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Posts Tagged ‘church’

My Big Fat Life – Orlando Shooting & Church Activists

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm

A year ago 49 people were gunned down in a nightclub in Orlando. They were targeted because they were gay.

I don’t talk much about the LGBT community since I left it behind, but when I see headlines that scream of violence against those who are victims of hate crimes based on their sexuality my heart is reminded of the struggle of what it means to be gay in America. While it is true that gay people have it considerably better than in most countries, it still isn’t a very good threshold to measure progression when it comes to the acceptance of others based on who they choose to love.

I came across a Facebook page recently of a woman who claims to be an activist for God. Her name is The Activist Mommy. I checked out her page after someone posted a Change.org link regarding a plight to get her page removed from Facebook. I highly doubt it will do much because people still have a right to be an asshole in the U.S., and freedom of speech is a vital thread of what makes us so unique as a country. People have a right to their opinion, no matter how much a douche it makes them look. The perk is we get to see who people really are when it comes to such political and religious views, so we get to know who to avoid.

I read her page looking for some semblance of compassion or love, and it wasn’t a huge surprise I didn’t find any. I don’t think it comes to the surprise of any in the community that the church has long bred an attitude that tolerance is somehow acceptance. I don’t even like that word “tolerance” because it somehow equates patronizing in my mind. People who strongly believe in the church (I say church for a reason), feel it is their duty to show just how much they disagree with conceived sin, so they post memes on Facebook, make status updates, hit the like button on every article that validates their belief, and comments on news feeds. They shout a hearty “AMEN” each time the man behind the pulpit proclaims they are making a stand on sin, as though the louder they agree it equals wearing a badge of honor to measure their integrity. But… it’s not.

Even if you believe that being gay is a vile sin that you act upon, the bible is still very clear about how we are to love. In fact, the act of love is spoken more than any scriptures you might find to address that being gay is a sin, and yet it is the single most act that most people fail to do well. Whether in relationships, to strangers, our neighbors, and friendships. Heck, I will admit I often suck at being nice to people when I feel I am right about something and they are in the wrong. When we feel we are right about something, it trumps our ability to love actively. We get so fixed on being right, and proving it, that we forget there is another person involved in our actions; the person on the receiving end of our stand or response.

I don’t doubt that some of these people believe they are doing God’s work, and believe that they are making a change in the world. On the other hand I know they are not doing anything other than creating more anger, hurt, and validation that God is nothing more than an angry man who is more interested in hurting us creatures on a spinning blue marble, than loving us. Yet, isn’t love the basic foundation of His message? Let’s just believe for a moment that all people believe in God, but who would want to serve such an angry and quick to condemn deity unless we had the fear of eternal damnation looming over us? No one. That is why the message of love is the most important message of all. The simple act of love without condition is the hardest to do for us. Perhaps that is why it has been written about so often. The message has to be driven to us. Paul wrote letters to the church about it, and depending how you feel about the truth of the cross, God sent His son to show us. Just being kind to others can be a challenge, let alone loving others we feel are in the wrong. I also find that the actions people get most fired up are the ones they either struggle against themselves, or can’t ever imagine acting upon. The first lending to the belief that if they fight against it enough it somehow will create almost a hatred for it and therefore reduce the temptation, and the second because people always argue what they don’t understand.

Love isn’t “tolerating” or accepting the acts of another as correct or in alignment of our own personal convictions. It’s loving that person regardless of what we personally believe. Our morals are separate from the act of love. We can love someone and have no relationship with them outside of our feeling for them. In fact, at times that is the best for everyone involved. I love my sister, but I can’t have a relationship with her because I don’t agree with her choices. Her choices affect me when she chooses to use drugs. I don’t want that around me, or my family. But I do love her. I want the best for her, yet I know that a relationship with her is not the best for me. She does really dumb things when she uses, and has removed my ability to trust her judgement. Does that mean I am going to yell and scream some condemnation at her every time I see her? No. Does my lack of doing so somehow translate that I am accepting or tolerant of her choices? Nope. It means I love her, but I choose not to allow her choices to influence my daily life anymore.

I have spent a lot of time talking to people during my time in the community. I have asked questions, listened to stories, and hurt as I listened to the damage the church has done. A majority of people in the LGBT community have already heard the message. There is nothing new you can scream from a picket line or post on Facebook that is something new to them. Most of them were raised in the church and already know the message. Many of them are still Christians and long for a relationship in a church; for human connection. They have struggled in their hearts knowing the message of the church, and their natural attractions. They have been at war with themselves so many times, there is no new scar you can leave that will laid upon three more. What they haven’t heard enough of, is love.

Chances are if you move about in society, you have already come in contact with a gay person. The lady behind the register, the Dr. treating you at the hospital, the vet who cares for your pet, the stranger you bumped into at the store, the man behind the ticket booth at the movies who sold you your ticket to the movie you have been waiting to see for months…. you get the idea. Chances are you have already come into contact with someone who is gay. Did you need to know their sexual orientation to be kind to them? Of course not. The act of being kind requires no back story. It requires nothing more than consideration without prejudice.

Sometime ago I had an argument with my boyfriend. I can’t even recall what it was about because so much time has passed that whatever it was obviously wasn’t that life altering. It’s my nature to walk away when I get upset.I need to allow the logic to rise above the emotion so I can think clearly, and the only way I can usually get there is to walk away to a quiet space and just ride it out. It’s a good thing because I can be quick to say really shitty things when I get upset. I’ve worked hard to be more careful with my words, even though I don’t always succeed. The other reason is because I grew up not being allowed to show emotion, so I instantly just walk away because I am used to having my thoughts and feelings discarded. What I can tell you I recall about that day is when I stood up to walk away and he reached for me. He put his arm out, touched me and gave me a hug. I couldn’t even tell you what I was wearing that day, but I can tell you how I felt in that moment. One simple action that isn’t so simple when we are hurt gave me a sense of love, security and acceptance regardless if he was disagreeing with me or not.  He wasn’t showing me a message of tolerance, or acceptance, but love.

Just love.

 

The 49 people who died because someone didn’t know how to love:

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20

Juan Ramon Guerroro, 22

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Luis S. Vielma, 22

Kimberly Morris, 37

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50

Amanda Alvear, 25

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26

Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19

Cory James Connell, 21

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

Luis Daniel Conde, 39

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49

Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28

Frank Hernandez, 27

Paul Terrell Henry, 41

Antonio Davon Brown, 29

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24

Akyra Monet Murray, 18

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

 

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MY Big Fat Life – Tolerance, Acceptance, Pray Away The Gay, and Facebook

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2014 at 12:20 am

Recently I was unfriended on Facebook.

Before I start to sound like a whiny teenager (soory teens, but you really do get freaked out about this stuff) I have to say this was someone I considreed a realy close friend at one time. Since unfriending on social media is the new “I don’t want to be your friend anymore” talk, of course it is going to sting a bit.

The reason why I was unfriended is what really gets me though. I had posted on someones page about my journey this past year. She (the friend) somehow took it as me saying you can *pray away the gay*. Gosh how I despise that saying. I wasn’t even saying that. In fact, I never even said that people can “pray away the gay”. However I also won’t minimize the role my faith has served in how things have changed for me this past year. But that change was between God and I, and a change in my faith, not some act of praying anything away.

See, I know how that “pray the gay away” thing works. It doesn’t. At least not in the traditional way the church teaches. I’ve been there. I have spent countless hours seeking pastoral counsel, asking for prayer at the altar, talking to people, praying for God to take the thoughts away, to remove the attraction, to not send me to hell because I couldn’t seem to control my thoughts when I saw an attractive woman, and pretty much everything else I could think of to “pray away the gay”. I know how hurtful that saying can be, and I know the damage it can do.

None of the above mentioned acts changed who I was. Of course they didn’t, because I was going through church approved actions expecting a result. I was in desparate places begging for changes, change of mind, change of desire, change of who I was. But none of those things changed who I was, and unless you have been there you can’t really understand that conflict between someone who identifies as a lesbian, and their faith. You can’t understand that pain that comes with it; the feeling that somehow God just doesn’t care and tossed you to the dogs to fight this conflict on your own. It really bothers me that someone could even think they have the right to challenge me on my own personal journey from where I have been, to where I am.

Let me set this out there right now. I don’t know where people stand in their own life. I can only say this is where I am, and my change came from a very quiet place between God and I, and I won’t deny the faith factor because it makes someone else uncomfortable or feeds into their need to define me based on their experiences.

I understand there will be people who will think I am really bi, or wasn’t even a lesbian at all because of this. But that isn’t their right. It isn’t my right to define you, and it isn’t your right to define me. I have no desire to even start to tell people how to *pray away the gay*. So please don’t point fingers and demand that people accept and tolerate you and your choices, while choosing to define and accuse me for living mine. Especially if you have never lived a majority of their life struggling with the idenity of your sexuality, and faith. You don’t get it.

Someone said it perfectly to me recently. He said ” I’ve found that intolerant people are just that. Usually in most aspects of their lives… So all you really lost I suppose is a person who thinks it’s ok to be them but it’s not ok to be you.” His words have stuck with me this past week, and made a real difference. It’s so true. In fact, it’s so perfectly said I don’t even need to elaborate.

With that, I will just leav this here. This is the song that came to my mind when I thought about writing this blog. I was going to post something else, but I came right back to this. I think it’s because I am not angry, I am more hurt than anything. I think this song perfectly reflects the place where I am writing this from. This life has too much sepration amongst us all. It would be such a bettrer place if we could somehow find a place where we respect each other for who we are, and not what we are.

Peace.