Sex! Or, how to get any* reader’s attention

Hey there reader!

Have I got you snagged by the most used hook out there yet? Well heads up, things are about to get heavy.

I have for sometime now been toying with writing more about sex/sexuality, and finally I have taken the edge off myself and this topic (thanks Jack Daniels! JK LOL maybe) I will be writing about it very soon. I have a few ideas what I want to talk about, but let’s face it, sex sells and snowballs…so I will have plenty to talk about all in due time.

So stay tuned, if you want to, nobody is forcing you to stay here (and I am not a nobody for the record).

Oooh look! Awkward Virgins kissing for the first time!

awkwardvirginskissing-o

(I will be writing about purity, sexuality, and Christianity soon enough. It is a part of my story, and perhaps maybe even yours)

~Nathanael~

P.S. Any* is in reference to individuals such as Janeane Garofalo who identify as being asexual; the lack of much or any sexual drive for anyone.

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Hope renewed for my alma mater (part 1)

In (what I thought) was a publication put out by my alma mater Judson University I put together a bit of a statement about my defining moment at Judson. I proceeded to write the following:

My defining moment at Judson started in the first semester I attended; I befriended and got to know several Gay and Lesbian Christians. Up to that point I thought that the two weren’t compatible, that being a part of the Christian community was mutually exclusive from the LGBT Community. I was wrong, dead wrong. It was in my learning through life with these fine men & women that God started working on my heart and mind on the issue, to where it is no longer an issue for me; I accept, I affirm, and I love the LGBT Community.

It came to a culmination while I was praying on my drive to Judson one day. God pointed out that love requires proximity, and that I was to go to the Chicago Pride Parade to demonstrate that love, so I did. I had my ideas of what I was going to do, but by providence I found out about The Marin Foundation, in which some friends and I met up and accompanied them for the first ever “I’m Sorry Campaign”; a time to confess & own up individually as well as collectively for the damage that has done by the Christian Community against the LGBT Community. I have been attending and inviting family and friends for the last 4 years to partake in this wonderful event. God is already present in Boys Town; I go because I am called to be a part of restoration & reconciliation.

Since the Chicago Pride Parade is only once a year, I do what I can to be involved in my local chapter of PFLAG; to build bridges with the Gay and Lesbians who attend that group, both during the meeting and apart from it.

God freed me from my homophobic bonds, and it all started at Judson

Since the Chicago Pride Parade is only once a year, I do what I can to be involved in my local chapter of PFLAG; to build bridges with the Gay and Lesbians who attend that group, both during the meeting and apart from it.

God freed me from my homophobic bonds, and it all started at Judson.

It received some likes and I received some feedback, but since everything pings back to the commenter or writing on Facebook, I was slightly surprised when it dropped off…turns out my post on the alumni page was removed and I was booted from the group!

My friend Justin noticed both things and brought it to everyone’s attention, and since alumni can reinstate members he added me. It was shortly after my reinstatement the Director of Alumni Relations made a public apology for her actions per some flack she received from some alumni who was wondering if Judson was revising it’s views on the LGBT Community and related. Because she wanted to “avoid division, unclarity and hurt feelings” she booted me from the group and deleted my post.

It was shortly thereafter that statement that a revision of the page was put out, that the views of the alumnus don’t necessarily reflect the views of the school. I reposted my defining moment…and then it took off like wildfire going uphill! A lot of alumni started talking, started actual dialoguing with one another, stories were shared with me and my fellow alumnus openly and some privately! A dream came true to be honest!

I also put forward the why I put my story out there:

All I ever wanted was to share part of my story & create room for dialogue. Yes this issue may be an uncomfortable subject to some, but it needs to be addressed because it isn’t going away.

The current appearance of the church collectively appears to be a place of judgmental homophobic heteronormative individuals, but guess what? That’s the church, not God. God is bigger than that!

God has the first word, but also the last, something to consider during this time that my generation will resolve this issue. It takes a generation to resolve it, but future ones to sustain it.

So come one and all to dialogue and discuss this with me and others. Come, I promise not to bite. be a part of much needed change, come and be, come and listen, come and love.

That statement led to even more dialogue albeit with some debate, some battening down of hatches, some defensive and choice words…but dialogue is still happening, at this point it’s at 220 comments!

My hope is greatly renewed at what this could mean. It wasn’t that long ago when I was a student that I tried to start up a Gay-Straight Alliance on campus. It was shut down, and from what I was told the board members who shut it down were upset that their meeting lasted longer than they wanted it to. Then there were those who represented the student body who were afraid that students would turn gay or lesbian simply by being a part of the group, or that it would become a group where students would hookup…all sorts of lack of knowing nonsense.

Yet maybe, just maybe, this dialogue will help to aid in allies winning the war where I once lost the battle. Maybe, just maybe, this discussion will break down the walls of bigotry and heteronormative mind-think that at times is prevalent at my alma mater.

*to be continued*

~Nathanael~

Building bridges with Muslims

An event popped up on my Facebook feed last night:

“Learn Islam” Classes for New Muslims and Others
These classes are designed for new Muslims and others who want to learn the basics of Islam.
When: Saturdays, 9:45AM – 1:00PM
Where: Fischer Middle School Room 107 (during Al Falah Academy classes)
1305 Long Grove Dr.
Aurora, IL 60504
(this is an ongoing series, so if you’re interested you should come)

I fall in the Others category, but as a lover of learning and a believer that all truth is God’s truth, I went. It was very rewarding to go because I to alter Thomas Aquinas’ quote of “beware the man of one book” I go by “beware the man of only one set of friends”.

I have always been a fan of diversity, and when it comes to people who are diverse, I love them and what they bring to the table. I have a limited knowledge of Islam based on what I have learned and my few Muslim friends who have graciously let me into their lives, their stories.

The reason why I have entitled this post as “building bridges with Muslims” is because there’s a symbiotic relationship in the development; sure I could easily be the one building a bridge to, but this is life, to build bridges there needs to be people on both ends willing to venture out into the sometimes unknown. Unknown isn’t a word that offers up much hope, it is unnerving and it is radical, but my hope isn’t tied up in the unknown. My hope is tied up into something…someone bigger than all my fears, concerns, and ultimately the unknown.

Before I write out a tangent about bridges I am building, have built with others I will say this; if I let fears, concerns, the unknown grasp me and strangle me I would not be the person who I am today. Hope keeps me afloat when I am drowning in my own thoughts. God sustains me and my hope even in times when I am utterly and dreadfully hopeless.

Back to the entry at hand… I was encouraged by today’s get together, because it was a classroom setting of both men and women, taught by both men and women. There was a lot of discussion, interaction, dialogue, and listening. Sure it took some interesting twists and turns, but I can handle that, I in fact like that at times. πŸ™‚ The men whom I talked to were very kind and answered my questions. I did ask them about their stories, where they came from and where they are now today, both from an Islamic standpoint but also their life stories. I won’t disclose them, but one thing I will say is this pertaining to stories and people; people have stories, and people want to be heard, it is healthy and a good thing to get there with people from all walks of life.

This is a weekly get together and I intend to go back next Saturday. I like the group already because they too want to build bridges, they too want to dialogue about commonalities instead of differences. There is no us versus them, there is only we. It is my desire to build that bridge with Muslims as a follower of Isa, there won’t be any converting on my part, only listening and dialoguing and ultimately loving.

β€œFriendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” – C.S. Lewis

~Nathanael~

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Settling in nicely, a new reality

I don’t remember the exacting wording on this following statement, but here goes my paraphrase:

“Until someone realizes the other/better reality on their own, they will continue to live in their current (and possibly worse) reality”

It was something along the lines of this that I learned in one of my courses for work, and it stuck with me as to why I still lived at home with my parents. Still, but still no more. I have adjusted my life, a 180* in a lot of ways, and have gotten to the point where enough was enough so I moved out…but still.

Still that I waited to this point of financial and job security where I realized internally I can do this, that what I do matters and I am good at what I do.
Still that I didn’t wake from my mental fog, my stupor, my paralysis of what if scenarios that now seem so far in the past.
Still…still.

I could easily get caught up in the “still’s” in life, but I won’t because it is not healthy. I have done away with my old reality and I am coming into my own and I am settling in nicely. πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~

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Moving day/change is coming, change is happening

Today is My moving day.

Moving out of the family house and into apartment with a coworker and another guy. now some people in my life might say about damn time, truth be told I am one of those people. it is said people won’t trade their present set of circumstances until they find a better one, but getting to that point takes time. I cannot say its been a comfortable 29 years, but it’s time for me to move forward.

change is a part of life, change is one of the most consistent things in our life; life is full of change, both big things and small things, either we can embrace change or run away from it but still change will happen one way or another. I don’t know why I let it carry on for so long. a part of me wants to say that it was learned helplessness, but that could be a cop out answer and I’m moving on and forward so it’s not entirely true after all albeit there could be some truth to it.

yet I think of the factor that is hope; hope sustains me and keeps me going even when I don’t feel like going on. It has kept me afloat in this ever tossing wave called life. my hope ultimately is in God, in whom all things live and move and have their being. I truly thank God that this day has arrived, I am grateful for moments like this where I have absolute clarity and common sense to act on what I should. I am a man of action and few but precise words, and today I start heeding my own advice.

so let me get back to what I need to do, it’s moving day and these items won’t pack themselves πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~

Christ is risen glorious resurrection

Little known fact about me; I greet each morning with the Greek Orthodox Easter phrase “kali anastasi christos anesti” glorious resurrection, Christ is risen.

It is not Easter every morning, but I live in light of the resurrection. Christ’s death is important, but that’s not where the story ends. in His resurrection all things can become new. Slowly but surely, just as the sun rises, perfect Shalom is on the horizon.

I live because he lives, not in fear of what has happened or what will happen. love will rule the day because he lives. love casts out fear, so I will live a life of love and let God’s love flow out of me to all people of all walks of life.

Christ’s love is not for Christians only, and it needs to be lived out and not just talked about. the sooner that happens, we as a group will lose the label of being bigoted, homophobic, and judgmental. Love Wins, but we have to let it win in our lives and the lives of others.

~Nathanael~