Friday, March 31, 2017

Off



I have today off because I am working tomorrow. I plan to stay in and read today. We are supposed to be getting 6-12 inches of snow today and tomorrow. The snow will make it a bitch going to work tomorrow morning, but hopefully it won't be that bad.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

LGBT Workshop



I went to an LGBT Workshop last night. It was quite interesting. We mostly discussed correct terminology, which was interesting, and how best to deal with transgender people. It was mostly about what pronouns to use  and how to treat transgender people by their gender identity. It was interesting but I don't think I learned anything earth shattering.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Still Sick



This is the cold that keeps on giving. Every time I think that I've beaten it, it flares up again. I have been coughing and sneezing for the past several days and otherwise just feeling miserable. I hope none of you are experiencing this particular strain of cold.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dead Leaves



Dead Leaves
By Georgia Douglas Johnson

The breaking dead leaves ’neath my feet
A plaintive melody repeat,
Recalling shattered hopes that lie
As relics of a bygone sky.
 
Again I thread the mazy past,
Back where the mounds are scattered fast—
Oh! foolish tears, why do you start,
To break of dead leaves in the heart?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fritz Morgenthaler



Fritz Morgenthaler modeling for Sculptor Karl Geiser (1930s)

Fritz Morgenthaler (Swiss 1919-1984) was later the first psychoanalyst who said that homosexuality is not an illness or a psychological defect.

Fritz Morgenthaler, a Swiss physician specializing in neurology and a member of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society, was born at Oberhofen on July 19, 1919 and died on October 26, 1984, while visiting Addis Ababa.

The son of a famous painter (Ernst Morgenthaler) and doll designer Sacha Morgenthaler-von Sinner, he was also a painter and a professional juggler. He was educated in Zurich and Paris, studied medicine in Zurich and then worked as a physician in war-torn Bosnia for one year. This was the beginning of his friendship, then scientific collaboration and, beginning in 1952, joint practice with Paul Parin and Goldy Parin-Matthèy. In 1947 he commenced his analysis with Rudolf Brun. Between 1954 and 1971, Morgenthaler accompanied the Parins on six voyages of ethno-psychoanalytic research in West Africa (Parin, et al., 1963, 1971).

Most of Morgenthaler's remarkable influence was due to his charm and the intellectual sparkle of his personality as a lecturer, seminar director, and supervisor. Starting from a case history or a dream, he had an exceptional gift for communicating the psychic functioning of the patient, the unconscious emotional relations between the analyst and the analysand, and for discovering new and unexpected aspects therein. His original approach to Freud's dream in 1986: Ein Traum als Beweismittel (An evidential dream) is a good example of this: although he may not have opened up new theoretical pathways, he used Freudian concepts pertinently and effectively.

His often playfully dialectic mode of thinking earned him divided opinions with regard to the scientific value of his work. When his admirers praised him for making great progress and outstripping Freud in therapeutic technique (1978), in the theory of sexuality (1984), and in analyzing dreams (1988), more detached observers ranked him in classic psychoanalytic thinking somewhere between Freud and Kohut. In his later work he did, however, try to work politico-social (Marxist-inspired) concepts into the theory of psychic functioning, but without much success: the "sexual" as an indeterminate motion, without orientation of the primary process (1988, p. 106-107), is considered as an "emotionality" (p. 107) that alone enables us to "appear alive," (p. 107) and this "sexual" runs up against the "dictatorship of sexuality" (1988, p. 110), which is "established by the instinctual and ego developments by means of the events in the secondary process in order to absorb the motion of the primary process, guide it into certain controllable channels, and restrict it by means of conditions" (p. 110).


"Morgenthaler, Fritz (1919-1984)." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. . Encyclopedia.com.(March 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/psychology/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/morgenthaler-fritz-1919-1984

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Taming the Tongue



Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. 

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
James 3:1-12
What James has to say here in the third chapter is very true, practical teaching. This is lesson number one on how to be a good disciple. James says it very plainly in verse 2. "For we all stumble in many ways." No question there. "And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body." He's not saying anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect in speaking, but is perfect, period. Because if we can get hold of what comes out of our mouth, it will keep everything else we do in check. It's the same thing that psychologists have been telling us, that Jesus told us long ago -- what comes out of the mouth reflects what's in the heart, and it's what's in the heart that makes us do the things that we do. Sin begins first in our heart. We get the next indication of it as it comes out of our lips. Then finally, as we have felt it inside, as we have spoken it aloud, we create it.

We often don't pay much attention to sins of the tongue—gossip, slander, lying, exaggeration. Perhaps it's because we so mindlessly commit these "respectable sins" that we don't regard them as seriously as we do sins such as hate or adultery.

Also, let's admit that bridling the tongue is tough.  All of my life, my father told me that "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  Nevertheless, I grew up speaking "rashly like the thrusts of a sword" (Proverbs 12:18). As I matured as a Christian, I tried to follow the advice of my father by cutting back on my cutting words—behavior modification. But I discovered I was focusing on the wrong organ.

I got help from the New Testament writer James, who calls the tongue a fire, a world of iniquity, a restless evil full of deadly poison (James 3:6, 8). That's serious!  James continues, saying that although many birds and reptiles have been tamed, "no human can tame the tongue" (James 3:8). And James leaves it at that—without a how-to formula!

Then James seems to switch subjects. In 3:13-18, he says that evil behavior comes from bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart. This heart-mouth connection sounds like the teaching of his half-brother, Jesus: "For his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart" (Luke 6:45).

Our words create and they endure, and James tell us we have got to watch what we say. The very first step in Christian discipleship is being able to keep track of what comes out of our mouths, and to guide and shape that to make sure that the words are good, kind, loving, and truthful. It's the most basic form of self-control. As James says, if we get that right we're likely to get everything else right as well. The basic rule for Christian speech happens to be the basic rule for all the rest of Christian action -- do it in love. If you can't do it in love, don't do it. Whether it's speech or action, love is the guiding principle that underlies every law in scripture, that underlies everything God wants from us. We need to think about that.

So I encourage you to look at the things you say. How much of it is criticism? How much of it is loving? How do those weigh out in the balance? If you put them on a scale, do the loving words weigh heavier than the critical ones?  The most important thing is that you say what you say with love in your heart. Remember that who you're talking to is someone made in the image of God, and a person for whom Christ died. They may be driving you crazy, but say that to yourself again and again until you can speak as if you were speaking to Jesus. Then, nine times out of ten, whatever you say is going to be all right.

Friday, March 24, 2017

White Creek



Yesterday, I finished a book, White Creek: A Fable, that I want to tell you about. It's a witty, haunting tale of family and friendship, regret and redemption, set on a remote Wyoming cattle ranch in the dead of winter.

The White Creek Ranch has been in Hap Cobb’s family for over a century and a half, but Hap is now eighty-two, and the last surviving member of his family. Tart-tongued, moody, and all too often “a miserable old fart” (in the words of his long-suffering ranch hand and closest friend, Aaron Littlefield), Hap has no rival as a home cook, owns the best-stocked private library in the state, and prides himself on his “God-given ability” to exasperate everyone he meets. He is also a world classed foul mouthed old man. My favorite expletive statement he makes in the book is the hilarious "He's happier than a two twatted whore in a room full of Siamese twins." The enormous ranch house he inherited long ago from his grandfather stands mostly empty these days, save for Hap and Aaron, and while their life together is both busy and comfortable, Hap often loses himself in his past, knowing he has little future left. 

When a sudden blizzard hits one January evening, however, and Aaron opens the door to a young woman and a teenaged boy seeking shelter from the storm, everything Hap thought he knew about the world begins to shift. With these two unlooked-for houseguests, the White Creek Ranch soon becomes a wellspring of mystery and possibility, and will never be the same again.

A story of magical realism in the tradition of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and John Crowley. It's a book with magic or the supernatural, however you want to think of it, presented in an otherwise real-world setting. The supernatural only begins at the end though you realize that it's been going on throughout the book.

White Creek: A Fable is by Bart Yates, who lives in Iowa City, Iowa, and is the author of four previous novels: Leave Myself Behind (winner of the 2004 Alex Award), The Brothers Bishop, The Distance Between Us, and (writing as Noah Bly) The Third Hill North Of Town. When I first read Leave Myself Behind I loved it so much that I read it again. I never read a book twice, but this one I loved. I've devoured each of his books since. I have yet to read The Third Hill North Of Town, but it is on its way from Amazon. Yates has a way with words like few authors I've ever read. You will care about and fall in love with the characters. While White Creek is the latest of his books I've loved and read, I urge you to pick up any of these books and give them a read. I don't think you'll regret it.

Yates books Leave Myself Behind, The Brothers Bishop, and The Distance Between Us represent gay fiction at its zenith. White Creek isn't gay fiction but it is a damn good book, and I expect no less of The Third Hill North Of Town.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday



I almost went to bed last night without scheduling a blog post. I happened to remember it just as I was trying to fall asleep. I spent last night catching up on a few tv shows. I watched Fued on FX. If you aren't watching Feud you should be. It's about the feud between Betty Davis and Joan Crawford. It's quite interesting. Then it watched Dancing with the Stars. Let me just say, Bonner Bolton is one more sexy cowboy. He's worth watching the show for. Him and Gleb, one of the dance coaches. Gleb is also an underwear model. He is sex on legs.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cold



Yesterday, we never got below freezing. Today, the high is supposed to be 17. Welcome to spring in Vermont.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bells in the Rain



Bells in the Rain
By Elinor Wylie

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain,
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again
While the small drops fall softly down.
 
The bright drops ring like bells of glass
Thinned by the wind; and lightly blown;
Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass
So softly as it falls on stone.
 
Peace falls unheeded on the dead
Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink;
Upon a live man’s bloody head
It falls most tenderly, I think.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lazy Weekend



I did nothing all weekend. Nothing important anyway. I watched some Food Network, took some naps, and was just all around lazy. I did leave the house a few times for pizza, groceries, and a Subway sandwich. I was lazy for a couple of reasons. First, I really didn't have anything I needed to do all weekend. Second, I had a headache most of the weekend. And last, I'm still trying to get over the remnants of my cold.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Faith Without Works Is Dead


What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"-and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
James 2:14-26

Faith without works is dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. There are many Scriptures that make it very clear that true saving faith will result in a transformed life which is demonstrated by the "works" we do. How we live reveals what we believe and whether the faith we profess to have is a living faith.

Many profess to be Christians, but their lives and their priorities indicate otherwise.  James is simply saying that if you 'say' you are a Christian, then there had better be some appropriate works manifested or your faith is false. This sentiment is echoed in 1 John 2:4 which says, "If you say you have come to know Him, yet you do not keep His commandments, then the truth is not in you and you are a liar."

Apparently, there were people who were saying they were Christians, but were not manifesting any of the fruit of Christianity.  Those people exist even to this day, especially those who espouse hatred toward the GLBT community.  Can this faith justify? Can the dead 'faith' that someone has which produces no change in a person and no good works before men and God be a faith that justifies? Absolutely not.  It is not merely enough to say you believe in Jesus.  You must actually believe and trust in Him.  If you actually do, then you will demonstrate that faith by a changed and godly life.  If not, then your profession is of no more value than the same profession of demons: "We believe Jesus lived."

Obedience to God is the mark of true saving faith. James uses the example of Abraham and Rahab as the type of works that demonstrate salvation, and both of those examples are of people who obeyed God in faith. Saying we believe in Jesus does not save us, nor does religious service. What saves us is a life of faith demonstrated by ongoing obedience to God.

Faith without works is dead because it reveals a heart that has not been transformed by God. When we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and experienced the "washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit," our lives will demonstrate that by the way we live and our works of obedience to God. It will be evident by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) in our lives and a desire to obey God and live a life that glorifies Him. Christians belong to Christ and as His sheep they hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:26-30).

True saving faith is always manifested by good works and a life that desires to live in obedience to God. Ephesians 2:8-10 makes it very clear that works do not save us but that we are saved "for good works which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them." When we are truly born again you will have hearts that are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit where God's law is written so that we might walk in His statutes and judgments. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

I challenge you this week to help someone out, to do some godly work.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Moment of Zen: Leather



A little kink doesn't hurt, unless you want it to.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ginger Men



In honor of St. Patrick's Day, lets have a look at what makes a redheaded man so hot. Ginger guys have a hard time. So much so that there's been talks of whether 'gingerism' is as bad a racism. True story. Photographer Thomas Knights released an entire exhibition in New York's BOSI Gallery trying to bring down stereotypes of ginger men and promote their eternal hotness..

Not convinced yet? Here’s 21 reasons red-headed guys are actually ginger Gods amongst men.

 1. Their Confidence

All those years of playground torture have molded them into the hardy, self-confident MEN they are now. They know who they are and aren’t about to let a few sh*tty put-downs change that.

2. Their Personalities

Because they haven’t always had to rely on their looks (that unforgiving inch of red hair has worked 'round the clock against them), 9 times out of 10 they will have naturally winning personalities.

3. Their Ginger Beards

When they grow a beard it actually MATCHES their face.

4. Their Sense of Humor

Due to the fact everyone has been poking fun at them their entire lives, they know how to take a joke and have a good old laugh at themselves.

5. Their Freckles

Ahhh, those freckles. Sexy AND cute.

6. They're Fireballs in Bed

Ask anyone who’s been there to confirm - for some unknown reason they are ALL dynamite in the sack.

7. They're Unique

They're a rare and exotic breed (approx. 0.5 per cent of the world’s population), so unlike the hoards of blondes and brunettes out there, they will always keep your attention. Which is a big bonus in the apparent modern day "hookup" culture we live in.

8. They'll Age Well

The sun and red heads will never be friends. So unlike other men who will grow leathery and awful, their skin will be primed for perfection well into old age.

Another plus: if you're being selfish about it, they will make you look extra bronzed for half the tan-time.

9. Their Straight Forwardness

That fiery temper will always let you know where you stand; there are no mind games. When a ginger guy is pissed at you, you will know about it.

10. Their Sense Of Style

Ginger guys in suits – guaranteed HOT.

11. Their Eyes

That fiery red hair and porcelain skin only accentuates their stunning blue/green/gold eyes.

12. Their Passion

They are passionate and feisty people in all aspects of life, and what’s hotter than that?

13. They OWN it

They always have a slightly mysterious vibe going on.

14. They're Classy

For some reason we can't quite pinpoint, they are automatically kinda classy.

15. Their Tan

When they actually manage to get a tan it’s like you’ve got one of the rarest jewels right in the palm of your hands.

16. The Hot Accents

Can you ever imagine a ginger man who doesn’t have a glorious accent? Scottish? Irish? Count us in.

17. They Have No Egos

Usually they don’t realize how unbelievably hot they really are, so there's no battling with ridiculous egos.

18. They're Strong Minded

They know what they want and go for it. Damian Lewis, Prince Harry, Tom Hiddleston - they live their dreams.


19. They'll Protect You

Science says ginger people have higher pain thresholds than the rest of us. What woman doesn’t want a strong man?

20. Their Spawn

If you manage to reproduce with this man you could be in for the most bitchin’ hot family of red head babies ever.

21. THEY ARE JUST SO FLAMING HOT

There's just something about ginger guys - they're rare, they're precious, and they're IN demand.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Only in Alabama


Beauty and the Beast has a gay scene in it. If you didn't know this by now, what rock have you been under? The thing is, an Alabama drive-in theater, the Henagar Drive-In Theater, refused to show the movie because of its gay scene. Tragic as that is, this story has a funny ending. The owner replaced Beauty and the Beast with a film called Fierce because, based on the film’s poster, she thought it was a Game of Thrones style film about dragons. By the way, Game of Thrones has many gay scenes, but that's beside the point because Fierce is about drag queens. She replaced a movie that had a small gay scene with an explicitly gay movie. What a dumbass!
Henagar is not a place where I have been nor is it a place I'd visit. It's up on Sand Mountain. Those people are bat-shit crazy. That's where the snake handling churches are. If you don't know about snake handling churches, these churches release venomous snakes into the congregation and only the holy won't be bit. There also used to be a sign as you went up the mountain that told black people not to be caught on the mountain after dark, implying they'd never leave alive if they did. These are seriously fucked up people.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Too Damn Much...




Snow, that is. With 18-24" of snow over the past day, it's just too much. It's too much to drive in, too much to have to brush off your car, and too much to dig out your car. I like snow when I don't have to go anywhere. I like it when I can look out my window and say, "How pretty." But when I have to get out in it. When I have to sludge through the snow to my car, or when I have to hope and pray that my apartment owner gets someone out to plow the parking lot, that's when it's just too damn much snow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Adolescence



Adolescence
By Claude McKay

There was a time when in late afternoon
    The four-o’clocks would fold up at day’s close
Pink-white in prayer, and ’neath the floating moon
    I lay with them in calm and sweet repose.
 
And in the open spaces I could sleep,
    Half-naked to the shining worlds above;
Peace came with sleep and sleep was long and deep,
    Gained without effort, sweet like early love.
 
But now no balm—nor drug nor weed nor wine—
    Can bring true rest to cool my body’s fever,
Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine,
    That salts my choicest drink and will forever.


Analysis by Juan Pablo

Adolescence is the story of how the narrator is looking back, reflecting on life and the past. This is noted in line 1, "There was time ...". The narrator is looking back at his adolescent days remembering the things he used to do; such as in lines 5 and 6, "And in open space I could sleep, Half-naked to the shining worlds above". The narrator then confesses to us that now that they are older and mature, the substances that the narrator once used to cope with the pain or grief (line 9, "no balm--nor drug nor weed nor wine- Can bring true rest to cool my body's fever,") thus implying that the narrator realized that substance abuse does not help people with their problem. This poem is about coming of age and realization of past mistakes. The author also used rhyme every other line; for example, afternoon and floating moon. The author used an ABAB rhyme scheme. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Sin of Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?  Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:1-13

As GLBT Christians, James gives a very poignant message.  We are often rejected by churches, yet James discusses the seriousness of the sin of partiality.  He says that the members of the church should not look down on someone or treat someone as having less value.  This is the first sin in James in a list of sins that the first chapter tells us to "put away" (James 1:21) and ways in which we must be "doers and not just hearers," (James 1:22) which we discussed last week.  For some reason partiality was a sin that was a higher priority for James to address than the dangerous tongue which he discusses in depth in the next chapter.

James takes partiality much more seriously than probably most Christians today take it.  If most of us were making a list of sins, partiality probably would not make it on the list, but as GLBT Christians, it should. In James 2:4, he says the person who does it "judges with evil thoughts" and in verse 6 he describes the partial person as "dishonoring the poor man."

In our view of sin that includes "white lies" and "the seven deadly sins," one would think showing partiality would barely make it to the status of a white lie.  However, in verses 8-11 James equates partiality with adultery or murder.

Why does James emphasize the seriousness of partiality?  At a fundamental level, partiality denies the power of Jesus on the cross.  The sacrifice Christ made in the crucifixion is the great leveler of humanity.  Without it we are all sinners, regardless of what we have done.  Only because of it are any of us redeemed.  Partiality is a way for humans to make themselves elevate themselves or others.  It does it by allowing us to create tiers of people who are holier than others, and tiers of people who are worse sinners than others.  When I claim to be more holy or righteous because of externalities than another believer, I am denying that it is only Jesus on the cross that accomplishes this.  When I claim someone is a worse sinner for whatever reasons, I deny that God has saved me from the exact same place through the death of His son.  When we see each other for who we are in light of Christ's sacrifices, partiality becomes quite petty.

C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory made a powerful and poignant quote about who we are in light of eternity.
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…  It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
If we truly see each other in this light, how can we show partiality to each other?

Closely related to this is that very simply, we have no justification for partiality.  We had nothing in us that warranted our salvation, yet Christ saved us.  Whatever we can think to hold against someone, God can hold much more against us.  He chooses continually not to.

The Bible shows us two types of partiality we should watch out for:  partiality based on appearance or titles and partiality based on sin.  Partiality based on appearance or titles is the partiality specifically addressed in this passage. In a social setting, a school setting, or any other setting we should not show partiality based on the many socioeconomic reasons we contrive to divide ourselves.  Race, fashionable clothes, income, education, etc.  Just because you may be more inclined to be friends with people you are more similar to, there is no justification or reason to look down on someone for these kind of external reasons.

Tragically this occurs far too often in many churches.  How often have you seen someone get weird looks because they did not dress well enough for that churches standards, or when was the last time you saw someone being kept at a distance or avoided because they did not meet that churches standard of modesty?  We may not show partiality by bringing the person with the good clothes to the front of the room, but how often do our churches exclude whether directly or indirectly because someone isn't dressed well enough?  With my particular church we don't judge people by appearance, but I have seen it many times in other churches.

The other partiality mentioned in the Bible is partiality based on sin or perceived sin, which is the most important lesson for us.  Jesus regularly interacted with tax collectors and sinners.  Tax collectors were the worst form of the greedy bureaucrat.  They were known as thieves and extortionists, and they were viewed as traitors who were agents of Rome's effort to subjugate the Jews.  The word "sinners" is largely a euphemism for prostitute.  It could also refer to people who lived such generally evil lives that they were known by all to be living lives of sin.

Matthew 9:10-13 describes the conversion of Matthew/Levi and his subsequent eating and drinking with Matthew's friends who are described as "tax collectors and sinners."  This story is told in both Luke and Mark as well.  In Matthew 11:19 it appears that Jesus was known by the people at large as "a friend of tax collectors and sinners."  In Luke 15:1 Jesus tells the parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Prodigal Son after "the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him."

These were the people who were attracted to Jesus and who he came to preach to.  Much like the pharisees did, it is far too easy for us to look down on and disassociate ourselves from someone because they are a "worse sinner" than we are.  Jesus would have none of that.  If a pastor spent his time with and ministering to cheats and sexually immoral people, would we be able to view him as following the pattern of Christ, or would we criticize him for "putting himself in the way of temptation" or for "not having enough hedges in place to guard against temptation?"  Should churches accept GLBT Christians, or do we know they will be looked down on and judged instead of loved?  Jesus rebuked those who looked down on others as being worse sinners than ourselves.  I believe that many modern Christians need to be similarly rebuked for looking down on GLBT Christians and rejecting them.

Everyone who is in the church is a brother—everyone stands on an equal footing before  Jesus Christ.   Wealth, status, social standing, position, appearance—none of these matter except all men should come to Jesus Christ and worship Him.  Everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ bows before Him as Lord.  The charge is clear: believers, those who truly believe in Jesus Christ, are not to show partiality or favoritism. It is strictly forbidden.  Leviticus 19:15 says, "You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." Job 13:10 says "He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality. "

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mister Sister



After 11 years without a gay bar, Vermont has a new one opening tonight. Unless I have a relapse of some kind from my cold, I plan to be there. Mister Sister is the name of the new bar, it replaces a bar called Oak 45, which closed to be redone as Mister Sister. Instead of Burlington where you'd expect the bar to be, it is opening in Winooski. I've never been to Winooski, so this will be a first for me.

The new bar has gotten a lot of flack because of its name. Trans people in Vermont say that it is a slur on trans women. The bar owner says that it was meant to be inclusive of the whole LGBTQ Community. I do not think any offense was meant by the owner. If you google Mister Sister, you of course get the song, but it will also show a closed Miami bar by the same name. In my opinion, some people take political correctness a little too far. It's been 11 years since Vermont had a gay bar. Who cares what they named it. Let's go have some fun.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Codeine



Codeine makes a great addition to cough syrup, but it also makes it incredibly hard to stay awake.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

On the Mend



After a week of coughing and sore throat, I am finally on the mend. The only problem is that as I recuperate from having a cold, I developed pink eye. Pink eye is highly contagious so I may have to stay home another day. It's all according to how I feel when I wake up this morning. At least the doctor gave me some good cough syrup and medicine for my eyes.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Art




Art
Erika Jo Brown

Not many passions take your pants off—
painting with oils, reading in the afternoon,
other people’s bodies. I want to really
say something here. I want to be clear.
 
But just as no two people see the same
colors, what you hear is not what I’m
saying. Not conversations as much as
serial misunderstandings, proximate
in space. One considers the dictionary
definition of “man.” One considers
the definition of “woman.” One considers
arm hair, soft spaces on a hot body.
 
The obsessive heat-seeking quality of
attraction. The paint on my pinkie is for
you—a little poison, a little turpentine.
The snaggletooth I want to stick my
tongue into. This is pigment from a rock,
this is pigment from a bug, this is pigment
from a bleeding heart, and this is jeopardy. 
 
Passion brought me here, but passion
cannot save me. To mix linseed and
varnish, to create something is to vanish
what was there before. Chroma for fastness,
chemistry tricks. Such bold strokes in
erasing and framing delicate beginnings.


About This Poem
 
“During an artist residency in Vermont, I observed the precautions that painters and sculptors took before handling their materials, including switching out of street clothes into studio ensembles. I wrote this about a month before my wedding. Romance was in the air, as were toxic fumes—same thing, no?”
—Erika Jo Brown

Monday, March 6, 2017

Still Sick



I still feel like crap with this cold. I barely have a voice right now. As I wrote this last night, I was seriously thinking of taking one more day off work just to get a little better recovered. I am feeling better than I was Friday or Saturday so that's an improvement.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hearing and Doing the Word


Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:19-27

Continuing our look at James, the above passage is one of the most poignant.  When you come before God’s Word, how do you prepare your heart for reading and doing? James instructs us to receive the Word with quietness, calmness, a pure heart, and with humility. When you read the the Bible at home, when you hear it on Sunday morning, or when a brother or sister in Christ brings the Bible to you in teaching, correction, exhortation, or rebuke, receive the Word with meekness. Pray for a teachable spirit that is willing to discipline itself towards godliness.

Be doers of the Word! James has a strong call (really the thesis statement of the book of James) in the close of chapter one. He warns of false religion, a Christianity filled with marked up Bibles, but not lives marked by doing what the Bible actually teaches. Which one more describes you? Do enjoy memorizing gossipy facts more than you do memorizing the Scripture? Is it easier to discipline yourself to weekly care for your wardrobe than it is to daily spend time in Bible study and prayerful action? All true religion should lead to a deeper relationship with Christ. As we exercise our faith through the book of James, it ought to lead to a closer walk with Jesus, a closer guarding of our tongues, and a greater care for those who can’t care for themselves.

As GLBT Christians, our faith is often brought into question.  Those who question whether we can be true Christians and live a life of homosexuality or bisexuality are deceiving themselves about the Word of God.  Christ brought us a message of peace and love, not of antagonism and anger.  In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
If we both hear the Word and do the Word, we are following the teachings of Jesus, and on the Judgement Day, Jesus will say to us, "We'll done, my good and faithful servant."  However, if we listen to the false teachings of Christ that have been defiled by the hearers and not the doers, then we will fall away from God's grace.  We must persevere, we must hear the word, do the word, and resist the false teachings.  If we do these things and accept the word of God with meekness, then we can be doers of the Word. 

When we hear our detractors, we must be quick to hear the true word of God, slow to speak so that we are not taken by our passions, and slow to anger so that we may prove our heavenly spirit.  When I see news stories like the one this week in which Westboro Baptist Church and their ilk blaming the Oklahoma tornadoes on God's wrath over the support of GLBT equality, it angers me partly because I know they are wrong and partly because they are merely adding to the suffering of those who have already suffered so much.  I think it should anger most people who believe in the true word of God and the teachings of Christ.  I then calm down and think of what Christ tells us to do and as James tells us, "be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."  For people like Westboro Baptist Church, I can only pray that one day they will see the error of their ways.  It may only come in the afterlife when they are punished for their hatred, but one day, they will realize what they have done wrong.  They have been false teachers the ones that James warns of as followers of a false religion, a Christianity filled with marked up Bibles which only focus on a few incorrectly interpreted passages, but not lives marked by doing what the Bible actually teaches.  

I probably sound judgmental here about WBC, but I don't mean to sound that way.  I am using them as an extreme example.  I believe strongly in "Judge not, lest ye be judged." However, I did want to use an example of what I believe James is speaking of in the passage above.  Jesus was a champion of the meek, and I believe that if he walked the earth as a man today, as he did 2,000 years ago, then he would welcome GLBT Christians with open arms.  After all, we are Christians who believe in His core teachings of peace and love.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Part II



Isabella and I watched the second part of When We Rise last night. It was so good, even though I cried through most of it. Isabella hid under the covers. I can't wait to watch the conclusion.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When We Rise



When We Rise is an ABC miniseries that chronicles the personal and political struggles, set-backs, and triumphs of a diverse group of LGBT individuals who helped pioneer an offshoot of the Civil Rights Movement from its infancy in the 20th century to the successes of today. 

I'll be honest, I didn't expect to like this but I watched episode one last night and thought it was really good. I look forward to the rest of the miniseries. I grew up in the eighties and nineties when it was the era of the epic miniseries, but miniserieses seem to have gone out of fashion. I'm glad ABC is showing this one. It seems to have nearly every out actor in Hollywood in it. 

If you missed this miniseries, it can be found on DailyMotion and ABC On Demand. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Still Sick



I'm still sick. It's become a head cold. I've either been in the bed or on the couch with Isabella, even if she's giving me the evil eye for disturbing her.