Monday, February 25, 2008

Random

JJ tagged me a couple of weeks back, so lest she thinks that I forgot to respond (because I'd never do that *cough*), here are six random (and most likely useless) things about me.

1. I became a die-hard Star Trek fan at the ripe old age of five. Consequently my mom became a fan too; she insists I was the one who got her into it, and my memories from that far back are too hazy to either dispute or confirm her recollection of events.

2. I've lived in four different states over the course of my life. I've visited 15 other states and three foreign countries, counting places that I've at least stayed overnight. Add one Canadian province and two more states if you count any visit where I at least stopped for a meal. Add seven additional states and one more country if you count driving through and airport connections. I'd love to see more of the world than that, but barring the unlikely advent of my getting on the Amazing Race, I don't see those numbers going up very dramatically.

3. Speaking of the Amazing Race, I actually applied once with a friend, audition video and all. We never heard back from the producers.

4. The last concert I attended featured Jars of Clay during their Eleventh Hour tour. I was a bit more into concerts when I was younger, but now I just hate what the noise level does to my ears.

5. I remember where I was when Ronald Reagan was shot. We were in study hall, and our principal came in and made the announcement with a big smile on his face. This was at a private school, and no, he wasn't a very nice man.

6. I'm a Mac user, and have been since college. I may have to use a Windows box at work, but at home I'm free from Microsoft's bloated grip. Free, I say, free!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Life Soundtrack 2



Better Now by Collective Soul, my favorite group. Some albums have one or two great singles in the midst of 30-60 minutes of expendable filler, but Collective Soul's discs are worth listening to all the way through. Something about their music really resonates with me.

And Better Now makes a great theme song for the journey I've taken over the past several years...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Self-Protection

Peterson's recent post on emotional dependency got me thinking about my own issues with intimacy. My current life circumstances would have to change dramatically were I to find myself in a serious dating relationship, and as such I've made no efforts to search for anyone that I could pursue a relationship with. Yet I have to question how much I'm simply respecting the terms of my employment, and how much I'm using that as an excuse to avoid having to let somebody get that close to me.

Not that I can lay all the blame for my relational issues on ex-gay ministries, which have been as much a help to me as a hindrance in that regard. Long before I knew much of anything about the ex-gay movement, I started building the walls that have become as much a trap to me as they are a barrier to others. Even the evangelical culture that I grew up in can't take all of blame, though the attitudes I absorbed and took to heart in church on a regular basis consistently rewarded and reinforced my tendency toward withdrawal. Over the years my defense mechanisms have become so instinctive that I often fail to notice the things I do to keep people at arm's length.

There are a handful of people that I've allowed to get close to me, but even the deepest friendship is a looser and less complicated bond than marriage. As much as I think that I want a life partner, I find myself questioning how I'd handle actually having one. Celibacy hasn't exactly been the wonderful state that so many married heterosexuals try to convince gay people it can be, but it is a lot safer. The thought of being completely naked with another person - physically, emotionally and spiritually - is actually rather scary.

The old tapes that still force their way through my head from time to time don't help, either. Even knowing that they're completely untrue, it takes time and conscious effort to overcome the residual fear that still accompanies them - fear that no intimate relationship I pursue with someone I actually find attractive could ever work out; fear that any man I fall in love with will turn out to be an amalgam of every bad stereotype I was taught about the "gay lifestyle;" fear that I'm emotionally deficient and constitutionally incapable of building and maintaining a stable relationship.

Few churches actively set out to be incubators of fear and self-loathing, yet in practice many of them still encourage secrecy and distrust. Even in this age of accountability partners and support groups, many evangelical churches are only safe havens to the extent that one adheres to every last line of dogma and speaks in the correct Christianese dialect.

Developing healthier relational skills is a steep uphill battle at times, especially in a world where most people don't have the patience that it takes to work past those old emotional barriers. I'm slow to trust others - sometimes glacially slow - but that doesn't mean I've given up trying. Some things really are worth the effort.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Worth Reading

1. A new direction for Exodus? I can't see Exodus' top leadership ever going for it, but Wendy Gritter gives me hope that a more honest, less political, more ministry-focused Exodus may someday be possible.

2. JJ's post on the Bible and homosexuality is well worth reading, if you haven't done so already.

3. I've said nothing about Heath Ledger's tragic death, as it's already been more than adequately discussed just about everywhere else, but here's what I said about Brokeback Mountain way back when, just in case anyone who missed it the first time around is interested.

4. An interesting article by Jonathan Rauch on the United States' unique path toward gay acceptance, and why it's necessarily taking longer than it did in Europe.