Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Christian Problem with Homosexuality

My name is Brandon and I have a problem with Christians who have a problem with homosexuality.

As a man who once trained to be a pastor, has dug through theological studies and commentaries, and more importantly, connected with people from various backgrounds I feel that I have some insight to offer here that seems to be absent from most of the internet and television mediums.

I have friends from both walks of life: the devout and the free. I have picked these terms specifically because I sense that many "christians" are binding themselves with what they think to be moral righteousness. When Jesus came to earth He came as "the son of man." He was human, and representation of what humanity should be. Too often as Christians we forget this, and deify Him more than He asked to be. He told his followers to keep secret that He was the Christ.

Jesus the man was happy and always willing to dine, party, and hang out with sinners. He seemed more than willing to insult, snip at, and argue with the super religious; the kind that prayed out loud in public and determined the absolute merit of the law while trying to persecute Jesus with it.

Today many christians seem absolutely determined to prevent homosexuality from influencing any way of life they know. If they are cool christians, they have identified they will love gays like Christ loves them, but that what they are doing is sinful. This is just another way to bind those who we feel are doing wrong and not love them.

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that homosexuality is a sin (obviously I do not agree with this, but know of biblical passages where it is mentioned). Why should we, as Christians (notice the theme of capitalized and non-capitalized C's), tend to speak globally against a specific sin with so much authority? Jesus spoke mostly about the misuse of money, yet many of my christian friends speak openly about the importance of a free market society that Jesus would obviously be disgusted with.

Do we forget that we are sinners? Do we really think that by speaking out against sin we can destroy it? Do we forget that we can never be sinless? It is in our very nature to sin. That is our being. We are sinners. Every last one of us. Do we forget that God gives us a sin that forces us to humble ourselves and draws us nearer to Him? Since when does Christianity have a scoreboard?

My fear is that many chrisitans are running with the son who stayed at home and demands his inheritance remain untouched while the prodigals are in the party grateful to have a father that forgives and is happy to see their child return.

We are called to have a personal relationship with God. We are asked to be stewards of His word and land. We are not asked to oppress people groups. The bible says to follow the law of the land, and ours states that all individuals are created equal and have the freedom to practice in what religion they choose. Why should we force ours down the throats of those who have a hard time seeing what sets our God apart from any other?

On a side note, how can you ignore the data that shows that biologically males born after other males have more estrogen in their system? Or the fact that married gay couples produce highly functioning citizens of the world? If you were to not ignore the facts, it would almost seem that God was putting gay people here to show us our own hypocrisy. At the end of the day, we still deal with a unhumanly compassionate God, and there will be gay people in heaven. Why not act like they are your siblings now?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A portrait of an artist as a young man?!

Recently I finished James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and had trouble getting through the first chapter. The following of one's thoughts is quite the challenge for an outsider and I was sure that this would be the most difficult book I would ever have to get through.

Turns out, after a little ways, Stephen Dedalus and I have quite a lot in common. For those unfamiliar, Dedalus has been said to be the characterization of Joyce, so in essence, Joyce and I have a few things in common. The similarities are really uncanny. Stephen goes from being a devoted church-goer, to a man drowning in sin, to a pastor-in-training, to a university student, to confused, to an artist. In between we see a young boy/man introverted and conversing with himself. Deep thoughts and unusual worries plague the character. He eventually sheds all that weighs him down to transcend the mundane for the exceptional.

I could not but connect much of my story to this one. Stephen even attended college for the same reasons I have. There is a message here, and I feel like it is pretty apparent. The trick will be putting it into fruition. How will I transcend all that I have let define me to truly find my voice as an artist. I would assume I am on the right path, but I must be weary of my actions, my surroundings, and mostly my plans. I must put aside many of the things I thought I may have wanted in order to reach my full potential (yes, Stephen and I even share the philosophy of what an artist should be).

As I move ever so slowly to find my way in my new surroundings, it is a great relief to be reassured that I am on the right track. Since this revelation/message I have become quite comfortable with my surroundings. Except Spanish, but that will just have to be something I endure. My mind is beginning to ease the frantic pace it had adopted and the calming, confident Brandon is beginning to reemerge. My teachers have already recognized my above average intellect (even while I feel I have done nothing to stand out yet) and that is really when I began to thrive previously. The semester seems evenly paced now, and my future here at McDaniel feels natural. The allure of planning three years in advance has given up reign as I have reclaimed my confidence in being in the perfect location. Not that I really needed it; McDaniel was glaring me right in the face before I made my decision, and I had no regrets when I made it.

It will be interesting to observe and see how it plays out, where it takes me. My excitement is returning ever so gently to its rightful location, coupled with my will to fulfill my calling.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Home is where the heart is...

I usually pride myself at adapting quickly to surroundings and environments. I have always fit right in and felt at home in locations. It seems that as I have matured and settled into myself as a person, that may have changed a little bit. Over one week in and that little something extra just hasn't clicked for me, as if somewhere inside of me I am not fully aware that this is where I call home now. Perhaps I just grew too comfortable back in Bellingham. I was established there. People knew me. The same is not true here, but undoubtedly that is scheduled to change.

 As a bit of an homage to my "homecoming" I have included some very rough video of my new area, as I understand it. They are brief, as I feel awkward carrying around a camera and talking to it, but they should give you all a better understanding of where I am right now. As you watch them I ask you remind yourselves that I desire to be a screenwriter and not a filmmaker ;)

I am truly in love with the aesthetic of this campus. It is gorgeous. I would not call it breathtaking, as it is a few waterfalls short, but definitely worth a daily walk-through.

As I move forward in feeling completely myself in this now still foreign area, I seek that which I truly came here for. True change. World change. I already have an assignment to help me along the way. My Communication Media class: the final project is to use media to change the world in some fashion. A PSA on tv, an article in a newspaper, a radio interview or something of those sorts to explain something I am passionate about. I love that assignment. I have ideas flooding my mind with where I can take it. Through it I can feel myself truly becoming focused on my pursuits here.

I hope to proceed successfully. Enjoy the videos (what there is to enjoy of them) and look forward to some real blog posts about my time here in actual crisp detail. I am arriving there shortly ;)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane of Transition

Finally had time earlier today to reach the IT Help-desk and get my computer compliant to network security standards. I then used the internet to fall asleep to South Park after dinner. It was productive. The mix of heat, time-loss, and jet-lag have all combined to throw my finely tuned sleep patterns into disarray. Night one I fell asleep for 10 solid hours. Last night I was up till 5. Let's hope tonight is a bit more stable as I start class tomorrow.

The move has been fine, it feels like a more humid any-ol-place. My campus is absolutely gorgeous. My house is spacious and comes with one roommate who is very cool. It could use some decoration, as its age is very apparent, but until I have funds start pouring in, that will be secondary. I still await my boxes full of clothes and electronics to get that full move-in feel I have been yearning for, I still feel incomplete, like I am in a motel. My worries stay focused on the future, when I have to move my stuff again, and I will be looking for somewhere close to hold an internship or job, but it gets much more confusing when breaks are introduced here at school, so I best leave that for later.

I had planned on staying relatively inactive this first semester, but I can already tell that won't last. I have overlooked the clubs list, and will be checking a few out soon. Just dwelling on that brings forth a flurry of activities I have yet to embark on, which stresses me out as I am running thin right now. But I look forward in anticipation.

Add on to that a hurricane meeting me upon arrival over here and one can only hope to stay sane. Luckily my town of Westminster was relatively unaffected. There are tree branches that broke, but no real damage to anything. Strangely, the hurricane remnants added a bit of peace to my night last night. It was still humid, so the rain was warm, but the breeze took it down a notch, and I went for a walk across campus, getting familiar with my surroundings. A few times I would pass by a light and be surprised at how hard it was raining. After the sweltering day previous though, I welcomed the cool air and wet surrounding. A little ironically, me and my fellow transfers took to the steadfast tradition of "ringing the bell" in the rain. I felt right at home. A little sign to remind me that everything is under control perhaps. Leave up to the big man upstairs to communicate calm using a hurricane. I dig it though.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Late Night Awakening

I had an account on here before that I can no longer access. It may be for the best. As I read the posts from back in the day when I was sure I was going to be a pastor, I was reminded that not much goes as planned. It is an important lesson, especially now, where it seems like everything is going as planned, which is an empowering feeling.

I sit here in the dark, fireplace on, dogs asleep right next to me, thinking about nothing really, now wondering if I have anything worth saying. I know I do, somewhere in there, but it is of little worth if I have nobody to listen. Another worthwhile feeling with school: the amount of people who desire to listen to me now. The differences from then to now are stark, and I can't help but wondering if all that failing and all this success is just moving me somewhere in the middle. That may just be fear typing though.

I began reading a book I first purchased when I got my Kindle, Father Fiction: Chapters for the Fatherless by Donald Miller. I was excited when I first purchased it because I had read a book by him earlier entitled To Own A Dragon which was related to the title of the most current purchase (the thought of owning a dragon had a lot of correlation to having a dad, because neither was around). The Kindle book is pretty much just selected chapters from To Own A Dragon, and at first that rubbed me the wrong way, but I burst through the first four chapters and was repositioned to be brought back to that which I really need to deal with: my daddy issues.

Looking at myself then and myself now, not much has changed in that region. I still am trying to prove I will not be any semblance of the man who deserted me long ago. I went for the opposite of who I thought he was back then, but now I am striving for who I truly am, which I think is a better path. Searching within myself to find these things though, I feel that by finding myself I won't necessarily shed him, and that is what needs to happen. Donald Miller mentions that a lot of who he was was due to the fact he had no father growing up; how he ran from relationships because he was never taught how to handle himself when presented with one, a fight or flight inner light would flash when presented with one. I see that in me. I made a joke with a new friend that it was alright if she wasn't "into" me because I always like the girls that can't like me back. At the time I was trying to be cute, but there was a lot of truth in it. I have a great sense for people and how they are thinking/feeling, so I should be able to translate that into a dating relationship one would think. Yet those in the past I have pursued, feebly, have been girls who either had no interest in me or expected more of me and I was happy to just let those end where they may. Safe. I could express myself normally by liking girls more than worthy of liking, but with no real requirement to man up because at some point they would abandon me anyways.

I hope identifying such a trait is the first step to fixing it. It feels like it would be the natural first step. Miller also spends some time talking about Eisenhower and how he was brought up to believe the world needed him. He was taught that his family would fall apart without him, all the children were taught this. If he believed his family would fall apart without him, eventually he would go on to believe his community/city/country would do the same. That is a trait of greatness I have never heard professed before. Comparing it to my life, I have a ways to go to reach such a status. I feel I have moved in the right direction a lot by myself in the past few years, but that hidden, comes-out-intuitively mode is not trained that way. I felt, like Miller, that my family would be better off without me, there would be less stress on my mother and siblings if I were not around.
It was a good Kindle purchase. I will probably finish it before the weekend is through, taking mental stock of what needs to change and looking for any insight on how to make that happen. Hopefully I can take care of it the way I have been taking care of tasks at school, because then it would not stand a chance of sticking around.

I've missed blogging. I do not like hand writing my thoughts, it feels obtrusive, but on a computer I feel much more natural. Must be an age thing. I hope this can be helpful in some way, if anything, just to have me document my hopes and desires and feel an urge to get them done so I cross them off. If God were unable to be everywhere at once, He would probably appreciate a written account of what took place. I know I do.