Monday, November 30, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 106 (Thanksgiving Break)

The weekend in pictures:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 105 (Fry Party)

I'm not sure why I was so tired yesterday, possibly going to bed past 2 am every night, but that's not really that odd for me. My siblings and I went to see The Road yesterday, the new post-apocalyptic Viggo Mortensen movie. It was really good, unlike 2012, except the kid was so freaking whiney!!! The whininess was a little unrealistic because a kid growing up in that kind of environment would have grown up a little bit tougher. This isn't ruining any part of the movie, so I'm just gonna say it. If you knew that everyone wanted to eat you, wouldn't you have mastered the art of silence?

It's very strange how 3 of the last 4 movies that I've watched have been about the apocalypse. What does that say about people that these are the kinds of movies being produced?

It was great being able to worship with my home church today. Sean's preaching, as usually, was very entertaining, and I didn't realize until today how much I had missed it. I also was able to get in touch with Jay, who is going to be handling my ordination process. So, I got something done school-wise, even if it wasn't really studying or homework O_o. Not to worry, that is what I will be working on once I finish with this blog.

We went to the third annual fry party today. Itemswe deep fried were turkey, zucchini, sweet potato, banana lumpia, s'mores, marshmallows, Oreos (traditional and golden), brownies, green beans, meatballs, eggplant, shrimp, brownies, Twinkies & potatoes (for potato skins, not french fries). Some ideas for next time include butter, potato chips (as in battering store bought potato chips and deep frying them) & macaroni and cheese. As you can imagine, this is not a low-calorie affair.

I have to get back to my homework now. Hopefully reading this blog has not clogged your arteries too much. Gotta finish the paper tonight so I can email it to the professor since I won't be in class tomorrow. O_o

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 104 (Exhaustion)

Really tired, going to bed. If this turns into a nap and I wake up in a few hours, I will add to this post. If not, there should be a full fledged blog tomorrow as I have a paper to write and a quiz to study for before going to bed ;-P

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 103 (New Moon)

It's the day after Turkey Day and the turkey itself has been reduced to a pile of bones. True, we had some guests for dinner that night, and some more today, but I have never seen a 23 pound bird disappear that fast.

Today was pretty low-key. I haven't been doing as much homework as I should be, but I am doing some, which I guess is better than when I would do nothing before. We finally made it out to see New Moon today. It was pretty much what I expected, although it seemed to be a lot slower than the first one. I originally thought the pacing of the 1st movie was too fast, but after seeing it like 10 times, I'm comfortable with it now. I'm sure once I wear out the New Moon DVD, the pacing won't bother me any more. I really like how the directors have been adding fight scenes at the ends of the movies where there are none in the books; it makes the movies more interesting. I think it would be a mistake to continue that trend with the last book, because that would make the movie extremely different from the book. The Eclipse movie comes out in June, and that book already has a fight scene in the end. We'll just have to see how everything plays out.

Personally, I thought New Moon had too many huge talking head scenes. It's been a while since I read the book, and my memory of it isn't too great, because I was mostly reading it as fast as i could so that I could get to Eclipse. Here's the New Moon trailer for anyone that's interested:

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 102 (Hangover)

Yes, for the very first time ever, I woke up with a hangover this morning. Perhaps we should do this blog as a flashback...

The drive back home wasn't nearly as tedious as normal; having Amber there made the ride back much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, I wasn't specific enough when I got directions from Mapquest, because we ended up taking the 101 all the way back, and thus were unable to stop at Julia Pfieffer Falls. I could have sworn that the 101 and the 1 were essentially the same freeway, but they don't actually become the same freeway until around San Louis Obispo. We also grabbed some snacks at the gas station, so by the time we got to the Madonna Inn, neither of us were hungry.

Originally, the plan was to watch New Moon with my sister when I got back, but everyone was getting together for sushi. Since it has been over 3 months since I've had really good sushi, this was an agreeable change of plans. While at the restaurant, I took advantage of the fact that I wasn't driving to have a bottle of sake and a beer. The party moved over to the Wei house afterwards where I proceeded to have 2 shots of tequila, a glass of scotch, a martini, and another beer. Suffice it to say that I was gloriously drunk. To be honest, I was partly thinking to test my inability to get a hangover. Well, it finally happened, and as I suspected, it sucked. I'm sure other people's hangovers have been much worse; I have heard stories after all, but 5 hours of headache and nausea were enough to convince me that I never want to experience it ever again. However, I am glad that I can now say that I have had one.

Thanksgiving was typical. Lots of food; lots of fun. We watched Pandorum, a creepy sci-fi thriller. You know, the usual. We somehow ended up with 7 pies, 6 of the pumpkin variety, of which I am partaking as we speak. I was going to study Hebrew, but I decided to watch Glee instead. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 100 (100th Post!!!)

In honor of the 100th blog entry for Jesus High for the Gay Guy, I offer 100 things I have learned so far while in seminary.

In no particular order...

1. Seminary is hard.
2. Making new friends is always cool.
3. If you cook it, they will come.
4. The Bible may not be exactly what you think it is.
5. The Bible is exactly what you think it is.
6. Magic: The Gathering is still one of the best games ever invented.
7. It's easy to be away from home when you are too busy to think about it.
8. Procrastination is part of who I am; there doesn't seem to be any sense in fighting it.
9. As much as I would like one, I may need to accept the fact that I do not have a green thumb.
10. SFTS is one of the most liberal places on the planet.
11. San Francisco Presbytery is not.
12. While it seems like I am able to drink large quantities of alcohol, all it takes is one glass of wine for me to feel tipsy.
13. In certain instances, you can substitute apples for onions.
14. Mace is essentially nutmeg on crack.
15. If you don't do laundry on a regular basis, you have to start wearing clothes that you don't usually want people to see you wearing.
16. If you put off refilling your prescription for too long, you come dangerously close to not being able to take your pills.
17. Just because you can ditch class, doesn't mean that you should.
18. Straight A's are not worth the trouble.
19. God is not as much of a stickler as I thought he was.
20. The Holy Spirit just might be female... what that means in "divine" terms, I have no idea.
21. Living next to a bell tower that goes off at 8:00 in the morning sometimes sucks.
22. Living next to the dumpster when the garbage truck come by at 6:00 in the morning sucks even more.
23. Service at a cafe will be less than stellar if the cook does not show up for work.
24. Grocery store bakeries suck.
25. A good burger is a wonderful thing.
26. Everyone worships a different way. God is still God.
27. Baptists are not as scary as people would have you believe.
28. Neither are pagans.
29. A light saber should be nowhere near a pagan ritual.
30. Neither should fake candles.
31. If there is a ghost at SFTS, it is most likely benign.
32. It is physically impossible for me to read 300 textbook pages a week and still be able to do everything else.
33. Chicken fat makes the best chicken soup.
34. Sometimes, when people are telling you their problems, the best thing to do is just listen.
35. People have issues and you just need to accept that.
36. The kitchens at Oxtoby may be small, but you can still cook wonderful food in them.
37. If someone drinks a bottle of wine or more a day, they probably have a multitude of wine corks lying around waiting for someone crafty to use them.
38. You can never predict when the mail will come in San Anselmo.
39. People in Northern California are "idiosyncratic" drivers.
40. Mt. Tamalpais only looks like a sleeping woman if you are looking at it from the right angle.
41. The Bay Area is one of the most stunningly beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.
42. The ferries from Larkspur to San Francisco are slower on the weekends because they use the older ferries.
43. Taking the bus is not any faster or cheaper than the ferry, or so I've heard.
44. Pawpaws taste like mango.
45. $30.00 chocolate doesn't really taste much different from $10.00 chocolate.
46. A 5 second video really can be one of the funniest things you've every seen. (I'm talking to you "dramatic groundhog.")
47. People say they will visit you, but they won't.
48. People visiting is fun, but it totally kills your study time.
49. Living on the 4th floor gives you a really great view of your surroundings.
50. Living on the 4th floor makes it hard to do laundry.
51. If you leave rice in a rice cooker for 2 weeks, it will become dry, brown and hard.
52. That stuff that cleans mildew off of grout actually works!
53. Compost buckets smell really, really, really bad.
54. Just because you think something is really cool/fun/beautiful doesn't mean that other people will think the same.
55. Decaf still has caffeine in it.
56. If you really focus, you can write a 5 page paper in 2 or 3 hours.
57. If you don't, it will take the whole day.
58. Driving in San Francisco sucks.
59. Parking in San Francisco sucks.
60. The public transportation is supposedly good, but I haven't really tried it yet except for the ferries.
61. facebook can and will take over your life. (This means you farmville, even though I've never played you.)
62. So will Magic: The Gathering. O_o
63. The longer you put off doing the dishes, the harder it is to start them.
64. A dryer sheet in the bottom of a trash can will only help so much.
65. You will not get a ticket for smoking marijuana in Marin County. (Disclaimer: I do not know this from personal experience.)
66. Bigotry is alive and well.
67. Large corporations are by and large evil incarnate. If anyone has proof to the contrary, please let me know.
68. Even when you think there is a slight possibility you may run into someone you know when you go somewhere, it is still shocking when it happens.
69. The only way to get comfortable speaking in front of people is to just do it.
70. When you need to print something to turn in 5 minutes before class, the printer will not work.
71. Just because someone calls themselves or is referred to as a bishop/priest/father/pastor does not necessarily mean that they are.
72. When someone says that Disneyland is not the happiest place on earth, this has no effect on its actual status as the happiest place on earth.
73. Just because a guy wears a certain type of shoe, it doesn't mean that he's gay... or does it???
74. Tickets for the Winchester Mansion are WAYYYYYY overpriced.
75. Price matters, even if someone else is paying for you.
76. If a place offers free food to veterans on Veterans' Day, then that place will probably be busy on Veteran's Day.
77. Just because a person is old, that does not give them an excuse to be rude.
78. Learning is easier when it's fun.
79. You really can relate bunnies to most things.
80. If store employees see an underage person touch your wine bottles, they will not sell the wine to you.
81. But, you can always go back to buy them later.
82. Books/articles will not read themselves.
83. If a person's beliefs are strong enough, they will often be incapable of hearing anything contrary to those beliefs.
84. They will also think you are stupid/unreasonable/crazy.
85. Just because a church body is in California does not mean that it will be liberal.
86. Just because people are from the South does not mean they will be conservative.
87. Niacin will make you sweat profusely.
88. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a cheap and quick breakfast.
89. If a group of people is of any kind of decent size, you will find people that like Firefly.
90. A dot is a lot more significant in Hebrew than it is in English.
91. People thought EXTREMELY differently about things 100/500/1,000/5,000 years ago than we do now.
92. Drugs have as much to do with the context within which they are used as their chemical component.
93. Icons are not as strange as protestantism would have you believe.
94. You cannot plagiarize yourself.
95. If you study long enough, you will get a study high. (Thank you ketones.)
96. A new wool rug will shed like crazy. (I have yet to figure out when it will stop shedding.)
97. If the wind blows something off of your balcony once, chances are it will do so again.
98. Although $5.00 for lunch isn't that bad, it's a lot of money when the food isn't that good.
99. Real falafel is green.
100. It's called "breaking the seal" for a reason.

LOL, when I started this post I was totally prepared for going back and changing the title because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to think of 100 things. I could probably make the list longer, but I won't torture you all. On the bright side, you don't even have to go to seminary to learn any of this, now! So far, this seminary thing has been an amazing ride. Let's see what the next 100 days bring!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 099 (Bakla)

Super crazy busy day (if anyone is curious about today's subtitle, I'll be getting to it in a minute) Went to Church History, which was unfortunate. Not really into history, but I think you all know that by now. I had breakfast at the Sunflower Cafe, as per usual for Monday morning. I had the eggs florentine, which was really good.

It was 11:00 by the time I finished eating. Although I normally stay until it's time for Intro to Ministry, I decided to get some new tires in anticipation for the drive back home. $530.00 later, I was at the bead shop to pass some time as I waited for them to put the tires on. Went to Gameplace, the local gaming store, thanks Ian, and bought some Magic booster packs for the thrill of it because it's been so long since I've done that. Wouldn't you know, I opened a $15.00 card in the second pack! Sweet!!! Now I just have to figure out how to sell it on ebay...

Got the car back, went to class, you know my other favorite class. Then had dinner with Faith, turned the beads into bracelets, did a butt load of dishes, then learned about bakla.

Bakla, to put it in simple recognizable terms, if the Filipino word for "gay". Tom and Faith had informed me that they were going to have a "gay Filipino" speaker in their Cultural Psychology and I thought to myself, "How many times am I going to get a chance to listen to a gay Filipino speaker in a seminary class?" So, I went. This is the video that he showed us to start the lecture:
Fun, huh? He started talking about Filipino culture and I learned all kinds of things that I am ashamed to say that I knew nothing about. Apparently, there's this Filipino concept of the essence of a person being on the inside, and the outside of a person being more amorphous, something you can play around with. Basically, until very recently, there hasn't been a concept of "gay" in the Philippines. Instead, you had the convention of the "bakla" who is someone who has the heart of a woman, but is physically male. It is an idea that persists in the culture to this day, even as Western gay culture has been on the rise. "Bakla" is almost like a third gender, but a man who is "bakla" is essentially seen as female. Because of that, their partners are inevitably straight men. Or, what people in the Filipino culture would consider straight men. It's all very convoluted when you look at it from a Western perspective, and I know I have a lot more to learn about it.

He also showed a video clip of 5 bakla men working as caregivers in Israel. They were supposed to do a drag show at a gay club, but the person in charge of entertainment dressed them up as geisha's instead and had them bowing at people as they entered the club. They were so shocked at what they were expected to do, they had no idea how to react and ended up just going along with it. It was one of the most racist things I had ever seen in my whole life, and the fact that it was perpetrated by a gay Jew makes it even more shocking. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. As imperfect as life in the United States is, it's things like that that remind me of how lucky I am to have been born in Southern California. SoCal rules! NorCal is just jealous!!! I have to do my part to perpetuate the rivalry between Northern and Southern California, even though people in SoCal HAVE NO FRIGGIN' CLUE THAT THE RIVALRY EXISTS!!!!! But, that is a blog for another time...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 098 (City of Refuge)

I went to City of Refuge today, a church affiliated with the UCC. It was an amazing service, very charismatic and energetic. It was similar to New Liberation Presbyterian Church, but even more going on. Annamae, one of my classmates, invited me to go with her because one of her classmates was giving the sermon. It was an interesting twist on the Jonah story. We happened to go on Youth Sunday, so the children were involved in different aspects of the worship service, and the children choir performed a song. They rocked the house! It's too bad the church is so far away, because it would be cool to attend services there more often.

But, the coolest thing was running into an old friend of mine! This is Jair and me in the picture. We used to do poetry together in LA! What a coincidence, huh? It was really weird; what are the chances of Annamae and I visiting the same church that he goes to, especially considering the fact that he lives in Oakland? It was great being able to catch up with him. Shout out to all the Poet's Jazz House members! You never know where we're gonna turn up!

Afterwards, Annamae and I went to Mel's Diner and traded life stories. (partial ones anyway) It turned out to be a really great day. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 097 (The Giblet Bag)

Confession: I roasted a turkey today. It was great! Everyone loved it, and I have tons of leftovers. But, as I was tearing the carcass apart to put it away in the fridge...I found the giblet bag. I am so mortified! For all the cooking I do, what a rookie mistake! I looked in the body cavity, and I found the neck, like the turkey wrapping said, but nothing else. As far as I can remember, the wrapper didn't say anything about the giblet back, so I figured it was just a new way of packaging turkeys to not include it? Anyway, I cooked it and found the giblet bag in the neck cavity! O_o I don't understand why the cut the neck off and put it in the body cavity, and take all the stuff from the body cavity and shove it down the turkey's neck?!?!? How bass ackwards is that? Anyways <-- tribute to Amber, I have tons of turkey, potatoes and gravey if anyone needs food. Just putting it out there <-- another tribute to Amber, LOL.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 096 (2012)

Didn't do too much today. Woke up late because our Old Testament teacher is out of town, so we didn't have that class. Served communion, had Hebrew. I didn't do as well as I normally do on the quiz; made a couple of stupid mistakes like I always do from going to fast, and I couldn't recognize the word for death to save my life (no pun intended). Watched one episode each of Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural and Ugly Betty. I would have added glee, but some of us decided we wanted to watch the world blow up, so we went to watch 2012.

It's a fluffy action piece with pretty cool visuals. Don't expect to come away from it feeling like you've learned anything; it's really just for if you need something to distracting yourself. Plus, the science of it all is kinda shady. Still, I would recommend it for the sheer spectacle of it all. The heroes are constantly pulling through scene after scene of impossible escapes, and there are some heartwarming scenes between friends and family members. I give it one thumbs up, and one sideways thumb.

Tomorrow: Roasting the turkey!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 095 (The Blues)

We now come to the harrowing tale of beads, bracelets and rude women from Kentucky. If you need to catch up, here are parts 1 and 2.

And for those that just want a brief summary:

I had a rainbow bracelet from beads that had a lot of personal meaning for me. A woman from Kentucky that I was trying to help over the phone said something very mean to me. I can't believe I just summed up two posts in two sentences O_o

After I had recovered somewhat from what the woman said to me, I realized I needed to just get out of the office for a while to regroup. I thought the best thing to do would be to go back to the bead store and lose myself in the thousands of tiny beads. The plan was to make a bracelet for my friend Stacey. I figured that the task of finding the absolutely perfect beads to turn into a bracelet for her would take my mind off of what happened at least for a little while.

It sort of worked; there were definitely a few moments here and there where I was so focused on what I was doing that the lady's voice wasn't even a faint memory. But, the recollection of the event would quickly return and I would get depressed again. I often wonder about her and what her life must be like. Is she an unhappy woman? Did she really mean it? Would she feel joy at the pain she caused me? I suppose I'll never know.

After probably over an hour at the bead store, I finally found the beads I wanted to make Stacey's bracelet. I chose beads made of glass, bone, silver, and semi-precious stone. I was floored at how much I ended up spending, but I figured that the healing that the creation of the bracelet provided for me was worth the cost. Plus, the bracelet turned out to be stunningly beautiful. I love hearing stories of people trying to steal the bracelet from her. I wish I still had the other bracelet, the one that I consider to be the twin to Stacey's, but maybe someone else need's it's healing power right now. Here is the picture of Stacey's bracelet to end the story. The picture doesn't do it justice; if you know her, maybe you can get her to show it to you one day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 094 (The 3rd Rainbow)

So, you all read the story yesterday (hopefully) about the mean lady in Kentucky. I think I was in a really fragile place because Proposition 8 had just passed making it illegal for a same-sex couple to get married. And right before the conversation, I was in a really happy place because I had finally taken some beads that I had been saving for a very long time, years in fact, and had bought some other beads to go with them and turned them into a bracelet that I was determined to wear every day for the rest of my life. Here is a picture of it:

These beads were very special to me, especially the big red one, the big orange one, the little translucent one next to the yellow one, the big pale green one and the steel-blue angular one in between the paler blue one and the small olive green one. The reason those beads were special is because they were the oldest. I had gotten them several years ago at a youth worker's convention. They were part of a large exhibit about the horrors that happen to children in Africa. Most of it was about the AIDS epidemic, but it also dealt with malnutrition and kidnapping and child soldiers. It was very sad. The way it worked was that you pretended to be a young child in Africa and you went through the exhibit, which was set-up in a similar manner to a fun house at the fair, except instead of funny mirrors and a rope ladder, you had to sit and wait in an AIDS clinic until a nurse let you through and in one part you had to sleep on the floor with some straw for a pillow. Along the way, there were pictures with stories about the horrible things that children in Africa have to endure.

At the end, there was a bead station where participants were encouraged to make a bracelet for themselves to remember what they had seen. I chose to make a rainbow one so that it would have a dual meaning, and I wore it until the leather strap broke. I even used it a couple of times, when someone was having a hard day, to illustrate that we don't have things so bad compared to the children in Africa. I would tell them the story of the bracelet's origin and how I wore it to remind myself of how lucky I was to have been born in the United States of America.

One day, it broke. Those 5 beads were the only ones that I was able to find, and I kept them for years, telling myself that I would one day turn them into a bracelet again. And one day, I did. That incarnation consisted of only those five beads, and I used a piece of elastic that I thought would hold up okay because it was stretchy and I thought it would just stretch instead of breaking. That one only lasted a few days before breaking while I was in class. I was only able to find three of the beads, and I was devastated that I had managed to keep those 5 beads together for so long and in one day I had somehow managed to lose the orange and green ones.

I came home very sad that night, and as I pulled off my sweater, the orange one popped out from somewhere and landed on my bed. I was so excited to find it! I was still bummed, but 4 beads was definitely better than 3. I put the beads into the bowl that I kept at the side of my bed for my keys and I went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning, determined to go to the bead shop and put the beads together into a proper bracelet so that I wouldn't lose anymore. When I looked in the bowl, I couldn't believe what I saw! Somehow, and I have no way to explain it, the green bead was lying there with the four other beads. It was a miracle! I took it as a sign that I really needed to go through with my plan and turn these beads into a bracelet. I took a long break that afternoon from work, went to a bead store, and went through almost their entire inventory to find the other 17 beads that made up the bracelet. The bracelet became even more precious to me when I learned from the woman who rang up my purchase that I had inadvertently chosen 4 beads that had originated in Africa. For those that are curious, the African beads are the other 3 blue beads besides the original steel blue one, and the yellow one.

I was wearing the bracelet for the second day when that woman said that thing to me. She was the low to my emotional roller coaster. This story is longer than I remember it being, LOL. It's getting pretty late and I have to wake up early tomorrow for class, so I need to stop for now. Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion to the bracelet story!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 093 (Rainbows)

I can't believe I'm doing a reprint, but I started wearing a rainbow bracelet again (see right), and it reminded me of the one I used to wear that I lost shortly before moving up here. Plus, if Mark Rosewater (a writer for Magic: The Gathering, yes I realize that was a geeky thing to write, but it makes me laugh) can do reprints, then so can I!

Of course, thinking of that bracelet reminded me of how it came to be. I'm not going to tell the whole story now; I'll tell the rest of it tomorrow. Besides, I still have homework to do before I can go to bed, as always. So, this is a reprint from November of last year. It was a pretty upsetting day for me, but we all have those, right? If you wanna know how the following story has anything to do with bracelets, then you'll have to come back tomorrow ;-p

November 15, 2008

Based on my reaction to today’s events, I might have to admit that I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. I’m not completely naïve of the world around me; it’s just that people in California tend to be very accepting, so being a little different is not really going to grab anyone’s attention.

People in Kentucky…no offense to anyone reading this…are not quite so “tolerant.”

I was speaking with a woman on the phone today, trying to explain her husband’s insurance to her. I kept telling her that she needed to call her insurance company to update their records, but she refused to believe me. I finally got a little more firm with her and said that there was nothing that we could do; she was the only one that could fix the problem. She responded extremely sarcastically, “Okay!” and I heard her say “gay guy!” as she hung up on me…

No big deal right? I was telling people about it immediately after, everyone within earshot in fact, and they reacted pretty much the same way I did: shock. I’ll admit, it was kind of funny at first for the simple fact that it was so unbelievable that someone would do that.

I went around the office telling different people, getting basically the same reaction, shock, nervous laughter, people offering to call her up and yell at her or crank call her all night long or asking if I wanted them to kill her…which I didn’t want just so we’re all on the same page…

I eventually made my way back to my desk and someone asked if I was okay. I realized I was not.

I could feel the tears bubbling up inside of me so I quickly went out to the hallway where I had a good cry while a co-worker told me how I was a bigger person than that woman and how I can’t let something like that get to me and how she was only telling me things I would tell her if she was in my situation and how I’m too good of a person to let these things get me down and so on and so forth. Thank God, I am surrounded by rational and caring people.

I eventually got back into the office, but that co-worker who had been helping me deal with the situation went to tell the COO what had happened. He called me in to talk with him, so I ended up crying in front of the COO, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but not really a situation I ever thought I would be in. He was very understanding and took steps to ensure that no one in the office would ever have to deal with that woman again.

What that woman said to me haunted me for the rest of the day. My head felt like it was vibrating and I kind of felt like I needed to throw up. Mostly I just felt drained…I think I was depressed. Throughout the whole ordeal, the rational part of my mind was trying to figure out what exactly was going on. It took a while to figure out why those three words had such a strong impact on me. I remember telling my co-worker that it was like the woman had stabbed me with a psychic knife.

What that woman had managed to do was take an essential part of my being and use it as a slur in order to completely dismiss me a person. She took this part of me that I had no choice over and could never change even if I wanted to and turned it not necessarily into something bad, but something that was less. Because I had this “thing” as part of my makeup, I was not worth listening to and was of lower status and could never overcome this fatal flaw.

And it broke me.

No one had ever spoken to me the way that she had. She ripped me out of my reality and thrust me into a fog of bigotry and ignorance. I’m sure for some people this story will seem silly. All she called me was “gay” right? She didn’t even use one of the more offensive terms traditionally used in order to really dig at someone. What’s the big deal?

It was the way that she said it. It was what she meant by it. She wasn’t calling me a homosexual at that moment. She was calling me an over-emotional second-class citizen. She didn’t say it to hurt me; she said it to win. That’s how little she thinks of me. At that that moment, I wasn’t even human to her. And, she probably won’t even call her insurance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 092 (Bonus Points)

I got my Church History midterm back and I got a 26 1/2 out of 50 O_o.

Luckily the professor curved it, so I ended up with a C+. Remember, "C" is for "clergy"!

So, I was looking at it, trying to figure out what I did wrong, because I totally didn't think I did that bad and I realized he jipped me on 10 points!!! I had a feeling there was something wrong and so I added up the points that I should have gotten and I should have gotten 36 1/2 points!!!

I went up to him today and showed him the mistake, so now I have a B! Woohoooo!!!

Now studying for the Old Testament Quiz in the student lounge by myself because everyone ditched me. :-(

might be coming down with a cold...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 091 (Baptists Part Deux)

Ryan and I went to Abiding Way again, you know, that Baptist place. Still haven't had the talk with the pastor because we were in a hurry to get back so we could do homework. Ryan said he wasn't feeling the service as much this week. I kind of understand what he was talking about, but it was okay for me. There wasn't as much energy this time, and the people weren't as engaging, but it might have been because they moved the service 45 minutes earlier and people might have been disoriented. Plus, a pretty large group left immediately after service to start the Bible study groups.

I still feel like I might be called to be part of the community there. At the very least, the worship style is something that draws me, even if it isn't as exuberant as I would like it to be. The songs choices are similar in style to those that we sing at my home church. I actually like the fact that I don't know most of them because I like discovering new praise songs. And the length and style of the sermon was pretty much on par with the kind of sermon Ronnie would deliver back home.

They announced today that they were going to start Bible studies. If I am going to be part of this congregation, I really want to be part of it, and that means Bible study and community events. I noticed today that some people didn't quite know what to make of the two students from the Presbyterian seminary in their midst. They were probably asking themselves if we realized we were in a Baptist church. But, if you think about it, Protestant theology doesn't vary all that much, say like the difference between Buddhist and Jewish theology. This isn't to say that there aren't some significant differences between Presbyterian and Baptist theology.

I guess the most obvious one, because of the name of the denomination, is the differing beliefs of Baptism. Presbyterians baptize babies; Baptists don't. For Baptists, baptism is a sign of obedience, an outward symbol of your personal profession of faith that brings you into the believing community. For Presbyterians, baptism is a covenantal sign of a person's relationship with God that emphasizes God's grace. I know, a lot of you are asking, "So?" Well, these are the kinds of issues that will come up in a Bible study. These are the things that I will have to talk about if I hang around these people for any length of time.

I, for one, am all about people having different beliefs, especially on issues that don't really seem to affect salvation. (I realize the previous statement was sacrilegious for some people, but just go with it.) Does everyone really have to believe the same thing? Why can't we all accept that we love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and let everything else be? We don't all have to believe the same thing, in fact, I'm pretty sure there aren't 2 people on earth who really truly believe the exact same thing! We don't have to all believe in everything ins exactly the same way in order to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, jeez!

And then, there's the issues of predestination, communion and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, not to mention the fact that I'm gay...


I know I said this last time, but it bears repeating. How conservative can they be, seated as they are in one of the most liberal places in the country? Am I just a glutton for punishment? First my presbytery, now this? Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 090 (Home for the Holidays)

I'm not sure how far back this tradition goes, probably back to the time when I lived with Carly because she is the one that introduced the movie to me, but Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving if I don't watch Home for the Holidays. Chrys, Faith and I watched it tonight as a reward to ourselves for completing the four study guides we need to have done for the Old Testament quiz on Tuesday. Now, all I have to do is write the flash cards so I can study.

The movie is about a middle-aged woman named Claudia who has just lost her job. She is going home for Thanksgiving without her daughter, who is staying behind because she intends to have sex with her boyfriend. Claudia is dreading going home because her family is just a little bit overbearing. I'm sure many people can sympathize. Hilarity ensues and a turkey (roasted) flies into her sisters lap and their aunt looses her mind and confesses the love that she has always had for her brother-in-law, Claudia's father.

It is a very funny movie, but also very deep and nuanced. It's one of those movies that teaches you something new every time you watch it. Highly recommended, great for the holidays, if you haven't seen it, I strongly suggest that you do.

Plus, Dylan Mcdermott is just freaking hot...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 089 (Hiking Naked in Switzerland)

I learned about an interesting thing that people do in Switzerland tonight at the dinner party we had at our Old Testament professor's house. Apparently, some people in Switzerland like to go hiking while naked. Granted, this is not the norm, this is not something that everyone does, but it has become such a problem that Swiss officials have actually order signs to be put up at trailheads to let people know that naked hiking is not allowed. This is understandable as most people are quite shocked when they run into a naked person in the middle of the wilderness.

Some of the other things that we discussed were my alcohol problem, amazing one-legged chinese bicylists, and bus horror stories from around the world. It was a lot of fun and I was totally surprised to find out that four hours had gone by when I finally looked at the time. I finally ended up leaving close to midnight.

We talked about what our first semester at seminary was like, and for many people, it was a culture shock. One of us came here from Hawaii, another from Alaska, others from the "lower 48." Several of us have come to seminary after being out of school for a very long time, leaving well established careers. Even those of us transitioning to graduate school almost directly from undergrad have had to make adjustments, as I have written about several times in this blog. Gradutate school is simply much harder than undergrad. Most of us have had to move far away from out family and friends. Luckily, our class has come together to fill in a lot of those gaps, but home is never really replaceable.

So, for everyone reading this back home, remember that I love you and that I think about you all the time, even if I seem too busy to call. You are and will always be home to me, even as I make a second home for myself up here. I will be back home for Thanksgiving, so hit me up! I will be having as much fun and debauchery as possible for the 4 days that I'm back, and I want as many of you to be part of it as possible!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 088 (I AM NOT A REPUBLICAN!)

Yes, believe it or not, one of my classmates thought I was a Republican. I wish I could follow this sentence by saying that I don't have anything wrong with Republicans, but unfortunately, I do. You see, Republicans don't think very highly of me either. You gotta love a party that takes an oppressed group of people and uses them to it's own advantage. I have to believe that for the most part, most Republicans do not hate gay people. I have to believe that for my own sanity. But, I think that the Republican Party has done a very good job of spinning gay issues into things that a lot of people might be afraid of. They use terms like "gay agenda" and "special right" to stir the far right into a hysterical frenzy of paranoia and fear. And, they're good at it. I once even got into an argument with a woman over the phone because she was calling to make sure that our household was voting to "protect families."

You see, these issues are not even fundamental to the Republican Party. Of course, they want the right wingers to think that they are so that they can keep getting voted into power, but what the Republican Party is supposed to represent, at least the way that I've always been told, is smaller government. The government is supposed to impose less on our lives. So, how is telling people who they can and who they cannot marry less government?

And, since we are on the topic, there are actually a lot of things that I do not like about the Republican Party. They like to perpetuate the myth that global warming is not real. I'm some kind of doomsday extremist, but I choose to believe the 99% of scientists who think that global warming is real. I happen to care about God's creation very much and I believe it is our duty as stewards of this planet to take care of it. I think we need to protect endangered species and that we need keep some spaces wild and clean so that we can go out into it and enjoy this world that God made for us. We also need to start looking into alternative fuels so that we can reduce our dependence on forgein oil and also reduce our carbon emissions.

I also believe in social welfare. There is no reason why people should be multi-millionaires while people starve in the streets. It is immoral. Yes, I believe that if people work hard that they should be able to benefit from that, but if we are going to be good Christians, we need to take care of the homeless and the hungry and the infirm around us like the Bible tells us too. It's always been so strange to me that the party that professes to have the most faith tends to be the one that is the most heartless.

And, while I think abortion, with the exception of when the mother's life is in danger, is absolutely wrong, I do not think that anyone can make that choice for a woman other than herself. It is unfortunate that there is no way to take a father's opinion into consideration, but a woman's body is her own, and any decision that she makes in that regard is between her and God. As I said when I was wrote about gay marriage a few posts back, you cannot legislate morality.

I do not believe in the death penalty. Besides the fact that it has been proven ineffective against reducing crime and the fact that innocent people are put to death, I do not think that I have enough moral standing to say that a person needs to die. By all means, keep them locked up if they are a danger to society; I certainly don't want those people running around. From a strictly financial viewpoint, it costs a lot more to kill someone than it does to keep them locked up for life because of all of the litigation.

Education is one of the most important things we can do as a nation. I reduces crime and boosts the economy. But, education, as well as hospitals and roads and emergency services and our military and a myriad of other things cost money. This stuff isn't free people!!! Where does this money come from? Taxes. I know for all of you Republicans out there that taxes is a dirty word. While I don't like paying taxes either, I'm just glad that we have a system in place where we can pay our taxes and that money will actually do something to benefit us all. Not everyone lives in a country like that.

And finally, I don't know all of the ins and outs of "universal healthcare," but I do know that the system we have is broken. Lack of medical insurance is the number one reason that people lose their homes. I have medical insurace and even for me it has been difficult watching my premiums increase by 100% over the last five years. Coming from the medical field, I think some of the medical policies out there are atrocious and someone needs to do something before the entire system collapses.

So, thank Marlene for getting me on this topic. Those are my political viewpoints, as inarticulate as they are. Believe it or not, I don't actually like politics and I feel that I typically don't know very much about it. I hope I didn't hurt too many feelings out there, if you don't like anything that I said, just write it off as "hippie tree-hugger" rantings and go about your day. You probably wouldn't want to know what I'm thinking about you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 087 (Mushroom Chicken)

Tom and I had a food experiment today. In typical chinese restaurant fashion, I just called it Eggplant Chicken, but the eggplant disintegrated so for now it's going to be Mushroom Chicken. I was going for a really spicy dish, but Tom kept telling me to stop adding the hot chili oil. It turned out really good; Faith, Tom and I had a wonderful meal.

Lectio Divina was good today; it was a little different because we were using a piece of art for our focus instead of scripture. The picture we focused on was actually of some kind of nebula or galaxy and towards the end I started to notice this creepy grinning goblin thing in the glowing swirling gases. It was a good thing I hadn't noticed it earlier because I had a hard time concentrating after I saw it. I have to lead the group next time using nature as the focus. Should be interesting.

I finally brought my car in for service. While it was at the dealership, Ryan, Faith, Ian and I went to Applebee's because they were giving free entrées to Veterans for Veteran's Day, so Ian got a free burger. I can't believe how rude some people are!!! This older man asked the host how long the wait was, and when the host told him it would be about 20 minutes, the man said, "You guys aren't worth 20 minutes." OMG!!!

I got my car back and then Faith and I watched some heart-wrenching episodes of Grey's Anatomy. We're only a month behind now! XD

Played some magic with Tom and Russ, had to explain all of the new rules to Russ cuz he's been out of the game for a while. He kept talking about this weird "interrupt" thing? I think he was making it up...

Anyway, fun day. Tomorrow shouldn't be too hard. Things seem to be slowing down a bit; we're actually able to take a breath or two, but I'm worried it may be the calm before the storm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 086 (Hebrew)

Okay, I'm not saying this to brag, but I really need to figure out what to do about Hebrew class. I don't want to go to class because I don't think it helps me very much, and frankly, there are better things that I can do with my time. I get really good grades on the quizzes and I aced the midterm, all on self-studying, so why should I have to waste my time in class? I think that as long as I can keep getting the same grades on the tests, then I should be excused from having to attend class. The point of taking it is to learn, right? The point of taking a class is not to show how punctual we are and how good we are at paying attention. Granted, if things start to get too difficult for me, then I would have to start going to class, but I don't really see that happening before the term ends.

And, if I do decide to go to class and it becomes obvious to the professor that I am not paying attention, should he even care? He, more than anyone, should be aware of how I'm progressing in the subject. On top of everything, this is not a discussion based class. Hebrew is not about opinions, at least not at the level that we are at. It just is what it is, a bunch of rules that we have to learn. There really isn't anything for me to contribute to a class conversation about dages lene or qametz hateuf. So, it's time for you guys to vote. Should I have to go to Hebrew or should I be excused from showing up to class, as long I keep doing well no the quizzes?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 085 (Zombie Follow-up)

I finished The Serpent and the Rainbow a few days ago, but I haven't had a chance to write about it because of all the other things that have been going on. I know you've all been waiting on pins and needles to find out what happens, so here's how it all ends.

The scientist gets in deep with the vodoun culture of Haiti and finds out that the main ingredient in the zombi poison is puffer fish, similar to the fugu that people eat in Japan. In Japan, fugu is enjoyed as a delicacy, not because it tastes good, but because the residual poison left in the flesh makes your mouth tingle. There is also typically an accompanying adrenaline rush from knowing that you are eating something that could very well be lethal. On average, fugu poisoning results in 3 deaths per year in Japan.

The poison in puffer fish is called tetrodotoxin. It acts by paralyzing your entire body and kills you through asphyxiation when your diaphragm is no longer able to pull air into your lungs. The strange thing is that although you are not able to move or speak at all, you are completely aware of everything that is going on around you. This is important in the zombi poison because the person is able to witness their own funeral and burial, further emphasizing that they are, in the eyes of the culture, actually dead.

The scientist soon discovers the social elements that lead to a person becoming a zombi. Because the victims have been preconditioned by their culture to know how a zombi is made and who would be turned into a zombi, when they are poisoned and then brought out of the grave by the vodoun priest, they are in fact zombified. It also helps that the priest keeps the zombis on a steady diet of datura, a hallucinogenic plant that prevents the zombis from returning to their normal human state.

The way the secret vodoun society works is basically a justice system. If a person breaks one of the seven social laws such as preventing someone from working their land, benefiting at the expense of another or hurting a family member, then that person is at risk of becoming a zombi. It is part of the culture, and any person taking the risk of breaking one of the social laws is well aware of what the consequences are.

The scientist spends the rest of the book trying to find a way to witness a zombi resurrection, but is unsuccessful. We never find out if the drug can be used as an anesthetic during surgery, but I'm sure that someone would have figured it out by now if it was a viable alternative to what we already use. Moral of the story: Be careful not to break any social laws that could get you zombified if you visit Haiti, and eat fugu at your own risk.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 084 (Abiding Way)

After my drunken experience on Friday, I decided to go to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Tom and Ryan went with me for support. The cover story for my "problem" is that it was an assignment for The Sacred and the Substance. For anyone that's not keeping track, I've had to do more strange things for that class than I've ever had to for any other class I've ever taken. So far I've read an article about cannibalism, made a pot of chicken noodle soup, listen to a rap song about making crack, write a paper on My So-Called Life, read a book on zombies, and go to an AA meeting.

The AA meeting was so depressing! I just felt sorry for all of the people talking about how many days they had sober and the horror stories that brought them to AA in the first place. I totally take it for granted that I can have a fun drunken night and think nothing of it. These people can't do that. The weird thing is that AA totally functions as a religion. I almost felt like I was at a church service.

Speaking of church services, I went to Abiding Way for church this morning. I think I may have found my new church home away from home for my time up here, but there's just one little hiccup. They're Southern Baptist. Now, I'm not saying Souther Baptists are bad people; my youth leaders when I was in high school were a Southern Baptist couple from Tennessee, who I love dearly, but this does pose some problems. Not only is Southern Baptist theology very different from Presbyterian theology, but as far as I know, they're not very accepting of the GLBT community. I feel drawn to it as a possible "home" church because the people were very welcoming and friendly and the praise band was really good, if a little bit more mellow than I'm used to. No offense to anyone out there, but I don't like hymns. Like, at all. They just do nothing for me spiritually. The pastor delivered a great sermon, but he spoke for much longer than a typical Presbyterian minister would. He was very dynamic though, so I didn't mind. I initially thought Abiding Way was a non-denominational congregation, but as the pastor continued to preach, I started to get the feeling that the he might be Baptist. They served lunch, which is something I think they do every week, and we got confirmation that the church was in fact associated with the Southern Baptist denomination. Now, what this means in conjunction with the fact that they are situated in Marin County, one of the most secular places in the United States, is anyone's guess.

I wanted to ask the pastor how open they were to the GLBT community, but I didn't feel like asking it while we were all sitting in a group. I was going to preface the question by letting him know his answer wouldn't necessarily affect whether I would come back, but I thought it would be important for me to ask just so that everyone would be on the same page. I feel really drawn to that church, and I struggled with the whole Southern Baptist thing for a while, but I'm starting to think that's where God wants me to be. The message of love and tolerance is not for the Presbyterian Church alone, after all. I'll probably go back there next week and try to have a private word with the pastor. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 083 (Know Your Friends)

I woke up this morning, logged onto facebook and saw that one of my friends, not a friend that I only know through facebook, but an actual friend from real life, voted on a facebook poll to say that he did not support same-sex marriage. This was a very upsetting thing for me to see so early in the morning, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all day. As we all know, this debate has been going on for some time, and I know that some of my friends are not as supportive as I would like them to be, but to actually put it out there for everyone to see that you are taking a stand against another person's rights just seems to be really extreme. Especially when you know that at least one of your friends is gay.

So, this led me to another thought. Can I still consider him a friend? He has taken the position that his opinion matters so much more than mine that he feels a need to impose it upon me. Because, his opinion actually does affect my life. My opinion, as much as he may disagree with it, has no bearing on his life whatsoever. It is physically impossible for me to impose my opinion upon his life; it just simply has nothing to do with him. Does he not realize what the impact of his opinion is? It's not just his opinion. It affects the people around him; it intrudes on their lives where his opinion simply does not belong.

What is the big deal anyway? So what if two men marry each other or if two women marry each other? Let's take the worst case scenario and condemn these people to hell. Does the fact that a same-sex couple got married affect his salvation in any way? Will God judge him for not oppressing the GLBT community? Is that the role of the church? What exactly does the other side get when they win? As far as I can tell, they don't lose anything if they "lose."

It makes me wonder if they think that by stopping same-sex marriage, they can stop same-sex relationships. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I've always said that you cannot legislate morality. Laws are there to protect people, not to teach them the difference between right andwrong. If an action does not infringe on the rights of another, and does not hurt the individual doing it, the law should not have an opinion on that action. I simply can't see any other way of arguing it. If someone can provide me with a reasonable, logical reason why same-sex couples should not be allowed to get married, please, please, please let me know. This issue just makes no sense to me at all, and even if I disagree with it, I would at least like to understand the other side. Right now, I just don't get it.

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 082 (Rock Away Hunger Dance)

Fisrt of all, I apologize for anthing thsat I write in this entry because I am drunk. Tonight was the "Rock Away Hunger" dance, and I had a few drinks, but not anything noteworthy. (Side Note: The drummer of the band TOTALLY looked like William H Macy!!!) Afterwards, a bunch of us went to Holy Groiounds and shared jokes. It was really fun. We had a few opened bottles of wine tha for some reason I had gotten into my mind that needed to be finsihed off. Needless to say, I got/am pretty drunk and we decided to fo to Denny's afterwards. My brother would be so pround that I am having a drnuk at Denny's in the middle of the night moment. I ordered the steak and eggs, because I've always wanted to order that, but for some reaoson, never have, and it just seemed apropos. I was there with Christina, Gavin, Jim and Annamae, although I was the only one that was drunk. I've usually been pretty careful about where I allow myself to get drunk. I guess it just shows how safe I feel aroud these people. I've nverer had a hangover before, but I wouldn't be surprised if I have one when I wake up tomorrow. Good night everyone! Thanks to everyone that shared this night with me!!! XD

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 081 (For the Children)

Tonight was the 3rd poetry night, and I was the one running it. I was really excited because I got to share my poem, For the Children, a poem that I've probably performed less than half a dozen times. I wrote it when I got laid off from my job as a youth leader at the church I grew up in. I was very hurt by this because a few months prior, the congregation donated enough money to buy a new $100,000.00 pipe organ for the sanctuary. It just shows where the priorities of the congregation were. I decided after that that my values just didn't line up with the congregation's any longer and I needed to find a new church home. This poem was my very angry response to the situation, a satire told from the viewpoint of a church with a slightly fractured personality that has some very skewed priorities.

For the Children

I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Do you, the congregation promise to care for and nurture this child to the best of your abilities?

We do.

Do you, the congregation promise to care for and nurture this child to the best of your abilities?

We do.

We do.

Of course we do.

How can we not?

What will happen to us if we do not care for the children?

We must care for the children.

The children are the future.

We will sing their praises and heap rewards upon them reaching up to the heavens!

We will show that we love them, not only with words, but with the actions that legends are made of!

We will praise them and love them and we will lift them up into the Father’s arms, for He is waiting,

And He is far better able to care for them than we.

And, remember, this will all look good on paper,

And the paper-trail leads back to us, so we need to make it look good!

We will make a show,

A grand production with lights and music!


Smoke and mirrors!

We will make a show to end all shows!

There will be a song and dance!

And as our candied words pour from our lips like honey from golden goblets,

Syrupy and sweet,

They will watch enthralled by the music,

And they just might not notice the hilts of the jeweled daggers embedded in their backs,

Flashing brilliant with amber, sapphire and glass,

And they might not notice the poison in their cups, the sweet wine masking the sweet taste of betrayal.

Their deaths shall be glorious.

A glorious death for glorious children,

And we will congratulate ourselves for we were up to the task,

For it takes a special kind of someone to murder children,

Glorious children who were far more glorious than we,

Blinding with their light,

Who could make out their faces for all the halos?

Flowing white robes and angel wings,

We hardly knew them.

We didn’t know them,

Sticky hands and muddy feet.

We didn’t need them really,

Dirty faces, dirty speech,

Crude manners,

Unsightly dress,

And the smell!

Like pigs rutting in the sweltering summer heat.

Besides, children cost too much,

And the buildings need repair.

Look at how dull the stone shines and how the mortar crumbles,

The temple bell has cracked,

And the organ pipes are rusty,

What will people think of us if we cannot even care for the temple?

The temple that sheltered us,

Where we were nurtured and cared for,

We must care for the temple so that others will care for us.

We shall mend it with the finest woods:

Cedar and rosewood,

Oak, maple and cherry!

And, we shall make it to shine with burnished gold,

Inlaid with diamonds, rubies, emerald and mother-of-pearl!

And, we shall adorn it with a thousand lanterns so that it will shine!

At night, it will seem as if a thousand stars have come down from the heavens to dwell among us!

And, it will be beautiful!

We will raise it up to the heavens so that it will become the stuff that legends are made of!

We will praise it and love it for this a temple for the world to see!

Everyone will see what is important to us!

Everyone will see what we are capable of creating and accomplishing.

Everyone will see what is in our hearts because of it.

And, the people!

Oh, the people!

They will come in droves just to see it!

And they shall bring their children,

Their glorious children!

Blinding, with their light and their halos,

Swirling white robes and angel wings.

Remember, we do this for the children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 080 (Not a Good Day)

I'm not sure what happened, but I woke up this morning and my stomach wasn't having it. I ended up spending the day in my apartment, a lot of it just lying in bed, because whatever this is was also making me tired and cold. I guess it sort of felt like a really mild version of the flu? I'm pretty much over it now and hopefully will be symptom free tomorrow. I was planning on writing my Intro to Ministry paper today and was going to try another culinary experiment with chicken, tofu and mushrooms, but I just didn't have the energy to do it. Oh well. A day of nothing isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 079 (Surviving Suicide Tuesday)

Second day back from Reading Week and it totally feels like it never happened. I knew the first week back was gonna be hard, but I also knew that if I could just get through Tuesday, I would be okay. See, today wasn't just Suicide Tuesday. It started with a quiz in Old Testament, for which I was up studying until 2:00 this morning. Next was the Hebrew midterm. I was actually good about studying for this one during Reading week. A little here, a little there, but I still felt I had to skip chapel to study because all of yesterday was devoted to studying for Old Testament. Luckily, neither test posed too much of a problem. I had finished the paper that was due for The Sacred and The Substance, but I still had about 70 pages of The Serpent and the Rainbow to read for it in addition to 2 other articles. I actually had a great time in class today. It's amazing how much more interesting classes are when you are actually able to read the material beforehand! Unfortunately, reading week only comes around once a semester.

Now: Trying to finish Lectio Divina homework so I can get to bed

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 077 (Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Marin)

Today's entry is brought to you by Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Marin: Drawing upon the life of God in order to grow in His character and power.

Gavin woke me up this morning to see if I still wanted to visit this church like I said I did a few nights prior. He shouldn't have had to wake me up because last night was daylight savings time, so we gained an extra hour, on top of which, it was already 10:00 when he sent me the text message. I'm really glad that I went because stylistically, the service was pretty similar in format to the evening service at my home church, Word of Life. They sang a few contemporary Christian songs at the beginning and then the pastor led the group in a discussion. The people were nice and talked to us after the service, telling us about what the church did and asking us about SFTS. Overall, it was a good experience except for the fact that I was still a little drained from the pagan dancing the night before.

The Vineyard congregation is very active with the homeless community in Marin, but they lost several members when they changed location, so they are not sure how much longer they will be able to pay the rent at their current home. Supposedly, some of the families thought the new area was too dangerous or scary. Gavin and I laughed when we heard this, because the area is not dangerous or scary at all. I suppose if you were born and raised in Marin and downtown San Rafael is the scariest place you have ever seen, then it would be considered the "bad" neighborhood, but these people seriously need to get a look at Oxnard. Heck, Oakland is just a hop, skip and a jump away if they want to see what "scary" and "dangerous" can look like! Downtown San Rafael? Please!

I'm still going to be checking out different churches for the foreseeable future, but this church is definitely a contender for a home church while I'm going to school.

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 076 (Pagan New Year)

I went to the Spiral Dance Ritual in Golden Gate Park today to celebrate the Pagan New Year. I know, I know, you're all thinking, "Did he just say he celebrated the Pagan New Year?!?!?!?" In a nutshell, yes I did, but to be completely honest, no I didn't. No offense to any pagans who might be reading this, but I just don't share your belief system. I thought the ritual was a wonderful experience. It was beautiful, thoughtful and a great way to build up the community, but since I don't believe what their doing is real in any theological way, I had to experience it in a way that made sense to me, which is actually a very pagan thing to do, so I don't feel bad.

I used the experience as my own personal worship of God. People worship God in all different kinds of ways, so I figured why not worship God by doing the Spiral Dance? It didn't matter that the people around me were worshipping something else. And who knows, maybe they weren't. The main difference was that it felt kind of lonely worshipping that way. I'm sure if I was doing the same thing with a bunch of Christians who were worshipping God, it would have been a totally ecstatic experience for me. As it was, although I was able to connect with God, in really profound ways at times, there was always something missing. Worship really is best when done in community.

I have to say, those pagans really know how to put on a show! Ignoring the naked people for a moment (yes, there were a few covered with body paint) there were colorful and imaginative costumes, an outstanding drum routine, and even ribbon acrobats! (You know, those acrobats that use a pair of ribbons attached to a ring suspended from the ceiling and they wrap themselves up, and twirl around and do all kinds of flips and twists and stuff?) The spiral dance itself was pretty neat, too. If you watch the video, all those people are actually part of a single unbroken line twisting around itself. There was one point during the dance when my section of the line was stretching too much and I couldn't hold on the hand of the girl next to me, so I threw her the end of my scarf and we were able to keep the line unbroken that way. I was pretty cool actually! I also noticed a woman who had done the 72 hours of discernment with me last fall, but didn't end up going to seminary, so it was nice being able to catch up with her.

All in all, a really good experience. A lot of the people that went were more dressed up for it, so I felt a little bit underdressed, although there were a lot of people more underdressed than I was. If I go next year, I'm definitely breaking out the blue fairy costume!!!