Responding To The Charge Of Apostasy

Last week a religious activist went on a syndicated Christian radio talk-show and accused me of several acts against the church and God. Their response was a negative bias-driven summation of three posts: here, here, and here. The talk-show host agreed with him, and did not stop him when he charged me from afar to “repent of apostasy” and apologize for selling out and confusing the Body of Christ.

Neither of these folks contacted me about their charges before gossiping on a national radio program about my motivations for supporting civil gay marriage equality. As a result, I feel no need to break down the show and respond to every accusation. I obviously do not agree with their judgments or conclusions.

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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.

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

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.

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Party Barge & Car Surfing In Daytona Beach (Memoir)

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.

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Don’t Hesitate, Encourage – Thoughts On Robin Williams

At first I wasn’t sure how to write about the passing of Robin Williams…. one more devastating loss (aren’t they all?) to suicide. I simply didn’t have the words till now. As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying him on he Mork & Mindy show. I have loved him in almost all of his movies, especially Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come.

Yet, he is gone. By his own hand. As many have said, “He brought the world to laughter but today he brought the world to tears.”

Suicide is a nightmare. On my old blog I wrote about my friend of 23 years (someone I dated for a little while at the beginning of our friendship) Michael committed suicide in January of 2013. I was devastated for a while after finding out. I will never forget that morning and talking with my dear friend Amira. Today I still weep for Michael, time heals and brings perspective yet there is something about suicide that always wants to haunt and question.

The suicide of a friend/loved one is one of the worst “What if?” mind-scrambles there ever was/is/could be…

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Visiting George At The Local Gayopolis

Sunday, August 3rd 2014 was the first time I had been in a gay bar in over 23 years. I went right after church to go visit my friend George (a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia) who I hadn’t seen in 27 years.

It was a trip.

Yes, it is a gay bar, it is the famous (infamous?) Parliament House (PH). It is known around the world from what I have been told. I have never been to it or even driven by it… until that Sunday.

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The Blank Sheet

Catharsis: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression (source; emphasis mine)

Kathy’s post brought back an amazing string of memories.  She wrote about helping families in need provide back to school supplies for their children. Instantly I was reminded of grade school and my writing tablets; the excitement I felt when I looked at a blank sheet of paper.

As a little kid, I loved loved loved getting new paper. I do remember crying when I first learned to write. I was incredibly afraid of the teacher, Mrs. Warren, would punish me severely if I didn’t get it just right. Of course she didn’t, and I can remember her telling me I would be alright, that I was doing a good job… and that I needed to stop crying because I had work to do. I am smiling over that last part as I type this. Mrs. Warren made time to encourage, but she was also about getting it done too. In short order, I grew to love the process of writing. Whenever I would receive a brand new stack of paper, and pens/pencils, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

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Chased, Caught

This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:

Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy

Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.

The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”

“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.

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Exciting New Book Projects (Updates and Personal Announcement)

Lately I have helped other friends with their books and that has sparked a new personal book project! I have been so excited it has been hard to sleep the past couple of nights. :)

If you are someone I am connected with on social media, you might have seen various posts lately about how I have the honor of working with Dr. Kathy Koch as she writes her new book “Screens And Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World.” So far I have done background research and given feedback on what she is writing as she writes it.

So fun.

This comes on the heels of doing the same type of content/writing feedback for another friend’s memoir, Jennifer Allison (aka The Rambunctious Kid.)

Seriously, I am loving these kind of projects.  While I haven’t been a part of his writing process, I am of course very excited for Alan Chambers who has worked very hard on his new book that is due out next year.

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The Highly Entertaining Yet Impractical Use Of An Elliptical Machine

She was kind of peddling the elliptical in a manner fitting for an elliptical machine, but that didn’t matter… girlfriend had turned it into a dance floor!

You know, when you go dancing and the floor is packed, you really don’t need a lot of square footage to get your groove on. For those of us gifted with grooviness, we don’t have to have a lot of foot action as the rhythms take over our whole body. Like it or not, pretty or not… it’s our show and away we go!

Wiggle Waggle Womp! <— I do not know exactly what that is; it just happened.

As a friend in high school said while teaching me to dance to Cameo’s Single Life, “Don’t dance to the music, let the music dance you!”

While I haven’t gone club-hopping in many moons, I was thoroughly entertained the other day by a fellow Gym Goer’s thoroughness in making sure that whatever song she was listening to got FULLY expressed through movement. While going through the motions of being on an elliptical machine, somehow she was possessed by Beyonce and delivered a gym stopping highly entertaining performance.

She had on a pair of grey spandex shorts; stretched to their maximum capacity, with an equally tight top. Her hair was piled high on top. It was Chaka Khan‘ish, and her complexion was radiant. Full figured, fully beautiful, and in full motion.

… lots and lots of motion …

She was two rows in front of me to the left. Overall, about 40 feet away. She caught everyone’s attention because with, and I am not kidding, the amount of body rolling hip swaying she was doing… it’s a bonafide miracle she didn’t fall off that machine. Not only that, even though she didn’t fall off, I was concerned she might take out the people to her right and left through second-hand centrifugal force! She was not singing out loud, but she might as well of been; her nonverbals and lip-synching would have put any Pop Princess to shame.

She was totally feeling that song. I mean feeeeeeling it … deep within her soul feeling it.

When she got to a really heated verse, out whipped the pointy-fingered-neck-swivel that let you know… she was not one to be trifled with!

I have to admit… this part of her performance made me chuckle out loud.

When she eventually climbed down off the elliptical, the concert was over. A few other gym goers actually yelled to her, “HEY! HEY!!!… what song where you listening to?” She smiled and took out her ear buds. I didn’t hear her response, but I was impressed that she didn’t act shy at all. She had a short conversation with them. Smiling, she confidently left the cardio area.

I am happy that I am not the only one to ever get busted for holding my own concert while on the elliptical machine. My specialty is air-guitar.