Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why I Need a Boyfriend #1


I carry my stress in my shoulders and soaking in a hot bath only does so much.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gay Baptists are REAL!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Tenth Annual Gay and Lesbian Baptist Retreat in Texas. A few months ago I discovered University Baptist Church, but this weekend, I discovered AWAB - The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. Below is my letter to the executive director which was forwarded to the board.

The discovery of AWAB has been a watershed moment in my faith, even moreso than the introduction to University Baptist Church. As I shared at the retreat, the moment I accepted myself as a gay man, I became closer to God because the barrier of pretended heterosexuality I had erected between myself and Him was a lie I could never overcome. While I was very active in a church, my relationship to God was academic. I was a teacher and a leader, but my relationship to God did not exist in any personal way. I read the scripture, studied the scripture, and interpreted the scripture, but now I can look back and see that I did all those things without the guidance or presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.

My faith was an expectation of the community, but not a reflection of me.

Years ago I was introduced to University Baptist Church as the congregation who was disassociated from the Southern Baptist Convention because they ordained an openly gay man. That introduction to me was incomplete. I knew that event, that action from that body, but I never investigated or imagined it would mean a church body could be Baptist and inclusive, so when I came out and moved to Austin, I did not even consider UBC as a potential church home.

And maybe I'm glad I didn't make that move six years ago. I was not ready for a church to accept me because I was not ready to accept a church.

When I was finally introduced to UBC this summer, I knew from the first Sunday I set foot in the building, that the body of believers who called that place home, was Christian in the Christ sense of the word. I spent a month considering the move of my membership to UBC before I finally did it because I wanted to be certain. I have never looked back.

This weekend, discovering the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, in many ways was an explosion of my faith. Not only do I have a congregation I can call home, there is an association in relationship with many other faiths across the nation I can call a friend. The weekend is not even over, but I sense the impact this discovery has had on me.

As a child, I always thought I would be a minister. As a teenager I reasoned I could never be one because God would never let me. After this weekend, I have the hope that I may be able to impact people in service to the Lord again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

More Meat Snacks...

When I first came across the various texts on the meat snack package I could not resist the obvious jokes and even created a t-shirt iron-on with the most suggestive line. I'm going to have to work out a bit more before I can wear the shirt out in good conscience, but it still gives me jollies as I try to come up with a non-personal use for the 3.65 ounces of meat snack in a bag.

The company did eventually write me back (from the cold north woods of Wisconsin). The disclaimer about personal use simply means that I cannot export the meat snack and sell it.

3.65 oz of meat snack costs $5.99 at the store next to my office.

I had no idea that meat snacks were so in demand around the world that I could make a profit by buying, shipping, and re-selling the meat snack in foreign lands.

Here we lavish one another with gifts of gold: there they come bearing meat snacks.

Hopeful Male: Darling, you are the most precious creation in my eye. I brought you these.

Blushing Female: Ohhhhhh...Meat shouldn't have.

And just like here - she REALLY meant it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Big Four Ohhhhhhh!

For the last few months, as this milestone age has approached, I've felt the need to reflect, ponder, muse, and cogitate on the lessons I've learned. For a few years, I would add a lesson a year to a list I had going and I included this list to younger friends in a birthday letter of wisdom. I long lost that letter and decided that simply surviving another year did not in itself mean one had accumulated additional great wisdom.

Some years, in fact, were so blase' that I don't even remember them - the twenties for instance.

One observation I have made, though as I approached forty with excitement rather than dread, was that life really just gets better. In my twenties I discovered just how miserable the teenage years were. I mourn for the many people who look back on high school as "the best years of my life." If you climaxed by eighteen, then you have lived one miserable life.

My twenties were a dramatic improvement to the teens, but with ten years distance between the present and then, I could never go back to that time. I grew very much as a person through my twenties, but those years continued to be a struggle for identity as I created myself professionally.

The thirties, though, I romanticize. I matured professionally and actually reached positions I had never originally aspired to. I also finally reached a personal maturity as I finally accepted myself as a gay man. The decision to accept myself for who I am, is by far the best decision I ever made. It gave me personal freedom to be me without the constant paranoia of looking over my shoulder to see who might accidentally see something in me which was the truth I kept attempting to hide.

The progression of quality of life from decade to decade has been so good, that I am now looking forward to my forties. I'm ready to be there and to see the life I have to live in the next ten years. I'll have to be ever vigilant of my health. I have no guarantee that an aging body will fight the disease as well as my younger body, but I'm going to give it all the tools it needs to fight well.

And I'm already looking forward to botox treatments to keep the crows feet around my eyes at bay, but hey, science is good and gives us such gifts! Who knows what will be around by the time I turn fifty!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Music Review: Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah

Saturday I bought the new Scissor Sisters cd after only hearing the first release, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" which is one of the most misleading titles in music history. One song was enough for me as I had fallen for the group with their first big song, "Filthy Gorgeous."

Ta-Dah proves to be a successful sophomore outing for the group. The thirteen songs on the (iTunes) album span a range of influences from early Elton John to the Statler Brothers. In between I hear bits of Blondie, The Bee Gees and some Queen.

The first release, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" makes one sway, tap one's feet,or just stand up and really move. I'm anticipating some of the club releases to hit the stands soon. Contrary to it's negative title, the song is upbeat and positive. Despite all the reasons not to dance, the rhythm dictates otherwise.

"Land of a Thousand Words" and "Lights" are the two songs I just like listening to. "Lights," especially, has an upbeat rhythm that makes me want to dance, but both songs have layers to the lyrics that come clean with each listen.

My favorite song on the cd is "I Can't Decide" because I'm in a good mood after hearing it. It has a definite Statler Brothers feel to it with a saloon-piano/organ in the background. And while the singer trys to decide whether the antagonist should live or die, I keep envisioning a Keystone Cops scenario playing in the background. With lines like "flys were cats you'd be a litter," and "It's a bitch convincing people to like you" the song can't be taken as too serious a threat.

I've listened to the cd steadily for three days now and continue to enjoy it. The more closely I listen to it, the more I discover in the clever writing. Cleverness and energy are the greatest strenghts to the Scissor Sisters. I would like to see a live show to see if the energy translates into the live performance or if the energy comes from production.

All in all the entire cd is enjoyable. It has not been around long enough to make it to my top ten list and I doubt it will, but for the fun the songs provide, it is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Artsy or too lazy to cut and paste?

In getting ready for my upcoming birthday party, I decided it was necessary to finish decorating the walls to my house. Luckily one of the craft stores was having a big sale on frames, so I bought some big frames to get the various posters and prints I had already purchased finally up on the walls. While I was out and about, I went to one of my favorite discount stores (no, much more discount than Wal-Mart). and bought a number of picture frames. I cleaned the store out of silver frames and came home and started printing pictures.

I am not one of your really big crafty persons, but I did learn how to use the editing feature on my photo editor to make some of my landscape pictures black and white. I guess a bit of Ansel Adams ( haunts me when it comes to landscapes and I have always preferred black and white to color. I have a collection of snow photos I took a few years ago and since they are essentially devoid of color, I decided they have alway been best that way.

After hours of selecting, editing, printing and framing pictures, I found I had one frame left and decided it would be best with a collage of snow photos. I found some of my pictures of flowers in the snow - flowers are normal in south Texas in the winter, snow is not, so I found many examples of tropical flowers - hibiscus, azalea, and lantana blooming while covered with snow. My photo editing program would not let me make a collage of them, but I decided it had to be done on the computer - scissors, tape and glue were way too 1990's - and if you remember, I don't even have one of those cute birthday calendars on paper - it had to be on a spreadsheet.

Finally after a bit of searching, I found a freeware program (courtesy of the ubiquitous search engine that with a certain software company will together rule the world) that would do collages. With a bit of manipulation, I managed to create the collage above. It looks better on here than printed, but...I'll go with it for the time being.

And though I was too lazy to print the pictures and cut them out - now I'm going to have to cut out the picture to make it fit the frame. I guess scissors, tape, and glue are still part of the collage world.
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