Saturday, January 24, 2009

Haggard's latest

Go over to towleroad and read this about the new Ted Haggard scandal.

This makes me hate conservative Christianity.

I get so tired of the bullshit. Haggard gets found out, says it didn't happen. Then he says it did, but only once. Then evangelical leaders say they can fix him. Then they said they did. Then Haggard says well not exactly and that he still loves his wife and is so "hurt" by his God-damned church. Then this comes out, that he had a sexual relationship with a 20 year old man at his church--like it's really a big surprise! Meanwhile Haggard is still on this money-making kick saying that his sexuality is a result of abuse or some shit like that, and that the church has dealt with him unfairly.

Maybe the church has dealt with him unfairly, but it's a church that HE built, and they're using the same hateful rhetoric for which he gave precedence.

I shed a tear when I watched that video above. Not because I feel such great compassion for these people involved, but because I'm so damn angry and so tired of the bullshit! I get tired of the facade that Christians put up. I get tired of the superficial standards that we assume are Christian. I get so tired of churches who hold on to what they think the Bible says about homosexuality all the while they are molesting people and paying others off not to tell.

Moments like this, I'm not sure the diplomatic, slow, pastoral way of dealing with things is most appropriate. Jesus had his patient, compassionate, shepherding side, but he also had his furious, direct, confrontational and unrelenting way of doing things. On this issue, we need the latter. We need to start calling bull shit when we see it. We need to break away from the whole system of shallow spiritual formation that leads so many faithful people to close their mind and mindlessly accept the dogma that is preached at them. It's time to be real, to drop the flowery Christian-ese, and tell it like it is.

I think I am angry because I feel caught right in the middle of this. I've been led along to a career path to serve a church that says I do not conform to their status quo. I'm surrounded by people who want to be open minded and tolerant, yet they can't let go of the old habits, the old language, and the old beliefs--and these things seem to ALWAYS trump their acceptance of those who are different. Everyone seems to be hoping this will get resolved, but they don't want to be the ones to speak up and make things different.

It will probably take way more than one person, but I feel like I am supposed to be one of those people. I pray that I have the courage to be one of those people. However, we will need advocates: in particular, straight, white males in leadership. We can march, we can scream, but we can't change anything until someone from the "other side" buys it. How many more pastors have to get caught in this destructive cycle? How many more 20 year olds will be seduced by sexually oppressed men in positions of authority? How many more dollars will be spent to maintain the appearance that everything is ok?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peggy Campolo is a Baptist Saint!

Read this!

"The anguish and despair I have seen in the Christian gay community does not allow time for such a scholarly approach to be our first move. We who are called to love our neighbors as ourselves must get to know and listen to them NOW."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pretty much the greatest thing ever

Fucking hillarious!

Drinking and other random statements

- If I don't stop the random heavy drinking it's going to result in me throwing my own gay pride parade out of the closet.

- Met someone new from in town yesterday. We went out for a couple of beers. It will be nice to have a gay friend close by. It was very strange and nerve wracking to be seen out with a guy who is not already in my social circle. I don't think my cover was blown or anything--we tended to avoid the more popular spots.

- Pretty sure another friend is just waiting on me to come out to him. I mean, what kind of question is "so tell me your dirty secrets?" !!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's a new day ... and I'm feelin' good

I can't believe it's only been a week since the last time I posted--so much seems to have happened. I don't really have a direction to go here, but I need to process what's going on in my head... WARNING: This is uninteresting reading, sorry.

Last Saturday - I had the weekend off, so I decided I would stay the night in Dallas (yes, that narrows my location down a bit) and visit a few churches on Sunday morning (yes, I am a nerd). With a few hours left before it was reasonable to go to sleep, I chose to hang out at a bar or two. It was fun enough--I enjoy the people watching--especially of people who are not trying to hide their sexuality. It's helpful to be reminded there are others. Anyway, drinking alone is always kind of awkward and annoying, especially with the social skills of a 12 year old :-) so I did not tarry long.

Last Sunday - This day was SO MUCH FUN--just seeing three totally different churches do their thing. Two of them are worth mentioning, one of which bills itself as the "largest liberal(/gay) church in the world." I had almost decided against visiting this church. I watch them often online. I didn't know how I felt about a "gay" church (it sort of reminded me of "cowboy" churches or other affinity oriented congregations) and it seemed as if their service can be a little over the top at times.

Boy, was it ever over the topic and I LOVED it! The heartiness of the singing, the sincerity of of the worship, the warmth of the community... it was simply a very special experience that seemed to be what church and religion should be all about. These people believe in love and they have a very real hope of a better world and a pretty good idea of what that could look like. I left that place believing like I have not in a very long time. I could go on...

Another church I visited was much more along the lines of a traditional, urban church--unlike the first church I mentioned. But the refreshing thing there was the diversity of the people that was neither paraded or hidden. People seemed to genuinely love and accept each other, and it was this love and acceptance that has kept the "gay issue" from being an issue. This congregation did not have to vote on whether or not they will accept gays and lesbians, it simply made sense if they truly were to believe what they said they believed in.

Saturday I saw Milk with a great new friend. I had no idea how long the struggle for gay rights has been going on. I always assumed this was a new thing, but no... people have been fighting over this for well over 30 years and ignorance still pervades. In many ways this film simply pissed me off, and it confirmed once again that the closet is EVIL and it's not where I should be. It helps no one. On the other hand, if I were out, I could be more open with a lot of people about the hell we go through and give them a name to go with these "queers" that seem to incite so much fear.. that name would be MINE.

Really the only factors holding me back are: successfully completing my degree program and the parents. Concerning the parents.. they are becoming unbearable. I'm pretty sure they would love me and not disown me if I were out (and if they DID disown me then that would be my invitation to ignore them forever)... but really the thing that makes it so impossible for me to come out to my parents is is the shitty way I would feel over the grief that I would cause them. They would go into mourning, seriously! It would make them literally sick, and the stress would pervade their life for months. Sure, the stress of being gay lasts my whole life and it's not going away--but I can deal with it, I can manage it, I can control it... I can't control my parents' stress. I can't get them up to speed on the thing that I've been thinking about for years. It just sucks--big time--and I'm not sure I'll ever bother with coming out to them.

Other than that, however, I'm feeling good. I'm enlarging my network of support, I'm loving my job, my faith is vital, and I have real hope. This year is going to be a good year, and it's going to be a pivotal year on many levels. Life one year--even a few months--from now is going to look much different and I cannot even imagine what will happen within the next year. These are exciting times.. and I'm ready.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Take on Warren

Ok, this is my own lame contribution to the many words being said about the Warren-Obama-Inauguration-Prayer issue. To all the gays: CALM DOWN.

You're forgetting something very important. EVANGELICALS ARE VERY EASILY DUPED.

Obama is a smart politician. He never (rarely) takes anything back. There have been numerous decisions that many pushed back against, yet in the long run they were effective decisions, and I firmly believe the Warren thing is the same kind of well-thought kind of decision.

Back to my point... EVANGELICALS ARE VERY EASILY DUPED. I mean, George W. is not an exclusivist, nor is he a Biblical literalist, but the evangelicals were all DUPED into thinking that he shared their shallow, ignorant religion. (Not that G.W.'s religion is deep and informed or anything...)

I'm at home for the holidays, and attended my parents' (uber conservative) church this past Sunday. After the service, I happened to overhear some women bitching about Obama when one of them said, "well at least he asked Rick Warren to do the prayer!" to which all the other women agreed with enthusiasm.

I know these women, and for them to say ANYTHING positive about:

- a black man
- a liberal
- a democrat
- Barack Obama HUGE. These are the same bitches that send around emails saying Obama is the anti-Christ, or an Arab terrorist, etc. Just as easily as they believe that kind of bullshit, they can believe that Obama can become "one of us" just by asking a light-weight preacher like Rick Warren to deliver a stupid prayer.

Now, concerning the negative effects this has on the movements for gay equality: what are they?? There are none that I can think of. Would there be negative effects if Obama was solidly liberal in every choice he made? Absolutely! That would energize the evangelicals like we've never seen and society would regress 50 years! What Obama has done in this decision, and in others, is to sort of appease these masses rather than inciting them. They're definitely not on Obama's side, but they're not angry, and, from what I've seen while at home, many folks (very Republican, conservative folks) even seem hopeful that he is going to be good for the economy.

So, if by NOT asking Warren, or by rescinding his decision, nothing is really done FOR gay rights, and if by asking him, nothing is really done AGAINST gay rights (it's not like this is tied to ANY policy decision of Obama's) but rather, a lot of unlikely people are turned on to a president that will likely push for greater rights for gays, then I think Warren and his little prayer should stay in the bulletin.