Posted in Bible, C-Haze, Religion

God, Monkeys, and Swinging from Treetops

Some people are pondering the possibility that the apocalypse is near, though probably not for the reasons you may think.

No, this has nothing to do with catastrophic weather disasters, nor does it have anything to do with the rumblings of end times from the mouths of Teavangelicals.

Rather, this Horseman is much more simple.

Friends, I went to church… and I liked it.

I’ll pause a moment while you catch your breath.

Ready?

Ok. I’ll continue now.

For months, I’ve been trying to find whatever that something is that’s been missing in my life. I’m happily married, I have beautiful well-adjusted children, I’ve completed my education, I’m financially stable, I’m in good health…

… So what was it? What was this little spot- nothing more than an itch, really- that needed scratching in the center of my soul?

I’ve long considered myself a spiritual person. In fact, I’ve long considered myself a Christian. I simply chose to avoid church. I definitely had my reasons, and as a Preacher’s Kid, felt I’d had my share of  that life.

Religion, for those who have never experienced such a thing, is not for the faint of heart. Especially when one’s parent happens to be the guy in the pulpit.

I came to the conclusion, somewhere around my 19th birthday that church was not for me. I stopped attending, and approximately 14 years later, can still count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone- at all- since then.

I decided, in all my teenaged wisdom, that the sanctuary was not what its named promised to be, that its pews were filled with hypocrites, liars and all around assholes. I was right, of course, and the irony that the hypocrisy, lying and tom-foolery was exactly why we all needed to be there was lost on me for many years.

Over time, as is inevitably the case, life happened, and I stopped thinking about church altogether. I became a Fox Hole Christian- only thinking about God when I really found myself in the line of fire, in the middle of a crisis, a catastrophe- praying hard that He will get me out of whatever mess I managed to plop myself into the middle of.

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to fine tune my existence. I’m not a single mom anymore, having remarried about a year ago, and it’s amazing how much pressure we can take off of ourselves when we are no longer on our own. For the first time in my entire adulthood, I feel stable and secure. Life isn’t about surviving anymore, but is now about thriving.

I can look to the future and make plans.

It was during this process that my husband, about a week ago said, “Let’s go to church this Sunday”.

I didn’t protest, not because I thought it was a great idea, but because he sprung it on me at 7 o’clock in the morning, before I’d consumed the required amount of coffee to make my brain function properly.

He could have suggested, “Let’s join a club and pretend to be monkeys who hang from the tops of trees eating bananas and screeching at passersby all day”, and I blinkingly would have nodded, mumbling something along the lines of, “that sounds like a great idea”.

Before I knew it, Sunday was here. I overslept and almost chose not to go, but something told me I had to.

I am a skeptic by nature, but walking in the door, seeing the smiles, the welcoming faces, I somehow knew- instantly- that I was in the right place.

The message was a beautiful one, from beginning to end.

It was a lesson of love, hope, forgiveness, empowerment and personal responsibility.

All the things I stand on…

… Everything that means anything to me.

I know where I’ll be this Sunday- and I’ll be there happily.

And no, I’m not talking about eating bananas from treetops, either.

Posted in Bible, Facebook, Faith, God, Marriage, Porn, Pornography, Religion, Rex Ryan, Scripture, Sex

Who’s Your Daddy?

A pastor whom I greatly admire recently posted a question on his Facebook page. The question asked his followers to chime in on whether or not they thought watching porn with their spouses is a sin.

I found it interesting, and a little disturbing, that each and every person (save for my husband and myself) answered that yes, watching porn with one’s spouse is a sin.

Personally speaking, I don’t enjoy porn, and neither does my husband, so it’s never been a part of our relationship. However, I am constantly amazed at the willingness people demonstrate to condemn actions that other couples may enjoy in the privacy and sanctity of their own homes.

Many folks will quote various scriptural passages (such as Matthew 5:27-28) referencing the no-nos of lust (“‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”), as if human behavior is cut and dry, as if intimacy within a marriage can be applied in the fashion of “one size fits all”…

… And as if Jenna Jamison and Ron Jeremy were even around back in the day when Matthew found himself putting pen to paper (or however they wrote stuff down before there were pens and paper).

I find this sad (doesn’t the Bible have a thing or two to say about standing in judgment of others?), but more importantly, I find it irresponsible.

I won’t spend too much time on the biblical context, other than to say that I hope my husband looks at me with lust. We, as humans, are lustful beings, and I better be the one he is lusting after. Within the boundaries of my own marriage, I don’t find lust itself sinful, but lust for others might be problematic.

That being said, I hesitate to flat-out condemn most behaviors that couples may utilize within their own marriages. There is the obvious- abuse and infidelity- but actions that are A) victimless and B) pleasing to both partners should be fair game. There are many behaviors that are not right for me, or for my marriage- porn is one of them. I would never participate in an open marriage, and no one will ever catch me at a swinger’s club, for example.

For the record, I also will not be video-taping skits of my husband and myself in compromising positions, a la Jets’ coach Rex Ryan, his wife, and his foot fetish (though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what he did, save for the embarrassment the tape caused himself and his family). Truly, if anything like that ever came out about my own parents, I would die on the spot. Instantly.

What I especially will not participate in is telling other couples how to operate within their own bedrooms. Not only is that a gross prospect (smacks of voyeurism, if you ask me), but couples face enough pressures on the day-to-day without having to deal with me sticking my nose into their private lives. I have my own marriage to grow and strengthen, thank you very much.

If other couples find these activities mutually enjoyable, and it helps to both keep them together and strengthen their unions, who am I to tell them their choices are wrong? As is the case in most areas of life- what works for one does not necessarily work for everyone- and vice versa.

This is especially important in times like these, when the divorce rate hovers just over 60%.

I find it difficult to imagine God, who created us as sexual beings, tsk-tsking us from the heavens, for participating in mutually enjoyable actions in our own bedrooms. My initial thought is that He (or She) likely has other things on His (or Her) mind (such as genocide, war, devastating mudslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, the categorical destruction of our planet and each other, hatred and injustice).

After perusing the comments of others on that Facebook page I earlier mentioned, I decided  to call on another pastor whose views I also greatly admire and deeply respect. In fact, this particular minister helped shape my own beliefs, as he is my father, Pastor Jon.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Dad, within the confines of marriage, is it a sin for a couple to watch porn together?

Pastor Jon: <Cough>

Me: Um… So… what do you think?

Pastor Jon: I think the answer to your question is, “Who’s your Daddy?”

Genius, I say!

My father’s point is that both individually and collectively as a couple, people must define for themselves who their “Daddy”, or Father (God) is. Once that question is answered, it is important to understand what that entity’s expectations are. Provided a person’s behavior remains true to that established figure as well as to their spouse, the answers become clear.

I view God as a parental figure, so the question of “Who’s your Daddy?” really resonates with me. Just as my own parents steer clear of my bedroom, I figure God probably stays outta there too. He’s got way too many children to be monitoring each and every harmless shenanigan I may or may not be participating in. He authorized the sexual choices my spouse and I will make when we stood before Him and said our vows, so we’re in good hands.

Remaining true to one’s beliefs, and acting in accordance with the expectations laid before us by one’s God and spouse, it would be difficult to go wrong. It is, however, a personal journey, and not every single person (or couple) will identify with the same “Daddy”. Not all Fathers have the same rules, just as not all couples have the same sexual palate.

I am thankful for my personal journey, for my God, and for my husband.

Now.

Let’s get it on!

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Conservative, Homosexuality, Hope, Marriage, News, Policy, Politics, Relationships, Religion

Haggard, Hatred and Homos

Ted Haggard, unfortunately is doing no favors for the gay community.

The embattled (and quite conflicted) man has lost his post as the president of National Association of Evangelicals, as well as his position as head pastor of the New Life Church.

His story made headlines and plunged him head-first into a nation-wide scandal when it was revealed that he paid a male prostitute- numerous times- for sex and methamphetamine… all while supposedly handling his business as Man of God Extraordinaire, devoted husband and father.

In recent days Haggard has admitted to another sexual liaison. He says it was during his tenure with New Life Church- this time with a 20 year old male volunteer. He claims this is further evidence of the “compulsive behavior” that ruled him during “that time” of his life.

Ted Haggard is- at least in part- a victim. 

I truly feel sorry for him.

That being said, I am terribly disappointed that he has chosen not to use his personal experiences as an opportunity to explain the truth about homosexuality.

Instead he prefers to perpetuate a climate of shame and self-hate.

He has been on numerous television shows granting interviews, and even has an HBO documentary airing soon. The emerging theme is the life of a man whose soul hasn’t grown an inch… a man who loves himself no more than he did when he was hiding his true identity from the world, his wife, and his children.

This is a man who truly despises himself for his inherant homosexuality… a trait that he knows all too well can never be fixed, changed or prayed away.

Yet he still pretends to believe otherwise… if he just prays a little harder, reads scripture a little more often… Ricky Martin will suddenly become less attractive to him than Cindy Crawford.

He  claims a therapist told him that he is “heterosexual with complications”.

Dude- You’re gay.

Just stand up and say it.

What a sad, sad existence he has instead created.

He put himself in a virtual prison… and rather than use this massive national forum he has garnered for himself to break out of jail, to finally be free… not to mention freeing thousands of other conflicted homosexuals in the process…

… He has instead chosen to continue living behind bars.

How truly sad.

I realize Haggard has his faults… massive ones… not the least of which has been his being anything BUT a loving, committed spouse. His wife has the right to be absolutely livid with this man… though she claims she knew about his “struggles”- struggles directly related to his attraction to men- for years. She chose to marry him in spite of this knowledge… but he chose to make life-long vows to this woman.

He should suffer the consequences of the damage he has done to his marriage and his family.

However, he has been handed the perfect opportunity to explain to the world- especially to right-wing evangelical Christians- that in spite of all his efforts, all his praying and soul searching…

… He is still gay.

He didn’t choose to be this way.

He simply is.

Ted Haggard has spent the majority of his life struggling with himself, his God, his church, his culture, his country… because the man who he really is… the REAL Ted Haggard… is homosexual…

… And that reality doesn’t play out well in the world he has created for himself- a world full of judgmental hateful bigots.

The resulting damage is catastrophic.

All one needs to do is watch him… I recommend viewing his recent interview with Larry King… to know that this man hates himself as much as he ever has.

He still hopes he can get on his knees and pray his way out of his attraction to men.

Why has he not figured it out, after all these years, that it isn’t going to happen? Why is he not on a quest to learn how to love himself?

Denial is indeed a powerful animal.

If Ted Haggard lived in a world where he was accepted for who he really is… a world in which he could both love and serve his God without fear that his personal understanding of himself as a gay man would sentence him to eternal damnation in hell… a world in which he did not have to hate himself for that which he cannot change…

… Perhaps things would have been a little different… a little better…

I will pray for Mr. Haggard.

I will pray that he stops apologizing for who his is, for who God created him to be… and start living and loving himself.

He deserves that much, if nothing else.

Posted in C-Haze, Dating, Elections, Homosexuality, Marriage, News, Politics, Race, Relationships, Religion

Proposition 8, Gay People and God-Sanctioned Orgasms

I wasn’t sure if I should really touch this subject or not…

… But seeing as I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut, here I am- and I intend to touch the hell out of this thing.

Proposition 8, in California, has passed.

That’s old news of course, but I’m just now getting around to talking about it, so let’s just jump right in.

For those of you who have lived in a cave for the past 8 days, Prop 8 is California’s Gay Marriage ban.

I guess I was a little surprised that the measure succeeded… not because I harbor any silly notions that this country has progressed beyond the point of denying any single group of people their civil rights… but because in my mind, if this thing was going to fail, California’s the state that would be most likely to drop-kick it.

Clearly I was wrong, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

What really got me going is how the stupid Proposition passed.

It wouldn’t have been any less a shame had the super-right evangelical Christians managed to pass it on their own… but it certainly would have hurt my heart a lot less.

I mean, it’s expected that those guys would be overzealous in their support of such a shameful piece of crap… merely masking itself as bona-fide legislation.

Let’s face it- the Christian right has no qualms about shoving their religion down the rest of our throats… that whole seperation of Church and State thing only applies to non-Christians in their minds… as in, if you ain’t Christian, don’t you dare even try to legislate shit.

Otherwise, it’s cool.

But folks, it wasn’t simply the Christian-Right that passed the same-sex marriage ban.

It was minorities.

As in blacks and latinos.

Huh.

A group of people, oppressed for generations… still fighting daily for their own civil rights… helped pass a piece of shit law that takes one of the fundamental freedoms that they themselves enjoy away from an entire group of people.

It wasn’t so long ago that black people didn’t have the freedom to choose their marital partners either… have we already forgotten our not-too-distant-past when blacks were banned from marrying whites?

Hell, in Alabama that shit was still illegal into the 21st century!

I am disgusted.

What harm does it do a damn one of us, allowing two people to who love each other- even if they are the same sex- to get married? In what ways do our lives become negatively impacted by two committed adults choosing to celebrate their love and commitment for each other by making that bond official?

None.

The rest of us can do it…

… So why can’t gay people?

I get that this has to do with religion for a lot of people… but to those same people I say, mind your own damn business. If you disagree with the notion of two people of the same sex marrying, then don’t do it… never forget, however, that you are not God… you do not get to judge… and you certainly have no business judging the choices of others.

Besides, why are we picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to subscribe to? How many people have even read the book of Leviticus, the book they base their justification to discriminate against homosexuals on?

I am reminded of a letter I once read… written to conservative talk-show host, Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Dr. Laura had caught some heat for her disparaging comments about homosexuals.

The author brings up many good points:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear prescription glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

If the supporters of Proposition 8 spent half the energy on making their own marriages successful as they do trying to dictate everyone else’s lifestyles, perhaps our hetrosexual divorce rate would drop a bit.

God, I’m certain, doesn’t give a shit how we manage to achieve an orgasm…

…He has bigger fish to fry, and so do we.

Posted in C-Haze, Dating, Homosexuality, News, Relationships, Religion

Gay? It’s Just Easier That Way…

I just read a blog entitled, “Gay Or Straight… And How To Tell“.

First, I’ve never quite bought that nonsense about how being gay is a choice- mostly because I didn’t choose to be straight.

I just am and always have been.

I figure it’s pretty much the same for everyone else, and given the bigotry, hatred, and mortal danger openly gay people face in this society, I really find it hard to believe most folks actually choose to live their lives in that fashion.

So when I saw the blog, I was interested. The blog itself is sort of a blog inside of a blog. At the end of it, there’s a link that gives you the option to keep reading. When I clicked on it, I was taken to another site altogether, and it’s there that I had my “What in the hell is this shit?!?!” moment.

The author is writing about what she clearly thinks is an unknown phenomenon, as in “What If You Only Think You’re Gay?”. She tells us several stories about men who “decided” at various points in their lives that they were gay, only to experience what can only be described as “Aha!” moments months or years later that literally straightened ’em right out.

Seriously…

All of the examples she uses in her post have the exact same theme. We have the stand-up comic who realized that he was a “man magnet”- and therefore “decided” he was gay. Then there’s the guy who was constantly ridiculed as a child by those closest to him- including his football coaches, who regularly accused him of homosexual acts- and as a result, “decided” that he really must be gay.

The common theme in the stories is that both gentlemen later realized they were wrong- the comedian saw a naked woman getting dressed one day and got turned on, while the other guy met a woman and fell madly in love with her as an adult.

Suddenly they realized they weren’t really gay after all. 

The men are crying us a river, claiming that they had come out of the closet as homosexuals too early in life, only to realize they were wrong, and faced embarrassment among loved ones for ceasing to be gay.

Whatever.

This is just craziness.

What I find remarkable is that both men only “decided” they were gay because of outside influences. The comedian wasn’t gettin’ any chicks, but he had men galore to choose from, due to that whole man-magnet quality of his.

Hell, he didn’t become gay, he became lazy. Chasin’ skirts was too much trouble- he actually had to put forth an effort to land a chick- while men seemed to be falling all over him. He didn’t want to exert himself, so he went down the road that required less work, the road that allowed him to feel worshipped. It was good for his ego, and when he finally realized this shit had nothing to do with being gay and everything to do with him being lethargic, he snapped out of it and started pursuing the other kind of ass.

The exact same kind of shit happened to the kid whose football coaches were abusing him. His story reminds me of the proverbial little kid- the genius- who was told by all his teachers that he’s actually stupid. Doesn’t matter how flippin’ smart the kid is, if you tell him he’s dumb- or in this case gay- for long enough, he’s going to start believing it. Of course his belief doesn’t change reality- just because people convince him he’s dumb or gay doesn’t actually make him dumb or gay. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t matter at that point, and this kid’s truth became, “well, everyone keeps saying I’m gay… so wow, I really must be!”

The result is a really screwed up and confused child- and later, a really screwed up and confused adult- that no longer knows who or what the hell he really is. Finally the poor guy figured out that just because some asshole says the sky is orange, that doesn’t really make it orange. Lo and Behold, he found himself cured.

The blog does a complete disservice to homosexuals… and quite frankly, makes me seriously question the intelligence of those who are actually buying into this crap.

What the hell is so threatening about gay people, who just like straight people, did not choose their sexuality? I mean what, do we think it’s contagious? We gotta quarantine those queers so they don’t spread their disease our way?

Are we really that threatened by people who have a different personal understanding of themselves? I mean, what, are same sex couples secretly plotting to take over the world, with the only hope of stopping them being their ultimate destruction?

Really? 

Or better yet, are straight people, just by virtue of the fact that we aren’t gay, somehow morally superior? Speaking for myself, I find that highly unlikely… I may not have slept with any women in my life, but I’m willing to bet God’s frownin’ pretty hard on half the men I’ve been with. Hell, He probably wishes He’d made me gay- that way I’d have had no interest in that one guy… or shoot- that other one… yikes- better quit while I’m ahead.

I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating:

God does not care what method we use to achieve orgasm.

He’s got bigger fish to fry…

 

Posted in C-Haze, Children, News, Politics, Race, Religion, Single Mom

What’s So Wrong With Adam and Steve?

What in the world is a “traditional couple” anyway?

I found myself wondering about this today as I read an article in which John McCain was asked if children should only be adopted by “traditional couples”.

He, of course, answered in the affirmative.

Not surprisingly, he thinks it’s wrong that gay people are allowed to adopt.

That got me thinking…

Perhaps he’d rather see children adopted by this woman?

Judith Leeken fell into the category of “traditional”- at least by McCain’s definition. She was also just sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to 11 counts- one count for each child- of adoption fraud in New York.

Seems Ms. Leeken adopted multiple children with various disabilities.

She, however, didn’t adopt these children out of love or compassion… she merely adopted them because they each came with a handsome monthly check from the state.

By the time the law caught up with her she had taken over a million dollars in state funding, though her children saw no benefit from that money. They were forced to sleep on a concrete floor in a room adjacent to the garage. They weren’t allowed to enter her home… and if they did, they suffered horrible consequences.

She’s a monster, and she has ruined the lives of 11 precious children.

In contrast we have David and Ralph– life partners in California.

Obviously they are gay.

David and Ralph chose to adopt three children- Summer, Brittany and Martin, all natural siblings.

The state had been having a tough time placing these beautiful little ones, as it isn’t easy to place three kids within the same home.

While certainly admitting that it would be a challenge, David and Ralph adopted all three… thus creating a wonderful and diverse family unit.

The children enjoy such activities as gymnastics, karate, swimming and soccer.

They have two parents that love them- and each other- unconditionally.

In short, they are thriving.

In this day in age, “traditional” is a word that is definitely up for interpretation, as it no longer exists- at least not in the “Leave it to Beaver” sense from 50-plus years ago.

Divorce rates hover around 60%… single parents are everywhere, as are multi-racial and extended families.

Step-parents are common- as are step-children- and families are now more diverse than they have been in the past.

Children need stability, consistency and love.

That’s all.

Families are more diverse than ever and the “traditional” set-up is becoming less and less the norm.

This is not a bad thing.

I’ll put my money on Ralph and David’s kids and their future success- as a couple and as a family unit- over Ms. Leeken’s abusive world any day.

Are all straight parents evil? Of course not.

I’m one of them, after all.

Gay parents aren’t evil either- at least not by virtue of their sexuality.

Personally speaking, I am a product of our foster system. I was a ward of the state for the first six years of my life and can atest- firsthand, no less- that simply because a family unit falls under the heading of “traditional” does not make them good or nurturing people.

Denying children a loving home- even if that home may be headed by two people of the same sex- is ridiculous.

Love is love, and children are children.

It’s simple, really.

Why not open our minds a little- and maybe take joy in seeing children thriving in loving environments, no matter what their parents’ sexual orientation.

People use the same argument today in denying gay couples the right to adopt as they used 40 years ago in denying children the chance to live in a multi-racial home.

“The children will be teased” is the prevailing thought.

So what?

Children are teased no matter what. I was teased because I’m bi-racial. Other classmates were teased for wearing glasses. Or being fat. Or being too thin. Or having freckles. Or wearing braces. The list is endless.

Kids all over the world are in desperate need of love and direction.

Two daddies- or two mommies- can provide for children just as well as a mommy and a daddy, or a mommy and a step-daddy, or a daddy and a step-mommy, or a single mom or a single dad.

At the end of our days, when we’re all waiting in line at the pearly gates… the last thing on God’s mind will be how we managed to acheive an orgasm while on earth.

He doesn’t give a damn whether we got off by ourselves… or whether we got off by being with a man or a woman.

He loves us no matter what.

He made us. He knows us. He understands us.

Anyone who can give unconditional acceptance to any of the millions of children who need it is cool with me.