LBGT

Holy Smokes

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote…I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I also left because I was at a point where I felt like I had said all I could say and was reaching burnout. In addition, my own tiny family, meaning, my wife, needed every bit of my emotional energy…

I am writing this one because I want to reaffirm and restate what I always believed.

  • What your beliefs do not make you good or bad. There are bad Christians, good Pagans and, indifferent Atheists. The “content of your character” comes from within and not a system of belief.
  • Women have worth. Period. They are not chattel. They are not objects. They are not punching bags or targets for torment. They are our mothers, sisters, daughters, coworkers, fellow humans, wives, partners, and any other phrase or word you choose to describe them. They are the equals of men. They are the ONLY gender capable of giving birth to humans. We owe them our lives and they deserve to be treated with the respect that has well earned.
  • Your sexuality is your own. Yeah, I think the LBGT Community has gotten a rough deal from the majority of my Cis-het Christian Community but, the fact that you are ANY of the previous doesn’t make you “special”, it makes you human. There are over 7 billion people on the Earth. All of them have some form of sexuality … including a desire to have none. All it boils down to, in the end, is that you don’t deserve to be persecuted for who you f**k. That’s it.

I started to write this as a response to the Fear that seems to pervade today’s society. Thing is people have been saying for thousands of years “the end is near” and it hasn’t happened yet. The fears of today are nothing but the flavor of the month. We have survived both wise men and fools in high office. We have survived War and Famine. We have made it through everything Nature can throw at us. The troubles of today pale in comprison to those of the past. The only difference it that today’s are happening now…

Perhaps it’s merely my age that gives me some tiny bit, I hope, of wisdom and perspective but, I am less concerned about how the World treats me and more concerned about how I treat y’all. It isn’t the Alfred E. Neuman, “what, me worry?” as much as it is that I really don’t want to waste the energy concerning myself with things I can not change and may not even happen…

…I don’t really know if this post means I’m back or is just to say that my views haven’t changed…

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Yeah, I Took Shots at EVERYONE…

Bits of thoughts…

I am NOT open-minded. In my world, people, as differentiated from “humanity” fall into 3 groups, people I like, people I dislike, and people that will be one or the other of the first two. Humanity is different, because of the people I like, I write about humans being treated with decency and compassion. I write FOR the people I like and love, to humans, about humanity and faith…

To the young lady parked next to me. Yeah, I saw the dyed pink hair and haircut shorter than mine. Yeah, I saw the rainbow flag on your rear deck. Yep, I looked to see what you looked like because I was curious. I “people watch”. Perhaps I’m reading more into the look you gave me in return but, you have no clue that I write a blog defending your right to live your life as you please so, perhaps instead of seeing a middle-aged guy driving a black Town Car, you might consider that not everyone that looks like me sees someone that looks like you as anything other than a fellow traveler on this rock, not the enemy…

I’m not sure that people really understand the word “conservative” *grins* I see a bunch of alleged “conservatives” wanting to get up in arms over the “bathroom issue”. They seem to think that “traditional conservative values” means that the Constitution was unclear when it used the word “citizens” and not “straight, white, male, Republican, Christian” in it. The Constitution uses that word several times for example here, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” So if y’all all’s grasp of grammar is so poor as to misunderstand that one word, it comes as no surprise that bigger concepts like “equality” and “liberty” are beyond your grasp. Perhaps you should stick to simpler things like “fear” and “hate” as in this example, “Would y’all  misogynistic, homophobic, racist, semi-literate, cretins with delusions of grandeur please shut up?” *editorial, I am NOT a self-labeled Liberal. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as “conservative”. Now, that ideology has been hijacked by hate and fear so, I am of no political party and just look at the issues*…

While I’m at it… The nice thing about being me is that I have very few illusions about myself. I know my weaknesses and strengths. I know the bits of myself to be scared of and the places I trust. *there is a point to this* Guys that abuse women have no such confidence in themselves. All they have is weakness and the only way they are able to feel power is by making someone else less, sort of like those people in the last paragraph. The difference is that the people up there lash out at a group and the guys that abuse lash out at individuals. Either way, it is sadly pathetic when the only way you are able to feel any strength is to make someone else powerless…

And another thing…My Christianity doesn’t give me a lock on morality. When I first started using drugs, I owned and read a Bible and called myself Christian. If all it took was to claim a faith as the key, there would be no pedophile priests, spousal abusers in churches, or scammer t.v. evangelists. Just because you’re claiming “God Hates Fags” doesn’t make it so. If you actually read the words Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and claim that “God hates…” I suspect what you really mean is “I hate myself so, I’ll lash out at you…” Morality is a condition of your soul. It is entirely possible to be a transgender, Pagan, Lesbian and be moral. Just as it is possible to be a cishet, male, Christian and be a pedophile. It is the SOUL that matters, not the trappings around it…

Look, guys, we have to be realistic. We are not going to agree with everyone. We are not going to like everyone. There’s no way we’ll ever understand everyone but, we have to live together on this rock…at least to the day of our demise…so, it’s far easier on ourselves, and the rest of the world, if we spend less time hating and fearing what we don’t understand. There are a bunch of things to fear. I fear that a moment of weakness could bring relapse. I fear finding a scorpion in my shoe…I don’t have time to fear others because their lives are not inside my house or my head.

Predatory people happen. They are criminals. If I spend my life worrying that it will be disrupted by a criminal, I spend very little time LIVING my own and they win. If I spend my time making myself feel stronger by surrounding myself with cowards, how strong am I really? I’d rather be built up by the strength and courage of the people I know than to have sunk to the level of the fear mongers.

That’s it, in the end, do we have the strength to realize that “different” is not the same as “evil” or “loathsome”? Or do we stay with the comfort of our own xenophobic beliefs and forget Genesis 3:19?

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

The Great Equalizer comes for all of us one day…

Embrace

Embrace.

That word eliminates fear. It’s hard to be scared of a hug. The warmth of arms wrapped around you and the feel of another heart beat.

Sometimes a hug is just a thought. It’s a quiet prayer in the dark or a memory of a voice. It’s thinking, “that’s my friend and I love her”.

Hugs keep my monsters away.

A Comment Needed a Response and I’m NOT a Troll…

Reading other blogs is a good thing…sometimes…Other times I read the comments under them.

A few days ago I read a blog by a Pagan Lady explaining her friendship with a “Jesus Freak”. It was a very well written post talking about her friendship and how the two of them could get along. How they could find common ground and peace between them That they could share the blessings of their separate faiths with each other and not be intimidated or feel fear of the other. She also commented that some Pagans would *paraphrase* say it wasn’t possible and she was a traitor to her faith. Then a commentator proved her to be correct. He said he would accept allies “but”…In my mind, the word “but” in a sentence means “please disregard previous”…

I’m not a violent person. I haven’t physically hit someone since I was a kid on the playground. I wanted to smack the guy. You want allies only on your terms? Ok, here are mine to that guy. A. I don’t want to change you. B. I am an ally based on MY views, not yours. C. I am an ally because I want to be. It is my choice to attempt to help, not you compelling me. Alliances are based on MUTUAL respect and common ground. D. I may be some people’s ally but, *Yeah, that word* if you disrespect my views, I am not YOUR ally. You may feel free to reject the idea of my help and slight my beliefs, by doing that, it’s your loss, not mine…

*sigh*

Here’s the deal. I don’t “troll” comments or posts. If I have something to say, I use my own space to comment. I don’t get the need to disagree or argue with someone on line. I am willing to discuss a differing view but, to completely disparage another’s view, on a post that they wrote particularly when they are talking about a rare supporter of their belief system and an outsider that wants to help them, makes no sense to me.

I’m not “special”. I don’t need my ego stroked. I am also not common. I don’t know the percentage but, experientially there are very few pro-Pagan Christians that I have met…and I’ve looked for more. I need allies of my own faith to help me spread the word. If someone that is Pagan doesn’t want my help, fine, don’t take it. You have that right. Having said that, we, Christians ARE the majority view in this country. No matter how far my heresy goes, I’m still in the “club”. To push back against ANY of us that are willing to reach out or to put down ANY friendship that reaches out is “cutting off your nose to spite your face”…

Ok, the rant and “harsh” is over…*edit, I fibbed. my bad. rant continues toned down a tiny bit*

To more directly answer something I posed up there, “I am an ally because I want to be.” Why do I “want to be”? The short answer is because Aj, my “best friend that is not my wife” is Pagan. The longer answer is more complicated…

I didn’t want to be but, *that word again* I had to be. It would be easier not to be. A different blogger used the  phrase “agnostic Pagan” to describe the possibility that she might be mistaken. I have that same view, only Christian, I’ve been wrong before. It WILL happen again. To believe that my limited perspective and words I’ve read give me a lock on the Divine and morality is foolhardy…

It would be MUCH easier to be simplistic in my beliefs. “Christians good and EVERYONE else bad” is a far less complex world view but, that’s not the way I’m made. I am a person that recognizes my limitations.

*sigh*

There’s an, to borrow something from myself, expression “some of my best friends are (fill in the blank)”. It’s usually used by a racist, homophobe, or some other person to justify why they aren’t prejudiced…and they really are. In my case, some of my best friends are Pagan. No justification, fact. I can be judgmental and not exactly “tolerant” but, that’s based on the individual and not some charistic like faith or being LBGT. There are humans that fit any demographic that are people I love and like…and some that I think are complete a$$es…

Yeah, that guy bugged me and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.

I’m used to being the only Christian in a conversation or the only straight male. It would seem that the people I hang out with don’t care about those things and put up with my silly questions. *editorial, I mean on line. I go to work and come home. My “hang out” is virtual. My job requires much interaction and I like home and quiet* I digress, those people don’t “tolerate” or “accept” me, they are people I like and love and KNOW that is returned by them. They tease me and I tease back. Friends…that happen to not fit my demographic.

*sigh…for the I don’t know how many time*

My path is mine. I was raised Christian. I became “fallen”, if, not quite, atheist. I became, a bunch of years later, Conservative Christian. Over time, I wandered into heresy. It is my path. I don’t evangelize. If you don’t want to use the same path, don’t. It is not an easy one, questioning and doubting. It is mine, though. If you want your trail to parallel mine with a different faith, that’s fine. Keep your beliefs and faith and just walk along side. If you want my help, ask. If I am able and inclined, I will but, if you reject my help or lay conditions on what I do, don’t cry when I don’t. Don’t say that you reject my beliefs as they are as much a part of me as yours are part of you and then complain that you’re not getting the help or respect you think you deserve. It’s a two way street. Period. You get what you give.

I’ll take what help I can find. No matter if it’s from a Crone or a Saint. I’ll listen to words and, if there’s wisdom, gladly absorb what I am able. I’ll wish “Merry Christmas” or “Blessed Yule” depending on the person and not think twice. My nose doesn’t get out of joint at the idea that different beliefs are merely different, not wrong. I’ll respond to kindness and love with the same…

I’ve said it before, “I’m not your ally”. I might be a voice, if you’ll let me. I may not understand or share your views but, I’ll respect and defend your right to them and the practice of them. All I ask in return is the same I’m offering you…*editorial, I reserve the right to have self-contradictory views. I’m human*

Oh yeah, “mutual benefit”. What do I gain from helping you? Nothing but…some of the people I love and want the best for fit “your demographic” and what helps the people I love, helps me. If my words and thoughts make your life better and, as a result, theirs I’ve gained. To change their world for the better, I have to change yours, too.

Differences…

So, I was reading a different blog by a Pagan author. She was talking about how Pagans can’t seem to find a way to reconcile their different views. By that I mean they couldn’t agree that they could be different and get along with those differences. Does that make sense? So, I decided to do some research about Christian denominations…

I decided to do some research about Christian denominations…According to the numbers I could find, there are between 33 and 43 THOUSAND different “denoms” world wide. A “denom” *pardon shorthand* being defined as an organization in a country and not as an individual’s privately held belief. I suspect that there are as many different “beliefs” as there are Christians…

Anyway, the author of the post that prompted this thought lamented that they, Pagans, couldn’t seem to agree to disagree and accept that different people had different views. That some people HAD to try to force people to fit a box not of their own choosing…

Funny how some things cross every boundary.

*sigh*

People are different. My belief is that God made people in every shade and belief. He created genders and personalities. He made some to agree…and some to disagree. He gave every human some other human that they could love…sometimes he even gives us people to not be our mate and love deeply as friends. The varieties He created are as many as there are humans on the Earth…

Why do we have to put down, castigate, condemn, or slight those who are different since none of us are the same? I’d rather embrace the differences and share the wonder of the people I share my world with. Just because your beliefs or politics are different than mine doesn’t make you bad. What does is how you express those. If you see different as a reason to hate or put down, I’ve no use for you but, if you embrace the human that has the difference then you have worth and are part of the collection of people that make life worth having…

Who Put You In Charge?

You can’t be a (blank) because I decided you don’t fit MY standards of what that is…

So, just a question, who put you in charge?

*sigh*…

This one is just something that irks the crap out of me. The comment was on a pic that a friend posted on Facebook saying that the person in the pic wasn’t really Pagan. This is just an example. Apparently, though, I am not a “real Christian” because of my views toward the people I know that are Pagan or LBGT. Some of my friends aren’t “really gay” because they have children. Some of my Pagan friends aren’t Pagan enough to be “real” Pagans because they have “mixed” views on spirituality….and we can skip the entire set of political views that aren’t far enough to one end of the curve or the other to suit the ends…

Who decides? Do I get to claim a view or a path or do you get to tell me? Here’s a hint…while I value some humans views of what I am and what my friends are, those humans have earned the right to tell me, the rest might be better served contemplating why they would exclude someone that wants to be part of their group and give them support. If I call myself Heretic Christian, and I do, that means I am still Christian. If someone claims a faith, without sharing the inside of their Heart and Head, who are we to say they are not that? Every person is different. We all have our own ways of doing things.

Look, guys, from my end, I’d rather have someone that isn’t EXACTLY like me sharing my road and giving support than someone else blindly following my words without applying their own sense of reason. *editorial, I AM NOT giving approval of “participation trophies”. You have to reach the goal but, in the cases, I’m describing you get to set the target, not someone else*…

My other point, if you think someone isn’t (blank) enough to suit you, perhaps you are the person that needs the work and not them…

 

You Ask Me…

I’m going to try an experiment. Usually, a blog post gives a view or an idea or a story. In this one, you guys ask the questions. I am willing to answer ANY question about me, my past, my personal faith, my addiction, my views on LBGT’s, my perspective on other faiths, or any other thing you think I need to answer…with this caveat, I will not answer any questions that endanger the safety or privacy of those I write about. That includes but is not limited to my wife, Aj, Z, Kelly, or any other person referenced in any post that is not a public figure.
Please, feel free to ask here or on the Facebook page linked to the blog. My life will be an open book. *editorial, I don’t think I’m that important or interesting* I am merely trying to start a dialog.

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*

 

What Difference Does It Make?

I have a question. It’s rhetorical so y’all can just ponder it a bit. Ask yourself, “what difference does it make?” before you find something objectionable.

Look at like this, Christians, me in my past included, found “fault” with people. We see what we perceive as “flaws” or “sin” and use that as grounds to object to the whole of the person. Take, specifically, two of my closest friends. One is Pagan, the other Lesbian. I would see the first as “flawed” and the other as the personification of “sin”…Then I applied the question…

Sure, Aj is flawed. All humans are. It’s just that her faith isn’t a flaw in her and only makes a difference to me when we try to communicate concepts that seem simple to her and are hard for me to understand. In that case, Paganism isn’t the flaw. The problem lies on my difficulty trying to apply my views and mental construct…

On the other hand, Z does sin, as a Christian she would be the first to admit it. It’s just that who she’s attracted to isn’t the one that either she or I see as the sin. *editorial, I freely admit being a heretic so, object to my view as you wish. We’ll just disagree* Sin, the Christian concept applied to Christians, is an inescapable part of our condition…

Anyway, back to the original question, what difference does it make? Say, for example, I was of an inclination to object and act on my objections. That I further decided I had a right to do that. Why? Would it be worth the stress that it would cause to find fault and ways to retaliate against people that mean me no harm? What part of the kindness and love that Jesus taught does hateful rhetoric, prejudicial action, or blatant discrimination show? How would I persuade someone to see my view if, by my actions, thoughts, and words, I pushed them away? It would make a difference because I had failed, not them.

What difference does it make? A huge one, just not to you but, to them.

Reflections on Ten Years

This’ll post the day after I made it to ten years clean. I think I’m going to wander through my head and just put down what seems like it matters…

Some days are very easy to stay clean and sober, other’s it’s all I can do to not have “just one” beer.

The nightmares are finally starting to fade.

I’m less worried about being liked by the world at large and far more concerned with the opinions of a few people I love. Related to that, I conserve emotional energy so that I have more for them.

Little things make my day like a tasty bite at work or an easy drive home.

My very favorite hobby is “Doing Nice Things for Sweety”. She is the reason I stay clean. The Bible says “count the cost”. If I relapse, she is the cost. I am unwilling to pay that price.

My second favorite hobby is this blog because it is a gift to myself and some friends that I think of as Treasures. Yeah, the best things in life are the people that allow you to share their lives.

I have different priorities now than I had ten years ago. When I first became sober, I was trying to figure out who I was and how to deal with being sober. Now, I LIKE being sober and *grins* mostly sane. I also don’t think I’ll ever figure it out so, I don’t worry about it.

Interestingly enough, when I got sober, it was in a place that is Conservative Christian. Now, I am much less open minded than I was then. Yeah, “oddly” because although this is a blog that has a lot of posts for LBGT Rights and freedom from persecution for some Pagan friends, there are a lot of things I disapprove of. It just happens that being gay or Pagan aren’t things on the Disapprove List *grins* To clarify, there are a lot of things that are out of bounds…for me…that I am willing to encourage others to do. I can not drink ever again. As an example, that doesn’t mean I don’t tell people to have a beer and have bought them a beer on occasion.

I think I’ve grown up a tiny bit but, some days I still wish I was 4…

On a serious note, I NEED a “support group”. It isn’t a traditional AA type support group but, there are some close friends and my wife that I am able to turn to on the bad days. Yeah, I still have days that are “touch and go”. I can not rely on my own strength to stay sober but, I can long enough to be able to get to someone that will loan me some of theirs. Then I have enough strength.

I’ve learned gratitude. I am entirely grateful for the “bonus years” I’ve been given. I didn’t expect to live this long. I am grateful, too, for the people that populate my life in these years Sweety, Aj, Z, Kelladillo, and the rest of them. I never expected to have people I trust since I didn’t trust myself or anyone else way back then.

Trust is another thing I’ve learned. I am able to trust me and other people. I wasn’t able before. Go figure.

I still have baggage. I keep little stashes of food because I used to not have enough for drugs and food so I chose drugs and stayed hungry. Now, having food is security.

I also keep finding out that I’m far from perfect. I try to be a good husband…and some days I am. Others I take her for granted. People, even the ones I put on the unfair to them pedestal aren’t. Humans have faults. I just have a tendency to ignore their’s.

I have a huge weakness with labels. I want people to fit in nice little boxes. I try to make them fit my construct and world view. *sigh* When I was an addict, I didn’t care as much. Now, I want things to be neat and tidy. It manifests itself when it comes to faith in particular. I do a disservice to a dear friend, Aj, because I try to “Christianize” her when she is not. I have a hard time with that because I have a hard time stepping outside myself. On the other hand, because of those same attempts to put people into boxes, it makes me predisposed to like someone because of one aspect of themselves. Examples being that if I find out someone is Pagan I want to like them or if they are Lesbian, because of Z, I want to like them. Because most of my close friends and all of my “support group” is female, I tend to want to like them and am much more wary of having male friends. *editorial, I do have a couple of male friends but, am not as close to them*

For what it’s worth, being an addict sucked. Hating yourself is not fun. Ever. Letting every hygiene standard and all of your values suffer rots the soul. I can not find any excuse for who I was. I listen to a radio commercial for a treatment center that says “it’s not your fault” and entirely disagree. If it wasn’t my fault, it for d**n sure wasn’t anyone else’s or God’s. If I didn’t do it, who did? I had to learn to own my actions and thoughts. I had to realize that every step I took belonged to me. Now, I realize that even being angry is a conscious process and I control it. I used to make excuses about my life, now I don’t. I either fix it or take the hit, either way, it’s mine.

*****

I thought this was going to be a list of milestones. That’s not how it turned out. Sorry. Fatigue set in. Still, I wanted some words down. I would like to thank my family, my wife, and The Collective Conscience. God gets a bunch of the credit, too. I get very little except for being smart enough to turn to good people.