Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear and Trembling, Part XXXV

I love Kierkegaard. Especially on night's like this. If I'm not mistaken (don't quote me on this), he believed that we are all existentially responsible for ourselves. That we will made accountable for our choices, and that this creates a fundamental anxiety about freedom. We all fail, we all have guilt, we all fear death. And God. 

Lately, I've been thinking about the nature of my social anxiety, the sense of fundamental anxiety I possess in relationship to others, the debts I owe them, the death I fear from their anger or displeasure.

If I am not loved, I literally feel like I'm going to die. 

And this all began with a comment about emotional constipation a few weeks ago. R's pain. And, the cold water to the face realization that I have not shouldered my load, have expected the world, other people to help, pull me along. It is hard to face myself, to peer into mirrors. I hate my choices. I always have hated my pain, even while not understanding it. I hate "freedom" and would rather hand my decisions over to others.

The other night, in class, I had a panic attack. And, though I realized it's getting worse in me, it's also getting better. For the first time in a while, I entertained the possibility that the pain has some redemptive purpose. Maybe, just maybe, it is making me a better person. Slowly. So very slowly...Maybe it's burning away parts of my personality that need to disappear. Maybe pain is the only way to become holy. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, some whisper of hope that has not been there before.

Oh, sweet hope. 

The other night after class, and for the first time in ages, Romans 8:28-32? spoke to me.

Nothing. Not death. Fear. Abandonment. Shipwreck. Self-hatred. Sin. can separate me from the love that is in God in Christ Jesus. It struck me. I am more than a conquerer, not weak or insecure because God is behind the scenes making it all right. There is a larger hand guiding me. And it is glorious.

I never thought I would thank God for pain.

But if it's what He knows I need, I accept it gladly.


Sunday, August 30, 2009


Things have been so crazy lately, the past month full of sadness. I broke up with R. I remain here, agnostic of my sexuality. All I know is the last spasms of pain before the end. 

There is pain here now as well and regret, that I put her through this. She deserves better than half-hearted commitment. She deserves someone who is not double minded and conflicted. 

After this break up, I do not think I'll ever marry. Little girls dream of perfect, flawless love studded with romance and part of me always has. Slowly, painfully, I realize it is not enough for happiness. 

I got a tattoo of a white flag which seems to encapsulate my intent.

It's late, I'm tired. I will write more tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Morning Song

Psalm 34:1-14 (NRSV)

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. O fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want. The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Light of Some Kind...

I'm in Williamsburg with les parents visiting with distant relatives from NY. They are frickin cool and remind me of my brother: lively, talkative, and entirely winsome. Luke went to visit a few weeks ago and had the time of his life with them and Nicole. I know why. They're fun as hell.

Tonight, I use the Holiday Inn's computer to tap this out. I just came in from outside from an interesting conversation over cigarette with a young man named Ryan He comes from a military family, is in the army himself. And, I am humbled. He told me about his experience in the forces and the sacrifices he's made. While he had a hardened look in his eye, used language like "exact revenge" and other hawkish phrases of it's ilk, it was not difficult to see him as a person. He's angry seeming, bitter seeming, but it was incredibly, well, humbling to hear about his struggles, how he lost his friend in combat, how he had to endure fire and sleeplessness and pain for his country.

I have never known what it's like to be that close to bullet fire.

Don't get me wrong. This post will probably not devolve into a patriotic salute or saccharine declaration of loyalty to my nation. It is not my nation which requires my loyalty, but my greater human family. I hate war. I hate the fact that people have to die over ideology. On 9-11, Americans died of the hatred in the world. Now, we go to Afghanistan and Iraq to die to pay back our enemies. Attitudes like his only seem to perpetuate the evil done against us. Fire with fire. Hate with hate. I can't help but this will make everything escalate.

But, tonight, I realized something. He's a person. And, too often, in rhetoric about how members of conservative persuasions tend to pit "us against them", tend to see the world in black and white and our adversaries as the "bad guys", I have forgotten that behind the conservative opinion, there is a person. He's not just a conservative, a hawk, or any assortment of other labels. He's Ryan. And he has the sovereignty of his experience and has his reasons. Like we all do. My "us" and "them" is no more noble than any other false dichotomies. Even now, I'm bristling at his language but a part of me prays for the to see him, and others like him, my father, with compassion, respect, and empathy. Love is such a hard road, suspending judgment so much more difficult than empathy.

In other news, my ex Wade e-mailed me asking for my forgiveness. We did not part on the best terms. I broke his heart, and, in retaliation, he broke mine with perhaps well deserved, and hateful words. This over a year ago. Since then, I have hated him, hated myself, hated the pain we caused each other. The pain I caused. It was a beautiful thing to find this e-mail, seemed like a very redemptive thing. Perhaps the letter I returned will help us both heal. It seems too much to ask, really, that he forgive. This, too, is humbling. A "follower" all these years and it is still difficult to accept responsibility for mistakes, to love in the face of rejection. To realize that I need to love my "enemies", especially when they are not truly enemies but people I have hurt. There is joy in this, to think some repair can be made, some restoration.

In still other news, I stumbled across the book UnChristian. Basically, it's a research driven investigation into Christianity's image problem, or, more specifically, how we act UnChristian. It tackles gaps in generation, how mosaics and busters (people from 16-29) see the world differently from the older generations. It briefly tackled the differences in post modern and modern perspectives. It's a great book. Though, my pomo age is showing because the author kept using the term moral relativism and my hair bristled and I was like: "relativism? compared to what?..."

It frustrated me even while imparting hope. I look at Jesus and see truth, beauty, freedom, and love. How He made the greatest sacrifice and showed the greatest love, and how He offered us the opportunity to reconcile to Him, ourselves, and each other. Then, I look at the church and see judgment and emotional violence and unnecessary combativeness and how people hate Jesus because of it.

Not to say chapters pointed a finger at me. One in particular knocked me back and made me do some hard thinking. But, this was also redemptive. Change is possible. For me. For the church. And, for the world at large.

We can make a difference.

I'm so thankful for God telling me to pray. I know the hope I've had lately is because of this...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A No Brainer!

It's no surprise that I have been "working out my salvation with fear and trembling." It might seem from the outside it's too much work to keep going. Though, it's not unlike being starving and denying oneself food. If you eat, you get energy. Life is easier when you're stomach isn't growling.  

Lately, I've been dying of hunger spiritually speaking. And, the energy required to reconcile life and faith has been exhausting. Something did not compute, not with the God who promised rest and an easy yoke. "EASY!?! Ha!" I scoffed, "This is hard as Hell!" 

Then, one day, I cracked. Got on a message board and reached out to fellow pilgrims. I talked about being both in the Christian and LGBT communities. That act alone, the reaching out, plus the prayers they sent up which I have felt, have been making all the difference. The act of surrendering and being somewhat transparent with others. 

It's all come together. The other night I was told by Mark and Willis I needed to "make a decision." Then, Cindy came over and kept telling me to "decide to trust God." Later that day, stuff about "trust" came up. Like Kierkegaard's "leap of faith", one has to just do it. 

Jesus' directive to "follow Me" has seemed like terrible work. Then, I prayed for the first time in months. Really prayed. And before that, it had been years. Fear of rejection is no excuse for not spending time with God. And for years, it has been my reason. What if He didn't talk back? What if I would be left alone? What if He isn't real. Or, worse, what if He is and wants to play a game? 

So, I'm praying thinking about what it meant to "follow." Move to Africa as a missionary? Follow all 612 OT laws? Get exorcised for being bi? 

Then, I heard a voice. Ok, not a literal voice, but a thought which resonated clearly and loudly in my spirit. "You will pray to me everyday!" 

Right now, this is His will for me. Duh. I mean, you have to talk to those you love. But still. It was nice to have a specific, not amorphous, directive. Pray. Sit with Me. Trust Me enough to have a conversation. 

Because, I realized, if I do this, He will be there. Eternal life, Jesus said, was knowing God and Jesus, the One He has sent.

Heaven is possible everyday. 

In other news, I need to find somewhere to volunteer. I'm thinking Samaritan's House, to help women and families which have dealt with abuse. 

Jaqui will drive! Yay!

On another note, has anyone heard this song? When R and I went out the other day, the chorus got hella stuck in my head. The lyrics describe this post perfectly. And my life. 

"If your friend tells you he loves you, DO NOT PUNCH!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm confused.

I'm a conservative with a liberal worldview. Simultaneously, I believe what I always have, and yet, I have adjusted to the complexities of life. Right now, I feel I must follow my thoughts to their logical conclusions...

A lot of new stuff has happened since I last blogged. There has been job searching and networking with the Department of Rehabilitative Services. A sweet girl named Jaqui is now working as my aide, basically a chauffeur and this has been fun.

Independence is neat. 

Today, my brother got yelled at for not wanting to marry his pregnant fiance until he has a job. On one hand, marriage seems like a good idea. Ironically, the reason he doesn't want to "make her an honest woman" is because he feels like without a job, without being an adequate "provider", he cannot marry her. It's a weird catch-22 and as much as my parents hate the fact that he doesn't want to make the official, legal commitment, I don't think they understand the fact he won't get married yet stems from the same motivation which compels him to seek marriage. 

I will file this under "patriarchy hurts men too" section.

Anyway, it's making me ponder the nature of marriage, of commitment. For all intents and purposes, he is married. He never leaves her side, they make decisions together, they have a child on the way. Their lives are so enmeshed and bundled up together, and everyone knows this, that I can't help but wonder if, in the truest sense of the world, they are already committed in a way that needs no piece of paper.

Not that "making it legal" wouldn't have its advantages. Benefits, benefits, benefits...

In the Bible, whenever anyone ever had sex, it was seen as a promise made with the body, that if the couple were caught, the man would have to pay the father of the woman the "bride price". As archaic and sexist, it begs the question if, in the eyes of God, if sex=marriage. 

Wow. The implications of this. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Night Has Opened My Eyes...

"I'd like to argue that we don't have faith in God at all. We have faith in our own faith rather than the God who transcends it, faith in a faith that will somehow save us." --David Dark, RELEVANT Magazine.

Dan Savage has turned me, of late, into an agnostic. He's "culturally Catholic" and sexually progressive. And, his emphasis on honesty and integrity has shaken me. 

You see, people can be full of such bullshit. 

And, because I'm in the in-group, I can say this, Christians claim a lot of bullshit. That evolution does not exist on the word of an ancient creation poem. That all things are blue printed before hand. That God will answer prayer the prayer of an American searching for a parking spot but would deny the request of a dying Darfurian refugee. 

One might find the story of Jesus bullshit. Here, the idea of God reaching down and becoming human doesn't shake me. Of course, according to Savage, I would be naive and easily appeased. But a story of such love strikes me as true. Honest. Grace, being known completely and being loved completely seems true. An archetype. Everyone's heart swells when they see acts of heroism, when somebody shoves the kid out of the way of the bus. Everybody wants to be that person. Everybody aspires to love and be loved, to give to be given to. 

But the other bullshit just ain't flying. My bullshit detector is honed to perfection. The fact that Christians live in denials has been intellectually dishonest. And, if being a Christian required such suspension of disbelief, I didn't know if I could do it.

And, in a weird way, I wanted to get completely naked and yell at God (I do this a lot). I wanted to say that "this is me. I can't lie and pretend. Take me or leave me!" 

This is where we get it wrong I think. We think we have to get it right. That we have to be something we can't be. And that's the rub. We don't.

Tonight, I opened the RELEVANT I was too scared to open; it's sat on my desk for two weeks (an article on abortion...).

God and I do this. I get all pissy and hide. And He gets this stern, loving look on His face. Then, She speaks and allays the misgiving. 

I found an article about doubt and how God welcomes that hard honesty; S/He was like "let us reason together."

I love when S/He speaks, it's not always about what S/He says, but that S/He says things. Or, speaks at all. I missed Zir. 

And my eyes were washed, and I got my sense of balance again.

They say 3 a.m is a spiritual time. I think it is. 

I missssssssed Zir (just like a certain other person *sighs*)...

I can't wait until Sunday. Mark and I are going to MCC. They don't stone the queer.