Monthly Archives: July 2014

Traveling

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Most of the day yesterday was spent in the car either riding or driving. I came home from Six Flags just to get back in the car and drive to West Monroe, Louisiana, the first leg of our trip to Dallas. We got settled in our hotel room at 1 am. I’m beyond tired. Tomorrow, we will drive the rest of the way to Dallas, another 4.5 hours away.


Holy Sarsaparilla, Batman!

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Six Flags Over Georgia has about six different themes to it. There is the Wild West area (Lickskillet), the British area, the American area, the Bugs Bunny area, and the Gotham City area. Most of them don’t stand out a lot from one another, but the Bugs Bunny area is for small kids, the Gotham City had all Batman themed rides and venues, and the Wild West of course had a western theme. Each area also plays different music to match the theme. The Wild West played country music the whole time, and pretty good country music at that.

I enjoyed the Wild West part of the park, mainly because they had a cute little Wild West comedy show. The humor was goofy and fun with a mixture of modern references with some older references too. The sheriff pictured above was a cutie pie. He had a great smile and a fun personality. He put on a really good show along with his deputy and the bad guy.

When we first got there we decided we wouldn’t do the Flash Pass which puts you at the head of the line, but it only took one long line until we decided otherwise. It was $30 per person but more than worth it. We got to ride a lot more rides that way. My only complaint would be that the Flash Pass should work for the food lines also. The venue where we had lunch was supposed to have a staff of 30 workers and they only had 7 working in there. We stood in line for over an hour for a (halfway) descent cheeseburger. If you are a rollercoaster junkie, then the Flash Pass is truly worth it. We didn’t ride many rollercoasters, but the Flash Pass did get us in and out quickly.

We were exhausted when we got back to the camper. My feet were killing me. Next time I walk that much, someone needs to be there to rub my feet. Any volunteers?


We Like To Party

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We Like To Party

I’ve got somethin’ to tell ya,
I’ve got news for you,
Gonna put some wheels in motion,
Get ready cause we’re comin’ through.
Hey now Hey now Hear what I say now
Happiness is just around the corner
Hey now Hey now Hear what I say now
We’ll be there for you

The Venga bus is comin’ & everybody’s jumpin’,
New York through San Francisco,
An Interstate free disco,
The wheels of steel are turnin’ and traffic lights are burnin’,
So if you like to party,
Get on and move your body

We like to party
We like we like to party
We like to party
We like we like to party

Hey now hey now hear what I say now
Happiness is just around the corner
Hey now hey now hear what I say now
We’ll be there for you

The Venga bus is comin’ & everybody’s jumpin’,
New York through San Francisco,
An Interstate free disco,
The wheels of steel are turnin’ and traffic lights are burnin’,
So if you like to party,
Get on and move your body

Mr. Six is an advertising character, first featured in a 2004–05 advertising campaign by the theme park chain Six Flags. Appearing as a bald, decrepit, wrinkled old man wearing a tuxedo and thick-framed glasses, he is usually shown stepping off a bus and inviting stressed and over-worked people to Six Flags by performing a frenetic dance to the Vengaboys song “We Like to Party”.

The first airing introduced Mr. Six as an apparently elderly, slow-moving man dressed in his trademark tuxedo and large glasses, pulling up in front of a house in a retro-style bus. The occupants of the house are sitting around the front yard apparently very bored. Mr. Six slowly shuffles off the bus, then suddenly comes to life and performs a high-energy dance routine as “We Like to Party” begins playing, and invites the bored family to Six Flags. The dance he performs borrows moves from the Melbourne Shuffle, Jumpstyle, and Techtonik. Subsequent ads showed different variations of Mr. Six dancing and inviting people to Six Flags. The role was, initially, non-speaking.
By the way, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at number 45 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever while telling the listener, “If you live within a few hundred miles of a Six Flags adventure park, you’ve heard this 4,000 times.”

I thought this song’s lyrics, essentially poetry, would be pretty appropriate considering that I will be spending the day at Six Flags.

And I will add one last thing, for those of you with young children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, Jellystone Park is a fun place for them. There was gem and fossil mining, mini golf, horseshoes, a sandbox, a pool, numerous playgrounds, an arcade, and a menagerie of animals: alligators, iguanas, monitors, boa constrictors, macaws, peacocks, tortoises, a bunny, and a pig named Daisy. There are numerous Jellystone Parks around the U.S. and Canada.


“Hey there, Boo Boo!”

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In a few hours my parents, my six year old niece, and I will be at Jellystone Park. At least I won’t have to sleep on the ground like the guy above; we will be staying in my parents rather nice RV. I’ve never been one who liked camping much, especially in a camper with my family, but it’s only for two nights. We will spend the day at Six Flags on Tuesday.

The website describes the park as:

If you like the idea of a family getaway in the great outdoors, consider Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resorts. You’ll find a range of accommodation choices – from rustic to downright luxurious – to help you plan a vacation the whole family will love. And at Jellystone Park, you’ll have access to all the amenities and activities we’re known for.

I’m sure that my niece will love it.


Prayer

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Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Perhaps the most underrated and underused power that we have available is prayer. As God’s children, we are told to go to God in prayer that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Notice how we are to come. Paul says that we are not just to come to God’s throne, but we are to come boldly to the throne of grace. Remember, God’s grace gives to us what we do not deserve. The desire of God’s heart is to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God wants us to come boldly, in faith, believing that God will do for us everything that was promised. There is no bolder step that we can take than that. We may get discouraged, but know that there is no need to be discouraged if God is in our hearts and guiding our actions.

When we go to God, we find mercy. While God’s grace is God giving to us things that we do not deserve, God’s mercy gives to us what we do deserve. In God’s mercy we find forgiveness and restoration to fellowship! Our sinful, selfish, stubborn wills are in constant conflict with God’s will for our lives. As we seek to make God’s thoughts our thoughts, God’s ways become our ways. When we look to our own devices for direction as we make our decisions, we turn from God and that is when we need God’s mercy and forgiveness. As the song “Amazing Grace” says:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

God wants to be our “first response” as opposed to our “last resort.” When we have a decision to make, God’s desire is that we come boldly to the throne for direction and guidance in that decision. Look at what Paul says, “that we may find grace to help us in time of need.” God’s guidance in our time of need is available to us if we will just avail ourselves to it!

Prayer is the key that unlocks the windows of heaven and allows God to pour out blessings into our lives! Prayer leads us from the snare of temptation to the path of righteousness. Prayer allows us to make decisions that head us in the right direction to find life that is full and abundant. Prayer moves us from where we are to the place that God would have us go. Prayer is the place where we begin to move out of our need and into the place of God’s provision.

• Maybe you’re struggling with some kind of fear. Maybe you’re waiting for a report from the doctor, and that has you worried. Or you’re afraid that you’re not going to make it financially. Or you’re afraid about something at school. For many of us who hide our sexuality from the wider world, this may constitute our greatest fear that someone may find out. I have a young friend who came to me just yesterday with worries about his sexuality and how it is perceived, even though he does not identify as gay or bisexual but as straight. My advice to him was to be open and honest with himself, not to worry about his sexuality. God tells us to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5) A simpler way to put this was seen on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi which was inscribed “Know thyself.” We must trust that God will guide us to know ourselves.
• Perhaps you are wrestling with some sort of temptation. Maybe you’ve got some kind of addiction and you can’t shake it. Or you’re thinking of doing something that you know isn’t right, but you want to do it anyway. I have a dear friend who is suffering from alcoholism. The first step to his recovery was to admit it to himself. He is going to seek treatment, and I am very proud of him.
• Or, maybe you’re in the middle of a difficult situation and you’re not quite sure what to do? You don’t know how to respond. Or you’re not sure you have what it’s going to take to deal with it. When we are in a situation like this, the only thing we can do is to turn to God for guidance.

Whatever your personal need, take it before God in prayer. There you’ll find a God who is able and willing to handle anything you’re going through. And you’ll find a God who fully identifies with you and who knows exactly how you’re feeling. And you’ll also find a God who won’t judge you, but who, instead, will give you all the grace you need. That’s God’s promise to you.


Moment of Zen: MMS

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There are things in my life that never fail to make me smile (MMS). HRH greeting me in the morning is usually one of the first. The second is usually a text from a dear friend, and he knows who he is. He always makes me smile. Each week, sometimes a few times a week, I get an email from another dear friend. I so look forward to those emails. Oh, and I can’t forget, my first cup of coffee always makes me smile. It’s a nice way to wake up, sitting out on my front porch with a cup of coffee before the heat of the day makes it unbearable to be outside. What makes you smile on a daily basis?


A Friday Funny

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Four men got together at a reunion. All of them had sons and they started discussing them.

The first man said his son was doing so well, he now owned a factory, manufacturing furniture. Why, just the other day he gave his best friend a whole house full of brand new furniture.

The second man said his son was doing just as well. He was a manager at a car sales firm. Why, just the other day he gave his best friend a Ferrari.

The third man said his was doing well too. He was a manager at a bank. Why just the other day he gave his best friend the money to buy a house.

The fourth man just shook his head. He said his son was gay and may not have amounted to much, but he must be doing something right because just the other day he was given a house, furniture, and a Ferrari by his friends!

I do love a good joke on occasion. Happy Friday everyone!


Gays Are Possessed?

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Holy Fire Ministries founder Bert Farias penned an eyebrow-raising piece about the LGBT community in Charisma magazine, arguing that homosexuality is “demonic” and will have “destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences.”

In his piece, Farias asks LGBT people and advocates to “please do not get upset with me. I am for you and not against you.” In fact, he adds, he is “actually trying to help” people with same-sex attraction. How can LGBT people and advocates not get angry over these ridiculous statements. As an LGBT Christian, I am more than angry: I am furious. I have said it before and I will say it again, those who spread hate and fear and not doing the work of God, but he work of satan and all that is evil.

The piece, which is titled “The Raw, Naked Truth About Homosexuality,” continues:

[Homosexuality] is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.

There is an account in the Bible where Jesus casts out 2,000 demons out of a man. The demons came out screaming and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. The pigs didn’t want them, so they ran down a steep hill and were drowned in the sea. Pigs have more sense than some humans. People embrace homosexual demons, but the pigs would rather die than be possessed with demons.

It also bothers me that he misquotes the Bible. The Bible never says that the man (in Mark it is one; in Matthew it is two men) is possessed by 2,000 demons. The demon tells Jesus in Mark 5:9 “And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”” No number is mentioned, and unless I am missing something, during this time period, a Legion would usually signify 5,400, the number of men in a Roman Legion. Furthermore, there is debate on what the demons asked Jesus to do with them. Most biblical scholars seem to believe that they were begging Jesus to allow them to possess the pigs than be returned to hell. The verses don’t say that the pigs fled from the demons, but that the demons possessed the pigs and drowned themselves in the sea. It’s a simple story that the misguided Bert Farias couldn’t even relate correctly. Why would anyone believe anything a so-called minister would say when he doesn’t even know what the Bible itself says.

Farias further argues that homosexuality is not “biologically right or natural” and a choice, he adds:

If being gay was natural, two men or two women could produce a baby, but they can’t. Their sexual reproductive organs do not complement each other therefore making it impossible for them to procreate. It can never be natural for two men or two women to get married and live together. Our culture’s acceptance and celebration of gay behavior will never make it right. Wrong is wrong no matter how many people are for it. And right is right no matter how many people are against it. Homosexuality is not new. It’s been around for thousands of years. It’s as old as the devil himself.

First of all, the Bible tells us that only the weak will have children, for they are weak of the flesh and part of the world Nd cannot exercise self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 says “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Notice that he says some have the gift of singleness and some the gift of marriage. Although it seems that nearly everyone marries, it is not necessarily God’s will for everyone. Paul, for example, did not have to worry about the extra problems and stresses that come with marriage and/or family. He devoted his entire life to spreading the Word of God. He would not have been such a useful messenger if he had been married. God gave us a gift, the gift of loving someone of the same sex. Some of us will have children; some of us will not. But God gave us all special talents and we should use them according to God’s word.


Back Home…For A Few Days

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I’m back home for the rest of this week. I’ll have to go to school on Saturday for a workday. Hopefully, my classroom will be painted. All I have to do is supervise parents, but I still have to go in and get things ready for the new school year.

Then Monday, I will be taking my niece to Six Flags with my parents. I love spending time with my niece, my parents drive me crazy though and I’m not a big fan of amusement parks, especially the rides. I’m not much of a thrill seeker.

On the same day I get back from Six Flags, I will be heading to Dallas. Then it’s just one week before school begins. Where has my summer gone?!?!? It came and went in a flash.


When We Two Parted

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When We Two Parted
By George Gordon Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well–
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met–
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?–
With silence and tears.

In a letter to a friend in 1809, Byron wrote (probably facetiously) that he was going to Turkey to do research for a treatise “Sodomy simplified or Paederasty proved to be praiseworthy from ancient authors and modern practice”. Like all jokes, this must have had an edge of truth to be funny.

At Cambridge, Byron had fallen deeply in love with a choirboy, John Edelston. Byron wrote several poems that scholars believe were written to and about John, calling him “Thyrza”. One of the Thyrza poems, written after John had died, indicates in the words: “The pressure of the thrilling hand, the kiss, so guiltless and refined, that Love each warmer wish forbore”, that their physical contact had been restricted to hand-holding and kissing. He later referred to it as a passion “violent though pure”. Even much later in life, after the “Thyrza” poems had become very famous and popular, Byron refused to say who they were addressed to and changed the pronouns from masculine to feminine to conceal that this doomed but lifelong passion was for a man.

After two years of being Byron’s “almost constant associate since October 1805”, John had to move away from Cambridge to London and Byron wrote to a woman friend, Elizabeth Pigot, about his heartbreak, saying that he was planning to live with his “protégé” after he had completed his studies, which would “put Lady E. Butler & Miss Ponsonby to the Blush, Pylades & Orestes out of countenance, & want nothing but a Catastrophe like Nisus and Euryalus, to give Johnathon & David the ‘go by’ “. These are all same-sex passionate relationships.

However, some time later John wrote a very courteous and formal letter to Byron asking for his help in getting a job. They had never met again.

While Byron was on his travels in Turkey, Albania, and Greece he wrote to Matthews frequently about his sexual conquests of boys using a coded term based on Latin “plen. et optabil. –Coit.” (Frequent and desired intercourse). He reported that he was amusing himself with “a Sopha to tumble upon” with a Greek boy called Eustathius who had “ambrosial curls hanging down his amiable back”.

It has been argued (with very little evidence)that while in the East, Byron was a lover of Ali Pasha or his son, Veli Pasha, rulers of Albania and the Peloponessus. They were very friendly and hospitable to Byron and Veli Pasha did give him a beautiful white horse.

Byron’s relationships with friends of both sexes seem to have been shadowed by jealousy and possessiveness. John Cam Hobhouse considered himself to be Byron’s “best friend” and in many ways was, travelling with him, assisting him legally and financially and finally burying him. There is no trace of sexuality between them.

Byron and Shelley became very close friends in the summer of 1816 in Switzerland. They sailed around Lake Leman together visiting the locations of a romantic novel written by Rousseau called “La Nouvelle Heloise”. One afternoon they exchanged roses. This was rhapsodically memorialized by Shelley in his journal where he referred to Byron, anonymously, as “my companion”.

While he was visiting Byron in Venice several years later, Shelley was shocked by Byron’s ostentatiously erotic lifestyle and remarked in a letter to a friend in England that some of his street pick-ups had “lost the gait and physiognomy of men”. This has been interpreted to mean they were cross-dressers. Shelley was also outraged that Byron bargained with parents for the services of their daughters.

The last poems Byron wrote were found among his papers after his sudden death. They indicated that he had fallen painfully and guiltily in love with a fifteen year old Greek boy named Loukas Chalandritsanos. Byron gave him money, fancy uniforms and the command of a regiment. As far as is known there was no physical contact between them.

Byron is known to have had sex with at least 300 women.

So the verdict is bisexual, although such distinctions were not explicit at the time. I think “hyper-sexual” covers it.

I’m heading back to Alabama and I guess back in the closet for a while. It’s been a good vacation, but it’s time to go back and face reality.


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