Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Pictured from top to bottom My candlelight celebration, My patio lights, My church on Christmas Eve

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! John 1:14

There was a great light!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Peace to you, grace from our Father in Heaven.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Tree!

Soon after Thanksgiving I put up my outside lights. just a few strands around my potted plants.
I enjoy turning them on and it makes a nice display. Its fun, I used to decorate the outside of our house with lights and a large lighted wreath. a part of me misses those days even though I was locked up in myself!

I did not put up my tree this year since I was going out of town for Christmas, and I just was not in the mood.

Now that I am staying here I decided to put up the small table top tree, its a charlie brown tree but I put a few ornaments I like on it and its lit up so it will be nice. I set out some candles as well, for Christmas Eve . I'm going out in the morning to buy some food for dinner, Breakfast Christmas morning. Christmas dinner will be with my group of friends, which will be nice.

Home for Christmas

This Christmas was to be the one I would spend with my family, mother(94) sister, her family, and brothers. However, because of the weather, I will not be making the trek to the mountains. Not because of difficulty getting there but difficulty getting back for work on the weekend.

I was looking forward to seeing my mother and sister, and us all being together this Christmas. the food, (especially the cookies) but now plans have changed. Gone are the days when we lived in the same area. Oh well.

I will just have to make the best of it here, at least I will be able to attend my church service Christmas Eve, and I am looking for another Carol and Candlelight service to attend late that night. Then I will have dinner with my group for friends Christmas night. I will miss my mother though!

There is a reason for everything!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Open and Affirming Churches

I have been looking around the internet for denominations and specific churches that are gay open and affirming. A very good resource is a web site It lists churches of all sorts in every state. Unfortunately in my area there are very few to choose from. I visited two in the past. The worship styles were very different, even from what I'm used to. There is an MCC locally I have yet to visit.

Some inclusive Denominations I am aware of are

United Church of Christ, however its up to each local congregation to decide if they are inclusive or not. There are 10 or so in my area but only two advertise themselves as open and affirming.

Disciples of Christ, a very open denomination, I like them, and considering them.

Metropolitan Community Church, A denomination started to reach out to the LGTB community. It also attracts a number of straight people as well. Not sure if the National Council of Churches recognizes them... they should.

The Episcopal Church in USA has made great strides in being more inclusive. This year with the church position on ordaining Bishops who are gay. There are parish Priests who live openly.

The Lutheran Church is working toward being more inclusive officially, there are individual Parishes who are very inclusive, of their clergy as well.

I found a website for Baptist Churches, This amazes and pleases me to know there are Baptists out there that are this progressive, but there none in my area. Some churches in every denomination have moved toward inclusiveness, The Presbyterian church is a good example of this.

These are a few that I am aware of. Are there others? I will continue to look for a a church home I can be open in and with.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More On church Employment

In thinking about working for a church, I think there is an instance when it could work well for me.

If the church is an open and affirming place, understands the need and desire for a relationship, and the position is one which allows me to exercise my personal call and gifts; then it could work very well and be a place of growth and service.

Allow me to unpack the above for a moment.

A. Open and affirming, would be a place where I could be safe and comfortable coming out and everyone knowing and being comfortable with me as a person and my serving there. Is there such a place that is truly open and affirming?

B. Desire for a relationship encompasses many thoughts and life issues. The main point here is serving a place where they know, understand and accept my seeking a relationship and dating as a gay man, a minister in their church family.

C. Most importantly, it would be a place which allows me to minister freely using my gifts, and fulfilling my call in their midst. This means a secure staff position which involves providing pastoral care, counseling, leading and training leaders to facilitate support groups of various kinds, a Stephen ministry, discipleship and spiritual direction ministries. The opportunity to lead in Worship from time to time. All in a place where I can also learn and grow continuing my journey of self discovery.

Somewhere in the world there is a place where at least some of the above is available. but for it all to be there would make it a "perfect church", on earth that does not exist.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Decision NO to Church Employment

In my job search I have watch for church related jobs which I might feel a sense of call to. Yet in the back of my mind there is an uneasiness about applying for any job in a church. This has bothered me until I prayed about it and thought this through.

I have come to the conclusion that for me a job in a church will not work for me. At least right now. The reason for this is simple, unless the church is a completely open and affirming I would not fit in. Open and affirming is hard to find in these parts. I would always be concerned about being outed, and the consequences or that event.

The consequences I am very concerned about, first the loss of income, job, and so forth. There is a consequence that goes deeper, that is how my being outed in even a liberal setting would effect those I would serve. I have seen how something like that has impacted a church in my younger years and it was very painful for all involved. I am acutely aware of the spiritual implications and wish to avoid that situation if at all possible.

Now my current ministry setting is completely different. As long as my personal life does not impact my work, there is no problem. The other thing is if I took a call to a church, I would not be able to totally be me, I would be fearful of going to a gay club, (not wanting to be seen going to or from by someone connected with the church.) fearful of being seen with my tranny or obviously gay friends for the same reason. I don't want that for me or them. then there is the issue of sex. If I were working in a church I would have to be celibate. I went for so long without intimacy that I feel like that would be going backward for me. Plus I am searching for someone to be my partner. that would to be put on hold.

I have told myself that I could do this just until the opened another door, yet that would not be true to myself, my Lord, or the church. I want to be real, the real me in every sense of what that means and its such a struggle!

Finally, my call is not to serve in the four walls of the church, the Lord has expanded that for me and it has opened a whole new world. For those who may read this and are working in a church, I think you understand what I am saying. I understand your struggle, unless your in an open and affirming place its oh so difficult! I pray for you, please pray for me!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Friday Waking up!

Well its Friday again! Another week of busyness, good busyness. I had 4 on call nights in the last week and had calls each time but last night. Tuesday/Wednesday was long, two calls in the wee hours, I was able to rest in between. We had staff at noon so I did not go home until it was all over.
Not having a call last night was a blessing, being able to sleep (though lightly) was nice. Today I need to do something special for myself. not sure what. Lunch out? Dinner at the club?

There is so much on my mind right now, not sure what or how to share it and what I need to express here.

Things are tough for all of us, me as well, so I have come to a decision I will share in here in the near future. Plus I am working through a thought process in my search for a job to add to my portfolio. I will be writing about it here. Being gay comes with a lot of things to think about as you all know.

A friend was saying to me last night that I am waking up to life. WOW, a true observation! I am waking up to so many things! big and small. I am surprised at how the small things add up. Taste in music, places I go, people I meet and are friends to me. Here I am in my late 40's and just just waking up!

I have come to the place that if I am asked, I will tell! Yet, I have been warned to protect myself, my job, my future. My next posting will be about job stuff. Take care all.