We pulled up to a one room east Texas Baptist church. We, three of us, were in my friends Honda Accord. As we parked, I saw a bunch of good ‘ol boys draped all over a beat up Ford truck in front of the smallest church ever. They stared stoically as we pulled up, and I said before getting out of the car, “Oh Jesus, I think we are going to die.”
Jesus responded, clearly, and said, “Stop it, you are not going to die and those are your brothers.”
Yes, sir … Jesus…sir.
Earlier that week I had gotten a call from their Pastor. He had a very strong Texas twang. He said that he simply didn’t know what to do with a situation that had happened. Recently the police had executed a park sting (arresting gay people having sex, or attempting to have sex, out in the parks.) They had arrested two men in this Pastor’s church. With deep emotion he said;
I know what I have been taught about homosexuality; that it is an abomination …” and his voice wavered a bit, “but I have known both these men since they were kids. They grew up in this church. We don’t know what to do or what to think. We need you to come talk to us.
Of course I agreed without hesitation.
Until I hung up the phone.
This church had about 80+ members and maybe 30 of them attended each Sunday. The two men were regular attendees. This church was also in east Texas; an allegedly dangerous land. From what I had heard, East Texas is not very hospitable to people with same-sex attractions. So the thought of driving to East Texas, to talk to a small Baptist church that referred to homosexuality as an abomination, share my testimony, and do a Q&A with the congregation was intimidating.
Then there was the large crowd of Good ‘Ol Boys hanging out front waiting on us to arrive.
I sat down to draw today and look what popped out! My 2013 Christmas card! “Let The World Rejoice” came to me as I was drawing it.
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Happy Healthy and Fit Saturday! Here is my weekly health update:
Since my last weigh in a week ago I have lost … 3.4 lbs! That means I lost the 2.4 pounds I gained during Turkey Week and some! This makes me a Happa Randa.
Since we have closed down Exodus, especially right after my apology, I will sometimes get sarcastic messages (from both gay activists and conservative Christians) that go a little like this:
When are you going to go back to being gay and find a boyfriend/husband?
I know I am not what the youngin’s call “hot” ::: laugh ::: but I have even had a couple of sincere guys ask me if I would go out with them. The short answer is …
Thanks, but no. It’s not you, it’s me.
The longer hopefully more personal response is as follows: closing Exodus speaks for itself here and here. My apology speaks for itself here. I have also made known that while I am not ashamed to acknowledge I have same-sex attractions, I am not ashamed to also say that I am also attracted to women as well. That said, I don’t want to apply any sexuality labels to myself as a primary or secondary identity. I am living a celibate life as a spiritual station/decision for now. This decision is not because I couldn’t see myself as a husband and possibly a father, but because I have the choice (and right) to decide to live as a single man if I want to.
And for twenty-one years, now, and maybe for the rest of my life, I do. <– interesting take on the “I do” thing, huh?
Over the past couple of days I have made it known to a few close friends that my relational life (in every way) is not doing so hot. Actually I said my relational life is kind of sh**ty. I can say that with these folks because they love me. I hope you still do . I felt out of sorts, a little displaced, and obviously a grumpa randa about it all.
Well, obviously they have prayed; I have been in quality email conversations, Facebook chats, a great lunch appointment with one of my closest friends, on the phone for over two hours solid, texting, working with clients, brainstorming various projects with folks, checking in on a few friends that kept coming to mind, stopped by Starbucks for the first time in what seems like forever, sent an “are we cool?” email to someone I was a little concerned about, making plans to see a dear friend while she is in town next week … I have literally been “relational” online and off for about 12 solid hours now.
Love it. Totally smiling now.
And in the midst of all that I have two rough drafts of blog posts done with ideas for a few more.
Double Love it. Double smiles.
Since believers are not under the jurisdiction of the Old Testament Law, by what or whom, are we governed? Are we in a lawless state of being, free to do without consequences whatever our flesh desires to do? Do we now use our liberty as an occasion for the flesh and see how much we can get away without paying the price? Many think that is exactly what will happen if grace is embraced as a lifestyle. Some accuse me of teaching such nonsense because they are eager to defend their legalistic view of Christianity in which they have so much invested.
Let’s go back to the question by what or whom are Christians governed? We are governed by the Kings of kings and Lord of lords. Under His jurisdiction the law of love is the law of the land.
Christians are governed by Christ, and the Law of His Kingdom is love. I have said it before but it bears repeating; love is the greatest constraining power against sin that exists.
Yesterday, Jim Burroway highlighted an article about Dan Choi. Choi is a gay activist who was the go-to-guy for repealing DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.) The article featuring Choi is called, “The Passion of Dan Choi.“ I appreciated the article’s eloquence and ability to humanize Dan (making him a relatable man instead of an idealized activist.) Even so, I was saddened for Dan. Now that DADT has been repealed, Dan seems hurt and lost.
The article is long but worth the read. Here are a few quotes that really stood out (in all excerpts, emphasis mine):
Now, Dan wakes up most days with nothing to do. After the sun rouses him from his spot on the couch, where he sleeps under his “affirmation quilt”—fan letters are printed on each square—he takes two capsules of Hydroxycut, a diet pill loaded with caffeine, and Wellbutrin, an antidepressant used to treat bipolar disorder. Sometimes he goes for a long bike ride or works out at the gym in his building. He attends fundraisers and art openings, occasionally in uniform. Now and then, he drives to Fire Island, a gay vacation destination off Long Island. He earns a living by giving speeches at $10,000 a pop, which the Gotham Artists agency arranges for him. He smokes pot—a lot of it, he admits. “I can’t tell the difference,” he says, “between being high and not.”
Dan and his siblings attended church every Sunday and were expected to get A’s at school. A popular student with a gift for public speaking, Dan graduated at the top of his high-school class. He led the marching band as a drum major and played the trumpet in the church ensemble. But he also had a rebellious streak, a flair for the outrageous gesture. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he took to the school’s PA system and declared that the country was in a moral crisis, quoting the Gospel of Matthew and encouraging his classmates to turn to Christ. The stunt got him suspended for a day.
In a recent dream, I am in the living room of RandyThomasHQ. All of my favorite furniture was replaced by metal folding chairs pointing toward a wall where a teacher (me) would soon be standing. There were only a few people around. Two of whom were visible. They were not people I actually knew or remember in real life. There was an older man next to me and a woman (nondescript brunette) arranging the podium and some papers on it.
Then, the man abruptly takes my right arm with both hands and shoves it up into the air. As he was forcefully speaking I noticed a plastic mechanical pencil in my hand. The man declares, “These hands must be recommissioned to their original calling! Lord put these hands to your use!” Everyone, all maybe five of us, in the room seemed happy.
That scene ended with a series of pictures I can’t really explain. But in them I truly believed the Lord was giving me clear affirmation to boldly share my story before coming to know Christ, during my time in the Ex-gay movement, about life beyond the Ex-gay Movement, as well as everyday life stories in and among community.
I want to bring the Lord honor and praise by humanizing the issues and loving others regardless of who they are.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Hanging From My Monitor
This is hanging from my monitor today. Yep, this is my overarching “to do” list for the day. I might keep this up for a while . (iPhone)