Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From Whence I Came

This past Sunday I attended a reunion of folks from the church I grew up in. This church is no longer in existence and its a long story. The reunion was held at the church of our former Pastor, who left my home church in disgrace some 25 years ago. An even longer story. Over the last few years a lot of forgiveness, restoration, and healing have taken place. My former pastor has been restored and has a growing and vital church. This actually was the third reunion in the last 2 years but the first I attended.

They do not know I am gay, and I have no intention of coming out to this group. It would not really accomplish anything.

It was very good to see people I grew up knowing, and old friends I was in youth group and Sunday School with. We ate a nice lunch and had a wonderful time of fellowship and worship. Hearing my old pastor preach again was very nice and brought back good memories.

Looking from whence I came. Now the church I grew up in, was a conservative baptist. so the teaching I heard concerning homosexuality was not positive by any means. however, this pastor I consider to be a great Bible teacher along with my Sunday school teacher and discipleship leaders help give me a solid biblical foundation. That foundation is what helped me research, pray, and study Scripture until I found the answers I was looking for. The Holy Spirit used these answers to open my mind and heart and enabled me accept myself and come out.

Interesting point, the point of the message he gave was each of us in our respective lives and churches can remember our past, let it inform our present, and move us to the next thing. How interesting I am attempting to move to the next thing in my life. He said just do it. Now I think that is a word from God! During the prayer time following the message I found myself tearing up. In fact I sobbed uncontrollably for a few minutes. This was the first time in many years I cried like that in front of other people! Since Sunday the tears I thought were cried out have returned. I am not bothered by it, there seems to be a new release. So now its on to the next thing, tears and all!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday This and That

Its Friday and its payday! I am going to the club tonight, and looking forward to it! What fun it will be.

I was on call last night but NO calls! So I will only be paid for carrying the pager. Oh well, This weekend I am on call Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday night, All busy nights. I hope I am not a patient by Tuesday LOL.

I think I am the world's worst procrastinator! Its such a sin too I must confess, to know the right thing to do and do it not is sin. For me the right thing is to complete the application to the local university for the Master's degree in School Counseling. Everything in me says its time to move forward, so why don't I? Not sure. Maybe fear of change? I have sense this is what I need to do. It will add so much to my ministry, along with this I would like to complete some graduate level training in bereavement and be certified in that. Its not difficult either. I am going to do it, Today!

If you have read my blog before you may recall I am setting aside my M.Div work for the counseling degree and plan to find some degree that will help with my Pastoral care work. I may have found it. St Leo University which has an extension in the area has a Master of Arts in Theology. Its 36 hours seems to be well rounded, so once I complete the counseling program this maybe the theological degree I have been looking for. Add this to the credits I already have, my CPE, plus counseling and bereavement training, I think could qualify for Board Certification by one of the chaplain groups or just stay a part time chaplain and full time school counselor. both are ministries I think.

Please pray for me to know and do the right thing in my education, as well as my finances. Thank you and God Bless.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its Time to Keep the Club!

In my last post I mentioned making cuts because of the cuts made to my hours. One of the cuts was to not go to the Club on Friday night which has been my custom. Not something I really want to cut out, in looking at things I am really at bare bones anyway, so I thought was something I should cut. I had two friends comment that I should continue going it a good outlet and being around other gay men was good for me.

Well I did not go last Friday night and you know what? They were right! I missed it so much, it is a good outlet. Its one thing not to be able to go due to illness or work. i was thinking about it this morning and how much I missed the fellowship, the music, dancers, and just being there!

So I am not going to cut it out completely, but try not to spend as much, maybe not eat there or just have soda or one beer. cut back on tipping the dancers. I'll think of it this way, spending that money will stimulate the economy!!

This is an outlet I think I need, I might cut back netflix, I get three at a time maybe cut back to 2 at a time. I only have air cable and internet is a must. It will work out.

The stimulus signed today and it provides a tax cut. However, it comes down to only $16 a paycheck. WOW!! a whole $16 dollars! maybe i'll use that at the club! Its better then having to pay an additional $16 in taxes. I hope it works!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Downturn Axing hours

As I sit writing this, I am attempting to come to terms with another cut in my hours. This time at the assisted living where I serve part time as Chaplain. Having hours cut is better than losing the job altogether, yet it still means more belt tightening, its hard to know what to cut. The cuts impact every department, for me it means working 15 hours a week instead of 20, which is not a lot but when you consider I drive 35 miles one way just to get to the place its hard. My commitment is to ministry there plus the income helped. Especially when hours were cut at the Hospital. Just quitting crossed my mind but right now replacing the income is at best difficult. plus it would leave a gaping hole there; which I am not prepared to do right now. So I am praying for the Lord to guide my steps.

So what's the answer? I don't know, its kind of scary too. My faith and mind tells me God is in control He will provide. My experience tells me this is true. Yet... my emotions say otherwise. I have anger, fear, disappointment, and a part of me just wants to hide out until this recession is over. How irrational is that.

One big thing I may have to cut is my Friday night out at the club. I cut back not eating there just drinking the soda and maybe a beer. then I am not tipping the dancers like I was which is hard because I like them! So I may have to cut that back and not go, perhaps just once a month. This is something I look forward to and and its so nice to be around other gay men!

I ask that you please pray for me to have peace and guidance through this time. I also ask you if your not already, to pray for all the folks in our nation who are looking for work . Who are losing homes, cars, having trouble paying bills because of job loss or cuts in hours and pay. Please lets band together an pray. Thank You

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stepping Forward

Several things on my mind this morning, the news more people losing jobs, when will it slow down? I pray for everyone who has or is losing a job. I have been there and I am concerned about being there again. Anyway I am praying for our country in this downturn, I pray for families in need, for those looking for work. I am praying. Something practical I am doing as well each month I am adding a few dollars to my electric bill for the energy share program, I am also giving to the food bank. Also giving to the local Aids task force they do good work in the local GLBT community. Its not much but my little bit added to others I hope will help someone in need. That is a step forward.

Another step forward, I have completed my application for a school system job. I hope I am offered a full time job. It would only be a teaching assistant or something like that, but its a foot in the door and begins a new process for me. I intend on keeping my part time Hospital ministry because I love that work so much and its part of my calling.

Next I want to complete the application for a graduate degree in school counseling. its part of the change in direction I have been praying and thinking about. It would be a big step forward. I still want to complete some type of theological graduate degree but not sure what yet. Something that would help me maintain my Hospital ministry and perhaps add pastoral or grief counseling to my qualifications. I don't think it will be the M.Div though.

Also I need to figure out how to deal with a personal financial situation. I need to step forward in this area as well but not sure the steps to take. Hmmm.

A relationship step forward, I have mentioned my best friend in other posts. Well our relationship has changed over the last few months. There is an openness between us that has renewed our friendship of our younger days when we were much closer. I have said that I love him..well I do. I could easily be in love with him, in fact in the past I have been but the romantic love was not returned. Right now he is in a relationship with someone and I see him so happy and comfortable with this guy that it has brought me a satisfaction for him. I think its a step forward in our friendship.

So I am trying to step forward and move on to whats next.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What's Next II

Continuing to think about what's next, what steps I should take to continue growing. I am struck by Psalm 42 which states "As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul thirsts for God" To know god and be known by him is at the heart of spiritual life, and growth. Certainly I know in my heart of hearts that I am loved, and accepted, even wanted by the God who created me. His grace toward me is unmatched by anything this world has to offer. I do have a sense of a new balance in my life. That is fulfilling! I still have to get used to it.

Still practically, what is the next step? Is it the change in direction I have been praying about? a different education program? A job? I must confess for about six months now in this regard I have been at a stand still. I have applied for a few jobs but not really pursued any. I have experienced a personal financial downturn with a cut in hours at the Hospital. What is that telling me? I find myself at times filled with a fear about finances that seems to overtake me. It makes me feel like I am not standing on my faith as I should as a believer. Then there is the creditors pressure to which I am powerless with no resources to do anything about. But that is a whole different story.

Well I think part of the answer for me is being faithful with what I have, what I know and keep praying and taking steps forward. That is the steps I feel in my heart I need and want to take. The other night I listened again to "The Bible Tells Me So" At the end there is a n interview with Gene Robinson, where he states to the effect that we just take steps forward and God will take care of the rest. I was struck by that statement, God will take care of the rest. That is what I have to let happen, but I need for take the steps forward. I will its part of the journey!