Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Left behind

Sorry for the blogging absence. I've been living life and having a great time.

However, I've been meaning to share this with you all so that you can have some instructions in case of rapture. This was left on my truck last week.
What To Do In Case You Miss The Rapture?
1. Stay calm and do not panic.
2. Realize that you are now living in the Great Tribulation.
3. Pray like you have never prayed before in your life. Start by repenting for your sins.
4. Do not take the mark at any cost.
5. Set a plan in motion for survival.
6. Trust no one.
7. Watch for the Antichrist.
8. Don't give up hope!
There's also some other information about who exactly will be raptured.
The shocking effect about the Rapture is that many professing Christians will be left behind, while those very few who have been diligent in wearing their white robes (Revelation 19:7-8) will have been raptured and be with Jesus. Follow Jesus' instruction of the Christian life (Matthew 5-7) [These are the most important passages for those truly prepared for the return of Jesus Christ].
I'm assuming "white robes" does not refer to these kind.

I also shouldn't neglect the information provided about the Mark of the Beast. Here are some excerpts:
It is crucial to understand that the decision to take the mark of the beast involves some form of a pledge of allegiance to the Antichrist...This pledge of allegiance will mean that individuals accept the Beast's system of government, finance, and religion.
I remember being so scared of the rapture and of the tribulation when I was a kid. I would worry myself to tears about not being able to buy food without the "666" tattood on my forehead or hand or wherever. At the tender age of nine, I even remember asking my brother what would happen to us if we didn't take the mark of the beast and couldn't buy food. Older and wiser at seventeen, he somberly told me that he felt that God had given him his job at Albertson's as a grocery bagger so that we would be able to get food without having to take the mark. This comforted me until he quit that job and joined the Air Force within the next year.

I was also worried about the rapture happening and missing it. I would pray frequently for Jesus to come into my heart again, just in case it didn't "stick" the previous time. If I came home from school and my mom wasn't in the house, I would call the church and if someone answered, I'd hang up, relieved. I believed that the church secretary would surely be included in the rapture, so if she was there, I was still safe!

On a related note, I've been enjoying reading Slacktivist's Left Behind commentary. Not only does it analyze the fine writing and plot of the book, but it also has some thought-provoking commentary.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ex-gays in the UK

Dave Rattigan, one of the newer contributing authors at exgaywatch just posted a piece he wrote for a magazine. He writes,
What if I had been like my friend Gary from Bible College, who spent his young life fighting severe depression and made several suicide attempts over his inner struggle with homosexuality? On the other hand, perhaps it was fortunate the pastor swept the issue under the carpet – for what if I had ended up like my friend Daniel, a Pentecostal elder pressured into marriage by a church and pastor who convinced him he could “change”? What if like him I had left a broken wife and children behind when it all fell apart years later?

“God make me straight,” I used to pray nightly. It’s what every dissatisfied gay Christian wants more than anything. I would wake up the next day and sometimes get as far as lunchtime thinking maybe that was the day I’d wake up healed. But always it would end in disillusionment, the same feelings coming back, and I knew I wasn’t changed inside.
He goes on to give a brief history of the ex-gay movement, as well as some current day perspective on what the ex-gay movement is like in the UK. He explains,
Where Love in Action denies there is such a thing as “gay”, and Exodus admits some people are gay but promises “growth into heterosexuality”, TFT [True Freedom Trust, a ministry in the UK] appears to do neither. In fact, just last year TFT severed its affiliation with Exodus Global Alliance, disconcerted over the rhetoric coming from North America. The media soundbites promising a change of orientation were beginning to worry them.

“We found it very difficult to identify with what was coming from over there, with what they’re saying publicly,” Hallett told me. “There’s a tendency to set people up for disillusionment. Exodus should have learned from that by now.”
Indeed. I wish more ministries in North America would do this, since it seems some ministries contemplate it behind the scenes but are not able to terminate this relationship since they will lose their voice within Exodus (although it seems to not be heard by the current leaders), as well as the all-important referrals they get from the organization.

On a side note, I could especially relate to this from a former ex-gay, Elizabeth:
Nevertheless, she remembers the hurt of being treated by fellow Christians as if her lesbianism were an ailment. “People I told treated it like a disease and wanted to pray over me to get rid of the illness.”

“When I found out who I was, it felt like a light had been switched on,” she says. “I was so much happier. It just felt like those people in church would have preferred if I had stayed as the person in intense physical and mental pain rather than being happy and in love. It felt so twisted.”

I recall attending a funeral last year with people from my old church. They kept coming up to me and saying, "Wow, God must have really healed you! You look so healed and happy!" to which I could only say, "Yes, I am healed, and I am happy, but I'm still gay." (I have to mention that I thought, but didn't say - wow, and I'm at a funeral - imagine how happy I must look when I'm at something remotely fun!)

Read all of Dave Rattigan's enlightening and sensitive article Out and Cowed? Ex-gays in the UK.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Some father's day thoughts

In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to point out some posts I've enjoyed on the subject of dads:

First, there's Abigail Garner who has two dads she celebrates today. She posted with pictures of her and her two dads here. She's written many articles about her dads. This one asks the question, "What is it about my two dads’ 26-year-relationship that the president finds so threatening?"

Steve and his partner Toney are the very proud parents of Kristin, a cutie preschooler. A while back he wrote a great post where he talked about a book Kristin was reading.
Kristin got a stack of used books from a friend for her birthday. One of the books is called What Do Mommies Do? Here is the gist of the book:

Inside Cover:
Mother ducks teach ducklings to cross streets safely. Mother squirrels teach small squirrels how to save. Mother bears share picnic lunches with their cubs. Mother raccoons teach their babies to wash before meals. And the strange fact is: human mothers teach children these very things, too - to cross streets carefully, to save, to have fun at picnics, to wash before meals.
[The book ends with] What do mothers do that's best of all? They love their children very much!

[Steve says]
Surprise, surprise, daddies do all those things too!"

I also would like to remember today all the dads out there who aren't allowed to have contact or meaningful relationships with their kids because of their sexual orientation. For all of those who have been vilified and kept out of your kids' lives, I'm so sorry. Please don't let that keep you from sharing what you have with kids around you who may need it.

For all you dads out there who are parenting kids, and for all of the men out there who serve as mentors and role models to kids: Thank you. Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Quote of the (yester)day

Congratulations to Peterson, who was Andrew Sullivan's Quote of the Day yesterday.
"The vast majority, and I am not exaggerating, of the scores and scores of people I know through these ["ex-gay"] organizations, are out now, accept themselves as gay, and look back on that time as very traumatic and difficult. ... Many of them have walked away from God and any sort of faith tradition because they were so disappointed — they'd been lied to over and over again by people speaking in Jesus' name"
from a great National Review article.

Thanks for always being willing to speak out, Peterson.

Monday, June 05, 2006

People (1 of 3 photo posts)

Here are some of the people I spent time with on my birthday tour (I'll probably write more about it later, but I'm so wiped out now - y'all done wore me plumb out!):

Jeff and Roy from GCN.

My cousin Anne in Kentucky.

Anne's husband, Stu.

Anne and Stu's kids (my first cousins once-removed--or in Kentucky, I guess I should just say "kin"), Katie, Maddie and Jake.

Jamie McDaniel, Soulforce staffer and friend from GCN.

Alicia flossing her teeth in Nashville, outside Exit/In on Church Street. Oral hygiene is important.

Alicia again. She and her partner, Val, drove in all the way from South Carolina to celebrate my birthday with me.

Val and Heather. Heather and her partner, Angie, graciously opened their home to us.

Angie and Heather, our fabulous hosts in Tennessee.

Places (2 of 3 photo posts)

I was amazed at how green and lush everything was. Then again, it should be, what with all the humidity there. I was also taken by the many collapsing barns and sheds found in rural areas.

The sunset on my birthday was gorgeous.

and Things (3 of 3 photo posts)

This is a watercolor my 17-year-old cousin, Katie, painted. She's amazingly talented.

I cheated on Max and Sophie while I was away. This is Monkeepuss. I missed my babies and he helped my feline-cravings.

The front porch in Tennessee.

My birthday cake(s). Note the purses. ;) I was sick for the last half of my birthday, so these had to wait for the next day.

I was thrilled to spot this billboard right before I left Nashville. Jamie (from Soulforce) had told me they'd be going up over the weekend.