Monthly Archives: July 2014

Down the Bayou

20140720-234526-85526009.jpg

I’m still down in bayou country. I had planned to head back yesterday, but my friend begged me to stay a few more days, so I’m heading back home on Tuesday. It’s gonna make for a busy week once I get back, but it will be okay. I enjoying my stay and being able to hang out with one of my best friends and see a few other friends during the meantime.

I’m not sure what the plan is for today. It was mentioned that we would do something, but no specifics were mentioned. I guess we will play it by ear. I kind of enjoy a vacation in which nothing is expected and you can just go with the flow. Whatever we do, we will have a great time doing it, even if it’s just relaxing at the house.

And just a word of warning to anyone who might visit south Louisiana and Cajun country, if something ever says hot and spicy, it’s always has more than just a little kick to it. I enjoy spicy foods, but I like to be able to taste the food, not have my taste buds burned off with the first bite. However, if you are a lover of hot and spicy foods, you will no doubt love Cajun cuisine and the heat they add to nearly all other foods.


Walking in Sunlight

20140719-162744-59264564.jpg

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:5-10

Heavenly Sunlight
by Will­iam Kirk­pat­rick and Hen­ry Gil­mour

Walking in sunlight all of my journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
Promise divine that never can fail.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the Light, in Him is no darkness;
Ever I’m walking close to His side.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing His praises gladly I’m walking,
Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

This is one song and biblical text that I believe needs no further explanation. God is light and he will never forsake us. And when we see the beautiful sunlight, we should sing his praises because he is shining down on us.


Moments of Zen: Daiquiris and No Closets

20140719-011759-4679038.jpg

One of the great things about cruises and Louisiana is that there is lots of sugar and where lots of sugar cane is grown, there is usually lots of rum. And when it’s hot and humid, the best thing is a rum filled fruity and frozen daiquiri. We went through a drive-thru daiquiri place in Thibodaux called Norm’s, which makes delicious daiquiris. We laughed and giggled over many of the names: butter butt, bend over, pink panty pull down, etc. Nearly all of them are delicious. I had the Pixie Stick, which was a mix of grape and cherry and actually tasted like a pixie stick.

20140719-011823-4703416.jpg

Anyway, it’s always great down here, because I never have to worry about being openly gay. Everyone I know here knows. There’s no reason to hide it, and I can totally be out and in the open and say and do whatever I want. I can have a fruity drink if I want without someone questioning my masculinity. I can flirt with men and when a hot guy comes on TV or walks by us, I can actually say, “Mmmm, damn” and my friend just says “Ooh, you made the Joe noise. I miss that.” I can be myself and that’s the greatest moment of zen I can imagine.


Hank Williams Special

20140718-000557-357713.jpg

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh, my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file’ gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux to Fontainebleau, the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, and go hog wild, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file’ gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file’ gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

“Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Hank Williams that was first released in July 1952. Named for a Creole and Cajun dish, jambalaya, it spawned numerous cover versions and has since achieved popularity in a number of music genres. Yesterday, my friend and I went to have lunch at a restaurant in Thibodaux called The Half Shell. I’ve had lunch there many times and my favorite thing to order is the “Hank Williams Special,” which of course is a dish of jambalaya, crawfish pie, and file gumbo. It is always absolutely delicious. I love the little fried crawfish pies which have a creamy crawfish sauce on top.

Williams’ song resembles “Grand Texas”, a Cajun French song, in melody only. “Grand Texas” is a song about a lost love, a woman who left the singer to go with another man to “Big Texas”. However, “Jambalaya”, while maintaining a Cajun theme, is about life, parties and stereotypical food of Cajun cuisine. The protagonist leaves to pole a pirogue – a flat-bottomed boat – down the shallow water of the bayou, to attend a party with his girlfriend Yvonne, and her family. At the feast they have Cajun cuisine, notably Jambalaya, crawfish pie and filé gumbo and drink liquor from fruit jars. Yvonne is his “ma chaz ami-o”, which is Cajun French for “my good girlfriend” (“ma chère amie” in French). Williams uses the term “ma chaz ami” as one word, thus the “my” in front of it. The “o” at the end of “ami” is a poetic/lyrical device making the line match the phrasing of the previous line and rhyme with it.

Williams composed a sequel to the song from the female perspective, “I’m Yvonne (Of the Bayou)”, with Jimmy Rule. It was not as popular. As with “Jambalaya” there is speculation that Williams may have purchased this song from Mullican.

Later researched by a member of Moon Mullican’s family, a story emerged about how the song came about in the first place, and it was said that while visiting a small bar located just south of the Choupique Bayou and owned by Yvonne Little, the song “Jambalaya” referred to some truly wonderful times had there.

Thibodaux, where I am this week, is mentioned in Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)”. It is not the only song that mentions the town of Thibodaux. In 1972 Leon Russell had the song “Cajun Love Song” in which Thibodaux is mentioned. Also, in the 1970s Jerry Reed song “Amos Moses,” in the 1990s George Strait song “Adalida,” in Dan Baird’s 1992 song “Dixie Beauxderaunt,” the 1999 Jimmy Buffett song “I will Play for Gumbo,” the 2008 Toby Keith song “Creole Woman,” and its name is the title of a song by jazz songstress Marcia Ball.


I’m Here

20140717-080207-28927723.jpg

Though traffic was hell yesterday, and I made a few stops along the way, I made it to my friend’s house in Thibodaux, Louisiana, just fine. After I got here, we went out to eat at a lovely restarant called Fremin’s. We got a bottle of wine, and I ordered the duck and andouille gumbo as a starter and had the shrimp artichoke pasta for the main course. It was truly delicious.

After dinner, we decided to get some more wine and just relax at the house and watch and old movie. So we watched To Catch A Thief. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a Cary Grant movie. After the movie, we were both tired and decided to go to bed.


Roadtrip!

20140715-230654-83214761.jpg

If all goes well, I will begin a seven hour road trip about 10 am this morning. I’m going to visit a dear friend of mine from graduate school. She and her husband live in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and I do love to visit. I just wish it wasn’t so far away. I will be staying about five days, and maybe I will get to go to New Orleans some while I’m down there. The last time I was down was just before the aborted cruise and my aunt’s death back in January.

Truthfully, I could probably make it in less than seven hours, but if I drive a long time, my legs have been known to cramp and I have to get out of the car and walk around some. Also, I will stop on the way down at Lenny’s Sub Shop in Mobile. It’s my favorite sandwich shop, but I will have to decide: do I want the grilled chicken philly or the regular philly cheesesteak? Decisions, decisions….

I will continue to post while I’m gone, so if anything really interesting happens, I’ll let you know.


We Two Boys Together Clinging

20140715-000556-356949.jpg

“We Two Boys Together Clinging”
By Walt Whitman

WE two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making,
Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching,
Arm’d and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving.
No law less than ourselves owning, sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.

Walt Whitman’s poem “We Two Boys Together Clinging” is often identified as a poem of homosexual love, a label breeched from its title and the history of its author. Other scholars insist the poem represents a unique concept of the brotherhood of two young men, forged by the experiences of war. In either interpretation, the poem paints a portrait of masculinity through its setting of soldiering during the Civil War (1861–1865). Whitman’s poetry, including “We Two Boys Together Clinging”, was written before the “unspoken love” of homosexuality had a name to be spoken of. The context of the poem recalls the camaraderie of men through the challenges and ruggedness of this American war. Enveloping the romance of soldiering, the lines of the poem easily echo the ancient wars of the Romans as much as modern and contemporary wars through which notions of pride, glory, and masculinity are still associated. Whitman’s portrayal of this intense companionship developed from “excursions making” and “sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening …” often leaves the reader with notions of survival, learned (or inherited) skill, manipulating the enemy, strength of body and intelligence, and the pursuit of adventure—all aspects society traditionally perceive as masculine.

In “We Two Boys Together Clinging,” a duo of young boys goes parading through various towns of the North and the South, taking part in numerous loud and obnoxious activities such as drinking, thieving, and enjoying public power; all the time, the boys never left each other’s side. According to Charles M. Oliver in his Critical Companion to Walt Whitman, with the last line, the speaker reveals that the two boys are homosexual and that they have been marauding places for food and to see the shocked faces of the people when they recognize their homosexuality.

Normally, Whitman would write about the “self” or the “everyman,” but it’s unlikely that either of these are strongly involved in “We Two Boys Together Clinging.” The story itself is not really self-enhancing because the speaker does not refer to anything that sets up a sense of fulfillment. The boys merely travel from location to location, scrounging for food and laughs, but they do not lead full lives. In fact, their lives are hallow and lacking, and they should be, at least, trying to build a solid relationship with each other to base their adventures less on necessity and more on friendship. The “everyman,” however, is slightly prevalent in the people the boys visit, like the priests, because religion was a large basis for the lives of the common citizen.


Oil Change and Road Trips

20140714-000553-353670.jpg

Today, I have to go get an oil change for my car. Over the next few weeks, I will be making several trips and I need my car in top shape, besides, it’s kind of past time to get my oil changed. This week, I will be heading to visit a friend in Louisiana. We always have fun together and I haven’t been in a while. She’s been having some emotional and health difficulties, and I really need to go visit. I will probably be down there from Wednesday until Sunday.

Then I will have a week at home, before I take my niece to Six Flags. As soon as I get back from Atlanta, I will be heading to Dallas for a few days. Then it will just be one more week until school starts back.

I’d hoped I’d be someplace different for this next school year, but it looks as if I will be back at the same place. I haven’t heard anything from any of the schools I applied to teach at next year.

Just for fun, here is another pic of the guy above working on a car.

20140714-000625-385870.jpg

I think I’d trust him to work on my car, especially if I could just sit and watch. My tires do need to be checked too.

20140714-000654-414988.jpg


Honor

20140712-204614-74774230.jpg

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4

Parents of LGBT children usually can be classified into three groups: accepting, ambiguous, or rejecting. It is my hope that one day, all parents will fall into that first category of accepting parents. Accepting parents love and accept us for who we are; they accept our homosexuality; and they accept our significant others of the same sex. They support us 100 percent and without reservation. In my experience, accepting parents are rare, but they are becoming less rare as LGBT become more accepted by society. My parents fall into the second group, which is harder to define. Some of these ambiguous parents are like my mother, who knows I’m gay but is in complete denial. Other parents in this category are just completely ambiguous. They love us and accept us, but they aren’t comfortable discussing it and would rather not know about our love life. When your parents are ambiguous about accepting or rejecting your sexuality, you never know how they are going to react to anything. The third group of parents are those who completely reject their children for being gay. They kick their child out of their life completely. No support, no communication, nothing, because they simply reject the notion of accepting their child for being homosexual.

For LGBT Christians in the last two groups, the dilemma of honoring and obeying our parents weighs heavy on our hearts. According to the relationship, it may be easier to respect the ambiguous parents, but nearly impossible to respect the rejecting parents. Not only are we rejected by our parents but often by our churches. Preachers never miss an opportunity to remind us that, as Christians, we “HAVE to honor our fathers and mothers”, apparently, and according to their thinking, no matter what. Certainly none of us wants to break one of the Ten Commandments. But the idea of rewarding abusive, rejecting, or ambiguous parents with honor and obedience seems completely irrational, and contradictory to just about everything else written in the Bible, where evildoers are never honored, but punished time and again. This is God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping (Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8), that those who do wrong will not benefit from their wickedness, but suffer the natural consequences of their actions.

The thought of our parents may be uplifting for some but devastating for others, but most ministers preach that God has commanded all Christians to honor their parents with no exception clause, as Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church said in a sermon explaining what the Fifth Commandment means and involves. “It’s very simple: honor your father and mother. And there’s no fine print and no footnotes. There’s no exception clause for those of us who have had horrific experiences in the hands of our parents,” said Driscoll. A very dear friend of mine, the one I mentioned the other day who faced adversity during his years in college, heard a similar sermon last Sunday. He was devastated by these words. Why was he devastated? Because he had been raised by parents who allowed his older brother to beat and abuse him growing up. If that wasn’t bad enough, when he came out to his parents several years ago, they completely rejected him. They let his brother beat him severely, and they have refuse any contact with him since that day. How can he be expected to honor and obey his parents when all of God’s other laws says that they are not worthy? The truth is Driscoll and others are wrong about there being “no fine print and no footnotes.” My friend has faced serious depression and anxiety issues, but he pulled himself together had with the help of friends and his amazing resilience and fortitude, returned to college and finished his degree with no help or guidance from his parents. I chat explain how proud I am of him and how much I love him. He overcame many obstacles and still struggles with how to deal with his parents’ rejection of him.

Ephesians 6:4 clearly commands “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” While many parents (Christian parents) are quick to tell their kids to honor them, they fail to do the latter. Just because children are commanded to honor their parents doesn’t give the parent the right to abuse their position. Countless children have been neglected, mistreated, abused (mentally, physically, sexually), and abandoned by their parents. As they reach adulthood they can’t fathom God instructing them to turn around and show respect to their abusers. How can we respect parents who completely reject us for who we are?

While Jesus walked this earth He gave clear instruction for believers to love their enemies and pray for those who mistreat them (Luke 6:35; 6:28). After all, Jesus did exactly that on the cross (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” Luke 23:35). So yes, we are to honor our parents whether they deserve it or not (and I will explain more about this later, keep reading). Does this mean that a person must stay in the abusive environment? No. God wants us to have life and live it abundantly/fully (John 10:10). A person can’t live a full life in bondage. To honor an abusive parent also doesn’t mean that you have to accept their abuse. If talking and reasoning won’t work with your parents, then it’s wise to remove yourself from the situation altogether.

God knows your heart and He knows how much you can bear. It’s best to pray for an abusive parent who refuses to change and love them from a distant than to continue to allow yourself to be abused. Above all, forgive them. This is more beneficial to you than it is for them. When you continue to hold on to the past you are allowing your abuser to continue to affect your life. Don’t give him/her that type of satisfaction! Unforgiveness also hinders God’s forgiveness, and ultimately His blessings. Matthew 6: 14-15 says, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”. This means that the moment a person chooses not to forgive, every sin they commit from then on will not be forgiven. Your relationship with God will suffer without forgiveness and all in all, it’s not worth it. Unforgiveness plants a seed of bitterness in a person’s heart that robs a person of joy and peace. Don’t let the enemy steal this from you! The best solution is to forgive, love that person despite everything, and pray for them. I know this is a sensitive subject for some. There are people who allow themselves to be manipulated and mistreated simply because they feel God will punish them for standing up to their parents.

For LGBT who have been rejected or physically or mentally abused by their parents, honoring your parents may be incredibly difficult. But there are other ways to honor them in God’s eyes. Even if you must divorce your parents and never see them again, it doesn’t mean that you’re dishonoring them. It just means that you accept that they are the way they are and that they’ll never change, which in truth is honoring them as people whose right it is to be everything they want to be, that you’re ok with it, and even that you still feel love for them, but you just can’t stick around for it anymore. Given the unfortunate reality of their innate hatefulness, you can still choose to set limits on them or have no contact with them, because they are destructive people. You can honor them by accepting them for who they are, not expecting change, and letting them live their own way in peace, but at the same time honor yourself and your own right to live in peace as well. Which means choosing not to be in their presence when they are abusing you.

Jesus tells us that obedience to God overrules honoring one’s parents:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12:46-50

What is God’s greatest commandment?

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Mathew 22:36-40

Jesus is certainly not ambiguous here. God is our Father; He is the parent we are to honor and obey above all others. If we have ungodly parents, then we must look to God as our only Father. Driscoll, who was completely wrong about fine print and footnotes, did say a few important things about honoring dishonorable parents. He said, “give forgiveness, this is to guard your heart from bitterness. If you don’t forgive your parents you would become like your parents… There’s a root of sin in their lives. They sinned against you and you are infected now. Forgiveness is how you are cleansed from that root of bitterness, from that infection.” If your parents have failed you, at least you can be thankful that you have a Heavenly Father, he said.

The words “father” and “mother”, as referred to when the Lord commands us to honor, mean people who took care of us, nurtured us, protected us, loved us, and still love us. Unfortunately, not all of us have had such people in our lives. They do not mean “sperm donor” and “egg donor”. It takes far more than that to qualify as a “father” or a “mother” by Biblical standards. The Bible gives us many examples of the kinds of parents God is referring to when he uses the words “father” or “mother”.

God is not telling us to honor parents who don’t deserve to be honored. It helps to remind ourselves that God does not do nonsensical, irrational, or contradictory things. He never rewards evil, and he never says anything to us that would make it easier for evil to thrive, or for parents to get away with cruelty. It doesn’t make sense that our God, who is all that is good, would tell us to encourage and reward evil. If it doesn’t make sense and we do not feel at peace in our spirit about it, then it is not from God. We need to delve a little deeper into his Word and pray for a better understanding.

The Bible is written for a broad population of God’s children, and some individuals within that population will have unique situations to which broad teachings cannot necessarily be applied. Not everything in the Bible is written for a particular circumstance. Much of what is written refers to general situations rather than specific situations.

For instance, although we are instructed to treat those who preach and teach with double honor (1 Timothy 5: 17), Jesus holds nothing back when sternly and publicly rebuking the Pharisees, who preached and taught. They were not deserving of respect and honor, and Jesus didn’t give it to them. Instead, he spoke the truth about them, took a stand against them, and openly disapproved of their hypocrisy and wickedness. He warned the people about them, telling them to be on guard against their teachings and not to believe them. He publicly rebuked them, comparing them to “white-washed tombs, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” He point-blank accused them of being hypocrites, obstructionists, phonies, full of false pride, and even called them “snakes”, a “brood of vipers” and “sons of hell”. (Matthew 16: 11-12, Matthew 23:1-36, Luke 11:37- 12: 3, Luke 18: 9-14).

In Matthew 23, Jesus speaks to the crowd about honoring the Pharisees:

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 23: 2-12

So we see that Jesus specifically instructs the people not to give any special honor to the Pharisees, because they are not deserving of it. Just as we are not to give honor to hypocritical, evil teachers and preachers, and just as we are not to obey and submit to evil rulers and authorities, neither are we to honor evil and abusive parents who are not deserving of honor.

Be enter really grateful for those accepting parents. Do the best you can with those ambiguous parents. For those rejecting parents, it is best that they are not in your life. They will only cause more distress, and as LGBT we face enough distress in our lives by all those others who reject us for who we are. Rejoice in God, for he loves us unconditionally. So not blame God for the evil that is in this world, for He is all that is good and loving. It is the devil who brings evil and hate into this world, and the only way to rid the devil from our lives is to look toward God and live our life with love and forgiveness in our hearts.

If you have not done so, I encourage you to for read Jay In VA! Us Gays – Us Christians. It’s Jay’s Story of reconciling his Christianity. http://t.co/rsZblWjPm5


Moment of Zen: Four

20140712-004224-2544825.jpg

I started this blog four years ago today, and with the exception of a few instances, I have posted everyday to this blog. I had considered making a list of my favorite posts, but instead, I decided that I would ask my readers which post is their favorite. If you have a favorite post, what was it? I’d love to know.