24/30 – Thailand through his lens

Thailand through his lens

I have never met Chris of Christao408 dot com but for a year I’ve been seeing some of his adventures, some of the food he’s eaten and his slice of Thailand through his lens via his website.

Thailand is one of those countries I want to visit; the cultures, the food, the architecture and the people. My good friend of 18 years parents-in-law have a ministry working within the red light district and with the women who are leaving prostitution, but my liking of Thailand goes back to when I was younger and I would read National Geographic voraciously, not only the new ones that came in every month but the older ones I would buy pretty much bulk at garage sales.

Chris’ perspectives are very much a-day-in-the-life and I like that, and with it being a blog primarily about his life in Thailand I get a bit of a grasp of a culture that is unfamiliar to me, it broadens my worldview. The world is quite a large place but in the age of the internet it can seem so small and at times personable because of the words and photos of others that gives me an idea what life is like from where they’re from, and I definitely appreciate that.

Until I get to traveling to new and different places I’m going to have to enjoy the world through other people’s words and photos, and when I do I will be sure to return the favor to others.

~Nathanael~

Recap of the I’m Sorry Campaign/Gay Pride Parade in Chicago 2012

This was the first year I commuted primarily by “L” to the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. Blue Line Oak Park to Jackson, to Red Line Addison. It was very obviously very crowded, but there was a sense of bonhomie in the air for different reasons, and my reason was to join up with The Marin Foundation and their I’m Sorry Campaign for a third year.

It was my intention this year to be the eyes, heart, and ears of Jesus; eyes to watch people to see their reaction that an I’m Sorry t-shirt has and draw them into conversation about what we’re sorry about, a heart of love to those around us and whomever I was in contact with, and ears to hear people share their stories with me. I would have to say this approach was personally successful, thanks be to God. 🙂

Due to a route change/extension the parade went the other way and we were half a block from the IHOP in Boystown, but the many I’m Sorry shirts made it noticeable where we were going to be. I said my hi’s and met some new people, I asked them from their perspective why they were sorry and for some it was because of once being homophobic to a point where the individual was worried that being Gay was transmittable, for another it was engaging the LGBT Community in a tangible and dynamic way of love, for another his journey was very similar to mine; years of struggling to figure out a personal stance as to if being a follower of Christ is compatible with being LGBT…
I liked that conversation, because the struggle to get away from “well my mom says/my father says/my pastor says” blanket statements is a worthy one, and I recognize in my life that if a person struggles through this and still thinks the same way at the end of the struggle, I’m more accepting of someone who does the legwork to come up with their own thoughts & ideas on this topic.

Then there was P* and D*; two guys, two moments of expressing I’m sorry for the way Christians have treated the LGBT community, two moments where they got what we were about, two good times and God times. I don’t want to give away their story simply because this moment was ours and ours alone.
I will say that it is a breath of fresh air in these God moments where there’s restoration and reconciliation, where perfect shalom seems closer and closer to coming to fruition. Itwill happen, and I want to do my part to be a part of it!

I had work in the evening so I left earlier, but in a way it was a blessing in disguise particularly with standstill foot traffic. People noticed the shirt and thought at first I was saying I’m Sorry for the pushing to move forward as it was very much the bottle neck at times, but I allowed those inquires to be addressed, to say I’m sorry for the way some Christians have treated the LGBT community by telling them that God doesn’t love them when in fact he does! It was received well, and I thank God for those moments when I couldn’t move forward because of the crowds.

All in all it was a good Pride Parade in Chicago yesterday. I wish I could have stayed there longer but I had responsibilities and I was blessed to have five hours off. The work of Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation and for those who associate with them isn’t a well worn path, it has been traversed by a few but there’s still work to be done. I take the matters of building bridges seriously, intentionally and incarnationally, that is to say I want to be in the same setting where my ministry is.
Jesus exemplified incarnational ministry best, he was with the people, he lived with them, he ate with them, he went through good times and bad times with them. If I call myself a follower of Christ I feel obligated out of love and discipleship to “go and do likewise”. The Gay Pride Parade comes only once a year, but there are still ways for me to engage and build bridges, and you know what? I’m going to do that! 🙂

P.S.  brought my camera, but alas I didn’t take any photos 😦 Oh well, here are some from our event through the lens of others;

I wasn’t angry or pissed, just rather hot…pay no attention to me, I’m better behind the camera lens than in front of it!

Be blessed and continue to bless others,
Nathanael

2 things I’m contemplating prior to the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago

There are some individuals who say that you should compartmentalize and keep the sacred from the secular and vice versa. Yet the way I look at it, all truth is God’s truth and there doesn’t need to be a split up of the so-called sacred and secular.

As I prep for the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago I’m contemplating two things, one’s a well known prayer and one’s a cover song by Todd Rungren’s band Utopia called Love is theAnswer.

Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer:

Utopia/Todd Rundgren – Love is the Answer

I’m excited for a third year to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community (not that there’s no overlap but there needs to be more) at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. God spoke to me prior to the event 3 years ago and I listened and I acted, and so I prepare to leave my house to answer the call once again.

It must be done, building bridges, because this is an issue the church cannot sweep under the carpet and hope nobody notices…well I notice it and the way we act the LGBT community knows it as well. These things take time, but I have faith in God and my generation that we will take care of the matter to truly take the steps of restoration and reconciliation between the Christian community and the LGBT community. Yet since it is in it’s early stages those individuals who go forward now, such as Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation, are pioneers; they’re blazing a trail that hasn’t been traversed and they’re going on faith and trusting in God because the outcome hasn’t been determined yet…but God will see them and I to completion, I have faith in him to do that 🙂

John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

~Nathanael~

Breaking away from being a leader…and being okay with the outcomes

Breaking away from being a leader…and being okay with the outcomes

At this year’s Gay Pride Parade in Chicago I have predetermined not to act as “leader” of the group of individuals who usually go with me to this event, I handed the reins over to my former pastor’s son who has been with me from the start, a guy several years younger than me but that’s okay with me.

I not the official “leader” for my group of friends who attend the Gay Pride Parade, but I do invite people, I share my story, I give them the details as I know best and I keep them in the loop of things as I learn them. I did this the first time I went to the Gay Pride Parade 2 years ago as well as last year, but in all honesty I thought I would be in Southern California by now and so that’s why I shifted gears and passed off the leadership position (for what it’s worth) to someone else. Now that I am still local, I haven’t gone back to leading up this group and I am perfectly okay with it, but it takes time for me to be “okay with it” as I like to see things out to completion, including roles of leadership and essentially those that follow the leader.
I have to some degree always taken on the role of the leader, either by default or because I was assigned to the task, which for the most part I never have had a problem with that and for the most part people haven’t had a problem with me being a leader because I think I’m fair, I delegate responsibilities to others well & I’m a good active listener.

I don’t know how it’s going down with my friend taking over as a leader, I do sense that maybe I should have been a better mentor in helping him lead, but I’m not sweating the details at all, what happens will happen, and I think that might be an important quality of being a leader – letting the chips fall where they may and not getting up in arms over it.

Because there will be occasions in my life where I won’t be in charge or I will delegate responsibilities and I will be leading but from a position where people are running the show and I’m leading in other ways. I can’t always be the “go-to guy”, if I’m not able to be reached I have to make alternative people be the ones who can be reached and that’s a little nerve-wracking for me but distance can be a healthy thing and if I’m a husband and a father, I need to make time for them and not give them the leftovers of my energy at the end of the day.

~Nathanael~

23/30 – What’s the deal with Stiletto heels?

 

What’s the deal with Stiletto heels?

When I was younger someone explained to me that women wore Stiletto heels to add some movement to their butt which would then in turn attract guys to looking at their butts and so on and so forth.

I can’t really say I watch a woman’s butt when she wears a pair of Stiletto heels, but all the while I can’t but wonder; do women wear Stiletto heels for themselves or for others? They strike me as rather uncomfortable to wear in the first place, but to walk and perhaps at a brisk pace? If suffering for fashion can be defined, Stiletto heels is thy name, busting an ankle or worse seems like a possibility.

If I date someone who decides to wear these shoes, I might gently tell her that she doesn’t need to do that (if it’s for me that she wears them) because as interesting and “hot” as some people might perceive them, it’s not worth wearing a cast due to some fiasco caused by wearing those kind of shoes. If she wants to wear a nice pair of shoes, go with an open pair of sandals or something like that, I’m not a shoe kinda guy but I certainly don’t want someone’s external beauty to be exemplified by a pair of shoes especially at the risk of them making her look like an ass.

Wear shoes for yourselves ladies, don’t wear them for guys, because it might not be worth it especially if it is a pair of Stiletto heels.

~Nathanael~