Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Notice added on how I use statements, comments, and e-mails

Because of the nature of this blog, I find it important and interesting to have open comments and sharing of personal stories. Anonymous commenters are allowed in most situations. I will allow no disrespect (in my opinion) of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer people on behalf of sexual orientation or identity.

Please note that I welcome all comments and personal e-mails. Some comments will not be posted, based on my personal discretion. However, I reserve the right to include your comments and relevant portions of personal e-mails and messages to me, as content of this blog, or wherever their use can best be afforded.

I will never reveal personal identities without your permission (name, location, specific employer, etc.)

This statement in no way serves as a legally binding statement. This blog is public, and it's on the internet. If you write on the internet, you are automatically giving me your permission to use what you write.

More reader input 2010

Last night I woke up and had a REALLY good idea for a post. Then I went back to sleep and can't remember what it is. I do that a lot, whether it's when I'm sleeping or not. I start posts in my head, and then can't compose them. I write a good beginning paragraph, and then my conclusions don't match the intensity of what I began with. The result is that I haven't blogged much.

While I get some amazing e-mails, most of them require well-though-out replies. I am NOT good at advice. Each life requires decisions that I'm not qualified to make, and that I can't make for anyone else. My life has been and IS one that I still have to decide and walk through every day. As much as I wish that it were easy, think again. Let me share some questions, and open this for input.


a seemingly kind fan wrote, and a reply to her has to be on so many levels:
I am not without experience in this- though mine, admittedly doesn't compare with yours. My sister is living a lesbian lifestyle. I'm not emailing you to harrass or even to criticize, it isn't my intention to seem combative. I'm sure this is just one of many emailst hat echo the same feeling. I firmly believe this is a very convincing lie form the devil- we all have sinful desires, that doesn't give us permission to act on them. I dont mean to trivialize his lifelong struggle, I know it is far from simple. God doesn't lie. Satan does. God won't tell you not to act on homosexual feelings while making you to have them. It doesn't mean they aren't felt- just that they are NOT from God. I think its a shame that you are condoning and offering up your own version of biblical truth to justify this life- it is a flasehood that could lead others astray.

a divorced, gay man, wrote concerning how to continue to celebrate the holidays:
My question is this: Can I still have a positive relationship with her [his ex-wife] including Christmas day celebrations, gatherings with her family, etc.? Is this possible or even reasonable so as not to confuse my 12 year old son?

and from "BKY" who e-mailed:

I will pray ...for... you, and your children. I will pray that you each will know Christ and grow closer to him. I pray that you will glorify him and seek the truth of the gospel. I implore you to please be careful what you are teaching others for when you lead others astray how much more accountable will He hold you for your actions. We are all sinners, yes even Christians, so we will continue to sin until Jesus comes back again. The difference between a Christian and a non Christian is repentance. I pray you and Ray will seek out this concept and then maybe you will realize that Christians do not hate you but want to see you be victorious in Christ! I wrote back this reply:

Dear BCY,

Thank you for writing to me, and for what tries to be kindness. I'm glad you have listened to Ray's music and liked it so much. I am truly thankful that you have written.

I'm sorry that you think I am leading others astray. I don't believe that. I also wish that it were as simple as what you describe as being "victorious in Christ," in order to deal with being gay. It's NOT like that.

What I feel is that I'm fortunate to have been born and have grown up as a heterosexual woman. I'm in the majority, and that is easier than adjusting to being non-heterosexual. I didn't have to decide that. It came natural to me, and as my hormones kicked in as a teenager, I learned to live according to Christian morals and principles. I'm thankful for a church that guided me and for a family that trusted my feelings for boys.

However, for many who are not "straight"-feeling, the responses to a young adult "crush" (on someone of the same gender) from family members is criticism, judgment, and rejection for non-stereotypical feelings. It isn't even recognized or mentioned in the home - where all of our "family values" are so strongly incorporated. If this is mentioned in the community and/or in school, young people are outcast, and in churches they are condemned. It is this judgment against normal, honest feelings for another person that the non-straight young person is forced to hide. Most try to conform to a nature contrary to their make-up, and they desperately go against what for straight kids is normal, adolescent development.

What I'm saying here is that if it is a straight crush on a boy or girl, it is encouraged. If it is a same-sex crush, it is forbidden, judged, and ridiculed. Rather than allow normal feelings to develop, gay kids are forced from an early age to hide their feelings.

Eventually, many gay people couple and marry straight people, and many times this is done without telling the straight partner. Telling young people that their same-sex-attractions will go away, or diminish, or be solved by marrying a straight person is WRONG. It's not TRUE, or HONEST or any other value that is honored by the Bible or by Christ.

That is what I object to! And I keep saying what I say in hope that it will affect some, and some will not be damaged by broken hearts, broken lives, broken families. I will not go off in a corner and be quiet. Why should it be that there is the "gay community" and in opposition, the "church people"? Why does one need to be an outcast from the faith community based on one's natural, God-given sexual orientation? Oh, wait. It doesn't have to be that way!

Why shouldn't and couldn't it be that we begin to model coupled relationships in our society, including in our churches, that show love, commitment, respect, and honor for one another? Why shouldn't and couldn't it be that we allow young persons, no matter of their sexual orientation, to hang out, crush on and date, the ones that they are naturally attracted to? Why shouldn't and couldn't it be that the straight allies speak up, and that they won't be accused of leading others astray for it? Why shouldn't it and couldn't it be that we live HONESTLY, rather than denying the truth about sexual orientation?

I won't stop, and I pray I can find the energy to keep blogging in 2010. I don't always have all the words or the right words to say, but I will make every effort to keep saying the same thing. IF it is redundant, so be it. If it is disliked, same thing. If I get through to some, I'm glad. If I make some upset, I just hope they'll have read enough to make them think about the issues.

Don't let me down, folks. I'm encouraged and "pumped" when I get your messages and e-mails. Thanks for a great year - and for the upcoming one, let's keep talking about the truth!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jemma Thomas - her support of Gareth

Another reader sent me a related link tonight concerning Jemma Thomas. She is the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Gareth Thomas. Gareth Thomas has just come out as gay, and the article here details the support and love that Jemma has shown. I commend her totally, and hope you will read all of the article.

Strikingly positive, Jemma shows immense love and understanding, and I stand with her in this very public time. Here's my favorite quote from the article:
'He will always love me, but he cannot turn himself into a heterosexual. If he could, I would still be married to him. We will always be the best of friends and I couldn't feel prouder of him than I do now.'

Read more:

What a beautiful woman, inside and out. Bless you, Jemma!

(hat tip to Mark! Thanks for the link.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gareth Thomas, gay Welsh rugby player, comes out, and he had a wife, too

A blog-reader, Tim, wrote today to share with me the story/news article about Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas, who just recently has come out publicly as a gay man. Although he had thought he could hide his sexuality, he said this:

"I became a master of disguise and could play the straight man down to a tee, sometimes over-compensating by getting into fights or being overly aggressive because I didn't want the real me to be found out. But when you withdraw into yourself you start to feel lonely, upset, ashamed."

Thomas, according to CNN, was married to his high school sweetheart, but they separated after a few years of marriage. No details were given, but perhaps his being gay entered the picture. I have no idea how much hurt this caused each of them, but Thomas sounds like a decent guy, one who tried unsuccessfully to squelch his true orientation. I wish my arms could reach out to hug them both, and let them know that others care.

Gareth Thomas speaks out now through his fame, and he's doing the brave, but difficult thing. This quote, from speaks of his family's support:
"I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out but, if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it. My parents, my family and my friends all love me and accept me for who I am and, even if the public are upset by this, I know the love of those people who mean the most to me will never change."

When I hear of any mixed-orientation couple, I ache. It's not easy when you have to figure out what to do once the reality of the situation is revealed. Others don't "get it," or, if they do, they don't have to live through it. Not only does it hurt each person in the relationship, it lasts such a long time to get over the insecurity and damage to one's confidence.

For the straight spouse, you ask yourself a million questions, like, "Why didn't I know?" and "Was the love real?" I know I went through so many emotions and questions. To see where I am now, I get absolutely surprised at the "ah-ha" moments of clarity that I've come to. Sometimes it seems like life will never be the same (It won't.) or that it won't ever get any better (It WILL).

Not being very familiar with rugby, I can't guage the impact of Mr. Thomas's coming-out. Being a major star, coming out as gay is a big deal no matter what sport it is. Thomas's recent reveal should and will bring attention to him and to his sport, and to his former wife, there will be fall-out. I hope there will be support for her in this time of change. Like I've said before in times like this, my heart goes out to her.

(Support group for straight spouses:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Warm greetings for Christmas

Winter has come to Indiana! After fairly mild temps for all of November and up until now, the thermometer is in the teens, and with wind factored, it is way, way cold. Brrr...! A friend said to me yesterday that he could NEVER get into Christmas in Florida. Let me tell you, I have tried it in years past, and as long as family is there, it's really, really Christmas, no matter where you are.

Meanwhile, in spite of the cold weather, I've felt my heart warmed with greetings and conversations with supportive new friends. In the past days I have had a boatload to kindnesses shown to me. It shows me that there ARE supportive people in my world, and I am getting to know more of them as time goes by. Sometimes it feels that to be gay-affirming is like swimming upstream, but that is just because I might be in the wrong stream! REALLY, there are changes occurring, and as I'm more open, others are able to speak up. Here are a few of the most recent ones...

A co-worker of mine (and new friend) approached me, and even though she had written to me months ago, her friendliness and support felt so warm and good in person. She later wrote this in an e-mail:
Thank you for taking the time to talk yesterday - the good thing about our situations in some ways is that we know who our friends are...and we have a chance to make new ones.

A pastor from North Carolina wrote, having just found out "the news" that Ray's gay. Having enjoyed Ray's music in past years, he had to catch up with the current situation, and he came to this blog. Being loving and complimentary, he sees what our family has gone through. I appreciate this man's insight and the pastoral comfort he shared.

Another e-mail came from a "straight middle age couple who grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition", who now are involved with, "Holy Spirit, a progressive Episcopal church that reaches the gay & lesbian community," - and they find this very meaningful. He said, "Thank you...for loving God and listening to the nudges of the Holy Spirit, no matter how difficult."

Not only are these messages welcome, but they make me feel good! I so appreciate it that there are readers out there for whom this little blog helps THEM. I continue to be hopeful that change is coming, even one at a time. I know it's true, because others tell me so.

And during this upcoming family time, for Christmas, let's keep hoping for loving change. We all want to be ones who love even the straight ones, don't we? If there's someone in your family who's shown you grace and love, let them know how much it helps you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

re-building broken faith

(hat tip to Peterson)

When I was young, in college, I was totally involved in the Jesus Movement. I was so happy to find other friends who believed TOTALLY in Jesus like I did. I got involved through those friends with a group known either as the Glory Barn or Faith Assembly (of near North Webster, Indiana). (Both titles are sometimes interchanged, but are actually separate groups with the same people in each one. I know that is confusing, but it verifies that I know what I'm talking about.)

What did I believe? Specifically, I want to share what I understood about communication between myself and God.

To start, I believed that God would speak to me, personally. Sometimes it occurred through the Bible. While reading ancient texts, I received personal messages that I accepted for my daily "walk." I also believed that God could speak to me through other people, as they "heard in their spirit" what God was leading - through personal "prophecy," or intuitive leanings. And most personally, I believed that if I prayed, God would lead me. I always knew that God would speak, if I listened, and answer my prayers. And once, I even knew that God told me, "You belong together," and I heard this in a real, audible voice.

Who was God speaking about? Well, I was praying about the love that had grown between me and a very special young man. I didn't want to keep building up my hopes for a future with him, if, in fact, it wasn't God's will that we should marry. And in my simple faith, I heard that voice. I always told others, because it was a great story, that I looked up through the leaves of a tree outside my window, and as the moonlight streamed in, all around me, I heard it. And I knew it was not the voice of either a man or a woman, but a strong, yet gentle, clear, voice from heaven. I knew I had a message of direction.

That was in July of 1974, and Ray and I were married in March of 1975.

For nearly 30 years I never doubted either the love or the direction that our lives had taken. And then Ray told me that he was gay. I've shared so much of that story, but I have not been able to share how much that affected my faith.

How do you deal with it when you realize that a cornerstone of your faith is shattered? I've said before that no word can describe how that felt. Not only was I doubting the love I'd always felt, but my very faith didn't even make sense. I'd heard God speak! I'd been taught that God never changes! I've been faithful to God, and I'd been taught that if you live for God, God honors that!

I went in mental circles trying to reason it out. For months I couldn't concentrate, and I even had trouble praying. Nothing added up any more to make a whole anything. And now, we were no longer going to be together! Didn't I always know that God had led me, led us? Not only was I having to face that it was better for Ray to leave, but the center of how I'd known God to lead me, was now broken. How could I possibly, ever, pray or believe? How could I possibly, ever, love?


Was it possible?

To Believe?

It was in my mind that I should run away. I tried to keep steady in day-to-day life. I had a lot of responsibilities, and I kept putting one thing ahead of me at a time. I was constantly re-organizing my self-concept, my beliefs, my view of how the world worked, and how God was or was not there for me in this troubled time. It took time - and I had help by things other people had written, said, and a very few, a small handful of friends.

And gradually I learned that I still had Ray. He had not changed, but he was finally open and honest with who he was and how God made him to be. In all, our love has not changed, and I thank Ray for that. Even though we divorced, I'd never have made it this far if it was not for him.

And I also couldn't get away from my faith in God. Despite a broken heart, a lost marriage, and the changes in EVERYTHING about my life, I still knew that for some reason, God really had spoken to me all those years ago, when I heard: You belong together. No, it's not the same, and it surely isn't what I expected when I first heard those words, but there's a purpose in what I do now. My faith is changed, and how I understand God's direction. I've been through the worst, and, thankfully, I still believe. There's been no damage just because I have questioned God. God is still leading and I'm re-building my faith.

When I watched this video that I found on Peterson Toscano's blog, I knew I wanted to share it. I've been where this composer wrote from, and from where the character sings...