Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If You're Gay, You Can't Be a Christian

Jennifer LeClaire, Editor of Charisma Magazine, recently wrote a low-key piece about NBA player, Jason Collins and his announcement that he was gay, in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

I don't really take issue with her approach.  She goes out of her way to praise him for his talents and heap admiration on his head for what she considers an integral member of any basketball team.  I also don't take issue with most of her beliefs.  She comes from a brand of Christianity that states that homosexuality is a sin and thus must be repented of.  Plenty of people believe this and still treat gay people very well.

What I DO have issue with is twofold.

1. Jennifer LeClaire is not saying that homosexuality is a sin.  She is actually saying that the fact that Jason Collins is a homosexual determines his genuine faith status.  Essentially, he is not a true Christian since he is gay.

2. Jennifer LeClaire refuses to believe that someone can be happy, or be without envy, fear, misery, living a lie, suicidal thoughts, etc. without Jesus Christ, whatever that means.  (Yes, I know what it means in jargon-speak, but what does it really mean?!)

Let's look at my first issue:

The Bible clearly states that only the god of it knows the heart.  Here, LeClaire is armchair umpiring from the cheap seats, acting as if she were that god, determining from afar, the spiritual condition (as if there was such a thing) of an individual, simply because he says that he is gay.  There is no room for his words that he follows the teachings of Jesus to be true.  In LeClaire's world, she gets to raise her index finger, wiggle it back and forth and yell, "Nuh uh!!!!".

No, according to LeClaire, a clear litmus test to being a Christian at all is the pure and unadulterated rejection of homosexuality.  The minute you claim homosexuality, it makes no difference how many children you save from abusive homes, tying millstones around their parent's necks and throwing them into the sea, it makes no difference how many poor and widowed you feed, clothe, and house, it makes no difference what you say the condition of your heart is, it makes absolutely not a lick of difference what your personal faith is to you.

Nay nay!  LeClaire knows!  You are cut off from Jesus Christ because you committed the cardinal sin above all cardinal sins - you gay, baby!  Nevermind that Christianity used to treat divorce like homosexuality and now embraces it, opting for support groups and coffee, rather than outright declarations of impending hell fire.  Nevermind that the Christian church used to...well...you get the point.  Let's move on to my second issue.

I'm an atheist.  Yes.  You know that.  I grew up in uber-fundamentalist Christianity.  The Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips, homeschooling, singing from a hymnal, rock music is of the devil, Jesus will heal you of all mental issues kind - under an abusive and mentally impaired, single Mama.  But I'm now an atheist.

And guess what!?  I'm happy.  I have envy at times, but I don't see it as a sin.  That's a stupid rule anyway.  I'm not fearful.  I fear my kids getting run over by a car and I fear my wife never wanting to make love to me again.  But again, having no fear is unrealistic and also a stupid rule.  I'm not miserable.  I am not living a lie.  I have no suicidal thoughts.

And I don't "have Jesus".

LeClaire, and many other Christians, have no idea how to deal with people who are happy with who they are - without Jesus.  They resort to that finger waving again, yelling, "Nuh uh!  You're deceived!  You just THINK you're happy!  But really....JESUS!!!!!"

But no.  I'm happy.  And I know some miserable Christians who would be the first to tell me that Jesus brings them happiness - living a lie.

This brings me to LeClaire's worst offense in this article.  She says that Collins' sigh of relief and freedom he feels from shedding his burden is a big lie.  According to LeClaire, he can't possibly be feeling anything remotely genuine because he doesn't follow her creed and fit her profile for the perfect, non-gay, Christian.

Finally, I will make an attempt at armchair umping.

Jason Collins is happy!!!!!  He says so himself.  And I think I'm satisfied with his declaration of mirthiness.

Daddy, I'm Scared You and Mommy Were Fighting

The car door slammed, the engine roared to life, the gears shifted, the tires crunched over the sand I missed while blowing off the driveway, the thud happened as the tires bounced into the gutter, the brakes squealed softly, the gears shifted again, the motor revved, and Mommy drove off to meet a friend for an evening walk.

I sat in the living room, the warm spring breeze lightly brushing past the right side of my face.  It was a bit chilly for this time of year and I tucked my feet up under me.

I heard footsteps on the stairs behind the massive door to my left.  

They were deliberate footsteps - a bit slow - but, nonetheless, they were purposeful.  The door handle turned and through the door came Laura, my nine-year-old little girl.  She was weeping.

"Daddy, who drove awaaaay," she wailed.

"Mommy did," I said, while letting out a chuckle.

"I'm scared.  I'm scared you were fighting.  We're you fighting?"

I giggled at her.

"No, Laura, we weren't.  Mommy went off into the sunset to go out with a friend.  Now go back to bed.  Love you."

One thing is for certain: I now know that everything I do affects at least one of my children acutely.  What a powerful incentive to love her mother.

Beat That Baby of Yours When He Throws a Fit

As Libby Anne, from Love Joy Feminism, says, I grew up in a Michael Pearl, child training, environment.  When your baby "throws a fit", you train it out of them by beating them.  Some may say that the word "beating" is too harsh a definition of what Michael Pearl advises, but, anything is a beating when you're hitting a baby when he's crying - because he's crying.

Michael Pearl is an idiot and displays it perfectly in his writings.  His "love" for children is a sick kind of love.  A love that can only be cashed in when they make his life bearable to be lived.  He may twist my words and call me a liar, but he really is the dishonest one.  

In this story, by Libby Anne, she relates how she watched as her son Bobby "threw a tantrum" after she took him out of a swing.  As I read the story, I thought about the many times I have taken my babies out of a swing or simply changed up their activity - for no other reason than I wanted to go sit on the park bench and do nothing.  When they inevitably communicated to me in the only way they knew how - through crying, sobbing, and thrashing - I would walk away and do whatever I wanted.

The fact is, life was about me and me alone.  I never really cared, then, about what my babies wanted. I was vindicated by the likes of Michael Pearl because I had a license to be what I wanted to be and no child was going to destroy my chance at happiness and peace.

But I loved them!


The fact is, if you have a child, you are not responsible for yourself anymore.  It is now your duty (hopefully your privilege) to feed, clothe, bathe, love, play with, and be there for that child until they fly the nest, through every stage of development.  Some days will be hard.  Hell, some YEARS will be hard.  But you are the closest thing they have to be able to learn about everything there is to know about life - through your eyes.

Don't teach them selfishness.

In reality, I am still preaching to myself, as I struggle from time to time with cleansing myself of viewing my children as distractions to my life.  They are not.  They depend on us.  Be there for them.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Errant Priorities of the Romeike's and the Perpetuation of them by the HSLDA

Darcy writes a quick and emotional piece about the infamous Romeike family.  All homeschoolers who subscribe to the HSLDA are now living in fear over this story.  The HSLDA has made sure of that fact.  They push misinformation and twist facts in order to "prove" that America wants your kids and wants you in prison, should you desire to homeschool your kids.

It's simply not true.

Read Darcy's post, which also includes a link to a very legal breakdown of the case.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm Tired of Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck assumes that, unless you think exactly like he does, you are not a patriot (whatever that means), do not love this country, and want to destroy everything that enables human beings to be happy and prosperous.  He, like the infamous John Edwards, sees two Americas, only his Americas aren't as boring as the former Senator's.  No, Glenn Beck's two Americas are those that are distrustful of government, on the one hand, and those that think government should completely run their lives, no questions asked.

Nowhere in Glenn Beck's mind, is there room for a person to look at government for some things, and everyone else for other things.  There are just moochers, control freaks, and Nazi's on one side, and those that want to be left alone with their Bibles and guns on the other.

Glenn Beck would not understand me and my ideas about guns.

I have guns in my home for protection.  If I was ever invited out to shoot for fun, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I would love to handle an AR-15, a magazine with 1000 rounds, a Howitzer with ear plugs, and even fly an SR-71, obliterating small islands off the coast of Arkansas.  Yeah...I love explosions just like a lot of people that Glenn Beck likes.

But I also believe in safety, limited access to weaponry for people who shouldn't have it, a strong, powerful, and accountable police force, and the robust opportunity to have discussions of new and old ideas without the name-calling that is so prevalent with the red/blue dichotomy.

Glenn Beck wouldn't get my position on abortion.

I hate abortion.  I would never get one - an impossibility, being that I am a man.  My wife would never get one, even if a pregnancy destroys her life goals and plans.  But those are our choices.  They aren't everyone else's.  I want abortion available for those that need or desire it.  I want it available for my daughters if they ever get raped or make a bad decision.  My wife disagrees with me in some areas of my abortion belief set, but hell, we're still married and love each other.  We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Glenn Beck wouldn't understand my position on birth control and pre-marital sex.

My children will have sex before they are married.  I don't know this, but I expect it.  I am a parent who actually hopes they do.  Other parents may not hope for the same but may hope that their children abstain from sexual activity until they sign some state government document.  The problem is that those parents' kids will have sex before they are married.  Their parents just won't know about it.  They may not, but if they do, the kids will know, without a shadow of a doubt, they must sneak it.

They will not be fervently taught about safe sex and pregnancy prevention.  No, they will be taught about abstinence and the spiritual evils of sexual activity - a normal, animalistic pleasure that all humans have the capacity and opportunity to enjoy.  But when they become intimately passionate with their partner, they will not have birth control, pregnancy prevention, and safety, foremost on their minds.  Rather, they will be most worried about getting caught, hiding the fact that they are no longer a virgin, and skirting consequences after the act.  All three are unhealthy.

Children need to feel safe asking their parents for birth control.  Abortion would be a non-issue, in my opinion, if young lads and lasses had access to safe sex, along with those that they loved standing behind them (figuratively), encouraging them to be safe and smart in all their decisions.

That concept is pretty complex and I didn't do it justice, but the simple fact that I will encourage my kids to have sex - and maybe not even consider marriage EVER - would be enough to invite the scorn and dismissal of Glenn Beck and his followers.  After all, I'm supposed to follow their Mississippi and Alabama style morality - two states with the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation.

There are many other areas of life that Glenn Beck wouldn't understand about me because I wouldn't fit into his black and white (and no, I don't mean skin color) mold.  I look to government for some things for me and others and the rest of the world for everything else - but mostly me for everything.  I realize that this adds up to two "everythings" but that just shows the reality that I can try and do everything on my own, but sometimes, just sometimes, I may need a helping hand.

And, Glenn Beck, don't fool yourself.  Churches aren't what you think they are.  They are worthless in the scheme of things.  The government (we, the people) does FAR more than churches ever have for my life.

And that is all the ramblings I have for today.

Monday, April 15, 2013


The front door swung open on its own, aided by the brisk wind outside.  The owners were away.  Despite the escaping warmth, two playing squirrels took one look and ran on by.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I walk into a room and smell a faint scent.  A quiet strong scent, though not overpowering.  Across the room sits a beautiful woman, smiling at me, her sad eyes catch mine and hold their gaze.  I am drawn to her side, her smile causing a warmth to well up inside my chest.

As I kneel down to kiss her hand, the faint smell surrounds me on the cool air of the room.  My lips meet her hand and my senses are filled with the fragrance I met when I entered.

The subtlety of the perfume creeps up on me and overwhelms me with its soft clutches.  My lips are frozen in time, numbed to the faint beat of her heart, through the wrist, her life pulsating beneath the skin where the fragrance lies.

I slowly lift my eyes to meet her gaze as I breathe deeply.  Expecting a warm breeze of fragrance, I instead am met with a wintry breath, the scent entering my nose and cooling the fine hairs at the edge.

I break my kiss and stand.  My hands tingle with anticipation, begging to be lifted to my face, welcoming the new redolence with pregnant awe.  I smile and bow slightly, lifting my right hand to the brim of my hat.


I turn and walk from the room, my hand still clutching my hat, the breeze from my gait wafting back toward my face.  I smile as I drink in the memory of her beauty, the eyes that never left mine, the choice of perfume that perfectly defined who she was - the mystery, the woman, the rare jewel...


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rick Warren's Son, Matthew, Commits Suicide

..and I cry for Rick and his family.

During my post-fundamentalist Christianity and subsequent post-Christian life, I have been outspoken about Rick Warren's beliefs and message.  Actually, due to my fundamentalism, I was even against Rick while still a devout inerrant Bible believing believer.

All of that is meaningless.  Stupid life disagreements that have no place in this world when a son is lost to a father.

I have six children.  Most days, I love them dearly.  Losing one of them, especially to suicide, would devastate me to no end.  Every day, after my son's death, I would question every second I spent (or didn't spend) with my son.  I would go over every word I ever spoke (or didn't speak) to him.  I would remember every after-school program, every sporting event, every conference, every concert, every ballgame, every lunch date I missed and twist them into a list of indictable offenses of the worst kind.

I would weep.  And after the tears were gone, I would question everything of who I am as a father.

I ache for Rick Warren today.  Today, he and I are simply fathers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm still alive!

Just busy.  And un-motivated to write.