Gay Marriage And Public Policy: Personal Reflection, Apology

rainbow flags

When it comes to gay marriage as a public policy issue, I was once very outspoken on the topic. From the 2003 to 2008 I lobbied for marriage amendments in Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, California, and on other national media platforms (interviews.) I went to Washington DC more than a few times and lobbied for the Federal Marriage Amendment on Capitol Hill. I also visited the Bush White House a couple of times and sat 20 feet away from when President Bush made a statement in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Because those experiences are not something I enjoy reflecting on lately, I have avoided writing this post. However, I can’t get away from it. If I was passionately willing to lobby for banning gay marriage at one point, I feel I should speak up on the topic if my views have changed.

To be clear, my view of marriage in a spiritual context has not changed. I believe the wedding union of husband and wife bears the image of God uniquely. Individually they bear His image equally and beautifully. Together they bear His image in a way that neither can do alone. I believe marriage between a husband and wife is transcendent; that Christ refers to the church as His Bride is stunning. One of my favorite meditations is to consider Christ and His Church in the symbolism of marriage.

What I am also trying to learn is how I can state my beliefs without being a jerk about it. I don’t have to contextualize my personal belief by insulting gay couples who have married or gay people wanting to get married. The beliefs that guide and direct my life also compel me to seek to be a blessing and friend to gay couples; to see God’s presence in their lives as individuals and as a couple.

I have also come to believe that trying to make our secular government impose my spiritual beliefs in this matter is not helpful or appropriate. Let me explain …

Noah – Movie Review

Yesterday I finally rented the movie Noah by Darren Aranofsky to see what all the fuss was about. Before I get into my brief review of the movie, here is the trailer:

“Noah” the movie was released in March of this year. In the lead up to the movie, as well as immediately after, many religious folks were incredibly upset about it.  So, I figured I would probably like it. I did like the movie. But, I wasn’t jumping up and down or moved to tears over it.

I can, actually, understand my more conservative friends being upset with the movie. We like Noah. Christian culture raises us as children to see a light-blue cloaked cartoon character with white hair and white beard standing next to a happy pair of lions, a dove on his shoulder, and happy Mr. & Mrs. Giraffe heads poking out of the ark’s sun-roof. At least that’s the image I remember as a kid. We like our cartoon Noah.

We tend to forget the part about him being drunk and naked (mentioned in the Bible) after the flood. We like the idea of a kindly man taking care of a floating zoo where all the animals smile as they take an End of The World cruise with a rainbow finale.

When Was The Last Time You Passed Out On Top Of A Bus?

So, When Was The Last Time You Passed

They were Fresno Grannies. I am sure they have probably been friends since grade school. They had that vibe. One was dressed in earth tones with salt and pepper hair pulled up into a loose bun. Her friend looked like Mrs. Claus (you know Santa’s wife) but in all blue and white. Her minimalist color scheme matched her eyes and hair respectively. She was very prim and put together. She also had her hair up in a tight bun. Earth-tone Grandma was talkative while Mrs. Claus had left the permafrost of the North pole and instead adopted a perma-grin.

Never stopped smiling … the same smile. She was so cute and while permagrins tend to be unnerving, her’s wasn’t.

We were at a conference put together by my former employer Exodus International and Focus on the Family called Love Won Out. It was a controversial conference that presented views concerning homosexuality and Christianity (many of those views have changed for me over the years). Regardless, I was there as an employee. I went to over 30 of these over the years, and all kinds of folks attended these events. To see a pair of older women walk through the doors was not uncommon. It was also not uncommon for people to ask me questions; my name tag let them know I worked with the conference.

Health & Fitness Update for August 23rd, 2014: I finally crossed the 60 lbs lost threshold! (62.2 lbs to date). I also ran for the first time in years. Watch the vid for more details about me getting competitive with a skinny little pip-squeak and getting distracted by a hummingbird. You know, all the extremely important stuff packed into 3 minutes… :)

The Dawn of the Big Ass Spider Apocalypse

big ass spiderFor a while there… I thought the evil Big Ass Spider Horde had given up trying to take over RandyThomasHQ. Alas, it was not true. The demonic fueled vessels of horror released a tidal wave of hatred the past couple of weeks that … well … ::: drifting off ::: It was a clever ploy for creatures who have such an easily splatt-able brain. I wanted to write about the relentless waves of their most recent assault but have been tied up with helping a client finish her book. I will get to the epic tales of BATTLE! soon. In the meantime, here is a 2013 update that got a lot of necessary attention (because we are in this together my friend!) on my old blog. It is scary, bold, dramatic, noble, awe-inspiring, fierce (in a BATTLE! way, not a “OMG FASHION!” way) and well … you will probably want to write an inspirational song that will be sung by future generations of Hobbits after reading it.

—-

(Originally written August 30th, 2013

Something happened in the ongoing WAR! with the evil Spidersesses that was traumatic and I needed some time to recover.

Well, it is two weeks later, I have had time to heal, pray, talk to my therapist, and reinterpret the events through dance. I will not talk past what I know, but it is time to share the horror of that evening.

::: must.stay.strong ::: deep.breath :::

Normally the Big Ass Spiders wait until I am half dressed and trying to put on my socks, or use the bathroom, to launch their hideous offensives. Every once in a while I will hear their diabolical giggling and a cold chill goes down my t-shirt clad spine.

::: raising a righteous fist of indignation for the whole of RandyThomasHQ to see ::: “Stupid, devil gigglers!”

But, the night of August 16th will forever be etched into my scarred psyche.

Card Of The Month – “The Last Leaf Of Summer” (Order Some or Join the COTM Here)

The Last Leaf of Summer

I am excited about this drawing, “The Last Leaf of Summer.” It is definitely one of my favorites. It will be featured as this month’s Card Of The Month (COTM). To me it is a beautiful reminder of the warmth, refreshing water, growth of summer and also the transition to fall. Truly, it is one of my favorites that I never get tired of looking at.

If you’d like, you can order some extra, or on their own if you aren’t on the COTM, safely and securely through the PayPal button below.

If you would like to support Randy.Today and my artistic/writing efforts by joining the COTM, there is a video at the bottom of the post (or near the top of the sidebar) to explain how to join that as well. The video features my site before I made the latest color changes (and added a skinnier pic to the sidebar #laugh :))… but the sign up process all works exactly the same.

The cards themselves will not have the title and copyright lettering on the front with the drawing. It will simply be the leaf and my signature. The title will be on the back of the card, and as usual the inside will be blank. Envelopes are provided with the cards.

I will take orders up through Sunday and place the printing order on Monday August 25th. Hopefully I will have the COTM cards in the mail to you all on Wednesday August 27th and start shipping out the individual orders Thursday and Friday after that.

To order some of the cards please select the quantity from the drop down menu below and then click the PayPal “Buy Now” button. If you would like a quantity that is not represented,

UPDATE 8/25/2014 –  The initial ordering period is over but if you would like to order some of these cards or are interested in buying the original artwork, contact me through my online contact form. And you can join the Card Of The Month Club any time, it is super easy. Check out this video to learn how.

Party Barge & Car Surfing In Daytona Beach (Memoir)

daytona beach

It was 1986. I was a senior in High School, and somehow I ended up with a group of guys at school sanding down an old short school bus. Two of them (brothers) had gotten the bus as a Spring Break present from their Dad. We gutted the thing, painted it black, and I painted, “Party Barge” on the sides. I also painted “Party Barge” on the little flip-out stop sign. It was no longer the iconic red and white flashing stop sign; it was now the solid black with gold Def Leppard-esque lettering “Party Barge” on it.

SO cool.

Surprisingly, my parents said I could go. However, like all the times before when I really wanted to do something, the night before they said I couldn’t go. They got mad because the boy’s father wanted them to sign a liability waiver for me to be in the Party Barge during spring break.

I don’t remember having a fit, but I do remember being incredibly angry. My parents relented at the last-minute (there is a lot to be written about that at a later date) and the next day the “Party Barge” crew headed to Pensacola.

Pensacola was boring. We thought MTV was there. They weren’t. However, we quickly traveled a million more miles to Daytona Beach where the MTV Spring Fest was actually happening.

It was wild.

I will never forget pulling up on the beach where there were practically naked young adults and crazy old people … EVERYWHERE! I was mesmerized.

My parents weren’t. I called them … eventually … to tell them we left Pensacola and were now in Daytona. To describe them as “not happy” is an understatement.

The Blessing of Aunt Ruby

elderly young hands

This was published in June on Dr. Kathy’s
blog
. I wanted to bring it here too. Kathy wrote this as an introduction:

Summer can be a time for rich memory making. Randy’s memories can inspire you to think about what memories you are and aren’t creating for your children. Sometimes, we’re so concerned with doing things for our children, that we don’t do enough with them. And, have you told them about your grandparents and those even older? Pull up a chair, grab a piece of pie, and talk. Speaking of pie, if there was a “food smart” it appears Randy’s Aunt Ruby and Great Granny Sallie Mae had it. Warning – you may be hungry after reading this. I’m craving a juicy peach – in or out of a pie. – Kathy

When my Great Aunt Ruby passed away in 2006 it was heart-breaking news. She was a sweet soul here on Earth, an blessing to our family, and I miss her.

Aunt Ruby married my Great Uncle Boochie (Boochie is a name of endearment) who was the son of my Great Grandmother Sallie Mae. They lived with Sallie Mae. Uncle Boochie was a police officer and died relatively young from a heart attack. My Aunt Ruby definitely was a modern example of the Biblical figure of Ruth. In the Bible Ruth stayed with Naomi, her mother-in-law, out of loyalty and in the humility of service even after her husband passed. Unlike Ruth, Aunt Ruby was never to re-marry. She stayed and lived with my Great Grandmother until Great Granny passed away. It was only then that Aunt Ruby moved out on her own.