Purpose




Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace





Friday, July 6, 2018

Your Other Brothers....concerns and caution

  I ran across Your Other Brothers (YOB) soon after they formed. It is a website where a handful of mostly young guys who are same-sex attracted write posts, which you can also get by email or read on their website. They have also started a podcast recently.

 If you are attracted to the same sex and wanting to be a Christian, it is a rough road. It is lonely, and not many people understand or seem to care. One needs encouragement from others in the same boat, and YOB seemed to be a good place for that.

 However, there have been posts that concerned me, and the amount of posts that concern me has increased. I am going to address those concerns, but first explain why I am doing this blog post:

  A couple of weeks ago, I was bothered a lot by a post and commented on the Facebook page of one of the guys, the one who seems to be in charge of the site and the guy in charge.  He has since blocked me.

 Earlier this week,  I was again bothered by a post and shared some concerns about it and other posts on their site. They deleted it.

   Before they deleted it, it was seen by some people. Two of those guys contacted me, one of whom I know. They both echoed my concerns, and they both said they had commented with their concerns and had their comments deleted. It would seem these young men cannot handle anyone disagreeing with them or pointing out concerns. I am going to chalk it up to their being so young - most of them seem to be in their 20's and 30's. Sure, there is no excuse for their refusal to consider concerns and their deleting comments addressing them....but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for their youth.

 I am going to address the 2 most recent posts that concerned me, and go from there:

1) Queer Eye

A newer addition to their team did a blog post talking about a show he watches on Netflix  called Queer Eye. I am not entirely sure of what it is all about, but it is definitely a gay show that approves of and glorifies being gay. I think I can safely say if you are trying to live for God and have either left the gay life or are trying not to enter it, watching a gay themed show like that is not going to help you avoid temptation, nor is it going to help your relationship with God.

 And worse, there is the danger of weaker guys reading that post, thinking it is OK to watch shows like that, and falling into sin because a Christian guy with the same struggle as they are discussed how great the show is. (Post here.)

 Ask yourself this question: If you are a guy struggling with same-sex attractions, and are either trying not to go back to the gay life as you serve Christ, or are trying to never go into the gay life at all as you serve Christ......is it going to help or hinder you to watch a gay themed show that affirms everything gay?

 A friend of mine watched a 20 minute clip on YouTube, and said it was full of sexual innuendos and jokes about the male penis.

 Maybe...just maybe these guys can watch the show and not be hindered in any way - though I find that highly doubtful - but the chances of everyone reading their excited approval and defense of the show not being hindered is next to impossible. There is no reason or call for guys running a site to encourage and help others with SSA to post about how great a gay themed show is, and then defend it to anyone who brings up concerns..... and many are bringing up concerns.

 I have a Christian friend at work who is a security guard. I was chatting with her yesterday and asked her to answer a question for me. She knows I deal with SSA, and I wanted the opinion of a Christian who does not. I asked her: "Should a Christian guy who is leaving the gay life behind and trying to avoid going back to it, be watching a gay themed TV show?" She was a bit shocked, and said "absolutely not." She gave reasons, such as it would possibly pull them down. I then explained why I asked, and she recommended I stay away from that site.


2) Gay pride

 Gay pride was the topic of a post last week. The main leader, who blocked me, asked all of the other guys their opinions of gay pride. To my disgust, but not surprise, a couple of them seemed to approve of it and gay pride parades. I firmly believe no Christian should approve of gay pride, but again it is even worse for guys with their platform to voice approval and support of it. (The post is here if you want to read it.)

  There is one guy who often posts a warning with what he says in case someone is triggered. He has often discussed his sexual past, not in graphic detail, but enough detail. I feel he both glorifies his sexual past, and makes it sound like he misses it....the latter being true of some of the other guys. They sound like they wish they were back in their "gay days".....something a friend of mine also mentioned.

 Some years ago, I read about a gay man who was into cross dressing and really lived the gay life to the extreme. He became a Christian and left the gay life behind. One thing he did came to mind as I consider these guys watching a gay themed TV show and defending doing so: This man had a red convertible. He rode it in gay pride parades, and it was such a part of his gay life that he felt he needed to get rid of it.....so he did. I doubt you would have found a guy like that watching gay themed TV shows.

 There were a couple of posts where one guy explained why he wants to be LGBT(Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender). Those posts: here, and here.

 There have been several posts where they talked about past friendships that they almost, or did sexualize in their minds, and spend a lot of time moaning about lost friendships, which sound like they happened because they smothered the friends.

  Overshadowing my other concerns, is the effect some of these posts could have on their readers. I mentioned it already, but it deserves repeating and emphasis. Here you have a group of mostly young guys with same-sex attractions who came up with this website to I assume help and encourage other guys with the same struggle. You would think when others voice concerns about their content, that they would prayerfully consider those concerns, knowing they could lead guys astray with their posts. But for some reason, they refuse to consider such a thing, and shut down any discussion or comments that bring that up.

   I did not write this blog post to be mean or vindictive. Had these guys given consideration to what I and others have said, I doubt I'd be doing it. And one has to wonder how many others have expressed concerns and have been shut down. What are the odds that there were just 2 others that saw my comments before they were deleted, and contacted me? I'd say the odds are slim and it is more than likely that others have also commented with concerns and have been dismissed and shut down.

  I don't mean to be rude, but it truly does not speak well for these guys to not only post things that are questionable, but to delete comments with concerns is not just rude and irresponsible, it is not Christ-like.

 I have linked to their site on my blog, and I am removing that and don't plan on following their site anymore, and am cautioning anyone else who does that they may want to stop visiting the site.

 One of the guys who contacted me made a sad but interesting statement, in light of the seeming missing of the gay life by some of these guys: He wondered where these guys will be in 10 years. If they keep reliving their gay past, watching gay shows, it is possible they will be back where they came from. I hope not, but as my friend also said, they are playing with fire. And it almost seems like they are looking back and longing for the good old gay days by the tone and content of some of their posts.

Follow up:
I used the contact email for the site, giving some of my concerns and telling them I was doing a blog post with my concerns since they had deleted them. I received a reply from the oldest and most conservative guy on the site apologizing that my concerns were discarded. He specifically addressed the gay pride post and didn't feel anyone was approving of gay pride....I feel the idea is given that a couple of them do. It was a nice email, and I replied with a long one outlining my concerns and those of a friend. He replied back and said he would try to get the other guys to consider more what they are posting.

Yesterday,  the main guy sent the following email:

Hey there, Mark.

Thanks for your email. I much prefer this medium for constructive dialogue.

That being said, threats don't inspire me to engage. I always tell people if they don't like how we operate our site ... start their own. I'd personally love to see more voices and communities form in this arena of faith and sexuality.

   The "threat" was my telling them I was doing this blog post since they ignored and deleted concerns of mine and others. He also did an audio post addressing comments that disagreed with some of their posts, and called it nitpicking. I disagree, I believe we have legitimate concerns about a website geared to help guys with same-sex attractions, but may do the opposite.

 Also, I went to  the post about the TV show, and there are others not just expressing concerns about that TV show, but about the direction of the website. These guys need to figure out if they are going to actually post things to help and encourage others, or if they are going to post things approving of gay themed shows and other gay things, and give the idea that though they are Christians, they miss the gay life.

 And if you are one who follows their site, I would give a word of caution. Some of these guys are living too close to the edge. Instead of getting as far from their sin and temptation as they can, they are playing around the edges and are liable to fall back into it. I just hope they don't take anyone with them.

Another update, July 16 2018:
One of the young guys on the site penned this arrogant and uncharitable post condemning anyone who expressed concerns about their content. I am starting to think it best if the site gets shut down. Not only are they posting things that could bring weaker guys down, they don't care, and they attack those with concerns instead of prayerfully considering those concerns.

Post here: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2018/07/10/challenge-yob-readers/


Sunday, June 17, 2018

June jottings 2

   More stuff that has been going through my little brain lately

1) Summer

  I'll be honest. I don't like the extreme heat of summer.... but I prefer it over winter. Winter is so bleak, dark, and grey. You have bad roads to deal with, always being cold, cleaning snow off your car, shoveling snow, etc. If your car is outside, you rarely can just jump in and go. Even a trip to the store for milk involves cleaning off your car and warming it up.

 But summer..everything is bright and colorful. The days and nights are filled with the sounds of happy animals. People are happier - true fact, depression is worse in the winter.

 My sister and her husband left a couple of those tiki bamboo torches when they left, and I have been sitting out on the front porch with those lit when I can. If I am working the next day, I am in bed when it is just starting to get dark...so it doesn't happen as often as I like. Last night, I sat out there in shorts and t-shirt, drinking a smoothie, and enjoying night life. Life seemed just about perfect then.

 Sadly, summer goes by way too fast. If I blink, the snow will again be falling and there will be no nights on the front porch.

2) Vacation

 I leave for vacation tomorrow at 8 am. I am going with my parents, my little sister and her husband, and my 3 nephews. We are renting a house in beautiful Hocking Hills, OH. I am really looking forward to it.



3) An annoying Facebook thing

 I have a program on my computer on Facebook that blocks out certain words that I choose. It also has a feature that notifies me when someone "un-friends" me. There is a handful of people I am friends with who are constantly deleting their account, then putting it back on after a few days. So I am constantly getting these notices "John Doe is not your friend anymore." Then a few days later, "John Doe is now your friend again." And it is the same people over, and over again. I wish they'd make up their minds if they want to be on Facebook or not.

4) Smoothies

 I decided a couple of weeks ago to make use of my blender, which I hadn't used since I moved in here in August. I don't remember ever making fruit smoothies, but that is what I have been making. I do need to work on it more though. Here is how I do it: I put frozen fruit in the blender, then add some kind of fruit juice. I keep putting too much frozen fruit in, then keep having to add more and more juice until I end up with almost enough smoothie for 2 people. They are good though, if I must say so myself.

5) Supporting Hillary

 One of the things that really has ticked me off about this last election and its aftermath, is the accusation that I am for Hillary if I didn't support Donald Trump.

 Here is the biggest mind twisting stupidity:  These people voted for Donald Trump and act like he is the next best thing to God.....yet he supported Hillary Clinton and her hubby for years by way of donations and other support. He said she was innocent in the Benghazi cover up, and said she would make a great president. And his voters seemed to not have an issue with that. So even if I had been for Hillary, why should they care about little old me when they don't care about Trump?

  The truth of the matter is, it was just attempts at manipulation to get me to vote the way they wanted. Would a true Christian do that? No. People love to say what Jesus would and wouldn't do to fit their agenda, but I can say with certainty that Jesus would not use manipulation to get people to vote how he wanted them to. In fact, I doubt He'd even be involved in politics and voting. He would be too busy trying to help people and win them to him.....not putting them down for not voting a certain way.

  And by the way, it isn't easy not being in the camp that supports Trump. You are pretty much a pariah to the rest of the Republican Party.



6) Father's Day

 Father's Day has been kind of tough for me for several years. One of my biggest regrets is never having the opportunity to be a father. If you pay attention to my blog posts, you know why that has not happened.

 I have said it before, but I am so thankful I do have the opportunity to be an uncle to 6 great kids, and that I am such a part of their lives.

7) Fry pies

  If you have never had a fry pie, you are missing out. They are small pieces of pie dough, filled with fruit filling, deep fried, then dribbled with icing. I used to rarely get them, as I had to go to the Amish section of Ohio to get them....which wasn't very often. However, a Mennonite-owned store around the corner from me started making them. Temptation is a lot closer. They only make them on Thursdays and Fridays, so I can't get them every week.....though I did get a couple of day old ones yesterday (Saturday).

 And now that I talked about them, I want one... but they are all gone.



8) Too political

 Is it possible Christians are too political? Do we worry too much about who wins office, instead of spreading the Gospel? What is more important to us: the way they vote, or their spiritual state?

9) Books for vacation

 I packed a good stack of books I hope to read on vacation. I am not sure what all we will be doing, and how much time we will be spending at the house we rented, but I do stay up later than everyone else......so I shall read.

10) A/C

 I am thankful for air conditioning. I do not have central air, but do have 4 window units. I have had the one in my bedroom going for a few weeks now... the upstairs gets really hot. So far, I have managed not to use any downstairs, though it got pretty warm down here today. I may have to break down and put in the living room unit soon.

 But I still love summer.

Pride

  **Another post which may make the average Christian uncomfortable. If you are not the average Christian, you have nothing to fear!

  I have debated about posting this possibly more than any other I have posted. Posting something like this can open me up for a lot of stuff I don't want to deal with.

  I mentioned it before, but back during the election, a lady from my church said I shouldn't have an issue with Donald Trump, given my past. She doesn't know me well enough to make such statements, as she doesn't know what I have done or haven't done. If she has paid attention, she most likely knows and was referring to the fact that I am attracted to guys and not women. She is most likely not the only person to have those thoughts. There is a lot I could say in reply to what she said, and what others may be thinking.... but I am not. If I was running for a political office and people could see everything I have done and said, the religious right might go running from voting for me. But this is not a political post, so I am not going to get political. I am aware I could be judged, and am aware of what people may think....but I honestly don't care. There are few people on my list of who I care what they think of me. Most of them are related to me. Fear of what people may or may not think of me is not going to stop me from discussing this issue that is such a big part of my life.

 Something happened today that made me decide to actually post this. A man I am not friends with on Facebook messaged me. I am always leery of accepting such messages, as they are often hate filled rants for comments I made politically or other, but I clicked on it. To respect his privacy, I won't give any details except he is a guy who struggles with same-sex attractions, feels very alone, and feels rejected by the church. He ran across my Gay Cross post, and was encouraged by it. We chatted some, and hopefully will do so more in the future. That is why I talk about this stuff. If what I write helps even one person struggling, it is worth whatever people think of me for posting it. That all said, here is the actual post:



   June is Pride month, as in gay pride. I have been thinking about it all month, and it is difficult not to since we are reminded everywhere that it is going on.

 I am going to make a statement, and follow it up with some other thoughts you may disagree with.... but stick with me:

 I understand gay pride, and their need to celebrate it.

  For years, gay people had to hide their sexuality. It was the norm to ridicule and ostracize someone who was attracted to the same sex. There was a day it could get you fired, and suffering in other ways. You could get beaten up and killed if people knew. You still can in some countries.

   It isn't fun to hide it. I realized I was attracted to the same sex at the age of 21 while in a very conservative Bible college. (Looking back, I can see the signs way earlier, I was just a naive kid who barely knew what gay meant.) Had anyone known at that time, I would have been kicked out of that Bible college with no understanding or compassion. I became a master at hiding it, at dodging the questions about why I wasn't married or dating. I wore a mask that left people believing I had no desire to marry.

   But inside, I was a terrified guy. I was scared to death of people finding out my deep, dark secret.....that I, Mark Buzard, had no attraction or interest in women. No, I was attracted to and interested in other guys. No one could ever find out. I sat in the church pew for years, afraid people in the church would find out and cause me to feel more alone than I already felt. I stopped going to the altar because preachers said you should pray aloud up there, and there was no way I was praying aloud about my struggles. I felt alone and without help in the very place I should have felt the opposite.



    There were some very rough years. I wish I had had the resources and people available to me then that I have now. There were times I so badly wanted to end it all, but knew I'd drop straight into hell and leave my family devastated...... so I kept getting up every day and trying my best to deal with the cards I had been dealt. Thankfully,  I have several Facebook friends who also deal with this issue, or have loved ones who do. Back then, I had no one. There were a few books on the subject....but very few. I can still remember the first time I bought one at my local Christian bookstore.....where they knew me well. I lied and said I had a gay relative. Later, after a "friend"/coworker outtted me to everyone there while I was working there, I reminded that same lady about it..... and she said she never thought anything of it. A side note...that same lady has a gay son my age who lives with his lover, and she never had anyone to talk to about it until my sexuality got broadcasted to everyone at the store. So good can come out of bad.

  I find myself wondering if I had then what I have now if I would have done some of the things I did as I struggled and floundered with these feelings and struggles I had no clue how to deal with. I wonder if I could have believed God loved me sooner if I hadn't been so alone in my secrets, shame, and struggles.

 But the past is the past, and it cannot be changed.

    I eventually started confiding in a person here and there over the years. The more people I told, the easier it got to tell. I started talking about it on this blog, but in general terms that people would have to read between the lines to know what I was talking about..... and some people got it. One of my favorite cousins messaged me at one point and said she got it and gave me some very positive words I appreciated.

   And then as I have mentioned before, I did a blog post on here where I just admitted it in blunt terms. And it made a tremendous difference in my life. Unless you have had a secret you were afraid people would find out, you will never understand the feelings when you drag the secret out into public and not care anymore.

   One thing that has happened, is the shame is gone. I am not ashamed I am attracted to other guys. It isn't my fault. I didn't ask for it, nor can I change it. God helps in that area, but for most of us we will deal with it on some level for life. Does that mean I am glad I have these attractions? No. I am not, but it could be something worse. I am just not ashamed anymore. Sure, there may be people who shun me because of it.... I really don't know. I think more people shun be because I am anti-Trump than because of my same-sex attractions. I am kind of joking......People may be uncomfortable and wonder why I talk about it so much, but it is freeing and I just don't worry what people think anymore. Plus, it encouraged me to find others in the same boat as me, I hope to also encourage others......while helping Christians who have no clue to get a clue.



    But all of these gay people celebrating gay pride month are experiencing those same feelings. Many of them hid their sexuality, afraid of people finding out. Some remember the days when it was dangerous to be gay. Some have been kicked out of their parents' house for being gay, but have found people to accept them for who they are. They, like me, are no longer ashamed.



   Unlike them though, I am not proud. Not being ashamed and being proud are two very different things. The Bible condemns pride, and says it goes before destruction. It is sad that a month is celebrated by so many who are proud to be gay. Proud of behavior and sin that will one day send them to hell unless they repent.

  Yes, I understand the gay pride, but I don't agree with it. I don't believe cities should have to host gay pride parades. I don't believe the stuff that goes on in those parades should be allowed to go on in public, but for some reason our country bows to anything gay and lets them get away with all sorts of things that should not be seen and done in public. And yeah...even I wonder what would happen if anyone tried to have straight pride parades.

   Walls Down is a great ministry I follow on Facebook. Their mission statement is: "To tear down the walls that exist between the LGBT community and God's family and to equip the church to reach out and love them effectively through the power of the Gospel." I usually agree with what they post and do, but they posted an article on the 9th that I disagreed with. They defend pride month and gay pride parades. (Article here.) I don't want to do that, and I hope I have not. I have attempted to show why I understand and relate to it.....but I do not agree with or approve of it. As I said earlier, being unashamed and being proud are two very different things.



   As this month rolls along with the constant gay pride parades and reminders of it across TV and social media, try this: pray for these people. Many of them think Christians hate them, with good reason. There are many who seem beyond the reach of God's grace. But no one is. Let me introduce you to David Bennett, former agnostic and gay rights activist.....now Christian and part of the ministry of Ravi Zacharias, and one of my new heroes. He has a book coming out in October that is on my wish list, A War of Loves. He is proof that God can reach the most militant of gay people.





 And remember, pride is always a sin....not just gay pride, but all sin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June jottings

 I started this a few weeks ago, and am just now getting it posted.

1) Emotional in the card aisle

   My youngest of 3 nieces graduated last month. I was buying a graduation card for her this past week, and got a bit misty-eyed. Yeah, I am an emotional sap. That is all 3 nieces graduated. There are still my 3 nephews in school, and with the youngest being 11, it will be a while til they are all graduated.

2) The nephew

  My oldest nephew will be 16 in October, and is the only one of my nephews who has a cell phone. We text back and forth occasionally, and he usually ends with "I love you Uncle Mark".....which makes me feel really good. I don't know how many boys his age would do that with their uncle, but I am glad he does.

3) Good-bye Straight Talk

 I have been using Straight Talk for quite a while now. I don't like it very well for a few reasons, but it is cheap. I have been paying $45 a month, which is a lot less than I'd pay for Verizon or AT&T....but I really loathe them.

 My sister, brother-in-law, and my nieces recently went with Cricket Wireless. They are very happy with it, so I decided to check it out. Unlike Straight Talk. they have an actual store. I went in 2 weeks ago  to check it out, and ended up switching and getting a new phone. I will be paying $10 less a month which is cool, and they do seem much better than Straight Talk.



4) The phone

 My new phone may take some getting used to. There doesn't seem to be a flashing light indicator for text messages and other such things, whereas my old one did. It does seem to be a good phone, and I only paid $79.99 for it.

 One complaint I had with Straight Talk was you could not upgrade the Android operating system, and you were stuck with whatever came on it. There are apps I could not download to my old phone because the operating system was too old. With Cricket, you can upgrade.

5) The birthday

 May 26th was my birthday. I didn't do much, which was the idea. I had asked off work, so I was able to sleep in. I went to a nearby restaurant for their breakfast buffet, and was seated by my youngest niece who took her break to eat with me.....made my day. She, her 2 sisters, and her mom all work there. The rascal told my waitress it was my birthday, so I got sung to and got a cupcake.

 It was cute.....2 ladies stopped at my table and said the little girl with them wanted to tell me something. She shyly told me "happy birthday". How sweet!

 After grabbing my prescriptions and a few groceries, I went home and stayed there.

 My parents too me and niece #2 out to Bob Evans Friday evening. Allie's birthday was the day after mine.

 Sunday, the 27th, our whole gang got together for both birthdays after church.

6) Insult to soldiers

  One frustrating thing for we who do not like Donald Trump, is how overboard some of his supporters go. "He is the most pro-Christian president ever"...uh, no he is not. "Trump, making Christmas great again!"....... and other stuff like that. Even if he were a decent and good man, this kind of stuff would be too much.....but for a man with his lack of character, morals, etc.... it is definitely way too much.

 But Memorial Day week........Ugh. There is a picture I have seen several times around holidays like Memorial Day. It is of an American solider in cammo pants and white t-shirt, posing beside a flag while holding a gun. Well, now  there is the same picture floating around that has Donald Trump in the picture. Donald Trump avoided the draft - 5 times I think - and it is an insult to American soldiers everywhere to put him in that picture.

 While I am on that, I firmly believe no one should be president who has not served in the military. After all, the president is the commanding officer over our military, so am I the only one who thinks it is ludicrous to have someone over our military who has never served?

 And I felt that way long before DT ran.

7) Holidays

 I don't work holidays at my job, but I get holiday pay. The last few holidays we have had, I have still ended up working my usual 4 days that week, and my holiday pay just sat unused......though I can use it for days off. Memorial Day week,  I actually got an extra day off, and worked 3 days instead of my usual 4.

8) Being a smart female

  No woman deserves to be raped or "asks for it". However, women do need to be smarter.

If a guy asks you to his room, it isn't just for coffee. Most men doing that have sex on their mind. Don't want to be raped in a guy's motel room? Don't go to his room.

  There have been many young girls who went to a party, drank, and ended up getting raped. Don't want that to happen? Don't go to parties where there is drinking and hang out with people who do.

 Don't want your boyfriend to force you? Stop him at first base, not when he is attempting to get across the home plate.....and don't dress like a Victoria Secret model.

  I could go on, but you get the point. If a woman truly wants to be safe from being raped, she is going to be more careful about where she goes and with whom.....be more careful about what she does when she is around guys. Getting high or drunk with guys you don't know.....real smart.......not that drugs are smart anyway.

9) Women and ties

 If a woman has the same job as a man and the man has to wear a tie, shouldn't the woman? "But a tie is for men", you say......well so are pants, but women decided they wanted to dress like men and now it is considered normal for women to wear them......so if a woman is going to wear everything else a man wears for a job, she should have to also wear the tie.

10) Praying for a president

 I had a few people take issue with my saying I don't pray for Donald Trump. I didn't pray for Obama either, though I prayed about him.... that God would stop him from destroying our freedoms and our country, and to get him out of office somehow.

 Here are some thoughts on praying for a president:

a) Pray just what? If they are a bad president, I don't want to pray for his health or success.

b) If you toss this at people when you support the president, do you toss it at people as quickly when you do not support a president?

c) Did you pray for Obama, Hillary, and other liberals?

d) When you bring this verse up to people, are you keeping the rest of the commands of the Bible.....such as turning the other cheek, a soft answer turns away wrath, have no fellowship with darkness.. and so forth, or are you picking and choosing which verses you will keep?

11) Vacation 

  Next week is my vacation. Every year for around 20 years, my sister Vicki and her family have been going to the Outer Banks. The rest of my family started going at some point, and then eventually my brother-in-law's family decided they wanted to go......so we go every other year now with my sister and her family. This is an off year for us, so the rest of us....my parents, me, my little sister and her husband, and my 3 nephews are going to Hocking Hills, OH. I am not sure what all is there to see and do, but there is hiking, waterfalls, and caves. One plus is that it is only a 4 hour drive, compared to the 12 hour drive to the Outer Banks. I am really looking forward to it.



12) Visit

 A  month from now, my best friend will be coming for a week's visit. We have been friends for 12 years, but only get to see each other once a year most years. So for a week, I will have someone to hang out with, shop with, eat out with, watch movies with, etc. We have very different tastes in music and books.. and somewhat in movies, but agree on the important stuff..... like religion and politics, though he doesn't speak out like I do.

13) Mower

 I had a nice surprise today. I have had to mow with the push mower for the last several weeks, and found the riding mower in the barn and fixed today when I was getting ready to mow. I have been mowing at least 2 acres, so it was nice to have the riding mower working again.

 The only downside....there goes my main exercise regimen.

14) Mouse

 I discovered last week that I had a mouse....it left evidence in a few drawers in the kitchen. I had to wash all of my pans and silverware and other cooking utensils. I set a trap 2 nights and it got away with the peanut butter. They were the old traditional kind. I bought a different kind yesterday that is a black plastic box. It is spring loaded too, but it got the mouse so it must be better.

 They are supposed to be re-usable....but the non-masculine side of me is like "no way!" I even set it in a box so I wouldn't have to touch it. I took it to the burn pile, poured a little gasoline on it, threw the rest of my burnable trash on top, and lit it. Not all mice have a funeral pyre.



15) Reading goal

 I have read 76 books so far towards my goal of 130 for the year, and am 19 books ahead, according to Goodreads. I may actually hit  the goal.

 

Nick, Joni, and I

**This is one of those blog posts where I talk about things relating to my personal struggles, which may make some people uncomfortable.

   I have had my share of arguing and debating people who want to claim that you can be Christian and gay. And by gay here, I mean engaging in sexual activity with the same sex. I was in a Facebook group for Christian bloggers a while back that was inundated with liberal Christians claiming so, and they were very hard on anyone who dared go with what the Bible says. I was actually called a hateful bigot several times by a man who claims to be a pastor, but is a false prophet.... John....even though he knew I myself deal with that issue.

   A few months back, a guy on Facebook sent me a friend request. He's a nice guy, but is a liberal Christian. He posted last week in regards to the baker and Supreme Court case "Jesus would bake the cake, and it would be a good one." I commented my disagreement, which led to a back and forth debate on Facebook messenger throughout the day. The debate was civil, even on my part...which can be difficult for me. I take it seriously when well meaning Christians pat gay people on the back and tell them the Bible doesn't really say it is a sin, and they can be Christian and gay....as in having sex. It bothers me a lot, and irritates me a lot. I believe there will be a lot of gay people in hell, helped there by well meaning Christians.

   But anyway, one statement my friend made has stuck with me. If I understand everything he said in  our long conversation, he doesn't believe a Christian can have casual gay sex, but he believes God approves of a monogamous gay relationship.

  It would take a lot of scrolling to find his exact words, but it boils down to this: "I cannot believe God would expect a gay person to stay celibate, and go to hell if he gives in and has a gay relationship." It reminds me of the serpent's words to Eve "Did God indeed say 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

  We tend to look at things with our human emotions. It isn't fair that someone who is attracted to the same sex has to be lonely and not have someone to love. And it isn't. Pardon my "french", but it sucks. But life isn't always fair. And life isn't all about having a relationship with someone. That should not be our goal. Our goal should be a relationship with Jesus, more than anything else. What is more important to us, sex and a relationship with a person, or pleasing God and having a relationship with Him?

  Two of my all time heroes are Nick Vujicic and Joni Eareckson Tada. Nick was born with no arms or legs, just a foot. He is an amazing guy who has not let his handicaps stop him from living life to the fullest, and has done such things as surfed and other things you would think a guy like him would not be able to do. He is married with I think 4 kids now. He goes all over the world speaking, and has written at least 4 books. God has used him in ways he would never have been used had he been born whole.



   Joni Eareckson Tada had a diving accident at the age of 17 in 1967 that paralyzed her from the neck down. She has spent 51 years in a wheelchair, but like Nick she has not let that stop her from doing God's work. She has authored several books, speaks, paints, and more. She has a ministry to get wheelchairs to those who cannot afford them or have access to them.




 Now let's weigh the options here. If you had to pick one of these 3, which would you pick:

1) Born with no limbs

2) Paralyzed from the neck down for most of your life.

3) Same-sex attraction, and most likely a celibate lonely life.

  None of these are fair. No one asks for any of them, and all are stuck with them for life. (Different people progress different with SSA. Some are able to marry the opposite sex and make it work, and a small number lose the SSA completely..... but most deal with it on some level all their lives.)

   I can tell you which I'd pick: the one I got stuck with. Yeah, it has been hell at times. It is lonely. Most Christians don't get it and have no clue. Some Christians equate it with being a child molester. You are feared by one side, and hated by the other if you dare suggest change is possible and necessary.

 But to have no limbs or be paralyzed.......no. I couldn't handle that.

  It isn't fair what I deal with, but it isn't fair that those 2 godly individuals deal with what they have. You see, God is all about making us like Him and getting us to Heaven to spend eternity with Him. His purpose is not to make us happy. Sure, if we are in the center of His will, we should be happy to some extent.

 But to say hundreds of years of godly men were wrong, and that suddenly shallow, liberal-minded men who are as close to God as we are to  the moon suddenly know better than those men (and the Bible) ....it is ludicrous. It is ludicrous to say God is OK with what the Bible clearly says is a sin, because it isn't fair for gay people to not have sex and to not have someone to love.

  The Old Testament has some blunt things to say about this sin. It is called an abomination. Several sexual sins are condemned, and the penalty for most was stoning. Jesus came and removed those penalties, but not the penalty of hell. And Jesus was actually harder on sin than the Old Testament. For instance, He went further on adultery and said if a man looks lustfully at a woman, he commits adultery. That same Jesus is not going to suddenly be OK with homosexuality. And no, just because He didn't address it, it does not mean He changed His mind about it. There are other things He didn't address that are definitely wrong.

   Being a Christian involves some words that are absent when 2 guys (or women) are screwing each other and claiming to be Christians: denying yourself, sacrifice, carrying a cross. My life has not always gone like I wanted, and I took some roads I never should have taken. There have been times when God seemed so far away, and I despaired of ever being who and what I should be. But no matter my state in all of these years, I have always firmly believed the Bible is clear that sex between 2 people of the same gender is sin, and will lead to an eternity in hell. Along with many other sins.

  Anyone who gambles their soul on these liberal Christians' beliefs that you can be gay and Christian, are fools and will pay for it some day. God won't give anyone a free pass on judgment day because well meaning Christians told them they could do it.

  And to these people claiming you can be gay and Christian, I leave the following verse. The previous verse lists several sins that will send people to hell, including homosexuality. And then this awesome verse is next. If it is OK, then why was the need to be delivered from it?


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Lowering the Barr


**Disclaimer: I am not saying every Trump voter is guilty in this post.

  I don't know a lot about Rosanne Barr. She has made the news more than once with some vile thing she did or said, and is someone I wouldn't want to watch or listen to. I won't list all of her offences here, but I will mention the one I consider to be one of the worst: she wished cancer on anyone who eats at Chik fil a.

 But now many conservatives and "conservative" radio hosts such as Sean Bully Hannity and Rush Ego Limbaugh are defending this woman.

   I know enough about Kanye West to know he isn't a very nice guy, and has said and done his share of stupid things that are offensive, but yet again many conservatives and "conservative" radio hosts have been defending him.



  What do these 2 individuals have in common? They both are pro-Trump. I am no rocket scientist, but I can see what is going on. Since these 2 rather offensive individuals praised Trump, his most loyal supporters feel the same urgent need to defend them that they feel about defending Trump. Poor Hillary... if she'd just go pro-Trump, my party would leave her alone and defend her.......

 Donald Trump has lowered the bar for what is good and moral.

Before Trump, conservatives were against strip club owners.

Before Trump, conservatives were against adultery.

Before Trump, someone who donated to and supported liberals for years would not have got the conservative vote.

Before Trump, conservatives would have been horrified at a lot of things a man like him has said and done.

Before Trump, personal attacks and bullying were wrong.

Before Trump, a man who bragged about grabbing women by the genitals would have been labeled a pervert and sleazebag.



  I find myself wondering what it will look like in a post-Trump America. Will conservatives go back to opposing everything in Democrats that they have accepted and defended in Trump, or has he changed the Republican Party forever so they will accept and defend this stuff in any candidate? Will a candidate's past again matter?

  I could not vote for Trump, and still feel right about that decision..... and doubt I will vote for him if, God forbid, he is the GOP candidate in 2020. But I get that people voted for him out of fear of getting his buddy Hillary......even though he said she'd make a great president. I guess that is one lie of his they didn't believe.......

   But it is one thing to vote for the lesser of two evils, and defending every evil in that lesser evil. I have never seen such an intense defense of a politician and attempts to shut down criticism since Obama. In fact, the die hard Trump supporters act a lot like Obama supporters. Neither can muster a true defense of the facts, so they attack. With Obama, you were a racist if you were against him. With Trump, you are a liberal, pro-Hillary, judgmental, etc, if you are against him. Same playbook, same tactics.

   Answer this in your mind: if a Christian defends Trump's vulgarity, his strip clubs, his serial adultery, his bullying and personal attacks, his bragging about grabbing women by their genitals,etc....what moral right do they have to stand against anything? Homosexuality, gay marriage, pornography.....you name it. We can't pick sins we are OK with because the candidate has an "R" by his name.

  If it is wrong for a Democrat, it is wrong for anyone with an "R" by their name. If we oppose it in a Democrat, we must oppose it in someone with an "R" by their name. (Sorry, I will not call Trump a Republican or conservative.)

   If you are a big Trump supporter, you have no idea what it is like for we who are conservatives who do not support him. It is like Alice Through the Looking Glass...everything is backwards and upside down. If I call out Trump for his liberal past, his donating to liberals, his fighting the Tea Party, etc..... I get called a liberal - and that happened. If you can figure out how I am like a liberal for pointing out Trump's liberal past, please explain it to me......for it is possibly the most insane and ludicrous thing said about me.

  I still can't understand how a man like Donald Trump won the primary of the party of the so-called Christians and conservatives......nor why his supporters so hotly defend everything he says and does. If you feel the need to defend him so much, maybe that should tell you something.

 Donald Trump has caused the Republican Party to lose any moral compass we ever had. We as a party owe an apology to Bill Clinton, and other Democrats we have called out for moral failures and other things Trump is guilty of.

 Back during the election when I was outspoken about Trump's adultery and strip clubs, a woman from my church commented and said with my past, I should be OK with that stuff. If I had it to do over again, I wish I had replied with this: "You don't know me well enough to make assumptions or statements like that. You are rarely at church, and are not a part of my life. You don't know me." I don't remember if I even replied. She un-friended me after that.

  I said  that to preface this: for years, I hid the fact that I am attracted to the same sex. I was terrified of people at church and other Christians I knew finding out the truth. I always had the desire to do right and serve God, so I am not discounting that when I make this next statement: the Christians in my life are also a large part of the reason I never "came out" as gay and openly lived the gay lifestyle.

   Now many of these same people are defending immorality in Trump and attacking anyone for calling it out. What right do they have to judge or criticize gay people who are living the gay lifestyle, if they are OK and defend Trump's sins? What right do they have to fight gay marriage if they defend Trump's serial adultery? If I wanted double standards, I would be a Democrat.

   See, that is what we #neverTrump people want: consistency. We want Donald Trump held to the same standards we have held politicians to before he came along. He won the primary - unfortunately - leaving us with 2 bad choices, and somehow beat the woman he said would make a great president........but that doesn't mean he gets a free pass on everything. That doesn't mean people have to practically worship him as Obama's supporters did. That doesn't mean sinful celebrities who praise him should suddenly gain the support of conservatives.

 The bar has been lowered. What will we do about that in the future?

Weddings, cakes, and Jesus

The news has been monopolized this week by the story of the Christian baker who won the Supreme Court case against him by a gay couple. Due to his religious convictions, he said he could not bake a cake for a gay wedding, and of course the "happy couple" couldn't handle that.

   I like to think that since I am a guy who is attracted to other guys and have been dealing with this issue for most of my life, that I have a different perspective than the average evangelical Christian. I have addressed this issue before when I was still "in the closet" about my struggles.

1) This was not really a victory for religious liberty and freedoms. To echo the conservative genius Matt Walsh: This was a victory for Jack Phillips. Nothing was decided for future similar cases....just this one. And thankfully, right won for once,

2) Mr. Phillips does not just refuse to do gay wedding cakes. He also will not do Halloween cakes, lewd bachelor party cakes, and divorce cakes. Should he be sued for not doing those also?

3) The liberal media is making it out that he (and others like him) will not serve gay people. Not true. He has no issue with gay customers, just gay weddings.

4) Jesus would not bake the cake. Liberals and liberal Christians alike love to throw that out there. I believe they are 100% wrong. Here's the thing: sex between 2 people of the same gender is sin. The Bible says so. Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the world, and is far more grieved by sin and sinners bound for hell than we ever could be. There is no way Jesus would do anything to show his approval of a wedding built on sin.

 Yes, He would love gay people - He does - and Christians would do well to do so also - but there is a difference in loving someone and helping to rejoice in their sins.

5) This will go over like a lead balloon: Anyone who is OK with Trump's vulgarity, strip clubs, serial adultery, bragging about grabbing women by the ***, etc..... has no right to moral outrage about gay things.

 Now I know a lot of people voted for Trump because they didn't want Hillary. I get that. I'm not talking about those people. I am talking about those who defend him when these things are brought up and are not at all bothered by them. Those people have no right to moral outage about anything. You cannot wink at and/or defend Trump's sins, then turn around and be outraged about gay marriage and homosexuality.



6) What kind of idiot wants a person involved in their wedding in any way who does not want to bake a cake, etc? This is their special day.....wouldn't any normal sane person want to use people who supported such occasion...like a gay baker, gay photographer, etc? 

Which brings me to my next point:

7) I firmly believe these incidents have been intentional. The gay people involved intentionally sought out Christians to either force them to comply with them, or ruin them if they refused.

 Not all gay people care. Many just want to be left alone, and don't even care about gay marriage, cakes, etc. But there is a segment of the gay community who will not be happy until every Christian complies with the gay agenda and is silenced about what they believe. THOSE are the people behind these cases.

8) If a Christian can be forced to bake a gay wedding cake, print gay pride t-shirts, etc....... then gay people can be forced to do services with pro-traditional marriage messages, etc. Some gay people get that. When a Christian t-shirt company owner was being sued for refusing to print gay pride t-shirts, a gay woman who owned a t-shirt company voiced the same idea that she could be forced to print t-shirts with a Christian message she disagreed with.

9) In some Muslim countries, adult  men can marry little girls. Would the same people insist Jesus would bake a cake for THAT wedding? What about places - possibly here some day - where pedophilia is legal? What if an adult male marries a little boy? What if a man wants to marry his sister, his mom....his dad....... his dog? Are they going to be exclusive on gay weddings, or will they be consistent?

10) Should gay rights trump Christian's rights and religious freedoms and liberty?

11) If we cave on this issue, how long until ministers are being sued for not conducting a gay wedding? It has already happened in England.