried to move on to another subject.
He asked me if I thought homosexuality was a value of Christianity?
I told him homosexuality wasn’t a value, honesty and love are values, relationships are values.
He wanted me to answer, “do you want us to accept your homosexuality as a Christian value?”
I said, I want you to accept me.
He told me the church was hurt, and it was all my fault.
He told me that if the church split, to take who I want.
I tried to tell him that I wasn’t trying to take anyone.
He told me he couldn’t trust me.
He told me he couldn’t trust me.
He asked me, is it ok for my gay friends to come and want to date their boys?
I told him I couldn’t answer.
I got upset because I thought he was saying that all homosexuals are pedophiles.
I got upset.
There was a leadership meeting.
They said I couldn’t be in leadership.
They said I could still worship at their church.
They said other things.
They were worried about my gay friends sleeping with their boys.
They said that everyone should call me.
Only one person did.
Another friend called and left a message.
She said she wouldn’t go to the meeting because she wanted to stay out of it.
She didn’t stand up for me.
I felt betrayed.
Someone from the church called me.
He wanted money back.
He didn’t talk about anything else.

J