Friday, March 24, 2006

Brian's here!

If any of you follow along to gaychristian.net's GCN Radio, then you know who Brian is! If you don't, well, then you probably don't.

Anyway, he came out to Colorado for a bit of a vacation, with a special request to see the mountains (poor boy is from Indiana!) He got in yesterday and today it was beautiful outside, so we drove up to the foothills. The pictures are kinda bad quality (I don't have a proper digital camera, so this is from my cell phone), but we were having fun and Brian was enjoying all of the panoramic views, the nature visitor's center, a creek, and tunnels on the way up the mountainside. I also introduced him to Colorado's favorite mountain pizza--Beau Jo's--in Idaho Springs. The pictures of him at the bottom are at Buffalo Bill's gravesite. Brian really loved getting behind that dress with the gun!

Tonight we rented Rent! I hadn't seen it yet. Wow, what an amazing movie. I would really love to see that on stage. I have a very big love for musical theater (I know I've been told I have to turn in my "lesbian card" for admitting that), and this was just phenomenal. We also watched the documentary about Jonathon Larson, who wrote the musical (and who died at the age of 35 the night before it opened). So powerful. I love documentaries too, so this was just an awesome night to get to watch both of these with a friend.

Tomorrow we're planning to meet up with a few of the Denver GCNers and then come home and watch Crash. Should be good times.

"The opposite of war isn't peace--It's creation!" (from Rent)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A new look and name

I can't sleep, so I'm fiddling around with my blog template instead. Feedback, anyone? Suggestions...criticisms...whatever.

Oh, and I also changed from "Rising Up from the Ashes" to "Rising Up Whole." (No, that's not Rising Up Whore. Get your eyes checked!) ;)

I think one of the most damaging things about my time as an ex-gay was internalizing the concept that I was broken. That my sexuality was broken, my way of relating to other people was broken--that I was just...not whole. That there was something really wrong with me that needed fixing, and that everyone else who was straight was "whole" while I was inherently broken.

Well, guess what? I am whole, and I'm increasingly finding that I'm more whole than I've ever been. I'm still learning and growing and finding out every day who I am, but I'm rejecting the "broken" label. I am rising up...from the ashes of my time as an ex-gay...into wholeness, freedom and life.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Spring!

(I took this picture this morning - there's more snow now)

So I'm a bit shaken up, feeling lucky and guilty all at the same time.

To celebrate the first day of Spring, Denver is having a snowstorm. I had to drive my pickup truck (rear-wheel drive, no good traction in spite of 300-400 pounds at the back) to my dental appointment this morning, and on the way back home, I hit a patch of snow or ice and lost control. I fishtailed my way across a median and two lanes of oncoming traffic before landing on the opposite shoulder. Fortunately for me, I didn't hit anyone or anything, and my truck seems OK although I'm sure I'm well out of alignment. My neck and shoulders are a bit sore, too.

Still it's all minor in comparison with the fact that two people that were behind me (or perhaps in the lane next to me, I'm not sure) ended up colliding with each other. They were both out of their cars and exchanging information (fender bender...nothing too serious from the looks of it).

I called my insurance agent (a very nice Christian man) who said that I didn't have any obligation to stay or swap information, as I wasn't involved in the collision, and since it didn't look like there was anything a third party could do. Even if I was the third party that may have indirectly caused the accident.

The whole Denver area is on what's called "accident alert" which means the police don't come for accidents that don't involve injuries. My insurance agent just said that if I could get off of the shoulder (always interesting in a truck that often refuses to move in a forward direction in snow or on ice, and certainly not on anything resembling an uphill slope) I should just get back on the road and go on home.

So I did. But I feel bad. Still, having survived an incident 4-5 years ago (a minor fender-bender with people who lied about who was in the car, how many were in the car, the type of injuries sustained, and sued my insurance company, etc) with the end result being that I paid well over $3,000 a year for insurance for the following three-and-a-half years, I wasn't exactly eager to get myself involved in anything else.

Welcome, Spring! And to the two people in the accident...I'm really sorry. Um...hope you have a nice spring anyway?

(Note: This is the third...or fourth...time I've had a major spinout episode with this truck, including spending hours in a ditch one night. Here's a tip - 4 cylinder rear-wheel drive light pickups are not made for Colorado. They're just not. at. all.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cheese-worthy founding fathers...and other random bits.

I've been informed that I'm overdue for a blog update. Well, yeah. My life has definitely gotten in the way of my blogging lately.

Anyway, to tide you over, here's some of the stuff I've been reading lately (most of it has nothing to do with ex-gay anything):

I've been reading some posts and comments about the FX show Black. White. on Reappropriate's blog. She's written her take on part 1 and on part 2, so far. I don't have cable so haven't even seen the show in question, just saw some of the bits on the FX site. I just found the blog and comments very thought-provoking.

This is a long, but great, read about our founding fathers, a big ol' piece of cheese, the separation of church and state, and evangelicals. Who knew? To find out what made Thomas Jefferson so cheese-worthy, check out this article on Belief.net-- Jefferson, Madison & Their Evangelical Pals--Religious freedom resulted from an unlikely alliance: evangelicals and skeptics.

I've also done a bit of reading lately on glossolalia (that's "speaking in tongues" for the rest of us). I found this interesting bit of history. Turns out that when people first started speaking in tongues during the pentecostal revival (Azusa street, 1906), they thought that they would be able to go to foreign countries, speak in tongues, and they would be speaking in the language of that country (!) - yeah, I'm not making this up. Check this out:
A. G. Garr, the first missionary to leave Azusa, went to India fully expecting to preach in Hindustani. After a few months, he admitted his failure on this point, but nonetheless remained to carry on a successful ministry for several years, preaching to these British subjects in English.
Well, I guess you have to give him credit for not giving up.

Oh, and because a few other bloggers have been doing it, I thought I'd also create a quiz about me. So, just how well do you think you know me? You think I've told you everything, huh? Well, go take the quiz and find out all that I've withheld (you can totally enter a fake e-mail address, by the way - it just seems to need something with an "@" in it).

Consider yourself updated. I guess.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Honoring with the truth

What does it mean for an adult child to honor their parents?

It's a question I've pondered many times.

Diana recently commented on my post about Transamerica and said:
I know families that are like that [the family in the film] from the support group I go to, the parents just don’t understand, but will support their child no matter what. But unfortunately, I also know some parents who have never spoken to their child again.

Drew, at This Gay Christian's Blog, writes about this experience he observed:
"When my Beau came out to his parents, they paraded the fact in front of every family member; forcing him out of the closet with a hot firebrand rather than letting him tell his story appropriately and timely. It set off a three week marathon of every family member coming over to tell him how selfish and wrong and cruel he was being and that he was going to hell.

I know other people who have been completely cut off by their parents (mostly good, Christian parents), merely because they came out to them. I remember one guy on gaychristian.net writing that unlike the stereotypes furthered by ex-gay ministries, he'd had a great relationship with his dad, until he came out. Now his parents won't communicate with him except to send him sermons or Bible verses.

Some people I know have endured so much abuse from their parents that it becomes a matter of emotional survival to remove themselves from their families and move on.

And yet for many of us, the verses "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long..." are tattooed on our brains. In Leviticus, I think there are more death penalty warnings for cursing your parents than there are for homosexual sex.

It seems many Christian parents think being honored and obeyed is a right they have. A Biblical mandate. I can't remember how many times I heard my parents recite "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother'--which is the first commandment with a promise--'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'" from Ephesians 6. Of course, the only problem with quoting scriptures to your kids is eventually they might start quoting back the verses that follow them up - such as, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

You would think my parents would have been proud of my Bible recitation skills (and usually they were, just not with Ephesians 6). In fairness, I did get my Dad to laugh a couple times with being able to one-up him with scripture.

Anyway, in pondering this, I realize the commands about honoring parents sure made sense in ancient times. Then it was important to ensure that communities stayed together. The bonds of family were often the means for its survival. But that's not how things operate in the here and now. Babies have babies, parents abandon and abuse their kids, or dump them because they don't meet some standard of heterosexuality or "normal" gender expression. Kids are kicked out and adult children are shunned or shamed for something they can't change. Children and their parents end up on opposite sides of a culture war and parents often put what they believe and what others will think of them before their feelings for their own children. Some parents behave in horrible and dishonorable ways.

I am sure that like many parents of glbt folks (especially those from Evangelical/Fundamental Christian circles), my parents do not see me as especially honoring, and certainly not obedient. And if I were to honor them in the way that they wanted, I would be trying to live as a very unhappy ex-gay right now, desperately hiding my true orientation from the world. Living a lie and dying inside every day. Quite honestly, I probably wouldn't be alive right now. How is that honoring to them?

My parents are the ones who taught me to always tell the truth. And now I am telling the truth about my life. Being truthful. Living with authenticity. Extending love and courtesy toward those I disagree with (yes, even those in ex-gay circles).

My parents raised me this way. They raised me to be honest. They were the ones that raised me to forgive my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. They taught me to stand up for what I believe, even if it was unpopular. Maybe living with truth and integrity is the only way I can truly honor them, even if I can't give them what they want.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Transamerica

I just got back from seeing Transamerica with friends tonight. This is the third movie I've seen this week, which is more movies than I normally watch in a year's time!

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie and the audience burst into applause at the end of the film (and this was a mostly older, straight audience too from the looks of it).

The movie was serious, sweet, sad and funny (so funny at times that we would miss the next line because we were laughing so hard). Although I kinda think the road-trip theme is a bit overdone in movies, it explored issues of family dramas, otherness, personal transformation--all stuff I can relate to. Felicity Huffman was fabulous. My friends often tease me about living under a rock (I can't remember the last time I turned on the TV, and I don't have cable), so I didn't even know of Felicity Huffman from "Desperate Housewives" and when watching the film, I didn't realize she was a genetic woman.

I really enjoyed seeing a movie about "people like me" that wasn't all sad, wasn't all about sex, and showed the real struggles and triumphs of someone who doesn't fit into society's narrow boxes.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Last blogger standing...

I really think I might officially be the last gay or ex-gay blogger to see Brokeback mountain. Eugene thought he was the last back on the third of January. Then JJ blogged that she was the last gay blogger to make a post (on January 30th). Then Homer claimed on January 31st that he was the last blogger to have seen it. But no, really, I've got you all beat. Not that I have a competitive nature or anything. What do I win?

I had put off seeing it, because, well, I knew it wasn't a happy ending. And there seems to be so much pain in the lives of people I've known who have tried in vain to change their orientation, or who have had marriages fail because of the orientation of one half of the couple. I just thought why should I pay to go see it? And also, I wanted to be the last gay blogger to see it.

And it was sad. And so sad to think of how many people think it's still impossible to be who they are. And so very sad thinking of all the people who have endured so much hurt because their spouse can never really love them as they should.

The part that made me happy, though, was seeing same-gender-loving people being portrayed as just...real people. Real people with a real love and care for each other that withstood the test of time, even though it was (much) less than ideal. Not quite the stereotype that the ex-gay groups would like to promote (which is probably why they find the film so "damaging and harmful").

So I don't have anything new to add to the (by now, very old) BBM discussions. Except that I finally saw it already. Next I might see one of the Lord of the Rings movies or something (yeah, I've never seen any of them, either). Eh, don't hold your breath.