Sunday, March 1, 2015

Trust In The Lord



Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 
Proverbs 3:5-7

Are you happy with the way your life is now?  Often we wonder about how our lives could be different.  If we had done this or made a different decision, would our lives be different?  Would it be better?  Why did we make the decisions we made? Many of us constantly ask, "What if?"  But truthfully, that is not the question we should be asking.  Instead we should ask ourselves, "What is God's plan for us?"  We should ask, "Am I following the path of God?"  

Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding."  So we must trust in God that He knows what is best for us.  When I pray, I always ask for God to forgive me of my sins, and that He will help me to stay on the narrow path to righteousness.  In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."  Especially when I come to a fork in the road, a decision in life, I ask God to show me the correct path.  And though some things in my life have not gone as I wanted them to, I trust that God has a plan for me and that I am on the right path.  I trust in God to show me the correct path.

Therefore, I acknowledge that God has a plan for me and as long as I acknowledge him in the guidance of my life and in all ways, then he will lead me down the correct path.  Everything in our lives happens for a reason.  We must trust that God is that reason, and that He would not steer us in the wrong direction. We may think we have taken a wrong turn, but faith in God will show us the way.  It doesn't mean that I don't get depressed about things in my life, because I do have blue periods in my life.  Those periods are less frequent, especially when I look to God and remember my faith.

In a world where most of us get beat up to one degree or another, many people come out of these beatings with a problem in being able to trust anyone else – ever again!  Sometimes it is verbal; sometimes it is physical; and sometimes it just seems like a string of bad luck.  Many people, especially people in the LGBT community, have been so badly beaten and abused during the course of their lives, that they no longer have any ability to trust anyone – including God Himself!  However, for Christians, no matter how badly you have been beaten up in your past, the one thing that you cannot have affected is your ability to trust in Jesus and our heavenly Father.  His love will see us through all things.  

As a result of the setbacks that some of God’s people have experienced over the years, some of these people have literally lost their ability to even trust in God Himself.  It is one thing to have faith in God, to know that God exists, and that He is all-powerful and that there is nothing that He cannot do or accomplish – but it is quite another thing to be able to fully trust God with your life, and to fully trust Him to properly handle it for you, especially if people in your past or circumstances in your life have let you down in one way or another.

Therefore, trust in Him and in Him alone in all things.  Trust Him to be faithful to you.  Look to Him in all that you do and in all that you experience, even when it is difficult.  Remember, faith is only as good as the person in whom you put it.  Since we Christians serve God, our faith, our trust, will not be wasted.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jack Falahee: Inquiring Minds Want to Know



The two hour season finale of "How to Get Away with Murder" aired last night.  There were many OMG, OMFG, WOW, and WTF moments in last night's episode.  We got to see a little bit more about Connor and Oliver's relationship, but sadly we haven't gotten any steamy sex scenes since the first half of the season.

"How to Get Away with Murder" star Jack Falahee, who’s been steaming up TV screens with his gay sex scenes as Connor Walsh, expounded further on why he’s not announcing his sexual orientation any time soon.  His approach to this question is quite interesting, and to a certain degree, I understand it.  Even though, my curiosity is up too.  Jack is incredibly sexy.

In a recent interview in Out that received lots of social media attention, he’d said it “seems reductive” to note his sexual orientation publicly, explaining that he doesn’t think it ”accomplishes anything other than quenching the thirst of curiosity," and opined that, ”no matter how I answer, someone will say, ‘No, that’s not true.’"

Speaking with me on SiriusXM Progress, Falahee, who replied “Yeah, sure,” when asked if it’s important for young LGBT people to see out actors and celebrities, further explained his thinking on why, in his case, he’s not discussing whether he’s straight, gay or bisexual.

“I was basically trying to say [in that interview], for me it’s like asking an actor who plays an alcoholic what their relationship is with alcohol,” he explained. “It’s not necessarily — I think we’re projecting onto actors in a way. I think we’re expecting them to be their characters when, at the end of the day, this is my job and I’m an actor portraying a role on a fictitious television show.”

But an actor who plays an alcoholic might be asked what he brings to the role and if he’s had that experience in his life. If people ask what an actor like Falahee, whose character, Connor Walsh, had lots of hook-up sex with various men last season, what he brings to the role of a gay man, isn’t the interviewer simply asking what he brings to the experience?

“Right, but that wasn’t the question,” Falahee replied. “The question was, ‘How do I define my sexuality?' And that’s a very different question than asking — actually we were in Atlanta, for the ATL TV Fest, and a young woman, she actually had a really great question. She said, ‘What personal experience do you bring to portray — what did she say? — a ‘manwhore’ homosexual on television?’”

“And you know, I was like, that is a great question,” he continued. “That is a different question than how do I define my sexuality. And to answer that question, I would say, well, you know, I went to NYU, and the Tisch School of Drama, and there we studied Stanislavski-based acting techniques. And while I have dabbled in the Lee Strasberg method of sense-memory and using your own experience to portray a character, I found that that was a fast track, maybe, to therapy. And so, I fell more into the Stella Adler method of acting camp, and create fictitious circumstances….I’m creating circumstances in which Conor exists to accurately portray him..I just think it’s interesting because I have a body of work before Conor Walsh that is primarily heterosexual and yet people want to ask — you know, no on asks any other man, or woman, on my show, about their sexuality, and that’s what fascinates me."

He then added, “We don’t ask the actor playing James Bond what his sexual preference is. So I don’t know what it is, really, with trying to out actors who portray gay characters on television. But it is some sort of fascination in society.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogger and Censorship


Google has announced a new adult content policy for Blogger.  Starting March 23, 2015, bloggers won't be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.  Google says that they will "still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit. For example, in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts."  Bloggers says that if an existing blog doesn’t have any sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video on it, that you won’t notice any changes.

If an existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, the blog will be made private after March 23, 2015.  Blogger says that no content will be deleted, but private content can only be seen by the owner or administrators of the blog and the people who the owner has shared the blog with.

Several years ago when Blogger began to shut down many gay blogs, I decided to remove anything I deemed overtly sexually explicit or contained graphic nude images or videos from my blog.  At the same time, I also removed the adult content warning.  However, I do still post some nudity on my blog, but mostly only male behinds.  I never post an exposed penis, nor an erect penis.

I have several issues with Blogger's explanation of the new policy because it is too vague and ambiguous.  There needs to be a specific policy to explain what Google/Blogger will determine as what will be deemed not to "offer substantial public benefit."  Who will determine what is substantial?  The answer most likely is that it will be either google workers or some computerized search technique they will use.  I've had a few problems with Blogger in the past with their AdSense revenue sharing program.  It never produced much money, but a little here and there always hoped.  However, AdSense, even though I conformed to their policy, decided that my blog was in violation of their policy.  Though I emailed them numerous times, I was never given an explanation.  I'm afraid they will do the same with their new policy.

Some of the blogs I read daily, do contain sexual content.  Steve's "All Natural and More" is one of my favorite blogs.  I follow it and check it out each day.  I love the pictures that Steve shares, but I also love the newsworthy items that he shares on his blog.  Since I am a follower of Steve's blog, will I lose access to this blog if it is deemed "pornographic" or will I have to ask for permission to follow his blog or other blogs that are made private that I follow?  Will blogs that are converted to private still appear on my Dashboard?  These are just some of the many questions that Blogger should be answering, but is remaining silent about.

It is simple censorship.  A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic, sometimes those topics are sexual in nature. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of a blog.  I've met many great people through blogging.

What upsets me is that a blog is an extension of your personality.  Often bloggers are anonymous so that they can freely express a part of their personality that they may not be able to express to the public world around them.  This is especially true of closeted gay bloggers.  By censoring us, of what Google/Blogger may or may not deem to offer substantial public benefit, they are taking away a large part of what blogging is about.  I do not believe that my blog is in violation of their new policy, but if one day they deem it to be in violation, please remember my dear readers that I have a mirror blog at closetprofessor.wordpress.com.  If this blog does get caught up in Blogger's censorship campaign (I hope it won't), I will continue to post on my WordPress site.

Just as a side note, look at that picture above.  It is a picture of one of the most beautiful men that I've ever seen, yet I had to censor it to make it appropriate for this blog.  As beautiful as that man is, I do not believe it is a pornographic picture simply because he is (1) naked, (2) shows his penis, or even that (3) he has an erection.  It is a beautiful picture of a beautiful man, and to me, that makes it art and worth sharing.  Besides, I find something incredibly sexy about a man in nothing but a white dress shirt.

UPDATE:

Writing for Google's Blogger Team, Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio said that users whose blogs were consistent with Blogger's existing policies (including the labeling of adult content) would not need to make any changes.

"We've had a ton of feedback," Pelegio said, "in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Semen: The Natural Antidepressant



It seems like our little swimmers help elevate our moods.  A new study has found that semen is good for your mental and physical health.  Whether it enters the body orally or via unprotected sex, the “mood altering chemicals” contained within seminal fluid reduce depression, increase affection, and help you sleep.

The State University of New York study found that women who regularly have unprotected sex are less depressed. Medical Daily points out semen contains mood-elevating estrone and oxytocin, cortisol, melatonin, anti-depressant prolactin, thyrotropin releasing hormone and serotonin.

The study surveyed the sex lives and mental health of 293 women from the SUNY-Albany campus.  Researchers also asked respondents to complete the Beck Depression Inventory, which is commonly used to measure mood disorders.  The results revealed that sexually active women who “never” used condoms showed significantly fewer depressive symptoms than those who “always” or “usually” used condoms.

The findings, which were published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour journal, also found women who described themselves as “promiscuous” yet used condoms were as depressed as women who practice abstinence

The team says this suggests it is semen, not just sex, that makes women happy.  It comes in the same month Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at SUNY-Albany, proposed semen also helps women suffering from morning sickness.  Gallup theorized that pregnant women often feel nauseous because their bodies are rejecting the semen’s genetic material as alien.  It thus follows that ingesting the same sperm would allow the body to build up a tolerance, The New York Daily News reported. 

Considering that this test was only done using female subjects, I think there should be a study using gay men.  Let's pass out the pineapple juice guys and get started.  I think I'd much rather lift my mood this way than taking Prozac.  It certainly sounds like a lot more fun, and tasty (just don't forget the pineapple juice).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Dream


The Dream
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
  And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
  But it is good to feel you there.
Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
  White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
  There was a shutter loose, —it screeched!
Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
  I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
  And you were gone!  Cold, cold as dew,
Under my hand the moonlight lay!
  Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
  Ah, it is good to feel you there!

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Stay weird. Stay different"


Last night I watched the Oscars.  I usually don't, and I have to say, they were a bit dull and disappointing.  I expected better of Neil Patrick Harris as the host, but he does a much better job with the Tonys.  I thought that the most elegant speech of the night was that of Julianne Moore for Best Actress.  I think Moore is a classy lady and she showed just how classy the Oscars can be.

However, the best speech of that night was by Graham Moore.  Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Imitation Game," and he used the win to give a powerful speech about suicide awareness and depression.

"I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I'm standing here," he said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along."

I was that weird and awkward kid when I was sixteen.  I even tried to commit suicide, and I thank God each and every day that I was not successful.  I may not have the life I'd expected to have, but it's not over yet.  There are many teenagers, especially gay teenagers, who have faced depression and attempted suicide.  Sadly, far too many are successful.  We have to make this world a better place so that teenagers who face depression and suicidal thoughts can understand that the world is a better place.  The phrase "It gets better!" may be a bit cliche these days, but it really is true.  It does get better.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to see "The Imitation Game."  If you're not familiar with the movie, it is about the life and achievements of the late Alan Turing, the British mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped solve the Enigma code during World War II. After the war he was prosecuted for homosexuality in Britain and died by suicide in 1954 at 41 years old.  I've written about Turing before on this blog, and this movie was a great movie.  I honestly thought it deserved much more recognition than it received last night.  If you haven't seen it, I hope you will.