Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. We Stand Defiant and United. A Word Press Production.

The Journey

Tell us a Haunted Tale … Plinky Prompt !!!

I’m bored … and dinner is not ready yet. And the movie wasn’t showing today.

Hubby woke me up this morning with his announcement that he checked the theatre website and our film was not on till tomorrow. So we rescheduled and added a third person to join us on the adventure. So that will be good.

I thought about inviting a friend along with us tomorrow, so I cleared it with my sponsor and made the call. My friend is going through treatment for prostate cancer and I’ve been keeping a close eye on him, calling him and just being kind.

I think it is easy to be complacent – but much more important to be kind.

Well, what do we have here ??? It’s been a long time since I have written a Plinky Prompt. The website is a collection of writing prompts that wordpress encourages us to use to get the “creative juices” flowing.

I don’t think I’ve told this story, so here it is.

This story takes place a long time ago in my timeline. I was a teen-ager living with my parents. Whether or not you believe in the here after is not a question, but this happened to us.

My uncle Paul, lived in Connecticut. He was old and died when I was young. One day my uncle John, was blacktopping the driveway and a Bluejay flew out of a tree and landed right where he was standing.

Birds are birds right, they don’t usually fly up to people for no good reason.

This was just after Paul died.

And where ever my uncle John went in the yard or even in the house, the bird would fly to whatever window was closest and peck on the glass. This pecking went on for weeks and weeks. And at one point uncle John went outside and called to the bird to stop pecking.

The bird stopped pecking …

My grandfather died while I was still living at home. He was suffering from a stroke, alcoholism and fading age.

A couple of days past his funeral, I was in my bedroom doing whatever. And there was a huge tree, well, there were several. A 50 foot oak, a smaller flowering tree and a grapefruit bush.

On that particular day a red headed woodpecker appeared at my window and began to peck. This bird followed me up to the bus stop at the end of the street, it would be there when I got off the bus and it followed me all over the house, pecking on the windows. The pecking went on for weeks and weeks.

It got so aggravating that we would walk out and say to the air, “get out of here Al!” which was my grandfathers name. And the bird would stop pecking. But it did that for a long time.

Weeks and weeks went by and two pecking bird stories were shared by two families 1500 miles apart.

At some point, Al was ready to move on … and he did eventually leave us.

But a couple of weeks later my uncle called from Connecticut saying that Paul was still hanging around the house, and then he added that a woodpecker appeared with the bluejay at their house, 1500 miles away.

They both pecked for a while then they took off. Neither bird was ever seen again.

My grandmother (on my dad’s side) lived a while longer than my grandfather. She had a massive stroke and was disabled when she died. I was living with Gloria not far from my childhood home.

I went to the funeral and it was a very sad time for me because grammy was my whole world. I missed her terribly.

I had brought a couple of flower arrangements back to the house and kept them in my bedroom. I just had a feeling …

It wasn’t long after that that she appeared to me. Grammy would always silently stand at the foot of my bed and watch me. The first time she came she scared the shit out of me, I was like, “don’t do that …”

Her apparition stayed with me for a couple months.

Time would pass, I would move three times, I was in my 26th year of life and I was living in a small apartment not far from the bar I worked at when I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994.

It was a one bedroom flat with a living room, kitchen seating area, a walk in closet and a small bedroom. I would sleep at night in my room, with the door shut at night.

Things started happening in the apartment. Pictures on the wall would move, magazines on the tables would move and drop to the floor. I could not explain this, but I was sure I wasn’t alone.

I was seeing a Tarot Card reader at a shop just up the block from home. He was a gifted man whom I trusted for advice. I mentioned the “happenings” to him in passing and he offered to come and see what he could find.

So one afternoon he came over and walked into the apartment and sat down. Almost immediately, he had a face, hair color and the answer to my question.

He saw an older woman with red hair and a kind face. When i was a child, grammy had fire red hair, I have pictures of her from that time period.

He said that she was hanging around watching me and that she asked him to tell me not to sleep with the door shut because for some reason, she couldn’t get through the door. I knew it was her.

Never did I sleep with the door closed again. And she stopped moving things around. She stayed with me for a long while, when I got sick. I needed her strength.

Some years later, my memere died. (my mother’s mother). Again, my world was shaken by her death. My mother did not want me to go to the funeral because of my gayness and my HIV positive state of being, and she made that perfectly clear to me. I had stashed enough cash aside to afford a ticket to fly to Connecticut, but I decided against it.

For weeks after her death, memere visited me. I saw her in my sleep. I had fits of writing compulsively in her hand, with her words. I knew it was her and I progressively wrote these letters to my mother – from her, and the things she wanted me to tell her.

I am sure my mother still has these letters, and that she probably thinks I was crazy, but I will never know anyways.

That’s three for three.

My parents returned with mementos from the funeral. Statues,  photographs, paintings from both my grammy and memere. They sat in my personal shrine and they went with me on the slip that almost killed me.

I lost everything that I owned on that slip. Including my mementos.

Fast Forward to Montreal. I met my great aunt Georgette at the Grey Nun’s Convent just up the street from my apartment. I visited often for meals and Eucharistic Celebrations. And she shared stories with me of Memere from when she was a child.

My great Aunt Georgette’s family in the 1920’s during the Spanish Flu epidemic  that killed millions of people had claimed the lives of Memere’s parents, and they took her in and raised her as their own.

I learned all this history from her over the 2 years that she lived, she was well into her 80’s. At one point, I got a call from the convent that she was in hospital and that it was terminal.

The doctors said that they would operate to take out the cancer, so we waited and hours into the operation they came out and told me that it was a no go, that there was way too much cancer and that nothing could be done to save her.

The convent came together and the sisters came to visit her. They were all she had and I was as close to the next of kin as you could get. Her brothers and sisters lived in Atlantic Canada and would eventually come for the funeral service.

When it all got too painful for her, they took her up to the ICU at the Montreal General Hospital and there were machines galore, bells, whistles and flashing lights. She did not like this at all. It scared her. When they tried to place an oxygen mask on her face she went crazy.

Then they decided that the only other choice was Morphine …

They turned off the machines and the lights, and strung her up with an IV line dripping morphine. I sat by her bed through the night I was reading the Bhagavad Gita.

The surgeon who worked on her came by in the middle of the night, prior to our last conversation, to check on her, shouting loudly, as if she was trying to communicate with a dead person.

At 3 a.m. she stirred and grabbed my hand and asked me to find her a priest. I did not know who to call, so I asked her ICU nurse. It was late in the night and she wasn’t sure she could locate one.

I stood over her bed and listened to her tell me that the devil was trying to take her and that she needed a priest and prayers. So I put my book down and began to pray over her and with her. We said the Lords Prayer and she faded off into lala land.

Her eyes had rolled into her head. And she was gone.

The next morning came and the shift nurse came on and the sister’s came for morning watch. I kissed her cheek and said that I would be back shortly. I was going to walk down the hill to home, take a nap and go back.

Around 11 am that morning I was laying in my bed and I felt her move through me and past me. Shortly afterwards the phone rang and the nurse told me that she had passed. I did not return to see he at the hospital, but opted to greet her when we buried her at the Mother House.

I have her picture on my sacred shrine in my bedroom. Along with the items I received from the nuns. A rosary, my relic that she carried close to her heart. And a Marian statue.

Whatever memory remains, must be written down so as not to forget it. They are all I have today. The women who meant the most to me are long since gone. But people are never far away if we remember them on a daily basis.


I don’t have to LIE any more …

Courtesy: Tylerbear

This is the second time I try to post this because it did not auto save.

It was an adventurous day. Not to begin with mind you, it was actually a regular kind of Friday. I was up and ready to go by the time grasshopper came to get me for the trip to the church.

Set up was uneventful. I think we need to have someone look at the fuse box in the hall because every time we plug two urns into that one socket, it trips the switch on the power bar, which means that it is taking too much juice on one line. Both urns were perking until it tripped the switch. And I had to restart the urns halfway into a perk to get them finished and by the time the meeting was getting ready to start the coffee was warm at best. So something need to get checked on this week.

Our speaker came from (I think) the West Island.

It doesn’t matter how we came to addiction, whether we were introduced to it at home, or whether we come to it by friends and peers. For our man, it was the latter that brought him to addiction.

A little too young to become a “Woodstock” child. The Hippie movement came to Montreal soon after. And with it came the drugs that were part and parcel of the Woodstock experience. So it was on a playground that our man had his first taste of LSD. ( you know the conversation… You do it, no you do it, I can’t do it, and then finally, I will do it … ) just to fit in. Because it was all about fitting in.

The cycle of addiction moved from the gateway drug into full fledged alcoholism. And then what follows are the lies, the deceit, the cheating and scheming. Our boy had become a man and gathered unto himself all those things that make us men. A house, a wife, kids, a car and a pool. For us on the outside, it was all looking good. But one thing led to another and things began to go south for our man.

When does a boy become a Man ???

Sooner or later, by hook and by crook, our man made it to the rooms. That would have been in the late 1980’s. It happened to pass that our man got sober and did what he was told, all the while, things at home were getting worse. And what man would want to admit that things were falling apart at home. That is the greatest black mark for men across all ages. That we keep home, marriage, jobs and kids in tact… but that did not happen for our man, that kept him in sober bondage.

We are only as sick as our secrets.

They say that in order to get sober, we must shine the brightest of lights on those areas that we dare not show to the light of day. That the secrets we keep only keep us stuck in our sickness. Our man stayed stopped – but his secrets kept him from really getting sober. Because after 16 years of sobriety, our man fell victim to sobriety loosing its priority.

He drank over his secret.

The one thing that stood in the way of freedom and peace. He came back to the rooms, although sheepishly. It took a few weeks of hiding in the shadows because like any crazy alcoholic, “what people think about me matters more than anything else.”

We couldn’t fess up to the truth. It was better to lie and keep the sickness from getting better. That is a fear we can all attest to. Is it always better to lie or to tell the truth?

It took an old timer to get up there to say, “If you are coming back and you are sick in your soul, the come up here and take this chip.” That was the key.

Now, I don’t have to LIE any more …

Today our man is sober some almost seven years come June 2012. One day at a time and one secret at a time. It was a good story. I hope I recreated this post to the best of my memory. There are take away points from the story:

  • We are only as sick as our secrets
  • What people think of us is NONE of our business
  • We are powerless over people, places and things
  • The truth shall set us free
  • Only the brightest light shone on the darkness will allow true sobriety to flourish

It was a good story. And our man is free today.

Grasshopper and I started for home. And as we got on the exit we came upon a car stopped on the ramp, in the dark. Grasshopper stopped and the car was on empty and needed gas. So we went on an adventure to find an open gas station. And after making two full circuits to try to get back to the spot we started on the highway failed, we dropped our guy off at the mouth of the exit to walk back to the car against traffic. Because to get back onto the highway to get to that exact spot would have been too far to travel in circles.

So now it is after midnight. I’ve spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to recreate this post because the machine farted and the post did not auto save.

Oh well, hopefully I hit all the salient points.


I Thirst … The Year that was 2011 …

“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.

Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.

Mother Teresa writes:

Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…

*** *** *** ***
This will be my 2,582nd post…

We begin this tale of the last 365 days at nearly the end, because that is where I think we need to begin. I re-read my end of year 2010 report to try and get a sense of what I need to write about this year. So many things have happened this year and I haven’t written out an outline, I will then free write …

First, we need music. Barbra Streisand … A Piece of Sky …

The winter 2010-2011 school season was a success. I did very well in my courses and finished at the top of my game. Not much happened over the summer so I took off those months. There wasn’t much in classes that I really wanted to take. I went to an inordinate amount of meetings over the summer.

This past Fall, I pursued my education at CeGep this year with as much zeal as I could muster. After two semesters of French, I decided that I would no longer pander to the language police here in Quebec. I would rather eat glass then study French another day in my life. So I gave it up on the first day of the third semester. I sat in the chair and the prof started in and I sat until the break and then I left. Never to return. I had had enough of that …

That night I decided to study Western Civilization instead. So the Fall Semester I studied Sociology, following in my husbands footsteps. Added to that was Western Civilization. Both courses I did fantastically well. I had great teachers and a little help from my friends in the form of free textbooks and occasional coaching from the side. That’s what you get when you go to meetings. People truly want to see you succeed and if they can, play a part in that success. So thanks to Eric and Hubby for their help.

Last year I spoke of Hubby’s doing well in University. And today I can say with a proud heart that he has more than exceeded all of our expectations. He not only was a student in the Graduate Studies program for Sociology, he taught a section of tutorials this past semester. Something he worried about – but to me, looking at it from the outside, it was effortless. He just is the most fascinating man I know. He did it all like a Master…

On the medical front, I lived another year. All my numbers have been above the 1000 mark. My good run has been extended this past year. My doctor never varies from his talk to me whenever I see him. He says the same thing like a litany that never changes. Loose weight, stop eating junk food and exercise. The theme never varies. However I can report that I did lose some weight over the last year. I changed up my diet – hubby is a very health conscious cook.

My diabetes numbers have been nominal to the degree that the last time I saw my doc for that it was for five minutes. He has dispensed with the whole triage, dietician and extensive medical history and check up for a brief looking at the number on my meter – signing off on refills and sending me on my way.

The other night at a Christmas dinner at a friends, I met a man who is diabetic and we talked about our respective situations. I seem to be doing so well and he has all but given up he says “you only get one life, so might as well live it” and not in the good way either. You see this happen with certain people who can’t be bothered to take care of themselves correctly and follow medical advice, and at that I shake my head, I keep my council and I let it go. He takes pills to control his diabetes, but he doesn’t test daily, nor does he do what he is told. Which is a shame, because in the end it may kill him one day and that would be a loss.

The same goes for people with HIV. I get them newly diagnosed and I talk them into a life plan and we find them the next step to survival. Most of the men I have worked with in the last calendar year have dispensed with my advising. It is not something they wanted to continue, so I must let them go. If they live or die is entirely up to them.

Another of my fellows on the HIV train was dumped after a long term relationship by the man who fell out of love with him and over a steak dinner divulged that he did not love him anymore. This sent my friend into a tailspin that almost killed him. I warned him not to use or drink. But what did he do? He went out in a blaze of glory.

Where everyone was pissing and moaning about lost love, I was the only one to warn him of the consequences of a major slip in recovery after being sober for so many years. My counsel fell on deaf ears and he used heavy narcotics in a haze that almost killed him. And with that I took my leave of him. He ended our friendship over this.

One of my guys got sick, ended up in the hospital and had a near death experience. That experience sent him out the door into a drunken drug filled stupor for a few months only to end up in rehab, and in a haze of forgetfulness calls me one night begging my help once again. I can proudly say that today that man is sober and clean. He has a few months sobriety and is actively working his steps with me in a 12 step intensive. One of the only success stories I can talk about on the HIV front.

Another year in the books as year 44 came around this past summer. I am soon heading for fifty. Can you believe it??? Me at 50. Who knew. But we are not there yet. One day at a time … I read the book Aging with HIV, and in the book I am at the near beginning of the scale, not so old as the men in the book, but I am getting there slowly. In reading the book, I learned what concerned men going into their 50’s. Most of the issues I read about, I have already dealt with in my sobriety.

This past year has been one of disappointments in people. As I stated above the theme is recurring several times over. When people show you who they are the first time believe them…

A long time friend who I had been counseling, listening to and confiding in for the last ten years trying to be her friend just pissed me the fuck off. After 23 years of sobriety, she admitted after the fact that she was drinking and lying to me all the time, prior to her return to Montreal this past fall. I am beginning to learn just who is my friend and who paid me in lip service over the past year.

Suffice to say that I held my tongue quite well when she picked up a desire chip after 23 years at my home group. I sat on my feelings and stuffed them until they almost choked me. And one night words were spoken. Words I can never take back. It all came out one word after another …

I am not ashamed that I caved. I mean what are we unfeeling cyborgs? Can’t I feel an emotion and put it out there? Well, that was another ending. I said my piece and she felt victimized and reported me to her sponsor as a bad man. I ended that friendship in a blaze of glory. She went back to Florida. If she is sober is up to her and God.

I am beginning to find my voice as a man who knows himself. I have spent the better part of the year taking care of me and learning all those lessons that Oprah had to offer in terms of Life Class. And I put to practice all those things that she says will help us become who we are meant to become.

Being true to ones self. Knowing and being responsible for the energy we give out and what energy we bring to ourselves. When people show us who they are the first time, believe them. Things like this …

Every day of my life is book-ended with meetings. That formula for success is what I attribute my successes. I have this year crossed a huge mile marker which I will touch on a bit later. If I have a night free, you can usually find me at a meeting somewhere. Tuesday Beginners has been a part of my life for more than ten years now. And it served me well.

Over the summer, my sponsor and my friend Dave, who is a proud daddy today used to travel to different meeting on Friday night. From the South shore to the West End to NDG. We did this for weeks on end until I had enough of traveling from here to there. I wanted to invest in somewhere certain. You can’t invest in a meeting and their people if you are not a weekly attendee. So I decided to go to Friday West End by myself.

I set a goal for myself and that goal was to go and wait for God to tell me what to do. I went, week after week until the voice gave me direction. And I knew it one night when after the meeting I felt the urge that this is where the next chapter of my sobriety was to open. So I joined the group a few months ago. I needed three months of service to become a proper member, and so I did that gladly.

I would go and set up chairs and make coffee. I sat in the same chair week in and week out. People began to notice me, not because of what I was doing, but because of my presence in the same spot week after week. People started talking to me, I learned their names, and made some friends. An old timer and his wife from Dorval. I have spoken about them before.

The next chapter of my sobriety was opening up. I did my time and got into the rotation as a full member. And then everything changed. And it was the greatest gift I have ever been given in sobriety. Firstly there was the night we were in the church for the meeting – it was the first time I was responsible for setting up and doing all the grunt work because most of the group was out of town that night, and the hall was being used the next day for a church bazaar so we were in the church proper and that night we all had a spiritual experience. It was the most beautiful night on my life, listening to a young lady play the piano. It was angel speak. The night was a HUGE success. And it did not go unnoticed.

The fall came and went. I am still doing service every week. Now I am the designated coffee maker. That along with minor set up skills I am an upstanding member of Friday West End.

Weeks before my 10th sober anniversary, I had been in a really deep conscious contact with my God. My prayer life I stepped up. I was reading holy texts and I came across Mother Teresa once again. A book I had once dismissed, I picked up again, just by happenstance. And I was convicted … The story of how she began the Missionaries of Charity with “I Thirst …” I knew that was going to become the marker for my anniversary.

On certain big anniversaries, I was taught in early sobriety, you make an offering to God for your sobriety. I did it on my first anniversary with a piercing. And now at ten, I needed to do something big. I made a few calls and visited a few tattoo parlors in the core and settled on Adrenaline. I talked it over with hubby and he gave me the green light to get the tattoo I wanted. I prayed about it for a week. And on the Friday prior to my anniversary, I got that tattoo. It was all the rage at Friday West End. Since I Face booked it everyone wanted to see it, and so it went. I was really proud of myself.

And also as it came to pass that I was approaching my 1oth sober anniversary, is when God stepped in and gifted me. The Friday before my anniversary, the chair asked me to speak, ON my anniversary. On that same night our matriarch asked me if I would take my cake on that next Friday night. (Now I was prepared to wait until the 13th at TB’s to take my cake) But she had other plans for me.

She asked me if I had my 2 year silver oval medallion. Yes, it was in my wallet. I gave it to her and she took it and sent it off to the jewelers to be Gold Plated and engraved with whatever I wanted on it … “I Thirst…” is on that medallion now.

I talked to my sponsor about sharing. And he said as long as I keep my ego in check, all should be well. That Friday came to pass. I got up there and knocked it out of the park. I don’t remember all of what I said. But whatever I did say made a difference in my life and the lives of the members of the group and others as well who came to hear me speak. It was the most exciting night of my life in recent years. Then I got my cake and my GOLD medallion. It was the most exciting moment in my sobriety so far.

The people of Friday West End gave me a gift that I could never repay. They gave me a memory that I can take to my grave as being had. And I am forever grateful to them for that. We are a great happy bunch of drunks that do good things every Friday night for every person who walks in our doors.

We had our anniversary the following week and we had over a hundred and some odd people. We had food galore and fun, fun, fun. I even got to thank that speaker because the chair thinks I am so eloquent in thanking capabilities. I don’t know if it went over as good as I wanted because of the man I was thanking. Some stories are tougher than others to thank because of content and experience. And he was rough trade… But I did my best.

On the 13th of December I took a second chip and celebrated with Cake at my original home group. To show to newcomer that it can be done. Many old friends came to help me celebrate. We had lots of cake and conversation. So I have a ten year medallion to keep forever, and one to share with someone coming along to their tenth… December has been one very exciting month.

The holidays have come and are nearly gone. The weeks are just flying past, as if to say, let’s get this year over already !!! Christmas was a big BLUR on the radar screen. And it is Tuesday late night once again as I write this. I was so busy over the holidays that I forget that the day came. Our home Christmas was sandwiched in between cooking for home, setting up for an evening meeting and attending a second Christmas dinner all on the same night.

And with great effort the world is going to welcome in the New Year in the way they know how to do… With lots of liquor and celebrations. I talked to a friend on Tumblr earlier and I said that all those young people won’t know what hit them after imbibing copious amounts of liquor and smoking the best weed out there. What a waste … But what can you do???

We will take in the New Year as we always do. With our Crystal Goblets and a little non-alcoholic bubbly. We will watch the ball fall and kiss on the moment and then we will go to bed and listen to Coast to Coast AM and the yearly predictions show for 2012. This year proves to be exciting, with Armageddon knocking on our doors on December 21st 2012.

PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR. TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE SOMEWHERE SAFE BECAUSE IT IS ALL SUPPOSED TO END. WE CAN ALL KISS OUR RESPECTIVE ASSES GOODBYE BECAUSE THEY TELL US THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END.

At Least the Mayan’s have given the preacher world something to go on about for the last year. And needless to say it will only get worse as the date draws nearer. So we will see who the forgiven/saved are and who is going to suffer damnation, hellfire and sorrow.

And that is how we will close out the year that was 2011.

What did you do this year that is noteworthy? Share those thoughts with us.

I really want to thank all the people who have subscribed to this blog, and to all my readers out there. From all over the world. Especially, Bear Toast, Rod, Vincent and the rest of you. Thank you for a great year. It has been a joy writing for you – and you have helped me polish my voice so to speak.

I am in touch, so you be in touch.

I love your faces.

WC:  3,173 Post 2,582


Life with God, a Faith Journey

Micah 6:8

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

In writing about the past in my last entry “diagnosis” I wrote a reflection on a book that I had finished reading, but if you were not looking for it specifically, you might have missed one crucial aspect of survival in my writing of that entry and including the text that I had read, that crucial missing element is God.

When you read some of the early AIDS writers there is one alarmingly missing part of the puzzle. Nobody speaks the name of God, nobody invokes the power of God, and nobody is going to church to pray. This is a specific aspect of my story that I did not forget to write about – but as I read my spiritual text “Life with God” as I lie in bed, I am remiss to let this go without addressing it here.

There is no doubt that the Christian Right has much to answer for for its treatment of the sick when it comes to people with AIDS, be they children, men or women. And there is no doubt that the “Church” with a Capitol “C” plays their own role of hatred as well. And we must also cite the evangelical preachers across the board for their fire and brimstone direct condemnation of people with AIDS as being “Punished by God, for their acts of sinful behavior.” And then there is the family unit of those who were sick who unleashed their very own brand of religious condemnation when it came to denying their own children when it came to AIDS and death. I would be remiss if I did not mention these specifically by name because you are all guilty as charged.

I never had issues with my faith when I got sick. Even when the world turned their backs on so many, when it came down to the nuts and bolts of survival, I truly believe within a shadow of a doubt that a Power Greater than myself was taking care of me. And I know that because when I got sick, I got sober at the same time, having daily contact with a power greater than myself in that precise time in my life paid out dividends. I prayed, my friends prayed, my community prayed. We all prayed.

Never once in much of Paul Monette’s writing does he mention church or prayer, although Paul and some of his contemporaries were involved with Ma Jaya in Los Angeles and in Florida. She was the leader of a community of people who did great things for people with AIDS, and she did for me as well. I would be remiss if I did not mention her here because I spent time on her ashram in Florida on several occasions after my diagnosis. She was very big on tv when on a particular late night show she would be seen speaking to a pair of parents who abandoned their son when he got sick and eventually died of AIDS and Ma was seen shaking a vial of ashes in front of them saying “how could you do that to your son?” That was what got me to seek her out and to know her because I too had been abadoned by my family.

Faith and Faith in God was a huge part of my life, my story, my recovery, and my survival. I must have done something right after all these years, to still be talking about this subject some fifteen years after the fact and I am still alive. Someone up there loves me enough to plead to God on my behalf. None of this goes unnoticed. I just thought it was important to talk about that part of my survival, because you just cannot survive on drugs alone. Because you can stuff yourself full of medication, but unless there is some conscious or unconscious action behind them, those pills are useless. If one does not put some power of grace behind the act of taking a pill, why take the pill to begin with?

There is a definite correlation between what the brain tells the body, the body eventually follows. So if you are sick and you bombard yourself with thoughts of death all the time, death is what you are going to get. And for some, death was the only conclusion to life and illness. There are just some things that happen that cannot be countered. Everyone is going to die at one time or another, and I know that God sees each and every one of us who suffers and he works to end that suffering, and sometimes, the end to suffering is death. No matter how much one prays or believes, if illness overcomes you, and for many it does, death is a foregone conclusion. But I lived…

When I moved to Miami in 1995, I returned to my roots of Holy Mother Church. I sought out the fathers of the cloth. I returned to the church of my upbringing, yes I was gay, I was sick and I was waiting to die. God had other plans for me. And I firmly believe that. I also firmly believe that Nuestra Senora Caridad del Cobre prayed for my soul, I firmly believe that Jesus walked with me, and that Mary prayed with me, and that God saw that I wanted to live because I was activly living my faith in the direst of situations. Death was imminent. I was supposed to die. At least that’s what the medical establishment told me, either they got it wrong, or God had other plans.

In moving to the Mercy Hospital Immunodeficiency clinic, that was a very Catholic institution. Because we lived in a very “Latin i.e. Cuban” religious and secular system of care. Many, if not all the women who worked in this circle were good church going, God fearing Catholic Women, who all had God’s ear. Not to mention the men and other doctors they served under they were quite the team of spiritually prepared warriors for God’s poor, downtrodden, and sick.

There was a faith component to our care. There was no denying it, there was no avoiding it, there was no disrespect, there was no question. Even the sick went to church, and when the sick could not get to church, they were visited by the Church. Now you couple sobriety and a power greater then myself, which I choose to call God, to this day, with prayer and sacramental living, you have one powerful energy machine for healthy living. And I know on those days when I found it difficult to speak, others were praying for me day and night.

Hell hath no fury like a group of faithful Cuban prayer people. We recited the rosary daily in any language you chose. We went to mass daily, and we received the sacraments. We were visited by holy men and women, we were even treated to spiritual retreats by holy men and women on the grounds of the Church of Our Lady of Charity, Caridad del Cobre. God saw us come, he heard us pray. And for many, they lived.

The one important thing I have to say for myself is that I lived.

I remember when I went to my church of my upbringing and I told the priests that I was sick and that they doctors has said that i was going to die, I remember holy men weeping, and telling me confidently that ONE, you will come to church, TWO, you will pray, THREE, you will see the face of God. They believed for me when I could not believe for myself.

I often tell the story of Father Jeff, a priest I met one Sunday who had MS, and he walked with crutches in and around and out of the church. He had no use of his legs, but he did have the use of his faith. And that day i watched him say mass that one Sunday, i knew I would never complain about being sick ever again. I would never become as jaded and cold to faith as many did before me. Many of my friends went to their graves cursing God because of what they had witnessed themselves in human beings who became animals, they, those cursed Christians who had not one word to offer the sick, but their vitriol of condemnation.

Still to this day, on this very blog, I get the odd Cursed Christian who thinks that I listen to their hatred and self righteousness. That I would even consider sharing their cursed comments with this readership. how wrong is that!!!

For many years, on Sunday nights, I would rush home to watch Touched By an Angel, and I have to say that I believe to this day that there are angels that walk the earth and that I am not alone, and neither are you. It would come to pass that this little show that could could be attributed to my good health. Because I believed and I prayed and I listened to a few angels who said, God loves you.

I guess that the spark of God never left me, even as a child, when my grandmother Memere presented me to God, that day in that church when I was just a boy, had a lasting affect on my life, even to this very day. Now, you want to talk about blind faith, mention to God the names Camille and Sister Georgette. They are both long since dead, Sisiter Georgette died two years ago August here in Montreal, Memere died a few years after I was diagnosed. They are two women I know have God’s ear.

I wanted to share this bit of text with you from “Life with God” pg 134, Foster writes:

“Life with God is an ongoing, ever changing, relational adventure. It is not a matter of being driven through life, stopping every now and then to get out of the car and see the surroundings. God invites us to climb into the landscape of our journey, to breathe deeply with full lungs, to feel blood pulsing through muscles doing what they were made to do, to experience the wonder of having a body with which to see and hear and smell and taste and touch of this astonishing world.”

We have the opportunity to incorporate the Streams of Living Water into our daily lives when we stop to ponder these sic paths together:

  • The Contemplative tradition, or “The Prayer filled life”
  • The Holiness tradition, or “The Virtuous life”
  • The Charismatic tradition, or “The Spirit-empowered life”
  • The Social Justice tradition, or “The Compassionate life”
  • The Evangelical tradition, or “The Word-Centered life,” and
  • The Incarnational tradition, or “The Sacramental Life”

I have discussed these six traditions with you last term when I studied Christian Spirituality, each of these traditions have their own entries on this blog, if you are so adventurous to go seek them out. Suffice to say that there is no life, without faith. And there is no faith without life. There are no words to speak to God in gratitude for all that He has given us, fortunate are we to share some time together here, in order that I might share my faith journey with you.

One of the things that mystifies my doctors today is my reliance on faith, when doctors who run by the book and by the numbers who are faced with patients that believe in God and have stock in faith, that seems to throw my doctor off the deep end. You can’t convince a scientist or doctor that faith plays a big role in the longevity of the sick. They say, what ever works, and for me what ever works.

May God bless you,

may his light shine upon you
and may the Spirit of God rest upon your heads and hearts.


Into the Wild…

A while ago, this movie was made and played in the theatre. It also made Oprah. Tonight we watched this film for the first time on DVD. It was a painful movie to watch and it was also glorious. What would it be like if we sold everything we owned, got rid of all our money and set off for places unknown, far far away.

I don’t think any of us escapes the curse of our parents. I have always said, “be careful the lies you tell your children because one day they will come back to haunt you.” The story, as told by the sister, I guess was this young man’s way of exorcising the demons of his parents and of his life. But it was amazing to see the ground that he covered in his travels, the people he had come to meet and the lessons he learned along the way.

If you haven’t seen this film, I say rent it today…


Emotions …

918.jpg

There is a bank of Fog hanging over the city at 2:31 in the a.m. a good place to start writing for this entry, the tunes are loaded and Seal is singing…

My friends will tell you that I am a pretty emotional man, that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I will probably give you the shirt off my back if you needed it. I have learned many things in forty years of life. I work very hard at maintaining friendships and that the people I hold close to me are a chosen few. I don’t usually allow outsiders into my circle without you first proving that you can step up to the challenge of loyalty and trust.

In as many years of life, I have banked a few twenty four hours in recovery to tell you that emotional sobriety is as important, if not more important that physical sobriety. Because if you are not emotionally sober, you can’t stay physically sober. And the maintenance of that sobriety is important for me. I can’t flip on my emotional switch and just turn it off like some can. Because, I am just a feeling kind of guy.

I work very hard at helping my sons grow into upstanding, right young men. I also work very hard at helping my husband evolve in his own special way, because he requires that special attention, being emotionally challenged. I protect him fiercely and I love him dearly because I learned how to take care of him from nothing at all, when doctors told us that he was sick and required massive medications to keep him sailing on the big ocean of life. I became the one life preserver that he could always rely on, twenty four hours a day and seven days a week.

At forty, I am acutely aware that time is fleeting, “tempis fugit” time flies, and if you don’t pay attention to time, and it escapes you without notice then, you have missed part of life. I don’t offer my counsel very often, but when I do, you should at least stop and read what I have to say, because somewhere there, is buried a piece of wisdom I am sure you might want to have in your toolbox.

If I could turn back the hands of time, I would take it, if only for a day, an hour, if I could choose what period of time I wanted to return to. But you cannot go backwards, only forwards. I also know that at my age, that I can not return to ages past without a pay out of emotion or physicality.

Being HIV positive for so many years has afforded me many lessons. I am a trusting person and I usually offer you the benefit of the doubt on the first go, if I deem you necessary to be near me. We are all teachers and we are all students, so I don’t usually dismiss people from my circle unless you seriously piss me off or insult me as a man, a writer or a human being. Because if you do that to me, then I know that you were not meant to stay in my circle to begin with. I feel deeply and I mourn hard, and I love in ways mere mortal men and women would never see, having seen the horror or benefits that I have in forty years of living.

Some people call me crazy, that I have a program of recovery that I am the odd man out, when it comes to gay issues, culture or relationships. I beg to differ. All lessons afforded men and women are universal. We all need to learn basic principles. And we all need to know how to live with each other and with ourselves. If we do not master our emotions and our feelings, we will be walking talking time bombs willing to spout off when we are triggered. Sobriety teaches me that I am responsible for my words, my actions and my deeds. That if I share some piece of wisdom with you, I must speak from experience and tell you where I have been and be able to provide you a road map of why I am speaking these particular words to any of you at any given moment of the day or night.

I practice responsible writing: Therefore, If I give you advice or wisdom, it has to be right, good and comes from the place in my heart where meaning and care reside. I’m not going to give bad advice, because if i do, and you fuck up after hearing something that I say, then I am responsible for that. I try, each day to be a good writer, and a good person.

I read blogs every day. There are about NINETY reads on my list, that I read daily. It is safe to say that I have spent the better part of a year now, reading your respective blogs on my sidebar over there —>!!! And I probably know you better than you know yourselves, because I read daily, and watch you come and go, and write and feel. I watch you battle with HIV, Depression, life and I read some blogs where I clearly know that you are people you know battle the wicked addiction, but who am I to call you a drunk? I stay away from sick people, because I get to wrapped up in your drama and that is bad for me. So I stay away.

As of late there are some reads where I know for a fact that some men are clearly in crisis for one reason or another. And so I offer counsel from a wise position. I have a fellow journeyman who is in a crisis and I offered this advice, I thought that it was useful to the rest of you as well so here it is:

You’re having problems, and I can see that. I wonder if you are going through what I am going through? I just turned 40, and I am anxious, preoccupied, but not enough to start dosing with medication. (On top of my hiv/depression meds) But it seems over the last month my biological clock is ticking and I want to jump out of my skin.

The one difference is – I don’t drink…

I don’t use either, I can’t as a test patient for the clinic.

Are you dousing more than usual, and to excess? Honestly, I can read…


I know what it is like to be the life of the party and the next day walking away from it, and I faced the problem that I just cannot go on doing this to myself, because I am killing myself slowly for sure, and I’ve faced my death many times over in the last 15 years. You might have good friends, but are they willing to see that something is not right, and want to help you find the cause and maybe stop.

Are we getting old and insecure to the point that we are feeling anxious and nervous? Because we have lived so long that at some point our subconscious starts waiting for the other shoe to drop? That at some point we might up and die? I don’t know what you are thinking or how your brain works, so I offer you what is going on in my head at times.

In order to get a handle on everything we have to look at everything, alcohol has this effect on the brain the more you douse it with the drink. With your family history of depression, the odds are stacked against you, and I have those issues too. But I have a program of recovery to help keep me sane and on track. I work very hard at taking care of me as a test patient the odds are always against me should i fail a regimen that I am testing. You want to talk about performance anxiety!! It takes a lot of work to look beautiful at 40, I am not the spry pretty chicken I was at 26 when this all started.

Ask yourself if you are missing something, if you need a change, or is it time to do something different. Hell, we both live with this disease, at some point we might get to the point of “What about me?” Maybe you need to change something that may be insignificant, or maybe quite possibly significant.

What are you doing that you should not, and what are you not doing that you should?

We cannot change the past, and though you need to know that the past only affects your present if you allow it to. Family medical history and timeline need to be taken into consideration when treating HIV as we are older and we start facing those issues our parents did.

If you are feeling not quite yourself, then a review of self and conscience should come next and listen to someone who can look from the outside who might see something that you might not want to or are ready to.

I’ve been reading you for over a year now, and I give a shit, that you live …

And I worry for you that you might get so scared enough (or paralyzed enough) to throw in the towel, and that would be a shame.

At some point we take an inventory and are ready to face everything we need to with courage knowing that we are not alone. I read, and I care enough to tell you what I have observed over the last year. From an outsider’s point of view.

Stop and listen to your heart and hear what it is saying to you, before you go crazy.

Ecclesiastes tell us that there is a time and a season for everything on earth. Here is that reading:Ecclesiastes 3:1-22…

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

I thought in my heart,
“God will bring to judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time for every deed.”

I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?”

We should be mindful of all these things and remember that we are all on this path of life and we each share a stake in the endpoint of enlightenment. Because we all want to get there, with the least amount of pain or harm. With this said, there is a time to say, I have grown and I need to grow, but in order to grow I might have to make some changes, unless I want to hasten any myriad of circumstances to befall me. We are no longer children, we are all men. Some of us are much younger than me, a few of my reads, and you have not yet begun to live. So I offer you cautionary tale of what to avoid on your journey, that which will harm you, or cause you pain.

I can tell you about the road as I have lived it, and I offer this advice to anyone who wants to sit a listen to an old man ramble on his tales of loss and most importantly of TRIUMPH.

I welcome every reader who comes here, and I caution you, if you engage me, be prepared to be expected to be responsible and mindful that I am as fragile as the next person you read. We all have feelings and hopes and dreams. We all have expectations, and as a sober person, I know the detrimental harm that an expectation can wreak havoc on my life. If you come here and stir the pot and you give me reason to trust you and to listen to you beware that I have invested in what you brought to me.

Like I said above, I cannot turn my feelings off like throwing a circuit breaker. Once I start warming up and my heart engages, I am going to come to full steam before I know it, and full investiture is usually a forgone conclusion. If you start the pump don’t walk away and leave me foundering for another word, don’t fill me with hope then not follow through. Do not ask me to engage or reengage without knowing that a forty year old HIV positive man’s heart lies at the end of a very tight rope.

I did not pick my readers, you chose to come here and read, and that was your choice. So I will tell you that tonight, once again, my heart weeps because I am dealing with the hope of expectation, and once again, those who engaged me have fallen silent for some reason, although traffic to two certain posts is still running at this hour, so someone is reading them, I know that at this hour. If I pull down the entries, I would be running the risk that someone who needs to read those entries will not be able to. So they stay up.

Needless to say, if a resolution does not come – I must move on with my life, and wish you well because I cannot emotionally afford to be reengaged like an old motorcar, who has been sitting is a dusty garage for the last seventeen years. I have evolved enough today to know that I cannot go back, but only forwards. I wish you understood the mind of a sober person and I can’t explain it any further.

I am a hormonal emotional mess as of late and my biological clock is ticking and we are going into a full moon, and I am on the upswing, so any emotional output that come out of me today, is going to be fully high octane loaded, and to be let down in this very crucial and delicate state can wreak serious injury to me emotionally and mentally. But in the depth of my heart I want to know you, to be part of you, to love you and be your friend. You know who you are, yet you stay an arms length away. Why? I am not going to hurt you, maybe I can help you if you will give me half a chance.

Fare warning. The fog has lifted on the city and I can see clearly out the windows once again. A snow storm is brewing on the horizon and it should be an eventful white end to our week here in Montreal. Come walk with me and be my friend, please don’t keep me in the dark any longer because I cannot stand the pain. At some point if this pain is not stopped, then I must brokenheartedly walk away and not return. Please tell me that this emotion that I am feeling is not wasted on a ghost. I don’t think I can take the heartbreak of it all.

You may not gather the depth that many of those posts in pages have cost me emotionally to write, and if they have drawn you here and you rub me in that way, by engaging from that atmosphere, know that you are rubbing parts of me that will illicit immediate response. Living my life came with pain, tribulation and heartache. We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it, so I don’t. Everything that I have written is true and comes from my heart. Do not play with my heart, because I wear it on my sleeve and if you break my heart, you will never be forgiven… Fare thee warned well…

Please for the love of god, do not ask me to talk, then leave me in the cold. Silence is the greatest torture another person can punish a soul with. Silence also gives consent. So I am speaking my words to you from the depth of my heart. My Master, many years ago taught me a very important lesson about expectations, and SILENCE. Do not ask me to endure your silence one more day, because I just cannot bear the pain of knowing you are out there, and you decide to shut down and give me the silent treatment. If you are a man you will answer my heed, and pay attention to my call.

If today you have a chance – please talk to me. The silence is killing me. And I cannot bear that pain much longer, it will cost me too much to carry this feeling much further. You may not know how deep you have cut into my soul by your invitation to dance. I want to dance, yet you stand in the darkness, just beyond my vision and my grasp. You tantalize me and you tempt me, you beckoned me and I was willing to entertain you, please respond to my call, do not let this day end without some word …

It is time for me to rest. My day is ended, and I am all written out…

Goodnight Danny, the ball is in your court. Play the next volley, for the love of God.


Jerome – Transcendence …

Jerome lives on a world of universal creation. The wisdom of ages past serves him well. In his time, the need to label and separate people had come to an end eons ago.

Coming from a world of such division, he questions the way that humanity sees itself and the world that exists around them. His progenitors did not learn the lesson of the law of return. Nor did they learn from their mistakes.

In the intervening centuries, the world would suffer because of men’s and women’s decisions and by their own actions. A world divided is a world separated from itself. There is no wisdom in separation when we all come from the same origin.

Humanity has the ability to transcend its own boundaries if it allowed itself to see the wealth that different humans brings to the discussion of mosaic and melting pot.

The necessity to differentiate, as wisdom speaks is pointless. It requires much too much energy and takes away from the total person who is said to be different.

Where difference was once something to be used against men and women would eventually turn to the respect of personal assets that each person brings to their existence, community and world. Wisdom sees that the labeling and differentiation of population and of peoples was not the right path to walk.

It is not enough to be a resident of a location, but what is most important is that one have a connection to their living planet or biosphere. For if we are not intimately connected to the living process of our biosphere, that biosphere may suffer for lack of attention and care.

Wisdom speaks on the differentiation of religion. What day will come in the near to come time, when realizations are made that the creator of all things speaks and asks for an accounting of piety and observance. Did you keep the path clear, did you help and respect your neighbor, did you care for each other and your biosphere?

Wisdom speaks that many may perish within the division they create for themselves. All will be judged based on their actions towards each other and to their biosphere.

Wisdom of the ages speaks to the affect that until we decide to live together in community, caring for each other and learning the greatest lesson of bio-congruence, we shall all suffer, until we find the common link that connects us instead of standing on issues and differentiations that separate us.

The great lesson that wisdom sees is that we must work towards transcendence, we can be more than we had ever hoped and the biosphere does not need to suffer so. Men and women must work to maintain the world they live on because the children of later ages will be forced into interstellar travel to find locations suitable for humanoid civilizations.

The teachers of interstellar and inter-dimensional lessons have been attempting to make contact with humanoid civilizations and they have not been met with glad tidings. But they carry lessons that humanoid civilizations must learn in order to see themselves through to the next emanations.

It would be utter arrogance to believe that a single biosphere is all that lives in the universe. The creator has spent eons of time in creating worlds to be found, to be traveled to and colonized by whatever civilization figures out how to travel amongst the stars.

But in order to attain such knowledge from interstellar and inter-dimensional peoples, humanity must stop doing what it is doing today on many fronts. Humanity must rise above its kill and conquer attitude, and until generations are cleansed of the kill and conquer attributes, transcendence will remain illusive.

Traveling between worlds Jerome finds that successive generations benefit from the mosaic of peoples that populate his biosphere. There is no longer a need to identify province or language, difference or sameness.

All are united under one path, that is of transcendent life.

Everyone lives to sustain the other. The focus is on life instead of death. Future humanoid civilizations flourish when they have realized that killing generations of people for purely monetary gain goes against all that the creator – created us for. It speaks against and acts against all that is sacred at the universal level.

The dimensional worlds speak to all, when they say that the tribulation is at hand and has begun, the biosphere is purifying its land and proofing its inhabitants. Those that see the wisdom in the suffering will transcend the mundane and human. They will rise above the smoke and fire and from the ashes of destruction new lives must rise.

The creator sees the universe as it revolves and worlds collide and intersect in many ways, dimensions collide and those who have eyes to see it will find it. Those with right vision shall find themselves in successive generations to be able to transcend humanoid existence.

It is not enough to read the words of prophets and sages. It is time for action based on words read and spoken. Through the ages teachers have told us what they see, and have seen. Who in your lineage has the ability to speak for all to tell the universe what he or she has seen or sees? Would would it be that you trust as wise sage for your time, to make an accounting of your sphere?

The age is coming to an end. One must know that the universe moves and we move with it, and we must evolve with that universe or we shall perish. The universe only gives what each human can handle and conspires to assist us in our quest of transcendence.

Generations shall speak wide to the universe about what you failed to see and what you failed to do to attain the greatest gift the universe has to offer you. Wisdom knows what is coming, and what has come before.

Harden not your hearts when the universe speaks to you.


Longing for the Divine

images-copy200p.jpg

I’ve changed the header again. I can’t seem to stay on one photograph. I was running through some images and I came back to this one, because I guess, I am missing that component of my life as it was lived so long ago.

I’m tired and all I really want to do right now is curl up in a pew, in the chapel, before God and his angels. The photo you see above is of the rear wall mural located inside the chapel of the Seminary of St. John Vianney in Miami. I approach the chapel from the residence hall close by. The glass doors open for me and I take that first step upon the flagstones that are paved throughout the chapel. To my right and my left are tall glass doors that shudder with the breeze blowing against them.

The lights are low, save for the sacrament candle hanging to the right of the mural. As I walk down the center aisle of the chapel, my footsteps echo off the walls and reverberate through the vast empty space. I approach the altar and genuflect to the altar and greet my God in his holy place. It is said that you can take a boy out of the church, but you can never take the church out of the boy.

As defiant I am against institution and my railings against all that is ‘christian’ It in these moments that I long to be before the almighty alone before the tabernacle of God. Listening to the Litany of the Saints as chanted by the monks, I reflect on all that is holy within me. I know His voic, He has more than once spoke my name. And funny, that I was able to hear it amid the din in my head. There was a time when I could fresh recall it at will, but now I have to look for it today.

I have visited some of the most important “Churches” in Christendom and though they are grand in scale, and pronounced for their place in the living of Catholicism, it is the sacred chapel where I consecrated myself to God that I return to in my minds eye.

We are all called, to a life of holiness, whether we choose to follow that call is up to us, save for the judgment of men who would either deem us able or disabled to follow. Which I think is my biggest resentment with “Church.” Walking on the path of God is a lonely path, because no one can walk the journey for you, you must walk it alone. Because when you hear the voice you have to choose, to walk towards or run from. I don’t think I have completely run away from it.

You can’t run from God, because He is always there. You can choose to walk off the path and do what you need to do, but eventually, you find that the path looks really good from where ever you are standing and when you take that first step back onto the path, there God is waiting for you to resume your journey. “I was waiting for you, you know, I can hear Him say to me!” “Why did you go away from me?” “You can deny me and ignore me, but you must admit that my voice draws you near to me, you long to hear me call your name.”

The chant continues…

Tantum Ergo III

I must admit that the silence is beautiful, the chant fills the space with such heavenly sacred sound. All voices praising God and his heaven. The Preacher man is apt to tell us about his chapel in the Rockies where he like to nap before God and his tabernacle in Crede. There are times in the life when I muse on the thought of just walking away from all of this and finding myself in an abbey somewhere out in the hills, just me, the monks and God. It’s not like I wouldn’t have far to travel, there are plenty of Holy Places in this city of light where God’s footprint can be seen on any given street anywhere in Montreal, because “here is where it all started.”

From my front door within a few minutes walk, you can find yourself transported to a place that is otherworldly, Godly in fact. So many churches – and not a moment to spare out of my busy day to find one open where I can be alone with my God. I guess that’s my fault, that because of my stubbornness and principles, I won’t walk into a church because of politics, and I know that God is not about politics. It is at the last of the night as I sit here in the quiet before the silence and I take a few moments to contemplate the Holiness of God and His majesty.

Have you ever felt the sublime majesty of God in his holy place? Have you ever felt what it feels like to raise your voice to God and sing his praises? Do you know what it feels like to have God wrap his arms around you and hold you to his breast as you weep for the grandeur of it all? God is perfect, He is mighty, He is sublime. There is nothing that I write here, right now that I do not know. Just that I don’t take enough time during my day to remember and reflect. I guess this post shows you that I can go from the Profane to the Sacred in a matter of hours. Sometime you just gotta say “#$&%!!!”

I never said I was perfect, I said that God was perfect. I never said that I was God either. Well, it is getting late and I am exhausted and I have things to do tomorrow, it’s my day off and my home group. Maybe I will find myself a quiet corner of a chapel tomorrow before I have to chair the meeting.

Stay tuned. I may visit God with you again soon.

Isn’t this an interesting journey? I leave you with Great Expectations…

The morning finds me here at heaven’s door
A place I’ve been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don’t understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I’ve been invited as a son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and…

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations

So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I’m trusting in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I’ve been invited with the Son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and…

We’ve been invited with the Son
And we’ve been invited to come and…

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations


Temporal Shift …

montreal-sky-3.jpg

Hello, my name is Jeremy and I am a Graduate Student in the Department of Theology at Concordia University… Try that one on for size…

Today was a big day … My first day of school as a Graduate Student. The beginning of the Fall semester is always fraught with drama long lines and insanity. This morning brought with it some sad memory, as my Monday-Wednesday morning class is in the Mother House in the West end of the house which has been transformed from living quarters of former nuns to classrooms and offices. I wanted to go visit the chapel this morning and spend some time in prayer, but that wasn’t in the cards today.

Christian Origins is my first class of the week, and it seems, because of certain technical problems, [read:no internet connections or electronic availability] in the room we are using, means a room change is in the offing soon. I saw some familiar faces from my summer as an independent student.

Thank God that none of the witches from the religion department are in any of my theology classes! There IS a God!!!

I took the afternoon to do some power shopping for books at the Diocesan Book Store in the core after class, and I even treated myself to a BK Lunch, Woo Hoo!! The Eaton Centre food court is really interesting at lunch time lots to see…

The Textbook for Christian Origins, Theo: 206 is called The Shaping of Christianity, and can be purchased at the Diocesan Bookstore at Place Cathedral at the McGill Metro. The book ran me $33.87.

I came home from my journey to the “Core” and took a short power nap before my evening class, hubby decided to join me for a nap… [he just can’t nap by himself when I am home] … I had 3 hours to nap, and I was in the middle of this fantastic adventure dream, it was action packed and I was really into it, when the alarm clock went off at 5:15 and it startled me so bad and I was so groggy that I could not hold onto the visual to write anything about it… I know I was in a town with a above ground subway system, it was dark and I was running all over the place. So I washed up and left for class and I couldn’t raise the dream in the light, I hate when that happens…

This evening I went to my Theology 204 with Fr. Ray was quite interesting. I saw many of the same faces that were in my morning Christian Origins class, which was great because this class is a lot smaller – with about 45 students in a smaller intimate lecture room. I think it is going to be a great semester…

The University Book Store also has the course packs for Theo: 204 Christian Ethics with Fr. Ray. The texts books are available and are on reserve in the library.

We had some really great discussion, and it is really nice to have Fr. Ray teaching the course, since he is one of my spiritual advisers, on the Catholic side. I told him that I had one foot in the religion of my family [Catholicism] and one foot in the Anglican Church, having been given a green light by Bishop Barry. So now Fr. Ray calls me the Anglo-Catholic. I am hoping that I reach some place new in my spiritual journey.

We are going to play Word Association now:

Your three words are:

Ethics — Morals — Christian

We talked about Religious Studies being a study in culture, society, history and tradition and Theology having a different Methodology, it is faith seeking understanding. Will we agree on all issues in Theology, probably not. Especially with a GAY, HIV+, Married, Catholic Queer in the classroom. This should be an interesting semester. I can look into my crystal ball and see much discussion and choppy waters ahead.

We all introduced ourselves in class and shared our majors and reasons for taking that class, many of us are in Core Studies for Theology, though, many of the students are from many other departments like Psychology [YAWN] Applied Human Sciences [Double YAWN] and others… If today’s discussions were indicative of what’s to come, this class should be incredibly enjoyable because of the varied beliefs, opinions and ages of students in the class. There are a few Graduate and Master’s students in the class, which is really cool…

Tomorrow should be even better with Religions of Tibet. I have high hopes for this class because I have been studying Buddhism and other Eastern Religions over the past four years, last academic year I took Buddhism and Jainism [at the same time] which was a real challenge. I did better in Jainism because it was more writing and academic study into a tradition that is labor intensive, because of the scarcity of primary source material. I flubbed on my Buddhism final exam, which hurt my grade. I hate huge multiple choice exams with very little writing!!! I perform better when I write.

See I did learn something in University! I learned how to write Good Essays and I learned how to write academically sound papers. It took me four years, but I was successful in my writing career. Writing here as well, has enhanced my academic writing because I can work out my ideas here before I add them to a paper.

In The Montreal News:

main_casket.jpg

The Strike at the Notre Dame de Neige cemetery is OVER!! Thank Bloody Christ, it is about time – for Pete’s sake! Now gravediggers go back to work on Monday and they have over Seven Hundred and Fifty Caskets to bury, that have been in cold storage for Months!!

I talked to Fr. Ray about this on the way home tonight, we walked to the Major Seminary where he was parked just up the hill from home, The Bishop of Montreal got involved to try to end the strike, we all admit he was a little late with his word, but it seems to have worked! The Religious Authority has some sway over our community thank God for that!

So we are at 1042 words… Have I gone on too long here???

Ok that’s all for tonight. More tomorrow from the world of Tibet…

Stay Tuned…

Oh, I forgot to mention that I am listed as an ALUMNI Blogger on the Concordia University Website!! Very Kewl!! We are also listed on the Religio Scholasticus website as well. I am really grateful for the support of my peers at Religio and as well from the University.

 


Thirty One …

 

cccinside1.jpg

Let us enter the sanctuary and praise God for all that is good in this world. And we spend a moment in quiet contemplation of gifts unknown and people still to meet, and blessed be the God who brings strangers from afar to minister to us on common themes and spiritual practices.

I walked out the front of the building and down the street towards the Monday night, Came to Believe meeting and there was a bunch of bikers standing on the sidewalk in front of the Oxford Inn, I quietly made my way around them because they were gathered there in great numbers. Harley’s, leather, all those profane things that excite my innards in ways that no mortal human being can understand.

I settled into my seat as usual, against the wall by the fireplace and I waited. You never know what is going to happen in that small little meeting space, and for weeks now I’ve been telling you about wondrous people,  and stories that I have had the opportunity to listen to. Tonight was no different…

It just so happened that all those bikers were coming to the meeting. A rag tag bunch of sober bikers from far and wide, all over Canada, Europe and the United States. The A.R.M. Association of Recovering Motorcyclists. Needless to say our regular meeting folk were  surprised to see them at the meeting. I heard someone say “oh, another biker gang!” I just rolled my eyes.

Owen, the bright eyed young man who shared last week about his gratitude for being in the room, it was great to see him again, only tonight he was chair. We got to hear a first time share tonight which is really a gift. The first time one gets up and shares about what it was like, what happened and what it is like now is cathartic to say the least, because one is reminded of the first time we did it too. And for one person, maybe, the person sharing will speak of commonality with someone in the room and may help them stick and stay.

The room was PACKED, every chair was used and it was standing room only for the second speakers. Bikers from all over the place came to hear this woman share – our second speaker. Her name escapes me, although I did thank her in the end. She has been sober thirty one years. And she spoke about steps One, Two and Three…

  • The admission of our powerlessness over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power Greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity
  • Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

She hared about the two God’s the Catholic God on one side and a Higher Power on the other side, she wasn’t sure that they have met each other, so she believes in both, coming from a serious Catholic background [nuns and all] and then coming to the rooms and having learned over a great deal of time who the God of her understanding was. And then she joked that when she dies that she reaches the pearly gates and knocks and God answers and says, “see if that Higher Power of yours can get you in!”

I laughed out loud…

I have to say that nobody moved, nobody said a word the entire time she was speaking, it was like being in church and having being blessed that God was walking around the room, it just felt so holy and blessed. You could have heard a pin drop for the better part of an hour. It was incredible.

The question she had for the room when she got sober, “What do you want me to do now? What am I supposed to do now that I am here, and finally the answer came to her, in this form “What are you going to do with what we have to offer you?” She spoke of changing our “will,” which for mortals is “how we think.” In sobriety we are constantly asked to change the way we think, because sobriety is a continual process of evolution, personally, emotionally and spiritually.

I am not perfect and I surely am not God by any stretch of the imagination. But I am also teachable. And I take my sobriety very seriously, and I apply all the principles to my life, even if that means cutting people loose because they are unhealthy and I practice what I preach. I can’t help you – If you don’t want to help you. There are plenty of other people who want the help and are willing to go to any length to get that help. We must dispense with enabling and allowing people to run us ragged.

She then told a story about her home group, like Tuesday’s Beginners they share their sobriety date as the discussion moved around the room. She would write down sober members names and dates in her 24 hour book – and there were a a good number of members in that group,  each week they would meet and share their dates. One man named Joe would share his date and another man would say, “my name is Steve and I’ve been sober for 35 years and some son of a bitch is lying about his sobriety date.”

Now we are not supposed to take anyone else’s inventory at a meeting, but Steve persisted in sharing that someone in the group was lying about their sobriety date. Eventually some weeks later Joe spoke up one night and said, “my name is Joe and I am the son of a bitch that has been lying about his sobriety date.”

Steve died a sober member of AA, Joe did not.

Which brings up a bitter pill for me because at my home group meeting, we have a member who is not sober, yet he shares his sobriety date with us, as August 96′ and I know for a fact, any by his own admission over the years, that he still drinks. This is the man that I pray for more than the rest, because he does this week in and week out, year in and year out.

And I laughed at this story because I have more than once wanted to get up and say, “my name is Jeremy and I am an alcoholic and an addict, my sobriety date is December the 9th 2001, and some son of a bitch here is lying about his sobriety date!!”

I sat there transfixed on the speaker, from Wisconsin. What a blessing to have such an amazing speaker come to us to share tonight. We were truly blessed. You never know who is going to show up at that Monday meeting, or from whom the message is going to come from, but I suit up and I show up and I do what I can for the groups I support, just by my showing up every week. At the end of the meeting, Owen thanked our speakers and this woman closed the meeting.

“We stand here together, holding each others hands. We stand her united, not alone any more. We stand here and we pray for those sick and still suffering members out there who have not yet come in here. Take a look to your left and your right and hold tight to the hand you are holding, because you might be saved by them or them by you one day down the road. Maybe you have already saved them and maybe not, but right now you are standing here with them. She was two over from my left, Rob was holding my left hand, he was the first speaker, Dawn was standing to my right, she is a member of my home group at Tuesday’s Beginners, and we prayed:

Our father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
Who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
Forever and ever, AMEN. 

candles-biga2.jpg


The God of My Understanding…

19_zwirner_synagogue_de_cologne.jpg

It seems recently that my traffic has been steady in numbers we have never seen as of late. It also seems that I have touched a few nerves with my Fuck You attitude. How can any Christian man or woman tell another Christian to “Fuck Off?” Well, I can and I often do.

I have to say that turning 40 has been a watershed for me as of late. I know myself and I know what I believe and what I understand and what I preach. There is a lot that I can talk about having lived 40 years of life, knowing full well the severity of sickness, the grace of education, the hell of addiction, and the blessing of sober time and the one thing that has saved me from utter death and destruction: My Faith.

There is something to be said for a man doomed to face a life of pain, sickness and eventually a miserable death to come out fourteen years later alive and all the better for the faith that sustained him. I have seen enough division in my life, enough hatred and enough pain to tell me that Christianity was the most damning religion in the Western hemisphere.

When I watched, witnessed and was one of those men who were damned by the Christian right as a sinner, I began to learn what I could about religion, which led me to the halls of higher learning to find out for myself what was truth and what was fiction. The bible, written by man, transcribed centuries ago, and we know as fact that sometimes that translation was determined by the one doing to work.

Do I believe the bible, yes I do, do I follow it to the letter of the law, no I don’t. But you must understand where I came from to understand why I stand by my position of my take on Christianity. I’ve had enough of what you all believe, and at 40 I can state without equivocation what I believe because I lived this experience. Christianity must change to acceptance and love.  And that’s what I believe. I have invested enough time in study and I continue my studies to this day in Theology. There are too many divisions and I am trying to create a ministry of hope, acceptance and love.

There are so many things that separate us. Religion separates us, judgment separates us, scripture separates us, and social and religious gospel separates us. The first thought I have when I think of separation is labels. When I work with young people on their way OUT into the world, I caution them against labels, because wisdom tells us that labels not only identify us, they separate us as well.

Some may say I am morally reprehensible and that I am a sinner and that I have violated some religious or moral principle. And maybe I have, but I knew well before I “knew” that I was different. The whole notion of nature -vs- nurture idea. I was surrounded by things that informed the boy I would grow up to be and eventually, the man I would become.

I make no excuses for the life I have lived. And I believe, still to this day that if it were not for the profane men who cared for me when I most needed it, I would not be the faith filled man I am today, and of course I would be dead. If you look in the PAGES section of this blog, you will find The Sacred Path and also my writing on Man gives information but God gives Inspiration: Here is an excerpt of that writing. There are many dimensions to my Christian life, how I came to be, why I believe the way I do and how the man you read about here, came to be…

roma-glow.jpg

Man gives Information but God gives Inspiration…


I’ll tell you a story about God and why I believe the way I do. Many years ago, during the “sickest” period of my HIV diseased life, I happened upon a little television show that brought me hope during some of the darkest times of my life. I tell this story every so often to illustrate why I believe God speaks to us in certain terms. My home parish back in
Miami is the most wonderfully blessed and sacred space that I have ever been in and had the privilege to grow up in as well.

The good thing about this parish is that they stuck behind me in prayer and support when the greater church at large was raging against the homosexual community. The Pastor of the parish was a sainted man – well – he IS a sainted man included with him are the men who ministered with him to more than 25,000 families and even more today.

The priests in that parish told me that as long as I showed up for mass and prayed that I would get everything that I needed. I went to mass weekly, I even started making mass daily which meant I got on the road at 6:30 to make the trek to the church via a train, 2 buses and a 45 minute walk from the through-way to the church which was across the street from the high school I graduated from.

I went to mass every Sunday night and I was an altar person and a Eucharistic minister. I had my assigned hour every week praying before the Blessed Sacrament. We had a sacrament chapel in the church that was open 24 hours a day around the clock there was always someone praying before the “Blessed Sacrament.”

Over those years I went to mass our parish was the proving ground for new priests that were ordained. This is where I met my greatest mentor and my greatest critic. One Sunday I was standing in the church during the processional and a man came in on crutches to say mass. I knew then that God had spoken to me that night. I vowed never to back down from a challenge and I also vowed that unless I was dying that I would never complain about my lot ever again.

Fr. J had MS and was crippled, yet he suited up and he showed up and he said mass and the next day on that Monday morning I showed up for a morning mass and asked Fr. J to be my spiritual director. This journey lasted a few years. We talked and we prayed, I had reading to do each week and we discussed my progress along the way. I don’t have that kind of direction these days; it is hard to nail down holy men to a scheduled meeting. Anyways, I digress…

After Sunday Mass I would rush home for a little show I like to call my saving grace in very dark times. It was a little show of little acclaim, but it meant a great deal to me. Get ready for it, here it comes, a little show called “Touched by an Angel.” I longed to hear those words spoken every week in any circumstances – I knew that God was in my house each week saying words of hope in the form of angelic messages from Tess, Monica, Raphael, and Andrew.

“I’m an angel sent by God to tell you that God loves you and that he hears you!” No matter what the problem or the sickness or the tragedy there was always hope and a lesson from the almighty about social issues and problems in society. If a little show like this could move someone like to me Hope and to rely on the Lord, then it mattered to many more people than me.

I believe that angels walk the earth and that God makes his presence known in ways we might not always see the forest for the trees. I know it may be hokey and simple, and TV is just TV, it has no value to life, I beg to differ. When I had no one to talk to or was alone for long periods of time, it gave me great comfort to know that at least God was listening to my prayers and that my prayers mattered.

I made some mistakes and I walked off the path because of my stupidity – and God, I think forgave me for that after all the faith I put in him, and I learned that lesson the hard way and that is enough of that thought.

I have a little “Touched by an Angel” calendar of quotes from the show that sit on my bedside table and I look at it every night. And thanks to the age of VCR’s and Syndication, I can get a double dose of T.B.A.A. every day here in Montreal. Everyone has an angel, because God loves us unconditionally, no matter what color our skin is, no matter who we are, or what ever life we live. God sees sin and pain and He sees just how the world is running, and it is up to us to make a difference, to bring hope to those who need it, to bring love to those who desire it, to bring comfort to the sick and to love each and every person in our lives. I have tried to uphold those tenets in my life, I believe in God because he believes in me.

touched_by_an_angel_video_sm.jpg

I did not need a church to teach me about God’s love, because I knew that God loved me every morning that I woke up and I was still breathing. I have left the path on numerous occasions in my life, and I’ve been on a really good streak for the last seven years and I intend on keeping on. I listen to God, and I search for him and it is rarely that I don’t get a daily reminder that HE is watching over me, in one way or another.

I have a great posse of readers whom I love dearly for their support. I try to lead by example and I hope I have done well. I take time each morning and each night to “remember my spirit.” I am good to myself. And I am good to others as well. If you want to feel good about yourself, go out and do something for someone else without any expectations.

I get that opportunity each and every week on Tuesday’s to give back to my community, at my home group of AA. Ms. Nikki and I set up the meeting each and every week, and it has been that way every Tuesday now for the last four-plus years now I’ve been sober. Each chair I set down during setup is a prayer I offer for one particular person, so I meditate on each and every member that attends our meeting each week, and for every empty chair I pray for the one who will come and maybe sit in that chair. You just have to be there to understand this ritual.

Do I hear God, yes I do.
Do I listen for God, yes I do.
Do I talk to God, of course I do.

I love walking or hiking up the mountain because I hear God’s voice in the trees as the breeze blows through. I hear God every time the church bells ring. From where I live 17 stories above the city we are surrounded by fantastical, sacred churches. And each day those church bells ring at certain hours they call me to stop – get quiet – and I say a short prayer as the bells ring. At my home group in Westmount, they have mass each evening and at 6 p.m. they ring the Angelus bells, like clockwork. We set up and finish before six so that when the bells ring I can stand outside and say my Angelus prayers.

If we don’t take time out of our busy day to remember God and to connect to God, then what are we doing with our days? Where do we find inspiration and energy? How do we maintain a level of serenity to help us through the business of the day? Starting each day on ones knees before God is the way I start my day and doing a gratitude list at the end of the day is also a great way to end ones day. Remembering gratitude keeps me grounded and mindful of all that I have and all that I learned on that given day. Then I come here and I share it with my readers.

******************

– Naked and Sacred –

 

As a young child I have fond memories of old churches and polished pews and candles flickering in dark corners of the building, statues of saintly persons who looked out over the congregational spaces and the dark corner grotto’s making sure we knew that they were watching over us and praying in tandem with the many who came to find peace, solace and faith within those walls.

I remember that day that my Memere took me to that grand church all alone, just her and I and God. It was an afternoon event; she brought me here for mass on a regular basis. These were the days of the old missal books and rosaries, women wearing lace over their faces, it was an ethnic parish church attended by many from ethnic communities all around.

On that day she took me to the church, she had a purpose. I remember this as if it was yesterday because, in my minds eye, this was very important to her. We went to light some candles and leave our offering in that little tin box attached to the candle display, we sat in quiet supplication and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and we lingered to hear the voice of God speak to us. I am sure that Memere and God had brokered an agreement over me.

After a while she got up from her place and she gathered me to herself and we walked to the edge of the banister that protected the main altar from people walking up on the dais. The banister was open, as if to welcome us to step up there – so with great pride Memere walked me ahead of her until I was standing on the dais before God. I must admit there were no words that were spoken to me; this is where the agreement must have been made. Memere looked up that the altar, then at her favourite statue and then beckoned God to look down upon us and take us into His arms and protect us. In that moment I believe I had been “consecrated” to Christ and to God and the Blessed Mother, not to mention Marguerite D’ Youville. (This will be explained later in the timeline)

Memere had a “tight” relationship with God. Her homes were shrines to the family that had gone before us, to the saints who protected us, and the God who gave us life. I always felt naked before God in her house. As if God sat with us daily and saw us for whom we really were simple God fearing folk. I never for one moment feared God. There was nothing I could not say to Him nor ask of Him, but I also knew that there were things one just did not ask of God, because greed and excess were not part of Memere’s lexicon.

I learned to pray the rosary as a young boy, we went to mass frequently. I don’t know if my mother and father were aware that I had so much “sacred time” in my early life. I am sure she knew that if I was with Memere that I would go where she went and I would love her for taking me and I would love the adventure of going to see God all the time.

The church of old is not the church of now, unless of course you live in Montreal and have living “great” relatives who live in a convent not far from home.

Being the first of two children in a family firmly grounded in the late 1960’s brought a lot of opportunities to me as that first child. I had three years on my brother. Three years are a big deal. I had the adoration of the matriarch’s of the family; I had three years of unadulterated wisdom taught to me over time. My time was my own; there was no one to deflect that attention away from me, which endeared me to the hearts of the women of the family. But secrets existed, secrets that would one day turn my life upside down.

My father was an abusive man; he came back from Viet Nam with major issues. I was born out of the man who came back from war, damaged and lost. He took a wife of Canadian blood, gave her an ultimatum and got her pregnant. I was there at the wedding, my mother carrying me in her womb, walked down the aisle that day and agreed to bear his children and live by his rules and regulations. My father, the racist, bigot that he was wanted to force a continental divide to rise from the ground to separate that which made my mother who she was and force her to become the woman he required.

That divide never rose, and my father’s resentment of the maternal “nursery” that I entered as a child began. I guess this is why I am so maternal, because all the men in the family were war shaken and damaged. They worked all the time in business, in the fields and in factories. It was up to the women to rear the children into the people we were to become. My father’s resentment of my presence was well known. Later in my life I would be told of the fact that my father wanted to kill me, that I was a mistake and should never have been born. He tried many times to snuff my light out as quick as he could. The one thing that he did not expect was the backlash that came in the form of vociferous rebukes by the matriarch’s of the family, hence my “consecration to God.” If I was consecrated to the Almighty, then my father’s plan for ending my life would never come to fruition.

I remember being chased through houses by drunk men in my life, I remember my grandmothers standing in doorways between me huddling beneath a bed, hiding for my life, and my drunk and angry father fighting with them to let him “do it already!” He wanted nothing more than to wipe me off the face of the earth. The women of my family tell me that he fought often with them to abuse me and to hurt me and eventually to kill me.

They were not going to let that happen, my mother was powerless to try and stop him, why, they had an agreement, and she was his bitch, and she did what he said without argument! That was his way unto this very day.

When I was born he gave me my name. I was given to the earth as the man he loved from the war, who died in the war, so every time he looked at me or said my name or heard my name called, the memory of “one dead soldier” would rise to the fore. What kind of man places that kind of sadistic torture on himself? Was he hoping to exorcise that memory from his brain by personal reprogramming? I think there was more to this story than met the eye. Yes, there was, it took me decades to divine the truth from those who knew, and in hindsight I was able to complete the puzzle.

At age 30 I changed that name and exorcised it from my life, it was the final conflict that separated me from my parents. Being gay – HIV Positive and changing my name was three strikes, I was now damned to live without parents. He made damn sure of that.

Needless to say, faith was a priority; God would protect and save me. My grandmothers agreement with God was non negotiable with any one else. Not that my father knew she had this deal on the table. Women are tricky characters you know! When Memere beckoned upon those she regarded as spiritually powerful, hell hath no fury like the wrath of an angry saint and my grandmother generating the turbine of retribution with her dedicated prayers.

Who was God? And why should I care? Because it was beaten into me that I was a mistake and should never have been born, for 18 years my father made it his life’s work to destroy me mentally and emotionally. Later on in my 30’s the revelation of my sexual abuse at my father’s hands would rise from my sobering mind. And you think HE had issues? I went to church, as a young boy. I would complete all my sacraments in the order of succession. I would be in communion with the church I would pray my rosary and my novenas. God was present in my daily life. I was always naked when I was sacred. There was nothing I held back from God, because my relationship with God was between him and me. To stand before God is to be naked in his sight. How much more sacred could it be?

My parent’s went to church off and on. After my brother was born in 1970, my mother found out she was RH positive and a tubiligation was ordered by her OB because she might not live through another pregnancy, and so it was done. This act of “birth control” forced an issue that divides the church and her people to this day. A woman’s right to decide proper birth control and the church’s position that if one impedes the ability of a woman to conceive then you are outside the rule of mother church.

My parents were dealt a swift blow by the parish priest where they were married. That priest, by order of Holy Mother Church, was bound to defend the party line of those times; he excommunicated them both from the church – which meant that they could no longer receive the sacraments. I have to assume my mother was crushed and my father couldn’t give a damn.

Years would pass, life would go on, God still existed in my life, and we, as a family went to church, I remember that much. It came to pass in my years as a pre-teen that we moved to the third home of transition, when I was in grade six. This afforded my parents entry into suburbia. It was a very big step up from where we had been socially and economically. We had made it into the “big time.” My father was proud of this accomplishment. I remember the day we saw the house, we all loved it, and it was sacred. It was in the right place, for the right money and had just the right charm to allow my parents to afford it.

St. Richard’s parish was less than a mile away; schools were “in the neighbourhood” and all was well. My father’s drinking began in earnest so did his abuse, not only of me, but my brother and mother. My mother sought out the parish priest whom would play a large part in my later seminary formation at a later date. They began the process of becoming redeemed in the church; this process took almost 4 years, after decades of living in sin.

My father’s parents were cursed in the years when I was in grade seven and eight. The curse first took my grandmother with a stroke; I was taken from school at age thirteen and flown 1500 miles to her bedside where my father expected that I would be the one to bring her back across the divide. Since I was his first born son, and had the connection I did with her that seeing me would ignite the fire that went out in her brain. I failed to re-ignite the flame. I don’t think my father ever forgave me for my failure to heal his mother. A year later my grandfather was hit with a stroke one year to the day of my grandmother, but he was no favourite of mine, and I did nothing to help him. He abused us all, and for that abuse, death was right punishment.

At age 15, I entered High School. This was a very important period for me. I met a circle of friends that would impact the rest of my life. St. Louis Parish was one block from the High School which I was attending. The youth minister on duty at that time used to open his office at lunch and that is where people would gather to pray, to meet and talk and to learn about God. Who knew it would lead me where it did.

It was in my grade ten year that I would make my confirmation. In order to make that confirmation, my parent’s needed to step up their game in attaining absolution from the church for their “faux pas” with the church over birth control. The Pastor of the parish spoke to them, and gave them counsel and I remember that day he told those, in his Irish Brogue, “the hell with that priest and his excommunication.” I remember my mother doing the happy dance the day that God re-entered our home. He never left, I mean he was in my room, I wasn’t quite sure of any other room in the house up until that point, but for my parents that was the biggest coup of their lives.

When I was home alone on many an occasion, I prayed and I listened to music and in my sacred space within my room I would become naked and sacred. I believed that God was with me, and he protected me, because I really needed it. My father had once again stepped up his attacks, and they were getting even more brutal. My friends all came from broken homes, parent’s divorced, splitting up or on the way there… I was a misfit like all of them. These were the years I spent more time out of my own house than in it. I just could not cope with the ritual mental, emotional and physical abuse.

Where was God when it hurt?

High school was hit and misses, God was here and he was not. I followed him and I cursed him through both sides of my mouth. I was becoming addicted to alcohol; I was starting to slip in school. My relationship with my parents was strained and the priests and ministers of the church had to do something lest they loose me to the statistics of teen tragedy.

I was given chores at church. Any free time was spent working on cleaning the church and keeping the sacristy in tip top shape. I had access to areas of “church” that not many had. In those years the rectory was on site and I spent a lot of time in that rectory doing chores and loving every moment of that time.

Those priests kept me from self destruction. My consecration to God had begun once again. I guess once you are given to God, you don’t have to ask again. Hindsight shows me that I was being groomed for greater things. What my father “beat” out of me, the church replaced in me. What my father on earth took – my heavenly father gave back ten fold. I was in the right place at the right time, when the priests of the parish began to entertain me with seminary speak, serving the church and the greater good. Was I good enough to wear a robe to preach to the masses, to herd a flock?

From the age of ten through out my later life, I was aware of my sexuality. In that I mean I knew how it worked. I knew the finer details of sex and sexual variations. My parents lived a double life, which I was privy to. Knowing the secret sex lives of my parents was an addiction. I couldn’t get enough. Why was I like this? Where did this all begin? I can’t say, and I really don’t want to know when it all began.

I had had relationships in my teen years with others, WHAT I was – was not an issue at any time during my formative years, although I heard the word queer and faggot come out of my parent’s mouths frequently. Our family had been introduced to “homosexuals” when we made that third and final move by friends my parent had and we blessed to have.

I did not identify myself in any “other” term than heterosexual well through my high school years. I dated girls, I had relationships, and I went to prom. I never questioned who I was openly, but between God and myself there was a lot of discussion and praying. Masturbation became a sacred activity, because it happened when God and I were alone. I wanted that sacred experience – to feel that divine communion with the God of my understanding, I wanted to feel sublime love in sacred terms. I’ve never had sex with a woman; I never had sexual inclinations towards the girls I dated in school. I was chaste in that way, but I was profane when left to my own devices.

After completing high school I attended one year of junior college and I failed miserably. I had no tools; I had no knowledge about the “world at large.” My parents never taught me about “transition.” This is the KEY moment in a young person’s life. I know that now, and I teach that to my boys and my fellows. That was when the priests of our parish suggested that I consider the seminary. It was a possible and real option. I got the necessary letters of recommendation and filed my application with the diocese. I was put through my paces and psychological testing, and I passed the boards with a clean sweep.

At this point of my life, my grandparents were getting old. My father’s parents did not know who they were cursed by strokes, Memere was living in a retirement home 1500 miles away, but she saw me enter seminary. When Memere consecrated me to God on that day many years ago in that church came full circle the day I moved into my room at the seminary. All her prayers and novenas were now fulfilled. I was safe for eternity.

I loved God with all my heart and all my soul and all my being. It was unlike any feeling I had every felt before. I remember moving in that day and walking with my parents around the grounds. My mother was so proud, my father had no choice, and he was hell bent on my destruction, my mother on my survival. The battle of the wills was raging on in front of my very eyes. God would win that days cavalry charge. We said goodbye and my mother cried as I walked them to their car and they drove off.

It took a few days to get used to being in the seminary. I sought quiet spaces to commune with God. I went to the chapel whenever I could. There were chapels located on the upper floors of the residence hall where we could pray and have mass said for us. It was the closest to the sacred nakedness I longed for, that I would get that year. God was all powerful and loving. I was there to do one thing, find the way to Him, to serve him to love him in the most sublime way.

The Eucharist became the ritual that would bring me closer to God. I sang my heart out; I prayed until the beads ripped through my hands, I walked in circles until there were ruts in my gardens. (I was a seminary gardener) during that years. It was in this year that things became clear to me. I started to hear God’s voice. I was just a boy in a big world. I was unprepared for the drama of living with others in such tight quarters. My every decision was scrutinized. My every prayer was spell checked. My intentions and motives were questioned. My classmates became my judges but I observed them as well.

My quest to find God was not the same quest that my fellows were on. It had seemed that “identity” was the issue on the table. Many of my peers had figured out their identity and were comfortable in their own skins to “practice their ways.” I had not come to this stage in my life yet. What did I know about identity? I was just this boy in a seminary trying to find my way in a world that was not kind to me. Sex was the first topic of discussion at each and every spiritual direction session I attended that year. It was one of the only lies I told to the man who was interested in my sexual proclivities. What did my masturbation have to do with the attainment of holiness? What I did alone with my God was my business and no one else’s.

I saw injustice in the church; I witnessed people being removed from service because of judgment. I witnessed the church move gay priests and some with illness to our grounds to live and work with us; they were taken from their parishes as a punishment for an unholy lifestyle. Homosexuality was right there in front of me. Grown gay men of the cloth living in community with me, and from my mouth to God’s ears, these men had more sacred reverence for God than any heterosexual holy man in residence with us at that time. I highly respected some of these men. They showed me real faith and real love for God. They gave me more in that year than others. They did not judge me nor force me to be anything but myself. It was the institution that forced choices of identity and allegiance. I was not ready to “identify” nor was I going to pledge “allegiance” to the rector of the seminary or to mother church.

What I do know is this, that I knew then who God was for the age that I was and I was ready to sacrifice my life for that God, but I was hell bent on denying the pressures of the institution to turn a blind eye to blatant abuses of power and human dignity and respect. I had no desire of entering or pledging for the “boys club” it was beneath me. I was better than that and I wasn’t going to compromise my walk with Christ to be like them.

After a year in seminary I was told that my invitation to return the following year had been rescinded. That maybe seminary was not “the place for me.” That maybe becoming a priest was not my “calling.” Who were they to judge with blinder on their eyes? What did they really know about my relationship to God, not that any of them really wanted to know? I walked away from the church and from God.

I moved back home for a short time. That did not last very long. I got a job and traveled the world. I met His Holiness John Paul II twice in the space of 2 years. Once in the states the second time at the Vatican. He was a sainted man; he was a star in my eyes. What I did not know then would not hurt me until decades later.

In my 19th year of life I took a trip to visit family that summer, this was the first time I gave into my sexual desires for another man. It was a one night event under the influence of alcohol, but it made its mark and stuck for good. I knew what sacred felt like when I felt penetration for the first time.

It was a moment I can still recall in vivid detail. It was then I realized what sacred penetration felt like. I buried that secret deep in my heart and never shared that intimate “detail” with anyone for almost two years. I was forced out of my house by my father once again. He was still hell bent on my total annihilation.

I was “Outed” by my best friend on a cruise when I was twenty one. We never spoke again after that. I moved away to be gay, to have my coming out experience. God was no where to be found in my lexicon. He was there; I just refused to allow him into my life, because the church had shit on my spiritual journey. That I took as a clear affront by God so I retaliated.

I got drunk. I stayed inebriated for years after that.

Until that day in 1994 when the news of my impending death made me re-evaluate my relationship with God. The rest they say is history…

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective of my Christian Life, one day I will end up in one of Butler’s books… ha ha ha ha … The rest of these stories can be found in PAGES on the sidebar.

mum_yellow.jpg


Tuesday Meditations…

 

images-copy200p.jpg

G.O.D
Good Orderly Direction

G.A.Y
God Adores You

 

F.E.A.R
Face Everything and Recover

H.A.L.T
Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

God Grant me Serenity!!!

Home Group Tonight
6:30 p.m.


Monday Meeting

theology-print-1.jpg

You never know what you’re going to get at Came to Believe. Tonight the room was packed. With new and young faces. People that I know, people I call my friends. And hey I am a homosexual with non-judgmental friends, who knew!

But it isn’t about me is it?

We are there to stay sober and clean.

one of my angels chaired the meeting, which was really cool, because I really like Mike and he is one of those special people in recovery. We fly by the seat of our pants at the Monday night meeting which is always exciting. I heard this young man speak, his name was Owen. He was glowing with the light of God. It emanated from him throughout the room, I wanted to inhabit his light. I needed that energy. I wanted that energy to fill me up.

What Owen spoke about for fifteen minutes was just what I needed to hear. His gratitude, his love his energy and steadfastness for the program was amazing. I wanted so bad to get that feeling once again. Was I that grateful at five months of sobriety? Was I that illuminated and blessed? I don’t remember – that was so long ago.

At the end of the meeting I spoke to Mike and Owen and I said to him, “you know if we could bottle and sell this little gift of grateful blessing, we could make a mint! Go home and write this feeling down. Remember it, and inhabit it as long as you can, because one day you might need to draw on this bank of goodness and light, when things may get dark and you forget how grateful you are tonight.”

I know that when I walk into a room, all labels of difference drop away and the commonality of one sober member talking to another takes precedence. Pity the man and woman who do not know this feeling. Those who will never know what it means to be united in a life and death struggle for life, that is recovery.

I am grateful to be alive, sober and clean.

That I can pray with my friends at a meeting and know that God hears my prayers just as he hears everyone else’s, that God knows my heart and that is good enough for me. I don’t need to justify or defend my homosexuality before any of you, because unless you are part of my daily life, I really don’t give a shit what you think of me or my brand of Christianity.

When all is said and done on that last day, It will be God and myself and I know I live a good Christian life and God will judge me, not man, not YOU nor anyone else who reads my blog. I am really happy that I have hit a meeting tonight, that I don’t have to drink or drug and that I am forgiven… seventy times seven…

Those who know me love and respect me because of WHO I am, not for what I am and what I do for my community at large. That I am trustworthy and kind, I forgive and I serve my God with complete abandon. That I love unconditionally, and that I am good. People respect me because I am respectable. People love me because I am loveable. My husband married me because I was worthy of his love under God and before friend and family. God blessed us and continues to bless us every good day that passes.

Deuteronomy Chapter 6:-

Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:

6:5  and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

6:6  These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart;

6:7  and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.

6:8  You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes.

6:9  You shall write them on the door-posts of your house, and on your gates. 

And you shall love your neighbor as yourself…  


God’s Warriors Part 3 – Christianity

gods-warriors-xt-1.jpg

I will give you my Battle Cry: Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

************************

Was I not surprised with tonight’s God’s Warriors part 3. The battle for the hearts, minds and souls of the people of the U.S. to bring back Religious Rule to an ever more secular society going to hell in a hand basket. And wasn’t I not surprised that for two hours I sat through preacher after preacher who gave their summation of the State of the Union based on the religious beliefs of their congregation.

So we have the issues on the table:

  • The Sanctity of Human Life (Abortion)
  • The Integrity of Marriage (Gay Marriage)
  • The Teaching of Sexual abstinence to kids in School
  • And Protecting the Environment for some
  • Creationism -vs- Evolution

These arguments are well known in the Evangelical circles, and I know them all. I’ve studied all the arguments and I know about all the issues. So let me state my credentials, my beliefs and my Christian Testimony for you before I write any more.

business-card-copy-3.jpg


  • I am a Christian Man
  • I am a Gay – Married Man
  • I Believe in a woman’s right to choose
  • I Qualify as a Christian Zionist because of my support of Israel
  • I Believe that the U.S. has its issues with celebrity, materialism, violence and pornography, and lack of moral backbone – but NOT to the degree that I would become in any fashion an evangelical thumper
  • I Believe there are lessons to be learned from the Evangelical Movement in the sense of rigidity, control, male domination and exclusion
  • I Believe that there should be a separation of Church and State
  • Like President Carter I believe that Faith and Politics should stay separate
  • I Believe that Christianity has become Terribly Divisive and Exclusive and I share a message of Love, Compassion, Inclusion, Service, Justice and Humility, Peace and of Poverty.

In the United States we know the power of the Evangelical Vote, the power of the Evangelical Church to move people on Hot-Button Issues like Abortion, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights and Protection Issues (Hate Crimes Legislation), Creationism and Evolution. Having grown up in the South (Florida) for over 30 years, I watched the world change before my eyes. And now as a Gay Man with a voice I can tell you that the Evangelical Church has done more damage to the LGBTQ Community than anyone else.

The fact of the matter is this. I have read my bible and I have studied scripture and I have a University Degree behind me, 40 years of life and Seminary training to back every word I write here. I am Gay, and I am not going to convert for anyone just to get into heaven, because when I die, it will be God and ME having that life review. None of you are going to be there, I know my God. And that is what I have to say about that.

America believes that it is a nation of faith. That between Law and Religion, the Supreme Court is Ground Zero, and that the Evangelical Movement is still working to find appointed judges to sit on the highest court in the land so that they will affect such change that the laws will be changed in SUPPORT of the Evangelical Platform.

gods-warriors-judasim-2.jpg

I have stated twice now, in my writing that I am a supporter of Israel. And tonight I can say that I rank in the group who call themselves Christian Zionists. I make no bones about that. Am I supportive of military mitigation for the threat of Nuclear conflict, I must say Yes I am. I had to carefully think about my answer here. There is enough data on the table from Iran and its leaders to have a stance of preemptive measures so that we do not find ourselves on the brink of nuclear conflict.

Yet, during the Judaism portion of the writing, many leaders including former president Jimmy Carter stated that the Jewish Settlements are in violation of treaties and that those settlements were the one thing that prevented peace from being reached. There are those who would like to see Judea wiped off the face of the earth in opt for an Islamic state upon the Holy Land. If this was allowed to happen, the world would suffer, not only the Jewish population. Countries who support Israel should be supportive of nuclear mitigation at any cost. War is never a solution …

I reprint these words for the three Monotheistic religions …

“What can we do to stop this trend of violence and hatred? Like I said last night the three monotheistic religions of the world are warring with their own and each other, and there is plenty of land to go around. There is always a solution if ENLIGHTENED” political leaders would rise up and come to the table and negotiate a peaceful coexistent settlement.”

I’m not going to spend the rest of this post caterwauling about the repetitious nature of the Evangelical platform stating that America and the world at large has lost its moral compass, that Gay Marriage is a blight on the integrity of Marriage. Come On Don’t make me throw up! How many heterosexual marriages end up in divorce? You know Gays might just get it right. After growing up in the 70’s and 80’s all of my friends parents were either separated or divorced.

So please TELL ME just how much of an impact will gay men and women getting married make a difference in HOW YOU live your lives?

Explain this to me as if I were a 5th grader… (no please don’t!!)

I love the fact that Reverend Falwell reaches up from the grave to grace us with his judgment of the United States, Oh Mr. Falwell, thank God you are dead!! Because the age of the evangelical is coming to an end. It has peaked and will pass, as former president Jimmy Carter shared with viewers tonight. I love the discussion about the disagreement between Christians and Jews on just who the messiah is. And he says if the messiah came walking down the road that both the Jew and the Christian would have a huge theological adjustment to make…

The evangelicals tell us that they do not loose until they quit, America has lost its moral compass and the evangelical movement is going to change that sad state of affairs. Evangelicals argue that if Romans Chapter 1 is to be believed in the literal sense then why does the United States need to pass Hate Crimes Legislation to protect homosexuals from hate crimes? hmm.. let us think on this issue…

theology-print-1.jpg

Romans Chapter 1: –

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

DOES THE WORD HOMOSEXUAL APPEAR IN THIS READING?

I do not know very many evil gay men and women, sinners, so to speak. Although I do know quite a bit of really good Christian gay men and women and some of them are clergy. I also know a fair amount of religious leaders, ministers, preachers and priests who would beg to differ with the hard line stance of religious extremist evangelicals. I know my husband and I are not sexually impure. Nor are we godless men, we are both faith filled men in good standing in our community. I don’t believe we are wicked either…

There is so much to say on religious evangelical beliefs. I am 40 years old and so I do know what everyone is talking about. Not a day goes by in my life today that I do not reflect on 40 years of wisdom, lessons and teachings. I am a Christian. And I live my calling every day. I could not lead anyone or help anyone else until I brought to Jesus what I needed to and I am “Right with my God” I maintain that Rightness daily through prayer and meditation. Through ministry and working with others. At this very moment I am listening to some contemporary Christian music as I write this. What I am is none of your business. That I am a man of faith should be your only consideration.

What I do in the privacy of my own home lies in the safe and capable hands of my husband, myself and our God. And we’d thank you very much for your acceptance of who we are rather than what we are. Christianity has become a special members only club of exclusion and judgment. I asked a certain blogger to write here and offer up his historical knowledge of the six sacred scripture that talk about homosexuality, telling me who wrote them, when the scripture was written, why those scriptures were written and to whom for what purpose. He has yet to do so, or any of the other people that are coming here from his blog to read this one.

Can you imagine that you would find me standing at an altar call after an intense Christian concert? That I would set foot near the cross and pray to God for forgiveness and his love? And you know, he’d give those things to me because I pray and I am just and compassionate and I live and love from the Right place in my heart. Can you imagine that when I was in high school, 10th grade to be exact, that I attended a One on One retreat and on that weekend I pledged my heart and soul to Jesus. I have pledged my heart and soul to Jesus every day that I live, in gratitude that I am still alive after living with AIDS for now 14 years. I am here, God is not done with me yet.

God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!

Living with AIDS so many years I have seen, witnessed and been a victim of the scorn of the religious evangelical church. I watched you throw children out on the street when they got sick. I watched you fire people from jobs, I watched you stop being human and become animals, all for the glory of God’s name. Because AIDS was the scourge directly from God as a punishment for our sins and wickedness… Yes, I have heard every word of damnation from every corner of Christian America, and tell you to get You behind me because you are not of God, from God or blessed by God either.

AND GOD WEPT…

Almighty God
to you all hearts are open
all desires known
and from you no secrets are hidden
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
Through Christ our Lord, Amen….

Talk to me about Christian Charity and living a Christian life. Let’s talk about what I did to help my Christian brothers and sisters, when You did nothing… shall we…

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Mater Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

We fed the hungry, and we housed the homeless, we cared for the sick and we buried the dead, when Christians from all walks, the evangelicals who condemned us said that we were being punished by God for our sins. I lived a Christian life and I continue to live it daily, because of your inability to Love as God Loved and serve as God served, I condemn every one of you who condemned or condemn us…

**********************************

images-copy200p.jpg

Moving on to Christianity and Catholicism and the Late Pontiff: Taken from my academic writing: Homosexuality, Sanctity and John Paul II. Donald Boisvert is my mentor, academic advisor and teaches religion at Concordia University in Montreal. I know this man, and have taken every course he has taught over the last four years. Academia was not wasted. I took full advantage of my time and I take my position here very seriously.

As a young man I idolized my Pontiff. He was a rock star Pope and he made certain impressions on millions of young people world wide. And as I grew up, I still respected the man for his station, because deep down, I loved the church. I loved my Pope. It was my goal as a young person to serve this man to my dying day, and pledge allegiance to his Church.

Just because I came out of the closet did not change the fact that John Paul was the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, because the men of faith I grew up with accepted me with all of my flaws and subsequent illness, so I was not affected by Rome on a local level. In University, I learned much about my Pontiff, and I grew to love him more, even if I am critical of his papacy. What Religion Scholar is not critical of their leaders? It is my job as a student to look at all sides of the topic and present my insight as a gay man to others who might need some education on what made John Paul tick, what and who influenced his papacy and in the end, what shaped the papacy and life of John Paul II.

There is so much more we could talk about, and I am moving away from my original topic, so let us return to our discussion and move forward into meditations on Gay Men’s spirituality, we will look at the writing of my mentor and friend, Donald Boisvert.

In Preface Donald quotes Ronald E. Long, “A gay man is one who recognizes and lives by the ‘sacrality’ of masculine beauty and homosex. And ‘coming out’ is a gay man’s refusal to live a life that belies the sacrality of what he holds sacred.”[6] How we see ourselves as gay men, as Catholics and as men of God are as unique as we are individually. Donald believes that “Gay spirituality to be a form of religious expression and a manifestation of identity politics. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive.”[7]

I have cultivated and worked on my gay spirituality for over a decade since I am reaching that point where I can safely say that I have been out and gay for half my life today. It has not been easy and the study of religion with professors that have encouraged me to think ‘outside the box’ has only helped me in my quest for spiritual truth. In further reading of ‘Out on Holy Ground’ Boisvert writes:

“Gay spirituality is characterized by a spirit of defiance. In asserting the truth and viability of the gay religious experience, and in creating the conditions that allow it to assume a meaningful and treasured place in the lives of gay men, gay spirituality situates itself squarely in opposition to the orthodox religious norm. Though some forms of gay spiritual life may be very much tied in with more established churches, gay spirituality, as a whole, is transnormative. It may borrow blatantly and deliberately from a universal storeroom of religious symbols and rituals, but it posits a radically different understanding of the human body and of human sexuality, on the one hand, and of human relationships with the holy or with the sacred, on the other.”[8]

What is it we are called to be, men of faith, men of God, loved by the One who created us, in the face of disinformation and exclusion by Holy Mother Church. This is our ministry to reach out to those who find themselves outside the walls of holy Mother Church trying to find ones way into faith, by any route available. I believe that a faith component is integral to the life of every human being, gay or straight, male or female, young or old. To close out this episode of religious teaching I give you one last quote from ‘Out on Holy Ground,’ Boisvert writes:

“We return to our initial question: What is gay spirituality? In discussing its characteristics, we have examined how it consists of three elements in symbiosis: critical discourse, political action, and sexual affirmation. Gay spirituality reveals the ways by which gay men define, recognize, and assert themselves, not only as individuals having a religious dimension, but as beings whose very difference is the source of their spiritual and historical election.”.”[9]

I BELIEVE I have stated my case succinctly and stated my beliefs and I have even offered some of my academic writings to defend my position in this community. There is not one Christian man or woman on earth, clergy or evangelical who owns the right to judge who I am, what I do or how I live my life. If you want to preach to me, please do not waste your time. I know enough about real Christian life so please save it for someone who needs to find Jesus. I know where he is in my life… And I don’t need your judgment…

No man knows Gods heart. No man Knows what God thinks about a straight man or a gay man. A well man and a man with AIDS. No one speaks for God and no one has spoken to God as far as I know. But I TALK to my God daily, and until he calls me home from this earth I will go on with my Christian life and ministry because at the end, I want to hear my God say to me “Well Done good and faithful servant…”

cairo-hello-copyb.jpg


God's Warriors Part 3 – Christianity

gods-warriors-xt-1.jpg

I will give you my Battle Cry: Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

************************

Was I not surprised with tonight’s God’s Warriors part 3. The battle for the hearts, minds and souls of the people of the U.S. to bring back Religious Rule to an ever more secular society going to hell in a hand basket. And wasn’t I not surprised that for two hours I sat through preacher after preacher who gave their summation of the State of the Union based on the religious beliefs of their congregation.

So we have the issues on the table:

  • The Sanctity of Human Life (Abortion)
  • The Integrity of Marriage (Gay Marriage)
  • The Teaching of Sexual abstinence to kids in School
  • And Protecting the Environment for some
  • Creationism -vs- Evolution

These arguments are well known in the Evangelical circles, and I know them all. I’ve studied all the arguments and I know about all the issues. So let me state my credentials, my beliefs and my Christian Testimony for you before I write any more.

business-card-copy-3.jpg


  • I am a Christian Man
  • I am a Gay – Married Man
  • I Believe in a woman’s right to choose
  • I Qualify as a Christian Zionist because of my support of Israel
  • I Believe that the U.S. has its issues with celebrity, materialism, violence and pornography, and lack of moral backbone – but NOT to the degree that I would become in any fashion an evangelical thumper
  • I Believe there are lessons to be learned from the Evangelical Movement in the sense of rigidity, control, male domination and exclusion
  • I Believe that there should be a separation of Church and State
  • Like President Carter I believe that Faith and Politics should stay separate
  • I Believe that Christianity has become Terribly Divisive and Exclusive and I share a message of Love, Compassion, Inclusion, Service, Justice and Humility, Peace and of Poverty.

In the United States we know the power of the Evangelical Vote, the power of the Evangelical Church to move people on Hot-Button Issues like Abortion, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights and Protection Issues (Hate Crimes Legislation), Creationism and Evolution. Having grown up in the South (Florida) for over 30 years, I watched the world change before my eyes. And now as a Gay Man with a voice I can tell you that the Evangelical Church has done more damage to the LGBTQ Community than anyone else.

The fact of the matter is this. I have read my bible and I have studied scripture and I have a University Degree behind me, 40 years of life and Seminary training to back every word I write here. I am Gay, and I am not going to convert for anyone just to get into heaven, because when I die, it will be God and ME having that life review. None of you are going to be there, I know my God. And that is what I have to say about that.

America believes that it is a nation of faith. That between Law and Religion, the Supreme Court is Ground Zero, and that the Evangelical Movement is still working to find appointed judges to sit on the highest court in the land so that they will affect such change that the laws will be changed in SUPPORT of the Evangelical Platform.

gods-warriors-judasim-2.jpg

I have stated twice now, in my writing that I am a supporter of Israel. And tonight I can say that I rank in the group who call themselves Christian Zionists. I make no bones about that. Am I supportive of military mitigation for the threat of Nuclear conflict, I must say Yes I am. I had to carefully think about my answer here. There is enough data on the table from Iran and its leaders to have a stance of preemptive measures so that we do not find ourselves on the brink of nuclear conflict.

Yet, during the Judaism portion of the writing, many leaders including former president Jimmy Carter stated that the Jewish Settlements are in violation of treaties and that those settlements were the one thing that prevented peace from being reached. There are those who would like to see Judea wiped off the face of the earth in opt for an Islamic state upon the Holy Land. If this was allowed to happen, the world would suffer, not only the Jewish population. Countries who support Israel should be supportive of nuclear mitigation at any cost. War is never a solution …

I reprint these words for the three Monotheistic religions …

“What can we do to stop this trend of violence and hatred? Like I said last night the three monotheistic religions of the world are warring with their own and each other, and there is plenty of land to go around. There is always a solution if ENLIGHTENED” political leaders would rise up and come to the table and negotiate a peaceful coexistent settlement.”

I’m not going to spend the rest of this post caterwauling about the repetitious nature of the Evangelical platform stating that America and the world at large has lost its moral compass, that Gay Marriage is a blight on the integrity of Marriage. Come On Don’t make me throw up! How many heterosexual marriages end up in divorce? You know Gays might just get it right. After growing up in the 70’s and 80’s all of my friends parents were either separated or divorced.

So please TELL ME just how much of an impact will gay men and women getting married make a difference in HOW YOU live your lives?

Explain this to me as if I were a 5th grader… (no please don’t!!)

I love the fact that Reverend Falwell reaches up from the grave to grace us with his judgment of the United States, Oh Mr. Falwell, thank God you are dead!! Because the age of the evangelical is coming to an end. It has peaked and will pass, as former president Jimmy Carter shared with viewers tonight. I love the discussion about the disagreement between Christians and Jews on just who the messiah is. And he says if the messiah came walking down the road that both the Jew and the Christian would have a huge theological adjustment to make…

The evangelicals tell us that they do not loose until they quit, America has lost its moral compass and the evangelical movement is going to change that sad state of affairs. Evangelicals argue that if Romans Chapter 1 is to be believed in the literal sense then why does the United States need to pass Hate Crimes Legislation to protect homosexuals from hate crimes? hmm.. let us think on this issue…

theology-print-1.jpg

Romans Chapter 1: –

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

DOES THE WORD HOMOSEXUAL APPEAR IN THIS READING?

I do not know very many evil gay men and women, sinners, so to speak. Although I do know quite a bit of really good Christian gay men and women and some of them are clergy. I also know a fair amount of religious leaders, ministers, preachers and priests who would beg to differ with the hard line stance of religious extremist evangelicals. I know my husband and I are not sexually impure. Nor are we godless men, we are both faith filled men in good standing in our community. I don’t believe we are wicked either…

There is so much to say on religious evangelical beliefs. I am 40 years old and so I do know what everyone is talking about. Not a day goes by in my life today that I do not reflect on 40 years of wisdom, lessons and teachings. I am a Christian. And I live my calling every day. I could not lead anyone or help anyone else until I brought to Jesus what I needed to and I am “Right with my God” I maintain that Rightness daily through prayer and meditation. Through ministry and working with others. At this very moment I am listening to some contemporary Christian music as I write this. What I am is none of your business. That I am a man of faith should be your only consideration.

What I do in the privacy of my own home lies in the safe and capable hands of my husband, myself and our God. And we’d thank you very much for your acceptance of who we are rather than what we are. Christianity has become a special members only club of exclusion and judgment. I asked a certain blogger to write here and offer up his historical knowledge of the six sacred scripture that talk about homosexuality, telling me who wrote them, when the scripture was written, why those scriptures were written and to whom for what purpose. He has yet to do so, or any of the other people that are coming here from his blog to read this one.

Can you imagine that you would find me standing at an altar call after an intense Christian concert? That I would set foot near the cross and pray to God for forgiveness and his love? And you know, he’d give those things to me because I pray and I am just and compassionate and I live and love from the Right place in my heart. Can you imagine that when I was in high school, 10th grade to be exact, that I attended a One on One retreat and on that weekend I pledged my heart and soul to Jesus. I have pledged my heart and soul to Jesus every day that I live, in gratitude that I am still alive after living with AIDS for now 14 years. I am here, God is not done with me yet.

God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!

Living with AIDS so many years I have seen, witnessed and been a victim of the scorn of the religious evangelical church. I watched you throw children out on the street when they got sick. I watched you fire people from jobs, I watched you stop being human and become animals, all for the glory of God’s name. Because AIDS was the scourge directly from God as a punishment for our sins and wickedness… Yes, I have heard every word of damnation from every corner of Christian America, and tell you to get You behind me because you are not of God, from God or blessed by God either.

AND GOD WEPT…

Almighty God
to you all hearts are open
all desires known
and from you no secrets are hidden
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
Through Christ our Lord, Amen….

Talk to me about Christian Charity and living a Christian life. Let’s talk about what I did to help my Christian brothers and sisters, when You did nothing… shall we…

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Mater Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

We fed the hungry, and we housed the homeless, we cared for the sick and we buried the dead, when Christians from all walks, the evangelicals who condemned us said that we were being punished by God for our sins. I lived a Christian life and I continue to live it daily, because of your inability to Love as God Loved and serve as God served, I condemn every one of you who condemned or condemn us…

**********************************

images-copy200p.jpg

Moving on to Christianity and Catholicism and the Late Pontiff: Taken from my academic writing: Homosexuality, Sanctity and John Paul II. Donald Boisvert is my mentor, academic advisor and teaches religion at Concordia University in Montreal. I know this man, and have taken every course he has taught over the last four years. Academia was not wasted. I took full advantage of my time and I take my position here very seriously.

As a young man I idolized my Pontiff. He was a rock star Pope and he made certain impressions on millions of young people world wide. And as I grew up, I still respected the man for his station, because deep down, I loved the church. I loved my Pope. It was my goal as a young person to serve this man to my dying day, and pledge allegiance to his Church.

Just because I came out of the closet did not change the fact that John Paul was the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, because the men of faith I grew up with accepted me with all of my flaws and subsequent illness, so I was not affected by Rome on a local level. In University, I learned much about my Pontiff, and I grew to love him more, even if I am critical of his papacy. What Religion Scholar is not critical of their leaders? It is my job as a student to look at all sides of the topic and present my insight as a gay man to others who might need some education on what made John Paul tick, what and who influenced his papacy and in the end, what shaped the papacy and life of John Paul II.

There is so much more we could talk about, and I am moving away from my original topic, so let us return to our discussion and move forward into meditations on Gay Men’s spirituality, we will look at the writing of my mentor and friend, Donald Boisvert.

In Preface Donald quotes Ronald E. Long, “A gay man is one who recognizes and lives by the ‘sacrality’ of masculine beauty and homosex. And ‘coming out’ is a gay man’s refusal to live a life that belies the sacrality of what he holds sacred.”[6] How we see ourselves as gay men, as Catholics and as men of God are as unique as we are individually. Donald believes that “Gay spirituality to be a form of religious expression and a manifestation of identity politics. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive.”[7]

I have cultivated and worked on my gay spirituality for over a decade since I am reaching that point where I can safely say that I have been out and gay for half my life today. It has not been easy and the study of religion with professors that have encouraged me to think ‘outside the box’ has only helped me in my quest for spiritual truth. In further reading of ‘Out on Holy Ground’ Boisvert writes:

“Gay spirituality is characterized by a spirit of defiance. In asserting the truth and viability of the gay religious experience, and in creating the conditions that allow it to assume a meaningful and treasured place in the lives of gay men, gay spirituality situates itself squarely in opposition to the orthodox religious norm. Though some forms of gay spiritual life may be very much tied in with more established churches, gay spirituality, as a whole, is transnormative. It may borrow blatantly and deliberately from a universal storeroom of religious symbols and rituals, but it posits a radically different understanding of the human body and of human sexuality, on the one hand, and of human relationships with the holy or with the sacred, on the other.”[8]

What is it we are called to be, men of faith, men of God, loved by the One who created us, in the face of disinformation and exclusion by Holy Mother Church. This is our ministry to reach out to those who find themselves outside the walls of holy Mother Church trying to find ones way into faith, by any route available. I believe that a faith component is integral to the life of every human being, gay or straight, male or female, young or old. To close out this episode of religious teaching I give you one last quote from ‘Out on Holy Ground,’ Boisvert writes:

“We return to our initial question: What is gay spirituality? In discussing its characteristics, we have examined how it consists of three elements in symbiosis: critical discourse, political action, and sexual affirmation. Gay spirituality reveals the ways by which gay men define, recognize, and assert themselves, not only as individuals having a religious dimension, but as beings whose very difference is the source of their spiritual and historical election.”.”[9]

I BELIEVE I have stated my case succinctly and stated my beliefs and I have even offered some of my academic writings to defend my position in this community. There is not one Christian man or woman on earth, clergy or evangelical who owns the right to judge who I am, what I do or how I live my life. If you want to preach to me, please do not waste your time. I know enough about real Christian life so please save it for someone who needs to find Jesus. I know where he is in my life… And I don’t need your judgment…

No man knows Gods heart. No man Knows what God thinks about a straight man or a gay man. A well man and a man with AIDS. No one speaks for God and no one has spoken to God as far as I know. But I TALK to my God daily, and until he calls me home from this earth I will go on with my Christian life and ministry because at the end, I want to hear my God say to me “Well Done good and faithful servant…”

cairo-hello-copyb.jpg