Jesus

Welcome to It…or Two Years and Counting…

I wish…

*sigh*

I know I’ve written this thought before but, I still wish I didn’t have to write this blog. I realize that I am an idealistic naive soul. There is no part of comparing religious bullying to rape that is enjoyable. Not a bit of having to tell my Pagan friends to stay in the “broom closet” to protect themselves is a goal that I ever expected to have. Berating Christians for complaining about alleged victimization toward them while they are earning the rewards of their attacks on other faiths is un-fun…

So, why? Why do I keep at a “project” that I expect to last my lifetime with zero chance of success? Because, for all the first person writing, it isn’t about me. Sure, it’s my perspective but, that’s just the style and point of view. In the very beginning, it was for two very dear people…and the communities they are parts of the Pagan and LBGT communities…and, yeah, for me and my conscience.

WordPress gave me the notification that a couple of days ago was the second anniversary of this blog. In that time, not counting drafts, there have been close to four hundred posts…and I don’t have a clue if any Christian has changed their view as a result. I have gained quite a bit of support from the groups I write for and, in its own way, that is important. It means that at least they are seeing that some few of us do not see them as the “enemy”.

Life is a work in progress. This blog is a continuing extension of that…

To the Heretics that read this, welcome.

To the non-Heretics, I was one of you. I do understand your fears, I just no longer share them. I have learned to not fear. I found out that our faith isn’t what’s under attack, our attitudes are. We get treated like the way we act. If we show love, it’s returned. On the other hand, if our face is intolerant and spiteful, we should expect to get slapped…

To the Pagans, not all of us hate or fear you. It truly sucks that you have been forced into hiding by us. If it is safe, you can change our world…and yours by coming out. We will probably not “get” your views but, we will love you anyway…at least some of us will. Please, please DO NOT assume that we are safe, though. Be careful. I can not say that enough. Your safety is more important than anything else. I know you know that. Still *sigh* I would rather me be a target for my view than you for your faith.

*****

One last, I said up there I hate writing this. That is not entirely correct. I hate the need for it. I love being able to do something to attempt to help make a change that I wish there was no need to make. To that end, we have started a Facebook page for the blog. It uses the same name as the title “Stones in the Middle of the Jordan”. It is an attempt to form some community and a place to come together. It isn’t about me, even though it shares the title with the blog…the blog really isn’t “about” me either as much as it is for y’all. If you do FB and want a way to reach out and discuss, please find us there. It is a “safe” space. It is very pointedly protective of faith, lack of faith, and LBGT’s…in other words, humans. *editorial, it is a brand new page and a work in progress. Please bear with us…or help out by joining and starting conversation*

 

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Jesus Loves Me…

I sat in the pew and wondered…I suspect my heresy started long before I think it did…

I didn’t ask the questions I thought. I didn’t ask what happened in the years between Jesus and now. I didn’t read the history of the religious wars and strife. I saw movies about the Knights, Crusades, Musketeers, and I accepted that they were right…but, I still wondered…

I thought, “what if God wants people that way”.  I sang, “Jesus loves the little children…” and “Jesus loves me, this I know…” and wondered why adults seem to be left out. Why do we hate people that believe differently? We called the Jews “Jesus killers” and burned Witches…because that was the “right” thing to do. What if God loved them, too?

What if God loved them, too?

Why do we fear others? Why do we include children and leave out adults?  There is a Witch I know that told me this…

“The other night before going to bed my phone rang. From a number I did not recognize came a voice asking if they could purchase a spell. I was dumbfounded. Nowhere on any of my pages have I said that I do that, but it meant that someone had assumed that. I politely told them no and when they asked if I knew someone who did I referred them to any of the New Age shops in the city. Afterwards, my reaction was fear. Fear that someone where my husband works would have seen something that would make his work life hard or cause him to be fired (yes, I know that is illegal, but so is ageism, and sexism, and several other isms. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.) Or that someone would figure out where I live and do things to bring attention to my neighbors about a witch living in their neighborhood. I would like to think that my fear is unfounded and irrational, but we see on Pagan sites where people have lost their children in custody battles, their children bullied at school, not to mention the gossip and shunning that happens when people find out that you are not Christian…”

Why do we treat her faith any differently than we want out own treated? What happened to the love we were taught when we were young? I know this lady. She is not anti-Christian. She’s merely NOT Christian. She’s not my enemy or Jesus’. If I believe that He loves me, why would I believe he hates her and I have an excuse to treat her as hated? It didn’t say that He exclusively loved Christians, and His words, in the Bible, give no indication that he does. Those thoughts and attitudes came later and were made up by men…

*****

It IS NOT the same and I am not drawing equivalence. I have to be careful about sharing my views at work. Not that I am Christian but, that I am a pro-Pagan Christian. I am leery of talking about what I think in a place where I have to interact with co-workers and “get along”. I only reveal that I write a blog after feeling out the views of the other person. I can not imagine having to do that with every interaction both on and off line.

*****

“Jesus loves me, this I know…” He also loves the Old Ways and the Pagans and everyone else, too. My God is big enough to include everyone so, maybe we should act like it, too…

 

 

How I Sent My Best Friend to Hell and She Liked It…

I’ve written some heavy handed posts about how Christians interact with Pagans lately. At the end, I’ll link to them. For now, I have some observations and thoughts. This time, I’m not as accusatory. I merely want some things said…

If you wonder why I think Aj is a good Christian Pagan, ponder this. My bible says, “greater love hath no man than he who lays down his life for another”. Aj is willing to let me lay her life bare to make the entire world a better place. That is acting on a verse from a book she does not follow. That is an attitude that Christians would do well to emulate. She willingly lets me expose the good and not so good in her to be an example. It’s easy to let someone write nice things about you. It is far harder to trust someone to write knowing they will tell the truth about the imperfect bits and not want to edit or hide them. She doesn’t even have the ability to change a single word I write, no editorial authority on the blog site yet, she just lets me write what I will. That trust is something I cherish and refuse to betray. She is willing to lay down her life, for all to see, to try to help make a change, not knowing if it will ever happen.

*****

I have a very hard time being objective when I write these, meaning the pro-Pagan, posts. I really do try but, it isn’t easy for different reasons. When I was writing the group of LBGT posts, I could, to some degree, detach and become legalistic, citing law and the Constitution. That and the nature of the person, Z, I was usually writing about is that she is more “detached”. *Hope that makes sense* Also, on the LBGT posts, Z and I share the same faith. I’ll explain the difficulty down the line a bit. Briefly, though, there was never an internal conflict within myself about her salvation to be resolved. I dodged it by reverting to legalism,

I lack objectivity on this group because, first, I have to get over, and fail, my sadness and disappointment that Christians bring out because of the way we reach out. I have to get past a desire to lash out with anger and fail, at Christians for letting their conduct not match their words or, worse, actually believing that their actions and prejudices are justified. I had to get over, and sometimes have a very hard time with, my own Vacation Bible School teachings that everyone that does not love Baby Jesus is going to a literal pit of fire and eternal torment. That those people earned their fire and my scorn, derision, and hate. That I was justified in mocking them and pushing them out of “civilized society”.

I had to get over, and sometimes have a very hard time with, my own Vacation Bible School teachings that everyone that does not love Baby Jesus is going to a literal pit of fire and eternal torment. That those people earned their fire and my scorn, derision, and hate. That I was justified in mocking them and pushing them out of “civilized society”. I have to, sometimes, still tell that child within me to sit down and shut up when he tries to rear his ugly head. That battle I can win, every time because of the next reason why I am not objective…

Aj. Beginning and end, it’s Aj. I ENTIRELY lack objectivity when it comes to her, I don’t even pretend to be.  I went through this years ago and am not going to overthink it again but, briefly I found out she was Pagan after I realized she could become my “best friend that is not my wife”, watched that “become” turn into “became” and realized that her soul was not in any danger of “VBS Hell”. Honestly, I don’t want objectivity when it comes to her. I don’t want a sense of detachment. I rarely give people permission to cause me emotional harm, I keep them at arms length. I trust her enough to let her close enough that, if she desired, she could cause that harm. Not many people are allowed “inside” far enough to “hurt my feelings”, I don’t let them that close. Aj could if she ever was willing to. How could I be objective about a person that is that close?

Again, because of Aj, I have some “difficulties”, read grief and anguish, when I write these. She and I agreed I could “use” her as a “hammer” and that she was to be a “tool”. We are talking about a person I love almost as much as I love my wife, if differently. It causes a HUGE amount of heartache to even think the idea that I would “use” her. She’s fine with it, in fact, the word that comes to mind is “glee” when she gets to be the hammer. For me, the semantics of it don’t feel good. It would be easier if it were someone I didn’t care so much for…As it is, I have a hard time removing my own emotional loading from the mental construct that allows us to do what we have set out to do. Does that make sense? I’ll give it this because I am not able to step out of the emotional conflict, it makes me more passionate when I write. I wish that words on a screen could convey that, though. I wish you could feel the heartache and sorrow that I feel when I realize that my faith treats her as less than human and that I feel when I have to use her as an object.

This, too, while we are on this topic. I will use Aj again and again. I will, intentionally, take my best friend, imagine the hurts she has suffered, imagine myself also causing them by using her, become angry at myself for doing that, and use that anger, grief, and hurt to swing my best friend as a hammer at those who would see her as less than I do. I will lose sleep and eat stomach acid. I will hate myself for doing it and I will do it repeatedly. I will use my emotions as fuel to swing harder…and it will hurt more. So what? A little self-inflicted pain is a small price and nothing in comparison to what is given to her. Like I said, I lack objectivity. I am, though, loyal and honorable. If I have some amount of hurt then it means that I am doing it right. If it didn’t hurt me to do it, then it would be time to quit because she would no longer be the friend she is. Does that make sense? *editorial, I am NOT a masochist. I just think she deserves my best and I’ll use myself as a tool just as we would use her*

So, yeah, I am not the tiniest bit objective…except this post writing a commentary about why I write…

*****

At first, I tried to find ways to “Christianize” Paganism. I’ve punted. Let me draw an analogy. Christianity and Paganism are about as alike as a plate of Nachos and a bacon sammich…*grins*…If you just went, “hunh?”, I made my point. They both are tasty and provide nourishment. That’s about all the commonality…except that both fill different needs in my life. One, Christianity, gives me a foundation for the spiritual part of my life, the other, being Pagan, fills the same need for my best friend. That gives them equal weight to me.

*****

I write these for both Christians and Pagans…

I want Christians to see that we have to start acting Christian. In James, it says that if we have faith and do not show it, that faith is dead. The hardest “work” a Christian will ever do is to reach a hand to someone outside their faith. We have to prove our thoughts by our actions. Saying, “God loves everyone but, I hate heathens and fags” is NOT showing love. It, that hate, is proof of faith that is hollow and rotten at its core. That we allow ourselves to feel victimized by someone we actively repress is not our calling. Our calling is to be concerned with our own actions and our relations with our God and to show our faith by our lives. There are over 200 million Christians in this country, we don’t get to claim to be under attack by a group that may number a tenth of that. They are not a threat to us but, we are to them.

I write to Pagans so that y’all may realize that not all Christians hate you. That some of us are willing to reach out, not because we feel that you are “poor damned souls” but, that your faith carries equal weight in your lives and is just as real. So that you can know that, in one heart, at least, there is room for you to be safe and not an enemy but, in the case of some people in my life, treasured and loved just as you are…

I also write because Aj. Yeah, she comes up again. Go figure. These posts, the time, effort and, thought are a gift. They are what I may give to a friend that lives far away. They are an expression of the worth that she has to me and a way to show it. I am not rich or even moderately wealthy. What I have are my thoughts and words. I have the hours I spend writing and thinking about writing. I want to do something for her to return what she does for me. This is what I am able to do.

*****

Anyway, I wanted this post to be a breather from the posts that chastise or cajole. I hope this made some sense and some clarification of where I am coming from and why I even try to do something that I suspect will only be marginally successful. The links to the posts I am thinking of when I write are Aj Is Going to Hell and Why Is a Pagan a Better Christian Than I Am? Those are the posts that use Aj as a hammer and send her to Hell. This oneWhich One Is Pagan? started this current batch. *editorial, the last is not a beat down*

I think that I’m going to take a few days or a couple of weeks without sending Aj to Hell. I need a bit of recovery. There are no parts of “fun” when I write the posts that bash. I resent Christians for giving me reasons to feel forced to tell that “love one another” is not a conditional phrase. Interestingly, Aj doesn’t mind that I send her to Hell. She doesn’t care that she’s the tool used. She’s become used to the hate and, if she’s going to be hated, wants a way to strike back. I, on the other hand, don’t care what you think of me but, want her to be loved…or at least not  cautious of having to reveal herself for fear of repercussion. So, yeah, I sent my best friend to hell…long before I ever knew her…then realized she isn’t going there…

So, yeah, I sent my best friend to hell…long before I ever knew her…then realized she isn’t going there…*sigh* She’ll let me send her there again…and I will…as many times and in as many ways as we, she and I, can figure out how until people realize that’s not where she’s going…Worry for your soul and mine if you will, never for hers.

Why Is a Pagan a Better Christian Than I Am?

Why does it take sending my best friend to Hell to make a point? Why should I have to portray her as a “poor damned soul” to get attention? What part of our Christian Values gives us the right to only reach out to the “lost” or our church? We try to help the poor because we feel like we have a duty to do it. We attempt to “convert” the “lost” out of pity.

*sigh*

Right now, this instant, my attitude is not very “Christian”. I’m not so much angry as disappointed. Christians, not Christ, have let me down. People claim to worship Jesus and do not act like it. He fed the hungry, embraced whores and tax collectors, spoke of loving his fellow man, whipped the money hungry in the temple, and ultimately was misrepresented and was killed for that. He said that we are not to question the condition of someone’s soul unless we want our soul to also be called to the same judgement; which of us could face that and NOT the mercy we want? What part of following the ACTIONS of Jesus is persecution? What part of embracing outcasts and marginalized people is causing them to be pushed farther out? Where is the sense of self-sacrifice that cost Him His life when you are busy spouting your own righteousness at the expense of someone else? He went willingly to his doom while you play the “victim card”. I’m not questioning that you think you believe, I am saying your actions do not show it.

*sigh again*

Do you own a hammer? Right now I feel like a b****rd for using one. I don’t “own” the hammer I am willing to use because, I’m using a human I love. My best friend does not have to write these words but, she is the hammer. I am willingly and knowingly USING the life of a human…and it hurts. It is coldly calculated. I have to point out that she has been abused, threatened, and cast away by people that claim love and Christianity. If they were really what they claimed to be, she and I would never have known each other. Yet, I am taking my best friend in the world, the second person I did not marry and call “best friend”, and treat her as an object used on nails. The good news is that it is harder on the nail than the hammer. I would pound flat those that would dare to stick their heads up and claim virtue. They have no reason to claim it and neither do I. I do not pretend to be better than they because, I am far from perfect. This post and the temper that flares are as much proof as the years of addiction that I survived that I lack perfection…or even coming close.

*exhale*

Look, guys, how we treat people matters. What we do to people that are not like us is what proves our Christianity, not how we act to Christians. I am not an “uber-Christian”. I am a weak, fallible, mortal, sometimes confused, sometimes angry, human. I use another human to drive my temper to write words for her. I feel guilty for doing that because it merely reinforces, if she reads this, that she is cast out. It tells her that not many people outside her community, Pagans I mean, are willing to see her for what she is not what they presume she does.

Let’s talk about her for a bit…She’s a better “Christian” than most I know. She adopted and is raising a daughter, after her kids are adults, because it is the right thing to do. She has a chronic illness and goes to work every day to make a life for her and the young lady. She is constantly physically exhausted and persists. She would give her next breath, and every one after, to her daughter. She helps people, I mean, physically does things to help. She accepts and embraces me even though my faith pushed her away. She honors and reveres her gods with nothing to gain while Christians plead and implore a God they fear. She, by the standards of her faith, “prays without ceasing”. She is kind, tender and, loving. In truth, she can be a stone b***h and highly opinionated but, given her past, that’s fair enough. I don’t know how she goes on. Yet, she persists. She lets herself be a hammer…and I love her enough to use her as one. I wish I were half the man she is a woman. I wish I were as true to my moral code as she is to hers. I wish I were as brave and tough.

*breath*

Here’s the point, when a Pagan, Aj, is a better Christian than most Christians I know, the issue isn’t that Pagan. When we regain the moral standing, quit claiming to be victims, walk our walk, and finally follow Jesus and not our stupid views of others, then we get to push people out…and it’ll still be wrong. I know God loves her. He created her to be what she is. *she’ll disagree and I ENTIRELY respect that different view* When we are able to live the standard she does, then we are all better for it. Then her world, and ours, are more worth living in and, maybe, our souls are not in question. Till then, I sometimes, worry for mine but, never for hers.

I’m trying to calm down. It hurts to use my best friend as a hammer. The word “use” itself feels wrong. The fact that I have to do it to my own faith feels worse. I don’t wish Aj had not been forced out of Christianity becuse I would not have ever known her. I just wish Chistians would act more like that one Pagan.

Why I Write About Z

Right after I started writing these, Z and I were talking. We decided to “throw her under the bus”. The point was that we needed a real person to be the “token” Lesbian. She volunteered. With only a few exceptions, she has been that person. The degrading comments that I’ve quoted have been directed at her. Either I’ve seen them or she’s related them to me…

She’s unashamedly a Lesbian. She doesn’t really hide it but, she doesn’t “advertise” either…unless you know her. On the other hand, she’ll get confrontational in an instant if someone starts talking about “those people” or any other way it happens to be phrased. To her, and me, being gay is a neutral expression. It’s like saying she has curly hair. It is just a part of her. It, by itself, doesn’t make her either good or bad. It merely makes her gay…and that’s it…

I keep thinking the entire issue will just go away. I suppose it’s wishful thinking. I keep hoping that the haters will be as marginalized as the KKK, loud but, irrelevant…then some group decided they’re offended by the fact that Z wants to be treated “just like a real person” and that her existence is “against my religion”…and the issue comes back…

*****

My personal theology says that I believe in an omnipotent and omniscient God. I believe that the concept of “free will” is an illusion. I believe, although I don’t know why, that all things and all people are the way they are intended to be. I am finally at a point where “why?” is a question I no longer ask. I suppose that sounds fatalistic. That I have resigned myself to not acting because it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else does. I digress, as part of my beliefs, I believe we were created the way God intended for us to be. Yes, that includes male, female, LBGT, straight, Christian, Pagan, atheist, and every other faith or sect. *editorial, yes, I have listed “atheist” as a faith. Deal with it.* I do not think God created mistakes. I think yes, to be very specific, that Z is exactly the way she was intended to be just as I am the way I’m supposed to be. It makes no difference that she was created, among other things, to be a lesbian and I was created to be straight.

I am sure I “cherry pick” the Bible. I stick to the words of Jesus as the final arbiter and the OT as history. The books that come after, ie the NT, are commentary and opinion. Those, the “not Gospels” were written by men who had no personal knowledge of Jesus and have been added to and subtracted from in the various cannons over the centuries.

It is also an article of my beliefs that I DO NOT get to decide who goes to Heaven or Hell. I don’t get to say that my soul is saved and some other is condemned. I don’t even get to guess. That isn’t my place. Mine is to be concerned with mine and my Earthly actions. I am required to treat Gods Creations as if they have value and worth. If I am supposed to share my faith or attempt to “convert” it’s by the way I live MY life, not by judging someone else’s.

There is also a part of me that recognizes my humanity. I make mistakes. I can be deliberatly offensive. I intentionally do things that cause emotional stress to others. I’m far from perfect. I do not pretend that my views or faith have been unchanged over the years. I am capable of being a hypocrite. I have loves…and hates.

*sigh*

In the end, I’ll embrace being a Heretic. I’ll keep my views that being gay is as valid as being straight. I’ll continue to believe that I do not have all the answers about the Face of God. *Editorial, yes, that means that I may read the Bible and find it to be valid for me, I’ll not impose it on someone else* I’ll maintain the belief that being a Humanist and a Christian are not mutually exclusive.

*****

This post is a result of the furor over that person in Kentucky. My mistake is not that I write her off as someone I disagree with but, that I read the comments of her vocal supporters. I read Hateful Christians that claim that being gay is a choice. That, somehow, they have a right to call Z, although not directly, “deviant” or “mistake” or “abomination”. I read those thoughts and wonder if they and I believe in the same God. I find myself trying to figure out how they got from “omnipotent” to “mistake”. I don’t really want to know.

*****

This started out as a “Hurray for Z” article. It didn’t get there the way I expected. It still is, though. I love having Z in my world. I love the reassurance of her prayers for me. I sleep better knowing that, even if I forget, she remembers to watch out for me. That whole “Lesbian thing”? That is as immaterial to me as her hair being curly. Her person, the whole construct, is greater than any single part…funny thing is, EVERY human is that way. There may be a part of them we might want to change but, if we do, we change the WHOLE. I want her to stay just they way she is. That person, Z, has worth. That person is a place in my world that can be filled by no other and I wouldn’t change that if I could. That person is not a label or a demographic or a choice. That person, Z, is a gift that God gave to me…

I Suppose It’s Not Over…

A little over a month ago, I thought I was done writing this blog. I naively assumed that all would be right and that, by some miracle, prejudice would go away as soon as the SCOTUS made Marriage Equality the law. I figured that people would just realize that it was time to go on with their lives and find some other way to feel victimized. I was wrong.

*sigh*

So, what happened? It seems that the people that were silently “anti” decided to speak. The churches, not every church, that specialize in castigating others felt a need to become more vocal. The politicians that need to pander to a part of their constituency that need to feel like victims protested. That state level politicians found it necessary to try to work around the Obergfell ruling. That individuals that need to fear continued with the slippery slope arguments.

So, no, I don’t get to stop. Gonna try it again…

One of the most basic of human needs is to feel safe. One of the ways we feel that is by touching an other human. Both on a physical and emotional level we need contact. We are not designed to be alone. We need an outlet and a companion. To deny that is to deny the most basic of human rights.

It is the same basic desire and need, physical and emotional contact. The gender doesn’t matter. The need for contact does. Physical touch is important. Some mental outlet and conversation keeps us sane. Companionship gives us a sense of safety.

I love my wife. We hug a lot. If I pass her end of the couch, I kiss her hand and give it a caress. Listening to her sleep keeps my nightmares at bay. I NEED my wife as much as I need air, water, food, or shelter. Why would I want to deny anyone the same thing. Again, the gender is immaterial. The contact is the important part.

Miller, “my Bible says it’s an abomination”. The Bible says 60 odd things are “abomination”…

Miller, “St Paul said…” He said a bunch of things. Among them, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself”

Jesus said,  “‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” For me, from the perspective of my faith, the words of Jesus are the trump. If there appears to be a conflict between passages, Jesus wins. Period. 

*****

So lets veer. Suppose that my arguments have not swayed you.

What would you have someone that is LBGT do? Would you have them live without contact?  Be celibate to fit your notions?  Would you have them pretend to be straight and live a lie? Expecting them to make the best of a situation that is physically and emotionally wrong for them? To live a relationship that holds no security?

The former is cruel. Prisoners in solitary go insane. We NEED contact. There are a rare few humans that can live as hermits. There are some that can live in society as individuals without a partner. Those are not the usual human condition.

The latter is a lie. That’s worse. I’d rather have a friend that lives the truth than a friend that lives a life that is a lie, pretending to fit in. I know people that have lived trying to fit in…and finally stopped. I have huge respect for the courage that took, knowing how hard it was going to be for them to finally tell people. Then the relief to them knowing that the lies have stopped.

I am an odd individual. I am not the right partner for everyone. I have no illusions on that point. Of course, everyone is the right person for the right person. My Sweety is a good fit…for me and, probably, no one else. To tell someone that they should deny themselves the chance to find their “right person” because they do not fit our notion of what is “right” is wrong. Period.

For Z or Kelly, the “right person” is a woman. So what? How does that affect anyone else? What great societal change happens when the “right woman” for a woman is a woman? It doesn’t change their ability as a parent. It doesn’t commit a crime. All it does is make some people uncomfortable…and? There’s no right to be protected from “I don’t want to see that”. Sorry, your discomfort with someone else’s relationship is not a valid reason for them to change.

*****

I get it. I really do. In my youth, I was taught that being gay was all the different wrongs I listed. I used all the rude phrases and slurs. I was insulting and rude. I believed that I held the moral high ground. I believed that being gay was a choice and a lifestyle. I was WRONG.

In my 50’s I’m a different person. My attitude towards other’s lives has changed. I realize that it is not my place to dictate to adults how they live their lives. I’ve come to learn that there are good people…and bad that are LBGT. Just like being straight gives no lock on morality.

I’ve thought and pondered and mused and decided that the only difference between being gay and straight is the act of intercourse. That the needs for contact and security are the same.

Yes, I freely admit that some Christians will say I can not be because I refuse to consign someone to Hell or question their faith because they are gay. So be it. The first person I go to for Christian Prayer is Z. She is a Christian. She says she is and I believe her. She prays for me and I for her. She is also a Lesbian. I do not believe that God is going to send her to Hell. If that makes someone think I’m a Heretic, I’ll gladly wear that title. In fact, that is how I describe my faith, Heretic Christian.

*sigh*

My bias is shaped by the people I know. Without trying to say, “look at how proud I am of myself because my friends are diverse”, I have a group of friends that do not fit the notions of “correct” that I was raised with. Some are gay. Some are Pagan. Some are gay and Pagan. So what? The point is that morality is not the exclusive province of middle-class, straight, white, Christians. Z is a Christian…and a Patriot…and a Lesbian…and one of the finest humans I know. Kelly is a Pagan…and a Patriot…and a Lesbian…and also one of the finest humans I know.

Those Ladies have shaped my bias. They are not the only ones but, here, in this context, they are ones that count. Parts of their lives conform to what I used to think a human should be. Others don’t. I admit, again, I used to dehumanize people that were gay. To my benefit, I no longer do. If I did, they would not be in my life. That would be my loss, not theirs.

The qualities of their character and their outspoken willingness to be themselves no matter what anyone else thinks. Their willingness to be examples here by giving me permission to talk about them. Their independence and ability to not judge ME based on what demographic I fit or my past.  Their loyalty and compassion. Those qualities have worth.

For me, Z was the final straw. She accepts me. She once told me, “I love you, MDIII, warts and all”. Why then should I be any different toward her? Z and Kelly are complete human beings. Their wants desires and needs are no different than mine or yours. Their humanity is no greater…or less than my own. To deny them the safety and comfort of the love that fits them, to denigrate them because that love does not fit our own comfort, does not make them less, it diminishes us.

It becomes a matter of us. Do we think that we are greater or have more worth because we are unwilling to admit that our path is not everyone’s path? That we, as fallible humans, have a lock on correctness and righteousness? The Bible says “there is none righteous, not even one”.

That’s what it ends at. We have to figure out a way to accept “different” because EVERY HUMAN is different. We have to learn that, unless we are willing to deny our own, we have to admit the humanity and dignity of all the humans. Sure, this is an attempt to persuade people to see Z and Kelly and the LBGT Community as human and having intrinsic worth. It is also, on a broader scope, an attempt to open our eyes to the idea that we are ALL human. We have to learn that lesson. We have no choice.

Your Objections Have Been Noted, Here’s My Rebuttal…

*sigh*

I gotta go back to this…

I was looking. Depending on the poll, roughly 6% of the population of the US is LBG. Broken down, roughly 1.7% Lesbian, 1.7% gay, 1.8% Bisexual. Again, that is, roughly, 8 million people, total. There are some variances in the surveys and the numbers…In the US, roughly 83% identify as Christian. That is, roughly, 264.5 million.

Why is it so hard to figure out? A “Gay Army” is not out to destroy Christianity. Assuming that some portion of the 8 million are Christian, lets use half and make it lower than the stats would suggest, that leaves 4 million. By what reach of imagination do we get to this war against us?

*sigh*

Holy Birdbrain, Batman. Even if the numbers were doubled, there wouldn’t be enough. Even if they cared enough to be out to get you, odds are by the time they got to you, they’d be worn out from trying.

*sigh*

“But my Bible says…” Yeah, I have one, too. I read mine, too. I read the spot where Moses brought down the Law. No words about being gay there. I read the Laws Jesus gave us…

“28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” ”  Mark 12:29-31

There is no ambiguity there. Those are the rules. No exceptions. Anything else is against the words of Christ. I read some preacher, wish I remembered who, say, “Jesus and the Bible hate gays”. Ok, I’ll play, where in the Bible did JESUS say that. Look in the bits that have red letters, those are his words. Find a quote. Cite chapter and verse. No, you don’t get to paraphrase or “read between the lines”, quote the verse, I’ll wait…Never mind, there’s no point, Jesus never said those words.

“But Paul said…” Ok, I’ll play, Paul is NOT the Son of God. He wrote his opinion. Period. The Words of Jesus should be every Christian’s “default mode”. If they aren’t, we have vastly different ideas of what being a Christian is…

*****

Ok, next point and arguments…

“They want to redefine marriage”…How? By saying that they want to make a lifetime commitment? Ah no. Your objection has been noted. “But marriage is for procreation…” So, you are saying a paraplegic can not be married, either. You are saying my marriage is invalid because we are, and will be, childless. “But marriage is a CHRISTIAN institution…” So, you invalidate every couple that is not Christian’s marriage. Tell that to the other 17% of the population that isn’t Christian.

Those objections have been noted and rejected.

*****

Final objection…

They are re-interpreting the Constitution…How? The Constitution has not one single word about marriage in it. It does have some specific wording, though, “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The words you are looking for are “No State “,”citizens”, “due process of law”, and “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. There is not the tiniest bit of wiggle room. There are ZERO exceptions listed. Not “citizens except the gay ones”, just “citizens”. Period. That is the strictest possible way to read it. If your straight Christian marriage is protected, so is every other one. Period.

“Blah blah blah slippery slope to pedophiles or livestock or appliances…” etc. If you are so thick skulled and obtuse as to think that a predatory criminal act is the moral equivalent of a non-criminal act between adults, then there’s no point in trying to reason with that point. You failed the test.

*****

*sigh*

Look, here’s the bottom line, it’s done. It won’t be undone. No matter how much you whine, it’s over.

For what it’s worth, I’ll admit my bias, again. I’m a married, straight, Christian man. My best friend is a single, Lesbian, Christian. She’s no threat to you. She doesn’t want you to do something that makes you feel your religion is under threat. She’s the first one to jump to your right to your beliefs. She’ll be the first one to defend your right to all the non-PC comments you want to make. She was a soldier. She went into Iraq during the First Gulf War. She probably thinks more of the Constitution than you do because she swore an oath to defend it and never quit that oath. I promise she’s more conservative than you ever thought about being. She doesn’t want “special” privileges just “equal protection” since she is a “citizen”. That’s not too much to ask.

You can keep your objections. They have been noted. The War on Marriage, the Judicial Over-reach,  The Against My Religion, allow me to be blunt…or ignore me, I really don’t care. You are being paranoid. That victim mentality you want to use to repress a minority of the population looks ugly on you.

*****

Sorry for the tone of this post. I’m really not angry, just worn out. I love Z. Yeppers, freely admit that I love another woman that isn’t my wife. I hope she does find a woman worth her and get married. *Editorial, loving a girl that likes girls isn’t a threat to my marriage. Nothing is because my wife ALWAYS will be the love of my life* I take it personally, far more than Z does, when I read how she’s going to be the “downfall of ‘Merica”. I take the perception that she’s a threat to people she defends as an insult to her. She earned better treatment than that. So, I HAD to write a rebuttal to the stupidity and hate that I see.

If none of my answers apply to you, pose an argument that is valid, not defensive.

If my answers defend your rights, that was our point. I’ll always have Z’s back…and yours.

In the end, it really is that simple, we are not allowed to judge the quality of an adult’s love for another adult. We are not given the right to demean or devalue someone for being different. We, the majority, should be protecting the minorities. We are, ultimately, ALL minorities because, we are all individuals. When I stand before God, he’s only going to show me the value of MY soul, not yours. My actions and thoughts are the ones I answer for. How I treated the ones I love, not who you loved…that’s it. We were born alone and we’ll die alone. In the middle, we should try to walk in peace with each other…

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

Some Truths…

There’s a train of thought wandering around and I’m in a quandary as to whether I want to write it or not. It isn’t very P.C. *editorial, out here, I’m not PC*

If you want to refuse to give me service at your business, I’m fine with that. I don’t really care what the reason is. Any will do. Tall, skinny, male, Texan, smartass, blue collar, white, over 50, whatever is cool. You are the one not gaining any income from me. It’s your business to run as you see fit. I also don’t care what you call me, I probably fit the description. I’m not going to get up-in-arms about it. It just doesn’t make me any difference. In the end, my opinion of myself and those of a small handful of loved ones are important to me. Beyond that I don’t really care…

I can not stop you from thinking of Z as “that little dyke bitch”. I can not stop you from saying she’s an “abomination” or that she can not be Christian because she’s a “nasty Lesbian”. She’ll tell you she has a thick skin and doesn’t care. I do. My skin is not so thick. I do care how she’s thought of and treated.

Z is great. I try to talk to her every day. I do because she’s sane and I’m only marginally so. I do because she’s more reasonable than I am. I do because I like her accent. *editorial, non-Texan* I do because she’s a Christian with “Buddhist and Pagan tendencies ” . I do because she’s a Dear Soul that doesn’t want any more than to live her life without having to tell you how to live yours. She’s got a fiery temper. Inside, she’s gentle as a kitten. She’s protective of the people she loves. She loves romance and being wooed. Sometimes, she carries her heart on her sleeve. She’s combative and honest. She’s loyal as all hell. You ALWAYS know where you stand with her. To me, every bit of those are assets. Those are traits I want in a friend.

Part of me wants to say “I give, you win”. You can see what you want to see. You can say you’re protecting your marriage and your kids from her and I can not stop you. You can think that she’s the one that’s being immoral. There’s nothing I can do to change that. You can pretend that you’re defending your “Christian values” from the “War on Christianity”. Dig your bunker and put up lots of sandbags. Get your foil hat and guard your mind from those evil thoughts the “gay agenda” is trying to plant in your head. Save your children and hide them from the impurities that you perceive. That’s your view and your life. Refuse to accept that there’s any reason to change your view. Use Romans 1:26-27 as a weapon and a suit of armour…

Once you’ve done all those things, read this…Romans 2:1-3

“2 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

I can not stop you from forming your views. I can not stop you from clinging to your prejudices. Those are for you to hold fast to. Those are your security. Believe as you will. Forget that Jesus, the “Christ” in “Christian” never said anything about focusing on others. He said we were to be concerned with our own lives. Forget that right after the verse you’d use to defend your prejudice is a verse that says you have no right to do that.

As a matter of secular policy, the Constitution that protects your faith, doesn’t say “Christian”. The Amendments that give your rights to equal protection do not state gender or race or orientation. They use the word “citizens”. There is no ambiguity. There are no exceptions. There are merely “citizens”. That’s all.

We, all citizens, have rights. We are all guaranteed to be treated equally by the laws. We have our prejudices. We all have things we do not approve of. We all have our misconceptions and faults. We all are humans. We all have the same basic wants, desires, and needs. We are all equal…

******

I do not like some of the words and phrases I used. I used them in context. I wish there was a way to not use them. I would protect Z from ever hearing or reading them. I become angry when I see or hear them. She does not deserve them. *sigh* I don’t even like contemplating typing them. I did because they exist. I did and, before I wrote this, I asked her if I could use them. I NEVER want to see her hurt. She is braver than I ever will be…

I don’t know if I write this for anyone else. I think I try. I suppose, in the end, it’s for me and Z. It’s because she deserves a voice, an advocate. It’s because someone should be on her side as a person and not part of a demographic. I am that person that has made a choice to do that. She didn’t choose gay. I did choose to stand up for her.

If you have become offended because I called out your prejudices, so be it. If you want to think you are being attacked by this post, perhaps you are. Perhaps you might consider that you earned it…

One final thought. I wouldn’t change one tiny part of her. To do that would change the greater whole. She is a person, a citizen, that I know, love, and trust.

More Thoughts… (Z, Being Gay, Christianity, The Bible and the Constitution)

After my last post, Z made this comment “I guess I’m not a citizen since the laws that apply too all citizens don’t all apply to me.” This reminds me of the part of this blog that I hate. *sigh* Z allows me to use her as the example. If you read any of these posts, you’ll very quickly realize that I think the world of Z and hate the idea of any harm coming to her. She’s a strong lady. Still, I wish there wasn’t the reminder, to her, that not everyone sees her as what we see her as. Not everyone sees the warm and caring human we see. They just see the part that is the thing they hate. That sucks. *sigh again* If there were a way to hide that from her I would but, she knows it better than I do. *sigh 3rd time*

*****

I am a husband. Of all the parts of my self-identity, that is the most important. I remember the first time I told my wife I loved her. I think I was more surprised to hear me say that than she was. Falling in love with her was not a conscious choice. It was just something I realized I am. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t plan on it…Perhaps, Z may correct me, being gay is the same thing? You don’t mean to be. It is not a choice. It is just something you realize has happened…

*****

Christianity has changed over the centuries. The early church is not the same as the modern one.Catholic Cannon and Protestant Cannon are not the same. There are various movements within the Church. We have changed our views on everything from Slavery to Women’s Rights.

Right now, there is a new set of factions. I don’t see it as a gay rights issue as much as an issue of who the individual believer is concerned with. Am I concerned about my own actions and following the example of Jesus or, am I concerned with the actions of others? For me, MY actions and the way I treat others are of greater concern than what perceptions I might or, might not, have of their life. *editorial, this statement contradicts the entire point, persuading others to change their beliefs, of the blog. I do understand that* Am I more worried about showing compassion toward others of, condemnation for what I think they are doing? Is my sin more important than my perception of someone else’s? Do I express myself with love and gentle persuasion or, do I point my finger and shout about their very existence being an “abomination”?

It is my choice to believe that God did not create “abomination”. It Is my belief that the Jesus I follow would have reached out to ALL humans. It is my belief that I should use my words to show support and love for those that are different from me and still created in the Image of God. It is my heart to be a compassionate Christian. It is my belief that your life does not make me a victim but, a fellow Child of God. It is not in me to think less of someone because of how they love but, to think more of them because they can.

*******

Please *quietly pleading, passionate tone of voice* read your Bible, if you’re Christian. Please read all of it. Read the words of love and compassion. Read the words of encouragement and strength. Read the words that call us to look inward to our own weakness. Read the history in the Old Testament. Read the many varieties of what marriage is. Read the context of it’s time and social issues. Read the words of how we are to treat others. Read how we are to not judge the conditions of someone else’s soul but, our own.Read how we are to forgive “seventy times seven”. Read how we are not to “cast the first stone”…

Then, if you are American, read the Constitution. Read how it protects our rights to “equal protection under the law”. Please read how it uses, repeatedly, the word “citizens”. It doesn’t mention a specific religion or orientation. It doesn’t say we have a right to not be exposed to things or people we disagree with. Please tell me how keeping a group of citizens from having the same rights as another group is equal protection. Tell me how you might justify it. Realize that the same Constitution prevents the government from encouraging or repressing your faith. The same Constitution protects your right to offend and be offended. The freedoms of Expression and Assembly that protect me, also protect Westboro, PETA, NOM, and every politician and journalist. All those laws protect Citizens. We don’t get to pick which citizens are less than citizens. We accept that there will be citizens that we disagree with, That makes them no less worthy of protection than we are. Please try to understand that, if you want to be protected by the Constitution, you can not limit it to people just like you. It is there to protect the little guy, the weird people, the minorities, and the ones you disagree with. That is the entire point of it. It is to protect us, all of us citizens, not just the ones that look and act and think like us…

I love those two works. They give me the framework that I live within. One, the Bible defines how I interact with God and Man. The other, the Constitution, gives a basis for how the Government interacts with me. I need them both.

*****

I think perhaps this enough for one day.

Being Gay and Faith

I read a blog yesterday. It was written by a young lady that was trying to find a church for her, her wife, and their kids. All she wanted was a church home so that her kids could feel the warmth and love that she and her wife knew as kids. That is not too much to ask.

What got to me even more were the comments and responses to her blog. I read people telling her that she was a sinner. That she should not be allowed to participate in church leadership and activities because of her “choice”.  She had churches suggested to her that would help her to “change”.

I suppose I just don’t get it. I am a person that has spent more of his life as an addict than I haven’t. I could go to church and participate in “activities” as long as I was not actively high. I could be embraced by my church and be allowed to be a member and treated with sympathy. Hunh? They KNEW I was an addict. By definition, addicts commit criminal acts. We break the law constantly. We drive “impaired”. We use illegal and legal drugs. We made a choice to do what we do. Those are acts of volition. We decided it was a proper course of action to continue to abuse the law and ourselves. Addicts, to me, are incapable of loving anyone except themselves.

Addicts, to me, are incapable of loving anyone except themselves. That sentence, too, is a lie. The majority of us don’t even love ourselves. Yet, my church, knowing this would still have me as a member and not someone that was LBGT.

Being stigmatized for loving the person you were created to love makes no sense to me. Being LBGT is NOT a “choice” any more than being straight is. *editorial, I know there are people that are going to disagree with me on this one* I read people quoting the Old Testament Law that, in their minds, makes it ok to discriminate against the LBGT community. They cite all the legalistic bulls**t they can find. They look for any excuse to exclude. They say that God didn’t create “those people” that way. Here’s the funny, not ha ha, thing. The Bible speaks far more to a lack of choice. It says, over and over, that God knew you and what you were to be before you were born. It says that we are created in His Image. It never has the concept of “free will”. Nope, I looked, that idea is not in there.

The Bible speaks of love for our neighbors. In the New Testament, it speaks of changing the old laws to a new one “love your neighbor”. It teaches us to not judge someone by a standard we do not want used against us. We are taught to seek out the oppressed and protect them. We are challenged to speak of love to everyone that we meet. We are given the task of helping those in distress.

Churches use the excuse, “we don’t want to be seen condoning that behavior in our church. We don’t want people to think we let sinners in here.” Breaking the law is a sin. Paul says it in Romans. He says governments are put in place by God. That their rules should be given the same weight as Gods laws. So, does that mean that anyone that breaks the speed limit is excluded. Having a radar detector is specifically designed to make it possible to have no consequence to repeated illegal acts. Do we exclude those parents that have given a sip of their beer or wine to their minor child? Do we exclude the adults that, when they were underage teens, had sex with their underage partners? Where do  we draw the line? If we are to follow the set of rules that those misguided legalistic types would have us use, there would be no one in any church on Sunday.

I finally came down to this. I decided to become Heretic. I list my faith as Heretic Christian. There is only one member in my church, me. I have a fine Christian Lady as a friend, Z. I pray for her every night. I pray that, someday, that she might find a good wife. I pray that she might find a church that wants her in it. That they might embrace her and give her the love she deserves. I pray that there are others that think that she is not a “choice” but, created in the image of a Loving God. Z did not choose to be gay. I know because I asked her. She believes that she is the way she was made. I believe her because her honesty is something I do not question. She will tell the truth even if it causes her harm.

God did not create junk. If someone is the way they are, I believe, that was by the intent of God. If someone is LBGT, it is because God had a reason to make them that way. If you believe different so be it. The God I believe in is capable of doing as he wills. The God you believe in much be smaller if you think that He created imperfections and trash. That He could not change things to suit His Will. I do not presume to know His reasons, yet, it is an article of my faith that He had them.

I think it’s time to wind this down. I am not gay but, if you are, know this…

In my mind, it would be against my faith to exclude you. In my mind, God had a reason for making you the way you are. In my mind, the capacity for love is the most important thing. In my mind, being gay is no more a reason to exclude than being straight is a reason to include. God has his reasons and purposes for  making us the way He did. I hope you find a group that will love you for the person you are. I hope that you find a tiny corner of peace and a person to share it with. That’s all I want out of my life. I was given that chance. I pray that Z finds hers, too.

*editorial, this is a tiny bit disjointed. apologies*