Line-Skipping Hurts, Not Helps

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So Lori Loughlin, and a few others, are currently making headlines for trying to work around that which should be earned.  We all know that there are countless injustices when jumping lines (such as potentially robbing a student who earnestly studied hard and deserves a place in that university) but I’d like to focus on just a couple.  Certainly there are exceptions to the rule but one of the many sad tragedies of “helping” the college journey – or in my opinion disrespecting a crucial young adult experience – whether governmental (affirmative action) or parental, is that when students do not get into higher education institutions based on their own individual merits they are simply set up for future failure.

 

When an employer seeks a new hire they often look at one’s grades earned while in college.  If the grades of the graduate, because the university’s standards are above the student’s ability level, are lower than their classmates (who got in on their own merits) they most certainly will not get that job and that job would go to their classmates.  And, if by chance, grades are not looked at and one is hired from their degree the graduates sub-par productivity will eventually show ultimately leading to their dismissal (unless they are kept in that position to fill another governmental quota but that’s another topic for another discussion).

 

Not to mention when you allow people to skip ahead of the line.you are robbing these individuals of so much including their self-pride. Allow me to share a favorite story of mine;

 

There was a little boy who loved caterpillars. One day he found one, took him home and made a home for him.  He watched this caterpillar every day making sure he had plenty of food & water.

One day the caterpillar started creating a cocoon…here he would go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly. This was so exciting, the little boy couldn’t wait to see the butterfly!

One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out. The little boy was so excited! But then he noticed the butterfly was struggling so hard to get out and it looked like the butterfly wasn’t going to be able to break free!  The little boy was so worried for the butterfly that he decided he had to help. He quickly got a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

But the butterfly had a swollen body and small shriveled wings. The little boy sat and watched the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, get bigger and expand to support the swollen body. 

But it never happened! 

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

 It never was able to fly…

He then learned that the butterfly was supposed to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions actually hurt the butterfly.

 

I was born and raised in a family far below poverty guidelines. I grew up on some sketchy and scary parts of town. When I eventually made the decision to attend college there were no parents or government programs that mowed the grass before me. I had to mow the grass myself.  Through my growing pains, I had to navigate everything from entrance exams to paying for my education.  I worked two and three jobs while in school to pay for my associate’s degree. Those same jobs eventually paid for my bachelor’s degree and then my master’s degree.

 

There is no authentic achievement without self-discipline. I am proud of my self-discipline.  I am proud of my hard work, my diligence, my persistence and perseverance, my dedication, my creativity, my knowledge gained from formal education and now my work ethic as I have experienced first-hand that nothing is free and anything handed to me comes with all lessons and esteem lost.  So most importantly, I am profoundly proud of myself for doing it completely on my own.

 

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Are You A Vicious Voter

Like many of you, I am an American who votes.  I am not a one-issue voter nor am I married to any party.  I look closely at each candidate and their positions on each issue before making an informed decision.

I am very saddened to see so many heated arguments and relationships sour due to politics.  Whatever happened to respectful dialogue – even if we disagree?!?

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Just Dance…

No politics, religion or opinions with this post.  Just wanted to evoke a chuckle.

Was on a road trip with the family (pre daughter) when Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” came on.  Our niece pulled out her phone and began recording.

 -> Click Here <-

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The Value of Doing Things God’s Way

Recently I was interviewed by Brian Peyton Joyner (Click Here To Listen) on bridging the gap between non-believers in the gay community and those that embrace a more literalistic interpretation of the word and do not hear God’s loving voice of inclusion.

At one point in our chat, I mentioned going out clubbing at the age of fourteen.  Just to clarify I had my cousins I.D. who, at that time, was nineteen and one could enter clubs to dance at 18. Enjoy the podcast and please feel free to leave your thoughts. (Click Here To Listen)

One last point.  After listening to the podcast, there are some things I would have responded to slightly different. One thing I would change for certain is, when asked about my confidence, I wish I would have responded with something along the lines of, “at a young age I realized that Jesus is steadfast in His word and never changes.  How He sees His children is uncompromising and unwavering. It is us who decide whether to deviate or step off His path or even question His love, devotion or investment.  Jesus is the same today, tomorrow and forever.  If we align who we are in Christ we have nothing else but to be confident.”  Click Here To Listen

 

 

 

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Governor’s Executive Order

The Governor of New York, Governor Cuomo, recently issued an executive order which encourages businesses to work exclusively with businesses that have inclusive policies.

I was contacted and asked to make a statement regarding his executive order and within the hour (while our demanding toddler pulled at me non-stop) sent her the following;

As a person of faith, I prefer praying for our President rather than spreading discontent whether personally or on social media.  Having said that it is no secret this current administration is not friendly to the gay community. From immediately removing all inclusive pages on the White House website to his complete silence during Pride month (and the list goes on) our leader has, unfortunately, given a silent ok to opening the doors for a gaycist America.  After all, when our community and all of our contributions are not heard of, learned about or mentioned we become simply invisible.

Progress around basic civil rights can only be accomplished when everyone fights injustice.  It took civil-minded allies to help with those voting, riding the bus, and recently marrying.   We cannot and should not get complacent when our friends, neighbors and family members are treated differently.  I am pleased to hear of the Governer’s executive order as it sends a loud and clear message that NY has not, does not, and will not be silent when many are treated as second-class citizens.

I hope and pray this order has a ripple effect encouraging every state to do the same.  When reciting the pledge in school I don’t recall ending “with liberty and justice for some.”  Rather we all ended with “with liberty and justice for all.” As much as I am saddened that our president has ignored our wonderful community I am pleased with our governor’s passion for all to live and be treated equally including our community, the invisible minority.  

Ultimately, only a few sentences made the air but overall I am pleased with the short piece Short News Clip

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Coffee & Prayer

One never knows what a little coffee and prayer can do!

Click anywhere on this sentence 🙂

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Sought a hero, found me

Growing up, my mother would periodically remind me of the time our postman asked what I wanted to be as an adult.  The average four-year-old may not have a clue, however, I was confident in what and who I wanted to be and responded, “Wonder Woman!”  My mother would continue the story with how I actually did believe I was, in fact, Wonder Woman when one day she overheard my older brother getting bullied by an older neighbor and I shouted, “Oh yeah?!” and began spinning to transform into her to protect him.

Although I never became wonder woman, I did learn that to survive in my ultra-Pentecostal family I would need superhero powers.  My family was church-going, demon-delivering, tongue-speaking, miracle-believing fundamental born-again Christians.  Certainly nothing wrong with my family, or their beliefs – with one exception; you cannot be a church-going, demon-delivering, tongue-speaking, miracle-believing fundamental born-again Christian if you are gay, and I was.

Because I have four uncles that are pastors, church was not just an hour or two event on Sundays, rather a life event all day, every day.  I accepted Jesus as my savior around the age of nine.  I started speaking in tongues around twelve.  I had many revelations around this time including coming to terms with the fact that I was gay.  Gay topics were rarely if ever, discussed in our family but when they were gays were depicted as drug-using perverts waiting in foul dark alleys for vulnerable young boys to walk by so they can be preyed upon.  Gays were possessed by Satan, hated God, and died suffering slowly from diseases He created to punish them.

I certainly did not want to be any part of that culture so I turned to, and put my trust in, my uncles for “deliverance.”  They were going to rebuke and rid my soul of all the evil demons and set me free from being gay.  One by one, visit by visit, they each laid hands on me, casting out demons that were destroying my destiny.  Some were demanding demons of darkness and destruction leave me, others screamed and shook me to scare the evil spirits back to hell.  Eventually, I was told by all four that I was no longer gay, and to have faith and obey God.

Because attractions and thoughts were an everyday part of my life, I felt that I deeply disappointed my heavenly Father and the shame from it manifested in drug use, addiction, and worthlessness.  I was told that God loved me but not what I “chose to do.”  Wanting to please my Heavenly Father desperately (as well as my family), I decided to get serious about knowing who I was in Christ.  I did everything in my power to change.  I prayed, fasted, constantly rebuked thoughts and attractions, and read every piece of information on “reparative therapy” I could get my hands on.  I even started writing a book in the hope that I would eventually use it as a guide to help others stop being gay.

With my kitchen table filled with Bibles and concordances, I researched and cross-referenced every presumed anti-gay Bible verse like never before.  However, while doing research on my book, inaccuracies began to emerge.  The five or six presumed anti-gay verses or stories in the Bible were not at all how and what I was told they were.  God began revealing that what I was told was misinformation (though well-intended) passed on from generations, and my self-identity because of this was a tightly multi-layered ball of lies.  God promised that together we would peel those toxic layers away and reveal the man He created.  On my journey, He would constantly remind me that He knew precisely who He was meticulously forming in utero (Jeremiah 1:5) and that He did not make junk or mistakes.

These days, I am contently married with two children.  I have learned that God never leaves nor forsakes us; only we can choose to stay away from Him.  Would I have chosen to stay away for as long as I did have it not been for the way I was raised?  I cannot say with certainty, either way, however, I can say with certainty that I would not be sharing my story in this book had it turned out any other way.  Yes, God has a plan for ALL of His children.

In retrospect I appreciate, what many times, I thought were my tombstones as I now have come to understand they were all merely stepping-stones.  I am a Christian, father, spouse, soldier, teacher, and newly published author.  I am soon to celebrate fifteen years of love and laughter with the most wonderful God-loving man.  Everything

 

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