Monthly Archives: September 2014

Every Day

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Every Day
Written by Jeffrey Steele and Alissa Moreno
Recorded by Rascal Flatts

You could’ve bowed out gracefully
But you didn’t
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn’t
I drive myself crazy
Tryin’ to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It’s amazing to me

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

I come around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you’re comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate
I don’t know, I don’t know

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

Sometimes I swear, I don’t know if
I’m comin’ or goin’
But you always say something
Without even knowin’
That I’m hangin’ on to your words
With all of my might and it’s alright
Yeah, I’m alright for one more night-
Every day
Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day
You save me, you save me, oh, oh, oh
Every day
Every, every, every day-

Every day you save my life

Jeffrey Steele, one of the song’s co-writers, was inspired to write down the title after meeting singer Sarah Buxton at a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. Buxton told Steele about her roommate, saying “Every day, she saves my life”. Steele then went home thinking about a lyric. Later on, while at a songwriting seminar in Colorado, Steele met songwriter Alissa Moreno, who was playing a melody on the piano. Steele then sang the title that he had written alongside Moreno’s melody, they worked on the lyric and melody, and the song was completed. He then sent the song to record producer Dann Huff, who recommended the song to Rascal Flatts. The group then recorded it for their Still Feels Good album, giving Moreno her second outside cut as a songwriter.

A friend sent me the lyrics to this song in a very sweet card. In the card, he wrote about all the reasons he thought this song described me. The thing is, it really describes him from my perspective. He’s always been there for me when I was down. He’s always been their encouraging me to be a better person, and I really do try. I value our friendship and though my friend may say that every day, I save his life, he’s the one that saves mine everyday by being my friend. Through thick and thin, he’s a true friend. I love you, my friend.


Gone with the Wind

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‘Gone With the Wind’ to celebrate 75th anniversary with theatrical screenings showing the movie as it was originally shown seventy-five years ago. I took my mother to see GWTW, and it was worth every second of the five hours we sat in that theater. Though the movie has a running time of 238 minutes (with overture, intermission, entr’acte, and exit music), the theater where we saw it apparently didn’t know how to run a movie. The intermission should have been 15 minutes, but due to technical difficulties was over 45 minutes. It was still worth it to see my mama enjoy a movie that she has loved since she was a teenager.

TCM is presenting screenings of Gone With the Wind on Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 in movie theaters across the nation. If you are a fan of the movie, it is worth the price of the ticket to see it (even if ticket prices are more than the $10 that was the cost to see the originally premiere in Atlanta with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the audience).

Because we still give a damn: Long considered among the greatest films ever made, Gone With the Wind starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland celebrates its 75th anniversary this month.

Here are the details from Fathom Events, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and TCM:

Scarlett O’Hara won and then lost Rhett Butler, Atlanta burned and the antebellum South was shown in all its splendor and decimation in one of cinema’s most treasured and most successful films, “Gone With the Wind.” And now, as part of the festivities to mark the 10-time Oscar©-winning film’s 75th anniversary, Fathom Events is joining with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies to bring “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” back to its original home in select theatres nationwide and presented in its original aspect ratio so audiences can experience it as it was originally shown 75 years ago. The film will be exhibited on Sunday, September 28 and Wednesday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.

In addition to the classic film, which starred Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Olivia De Havilland as Melanie Hamilton and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” included a specially produced introduction by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne.

As any fan of classic films or American literature surely knows, “Gone With the Wind” is the Epic Civil War drama about spoiled southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on the plantation Tara, it traces her unrequited love for Ashley Wilkes, her tempestuous relationship with roguish Rhett Butler and her struggles as Atlanta burns, her family home is decimated and she vows to never go hungry again. As has been evident from the enduring devotion that fans have for the story – on film, on the pages of Margaret Mitchell’s original novel, on TV and home entertainment formats – frankly, they DO give a damn about Scarlett’s triumphs, travails and ultimate will to survive.


God Is Love

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Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:7-21

Let’s look at how the Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God’s description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8), this is what He is like.

Love (God) does not force Himself on anyone. Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love (God) shows kindness to all. Love (Jesus) went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love (Jesus) did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love (Jesus) did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with. Love (God) does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

The greatest expression of God’s love is communicated to us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can see from these verses that it is God’s greatest desire that we join Him in His eternal home, heaven. He has made the way possible by paying the price for our sins. He loves us because He chose to as an act of His will. Love forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God’s love is unconditional, and it’s not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn’t love us because we’re lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.

Can anyone really comprehend “unconditional” love? It seems the love that parents have for their children is as close to unconditional love as we can get without the help of God’s love in our lives. The problem is that even that is not conceivable to many of us as unconditional because many of us have been rejected by our families because of our sexuality. One of the greatest things my father ever did was to remind my mother when she found out I was gay, that I was their son and that she would always love me no matter what.

If I ever had children, I’d continue to love my children through good times and bad, and I wouldn’t stop loving them if they didn’t meet the expectations I may have for them. Many parents may be able to love their children unconditionally, but as gay Christians we often find the conditions and limits of their love. God’s love for us is different. God’s love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for us to comprehend. He will never reject us or put conditions on His love for us, even if other people will do,so in His name, but those people merely prove that they do not know God.

The passage from 1 John above has one of my favorite biblical passages, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” It is so clearly stated and yet there are constantly people who proclaim that they love God, but in the next breath will tell you all the people they hate and the myriad of reasons for their hate. It bothers me even more when someone says that God hates someone or some group. God is love, therefore hate does not exist for in him.

I hope that one day, the message of God’s love is spread throughout every man’s heart. In that day, the world will be a better place. We can begin by showing our love for mankind as God does. We should lead by example, and we should pray for those who have lost their way to come back to the heart of the message of God.

I want to end today’s post with a beautiful song that exemplifies what I wrote about today.

God Is Love
By Seth Wells

Come, let us all unite to sing:
God is love!
Let Heav’n and earth their praises bring,
God is love!
Let every soul from sin awake,
Let every heart sweet music make,
And sing with us for Jesus’ sake:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

O tell to earth’s remotest bound,
God is love!
In Christ we have redemption found,
God is love!
His blood has washed our sins away,
His Spirit turned our night to day,
And now we can rejoice to say:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

How happy is our portion here,
God is love!
His promises our spirits cheer,
God is love!
He is our sun and shield by day,
Our help, our hope, our strength and stay;
He will be with us all the way;
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

In Canaan we will sing again:
God is love!
And this shall be our loudest strain:
God is love!
Whilst endless ages roll along,
We’ll triumph with the heavenly throng
And this shall be our sweetest song:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.


Moment of Zen: ____________

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I will let you fill in your own blank for the subtitle of this Moment of Zen. I don’t think it will be hard to imagine why I find a certain perfection and tranquility in this picture.


Life Can Make a Liar Out of You

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In my post on Wednesday, I discussed how I haven’t been able to take a nap in the afternoon, even though I was tired. Well, by the time school was over yesterday, I was so exhausted, I could barely hold my head up. I think I might be coming down with something because I ached all over. This was not just a headache, it was body aches. I wasn’t running a fever though, which was good. I got home, got undressed, and went straight to sleep. I woke up a few hours later to check my phone for messages and to answer a phone call, then tried to go back to sleep, but this time I could only lay there. I eventually got out of bed and got something to eat, then I went back to bed. I did some reading, some work, and watched some TV. Eventually, I fell back to sleep. I hope I continue to feel better today. I really don’t want to be sick. Sunday, I am supposed to go with my mother to see the 75th anniversary showing of Gone with the Wind. I’m excited to see it in the movie theater, and to see my mother see it in the theater again. She saw it on the 25th and 50th anniversaries. It’s her favorite movie and these tickets were part of her birthday from me this year. So I need to be feeling better.


Callipygian Pygophilia

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The English word of Greek origin “callipygian” indicates someone who has beautiful buttocks. However, the qualities that make buttocks beautiful or well-formed are not fixed, as sexual aesthetics of the buttocks vary considerably from culture to culture, from one period of fashion to another and even from person to person.

Pygophilia is the sexualization of the buttocks. According to Wikipedia, which apparently knows everything, “[w]hile female buttocks are often eroticized in heterosexual erotica, men’s buttocks are eroticized in gay male circles. Much of gay male sexuality centers on anal intercourse and penetration, so the buttocks are eroticized due to their proximity to the anus and the genitals.”

That’s not exactly right, somehow, but close enough. Generally speaking, when it comes to pygophilia, the bigger the bootie the better… within reason. Enter the bubble butt.

Bubble butts have long been a desirable trait. In fact, when tightly packed into jeans, they often translate into free drinks at the bar, lots of bad pickup lines, and some serious grab-ass as the night wears on. An ample arse on Manhunt often elicits messages of “nice butt, man,” or “hot ass, dude,” and other more explicit enthusiasms.

We have this one coach at school who has the most amazing butt. It’s truly mesmerizing and since he often wears athletic shorts, I have a greater appreciation for the way shorts can accentuate a man’s behind. I often have to tear my eyes away from his cute behind, mainly because I don’t want to get caught staring. Sometimes you just have to take in the beauty from behind.

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Naps

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Sometimes an afternoon nap is exactly what you need, at least I do. I know there are some people out there who can’t nap, but I love them. I used to come home each afternoon, snuggle with HRH, and, many days, take a thirty minute to an hour nap before it was time to start cooking supper. I haven’t napped much in the last week or so because she hasn’t been here demanding that I be still.

Last night I came to my room after supper, and I laid down. It had been quite an exhausting day. So I laid down, quite similar to the picture above (I did peruse a little porn), and tried to “cat” nap. I just couldn’t. I knew I didn’t want to nap long because I wanted to watch the new NCIS: New Orleans. However, sleep never came, so I got up and went and watched NCIS, which I never do, and waited for NCIS: New Orleans to come on. It wasn’t too bad, and I will give it a shot and at least watch a few episodes of it. I always love seeing New Orleans, though I’d rather be there in person.

Naps are not a luxury I have right now. I hope I will be able to nap again soon. At some point things will have to slow down, and I will have tog,et used to not snuggling with HRH. I usually sleep better at night, if I’ve had a nap, and it certainly helps by making it easier to wake up the next morning and start a new day, though a shower and coffee also does wonders for that.

By the way, I know this post is kind of random, but does this week feel like it is going by incredibly slowly. I kept thinking all day yesterday that it was Thursday. I was so sad when I realized that it was only Tuesday.


Amendment

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Amendment
By Christina Davis

The love of each of us
for some of us,

of some of us

for all of us—

and what would come if it were
welcome, if learning were
to prepare “a self with which to

welcome”

the in-

admissible, stranger

whose very being gives
evidence of
a discrepancy. School of our just

beginning to think
about this, I believe
the seats will be peopled.

About This Poem

“The idea that emerged through the poem was that each generation enlarges what we as a people are capable of receiving, that the amendments to the Constitution recognize an increase in what we constitute. Though each generation confronts a new concept of what is strange, the task remains the same: when I look back on the progress of America (and other nations and peoples) it takes the form of this incremental admission, and when I consider future progress it is likewise this reception of the heretofore strange.

The original version of the poem had the word ‘education,’ but I changed it to ‘learning’ because learning is continuous throughout our lifetime and I did not want to limit this progress to the young.

I’d also been thinking of poetry itself, both the struggle of poems to integrate and include and also the way in which poetry is often called ‘inaccessible.’ Whereas I would suggest that the limitation has to do with its reception: it is treated as the ‘inadmissible,’ not what won’t let us in, but what we refuse to allow too near. Imagine what would come if it were welcome?”
—Christina Davis

Christina Davis is the author of An Ethic (Nightboat Books, 2013). She is the Curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge


Another Monday

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It’s another Monday, and I just wish I could stay in bed. Back to another week of school and spoiled kids who don’t care about learning, and rotten parents who think teachers are there to pass their kids. Not all of my students are that bad. In fact my first three classes of the day are pretty good; however, my other three classes are mostly rotten. They just don’t want to learn. I will whip them into shape, or they can choose to take my class again next year. I have no illusion that people are going to like history and English, but they don’t have a choice. All of the classes I teach are required, and if the students don’t pass, they don’t move on to the next grade. It makes it difficult at times, but I do my best to make it as interesting as possible.

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Love Is Life

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For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1 John 3:11-15

John begins the next section of his letter with his central theme — love:

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (3:11)

It’s amazing that Christians need to hear the message, the command, of love so often — and still many people who claim to be Christians don’t get it. Our churches are full of selfish, bickering people and people who teach hate. The world knows the church for its judgmentalism and rigidness, not for its love and joy. How very sad, and especially so for LGBT Christians. Jesus would embrace the churches that preach love, and He and John would call those who teach hate the antichrists, for as I said last week, they are the opposite of Christ.

It’s likely that John’s opponents in Ephesus were characterized by their hatred of the faithful, orthodox Christian community. But it’s also likely that the true Christians were responding in an unloving manner, too.

John begins this teaching by exploring the relationship between love and hatred, and between hatred and the spirit of murder.

“We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (3:12-13)

John refers, of course, to the ancient and familiar story of the brothers Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-8). Cain was a farmer; Abel was a herdsman. When it came time to make an “offering” to the Lord, Cain offered the fruit of the ground, while Abel offered an animal sacrifice. We’re not told why Cain’s offering was rejected while Abel’s was accepted. There seems to be no inherent reason in this instance why a cereal offering would have been inferior to an animal sacrifice. The reason Cain’s offering was rejected seems to stem from his unrighteous actions, his sins, since God exhorts him:

“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)

Cain hadn’t repented of his sins, but is angry and jealous that God favors the sacrifice of his righteous brother Abel. In a fit of jealousy Cain slays Abel — and that is John’s main reason for introducing the story here. This story is probably more allegorical to what anthropologists believe were the first wars between herders and farmers over land and grazing ground, but that a whole different issue.

“And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (3:12-13)

John is explaining why the opponents hate the believers — and why the world hates them. They can see the stark difference between the believers’ righteous behavior compared with their own. John’s teaching echoes Jesus’ words:

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” (John 15:19-21)

The world says that it hates Christians because they are “holier than thou” and a bunch of hypocrites. And these charges are often true of many people who claim to be Christian. But the real reason for the hatred is that when Christians seek to live righteously, it exposes the sin and corruption of those not committed to Jesus, stimulating both shame, anger, hatred — and persecution energized by a spirit of murder.

Don’t miss the important link here between anger and murder. That’s why John calls on the story of Cain and Abel.

Love, says John, is a mark that we are different from the world.

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” (3:14)

There’s an echo here of Jesus words:

“Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me … has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Notice that this love first manifests itself in the Christian community itself, “because we love our brothers” (3:14). This, too, echoes Jesus’ words:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

Sadly, churches are so often loveless places. We sing, we pray, we worship, but we do not love. I have no complaint with the rise of large churches, but unless people connect with a small group within these churches, they are doomed to a loveless model of the Christian congregation. We cannot afford the outward show of success, if at the core of the church we are missing the essential element of “love for the brothers and sisters.” I remember going to church with a friend of mine while I loved in Mississippi. They had large screens in front of the church to show what were basically advertisements about happenings at the church. Later those screens were used for the words of the hymns. However, in this large church, no one spoke to each other before or after the service. They merely stated up at the screens. It was so sad to me. There was no community in that church. I grew up in a very small and intimate rural church of Christ. We have always had between a dozen and three dozen members. We talk and get to know everyone and how they are doing.

Now after speaking about brotherly love, John goes back to murder that he introduced with the story of Cain and Abel:

“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” (3:15)

Certainly there’s a difference between hatred (an attitude) and murder (an action). But the spirit that underlies both hatred and murder is exactly the same spirit. Recall Jesus’ own troubling teaching on this from the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment….” (Matthew 5:21-22)

This hits home for us when we begin to catalog the people with whom we are angry. Inside we seethe with anger when we suffer unrighteousness — or even blows to our pride. Anger, of course, is a common, God-given response to cause us to take action. Vital, but dangerous.

Anger comes and goes with the situation. But when we hold onto this anger, it becomes a resident bitterness within us. It produces an unforgiving spirit that Jesus warns us against. Following his teaching on the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Of course, full forgiveness can be granted when there is full repentance (Luke 17:3). But we are required to flush our souls of the unforgiveness that manifests itself in harbored anger — which is in us the spirit of murder. We must! So long as we hold anger towards another, we cannot love him or her as Jesus calls us to. I hope and pray that the community of Christians in this world will understand the true nature of God’s love and the love that he command us to have for our brothers.

John says that if we teach hate then we teach murder. I don’t believe anyone, at least anyone sane, would believe that murder is acceptable. If we don’t see murder as acceptable, then how can we see hate as being acceptable. Love is life; hate is death. Don’t be turned away by Christianity because some teach hatred, bitterness, rigidness, and judgmentalism. Instead, embrace the love God gives us, and rejoice in the joys of life.


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