Fresh water keeps me well;
As my father used to say.
While driving his aging father to his father's various meetings and classes, Seko VArner is immersed in stories, details,and wisdom that could only be given by a loving father.
Pops, who has been a minister for over 60 years left the service feeling refreshed and stated that he approved of Pastor Dan's approach to ministry and the service. He had visited the church once before this year when his eyesight was with him. What a difference a few days make. Three months ago he drove himself to this church, now we have to lead him from the truck. I give thanks to the Almighty for 2008. I've had a chance to spend a great deal of time with Pops and my life has been affected, my fatherhood has been affected, and my faith has deepened.
I met the Pastor of The Great Awakening, this GLBT congregation, two years or so as I attempted to aid the congregation in finding a location for thier group. Thier pastor event took me to visit one of her last listing as we were both real estate agents and she also held her broker's license. I found her to be very cool, very valuable, and very attractive. I remember thinking to myself "I'd marry her, she'd make a great wife." as we talked about her ministry and her former activities as a real estate agent and broker. I further thought "That's a waste, I wish I could introduce her too..." considering some of the guys that I know who. at that time, were having difficulty meeting a good woman. This woman seemed a bit reserved in our interactions, and possibly a bit shy. We did avoid the nature of her congregation in our discussions. I remember saying to her "My wife and I may have to visit your church !" with a very jovial voice. Only to receive her luke-warm invitation to visit. I did find her to have a bit of a solemn aura about her. A similar feeling I've experienced around some other women involved in woman-to-woman relationships.
Since our initial meeting I've referred about seven women to her church who I've met who shared that they didn't feel welcomed in their churches or religious circles due to their sexual orientation. I saw the Pastor of The Great Awakening at my father's 70th celebration in November of 2007. After the dinner she kinda' rushed out and I didn't get a chance to speak with her like I wanted too. I gave her a big-hug as she arrived and a she left. I've often thought about visiting her church, and planned to do so to show support as soon as I had a chance. I know that she has a heavy load. The U.C.C. decided to fully support GLBT organizations and I haven't been one to publicaly support the U.C.C.'s decision. I still don't know if I can ever support the decision publicaly, although after some soul searching and prayer I have come to support the decision. I do currently think that a legalization of alternative unions should occur and these unions should be called something other than a marriage. I think that a 'Union' or a 'Joining' or another of the terms the alternative groups have used may allow the groups to legalize a portion of their cultural inventions rather than attempting to re-define an older paradigm.
I've often had a strange experience with the manly-looking gay women. I guess the political correct term is transgendered. It's still kinda weird to me. She (tries) to appear masculine in dress, attitude, and other aspects; and I still find these transgendered women incredibly attractive as women. In my pre-marital past a number of them have actively found me attractive as well..... I was even approached by one such woman a few weeks ago. Whenever I'm around one of the groups of these women a sense of discomfort-yet-connection envelopes me. Stating to this Pastor that I "may have to" visit her church was an outreached hand to her and her culture from a 'sometimey' outsider.
The greeter asked "Have you been here before?".....I said "Yes."...I had........ I had visited the service that meets at 11:00 AM. This service is an 'Open' church in the U.C.C. They have some gay members and have an open-door policy for anyone who wishes to enter their doors. The Great Awakening is an 'Open and Affirming' congregation and further accept GLBTs as members and/or clergy. Although I understood that the greeter truly meant "have you been to our service before ?" I slid in the doors pretending to mis-understand her question. The entire event was weird to me. I've always knew that the church choirs attracted many gay dudes, I didn't consider the amount of gay dudettes would gather together to lift up the Lord in praise. In a previous portion in my life I DJ'd in a lesbain club for a short while. I was a bit comforting to see what seemed to be one of the former patrons of that club singing in the choir. Yes, I had been here before.
I've been here, in that intellectual/emotional place where I didn't know if I should be playing decision ping-pong in regards to GLBT issues. I'm glad that some people believe that they have found the right culture for them, yet I'd hate for one of my children to become involved in that culture. I fully support the right to wave the rainbow flag yet I am truly disappointed when seeing that waving flag. I support the legal rights to a gay unions yet I wish the term marriage isn't applied to these unions. I support the U.C.C.'s decision, yet I have chosen not to return to visiting my mother's church with my children after attending one of their services and worshiping with openly gay Christians. I hate the fact that Girls-Gone-Wild commercials exists yet I've watched the commercials for a minute before I work up the strength to turn the channel. Sometimes this strength didn't come for a half an hour. I love my cousin and his long-term partner, yet I still wish they would wake up one day and experience an orientation change. Yes, I've been here, playing ping-pong, before.
So today I sit in the pews, worried if someone might get the wrong idea about me. I've had that happen frequently in my life. I often worry about my son who has developed some of my possibly slightly-femine seeming movements. My wifey keeps telling me that it's all in my nervous head and I shouldn't have anything to worry about. Yet I do worry about my son. I would really be bothered if either of my little ones were gay. My parents were worried about me as I grew up. It's funny how they have both become as Open and Affirming as their denomination. As a teenager my parents prevented me from DJing in a club after Pops visited the spot. This spot was in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The club was pretty dark and had a great light show. I had visited the club during the early afternoon and early night a few times as this DJ played a couple records for me that I hadn't heard before. I'd often ask the DJ "When do the ladies start showing up ?" He would always tell me "You need to come at night to see for yourself." All I knew at that time was the main DJ played 'House music' and was teaching me about this music I hadn't heard much on the radio. This DJ met with my father at the club and after some discussions the DJ told me "You should follow your father's decision, this may not be the place for you." I met this DJ in 1984. When I returned from college for spring break in 1987 this DJ was an ancestor. Dad then told me that it was gay club and shared with me the newspaper clipping about the DJ who died from AIDS. I was in this club looking for the ladies who I assumed showed up at night. I remember now how the bartender was always so nice to me. I didn't have a clue.
I had a friend and 1-5-1 Inc. fraternity brother who is now one of our ancestors. We were line brothers as we pledged into 1-5-1 Inc. together in 1987. We hung out, he used to stay at my parent's home on the holidays, we even dated the same girl at one time. She was his girlfriend at one time, she became my friend later. When I broke-up with one of my girlfriends in 1990 she attempted to seduce this friend but nothing ever happened. At first I thought he didn't want to hurt my feelings. He later told me that he just couldn't enjoy a woman anymore. I then found out how many people in 'The Family' (homosexuals) I used to hang-out with unknowingly. As he was dying from AIDS related problems he shared with me in one of our last conversations that he worried about his father. My friend's younger brother was also gay. He worried that his father might loose his mind after raising two sons, loosing one to what seemed to be a gay-related disease, and finding out that while one son is on his death bed, the other son comes out of the closet. My friend became an ancestor around 1998. I talk to his memory every time I find myself here, playing emotional/intellectual ping-pong in regards to his lifestyle. He was a brother to me. He also pissed me off frequently. On my wedding day this friend was one of my groomsmen. He tried to kiss me as I was getting dressed. I almost punched him as I backed away. He looked at me and said, "Sorry Lucky (I used to be called 'Lucky' while in college), this is how we gay dudes congratulate each other. I finished getting dressed. Then I grabbed him and we gave each other a "no-homo man-hug" as I shared with him that I'd hurt him if he ever tried to do that again. We both laughed, shook hands, and finished getting ready for my nuptials.
I also talk to another friend's memory who died to AIDs related issues whenever I'm trying to make sense of his former lifestyle. This friend didn't want to be gay and truly tried praying and fasting and 'churching' his gayness out of his life. We used to double date when I wasn't fully sure of his orientation although my dates would always tell me things like "You know your boy loves men and he's trying to hide it by dating that chick who's over there acting like she doesn't pick-up on it." I even made a bet with one of my lady-friends that my friend wasn't gay. I ended up paying her the waged money after burying my friend. This friend used to go shopping with me and pick out the clothes I'd end up wearing when we double dated with women (circa 1992-1996). My wife jokes me now saying that I was the test subject for the original Queer-eye-for-the-straight-guy show.
My father gave his Easter sermon. I've heard it a number of times in my life. This time he focused the sermon on the idea that Yeshua's (Jesus) resurrection narrative in our Bible should motivate one to resurrect themselves. As we pondered how Yeshua awoke or arose from the dead my Pops challenged the listeners to awaken from the dead parts of their lives and conquer the Hell that we all have to face and conquer. This man used to challenge me frequently when I was a teenager making sure that I wasn't hanging with all of them pretty-boys for any 'soft' reason. Now he has challenged others to consider that Yeshua would accept gay people as the church should. He truly believes that all churches should change their position and accept people in any condition or orientation. His church denomination supports this position, and the U.C.C. boldly made this proclamation in a general Synod about two years ago. Listening to my Pops and attending The Great Awakening's service awoke a portion of my consciousness. I have a discomfort around 'Butchy' women and 'Soft' men. It's awakening to be able to recognize and begin to face this discomfort, it will force me to make some changes in the way I approach discomfort. I'm not sure where this awakened portion of me will travel, yet I welcome the waking up process.