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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Boy erased, and being normal

 Wow, another blog post in a short time, and it makes two in two days. I guess I must have turned over some kind of leaf.

  This post is totally about gay related stuff, if you try to avoid reading these posts.... and shame on you if you do avoid reading them. Seriously.

Boy Erased

 There is a new movie coming out soon that I have seen and heard a lot about. It is based on a true story. Here is the plot:

Boy Erased is a 2018 American-Australian coming-of-age drama film based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir of the same name. ... The film stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton, and follows the son of Baptist parents who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program.

 There has been a lot of abuse and bad efforts over the years to try to turn gay people straight. There are stories of shock therapy, boys forced to watch heterosexual pornography, and other bizarre and cruel things done to try to force change.

 Conversion therapy is very controversial even among we who are same-sex attracted and living by what the Bible says. I do believe it works for some people, but I also believe that number is very few. If it is done, it should be 100% consensual, and with the warning that it may not work. I do not believe minors should be forced into it. Christian parents just need to deal with a gay child better.

 Is total change possible? Yes, of course it is. Why don't all of us experience that? I have absolutely no idea. There have been guys who have lived a very promiscuous gay life, become a Christian, and married a woman and made it work. Some claim to not have any attractions for other men anymore. Some are only attracted to the woman they married. Others, like me, are never attracted to women and may want to marry and live a "normal" life with a woman, but it just isn't going to happen.

 I am in several Facebook groups for people with same-sex attractions, and have found those helpful. There is one I am in where there have been a couple of posts by people promoting seeing the movie, and expressing looking forward to seeing it.

 This bothers me a lot - hence this blog post. I am no fan of conversion therapy, and would never try it. However, this movie is anti-change of any kind. It is promoting giving into your gay desires, and is going to paint in a bad light any ministry or people saying you should not give in and live the gay lifestyle.

 It is rough having these attractions. Rougher and more difficult than any "straight" person could ever imagine. Then add to it the general attitude of evangelical Christians towards gay people, and the attitude of gay people and liberals towards anyone like us who want to live for God instead of our sexual desires. Hint: they aren't too crazy about us.

 I fear this movie will bring out even more antagonism towards SSA Christians, and evangelical Christians. In fact, I am sure it will.....and yet we have SSA Christians looking forward to seeing it and thinking it sounds like a good movie.

 I feel for the boy that this happened to. I wish he had had parents who were not OK with his being gay, but didn't do to him what they did.

Normal sexuality

 Christopher Yuan related a story in his book Holy Sexuality that stuck with me. I may have touched on it in a blog post and/or in the book review, so if I repeat myself, I apologize.

 A woman came to him absolutely crushed because her gay son had just moved in with his boyfriend. She lamented and wished he was normal like her other son, who had a girlfriend and was pregnant with his child.

 But is that normal sexuality, to be having sex with a girl he is not married to, and getting her pregnant? Sure, it may be normal by the world's standards, but so is being gay and other sinful practices.

 There was a day when it wasn't considered normal or good for people of the opposite sex to have sex outside of marriage, and have a baby out of wedlock. The world normalized that eons ago, but it still isn't normal or good by God's Word.

 Think about it: this mother is crushed that her son is gay and having sex with another guy, but doesn't seem to be bothered at all that her other son is having sex with his girlfriend and has knocked her up.

 The church has gotten used to sex outside of marriage between men and women. It doesn't really bother the average Christian much, if at all. Yet those same Christians are still disgusted and horrified by 2 guys or 2 women having any kind of sexual relationship.

 Pardon me for being political for a minute: There are tons of evangelical Christians who are not bothered by Donald Trump's serial adultery, strip clubs, or his bragging about grabbing women by the genitals. Many will and have defended him, and say we shouldn't judge him.  How can these same people turn around and be horrified by gay people and condemn them? You cannot treat gay people like they are the worst of sinners and deserving hell, while winking at and defending immorality in your favorite politician.

 There needs to be a change in how evangelical Christians react to and treat gay people. No, the answer is not to go pro-gay theology like too many Christians and churches are doing. But they need to stop acting like homosexuality is the unpardonable sin, and that gay people are beyond hope and not deserving of any love or compassion.

 Normal sexuality is one man married to one woman for life. It isn't having sex outside of marriage, sex with another person other than your spouse, or even divorcing your spouse and marrying another. The Bible has two options for "normal" sexuality, or what Christopher Yuan calls holy sexuality: faithfulness in marriage, and chastity in singleness.

 The young guy having sex with his girlfriend is not practicing normal sexuality any more than the gay guy and his boyfriend. They are both sinning and twisting what God intended for sex to be: withi the bonds of marriage, one man and one woman.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October thoughts, take 3

  I have intended to blog more than I had been, and not wait a month in between.....but I honestly didn't intend to do three of these random type posts so close together. From personal experience though, I may as well blog when I feel like it and have something on my mind. Therefore, a 3rd "random" blog. And as I usually do when I discuss it, a heads up there are a couple of times I discuss gay related things.

1) Halloween

  I am pretty much anti-Halloween. I don't make a big deal about it, I just don't observe or celebrate it. And that includes giving candy to little beggars I have never seen before in my life. If there is candy in my house, I am not giving it to kids I don't know, I am going to eat it. Oh wait... I have type 2 diabetes, so I had better not keep candy around. :)

 Seriously, I do have issues with the holiday and would not let my kids celebrate it, if I had any. I might do something to substitute it. There is just so much evil and bad stuff associated with it. Ghosts, witches, vampires....and the like.

 And in this day and age, is it really smart to send your kids to people's houses you don't know? I think not. I have a couple of good books on the subject, and they just cemented what I already believe.....Christians are better off not celebrating it. However, I am not going to condemn people who dress up their kids and take them to people they know. Now telling kids there is a Santa Claus......

2) Two articles

 I read two great articles today on a similar subject: someone coming out as gay.

a) The first is geared specifically towards parents whose child comes out to them as gay. Churchleaders.com published it, and I feel the writer did an excellent job on it. That can be found here: What if Your Child Is Gay?

 b) The second I am a little hesitant to share, but it IS good. There is a website I have been critical of called Your Other Brothers. It is a blog run by several guys, mostly younger ones, that all struggle with same-sex attractions. The articles are written by each of the guys separately. They have become known to publish some stuff that I and others feel is problematic, such as one where they were raving about how wonderful some gay show is that has a lot of sexual innuendos and jokes about male anatomy (according to someone who watched a trailer for the show). They refuse to see or admit they some of their posts could cause weaker guys to fall who could stumble by some things they post. I and some others commented with those thoughts, and was shot down. The main guy who runs it refused to listen, and shot back hard calling us some rude things, and blocked some of us from commenting.

 However, I still get their emails and they do have a good post occasionally, such as the one I got today. The author is a very young guy who I think is the same one that posted about how great the gay show is, but he hit a home run with this one. I do not agree with everything they post, nor do I recommend reading everything they write...but I do recommend this: When Someone Comes Out to You.

 And I doubt there are many Christians who realize what a big thing it is for someone to tell them this. It is a big step, and it should mean something to the person hearing it.

3) Two posts

  I have discussed how divisive politics has become, and how scary it is getting. There were two posts that stood out to me today. One was on Twitter, shared by someone I follow, and the other was on Facebook. One was good, and one was offensive. One was from a Democrat, and one was from a Republican, a devout Trump supporter. Guess which one was good, and which was offensive......

The Democrat: I googled him to see which party he was from, as I had never heard of him - or her:

The Republican:

  I actually did something I try not do to often: I deleted this guy. I am not a Trump fan, and I do weary of so many Trump posts from his supporters....but that is one thing. It is another to post things insulting we who honestly feel it was voting against our values and conscience to vote for him. This guy claims to be a Christian, and you would think he would get that. Sadly, this is only one of many posts like this. And I don't get it. Trump beat the bigger evil, so why is he still raving at we who didn't vote for him? Why does it matter?

Here is the truth of the matter: uncivility exists in both parties. I have told Obama supporters how divisive he was and how he stirred up hate among certain groups and races..... and they argue and refuse to admit it. Same thing with Trump. He is very divisive and has stirred up more hate and uncivilty, but you can't convince the majority of his supporters of that.

 And I always want to make it clear not everyone who voted for the guy is gung ho and over the top like the guy above.

4) Conversation with a cop

  The hospital I work at started something new at the beginning of this month. They cut back on security guards, which isn't really a good thing for a few reasons. The reason they cut back, is they hired the local police department to have a police officer on duty in the E.R. 24/7.

 Security is not armed in any way, so it is nice knowing we have an armed police officer at the hospital.

 One of them is super friendly, a young guy of 27 years of age. I had seen him before - believe me, the police are at hospitals a lot - but he introduced himself to me last week. This morning, he wandered over to the main lobby for a while - he said he walks around a bit instead of just staying in the E.R. waiting room.

 He chatted with me for probably around 15 minutes. It was interesting to get his take on the shootings and the anti-cop rhetoric. He was careful what he said politically since he was in uniform, but I could tell how he felt about certain things and people.

 None of us like cops watching our speed, or setting up speed traps - and I still think they should be allowed to sit by bars - but they are doing a tough job and protect us. Thanks to Obama and the liberal media, they have had a target on their backs the last several years.

 So tell them you appreciate what they do. I did when I was talking to officer Josh today.

 I had asked an officer at the hospital once if  the term "cop" bothered him, and he said he doesn't like it. Josh, however, used the term several times. So who knows.

5) New med

 I mentioned the possibility of blood pressure medicine...that has happened. I had told the nurses in my doctor's office what my reading was Friday. They kicked it back to my doctor, and he prescribed a 10 mg blood pressure medicine.

 I braced myself when I picked it up. My sugar test strips were so expensive, I prepared myself for the worst. And I was still shocked....they were $1.77. That obviously didn't hurt my finances.

 I had a nurse check it this morning, and it was 140 over 96, down from 163 over 107 Friday. I doubt the pill would work that fast, as I had only taken one....but who knows.

 I used to work as the greeter in the E.R, so it is handy knowing so many nurses over there for such times.

6) The cute hospital guys

 OK, this one may weird you out, especially the title of this section....but if you read this blog, you know I am not attracted to women, but to men. Everyone is different, and I have discovered that I am not attracted to guys who I feel accept/like me, and who do not intimidate me. I may recognize a guy is attractive, but it ends there. I'll give two examples, names changed:

Mike, the security guard:  tall, dark, and handsome...age 20 when I met him my first day as a security guard. He shook my hand, and introduced himself...and I was really attracted. He doesn't work there anymore, but he was a great kid. He'd ask me to walk around with him, chatted with me a lot, and didn't treat me as someone old enough to be his dad...not that he didn't treat me with respect.

 At some point, he just became Mike, the guard....not Mike the hot guy. It really hit me how much things had changed one day in the break room when he and I were in there. His shoulder was bothering him, and he and took his shirt off and was trying to put some kind pad on his back. There is this shirtless, very looking guy there, and I walked over and helped him adjust the pad and held it til he got his shirt back on......and I felt nothing.

Rick, the nurse: again, a very nice looking guy, probably mid to late 20's when I took the greeter job in the E.R. He quickly became my favorite nurse to work with in triage, and was always super nice to me.. and still is. He always speaks when he sees me. And again, the attraction left at some point, and he just became a really nice coworker I liked to have in triage when I worked.

 He is now a nursing supervisor, and has not changed at all. As I sat getting my blood pressure taken in triage this morning, he walked in. I told him I wasn't a patient, but was just getting my blood pressure taken. Megan, the nurse in triage, said "isn't it nice Mark dressed up to see us?" I had taken my blazer off for the cuff, and had on a new shirt I like with a black tie. "Mike" walked past me, patted my shoulder, rubbed my back, and said "you look really nice, Mark." It made my day to hear that from a guy like him, and that was it. There was a day when it would have felt differently to me, but I like him, he likes me, and accepts me.

 There are so many facets to the gay/SSA struggle. One of those is comparison/envy. Ironically, the nicest looking guys with SSA can feel inferior and envious of other guys. We tend to be attracted to what we are not, and what we feel opposite to.

7) Healthier eating

  Since my doctor's visit, I am being more careful eating. My last few days at work, I have eaten cheddar popcorn and some almonds. Today, I had a cup of stuffed pepper soup. Then for supper, I don't go crazy, but I don't watch my carbs as much. Tonight, I had more taco salad, and put some Doritos in. Stale Doritos. That made it easy to get rid of the rest of the bag.

 My sugar medicine helps weight loss, and my doc said they prescribe it to people who are not diabetic to help them lose weight. Someone told me the reason it helps, is it doesn't let your food stay around as long.... and man, since he doubled that medication, I can testify to that.

 But I am losing weight. I had lost 4 pounds between doctor's visits in May and two weeks ago. I took my weight after that visit, and was 228. I have been wavering between 224 and 225 for a few days, but hit a new low today. (That is one time hitting new low is good!) I never weigh myself during the day, only mornings. When I was changing clothes after work, I hopped on the scale. It said 221.8. I think I shall party when I get below 220, as that has been a long time.

 I am going to really work on not just watching salt and carbs, but on weight loss. I have a ton of clothes that don't fit me that are in plastic totes and garbage bags. It would be awesome to get back in those.

8) Christmas shopping:

 I did some more online Christmas shopping. Last night, I did an order to Christianbook.com since they had free shipping after hitting $35. I finished off both sisters and their husbands. I also bought myself a few books.....they were really cheap, and I couldn't pass them up.

 Tonight, I placed another order to Lakeside Collections, which is where I ordered from last week. By the way, that order came today and I am very happy with everything. I liked what I got my dad so well, that I ordered all 3 nephews one. They had free shipping again, so I took advantage of that again. And I bought myself a couple of things.

 I love the look of an old red antique truck, and have a few Christmas decorations with that theme. Lakeside has a whole kitchen collection that is that theme. And it is AWESOME. To be honest, I wouldn't really want the whole thing. They are Christmas themed, and I don't need Christmas themed canisters and bowls...or even salt and pepper shakers..... I have 5 or 6 nautical themed ones already. And my kitchen is nautical themed...along with the dining room and both bathrooms. And yeah, I bought a couple of nautical things for myself tonight too.

 I did buy the large magnet on the dish washer, but it will go on my refrigerator since I am the only dish washer here. I wouldn't mind the rug and dish towels, but I spent enough. It was only $5.98. And yes, it is as big as it looks, according to the dimensions given.

9) Blogging

 I would like to get back to doing one blog post on one subject, but most of the things that come to mind are things like I have blogged about lately that don't require much space. Maybe one of these days.

10) Reading

  I am reading two books right now, which I rarely do. One is fiction and one is non-fiction, so that does make a difference. The non-fiction one is by the only sports figure I am remotely interested in. You get bonus points if you know who that is. :)

 The book kind of sounds like a self-help book, but it isn't. I am only about 4-5 chapters in, and he has written some great stuff. I would already recommend it by what I have read so far.

 And that is it for now. I am off tomorrow (Yay!), but I do need to go to bed some time.

 So, did you guess correctly? :)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

October thoughts, take 2

 Yeah, I actually have words left in me after that long epistle I wrote the other day. I promise this one to be shorter, but then the other one was a couple of posts put together, and was something I kept adding to over a few week's time.

1) Winter

  I really don't get people who like winter and snow. Seriously. Everything is so grey, dreary.....and cold. Now I will admit that I don't like being really hot, but it beats the cold of winter. On some of the hottest days this summer, I sat on my porch in the evening with my tiki torches and something cold to drink or eat, and loved it. Spoiler alert: winter evening are no different than winter days. I won't be sitting on the porch any time of the day.

 Everything is so much brighter and better in the summer. You don't have to clean snow off your car, shovel driveways, clutch your steering wheel in fear as you drive what should be the 40 minute drive to work.....but it is longer because the roads are bad.

  And here is another wonderful perk of winter: people who have depression are more depressed in the winter. Yay me! That is a fact, not something I made up to support my hate and dread of winter.

 It is frustrating to see people cheering about the same snow that I am dreading, knowing it will make my drive to work more dangerous and fearful at times.

 And then there are the people who say "if you hate winter so much, why don't you move to a warmer climate?" If they like it so much, why don't they move to a colder climate :)

 The odd thing: I am really going to miss mowing.

2) The Facebook friend

  I have had several people add me who also have same-sex attractions, often from Facebook groups that I am in. "Joe" is one such friend. He is 20 years old, and was serving God for a while. He even shared one of my blog posts that I was being open about my struggles, and was applauding me for my post and openness.

 I stopped following "Joe" several months back, and I am guessing he also did me. Anyone who knows me, knows I oppose Donald Trump being in office 100%, and I won't go into all the why's... that isn't the point here. Anyway, "Joe" had always been silent about politics. He suddenly came out of his political closet as even more anti-Trump than I am. That wasn't the problem....he started constantly praising Obama and saying how much better he was. If you know me very well at all, you know I was even more against Obama than I am against Trump. I finally got to the point I was tired of seeing those posts, so I .un-followed him.

  I hadn't thought about him for a long time until it popped up today that it is his birthday. I pulled up his page to wish him a happy birthday, and there it was......his profile pic. It was of him and a younger guy close together with a rainbow heart in the corner. I scrolled down, and there were several pictures of them showing they aren't just friends. I clicked on the other guy's name, went to the "about" section, and sure enough it said he was in a relationship with "Joe". There was even a picture of them together at a wedding of two females.

 I feel badly about it. I never met him, but it is sad to see someone go down that road. I understand it. God knows how much I yearn for someone to love and be with, but that is never going to happen with a woman, and it is wrong for it to be with a guy.

 People who don't have SSA have no clue how difficult it is to live with these desires and attractions. You know that same desire you have to have someone to love... and most likely you have that? I can never have that. I'll always be single and alone in a world of married people/people in relationships.

 So I get "Joe." I wonder if I should send him an email and try to say something helpful and warn him of where he will end up, or if it will just make him angry. I am still very much up in the air about it.

3) Marriage, an idol?

 I mentioned in my last post that I was reading two different books that has to do with gay/same-sex attractions. Both books brought up some interesting thoughts about marriage/relationships.

  David, the former atheist gay activist, put it this way (in my words) - gay/same-sex attracted people want someone to be with so bad, that it becomes a struggle for the one wanting to serve God. We must surrender that desire and love and want God more than we want a relationship and someone to love and be loved by.

 He and Christopher Yuan both brought out in their books that marriage and a relationship has become an idol, even in the church. Christians who are gay/SSA should not be the only ones surrendering their sexuality and desire for marriage and a relationship to God....though heterosexual people do have the option to have those, as we do not.

 However, even the church has adapted this idea that we must marry and have families. Marriage is set up so high, that we who cannot have that feel odd, left out, and are often not made to feel part of the church and society itself.

  David especially, and Christopher also may have, made the point that we can't find fulfillment in a person. Much is said about the endless struggle of gay people to find fulfillment with someone of the same sex, and it is impossible to do so....but not much is said about that being true of heterosexuals. Fulfillment is found in God and a relationship with Him. I was honestly wowed and envious of the place David got to with God. I have been a Christian most of my life, but my relationship pales in comparison to his.

   And maybe many of ours would. I am not saying he is a super Christian, but the way he came to a point of surrender about his desire for a boyfriend, and realizing he had to fall totally in love with Jesus is truly an amazing and convicting story. How many Christians come to that point that they would rather have Jesus than love and marriage with a special someone? Should we gay/ssa Christians be the only ones to have to come to that point of surrender and love for Jesus?

 Don't get me wrong. Marriage is an awesome thing God came up with, and is for one man and one woman til death...not til they don't get along, nor is it for two men or women. I am the product of a great marriage, so I am glad my parents married. My 6 nieces and nephews are the products of marriage.

 But have we made to be too important, and idolized it? Single people should not feel isolated and the odd man out in the church, but many do.

4) Friend requests

  This may sound weird, but I have sent very few friend requests in my years on Facebook. I have 500 and some friends, and the majority of those have sent me requests. To be honest, I fear rejection and figure there is no reason a lot of people would want to be friends with me, even on social networking.

 I have made some great friends on Facebook, some of who I have never met, and may never meet...but I enjoy interacting with them.

5) The doctor visit

 I didn't have a good doctor's visit last week. One positive did come out of it though. He added to my depression meds, and they seem to be helping.....though there may be a couple of other things that have helped.

 A negative: I have never had high blood pressure, but it was high.....border line medication, according to my doc. I hoped that was a fluke, so on Friday I went over and had one of the guys in the E.R take it for me. It wasn't a fluke. The doc wants to me to start watching my salt intake in addition to my sugar intake. Life was more fun before diabetes and high blood pressure.

6) Mouse

 I still have a mouse. I had hopefully thought it left, as there has not been evidence for a few days...but there was evidence Friday morning. I have no idea how to get the annoying varmint. Someone at work suggested putting the glue trap on top of the stove since it is a bathroom stop for it...but can I say something very un-masculine? I am grossed out enough picking up the trap that is on a piece of poster-board from the floor. The idea of picking one off the stove makes me shudder. Guys can totally dislike mice also. Equal rights, you know.

7) Politics

  I honestly am getting weary of politics. I have several Facebook friends who constantly post political posts that outnumber anything else they post. I am not saying we should never post political stuff, but we are making it too important if that is all that is on our Facebook page.

 I seriously believe too many Christians in the U.S. are more concerned and focused on life here in America, to think or focus on Heaven. And this honestly has nothing to do with Trump...though I long ago wearied of the praise and worship of him by so many on Facebook.....no, there are tons of political posts about issues and congressmen, etc.

 For example, I have several friends who are posting multiple posts daily about this bomber guy, and how suspicious it is that he is claiming to be a Trump supporter. Seriously, how many times does one person have to post that?

 I doubt anyone has been swayed by anything posted on Facebook anyway.

8) Christmas shopping

 I typically begin my Christmas shopping before now, but I was late starting this year. I bought several gifts from Lakeside Collection's website. They had free shipping the day I ordered, so that was the main reason I shopped on their site.

 And ugh... I was just looking at my order, and discovered I somehow ordered 2 of something that was $13.98 that I do not need or want 2 of.

9) Christmas decorating

  It is most likely due to my depression, which has been really bad the last several months, but I have not been in the mood for Christmas music or decorating. Yeah, it is too early to decorate, but I was already dreading it and considering not even putting up a tree. Thankfully that has changed since I have been feeling better this week.

 The music....not so much. I usually start listening to all Christmas music in October, and often start in late September. I bought one new Christmas CD that I have listened to a few times, and have played some Christmas music, but I am barely listening to any so far.

 I do have a new Christmas decoration I am looking forward to putting up this year: a light post. It was an after Christmas clearance item.

10) Carbs

  I have been trying to do better about my carb intake. It is so difficult though. Everything I like is bad for me. The toughest things to cut way back on is bread and pasta.

 I had a large box of the small individual packs of combos. I checked the carbs the other morning, and was shocked to see there are 30 grams of carbs in one small bag.....so I gave them to my nephews.

 It will help if I lose more weight. I was down 4 pounds from my doctor's appointment in May til the one last week... and down another 3-4 pounds since that visit. I keep bouncing between losing 3 and 4. I need to find healthier snacks and foods. Snacking is the worst problem, but there are some that are not too bad carb-wise.

11) New med

 The new med that was added to take for depression is kind of weird. You have to work up slowly to a full dose, otherwise it could make your skin peel. I am to take one pill a day for 2 weeks....then 2 per day for 2 weeks, then take 2 twice a day. I am strictly observing that, as the results if I did not would not be appealing.......

12) David Bennett

  I have discussed his book in a few blog posts already, but man this guy is a miracle. He was a young atheist gay activist who hated the church and Christians...yet God reached him and saved him. His story should give hope that God can reach and save anyone.

13) The church chairs

 I honestly don't think I will ever get used to the chairs my church replaced the pews with when we built on this past year. This morning I reached for the hymnal under the chair in front of me. I slipped through the wire rack and then I had to struggle to get it from under the chair. I miss them being on the backs of the pews. I miss the pews..........

14) Taking my germophobia to church

  I have become a germaphobe since I started working at the hospital 5 years ago. I sanitize often at work, use paper towels on bathroom doors, and wash my hands after entering church and shaking hands with people at the door. Then I hope no one shakes hands with me before I sit down.

 A few weeks ago, I had washed my hands and was standing in the vestibule with my oldest niece....and someone came up and shook my hand. I muttered to Steph that I felt like washing my hands again. Then a second person walked up and shook my hand, and I headed for the bathroom.

 This morning as we stood to sing in church, the song leader said to turn around and shake hands with the people behind you. I muttered "let's not". I glanced behind me, and the people behind me were turned around the other way shaking hands. I turned back around and the people in front of me were waiting to shake. I said I was a germophobe and got out of it.... and they know me well enough to not be offended.

 But seriously...ever notice how many people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom? Kids sitting in church picking their nose, people coughing into the hand they will shake hands with people after church....it isn't just shaking hands with one person, you are essentially shaking hands with everyone they did....yuk!

 I was at an all you can eat buffet recently, and took hand sanitizer with me. After every return to my table, I would sanitize before eating. Think about it - all those people licking their fingers, then using the same serving utensils you use....

 I would not say I am over the edge with this, but I am definitely more paranoid and careful than the average person.

 Oh, and I love it when stores have wipes to wipe down the cart handle. :)

15) The church

  I have thought a lot about the early church, and what it was like. I firmly believe we have drifted far from what the church should be. Too many churches don't have community. We truly don't welcome the outcast and "bad sinners", we don't love enough, don't truly love everyone, and politics has taken center stage and is more important to us than winning souls.

 Imagine what could be accomplished if the church was everything it should be. I shared something on Facebook recently that David Bennett had posted. Needless to say, it didn't get 500 likes, but I believe he is correct:

"Can you imagine how healing it would be for the church to acknowledge that it is just as broken and sinful as the gay community? Can you imagine the power in store if Christians were to humbly repent of hypocrisy before expecting others to repent?

When the church does not demonstrate radical discipleship that is willing and able to meet people where they are, it holds us all back. We become afraid to face head-on the questions that need to be answered if the church is to flourish and mature."

  Some personal thoughts here: If the church was everything it should be, no one should have to hide in the shadows struggling with what I have been for so many years...or any issue. Church should be a safe and loving place, and the family of God should act like that is what they are.

 And to be honest, I go back and forth between wishing my church did more in the area of fellowship and community, and in not wanting to be around people.

16) The prodigal son

 The sermon at church this morning was on the prodigal son, delivered by my former pastor who is at our church this week for revival services. I was reminded of a blog post I did 5 years ago. Up to that point, I had struggled for years to believe God loves me.....another "perk" of SSA. I had finally gotten to the point that I believed it - and still do - and that  was one post I did about it.

 One thing that helped was reading the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. His thoughts on the prodigal son truly changed my thinking and view of God:

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). I am moved that the [prodigal son's] father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all the canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was . . . We don’t have to sift our hearts and analyze our intentions before returning home. Abba just wants us to show up . . . we don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us . . . Even if we come back because we couldn’t make it on our own, God will welcome us. He will seek no explanations about our sudden appearance. He is glad we are there . . . [He will say, like the prodigal's father,] “Hush, child. I don’t need to know where you’ve been or what you’ve been up to.”

17) Facebook content

 What if every Christian used their social media accounts more for the good of the Gospel, than politics and other divisive things? I'm working on it to do my part.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

My email address

I had someone asking for my email address so he could email me. I did reply to the comment on that post, but don't know if you'll see it.. so here it is. I spelled out the . and @ to avoid SPAM: marcus802001(at)yahoo(dot)com

Monday, October 22, 2018

October thoughts

***Warning: this is going to be a very long blog post, a combination of a new one and another I never posted last month. It is split up into different topics, so if you read this post, you can skip around and read the ones that might interest you, and skip others....or skip the whole thing. :)

  I have had a serious lack of blogging lately, which is bad. I find writing therapeutic, and just enjoy doing it. One problem I have is I often write a blog, get it out of my system, and never publish it. I have a ton of unpublished blog posts that I will most likely never post. Another problem I have is typing one up that has a lot of dated/current stuff in it, and I wait too long to post it and there are things not relevant anymore.

  I work at two hospitals that are in the same health system. One is closer, busier, and I know a lot more people there. The other is slower, further away by at least 30 minutes, and I don't know many people at. I am there today ( not the day I actually post this on my blog, we are past that day already). We had stopped being at this hospital on weekends at least a year ago, but recently started Saturdays again. Since it is so much slower, especially on weekends, I am sitting at the computer and figured I'd type up a blog in my email when I have the time.

 One advantage this hospital has, is there is a parking garage.

 Time does truly go faster the older I get. One month barely begins, and another is starting before I blink. I love summer, but it is gone and winter is peeking its very unwelcome head around the corner.

 This is going to be a variety blog. I don't even know where these types are going. I just blog about what has been on my mind, and what comes to my mind as I type. So here goes.....

1) Medications

  I had a doctor's visit on Thursday, and he wants me to start testing my sugar levels again. I have only bought the strips once - March of 2016 when I discovered I had type 2 diabetes.. I had no insurance then, and had to buy the little gadget that reads the strips....so I have no idea what I paid. I do remember it was a lot for the 2 combined. I picked up the news strips yesterday and had sticker shock. They charged $58 for 50 strips, and the instructions say to test 2 times a day. I cannot afford to buy them very often at that price, so I sure won't be testing it that often.

The doc also doubled my diabetes medicine. He wants me to lose weight, and the medication I take for diabetes helps with weight loss, and is sometimes prescribed to non-diabetics.... so that may explain my losing 4 pounds since my last visit in May without dieting. I do need to start watching what I eat, and being more careful about carbs and how much I eat.

2) Chili

 I have been wanting to make chili for a while, and decided to try one of the "Wendy's duplicate" recipes on line. As usual when I make anything like that, I ended up with far more than I need for one person. I took my parents a quart of it, and still had enough to feed a small village in Africa. My parents and I agreed that it does taste a lot like Wendy's chili.

3) Friend

 I ran into someone at Walmart that  I used to be friends with, but stuff happened and our friendship pretty much ended.She and her husband used to hang out a lot with me. She was one of the first people I told I was gay/same-sex attracted, or whatever label to attach to this stuff. They were a huge help and encouragement to me during the darkest days of my life. We chatted for quite a while, and I told her I was sorry for whatever I said and did to offend them, and she also apologized. We made plans to renew our friendship, and to hang out some time, and became friends on Facebook again. It made my day. I have missed them.

4) Friend 2

  Is there a time when we should cut people out of our lives? There's a lady I worked with at my last job, who I will call Barb. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty). She is a little older than me, has a boyfriend of many years who she does not live with nor has any intentions of marrying. She is a very fun and funny person, and we have hung out a lot. She likes my family, and has come to a few family events - graduations, my parents' 50th anniversary party.

 But there's a few bad things about her.

A. She is a notorious liar. She lies more than Obama and Trump combined.

B. She will come up with excuses to hang up on the phone, even when she calls me, and says she will call back....and never does.

C. She has arranged to meet for lunch several times, and has canceled on me so many times I lost track. It is so bad that even my parents figures she will cancel the last few times. And her reasons always sound made up. Once she said her brother surprised her and came from Florida to visit, but I found out he hadn't. It is frustrating.

 And then several months back, I was supposed to call her and make lunch plans this one day...... and I forgot. She was upset and I didn't hear from her for a very long time. Then a few weeks ago, she texted me, asked how I was, and said we need to get together. I replied and asked how she was..... and she has never replied to that text.

 Another thing....a couple of years ago she actually met me at Panera Bread for lunch. She got water with her meal, and after we ate and chatted for a while, she said she needed to use the restroom. She got up, went up to one of the garbage cans and got a coffee cup out of the bin on top, went up to the counter, and came back with another cup filled with coffee. There as no money exchanged, so I am fairly confident that she asked for a refill, and they as many restaurants will do, give you a new cup.

 But it gets worse. As we started to walk outside, I pointed out she was caryring the mug of coffee. She said she would take it back in. She didn't. She drove off with her free cup of coffee and her free mug.

  Do I need a person in my life like this? Being her friend is very frustrating and disappointing. I don't like people lying, and it isn't fun being canceled on multiple times.

5) Reading

 Goodreads is a website where you can keep track of books you read, want to read, where you can leave reviews, and meet other readers. Every year, they have a program where you put down how many books you want to read that year, and tracks your progress. I set my goal at 130, and passed it last week. I have read 131 books so far, and am currently reading 2 books...not something I normally do.

6) The books 

 The two books I am currently reading are both by guys who are gay and have left the gay life to live for God. Both are going to be totally different reads, with different views, but both are very good.

   A War of Loves by David Bennett: I was hoping to be able to review this book, and I did get on the launch team for it. The author is a former gay activist/agnostic who found God at the age of 19. I am guessing he is close to or around 30 years of age.

 Holy Sexuality by Christopher Yuan: This is another launch team I am on, but it has far fewer people on it. Christopher not only lived a very promiscuous gay life, but was a big drug dealer. He eventually went to prison, where he was diagnosed with HIV and became a Christian. He is currently on staff at Moody Bible Institute and goes around the country speaking. I was privleged to hear him a few years ago when he spoke at a location near to me. He thought I looked familiar, and I did hear his testimony back in 2006 at an Exodus conference....but I don't think I was anywhere near to him.

   I strongly believe too many Christians have no clue about gay related issues, and how to respond to and treat gay people. I truly shudder at what some people dealing with attractions to the same sex might experience if they confided in their parents or other Christians. It is something far more widespread than anyone knows, and  the likelihood of knowing someone gay/same sex attracted is very high. I hid mine for years and struggled in silence, and the people in my life had no clue what I was experiencing and dealing with. The church and Christians should be a safe place for people to come to with any issue, sin, or struggle....and this is one that is particularly difficult. I applaud Christians who take the time to learn about it, who read books, and take active measures to understand and be equipped to help....even if it is just a listening ear.

7) Making Christmas great again

 If you are a Trump supporter and are 100% against Obama or Hillary, imagine having a lot of Facebook friends constantly praising them, and knocking anyone who doesn't support them. Welcome to my world. I have friends on Facebook who bombard Facebook with pro-Trump posts. One would think by some of their posts that Donald Trump is their savior instead of Jesus..... and I am not trying to be rude by saying that.

 Anyway, a lot of the pro-Trump stuff is way over the top such as the pro-Obama stuff was.....but I saw something that took the cake. Pro-Trump advertisements and merchandise pop up all the time on my timeline. One came up for presidential coins with Donald Trump on. That isn't what got me though. This phrase was that was in the advertisement: "Make Christmas great again by purchasing some presidential Donald Trump coins." If you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, that should be at least a little offensive, no matter how you feel about DT.

8) Blessed are the peacemakers

 Imagine what it would be like if we actually lived according to the Bible and its teachings. "oh, but I do", you say. "I am a faithful Christian who does live by the Bible." But do you really? Do I?

  I did a blog post recently about how Christians are too political and we set the Bible aside when we get political. It can happen in other areas too, but this is kind of a "P.S" to that.

 Are we truly living by the teachings of Jesus and other teachings in the Bible?

The Bible says that the peacemakers are blessed. Are we peacemakers? Can we be peacemakers while railing against those we disagree?

The Bible says the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness, self control, faithfulness. Can we have those when we are political.......or driving a car, or talking to someone we disagree with on anything?

 I fear we have given politics, and other areas,  an exception to all of these teachings we should be practicing.

 When we get to Heaven, we will not be judged on how many political arguments we won, or how many people we convinced to vote how we wanted them to vote. We will be judged on how we treated people, and how we lived according to God's Word.

9) Love

  One problem Christians have nowadays, is not having love. Whether it be politics, gay people, liberals - or anyone we disagree with politically, family dynamics, church stuff, or anything else in life.....we don't love, or love enough.

  Do we truly love the obviously gay and flamboyant guy that is our waiter, or do we secretly look down on him, condemn him, and make fun of him?

 Do we love the young guy with purple hair that is stocking groceries in the aisle where we are getting pizza sauce? (Yeah, that was me. Getting the sauce, not with the purple hair. My hair is not purple.....nor is it there. :)

 Do we love those who vote differently than we do, and who fight our values?

10) When the shoe is on the other foot

  There have been a few instances lately of politicians - and non-politicians also - being harassed in public, and in some cases being forced out of a restaurant because of people harassing them. Many of my Facebook friends have shared the news stories of it happening to  Ted Cruz and his wife, and that press secretary lady for Trump. They have expressed their outrage and say how horrible it is. I was disgusted by both instances, even though I don't like or support the press secretary.

  And then it happened to Nancy Pelosi. Now don't get me wrong: I think she is the worst liberal out there, and cannot imagine what the people are thinking who vote her in time after time. There are a lot of Christians and conservatives rejoicing and laughing about it. But if it is wrong for it to happen to conservatives and Republicans, isn't it wrong to happen to even liberals?

 What it boils down to, is are we truly for or against certain things, or does our idea of right and wrong change depending on which party the person is from?

11) Mice 

  I live in the country in a 3 bedroom farmhouse, and love living there. One problem is mice. I have an outside cat - don't judge me, it has the barn when it is cold, and it hangs out at the neighbor's more than my place anyway. There's probably no way to say this without offending animal lovers, but I am grossed out by animals in the house. We had cats in the house when I was growing up, but now that I am adult, I just can't stand animals in the house... so the cat is no help. If it actually hung out at my house and didn't just come over to get fed, it might keep mice away......but it likes the neighbors.

   Anyway, I had a mouse several months ago. The traditional traps didn't work, so I set a black plastic one that looks like an igloo, and caught it immediately. I got another more recently. I again had no luck with the traditional trap, so I tried the igloo again... no luck. I tried another kind, no luck. At one point, I had 5 traps set in the kitchen...3 different kinds... and only caught ants...... so I went with the glue traps. Yeah, inhumane...but I didn't care. I was tired of cleaning up mouse poop and bleaching counters and other things. I caught it after 2 nights.... about 6 weeks after first discovering it.

   And then 2 days later, I found evidence it had a buddy. I put out a glue trap... and over a week later, no luck. I haven't found any evidence for a few days, so I am wondering if it left. I hope so.

12) Divisiveness

   Our country is getting more and more divided, and maybe we should drop the "United" in the spirit of honesty. There are things that have always divided us, but it is getting worse....especially in regards to politics and political issues.

  I believe 100% that Obama made it worse. As the first black president, he could have done a lot of good for race relations and united our country. Sadly, he did the opposite. He dove into the fray in anything that happened in regards to black people. He always blamed white people and cops, and helped stir up hatred towards whites and cops. He favored Muslims and seemed to delight in fighting Christians and our rights and freedoms. He definitely left the country more divided than when he took office.

 And then Donald Trump came along. His supporters will deny it, but he also has done a lot to stir up division. He has been a lifelong liberal, and he acts and reacts like a liberal. During the election, he encouraged his supporters to be violent. Yeah, look it up. Granted, anyone who does anything his fellow liberals dislike are going to tick the liberals off......but he needs to tone down his rhetoric and stay off Twitter.

 I fear if it gets much worse, our country could have another civil war.

13) Table for one

   I eat out a lot on my own. It is just a fact of life that outside of my family, I don't have anyone to meet for lunch or supper (dinner to some of you). I can sometimes be a bit senstive about it. It can feel odd to walk into a restaurant where everyone is sitting with at least one person, and to have a table by myself. And it doesn't help when the hostess says "just one?" Ugh.

 I recently experienced that more than normal. Last Friday I was hungry for Mexican, and decided to go into nearby Salem after I got home and change and eat at the Mexican restaurant there. Two problems with that: they tend to be busier at that time of day - close to 7 pm when I got there - and they also tend to be even busier on a Friday night.

  I parked and debated about leaving. They were very busy, but I was hungry for Mexican. I walked in and saw the couple ahead of me with one of those pager things they give out when they are out of tables. Ugh. I really thought about leaving then, but I really wanted Mexican...........so I said one person and sat down to wait. The wait wasn't very long, and I got seated in a booth that would hold four people.... and I was surrounded by booths with 2-4 people in them. I felt weird and conspicuous. Here I was taking up a booth all by myself when people were waiting for tables. I texted my best friend and relayed my feelings. He replied "you have as much right to be eating there as anyone else, don't worry about it."

 If my waiter was dismayed by my table of one, he didn't show it. My food took longer than it does at lunch when they are slower, but I enjoyed it and decided not to care what people thought. I didn't dwaddle though, and left the waiter $4 for what came to around $11 or less.

 Today (the actual day I am posting this blog, October 22), I went to the same restaurant with my 3 nieces. It is unusual for all three to be free at the same time, and I enjoyed taking them out for lunch.

14) Marriage/Singleness

  In the one book I am reading, A War of Loves, the author talks a lot about his desire for a boyfriend even after becoming a Christian. He dated a guy for a while, and really struggled to get to the point that he knew it was wrong and that he had to surrender his desire for marriage and a relationship to God.

  He made some interesting points. A lot of gay people are obsessed with relationships and having someone to love. He made the great point that the same is true of heterosexuals. There has been a push for several years to make gay people who become Christians into heterosexuals.There have been ministries that tried to help people change their sexual orientation and become attracted to the same sex. It has worked for some, but not for the majority.

 But should the goal for people like me to become "normal" and marry the opposite sex? Is marriage what we are all about? Some of the greatest Christians in history were single. Jesus was single........so when you pray, you are praying to a single adult. :)

 I am not knocking marriage. But is it possible we have idolized it and made it of more importance than it should be?

   For all too many churches, there really is no place for singles. The people most involved in the church are the married people with children. Whether or not it is intended, that is held up as the standard to work towards to be a normal church member. And then trying to be a single that is not attracted to the opposite sex.

   Books, movies, TV shows, commercials, billboards, and other mediums stress that we all need someone. Commercials for all sorts of products are geared towards sex and desire for another, and how it will help the relationship. From an early age, we have the idea instilled in us that we need another person to complete and fulfill us. People date too young, have sex too early, marry too quickly, and then we wonder at the high divorce rates.

   I am sure this is not original with me, but here are my thoughts: don't date in high school. It is a difficult and busy time without dating. Avoid serious relationships as an adult, and learn to be comfortable alone. There are too many people who have to immediately jump into a new relationship as soon as the last one ends. It is as if people can't function on their own without a special someone in their life. It may sound weird, but learn to know yourself and do stuff alone.

   Yeah, being alone can be lonely. I know all about that. We are social creatures and most of us enjoy doing things with others. I have gone to the Amish part of Ohio by myself several times, and even stayed overnight in a motel... and enjoyed it a lot. I have gone twice with my best friend, and it is more fun with a buddy.  But the thing is, I can be comfortable and enjoy myself when it is just me. And we should all be that way.

  It can be tough being a single person in such a relationship orientated world. It isn't just restaurants that can make a single person feel out of place. We can even feel out place at church and with family. I was reading a blog post recently  by a young man who talked about how difficult family pictures are. When his family is together for special events and holidays, all of his siblings have spouses and children and pose with them. He has neither and feels out of place.

 We need marriage and families, or the human race would die out. However, I do believe we have made marriage a cure all. Lonely? Get married. Gay? Marry and it will make it go away. Want to fit in? Marry. Want to be used of God? Get married.........and so on.

  Here is the blunt truth of the matter: God is the only person who can truly fulfill any of us. It isn't only gay people who become Christians that must surrender their sexuality and desires for a relationship and marriage to God....everyone must.

15) Why I talk about "it" so much

  I am sure there are people who wish I didn't discuss gay related things so much....but let me be a little blunt and open about this.

 One one hand, it can be disturbing how much gay stuff is shoved in our faces, and how there is such a push to normalize it and even indoctrinate young children about how wonderful and normal it is.

 But there is a positive side to that. There was day when gay people were scared to death to "come out", and there are still places in the world, such as Muslim countries, where gay people are tortured and killed. There are even many here in our country who fear coming out and admitting it.

   It is no fun to deal with it and have to hide it. I sat in the church pew for years carrying the very heavy secret. I was scared to death of people finding out. I got rather good at dodging questions about why I wasn't dating or married, and adapted an attitude of joking about it that made people think I didn't want to be married....but oh, how I did.

 Since I quit hiding my struggles, it has been life changing. It has gotten easier to deal with it, as such a secret makes it more difficult to deal with it. I honestly don't know what people think of me because of it. I have never really had many people who are actual friends with me, as in hanging out... so I haven't noticed a difference. But then people are just as apt to avoid me because I don't blindly fall in with the Republican Party anymore.

 But on to the positive I was getting to: I would never have come to the place I am at, if it were not for others like me who have written books, spoke at conferences, talk about their struggles publicly and on social media.

  Imagine if you had something wrong with you physically, emotionally, or some difficult struggle. Now imagine if you knew of no one else with that same issue. How likely would you be to tell anyone? How would you feel emotionally if you thought you were the only one?

 And that is why I have become so open about discussing my struggles with same-sex attractions, and share so many thoughts about it. I hope by sharing some of my thoughts and struggles that I can help and encourage others who are dealing with this.

 I'll share a comment I just got today on a recent blog post. It made my day, and reinforced how important it is to be more open and transparent about these things. I think this is the first time this guy commented. I have no idea of his age, where he lives, or if he is even using his real first name.....but it made my day and made me more determined to not keep quiet about my struggles. I doubt he would mind me sharing it here, as it is a public comment already:

Cody  October 21, 2018 at 6:52 PM

Mark, Thank you for sharing your heart. I totally relate, as a faithful Christian who also struggles with same-sex attraction. You are not alone and your blog always encourages me. :-)

 THAT is why I post the things I do. If I even help or encourage one person dealing with this very tough issue, then it is worth whatever others think of me.

 And this is part of me. Yes, God can change people's sexual orientation, but He doesn't always do that.... and I am OK with that. Being heterosexual or "straight" shouldn't be the goal anyway....being like Jesus and pleasing Him should be.

16) Loving gay people

  Yeah, more on the gay stuff. I deal with it, and am reading 2 books on the subject, so it is on my mind a lot.

   There has been a lot of damage done to the gay community by the church and Christians. I have heard my share of jokes, cutting remarks, and outright homophobia in my life. David Bennett relayed something that happened to him after he became a Christian: he had invited 2 gay friends of his to go to church with him. They were a bit reluctant and antsy about being there, and the preacher said some things they took issue with. At some point in his sermon, he told a joke about gay people. David's 2 friends got up and walked out, and he followed them.

  It isn't funny, it isn't nice, and it certainly isn't Christian to joke about gay people and make mean remarks.

 Some years ago, someone was speaking in church. They mentioned homosexuality. A guy sitting behind me who had gone to a few concerts with me, leaned up to me and said "we should round up all of them and hang them." It hurt. A lot. He had no clue. Then there was the Sunday School class. We were doing a month on social issues - abortion, homosexuality, etc. I was still deeply "in the closet". I can't remember everything that was said, but there were 2 men especially vocal about "those perverts". One, or both, said they'd prefer having a murderer around their kids over one of those perverts....and other such remarks. I was fighting tears and the desire to walk out....but I was afraid people would figure out my secret. If that happened now that I don't care who cares, I would not stay silent. I am happy to report the subject has been discussed in that same class in more recent years with compassion and kind comments.

   But how many people are we driving away from the church that we could be winning to Jesus? Imagine if I wasn't in the church and had been a visitor in that class. Do you think I would have ever darkened another church door or been interested in being a Christian?

 There are gay people all around us. Many hide it, afraid to tell anyone. Our churches have countless people dealing with this issue who are scared to death to talk to anyone in the church about it because of the attitude towards it by so many Christians. In my church alone, which averages around 235-250 most Sunday mornings, there are 3 including me, that I know of. I don't know the identity of the third. There may be more than three. How many will be driven from the church because of how all too many Christians react to gay people?

   And let me take it further since I am on the subject: same- sex attractions should not disqualify people from ministry or church offices. I have read several stories of guys who were rejected from holding an office in the church because they were a Christian attracted to other guys. One I recently read of was actually asked to step down from an office he was holding when the church found out about his same-sex attractions. And by the way, I am completely happy warming a pew - or actually the stupid chairs that replaced the pews. It may sound bad, but I really don't want anything to do....but there are many who do and are not allowed.

   I referenced it before on my blog, but my Sunday School teacher made an interesting statement in class once. He pointed out that the early church was built on some pretty messed up people. Read Paul's letters, especially Corinthians. They had gay people, people in other sexual sins, and other sins. God redeemed them and started  the early church with people like that....people like me.

 Who knows what some of these churches are missing by refusing to allow anyone to serve who has same-sex attractions?

 Thankfully, God welcomes us all.

More thoughts.......the rest are things I wrote last month and never published, so they may be outdated a bit

17) Nike

 Nike has made the news by doing an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick and others. They are getting serious criticism and losing customers like crazy.

 A friend of mine said it well: Nike has the freedom to do what they want to in this regard, but they will also suffer the consequences of such a foolish move. Colin K is not a popular guy, and his actions and other NFL players has made the NFL suffer some.

 People are calling for a boycott of Nike, but I have been boycotting them all my life. There's no way I'd pay that much for a pair of shoes.

 And their slogan is way off base......believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. It matters what you believe in and sacrifice for. The Muslims guilty for 911 believed intensely in the wrong thing, and sacrificed everything.... and are burning in hell for believing in the wrong thing.

18) NFL bowing    

 I find it telling that we didn't hear from any football players protesting during the off season. If their protests are so important to them, why just do it during game time? Is it because they can get more attention and be more offensive then?

 Some defend them doing it, but here is the thing: When they are on the field, they are working for someone....and that is no time for political protests. The majority of us would get fired if we did that on the job..... and they should be no different.

19) Defending indecency

  It seems to many people that as long as a politician does enough things politically to please his voters, that it is God who put him into office...no matter how corrupt and immoral he is.

 I have serious concerns about some of the Christians in the Republican Party. I get that people were scared of Hillary Clinton, so they voted for the lesser of two evils.....but Donald Trump should never have made it very far in the primaries, and definitely should not have won the GOP ticket. I have said it before: If he had kept the D by his name and ran, the same people who defended his liberal and immoral past would have been using it as reasons to not vote for the man.

 A Christian friend of mine actually posted on Facebook recently that she doesn't care that Trump used and paid off a prostitute because he did it when he wasn't in office....so it doesn't matter What?! And sadly, that is the attitude of many of Trump's evangelical supporters. Christians defend things in him that should bother them.

 I made reference to it before, but some months back I shared a meme of Trump asking Jr what he was thinking committing adultery. Jr replied "I learned it from you." A very conservative preacher's wife commented "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone".........yet she constantly condemns Hillary and other liberals. Also, her son's first wife cheated on him, and I'd bet all I own that she doesn't chirp that verse when that woman's name comes up.

 There is a Republican who won the GOP nomination for some office in Nevada that owns brothels.....and Christians are voting for the man, I guess it shouldn't surprise me since Christians have no problem with the strip clubs in Trump's casinos.....which is OK since he actually doesn't own the strip clubs, they are just in casinos that he owns...so I am told.

 Not all Trump voters defend the bad in him, but enough do that it is concerning. And the over the top praise of him is so common. I have Facebook friends who are constantly posting defense and praise of him. It would get old even if I liked DT.

 One more thing on Trump: I see people posting things often to make him look good, as if they need to offset all the bad he does and says. Example: A big Trump fan posted recently that Trump was the only president to attend Billy Graham's funeral.

A few things about that:

Billy Graham didn't mean much to me. He was a good man, better than most celebrity type preachers.....but I never read any of his books or listened to his sermons. I have differences of opinions on him with theology and some other issues.....so I really don't care who attended and didn't attend his funeral.

Imagine the security nightmare had all living presidents attended. Maybe Trump should have skipped it too so it wouldn't have been such a circus.

His attending the funeral of a popular preacher doesn't take away what kind of man he is.

  Republicans cannot hold Democrats to a different standard than Republicans, or guys that have an R by their name.....but that is exactly what they have done and are doing with Donald Trump. And we who dare hold him to the same standards we have held other politicians to, are the bad guys. Go figure.

 Back when Obama was in office, there was a lot of over the top adulation and praise of him from his supporters......but I think some of the Trump supporters have bypassed that and are worse. Sometimes my Facebook feed is downright nauseating as I see the over the top defense and adulation of a very corrupt man.

 And I get there are a lot of people who voted reluctantly for him.

20) Demanding acceptance

  The world keeps coming out with more and more bizarre looks, fads, and behaviors....and those who do it demand we just accept them.

 Case in point: Tattoos. There was a day when decent people didn't get them. And still today, they are often associated with gangs and bikers, and other rough characters. I'll be blunt: I think people are nuts for putting something permanent on their bodies, but I can tolerate a few tasteful ones that can be covered.....but sleeves and enough tattoos that people look like a walking tattoo advertisement is insane. They could save money by jumping in a vat of ink if they want so much skin to be a different color.

 Weird colored hair, gauges, piercings, and multiple tattoos.....people end up looking like freaks, and then they demand to be accepted for their freaking behavior and looks. It made the news a while back when a couple asked for a different waitress because theirs had several tattoos.....but if you are dining out, you have the right to want a waiter or waitress that looks normal.

 Here's the thing: things that were wrong, bizarre, taboo, etc are now being flaunted and done by many, and we who still believe those things are wrong, bizarre, and taboo are demanded to accept and not have any issue with.

  And just because society accepts something as normal and OK, does that make it normal and OK? In the early days of the Roman empire, it was considered OK and normal for an adult male to have a young boy for sexual purposes. That is an extreme example, but I use it to prove my point: just because a segment of the population accepts something as normal and OK, does not make it normal and OK.

 We have value, no matter what we look like......but if you are going to do bizarre things to your body, you cannot expect the whole world to accept the way you look and not have a problem with it.

 And yes, we should love people no matter what they do or look like.....but come on, it is getting beyond ridiculous what people are doing to themselves.

21) The Catholic Church

  In my opinion, there is something the Catholic church needs to do if they are truly concerned about the sexual abuse scandal: stop the cover up, launch an investigation to round up other guilty parties, and turn them over to  the police.

 There have been other cases where children were being molested, and people looked the other way...such as the Penn State scandal a few years back. It seems to me that too many people are more concerned with keeping the reputations and images intact of organizations and people, than they are with protecting children.

 A Catholic friend of mine who is in his 70's told me months ago that the Catholic church just moves a priest to another parish when he is caught molesting kids. I think  the Catholic church is way off-base in the majority of their beliefs and practices anyway, but how can they expect God to have anything to do with them if they cover up the sexual molestation of children? And the people who help cover up are as guilty as the ones doing the abusing.

 How many of these kids are forced to be around their abusers because their parents ignore their not wanting to be around them. The altar boy being abused and not wanting to go, is forced by his parents because it is an honor. The young football player wanting to drop out because his coach is molesting him, but his dad wants his son to play football, so they deny his request to drop out.

  Granted, not every kid who wants to drop out of things like this are being molested......but I would wager that some are.

 I don't know what the answer is. I don't believe the majority of gay men are going to molest boys, and if you look at the amount of teachers having sex with their students, it is obvious it is not just a gay issue. It is beyond pathetic and outrageous that kids are being taken advantage of by priests, teachers, coaches, and other adults in a place of leadership....or adults in general. It seems nowhere is exempt.

 Frank Worthen is a man who dealt with same-sex attractions, and eventually married a woman and started a ministry to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions. As a teenager, he went to his pastor about his attractions, and that pastor took advantage of him sexually......so it isn't just a Catholic problem.

 Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck and be thrown into  the sea, than to offend a child......and sexual abuse has got to be one of the worst things to do to a child.

 I saw a post yesterday by a Catholic who believes as many do that the pope knew about the cover up of the molestation of children, and may have helped cover it up.....yet the writer doesn't think the pope should be removed, as it would hurt the Catholic Church....but isn't protecting kids and getting justice for those hurt by priests more important? I say kick him out and charge him as an accessory.

22) Voting your conscience

    One of the most frustrating things about this past election was the refusal of Christians voting for Trump to understand voting your conscience. If one truly lives the Christian life and follows Jesus the way the Bible says to, they are going to face times when they feel they can't do something, and to do so would go against their conscience and beliefs.

  I know Christians who don't believe in wearing neck ties - wish I had that conviction! I know Christians who don't believe they should eat in an establishment  that serves alcohol. I  know a lot of people who don't do certain things on Sunday, some of which I would agree with and some that I would not. I could go on and list examples, but if you truly follow Jesus, there will be things you feel you cannot do.

  One thing these all have in common: other Christians in their church/denomination are not going to harass them trying to get them to do what they feel they cannot. Oh, more liberal Christians will.......but not those who have the same belief system and church background.

  But along comes politics. Those same Christians who understand not going against your conscience, and who themselves have had times when they could not do something because it would violate their conscience and beliefs....they want you to go against your conscience and will not understand or allow you to do so unchallenged. Just this morning, a Facebook friend posted something that irritated me. He has posted often condemning people who did not vote or voted third party, and this morning. He mockingly referred to those who didn't vote as "pure as the wind driven snow".

   I don't think I am off base when I say this: A true follower of Jesus would understand a person not going against their conscience,...even in politics. It is sad that we have elevated politics to such a level that it is almost important, or as important to us as spiritual things.

  I am far more frustrated because of this election, than anyone really knows. I don't even say half of what I think, or when I think it. I will say this: due to the crap I got for not voting for DT this last election, among other things......I may never vote again in my life. What good does it do anyway?

 I see a lot of people posting to vote your values, but it seems we only want people to do that if they vote like us...... and we are free speech as long as we agree with it.

23) Kavanaugh    (ok, this one is really outdated)

  I really don't know much about the judge up for the Supreme Court. With my feelings about Trump, I find it hard to believe anyone he picks is completely good....but maybe he is a true conservative.....the judge, not Trump.

 Anyway, it is becoming all too predicable....conservative up for an important position, and a woman (or women) from his past comes forward with sexual allegations. A few thoughts on that:

1) The attacks/abuse do happen, but should women always be believed? Should the man always be presumed guilty, while the woman be presumed a victim? There have been men sent to prison on false rape charges, and men whose reputations have been destroyed because a woman lied.

2) This woman is a liberal who donated to liberals, is a Hillary supporter - in other words, a female version of Trump (haha!) - and has other liberal ties. And she suddenly after 40 years comes forward with something that supposedly happened when Kavanaugh was 17 years old.

3) The timing is suspicious and too convenient. Why wait til now? Why not when he was up to be an attorney or judge?

4) No woman deserves rape. Read that twice before you read my next statement: But if a girl or woman doesn't want to be raped/taken advantage of, there are a few things to help that not happen:

a) Don't go to a party where there are a bunch of horny boys and men, and get drunk.

b) Do not ever go in a bedroom or in a hotel room with a male, unless you plan on having sex with that male.

c) Conduct yourself and dress like a lady. I am not attracted to  females, so maybe I can see it better than guys who are: a lot of females flirt too much, and act in ways to encourage guys to go after them, instead of acting in a proper way to encourage guys to treat them with respect.

  Any woman can be raped, but I do believe women should be more careful in some areas. There have been many young girls raped at parties where they got drunk and/or high, where if they had not drank or gotten high - or not gone to the party at all - they would not have been so vulnerable.

 I do believe this woman is lying, but even if it did happen..........it was 17 years ago when he was 17 years old. Should it still be held against him? How many of us want things we did as a teenager held against us?

24) Nationalism

  I am as patriotic as the next guy. I know what has been sacrificed and been done to make our country what it is, and I am thankful for that. But lately, I have been wondering if we are too nationalistic.I dared ask that on Facebook a while back, and one friend commented "definitely not! But you are welcome to your opinions." Another friend responded hotly that I should go to Venezuela and then maybe I would appreciate America more. But my appreciating our country wasn't the point. I do appreciate it and our remaining freedoms. We are losing rights and freedoms at an alarming rate, and the amount of people who want socialism is scary...our forefathers would roll over in  their graves to see how many freedoms we have lost........but we still are free to worship as we please, and are more free than many others across the globe.

   Nationalism is more than patriotism. It is defined as "having strong patriotic feelings, especially a belief in the superiority of one's own country over others." I fear we are too proud to be Americans, that we have a feeling of superiority over those in other countries, and many of us may even have a misguided idea that God loves America more and favors us more than other countries. We seem to think and react as Americans first, and Christians secondly. Pride is a sin condemned often in the Bible, and I fear we may carry the pride of country too far sometimes.

 I think some Christians in America would be shocked to learn God is not an American.... or a Republican.

25) Clothing

  I have to dress up for work....unfortunately. Black or grey dress pants, a green blazer (provided by the hospital), dress shirt, tie, and black shoes. For most of my time since January of 2017 doing this job, I have worn white shirts. I was never good at matching, so I played it safe.

 A few weeks ago, I decided to branch out. I wore a shirt and tie combination that I wasn't sure about. One female coworker said it looked OK when asked, a blunt male coworker said it looked horrible - without being asked, and another female coworker politely said she wouldn't put it together when I asked her.

 Later that day, a black woman who comes in often and accessories and matches to a T came in. Everything matched, even her scarf, purse, and flip flops. I complimented her and told her she always dresses nice, and that I might need her help. Pointing at my shirt and tie, I told her my coworkers said my shirt and tie don't go well together. She looked me over, and said "Oh honey, definitely not." After about dying laughing, I vowed to never wear that combo again.

 I have become better at it since, though using a plain black tie has helped a lot. I have gotten several compliments on my shirt and tie combinations, and haven't worn a white shirt in a couple of weeks now.

26)  Decor 

  I don't have nearly the amount of fall decor as I do Christmas, but I have enough that I need to get it out. A lady from my church gave me a heads up to a decoration a local store was selling cheap, so I picked one up for my place. She knows I like old trucks in decor - I got a Christmas one last year - and this one is for fall. The pic is hers, but mine is the same. I was too lazy to take and upload my own :)

 I bought 2 scarecrows and 2 pumpkins to put outside, so hopefully I get around to that this weekend.

 Also pictured is my favorite fall decoration. I bought it when I worked at Hobby Lobby. If I remember correctly, it was at least $70 originally - if not more. After the mark down after season and with my discount, I paid well under $20 for it.

27) Decor 2 (old and new)

  I have my bedroom done in patriotic/Americana decor. There is a lady who works in my doctor's office (which is in the hospital I work at), who gives me that kind of decor occasionally. When she wants to get rid of decor, she brings it to work to give away, and gives me first choice on patriotic/ Americana stuff. She gave me a big metal blue star that is on my front porch, and a few other things. Yesterday she gave me 2 pillows, which are already displayed in my room.

 She also gave me other patriotic decor.

 And more recently, the quilt on the wall and the 2 patriotic pillows on my bed.

28) 2 conversations (new, as of today, October 22)

  I discussed this in my last blog post, but will briefly mention it here: on Saturday I had 2 conversations, both with younger guys who are same-sex attracted Christians. The one was on Twitter, and he said some helpful things, even though we disagree on some things. The other was an over 3 hour conversation with another guy who preaches some. He had me reading a few chapters over the phone and he would interrupt to comment on some. Both guys really encouraged me, and made me wish more people would take time to help and encourage others.

  And that is finally it. Sorry for such a long post.