Monthly Archives: February 2016

Leap Year

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10 fun facts about leap year and leap day

Feb. 29, 2016

Our year just got one day longer. Today, Feb. 29 is leap day, the day inserted into the calendar every four years to keep our calendar operating smoothly. This extra day makes the year 366 days long, instead of 365 days like regular years. Curious about why we have one extra day stuck to the end of February every four years? Here are 10 fun facts about leap years and leap days. This information was found on Timeanddate.com, Mother Nature Network and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

  1. Why add a leap day?: Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This called a tropical year. Without an extra day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days.
  2. Hail Caesar: Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year around 46 B.C., but his Julian calendar had only one rule: Any year evenly divisible by four would be a leap year. That created too many leap years, but the math wasn’t tweaked until Pope Gregory XIII introduced his Gregorian calendar more than 1,500 years later. There’s a leap year every year that is divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. The year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not. The added rule about centuries (versus just every four years) was an additional fix to make up for the fact that an extra day every four years is too much of a correction, according to ScienceWorld.
  3. Leap months in other countries: A whole leap month is added to the Chinese calendar every three years. The leap month’s place in the Chinese calendar varies from year to year, and 2015 was a leap year in the Chinese calendar. A leap year in the Ethiopian calendar occurs when an extra day is added to the last month of the year every four years.
  4. Leap year traditions: It’s acceptable for a woman to propose to a man on Feb. 29. The custom has been attributed to St. Bridget, who is said to have complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for men to propose marriage. Patrick supposedly gave women one day to propose.
  5. Leap year babies: People born on leap day are often called “leaplings” or “leapers.” Most of them celebrate their birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1 on non-leap years.
  6. Leap year capital: The twin cities of Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico, are the self-proclaimed Leap Year Capital of the World. They hold a four-day leap year festival each leap year that includes a huge birthday party for all leap year babies.
  7. Famous leapers: If you were born on leap day, you share a birthday with composer Gioacchino Rossini, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, jazz musician Jimmy Dorsey, actors Dennis Farina and Antonio Sabato Jr., and rapper/actor Ja Rule.
  8. There’s a leap year club: The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies is a club for people born on Feb. 29. More than 10,000 people worldwide are members.
  9. And a leap year movie: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode starred in the 2010 romcom “Leap Year.” It’s about a woman who travels to to Ireland to ask her boyfriend to accept her wedding proposal on leap day, when tradition says that men cannot refuse a woman’s marriage proposal.
  10. Leap years in history: During leap years, George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), the Titanic sank (1912), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752) and and gold was discovered in California (1848).

God Loves Us

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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. –  1 John 4:16

I think oftentimes as LGBT Christians we struggle with our sexuality and our faith because we are too often taught that they contradict each other. This feeling makes us feel alone and unloved. However, it is only because we do not have faith enough in God to guide us along the correct path.  If we had faith in God’s infallibility, then we would realize that God created us homosexual.  He would not have created us that way merely in order for us to fail, but it is human nature to have doubt, when we should look to God for faith instead.

Philippians 3:21 says “He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.” We may think that God does not love us or that we are unworthy of his love, but He wants us to be a part of Him. God loves us no matter what, it is we who have to accept that God is love and that he loves us. He will help take away the pain. There’s far more to life for us. Jesus will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

The Bible teaches that God created human beings in His image. This means that He enables us to have some understanding of Him and of His vast and complex design. Our human nature reflects some of God’s attributes, although in a limited way. We love because we are made in the image of the God who is love (1 John 4:16). Because we are created in His image, we can be compassionate, faithful, truthful, kind, patient, and just. In us, these attributes are distorted by sin, which also resides in our nature. We may believe we are unloveable, but God loves us all.

Originally, human nature was perfect by virtue of having been created so by God. The Bible teaches that human beings were created “very good” by a loving God (Genesis 1:31), but that goodness was marred by the sin of Adam and Eve. Subsequently, the entire human race fell victim to sin. The good news is that at the moment a person trusts in Christ, he receives a new nature. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Sanctification is the process by which God develops our new nature, enabling us to grow into more holiness through time. Second Corinthians 5:4 says “For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” This is a continuous process with many victories and defeats as the new nature battles with the “tent” in which it resides—the old man, the old nature, the flesh. Not until we are glorified in heaven will our new nature be set free to live for eternity in the presence of the God in whose image we are created.

Therefore, as LGBT Christians we have a further step, a further test, than most Christians.  We can follow the steps of salvation, but we must also have faith that God created us in his image.  We must have faith that God created us to be attracted to and love those of the same sex.  No matter what the flaws of man may be, or the sin that mankind tempts us with its doubts, we must be strong in out faith and believe that God made us who we are and know that He is love and that he loves us.


Moment of Zen: Pancakes 

  
This is for a pancake loving friend of mine, who said that if a man made him pancakes, he’d marry him on the spot.


Furies

 

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Yesterday Micheal suggested I do a post similar to the one on the Graces for the Furies. In Greek mythology the Erinyes also known as Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance; they were sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses.” A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as “those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath.” Burkert suggests they are “an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath.” They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology, and some suppose that they are called Furies in hell, Harpies on earth, and Dirae in heaven.

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes as well as the Meliae emerged from the drops of blood when it fell on the earth (Gaia), while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, “Night”, or from a union between air and Mother Earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto or Alekto (“unceasing”), Megaera (“grudging”), and Tisiphone or Tilphousia (“vengeful destruction”), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. Dante followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis. Whilst the Erinyes were usually described as three maiden goddesses, the Erinys Telphousia was usually a by-name for the wrathful goddess Demeter, who was worshipped under the title of Erinys in the Arkadian town of Thelpousa.

If the Furies of ancient mythology were Unceasing, Grudging, and Vengeful Destruction, then maybe the male version of the Furies should be Relentless (Unceasing), Back-Biting (Grudging), and Evil Queen (Vengeful Destruction).  The actual number of the Furies is not known. It was more than one, but the number could have been infinite. It sometimes seems that the evil of this world and the vengeance is infinite so I think there was an infinite number of Furies, not just the three of Virgil and Dante.
 
Of course, this post is all in jest, just as yesterdays was.  The Furies or Erinyes were women and as far as I know, there were no male equivalent. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but then the same could be true of gay men. The picture above is of a single winged man surrounded by a murder of crows, it seemed appropriate for the male Furies. Of course, don’t forget that the furies could also come from heaven (Dirae), and thus relentlessness, remembering when we’ve been treated badly (holding a grudge), and exposing hypocrisy (i.e. vengeful destruction) can be good things.
 
So here is a challenge for you: My three male Furies (homosexual? probably) were Relentless, Back-Biting, and an Evil Queen, what would you name the three gay Furies?

Graces

 

three_naked_guys_3_by_felixdeon-d4lw0dd (1)In Greek mythology, a Charis, or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces. The usual list, from youngest to oldest is Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer” or “Abundance”). In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae, the “Graces”. In some variants, Charis was one of the Graces and was not the singular form of their name.

When I saw the picture above, I immediately thought of the Gay Graces. If the Graces of ancient mythology were Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, then maybe the male version of the Graces should be Fabulous (Splendor), Gay (Mirth), and Endowed (Abundance).  These fellas have their backs to us, so we can’t tell if they meet those three names or not.

Of course, this post is all in jest.  The Graces or Charities were women and as far as I know, there were not male equivalent.  To be truthful, I was having a hard time coming up with a topic for today, so I went through my saved pictures and came across this one.

So here is a challenge for you: My three male graces (obviously homosexual) were Fabulous, Gay, and Endowed, what would you name the three gay Graces?


Why I “Feel the Bern”

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Living in the state of Vermont, I see a lot of support for Bernie Sanders. He will undoubtedly win Vermont, but I don’t expect him to win the nomination.  While I like his ideals, I don’t think he is what the country needs right now.  He is what the country needed back in 1992 or 1996, but in this present day and age, I think Hillary is really what we need. Bernie would have made a great president in a time of peace and prosperity, but in a time of war and recession, we need someone who can do what needs to be done.

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There are many reasons that I like Bernie. This is one of the reasons I like him. Back in 1995, the U.S. House of Representatives was debating an amendment to impose tighter water pollution rules at federal facilities. Then-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) was having none of it. “I look at the individuals that are offering this. Is there any shocking doubt, the same people that would vote to cut defense $177 billion, the same ones that would put homos in the military, the same ones that would not fund BRAC, the same ones that would not clean up —”

At that point, Cunningham was interrupted. “Mr. Chairman,” said then-Rep. Sanders.

“Sit down, you socialist!” barked Cunningham.

Sanders didn’t sit down. After a few procedural hurdles, he came after the notoriously sharp-elbowed conservative. In his gravely Brooklyn accent, Bernie attacked in his signature style. ”My ears may have been playing a trick on me, but I thought I heard the gentleman a moment ago say something quote unquote about homos in the military,” Sanders said. “Was I right in hearing that expression?”

“Absolutely,” Cunningham responded. “Putting homosexuals in the military.”

“Was the gentleman referring to the thousands and thousands of gay people who have put their lives on the line in countless wars defending this country? Was that the groups of people that the gentleman was referring to?”

“You have insulted thousands of men and women who have put their lives on the line,” Sanders continued. “I think they are owed an apology.”

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The “nefarious” homosexual agenda did not ultimately undo Cunningham’s congressional career but corruption did. In 2006, he was sentenced to more than eight years in prison after being convicted of taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.


The Awakening

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The Awakening
By James Weldon Johnson

I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.

I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.

About This Poem

“The Awakening” was published in Johnson’s book Fifty Years and Other Poems (Cornhill Company, 1917).

James Weldon Johnson was born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1920 he became the national organizer for the NAACP. Johnson’s works include Fifty Years and Other Poems (Cornhill Company, 1917) and Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems (The Viking Press 1935). He died on June 26, 1938.


Miscellaneous 

  

The church I tried out yesterday was really nice. It was a small congregation up about a dozen people, but they were all very kind and welcoming. I really enjoyed the service, and while the order of the service was different from a church back home, it was a very familiar service. I expect that I’ll be going back.

In other news, it looks as if I will finally reach one of the goals I’ve had for the past seven or eight months. I finally was able to purchase a MacBook Air, and it will arrive, according to UPS, tomorrow by the end of the day. I had it delivered to work so I could make sure that I could sign for it. I’m excited because it means I will have a laptop again, and I can do more with my blog. Also, it will be easier to work on my novel.


Trust in the Lord

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.

Proverbs 3:5-6

He [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.

Job 1:21-22

Last night, I was watching House of Cards on Netflix. In the third episode, a young woman has been killed in a car accident in the main character’s (South Carolina Congressman Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey) congressional district. Because she was texting about a peach water tower that looks like a butt and was built because of Frank, he speaks at her parents’ church to try to win them over and not take the blame for the accident. While Frank’s speech was politically motivated, it made a great deal of sense. Underwood frames an old-school passionate sermon around the idea of hate, going so far as to yell, “I hate you, God” in front of a South Carolina congregation. He’s able to connect to the parishioners by making them equals, saying they’ve all done this before when feeling soul-crushing loss, and who among them are feeling that today.

Spacey’s character’s speech is based on the fact that at some point we have all felt betrayed by God. We have all wanted to, whether we did or not, scream “I hate you, God.” In Matthew 27:46, Jesus didn’t say, “I hate you, God” but he did shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” Which is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I think we’ve all felt that way. I know I have felt that way for the past three months. Spacey’s character though quotes Proverbs 3:5 by saying, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.” In my crisis of faith, I may have questioned God, but my belief in Him never wavered.

Why did Jesus shout, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He did so because he was in pain. We think God has left us when we are in pain, pain so excruciating we don’t want to live, but God has never and will never leave us. I was thinking yesterday how I’d expected to rely on my friend who’d lived in a climate similar to Vermont to get me through and provide advice during the winter. However, God chose for this to be a mild winter. Is it because I didn’t have the guidance I needed/wanted for a harsh winter? Maybe.

These past few months have not been my only crisis of faith. When I came to terms with my sexuality, I struggled with the fact that I’d been taught that same-sex attraction would send me to hell. I asked myself how could a God that says He loves me, who created me, condemn me to hell for how he created me. I tried to be attracted to women, but I just wasn’t. My attraction was to men. God never abandoned me on my search for answers. Instead, He guided me to those answers. Just as He is guiding me to a better understanding of the tragedies that befall all of us.

No man or woman in the Bible suffered more than Job. Job is presented as a good and prosperous family man who is beset with horrendous disasters that take away all he holds dear, including his offspring, his health, and his property. He struggles to understand his situation and begins a search for the answers to his difficulties. God rewards Job’s obedience during his travails by restoring his health, doubling his original wealth, and giving him seven new sons and three new daughters, which bore him great grandchildren before he died.

Job, though, is an inspiration because his faith did not waiver. He did not feel betrayed by God. He did not have a crisis of faith. When he said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He meant that the Lord knew what he was doing. In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22). I think we can learn from Job. God is watching out for us. No matter what life deals us, God is there with us.
By the way, on a different note, through the help of a close friend, I have found a church of Christ in the area. I’m going to try it out for the first time tomorrow. I hope and pray that it is a church that will give me that sense of home, and will provide the healing I need.


Moment of Zen: Awww

  


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