Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 137 (Phase One)

I talked to Ronnie today, the senior pastor at my church. The session had a meeting and they decided that they are going to support me through the ordination process. There is one caveat. They wanted to let me know, in writing, that they do not support my "theology" when it comes to homosexuality. He told me that the congregation loves me and that they see Christ in me and that they want to support me, but they cannot stand behind my beliefs on gays in the chruch. I asked if I should sit down with some of them so that we can talk about it, but he said that it wasn't necessary and was unlikely to change anything. Needless to say, I had mixed emotions when we ended our conversation.

I was a little shaky when I got off the phone with him. On one hand, I was excited because they actually were going to support me. You cannot go through the ordination process without a church backing you. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I submitted my application to them. As you know, I come from the second most conservative presbytery in the United States, and deciding to go through the ordination process in my home presbytery was not something that I undertook lightly. I knew there was going to be some conflict, but I didn't know exactly what form that conflict was going to take. I know this is not going to be the last hurdle I will have to overcome when it comes to my sexual orientation, but I was hoping it wasn't going to start so soon.

While I was excited to have their support, I was disappointed about what came with that support. While I am grateful that they want to support me despite our differences in opinion, I still do not fully understand the issue. Growing up as a gay person, I have a hard time seeing the issue the way other people do. I understand that the Bible says that being gay is wrong, but it also says that divorce is wrong. If a divorced person can be a pastor, why can't a gay person? The Bible also says that women should not teach men. Why can a woman be a pastor, but not a gay person? Do gay people pose some kind of threat that I am unaware of? I completely understand their need to make their position clear, I just wish that wasn't their position.

The more I thought about it, the more fitting I found the situation to be. I have long ago accepted that God is in control of all of this. My predicament is basically an illustration of the state of the church. Two sides on opposite side of a highly polarizing issue, the difference being that we have so far been able to deal with those differences in a Christ-like manner, unlike many other parts of the church. If my congregation, who does not agree with everything that I believe in, can stand behind me and support my decision to go through the ordination process, why can't this happen in other churches as well? Who said we all have to agree with each other on every single little detail? I guarantee that if you were to do a comprehensive study on what each of the people on the session of my church believes, their beliefs would not line up perfectly with each other. You know what? That's okay! That doesn't mean that they are not brothers and sisters in Christ. We can all support and love each other, like they are supporting and loving me, even though we don't agree on everything. I am still part of the family and they have chosen not to abandon me.

We, as a church, and I don't just mean Presbyterians, I mean all Christians everywhere, need to come together, overcome our differences and show the world what the love of Christ looks like. That is our job; that is the task that God has entrusted us with. We keep bickering over little inconsequential things like the nature of baptism and communion, who exactly the pope is, the role of women and gays in the church and an impossible array of other divisive topics when we should be focused on ending world hunger, stopping the spread of disease, providing shelter for the poor, and making the world a safer place for the next generation. Are we so enamored with ourselves that we cannot see our neighbors for who they really are, fellow human beings?

If we all worked together, we could show everyone what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like, so why are we so focused on us vs. them? Let's focus on the big things, and the little things will work themselves out in the end.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 136 (New Year's Eve Eve)

The rain has made its way down south and I woke up to a drizzle and a call for sushi. I'm trying really hard not to spend any of my non-existent money; luckily I had the sushi gift certificate from my sister. I was tempted to get a coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, but I resisted the urge and made coffee at home (decaf). I could use the rain as an excuse for my inactivity today, but as you should know from reading this blog, I haven't done much of anything while here at home. I have come to the conclusion that being home is extremely detrimental to my studies. Everyone wants you to do stuff, and since you haven't seen them in a while, and the stuff they want to do is almost universally more fun than homework, it's hard to refuse.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Doesn't time fly? Every year goes by faster and faster. I read somewhere that the reason it seems that way is that as you get older, a year is proportionally a smaller and smaller part of your life. When you're 2 a year is half of your life. When you're 50, it's 1/50th of your life. Makes sense to me, but it doesn't make the feeling any less weird. I also read somewhere that in order to make life seem slower, you need to change up your routine. I tell myself that ever time I'm doing one of my routine things, like driving home, but then I realize that things are generally routine because we have discovered through trial and error that those things are the most efficient/easiest/best/most interesting/fastest/etc. way of doing whatever it is that thing is and I don't change anything. You can lead a horse to water...

We are coming to the close of the holiday season, and for some reason, this year more than most, it just hasn't seemed very "holidayish". I had a great time doing all of the holiday things, but something just seems to be missing. Is it because I'm getting older? Is it because I'm letting too many other things distract me? I don't know. I'm not sure when I'm going to get to my next blog entry because of the New Year's festivities, so to everyone reading this, Happy New Year's! I wish you all the best in the year to come. Make it a good one!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 135 (Golf)

I went to a driving rang today. It the first time I have ever "golfed" other than mini-golf. It was kind of fun, and I definitely enjoyed spending time with Brian and Dianne, but I don't know if it's something I'm gonna do regularly. I might have liked it better if I had a left-handed gold club. I'm right-handed, but on the rare occasions that I've played hockey, I'm more comfortable playing left-handed, so I would assume it would be the same for golf. Plus, I also mini-golf left-handed.

I made a giant vat of chicken noodle soup, because I'm still not well and neither are some members of my family. Right now, I am doing an experiment to see if the Marlboro pie recipe will work for pumpkin. That's it for now!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 134 (Tennis)

Woke up at 12:30 in the afternoon today after going to bed at 5:30 in the morning. My clock gets really messed up when I'm on vacation. When I got downstairs, my family was in the living room watching TV marveling at my ability to sleep in. Dianne and Brian immediately asked if i wanted to go play tennis, and I immediately agreed, even though I had woken up telling myself that I would study Hebrew today.

Now, none of us is good at tennis, like at all, but for some reason, we really like smacking tennis balls around with tennis rackets at tennis courts. I personally like to watch tennis on TV. I know it isn't a sport that that many people like, and I actually haven't watched it in years, but when the players get a good rally going and then one of them pulls off a crazy move to win the point, you're really glad that you took the time to keep watching through the not so interesting parts.

So, we got to the tennis courts and started to goof around. After literally less than 5 minutes, I was breathing hard and wheezing. I know I haven't been exercising much the last few months, but I know I wasn't that out of shape. I guess my lungs are still messed up. Well, I know they still are 'cuz I'm still coughing. It's that annoying dry cough, but it's not "completely" dry, 'cuz it feels like there's threads of mucus in there or something that tickle when I breathe that set off the coughing. The exercise was actually good though, 'cuz after a few more minutes, I realized my breathing was actually getting easier. I guess I should exercise even when I'm sick.

Afterwards, I hung out with Carly and we christened her new flat-screen HD TV with The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. That movie just makes me laugh!

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 133 (Aebleskiver)

I went to Solvang today. Haven't been there very much; I think it was only my 3rd or 4th time. It's a cool place, great tourist trap, and it's fun looking at the ostriches at Ostrich World. It was my first time having aebleskiver. I've always wanted to try it, but the line at the window was always too long. I was hanging out with the Chows and with Woody & Alicia. We were just chillin', so nobody was in a rush and the line didn't seem like such a big deal. Plus the fact that I had always wanted to try it. They were pretty good. Probably would have been better if I hadn't been stuffed from lunch. Also had a veal hot dog just so as I could say that I did. I also have to say that veal makes a good hot dog. On principle, I suppose I am against the idea of veal, and I used to refuse to eat it, but I think I heard somewhere that we don't actually lock up the calves in little boxes anymore, so I guess I justify my eating it now. Not that I have it that much.

I was supposed to talk to Pastor Ronnie today about the ordination process, but he wasn't there. I guess I'll just have to call.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 132 (Second Self)

I just finished reading Dan Brown's new book "The Lost Symbol" and Amy Tan's "Saving Fish From Drowning." Both great books by great authors. This last Dan Brown wasn't quite as exciting as "The Da Vinci Code" or "Angels and Demons" but it was an interesting read. The ending was quite a surprise (but not shocking). Tan's book was a fantastic exploration of exotic locations and the human psyche. I was going to study Hebrew, but I decided that it has been too long since I have worked on my own novel. I decided to share the first chapter of it here, which is short as far as book chapters go, but a little long for a blog post, so I apologize for that. If anyone wants, I can email what I've written so far; I'm just over 200 pages now. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Clara looked down from the top corner of the living room. The others were quiet today. They had been quiet for almost two years now. The only thing that would pull them from their stupor was a new set of students moving into the house. She didn’t blame them; every four years, the new students seemed less promising than the last and they were beginning to lose hope. Clara, being the youngest, was still hopeful and she knew today was move day. So, she waited.

Jordan lifted the large cardboard box up the three steps to the front door of the house. It was a small three-bedroom, old looking but well kept. The white paint on the siding was not as bright as it must have once been and there was a green cast to the roof, but it might as well have been a castle for all he cared. He was the first one in his family to go to college and the surge of pride that rushed through his body overshadowed the faintly musty odor that greeted him as he wrestled open the door.

He set the box down on the counter and ran his fingers through his short black hair as he looked around. The tiny specks of dust drifting through the beams of sunlight threatened to mesmerize him until a sudden revelation snapped him out of it. This was going to be his home for the next four years! He took a deep breath and released a slow and contented sigh and smiled.

It looked like he was the first to arrive. His two roommates should be arriving at any moment. Sweet! he thought. Dibs on the best room! He ran outside to grab the rest of his stuff.

Clara watched the boy bolt from the house and mused to herself. It was too early to tell what kind of person he was, but already she could feel the air of confidence about him. It wasn’t arrogance, he was just sure of himself, sure of his ability and experience. He showed promise, even if she had only observed him for thirty seconds so far. She could feel one of the others stirring, but she couldn’t tell which one it was. She hoped they would stay awake longer this time. Two years is a long time to be by yourself.

Jordan rushed back through the door with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a suitcase in one hand. He took the stairs two at a time and opened the first door. It was a closet. The second door was the bathroom. The third door revealed the first bedroom. It was small; twin bed, closet, drawers, small window.

He found the next bedroom and it was pretty much the same as first, except the walls were white instead of beige and there were two windows instead of one. The room behind the last door was the master bedroom, no larger than the others, but it had its own small bathroom. Jordan set his backpack down on the bed and the suitcase on the floor.

He flicked the bathroom light on. Like the rest of the house, it looked old but clean. The medicine cabinet squeaked as he pulled it open and he thought he saw the movement of the air stir up a tiny swirl of dust in one of the back corners. He ran his finger over the surface of the shelf, but his finger came away clean. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged. His thoughts drifted back to his car and all he had left to unpack, so he made his way back down the stairs.

Clara felt a presence beside her. It was Dergen. Dergen was disoriented and she could sense slightly grumpy.

“He woke me up,” Dergen said in his usual gruff manor. Clara giggled. Dergen liked to sleep in the master bath medicine cabinet; she could never figure out why. The boy must have chosen the master bedroom for himself. They both watched as he made his way past with another large box in his arms. Dergen didn’t like to talk, not usually anyway. Clara was just happy he was there.

“Hello! Anybody home?” The voice came from the tall boy with spiky brown hair in the doorway, the second of the three boys that would be living in the house. His sunglasses seemed a little too large for his face and his baby blue T-shirt seemed just a little too tight for his well-toned body. If Clara had eyes, she would have rolled them. She could never keep up with the current fashions.

Jordan bounded down the stairs and almost ran into the newcomer. He held out his hand, “Hi, are you living here too?”

Val pulled his sunglasses down and gave a quick appraisal to who was apparently his new roommate. His no-name jeans were baggier than Val would have worn, but the red Converse shoes he was wearing were cool. He was pale, but cute and the one dimple he sported on his left cheek probably drove the girls crazy. He seemed friendly enough.

Val flashed his too-white smile and firmly grasped the outstretched hand. “Hi, I’m Val. And yes, I’m going to be living here.”

“I’m Jordan. I claimed the room at the end of the hall; I hope you don’t mind. It’s not any bigger than the other rooms, but it has its own bathroom. A small one.”

Val smiled through Jordan’s little explanation. At least he had the good sense to appear sheepish for grabbing the master bedroom before his roommates had gotten there. He held on to Jordan’s hand just long enough to make him uncomfortable, then released it. “That’s fine,” he said, smiling. “So, does that mean I’m sharing a bathroom with the other guy?”

“Yeah,” said Jordan, pointing up the stairs. “It’s the second door on the right.”

Val climbed up the stairs to claim a room for himself.

“Interesting dynamic there,” Dergen commented after they both left the room. If Clara had a head, she would have nodded.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 131 (Christmas Day)

I feel bad for all of those people who dread the holidays because they have to see their crazy families. It's hard for me to understand because I love spending time with my family. The Fabians, our old next-door neighbors from Oxnard, came over tonight to have Christmas dinner with us like they do every year. We played Apples to Apples afterwards, one of the best games ever made.

It takes less than 5 minutes to explain, and pretty much anyone that knows how to read can play; we've played with six and seven year-olds before. But, this game is also great for older people, because things like innuendo, sarcasm and irony come into play. You can literally play this game for hours (which we have), and it gets even more fun when you've been drinking XD. The only problem is that depending on how many people are playing, you can cycle through the cards pretty fast, and it's not as fun when it starts getting repetitive.

Everyone is watching Year One right now. I tried to watch it, but it's not really my kind of humor. I love Michael Cera, but Jack Black is annoying as hell to me. (sorry if you're a fan.)

Got pretty run down today, probably because I didn't go to sleep until 7am this morning, LOL. I should really treat myself better, especially considering that I'm not totally well yet. A little over a week left for winter break. Geez, it went by fast!

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 130 (Christmas Traditions)

Christmas Eve. (Technically, it's been Christmas for almost an hour, so Merry Christmas!)

I love our family Christmas traditions. Every year while we lived in Oxnard, we would go to our next-door neighbor's house so that our families could spend time together and we could eat tamales. Even after we moved to another city, we would still go to their house on Christmas Eve. This year, we had tamales, posole, taquitos, Spanish rice, chile verde, and this super sweet drink called "ponche"... I think. It's made out of guavas and raisons and cinnamon and stuff.

Then they come over for Christmas dinner the next day. We don't usually have the same foods every year, and I'm not really sure what's going on tomorrow, but my dad asked me to make a pasta dish. I know we're having some Filipino foods though, and I hate mixing cuisines... I think it just throws everything off.

I love Christmas stuff. I just wish I had more time to spend just doing Christmas stuff. After school, once everything is settled, hopefully I'll have more time to simply enjoy these things. At least now, in the middle of my winter break, I don't have too many responsibilities. It's a small Christmas miracle in itself. Have a great holiday season everyone! Remember the important things: spend time with your friends and family and with God, cherish the little moments and be thankful for what you have!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 129 (Congestion)

I've been sick for almost 3 weeks now. I really don't feel all that bad, but I know my lungs are not at full capacity right now, and every once in a while I feel the need to cough, like I need to cough something out of my lungs, but nothing ever comes up. I suppose this is am improvement from when I actually was coughing up grayish-green balls of phlegm, but I'm feeling pretty run down and spent most of the day in bed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 128 (French Pumpkins)

I bought one of those "fairy tale" pumpkins a few months ago as a decoration for Halloween. My original plan was to carve it into a Jack-o-lantern, but I didn't have a chance to. I wasn't really sure if it was something that people ate, but after doing some research, I found out that it was actually a french squash that was great for cooking. I figured I would be able to turn it into a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I didn't have a chance to do that either. So, I trucked it down here for Christmas break. It has since been cut up, peeled shredded, stewed and baked. If I remember correctly, I only paid about $4.00 or $5.00 for it. That sucker was huge! I must've been over 15 lbs! We now have a huge pot of pumpkin curry, pumpkin bread, plus more pumpkin to make 2 more loaves, and some pumpkin to make some pie. This might be the making of a new holiday tradition!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 127 (Avatar)

I'm on vacation, so there isn't all that much going on. I went to see Avatar today. Awesome movie!!! If you haven't seen it, I really think you should. It definitely has an agenda, but it's an agenda that I agree with, so I don't feel bad pushing it. Besides that, amazing special effects and great story-telling. Watched some 30 Rock and South Park, watched Orphan (creepy!) and The Goods. Baked some pumpkin bread.

Oh! Major cold sore on the nose! You know, that thin fleshy part on the outside between your two nostrils above your lip. Right there. It hurts!!!!! (yes, I am using Abreva) It's been so long since I've had one of these, I'd forgotten how painful they are. How much you wanna bet it lasts for the whole break?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 126 (Home)

I'm finally home now, watching the Syfy remake of Alice in Wonderland. Two weeks will I spend it? I have 20 chapters of Hebrew to review during my time off. I'm basically broke right now, so that should make it easier to to stay home and not spend money. Hopefully I can catch up on some recreational reading. I started an Amy Tan novel right before the semester started and have been reading it ever so slowly. I don't have that much of it left, so it shouldn't take long...

Im feeling strangely melancholy today. Maybe I just tired from the drive. So, what have I learned in the last three months? I learned about the Documentary Hypothesis. I learned about the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas. I learned how to read Hebrew. I learned more than I aver wanted to know about drugs, and yet have managed to retain my feelings of naivete on the subject. I honestly thought that I would have found some kind of love interest by now, and I don't think I have, but I guess you never know...

Confession time. I'm really tired of being alone, but when I think about it, I have no idea how people manage relationships while they're in seminary. Where do they find the time? I don't even have time to do my homework. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is all part of God's plan.

Oh! And, of course, I've learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons! Musn't forget the most important things!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 125 (Day Before the Drive)

I was the epitome of laziness today. I guess two weeks of being really sick and having to study and take finals and write papers has led me to completely take advantage of every single opportunity where I can do absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, this doesn't make for very interesting blogging. hopefully this laziness streak will end before the spring Hebrew inter-session.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 124 (Chick Flick Day)

Faith and I had a total holiday chick flick day. It started with The Family Stone at Holy Grounds, but then the DVD player stopped working, so we moved it up to the student lounge for Dan in Real Life and While You Were Sleeping. Popped some corn, popped open a nice cab, had some cookies. It was a nice night. Neither of us were in a Christmas party mood, so we just had a tiny Christmas movie viewing instead, although technically Dan in Real Life is not a holiday movie. The weird thing about these particular movies though is how similar the plot lines are, but I suppose that is the danger when you watch 3 romantic comedies in a row. I'll have to remember that the next time I want to have a movie marathon.

Earlier today, I lost the roller ball on my phone. I had to do a thorough cleaning of my room to find it if I was going to retrieve the information it held. I guess God really wanted my room cleaned. I did end up finding it and I made my way to AT&T to buy a cheap new phone, making sure to choose one with as few moving parts as possible. I never have any luck with roller balls, there's always something going wrong with them. And, since I have been without a data plan for over 3 months now and have yet to really miss it, I decided that I am not a "smart phone" person. It is kind of annoying how simplistic the phone is that I got though, so we'll see how long that lasts. I can't believe how long you have to wait for someone to help you when you go to an AT&T store! And then, when they do finally help you, they're always trying to make you sign some kind of contract. I can't stand that place! I'd switch, but my parents are paying my phone bill while I'm in school. Gotta take the bad with the good.

Speaking of the parental units, once I had a working phone, I was able to return my Dad's call. During the conversation with him, I found out I was broke because my mom tried to make a withdrawal for the loan I am paying back to them and I didn't have enough money in my account to cover it. I freaked out a little bit and quickly checked my account online. It seems I had forgotten about that $530.00 tire purchase a month ago in preparation for driving back home. I have no money until I get another student loan check. 'Tis the life of a seminarian I suppose. Either that, or get a job O_o.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 123 (Semester's End)

By the grace of God, my class and I have completed our first semester of seminary. It was a long and bumpy ride, but we have all grown and learned and I believe we are better people for it. It's funny that 24 hours ago, I wasn't sure I was going to make it to this point, but I managed to remember enough to pass my Church History class. I'm not saying I did well on the final, jut good enough. Some of us went out for a celebratory lunch. I took everyone to the Sunflower Cafe. Gotta do what can to keep that place open, LOL! It's my go-to place when I need to have a few hours of cozy reading; I'll be upset if I lose it. Some of us also went out for some drinks later. Very low key, kind of a reflection of the past few months.

It's strange because it seems like it went by so fast, but when I think of that first week here, it's like remembering something from two years ago. We are fast approaching Christmas, and New Year's will be right around the corner. It's kind of like starting over. A new year, a new semester. We have a Hebrew intensive in January. Over a month of Hebrew, 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, all Hebrew, all the time. Should be fun. I'm kind of looking forward to it actually. We'll have a new professor and there won't be any other classes to distract us. In the Spring semester, I believe we will be using what we've learned to actually translate some parts of the Bible in Old Testament Exegesis. Craziness, craziness, craziness. And of course, we're gonna have to find time for gaming. :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 122 (Church History Final)

I am desperately trying to study for this Church History Final, but all that I'm getting out of it is an ever increasing sense of impending doom. The thing is, I don't even want to do well on this exam. I just want to do well enough that I pass the class so that I won't have to take it again. I'm sorry, but I just don't care about who did what when. If all of this was linked together into some kind of flow of cause and effect in a bigger picture kind of way, then I might care, but I am not about to form that tapestry for myself, because I have no interest in history. Sitting here with these names and dates is like a weird form of torture. The test is in almost exactly 12 hours. If I have to take this class again, I just might drop out of seminary.

Time to start praying...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 121 (Finals Week)

Finals week. Technically started yesterday, but we didn't have any finals yesterday, so I didn't think to comment on it very much. It seems I have passed the flu on to my roommate, as he has been coughing a lot the past few days, but he keeps insisting that he got it from his church. Hopefully he's not just being nice.

2 finals today: Old Testament and Hebrew. Luckily, I did not have the insomnia problem from the night before, but I somehow managed to forget to set my alarm. By some miracle (read: act of God) my internal alarm went off at 8:00 and told me to check the time. Class starts at 8:30, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but it could have been really bad. I took almost two hours to take the Old Testament final. It probably wouldn't have taken so long if I didn't have to get up every 15 minutes to blow my nose. That, and as I had missed class all last week, I wasn't quite sure what the format would be. Annette, the Old Testament professor, told us we could bring a page of notes for each of the possible essay questions. I mistakenly thought this meant we could use the note for the entire final, but in actuality, we were not allowed to use the notes for the short answer section. Because I thought we were going to have access to our note, plus the fact that I was still not well, meant that I hardly looked over the material at all. Then, the two options we had for the essay were not ones that I would have preferred, so It took longer than I would have liked. I ended up taking 20 minutes past the end of class; luckily she gave us until a 1/2 hour after. I couldn't remember and dates or scripture passage numbers, no surprise there, so that will hurt me on the short answer section, but overall I think I did okay.

Please note, I am not complaining about it, just reporting on what happened. However I did not the quiz is entirely my fault, and not the fault of the class or Annette. If I were to give a final for the class, it would probably look exactly the same.

The Hebrew final was pretty much as expected. It was a short as a quiz, which is super annoying because it carries so much more weight than a quiz. One mistake and it's a huge chunk of your grade. Granted, I know I made much more than one mistake. Not to worry, I'm fairly positive I passed both of my classes, which, given my current state of health, is all that I really want right now anyway.

Remember, "C" is for clergy! (Sorry everyone out there who has higher aspirations for my academic career.)

All that's left is Church History on Thursday, and I have all of tomorrow to study for that, which is good because I haven't studied for it at all. This is also good because the professor for that class changed 20 of the terms from the study guide for the final yesterday, so that means i did not waste any time on learning terms that I wouldn't need to know. As I freely admitted to my academic counselor, I have no interest whatsoever in history of any kind, and as Church History is not part of the Ordination Exams, I have no motive to actually learn any of it. Because of this, I will store the information in my brain just long enough to pass the class, at which point it will be purged, never to be used again.

The only other thing I need to do to close out the semester is email my reflection paper for my improv class, which I am going to do right now...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 120 (Insomnia)

Because of the horrible jolt to my circadian rhythm the night before, I had my first bout of insomnia up here in lovely San Anselmo. As I had taken my last two Benadryl a few night ago for their advertised purpose, I had no more left for "off-label" uses. For those that don't know, the active ingredient in Tylenol PM that makes you drowsy is basically Benadryl.

I finally fell asleep around 3 again, so when the alarm went off at 7:30, it was not a pleasant sound, not that it ever is. I couldn't miss Church History again, as pointless as I feel history is, because I had already missed it four times this semester, so I dragged myself to class and sat there in a half conscious stupor until it was time to leave.

Faith and I had breakfast at the Sunflower Cafe. I felt like I really needed to go today because I'm going to be gone the next two weeks and I've been going there every Monday for a while now.

Afterwards, I tried to study for my two finals tomorrow, but I was so exhausted, I had to go back to bed. I got up and have been studying on and off ever since, but I'm still not well, so it's really hard to motivate myself. Hopefully I won't totally bomb tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 119 (Mountain Dew)

I woke up this morning around 11:00. Personally, I am going to blame the Mountain Dew which was brought to the D&D game by Ian... so I am going to blame Ian as well. But, also had a Cherry Coke during the game, as well as some black tea before AND after. This is well beyond the amount of caffeine I would consume in a day. If anything, I have ONE black tea. But, I was feeling a little drained because I am not totally well yet, so I thought, "Why not? Faith drinks Mountain Dew all the time. She talks about it all the time. Maybe it doesn't taste as bad as I remember it." It does. The caffeine kept me up until 3 am.

After a hot shower to release the phlegm that had been building up through the night, I called Faith and we started studying for the Old Testament final on Tuesday. Somewhere in there I managed to cook some red curry with beef, shrimp and squash. It turned out really good. I ended up studying for about 4 hours, which for me is actually really good. Hopefully I won't get sick before finals next year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 118 (Dorkness Rising)

So, I played my first D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) game tonight. Totally not what I expected, but it might have been because half of us were n00bs <----newbies <---- new players. It's so strange that it has such a horrible reputation because it's basically a math game. Hmmm... kind of like Magic!!! I guess people just like to form opinions about things that they know nothing about.

For anyone that doesn't know, when you boil it down, it's a dice game. You roll to see if you hit the monster, then you roll to see how much damage you do. Of course, there are certain parts of the game that modify these rolls, but that's the basic structure. I kept thinking about how it was like an extremely slow version of a video game, because a video game does all of the calculations for you, where as we have to basically do the calculations ourselves when playing D&D. It was still a new fun way to interact with people that I had never done before, and as we get more comfortable with the game play, it'll probably go more smoothly. I guess all of the questions we kept asking slowed everything down. We're supposed to play again on Tuesday. I just think it's funny how my character ended up being very noble and good, but also very stupid, so I'm always making him agree to everything and running off by himself without thinking things through.

The above picture is of a D&D character named Sir Osric from the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising that my character is pretty much based on. It's a really low budget movie about a group of friends playing D&D. I saw it a few months ago before I ever played D&D, but it makes me laugh. Probably because I understand the stereotypes. D&D and Magic are both made by Wizards of the Coast, so they're kind of like cousins.

Also went to a concert tonight. I was a kind of symphony/opera kind of thing telling the story of Elijah. It was nice, but I think I tried to do a little too much today because I'm feeling a little bit worn out. Still not 100%, but definitely getting better. Guess I better cal it a night so I can get some studying done tomorrow. 3 finals next week O_o

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 117 (Marijuana)

Alarm went off early this morning so I could go to class. Wasn't feeling up to it, so I turned it off and went back to sleep hoping I would wake up in time to get some studying done for the Hebrew quiz. Next thing I know, the bell tower is ringing 10 o'clock, so I pull myself out of bed and manage to get about a half hour of vocab study in before the quiz. Thankfully, there was no parsing and 2 of the 3 sentences we had to translate were pretty much lifted straight from the homework, so it wasn't bad at all.

Went back to my room and finished my paper for The Sacred and the Substance. I actually had a lot of fun writing it because I was trying to use statistical data to figure out when I would eventually smoke pot. Turns out, I'm supposed to smoke it when I turn 60. I would post the whole thing here, but it's like 3,000 words. It's basically an overview of what I learned during the semester using the "statistical research" as the framework. Kind of goofy, kind of wonky, but fun. I can email it if anyone is interested in reading it. Hopefully the professor likes it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 116 (Sick Day #3)

Sunday - It started as a tickle in my throat and an overall feeling of lethargy. Missed church.

Monday - Felt pretty much the same, so I went to class and went through my day as normal, although I think I felt colder than I should have.

Tuesday - My throat was completely raw and I decided to stay home and try to keep the disease contained. Missing Tuesday sucked because I like Old Testament and Improv, and there was a pot-luck party for The Sacred and the Substance. On top of that, I didn't have the energy to do any studying or paper writing, so that entire day was pretty much wasted, not to mention being in pain for the whole day. Started using Afrin to clear my nose.

Wednesday - Didn't get much sleep because of the sore throat, and my nose was completely clogged. I took my last two Tylenol that morning, but my throat wasn't hurting as much, so I didn't bother trying to obtain any other pain killers. Slept a lot. Realizing there was no way I was going to meet the deadline for the final paper for The Sacred and the Substance, I emailed the professor for an extension. This is the first time in my entire life that I have ever asked for an extension for a paper. It sucked. The muscles in my legs are starting to get achy. I'm pretty sure at this point that the thing I was hoping was a head cold is actually a flu.

Today - Woke up early because I went to bed so early the night before. Check my email. Ayize, the professor for The Sacred and the Substance wanted to know how much more time I thought I would need. I replied that I needed one more day. Spent the day cooking, doing Hebrew, working on the paper and blowing my nose. Ayize emailed me back to let me know I could turn in the paper a day later. Now blogging. Will work on paper more once blogging is done.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 115 (Sick Day #2)

I'm dying. I got nothing done today.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 114 (Sick Day)

I woke up sick this morning. Sicker than yesterday. As far as I can tell, it's just a head-cold, but my throat hurts like hell and I cannot breathe through my nose unless I use my trusty Afrin. Why did this have to happen at the end of the semester? This is the second to last week of school, and I'm missing everything! I feel like crap. I'm not even gonna set my alarm for tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 113 (Magic 2010)

2nd Magic post, please excuse me all those who are not interested in this kind of thing, but I didn't really have too much else to write about today. Magic 2010 is the current expansion where they changed a lot of the rules. There has been a small revival of Magic: The Gathering here at SFTS, but most of us are not familiar with the current rules, or even the rules that came before the current rules change. (I'm looking at you Russ) So, this has been an interesting learning experience for all of us.

I'm going to come right out and say that I am probably very likely addicted to this game. I love to play it, which should come as no surprise, but I also love looking at the art on the cards, I love finding out about the new things that the designers are doing with the game and I love reading about Magic online. I will sit at a table and spend hours shuffling through cards trying to figure out what kinds of decks I can make, testing new decks and organizing my collection. I haven't counted, but I have thousands of cards. They have taken over my room. Late, but not least, is my collection of angel cards. It is a binder of almost ever single angel Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes the game, has ever printed. I collect these cards because I have a natural tendency to collect things and the angel art is usually really cool. There are some angels where the art is kind of questionable that I decided did not belong in my collection.

So, the question must be asked, "Does it really matter if I am 'addicted' to this game?" I'm asking in all seriousness for all you jokesters out there itching to post a snarky comment. I would venture to guess more "yes" than "no." Part of the reason I didn't get anything done over Thanksgiving break is because I spent so much time playing Magic with my brother. And, right now, I am waiting for Russ to get done with his reading so that we can play a quick game before we call it a night. I, of course, have a ton of homework to do as well, but this always takes a back seat to Magic. I mean, I can always stay up until the wee hours of the morning just so that I can play a few games, right?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 112 (Margaret Cho)

I was about to start writing my blog when I realized that I should have titled one of them "Margaret Cho" by now, so I had to actually stop and look through my past blogs to see what I had written about her. It turns out, very little. I can't believe I haven't blogged about her yet! She's my favorite comedian of all time! For those of you who don't know, she is a raunchy Korean American fag hag who had just come out with her 5th stand-up comedy movie "Beautiful." This woman is brilliant! I have no idea how she keeps managing to come up with new material; it's just amazing. One word of warning before anyone goes running out to watch one of them: Margaret Cho is a dirty girl. She is not afraid to say anything and everything that comes to mind, and trust me, her mind is a lot dirtier than almost anyone else that I know about. But, this makes for a good time when watching her. I've seen her twice in concert, and each time I was laughing so hard it was hard to breathe.

The thing I like most about her is that she has more to say than just making people laugh. She has a tendency to get very political in her stand-up, which is a turn-off for some people. If you haven't figured it out yet, she is super crazy ultra liberal. For me, this adds to the rewatchability of the movies because they make you think. Even if you agree with her, she has something to teach you about the issues that she talks about, but you're laughing so hard and so shocked at how outrageous she can be that you're usually not really aware that you're learning anything.

Her new DVD, "Beautiful," is about people accepting themselves for who they are, essentially that everyone is beautiful. Acceptance is always an underlying them in her stand-up, but in this case, it goes beyond just accepting yourself to loving yourself. I woke up sick this morning, so I used it as an excuse to do absolutely nothing productive and ended up watching "Beautiful" for the second time. It is by far the raunchiest of her movies to date. I keep thinking to myself each time she comes out with a new one that there is no way she is going to top herself, but she keeps proving me wrong. Two-thumbs up for "Beautiful", but this sucker is definitely NC-17.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 111 (In Defense of D&D)

Yes, I am a gamer. When I say that, I am mostly talking about Magic: The Gathering because that is the only real "gamer" thing I have experience with. I had a run in with D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) in high school, but I have never actually played it for real. Now, this is not directed at anyone in particular, because I am fully aware that everyone was joking...well, I'm pretty sure they were anyway. No, this is directed at all of those people out there that spend way to much time listening to James Dobson and his radio program "Focus on the Family."

Dungeons and Dragons is a game. No more, no less. It is not going to make people start worshipping Satan or form some kind of cult. It is exactly the same as all of those fantasy based video games (see the Final Fantasy series...there's like 12 of them now I think), the only difference being that instead of a high speed computer and some nifty code doing all of the mathematical calculations for you, you have to roll dice. Yes, we are adding gambling to this just to make it that much more evil. I mean, look at that picture? Doesn't it scream "satanic ritual?"

I'm not going to pretend there isn't a downside. Playing this game is not the "coolest" thing to do... but I haven't put much stock in what the world thinks is "cool" and "trendy" in my life, and I'm certainly not going to start now.

And since we are on the subject, I just have to say that James Dobson and his "Focus on the Family" crew preach hatred. They use Jesus' name to spread bigotry and fear under the guise of doing God's work. You wanna talk about evil? Why don't you stop looking at a peaceful group of people getting together for some healthy social interaction, and start looking at that crazy group of people that are actively trying to tear this country apart each and every day. THAT'S EVIL!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 110 (Lessons and Carols)

First off, I need to apologize to any SFTFers; I realize this picture is not from this year's Lessons and Carols, but I wanted to show what the inside of Stewart Chapel looks like. The music was really good. Anyone in the area for a Lessons and Carols weekend should stop by and check it out.

So glad that it's Friday. I somehow finished the Old Testament paper and made it through another Hebrew quiz. I've kind of been slacking off on the Hebrew, but I crammed over the last few days, so I think I may be pretty much up to speed. It's not perfect, but if I keep up with it EVERY DAY, then I should be back to where I was a few weeks ago.

I watched Amazing Grace with Faith tonight. Amazing movie! (no pun intended) It's about the abolition movement in England. A nice period piece if you're into that kind of thing, but it's a lot more than that for those of you who are not. Whiled the night away paling Magic with Tom. Now gotta get to bed so I can start my 10 page Sacred and the Substance paper tomorrow O_o

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 109 (How Close is Too Close?)

We had our fourth poetry night today. Here is one of the pieces that I performed:

How Close Is Too Close?

Have you ever had a fly,

Actually fly into your eye?

Like, actually into your eye?

And before you realize it,

Your eyelids are closing around it like a Venus flytrap,

And it’s stuck in there,

Way too close for you to see it,

And it hurts!

And at first, you’re in denial about it,

Because, really, how often does a fly,

Actually fly into your eye?

And then you start to freak out because you think it might actually be moving around in there!

And, when you finally manage to get it out of your eye,

And you look at its tiny mangled body on the tip of your finger,

You realize,

You did that.

You caught a fly with your eye.

There’s a woman in Eastern Europe that will actually lick your eye for you.

She’s known throughout the region as a healer.

If you get something in your eye,

You can visit this woman,

And she will lick it out for you.

With her tongue!

She’ll brush her teeth first,


Rinse it out real good with water,

But after that she’ll get right up in there with her tongue,

And lick your eyeball!

And, I bet while she’s doing that,

You won’t really be able to see her tongue all that well.

She said that the strangest thing she’s ever licked out of someone’s eye was an apple peel.

So it was kind of like having a snack at the same time.

A wise person told me that you can’t figure out shape of the ocean by sitting on the beach,

But there’s something to be said for sitting on the beach,

Because books can’t tell you everything.

Because, when someone asks you about the beach,

You need to be able to tell them about the salty sea spray,

And you need to be able to tell them about the warm sand between your toes,

And the roaring thunder of the crashing waves,

And how sometimes at night,

At the right time of year,

When those waves crash,

They crash glowing green,

With bioluminescent algae,

And it’s the most magical thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

You need to be able to tell people about that.

But, the ocean is huge!

It’s enormous!

You need to be miles above it to even begin to get an idea of what it’s shaped like.

You need to be an astronaut!

But, that’s an awfully far way to go when all you really need to do, is grab a map.

There’s a scene from the movie Clueless,

Where one of the characters is commenting on how pretty one of the girls is,

And another character tells him that she’s a total Monet,

Like the paintings,

From far away she looks good,

But up close, she’s a big old mess.

But when you’re that close to something,

You’re part of the mess.

So, you need to remove yourself from that mess,

From that tangled weave,

You need to work the shuttle backwards,

So you’re looming cloth into thread,

So you can separate the strings of yourself,

From the strings of what you’re not,

Because you can’t see the pattern when you’re part of the pattern.

And, you can’t fix the problem when you’re part of the problem.

You can’t watch TV when you have your face pressed up to the TV screen,

Because all you’ll be able to see is a random assortment of Where’s Waldo pixels,

And none of them are going to be wearing that red and white striped shirt,

And there won’t be an answer key in the back of the book telling you how to live your life.

You need to move back far enough so that you can use your magic eye to find the 3-D image hidden inside the fractal design,

Because life is just a bunch of 3-D images,

We’re just usually too close to notice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 108 (Semester's End)

There less than 3 weeks left in the semester and everything is coming to a head. There's papers due, and quizzes and tests galore. Today was somewhat productive. I did 4 loads of laundry and finally unloaded my car from the trip down south. I watched the new Margaret Cho DVD, Beautiful, and memorized the Hebrew vocabulary. It's not as much as I should have done, but considering it's me, I think I did pretty good!

Gonna keep it short, cuz there's more Hebrew to do. Night all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 107 (Strange Luck)

My professor for The Sacred & the Substance, his name is Ayize, class cancelled class the week before Thanksgiving because his friend committed suicide. I was feeling overloaded, so when I first heard class was cancelled, I got really excited, but when I heard why, it was really sad. I would much rather go to class and have his friend be alive.

I've only ever had 2 people die on me. The first was my Uncle Fred. He died of leukemia, probably because he spent most of his life smoking cigarettes. He wasn't really my uncle; he was married to my mother's cousin, but he was more of an uncle to me than any of my actual uncles. That was really hard because it was the first death I ever really experienced. I've never forgiven myself for not visiting him in the hospital when he was sick, but it freaked me out too much to go there.

The second was my friend Jeremy who committed suicide earlier this year. That hit me really hard because even though I wasn't really that close to him, I'm really close to many members of his family and I'll always remember him a little boy with a baseball cap and deep dimples. He had so much potential. He was only 17 and he had his whole life ahead of him. He was in the band and on the wrestling team. He had a huge family that loved him. I don't think anyone saw it coming. I don't know if I'll ever get over this death.

So, when I heard Ayize's friend, it made me really sad. We had class today, but we only stayed for about an hour because Ayize was obviously having a really hard week. He proceed to tell us in a half-joking manner that his standards have dropped really low as far as grading, which of course is understandable. He still wants us to do our final projects, but he is more concerned about us getting what we wanted to get out of the class, which is cool. But, I'd rather have him grade us harder and have his friend be alive.