Before 2014 gets underway…(a 2013 recap of sorts)

As 2013 comes to an end in a matter of hours, I’d like to recall my year…

It has been productive on many levels, the first being another good year in a job that I really love. I have always enjoyed working with others and helping out where I can, and I can honestly say that as much as this job is the most stressful, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.
I had the privilege to represent my work in a state-wide conference pertaining to a health group that my agency and others run.

I also went on vacation this year! And not just a few days vacation, but 3 weeks off all at the same time! πŸ™‚ I had some personal anxiety, I kind of felt like Sam Gamgee when he got to the point where he traveled the farthest from where he grew up.
I laid off the caffeine during these times as it only added to my anxiety, and when I collected my thoughts and feelings, as well as my camping equipment, I was on my way to Tennessee.
Tennessee was wonderful, but more to the point, the people I met were wonderful. (A shout out to Jimmy, my host my first night in Memphis.) It was also fun to spend time with some of my church peeps who relocated to Nashville, to take it easy and not rush life.

While I didn’t travel even further into TN because I wasn’t prepared for the weather (so much for this former Boy Scout BEing Prepared, eh?) so even though I came back sooner than I would’ve liked…I still had 1o days of vacation on my hands, and they were well spent.

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There’s also the nature that I finally moved out of the parents house. Good fortune came my way in finding out about an opening in the townhouse my then coworker lives at. The price was right and I have been there and I enjoy my distance from my parents. I can’t say that at this point that it’s making our relationships with one another better, but I will say this, as much shit as my parents have given me they really can’t give it to me anymore; proximity works wonders, especially in unhealthy relationships.

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While there have been issues surrounding 2013, some big and some small, I still think I come up way ahead. I’m looking forward to another year of living and whatever it entails I hope I’m ready for it to the best of my abilities. I have some goals and aspirations for 2014 (not so much resolutions, but in the same vein) for my life, and they’ll be incorporated in community and with family and friends.

So long 2013, see ya soon 2014! πŸ™‚

~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. πŸ™‚

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 manyΒ 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! πŸ™‚

P.S.Β  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