Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why I Teach

20130929-211505.jpg

I read this quote on another blog, and it sums up so well why I teach.

“For me, teaching is about love. It is not about transferring information, but rather creating an atmosphere of mystery and imagination and discovery. When I begin to lose myself because of some unresolved pain or fears or the overpowering feelings of shame, then I no longer teach . . . I deliver information and I think I become irrelevant then.”

Since I teach at a small private in the South, I make very little money. I continue to teach at a private school because I am not allowed to get a teacher’s certificate to teach in Alabama’s public schools because I don’t hold an education degree. My degrees are all in history. When people find out, just how little I make as a teacher, they are often shocked and the response is usually, “You must really love teaching.” The truth is that I do love teaching. As the quote above says, “It is not about transferring information, but rather creating an atmosphere of mystery and imagination and discovery.” I love my job; I love my coworkers; and I love my students, no matter how aggravating they can be.

I would love to be somewhere besides Alabama so that I could live in an environment that is more LGBT-friendly. I don’t expect to live in Alabama forever, but with the current job market for history teachers, I do have a job with which I am happy. When I find a job in a more LGBT-friendly environment, then I’d weigh my options and consider it, but for now, I am happy. For now, I will continue working on finishing my dissertation, so that I can complete my Ph.D.

By the way, tomorrow, I go back to court for my speeding ticket. I called the court to get it continued because it was going to be incredibly difficult for my witness to get off work; however, the clerk of the court refused to continue my trial because, technically, the district attorney had already continued it once. I find it an incredibly dirty trick by the DA who set the original trial for the afternoon of the first hearing knowing that it was unlikely for the state trooper to be there, because now he was able to have full control of when the trial would be and I would not be able to continue it, no matter how inconvenieced my witness or I would be. I may not win, but I will have my day in court. I teach my students all the time about our rights and the equal justice of our judicial system. I am putting my faith in the fact that justice will prevail and an innocent man can actual prove his innocence, even if the DA and the clerks office treats me as if I am already guilty.


The Great Commission

20130928-205143.jpg

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28: 16-20

Since I have been writing about my religion, beliefs, and faith on this blog, I have often encountered those who either do not understand how a relatively intelligent person could still have faith or how I could remain faithful when so many “so-called” Christians spew hateful messages against the LGBT community. The evil spewed by people who call themselves Christians, yet do not follow the teachings of Christ, leaves a bad taste int he mouth of many in the LGBT community. Bad experiences can turn people from their faith, but I have kept mine and encourage my readers to keep theirs. For me, any person who calls themselves a Christian, yet spews hate and judgment, are not true Christians and their behavior is unforgivable. Instead of following the “Great Commission” to bring others to Christ, they are driving people away. Therefore, in my humble opinion, they are doing Satan’s work, not the work of God.

I am not a Christian because I believe that Christians have a monopoly on moral values and righteous living. I believe that all religions have their place, and all religions and ethical philosophies that I have studied have at their heart the ethics of reciprocity, more commonly known as the golden rule (One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself). I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. My faith has been made even stronger by the wonderful church community in which I was raised.

20130928-205343.jpg

It is not up to us to prove that Christians have the exclusive rights moral behavior. However, what we should do is to encourage those around us to keep the faith and allow Jesus into our lives. W e need him and he can bring us great comfort. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, does not mean that they follow the teachings of Christ. Christianity is not about “being holier than thou,” but instead, it’s about Christ. It is about God’s infinite love.

By not focusing on the behavior of other Christians, we can focus on the most important thing: Jesus Christ. When we talk to others about our faith, we should have to defend Christianity, we should talk about our personal faith, because we are the Christian we know best.


Moment of Zen: Goofy Guys

20130927-201715.jpg

Whether they are just dorky, or they like to make funny faces, a goofy guy is just fun to be around. When your down or just in an all around bad mood, a goofy guy can bring you out of it. I usually don’t elaborate on my “Moments of Zen” and I just let the pictures speak for themselves, but today, I just thought I should add a little bit of commentary.

I guess I can be a bit goofy at times too. When a situation gets serious, I try to break the tension with a laugh. What can always get you out of a bad mood?


The Joys of Babysitting

20130926-230818.jpg

Last night for the first time, my sister let me babysit my niece who turns six years old today. I’ve never understood why my sister does not let me babysit, but she never has. It’s always kind of hurt my feelings, but after my mother made a big deal over it, she finally asked me to babysit while she and her husband went out for their anniversary. It’s hard to believe that she’s been married to that asshole for fifteen years.

My niece was so excited to have Uncle Joe spending the evening with her that she was beside herself with anticipation. She loves her Uncle Joe almost as much as I love her. When I got there she wanted to play school. She is obviously liking school, even if her parents were afraid she wouldn’t. Why else would she want to play school, if she didn’t enjoy it? So we played school; I cooked supper; we watched a little Disney Jr; we drew shapes and pictures; and I read to her. We had a fantastic time.

I was exhausted when I left, but also exhilarated at getting a chance to spend some one-on-one time with my beautiful, sweet, and intelligent niece. We had such a great time. I love that little girl.

P.S. The picture above is of Ryan Phillippe with his daughter Ava Elizabeth, spending quality time out at the beach.


TMI QUESTIONS: I’M FALLING FOR YOU

20130926-055141.jpg

I’M FALLING FOR YOU
How does Fall rank on your list of favorite seasons?

Fall is my favorite season. My birthday is in fall, but most importantly, I love the weather. Alabama usually has wonderful fall weather. It’s cooler without being cold, and the scorching heat is pretty much gone. I also love the beauty of the fallen leaves.

2. What are your favorite fall fashions?

Browns and other earth tones tend to look good on my with my olive complexion and brown hair and brown eyes. Also, since I usually don’t wear short sleeve button-up shirts, it’s nice to be able to wear long sleeve shirts in relative comfort.

3. What are your favorite fall foods?

I love hearty soups and stews during the fall. A good chili or Brunswick stew are my favorites. They just seem to fit with fall for me. There are also a few foods that I can only get at this time of year, such as fresh green boiled peanuts, chestnuts, and scuppernongs. Yummy one and all.

4. Have you ever FALLEN and couldn’t get up?

Thankfully, no.

5. Fall is the start of the new TV season, which show are you most anticipating?

I’m really looking forward to the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory tonight.

6. What fall activities like apple picking, hiking, foliage trips, do you enjoy or plan on doing?

None of the above, but I will go to some football games. In Alabama, that is the quintessential fall activity.

7. Halloween is __________.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Halloween parties are so much fun, and I love decorating for Halloween.

8. Do you dress up for Halloween?

It’s not a Halloween if you don’t dress up. This year I’m going as a Scotsman in a kilt. Anybody want to guess what will be under my kilt. Hopefully, someone will want to find out.

9. Do you have daylight savings time where you live?

Yes, and unlike most people, I enjoy the days getting shorter and darkness coming earlier. I’m such a night person.

10. Thanksgiving is __________.

Thanksgiving is delicious and filled with what I’m most thankful for, my family.

11. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Without a doubt, my favorite Thanksgiving food is pecan pie. Though if the dressing is good, I love that too.

BONUS
Do you FALL asleep after sex? Have you FALLEN out of bed while having sex?

Since my refractory period is usually relatively short, I’m usually ready to go again instead of falling a sleep. However, I certainly don’t mind curling up in a man’s arms after sex.

I’ve never fallen out of bed during sex.


First Openly Gay Circuit Court Judge In History

20130924-225525.jpg

From the Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The Senate made history on Tuesday by voting to confirm Todd Hughes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Hughes, who was confirmed 98 to 0, is the nation’s first openly gay circuit judge. He has been a deputy director in the civil division of the Justice Department since 2007.

Unlike some of President Barack Obama’s other key judicial nominees — namely those for theD.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — Hughes cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote. With Hughes now confirmed, that leaves 13 judicial nominees awaiting Senate votes: two D.C. Circuit Court nominees and 11 district court nominees.

Many of those nominees will likely sail to confirmation after their votes in the Senate. But Republicans are holding up the votes, allowing them proceed at a pace of about one to two nominees per week, said a senior Democratic aide.

Before Obama came into office, the Senate used to clear the calendar of non-controversial judicial nominees at the end of every work period, said the aide, but Republicans “won’t do that anymore.”

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pushed back on the idea that Republicans are holding up anyone. Four of the 13 nominees were only reported out of committee last week, he said, and the others were reported out within two weeks of the August recess.

“So in Senate time, [they] have only been on the calendar about a month, which is not long at all,” Stewart said. “Plus, we’ve been moving judges since we came back in. None have been on the calendar since before a huge group came out of committee on July 18. There are no long-wait nominees at all.”

The Obama administration regularly boasts of the diversity of its candidates in its push to get them confirmed. Of the 13 pending nominees, nine are women and four are African-American. And, like Hughes, some of them would make history if confirmed. Debra Brown would be the first African-American district judge in the Northern District of Mississippi, and Landya McCafferty, Susan Watters and Elizabeth Wolford would be the first female district judges in their districts (New Hampshire, Montana and the Western District of New York, respectively).

“Many of the president’s circuit judges have broken new diversity barriers — including three Hispanic, two Asian-American, and one African-American — who are ‘firsts,’ in their respective courts,” White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler wrote in a blog post shortly after the vote.

“The judiciary will better reflect the nation it serves, instilling even greater public confidence in our justice system,” Ruemmler wrote. “We look forward to the “seconds” and “thirds” who will come after Todd Hughes and his fellow “firsts” currently serving on our courts.


Nothing Gold Can Stay

20130923-215349.jpg

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost wrote a number of long narrative poems like “The Death of the Hired Man,” and most of his best-known poems are medium-length, like his sonnets “Mowing” and “Acquainted with the Night,” or his two most famous poems, both written in four stanzas, “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” But some of his most beloved poems are famously brief lyrics—like “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” which is condensed into only eight lines of three beats each (iambic trimeter), four little rhyming couplets containing the whole cycle of life, an entire philosophy.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” achieves its perfect brevity by making every word count, with a richness of meanings. At first, you think it’s a simple poem about the natural life cycle of a tree:

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.”

But the very mention of “gold” expands beyond the forest to human commerce, to the symbolism of wealth and the philosophy of value. Then the second couplet seems to return to a more conventional poetic statement about the transience of life and beauty:

“Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.”

But immediately after that we realize that Frost is playing with the multiple meanings of these simple, mostly single syllable words—else why would he repeat “leaf” like he’s ringing a bell? “Leaf” echoes with its many meanings—leaves of paper, leafing through a book, the color leaf green, leafing out as an action, as budding forth, time passing as the pages of the calendar turn….

“Then leaf subsides to leaf.”

As the Friends of Robert Frost at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Vermont point out, the description of colors in the first lines of this poem is a literal depiction of the spring budding of willow and maple trees, whose leaf buds appear very briefly as golden-colored before they mature to the green of actual leaves.

Yet in the sixth line, Frost makes it explicit that his poem carries the double meaning of allegory:

“So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.”

He is retelling the history of the world here, how the first sparkle of any new life, the first blush of the birth of mankind, the first golden light of any new day always fades, subsides, sinks, goes down.

“Nothing gold can stay.”

Frost has been describing spring, but by speaking of Eden he brings fall, and the fall of man, to mind without even using the word. That’s why we chose to include this poem in our seasonal collection of poems for autumn rather than spring.


Sleepy Hollow

20130922-191808.jpg

Most of us are familiar with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a short story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Irving is one of my favorite early American authors, and my English students and I just read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” I even showed them the old Disney cartoon, which surprisingly follows the story very closely. It was written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, and was first published in 1820. Along with Irving’s companion piece “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity.

It’s popularity has led to Fox creating a modern retelling in its new series “Sleepy Hollow.” I watched it for the first time last night. I had DVRed it last Monday and just got the chance to watch it. I really enjoyed it.

In the Fox show, Ichabod Crane “dies” during a mission for General George Washington in 1781. He awakens in 2013 Sleepy Hollow, New York, but so does the Headless Horseman, whose head Ichabod chopped off before his perceived death. The horseman begins his nightly killing spree, and Ichabod must partner with Lt. Abbie Mills.

Abbie investigates the horseman after he kills the sheriff (Clancy Brown). While hunting the horseman, Abbie looks into the old case files her late partner (the former sheriff) was investigating and learns of two types of occult groups—one for good, the other evil—which may have summoned the horseman again. If the horseman is not stopped, dark supernatural forces will affect the Earth. This becomes more difficult as the Horseman discovers modern weaponry, which he assimilates into his ritualistic hunt. Ichabod must also adjust to the societal and technological differences of the 21st century.

The headless horseman is revealed to be Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse described in the Book of Revelation.

As Abbie is a black woman, Crane’s worldview from 18th century Colonial America causes some friction with her, and also the people he must now work with. Given the fact that he is, and states he is from, the time of the American Revolution, local law enforcement see him as a madman but useful in hunting the horseman.

20130922-191959.jpg

On the second episode (it nabbed 10 million viewers with its Sept. 16 premiere), Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones) and Lieutenant Abbie Mills are trying to make sense of the new mystery man about town, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). Meanwhile, Ichabod is trying to wrap his brain around such modern marvels as hair dryer, coffee maker, and indoor plumbing. The TV gives him a good jolt too. Check it out in the following clip from “Blood Moon,” which airs tonight at 9 p.m. I recommend watching it, and if you haven’t seen The first episode, you should try to catch it online before the second one airs.

When Ichabod finally does getting around to putting on his shirt in the episode (Tom Mison is good looking enough by himself for me to watch the show), he and Abbie go on the hunt for a centuries-old vengeful witch who “has been awoken by unknown evils and is on a path of destruction.”

Sounds scary. My only criticism is that I would have preferred that the Headless Horseman continue to use his ax, instead of using modern weapons such as machine guns. However,Tom Mison is worth watching as Ichabod Crane. He may not be the frightened Ichabod of Irving’s original story, but the show takes an interesting twist on the legend.


Remember Who We Are

20130921-221051.jpg

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Mark 10:13-16

When Michelangelo created a sculpture, he could see the sculpture within the marble before he began. When asked how he created a piece of sculpture, he answered that the sculpture already existed in the marble. God had already created the Pieta, David, and Moses, Michelangelo saw his job as getting rid of the excess marble to reveal God’s creation.

We are the same way. We don’t need to create the perfect “self,” God has already created it. Our perfect self is God’s unconditional love that lives within us. Our job is to allow the Holy Spirit to remove the fearful thinking, limiting beliefs, wrong conclusions about the past, and any other negatives that surround our perfect self, just as Michelangelo removed the excess marble to create his perfect sculptures.

God’s love for His children reaches beyond our behavior, our circumstances and our sin. In her book A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson writes:

To remember that we are part of God, that we are loved and loveable, is not arrogant. It’s humble. To think we are anything else is arrogant, because it implies that we’re something other than a creation of God. Nothing we have ever done or will do can mar our perfection in the eyes of God. We are deserving in God’s eyes because of what we are, not because of what we do.

What we do or don’t do is not what determines our essential value. It may determine our personal growth, but not our value. That is why God approves and accepts us as LGBT Christians. We were not created in sin; we were created in love.

In reality, our personal spiritual journey, is not so much a journey toward as it is a return to love. It is that same pure, simple, guiltless, perfect love that we came into the world possessing. It’s time to “remember who we are.” We should turn to God and exercise our free will by telling Him that we are willing to look at our lives, our circumstances, our feelings, our relationships differently. This “different look,” with consistent focus and intention, will allow the Holy Spirit to being healing light into our heart and mind. This light will dissolve away all that is not truth, all that is not love, returning us to the true essence of Christ, being one with Him. Then we will experience God’s peace, the peace that cannot be put into words.

We need to remind ourselves that God created us in love and in His image. We have everything we need to overcome the fears that have accumulated in our lives. Through God, we have access to the wellspring of perfect love.


Moment of Zen: Six Pack

20130920-205619.jpg

Sometimes, all I need is that little bitty glimpse, and all is right with the world. Then again, maybe I’m just pathetically horny.


A Gay Christian Life

Love is Love <3

BosGuy

The life and interests of a gay, urban professional from Boston

myhusband&i

two guys making out & trying to make it

NAKd.life Opus

Real men. Really NAKd.

Jamie Fessenden's Blog

The musings of a gay fiction author

Recked with Finn West

"Your body, naturist & lifestyle blog"

Sex, Love, Xander

The Ins & Outs of Being Out

Stumbling Through Life

the struggles of a Pansexual Christian

jackiperrette

exploring life, writing & alternative romance

gaygeeks.wordpress.com/

Authors, Artists, Geeks, Husbands

A Queens' Queen in Exile

Memoirs on the death of camp

Kade Boehme

Southern boy...hold the charm...extra sass.

The Amazon Iowan

Blog of Author Heidi Cullinan • full website at heidicullinan.com

Lust Spiel Magazine

Gay literature meets gay art meets much more

Mia Kerick

Love is What I See

The Novel Approach Reviews

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

badass theology

very reformed. very christian. very gay.