Love The Sinner

“Love the sinner hate the sin” not much can get my blood boiling faster than this phrase. It is only a reminder of how far we have to go in order to breakdown the barriers between the church and the LGBT community. I think that generally, the church is still pretty lost in its stance with the LGBT community. There has been some progress and there are churches that welcome LGBT people with open arms… but then there are those who are still confused. They find themselves questioning how to love. Which seems pretty strange for a religion that follows Jesus; the most loving and accepting  man to have ever walked this earth.

The biggest problem with the phrase “love the sinner hate the sin” is that it was created without people ever really learning how to love. It takes out any personal connection, it’s vague, distant, and hurtful. Just because your view of theology doesn’t agree with someone else’s, doesn’t mean you can’t see the good in someone and fully embrace them with love first, just as Christ embraces you first. He doesn’t wait until you get your get your act together. He embraces you just as you are. Broken, and a sinner. You do not have to agree with the way someone lives their life in order to completely embrace and show that same love. Focus less on how to “live right” and more on how to love right.

There is a very specific type of venom that Christians spew when they feel they are defending God. Unfortunately the LGBT community has fallen victim to this venom for many years now, and it has led to a lot of pain, hurt, and anger. So how do we fix this? What is the anti-venom?

Love, empathy, and respect.

I think one of the biggest fears that Christians have is that fully embracing someone who is LGBT will create this image that they condone their “lifestyle” ( this word makes me cringe. ) Or that it is doing the other person a disservice by not keeping them in line with God. But, here is the thing. That is not your job. Other people’s salvation, is not your responsibility, nor is it in your hands. God is always doing his work in you, do you not have faith that God is also doing his work in others? Embrace with love before anything else.

I think it is pretty easy to enforce your convictions on someone else if you don’t personally know someone who is gay, or transgender. I feel like many people in the church hold certain assumptions about the LGBT community because they have never really had a personal encounter or experience with it. Believe it or not, but we do more than just frequent the local gay bars and parade through the streets with rainbow flags. Our community is more than just one big gay pride parade. We are your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Most importantly, we are human beings. Just. like. you. We are human beings that need and deserve love and respect. How would it make you feel if people just made assumptions about you without truly knowing who you were as a person?

I think people have gotten so caught up in their own fears , assumptions and insecurities. Barriers that seem impossible to break down have been built off of a lot of misunderstanding…but I don’t think it is too late. So how do we break down the barriers?

It may seem too simple, but remember when you were little and you did something that hurt someone else? Your mother, teacher, or etc would hold you by the shoulders, bring you face to face with that other person, have you look them in the eyes and tell you to apologize.  ( twice if it didn’t sound like you meant it ) It was never a pleasant experience but necessary to move on.  Unfortunately apologies don’t get any easier in adulthood…but they are just as meaningful. Perhaps, this could be the best way to start.

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Legally Single

As of Oct. 17, 2013 I am officially single. I know, I have been single for awhile, but legally I am now divorced. Yep, this whole time I have been married. Don’t get divorced kids, it can get messy.

I got Married May 17th 2008 in Meadow Vista CA. Some of you may have even been there. It is all such a blur to me. Sometimes I look back and wonder how anyone even let me get married. I was 21 years old, an anxious mess, and hadn’t really even experienced life yet. I had my first sip of alcohol at my wedding. The year before I was too busy skateboarding to be concerned about anything else, and then suddenly, the next year I hung up my board, started dressing “like a girl” and somehow decided that getting married was the next step to my life. It was like forcing a puzzle piece in the wrong space. I wanted it to fit, it may have even looked like it did… but I knew it didn’t.

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2007

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2008 the last time I wore a dress… True story.

Getting married wasn’t the best decision I ever made, but I can’t say I regret it. I am a stronger person because of it, and it has made me appreciate life so much more. Even though I was gay, I felt like it was my only option at the time. I didn’t know what God had in store for me, or what the future held, but I just did what I thought was the right thing in the moment. Now I know better than to live for other people’s approval. I am realizing that other people’s approval of me is not going to improve my life. I have to live for my own happiness and I feel like God has given me a second chance at life to do just that. There are plenty of people out there who I can never please or earn approval from, but those who still love me for who I truly am are all that matter, and I am forever grateful for them.

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2013 legally single, and ready to mingle.

It feels pretty good to finally close this chapter in my life. Although my married status wasn’t exactly holding me back, I feel like I can finally move on and start the next chapter. It is strange to look back and see how much life has changed for me in only a few years. The biggest changes began when I started to create my own path. Instead of continuing to run from everything, I finally took a hold of life and decided that I would start being a participant rather than an observer. Life is like a video game and I finally figured out how to hit the right buttons. It is still a work in progress, sometimes I hit all the buttons and pretend I know what I am doing…but I am slowly figuring things out and becoming less afraid of going after what I want in life. Failure isn’t the worst case scenario, doing nothing is.

Cheers to the single life.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I had my first Facebook unfriending as a result of this blog. Although I expected the possibility of losing friends, I guess I wasn’t really prepared for it, nor could I have been. I have no regrets about anything I have posted, but it still hurts, and it frustrates me. No one likes to be rejected, no matter what the circumstances. I think the most frustrating part of all is the fact that this person is a “Christian”. I have had them in my home, I have cooked them dinner. Yet now, they want nothing to do with me. How does that even fit into the Christian principles they have been taught? If Jesus had Facebook he would definitely still be my friend…along with his 12 disciples.

It is Christians like this that make it so hard for the gay community to trust them. So many have been hurt that they want nothing to do with God or the church. I have learned to separate people from God and know that he still loves me, and is always there for me, even when his people are not. I also want to point out that I am incredibly grateful for those who have remained my friend, who have read my blog, who have listened, and although may not understand…have tried. It means more to me than you could imagine.

I can’t deny that I am still frustrated. I am frustrated with the Christian community, and even with the gay community. There is ignorance on both sides. The Christian community is overly focused on the idea of love the sinner hate the sin… or that being gay is an abomination that they fail to see that we are human beings just like them that pray to the same God. The gay community has been so hurt by the Christian community that they automatically assume that all Christians hate them and don’t give them a second chance. Not all Christians are against gay people. Not all Christians think it is a sin. There are plenty of them out there that are the most empathetic, understanding, loving, and Christ like people. There are churches out there that are accepting of Gay people… but why are there only certain churches? We are creating a sense of segregation and it is pathetic. We are all people. We are all sinners, and no matter what, in the end– love wins. There shouldn’t be gay churches and regular churches. If there is only one God, then why are we creating such a spiritual battle which in the end only leads to people being hurt?

There are so many different sins out there.. and lets say being gay was in fact a sin… why is the church so focused on this one issue? There are liars, thieves, murderers, adulterers…etc. all of these labels/sins have a negative affect on other people around them, however, being gay does not. We still contribute positively to the people around us. We are good people. We are not out to recruit, or corrupt your children. Nor are we contagious. We are simply just different, but not that different. We want to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved, just like everyone else.

Undercover Rebel

I never really rebelled as a kid. Well, I rebelled a little but I rebelled in different ways. I have always been one to write things out.. one of those things being a “rap” about one of my high school teachers that I was not very fond of. He was kind of a creeper and flirted with the high school cheerleaders. He taught our physical science class but we learned a lot less about science, and a lot more about how music with a beat was a product of Satan. Well, then thanks Satan for creating some serious ear candy.

One day freshman year I decided I had had enough of his mindless banter so I decided to write a rap about him. I wish I still had it lying around somewhere. If I ever find it… watch out Macklemore. I believe the rap addressed girls getting their letter grades based on their bra sizes… and the fact that his pants were so tight that when he sat down on his lecture stool with legs wide open you could see much more of him than you wanted to. I don’t know how he ever expected us to be able to pay attention when his electrons were hanging out. If I ever need something to blame being gay on, I can just blame it on my high school science teachers male camel toe. That was some scary shit.

I had shown my new found talent for insulting teachers with rhythmic charm to a few friends. We had a good laugh and that was that…until a year later. One day my sophomore year of high school I was sitting in my math class. Algebra 1b to be exact. One of the office assistants walked in the classroom and handed me one of the prized pink office slips. Lucky me. I never got these things… but hey, if it meant getting out of class, it was a good day. The slip read that I should go see the vice principle. Hm. Strange. Perhaps there was some sort of confusion… Off to the office I went. As soon as I stepped into the vice principles office and had a seat I looked over at her. She had a concerned look on her face. What in the world was going on? Finally she started talking and told me that on her way to a woman’s retreat apparently my mom had found my rap as funny as I did and decided to bring it along to show it to the other ladies from the school. The vice principle being one of them. Part of me was proud that my mom found it funny, the other part of me was mad that she didn’t realize that showing the vice principle my outlet of frustration that I made a year ago wouldn’t get me in trouble. I was in the principles office for something I had done a year ago… because my mom found it funny and showed the vice principle. Thanks Mom. I must say though, I am quite happy that at least my mom has a good sense of humor.

The principle instructed me to bring my notebook containing the lyrics that won me my first office visit to school so we could “destroy it together.” I assured her I had retired from songwriting and agreed without hesitation. I was the good, awkward, quiet kid. I wasn’t asking for trouble. Except, I never returned to destroy that notebook. Everyday I saw her I expected her to come after me for it but strangely she never did. Maybe because she knew the lyrics were true, or perhaps she may have found it at least a little bit funny herself. The notebook containing the prized science teacher camel toe lyrics still exist… yet to be found. I didn’t get in trouble a whole lot in school, but it seems towards the end of my high school career I ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kind of like my accidental involvement in the “sex tape” scandal that happened on one of the buses. That story…coming soon.

Know My Heart

I was driving home from work the other night, trying to be careful to keep an eye out for deer or any other furry road bumps that could lead to my premature death, when a thought popped into my head. What if I were to crash and die right now? What would God say to me? How would he judge me? Would I go to hell like I have been told I would because I’m gay? I got nervous and began to think of what I would say to defend myself from the fiery pits of hell. Then suddenly a sense of calm came over me and the words “God knows your heart.” came to mind. God knows my heart. It is that simple. I don’t have to defend myself to God, I don’t have to explain myself, or try to convince him that I am still a good person. He created me, he knows me. He gets me. We’re tight like that.

I admit, there was a long period of time where I was very angry with God, and sometimes even questioned his existence. I have reached a point where the anger is no longer there and I am more much more open to his presence. I know he is there. I know he exists. But I don’t entirely know what it means.

I am finding that my views of God don’t exactly align with the faith that I was brought up with. I don’t think I should have to choose between gay or God. I used to think that this was my only option, which is what made me so angry and resentful towards Him in the first place. According to what I was taught, I would either have to choose a life alone, or go through some sort of magical conversion therapy to turn me straight. I feel like conversion therapy should be called denial enforcement therapy. Denial definitely didn’t make me straight, it made me a liar, and it made me miserable.

In one of my last therapy sessions with my therapist that was trying to get me into conversion therapy I told her how I didn’t think that someone who was an “ex gay” that married someone of the opposite sex would be able to be fair to themselves or their partners. I asked her. “Would you marry an ex gay man?” She hesitated and thought about it for a minute and then went on to tell me that some people have done it and now have families with kids. Hate to break it to her but that means absolutely nothing. Procreation, or a legally binding document stating you are married to someone of the opposite sex does not mean that you are cured of homosexuality. I may know this from experience.

I think one of the things that people don’t get about homosexuality is that it isn’t all about sex. ( So get your mind out of the gutter ). It’s about love. Sex and love are two different things. I can NOT fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. It just isn’t there. There are no butterflies, no excitement, no emotional connection or yearning for affection. I feel nothing. Absolutely nothing. People have sex with people they don’t love all the time. It is called meaningless sex. I happen to be someone who can’t do this. I am just not wired that way.

If there is one belief I have that I find still aligns with the faith that I was brought up with it is having a personal relationship with God. I still feel I have that, and sometimes it is the only thing I have left to comfort me when I am exhausted with trying to show that I am still me. I am still a person that just wants to love and be loved.