Sunday, January 14, 2018

The big broad line between love and hate.

My reflections about the things I initially wrote on this blog center around religion and gayness. I don't know if those things are somehow related to my purpose in life, but I do know that those two things have collided in my consciousness in a way that's caused me to rethink the foundations upon which my upbringing was based.

I was taught to hate gay people. That's a strong statement because no one ever told me explicitly that I should hate gay people. However, I was taught (from a very young age and for as long as I can remember) that gay people are an abomination in the eyes of God. My own mother is alive to this day and continues to demonstrate that she believes this. She REALLY believes it. Bless her heart.

I bear no ill will toward my mother. I love her and have done what I can to ensure that her existence remains comfortable and as happy as it seems she's capable of being.

Nevertheless, she taught me that I should hate gay people. But, here's a truth: WHAT YOU TEACH isn't necessarily WHAT THEY LEARN. I was taught to hate gay people, but I learned to love them instead. Her hatred fed a curiosity in me. And in learning to love gay people, I learned to love pretty much everyone in general. All people. Including myself. (My dad actually taught me that last part.)

People deserve to be loved in ways that teach them to love themselves because no one chooses to be born into this world. And sometimes, by the time we're able to make choices on our own, we've been screwed over by the choices of others so profoundly that we can barely overcome it. My mother once screamed at me, "You don't know how to love!" so I decided to spend the rest of my life proving her wrong. It was a great decision. I stand by it.

As I look back, I see now that this story with Todd is really just MY story. Proving that I do indeed know how to LOVE.

Thanks for reading. Whoever you are.

peace&love and grace,

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Monday, January 01, 2018

 THIS IS what TODD SAID TO ME PUBLICLY regarding SEXUALITY...bless his heart...

Yeah, you really crystallized the issue … I mean, hell if I would write this stuff down,
(which i'm just still just afraid of--you know how i feel about the power of words) I think what might’ve come out of it is something like that … at least that’s how I would want you to perceive I was reasoning about myself and our marriage… which it seems you have although I say very little. … If that makes any sense at all.

Yeah, I have to admit that I don’t “get off” looking at opposite sex, boobs, etc….. so women in general, yeah, you’re right, although I appreciate their beauty and characteristics and nature.

And about you, yeah, I get that.
I do feel that way—bcz I’m in love with YOU and attracted to all the components OF you that MAKE YOU a woman, including the physical meldings of our male and female forms….

I mean, maybe some day I’ll start wanting to buy t***y mags…hahaa....

….but I’m content to be en eros with regard to ONE woman, my earthly companion. The one I was destined for all along. [Lucky you. :D]

And for me, the battle is such a head game. To appreciate and observe strength and beauty (male or female) vs. obsessing over personal inadequacies, feeling isolated, needing affirmation/touch, …. All of those things comprise my struggle each day.

Keeping that struggle in perspective; meeting needs in healthy ways—not by sexualizing or contextualizing or settling for “oh this is how I am”; recognizing my purpose in life (including struggle); and aye, even…dare I suggest…thanking God for where he’s grown me from…and to….

These are NOT mere mental posturings in response to the battle, rather they are viable weapons I can use in the fight for my masculinity, manhood, role as husband, father, and friend. As the whole man God intended.

You’re far more perceptive than I would have ever imagined; far more at peace and clear-thinking than I could ever have hoped; and provide much enc o u r a g ement for me to face this; deal with it; and perhaps come to embrace it fully. I mean, my gosh, to be able to even talk about this.

You’re truly amazing.


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And so, we begin.

It was a dark and stormy night.

How does one go from being a born-again Christ warrior Assemblies of God trained ambassador of everything Good and Holy and HEAVEN-BOUND...

to this.


What is this?

This. Is me.

I'm small and insignificant. But I'm still me. And I hope I'll do a good job this year of telling the story of how I got to be me. This format seems like a good way to do it, and I'm grateful that current technology makes this possible.

I'm an agnonstic believer of Jesus and His way of going about things.

Part of me can't believe that I felt compelled to preface everything I'm about to say this way.

Oh well.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Place Holder

It's obvious to me that no one is reading any of this. Which ironically encourages me to keep sharing.

More tomorrow. I promise...(we'll all see how that goes)

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Sunday, December 03, 2017

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."-William Shakespeare

If you've stumbled onto this blog because you were searching for a good recipe for buttermilk pie, I apologize. I did post a recipe for it that brought a good deal of traffic to my blog back in the day. I always imagined someone making it, taking it to a gathering, and saying, "I got the recipe from some religious blog where the wife is married to a closeted gay guy. How's it taste?" And then everyone raves about how amazing it is because it is an amazing pie. I still make it for all our family gatherings and two of the boys fight over who gets more of it than the other.

Speaking of the family, here's an update on the status of our family: We still are one. That's really the most important thing. The details and particulars are important, but they don't matter as much as the fact that we remain committed to the well-being of one another through the practice of loving kindness toward one another in all circumstances and by all means we have available. Our family is like most families in that we don't all agree on everything, but fortunately that isn't a requirement for loving or being kind.

Here's an update on a few of the particulars:

I've been in a committed relationship with B for just about 5 years. I met him during that one time I lived in Wichita Falls. He's absolutely perfect for me and me for him. He's a musician (classically trained drummer and self-taught guitarist) and accountant-turned-teacher who is currently substitute teaching while completing TX certification requirements toward securing a full-time teaching position. He loves dogs, learning folk music on the guitar, and recently finished reading Tom Sawyer for the first time. That's my Dating Game description, but it's accurate.

Tdub married his partner Migs last July. I walked him down the aisle and gave him away. It was a sweet and satisfying moment seeing him so happy and finally able to have the wedding he truly deserves. One that ends with a best friend he's able to love and enjoy in all the ways that make being human so meaningful. Migs is such a beautiful person. It's an honor to have him in our family, and I can't imagine a more perfect match for Tdub.

The boys are all doing well. Three have partners/spouses, and we have 2 grandsons which brings the immediate family count up to 13. We were all together at our house (the home Bryan and I share) for Thanksgiving.

I've gone back to teaching art and I'm loving every minute of it. I learned many years ago that the secret to enjoying teaching is to enjoy the learning process itself. I still love learning, and I'm learning a LOT in this position. This is my first experience teaching Kindergarten which means that in my 29 years as an educator I've now taught all grades PK-8 in some capacity. I like that because it gives me a broader picture of where kids are headed and from where they've come. A big part of teaching is just being able to RELATE to kids. You have to go to where they are and bring them in to you if you're going to teach them anything.

I intend to write more about how and why I've decided to be Agnostic. Religion is, after all, just a decision. Just like love, kindness, respect, etc. It does me good to write about it, and maybe it will do someone else good to read my thoughts about it. But for today, I'll just leave this little update and get back to doing a ton of other things I need accomplish.

Thanks for reading. Whoever you are.

peace&love and grace,

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

And so. I come OUT on my blog as being Agnostic. I'm Agnostic.

I believe there's some sort of God, but I'm not willing to define it. That's Agnostic. That's what I am. And that's okay.

That's a pretty gigantic cliff to jump across. It leaves everything hanging. Just out there.



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Sunday, October 22, 2017

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” -Mark Twain

I tried reading more of the things I used to write at the beginning of this blog. Ugh. Some of that stuff is difficult to get through at this point, and I guess that's because my worldview has changed. Although - I don't think I ever fully bought into a theistic worldview because even as a very young child I had a problem with the idea of hell. That last thought almost made me laugh out loud as I typed it. I mean, who wouldn't have a problem with the idea of hell? The avoidance of it seems to be what the entire Christian faith is based upon. Pretty much.

"Do you know where you're going when you die?" is the first question those door-to-door fundamentalist missionaries hit you with if you actually open the door to them. Well, they typically shake your hand, introduce themselves, and then ask you. I guess I opened the door for too many of them over the years, but I always felt bad for them, and I've always enjoyed talking about religion -even as a child. My Granny used to tell me that I was one of the only grandkids who liked to sit and talk about Jesus with her. I'm not sure if that's true or not because she also told me that she saw a demon spirit wisping around up by the ceiling in the front room of her house. She described it as a black misty sort of thing - I imagine it now as something like the smoke monster in the show Lost-only smaller. She rebuked it in the name of Jesus and it flew away, so I was supposed to feel comforted by the power in the name of Jesus. It takes a good deal of faith to be comforted by that when you're just a kid. I'm sure I wasn't the only grandkid who talked with Granny about religious things, but I may have been one of the only ones who actually believed every word she said as if it was coming straight from God. It wasn't until she died that I began to ponder the idea that no human being can ever really speak for God. They can only give their best understanding of things based on all they've learned and experienced up to the point at which they're speaking or writing or communicating in whatever way they're communicating.

I don't know if we live on after this life or not, but I do know that people like my Granny can live on through me right now. She's resurrected every time I help someone by cooking, sewing, or crafting something for them. Every time I remember to encourage someone and lift their spirits in some way, or at least try, that's a legacy learned from my Granny. The same one who believed that evil spirits would dance around her ceiling (and potentially the ceilings of all her loved ones) if she didn't plead the blood of Jesus over them on a regular basis. Granny died during the time I was married to Todd, so the realization that no one person is capable of really speaking for God came at a good time.

My other Grannie (from my dad's side of the family) never went to church when I was a kid. She lived in what my religious Granny called a backslidden condition. I used to imagine lots of evil spirits dancing around on that Grannie's ceiling with no one there to rebuke them. I shared that with my religious Granny once and she assured me that those demons were included in the ones she rebuked every day. Was I ever grateful for that! Despite her "backslidden" condition, my non-religious Grannie left an incredible legacy to me as well. She's resurrected in me by the very nature of the eclectic family I've fashioned for myself. I can't remember a time when her kids fought or argued with her or between each other to the point that they wouldn't come together for family gatherings. She taught love and grace to her children and grandchildren by simply listening to them and loving them no matter what they were going through. She didn't badger them about getting back in church or smoking and drinking or participating in other activities considered outrageously sinful by church standards. She didn't act as if church attendance was some sort of litmus test for being truly valuable in life. Non-religious Grannie did start attending church regularly before she died, but I can clearly see now that going to church every Sunday didn't make her a better person than she already was. It did for her what church and religion are supposed to do for people. Church provided her with a support system and religion reminded her that there's a higher purpose to our lives.

So, my answer to the question, "Do you know where you're going when you die?" at this point is, "No, and I'm okay with that." I say at this point because should I gain some experience and/or knowledge to change that answer, I'll change my mind about it. I'm not exactly sure how I'd define my current worldview. It seems like I feel more strongly about what it's NOT than what it actually IS. I just know that it's not based on some heaven/hell thing where we all get sorted out like sheep and goats. That's a nice metaphor when you're trying to get people to behave, but it doesn't really do God justice when it comes to understanding the innate value of creation and our purpose in living a good life in the first place. It's certainly a poor motivator for getting people to be more human to one another.

Thanks for reading. Whoever you are.

peace&love and grace,


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Sunday, September 24, 2017

“Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” ― Robert Frost

Reflecting kind of sucks at first. I guess that's why I've been so hesitant to do it. But I'm doing it.

I was initially shocked by the volume of posting I did back then followed by a feeling of dread at the idea of  reading each one. I always find things I wish I'd said differently or blatant grammatical errors - things that make me cringe at the look and sound of my own writing. But mostly, it's substance that concerns me. Since I've made what I consider to be a monumental shift in my thinking about the bible and God, and since I apparently spent the majority of my time back then thinking and writing about those things, I guess I fear reading it and feeling a disconnect so vast that I won't be able to relate at all to that person. And since that person is ME, that's scary. But that didn't happen as I read my first three posts. *whew*

I was outrageously obsessed back then with doing right in the eyes of God. That part seems weird now, but it's not because I don't agree with the overall sentiment. I think God and religion did exactly what God and religion are meant to do. I drew strength from my faith and was able to perservere in a difficult situation that I willingly chose for myself. I don't regret marrying Todd. I don't regret having been immersed in church work and religious activities and ceremonies. Those were exactly the things that were good for our whole family at that time. We grew together and learned about each other and truly came to love one another. We had alot of FUN doing all of that stuff. I just refuse to view that as wasted time.

I'm ashamed at times that I don't continue to do more of those sorts of things. We used to take the boys to the nursing home to give the Lord's Supper. Maybe I've written about it before. I don't remember. We'd sing a few songs with them and take their prayer requests. We might hear about their ailments or those of family members. You could tell they were just happy to have someone there to talk with them and care that they existed.  That put good into the world no matter whose almighty name it was done in. We helped bring a little joy to old people on a regular basis. I should be doing more of that NOW.

I don't believe one moment of that experience was or will be wasted in my life. It's all a part of who I am today, and I'm happy and at peace with me. I'm grateful for the associations we had with "church people." I fundamentally disagree with them about a few things at this point, but this is still America, and as far as I know I'm allowed to do that. I don't wish them any harm, and I don't believe they set out with the intention of bringing harm to me or even to Todd at that time. In the end, I believe the good outweighs the bad which for me is what a belief in God sort of is. God is love. Three words from the bible that I prefer to take literally.

So yes, I still believe in God. Just a more all-encompassing version of God. Todd started calling it "the Universe" at some point back when we were both still single, and I'd scoff at him, roll my eyes, and insist he say "God." I'm entirely over that at this point, but I still silently scoff and resist the urge to roll my eyes at his current tendency to use the term "Goddess." I guess I'll get past that as well at some point.

The most valuable thing that can come from our experiences in life is that we actually learn and make progress as a result of them. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I've only ever wanted to become more real, and the only way to make life real, it seems to me, is to learn from it. I believe now that my resurrection exists in the legacy I leave. What did my life - my story - leave in the world that could carry on? I no longer feel the need to be physically resurrected. It's so freeing and peaceful.
Whoa. I sat down not really knowing what I was going to write about today other than just reading a few posts and seeing what happens when I reflect on them. I'm glad I did that.

Thanks for reading. Whoever you are.

peace&love, and grace,


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