Fifty-Five. Remember.

Rememberbluebird

I carry all of these moments

of all these years wherever I go and to whoever I become

I keep them loose

because they hold you

I keep them close

because they hold me.

When the bow broke,

the day the cage released,

when my throat opened

and I learned I was free.

Pulling

Pushing

Longing

Falling

When I fought you

I was only fighting me

When I loved you

I learned to love me.

I carry all these moments

of all these years wherever I go to whomever I become

sore

worn

& faulted

because they hold you

sore

worn

& faulted

because they hold me.

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Fifty. This & That.

It’s been 7 months since I wrote on this.
Whoops.

In January I got a new job.
In February I moved to Atlanta.
I cut off most of my hair.
And my world was turned upside down at
The LGBTQ Taskforce’s Creating Change Conference in Denver, Colorado.
TRPDenver

Then a break up happened.
March rolled in and I fell in love with Atlanta.
Then I went to Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina,& Florida with Matthew and as far as I am concerned we became the Southeast’s Cutest Gay Couple.
alan&leslie
matthew&i

By April I was at my first Braves game in ten years with a real, live monkey.
family

Then we took the monkey to Six Flags & she transformed into a superhero.
supergirl

Next thing I knew I was in D.C. with some of the most insightful & remarkable hooligans I have ever met for The Reformation Project’s D.C. Leadership Cohort
cohort
I felt challenged, energized, inspired, and then I sat in this window & got a foot cramp.
window

Life is weird. God is good. More to come…More to come.

Forty-Five. The History of Love

During the Age of Glass, everyone believed some part of him or her to be extremely fragile. For some it was a hand, for others a femur, yet others believed it was their noses that were made of glass. The Age of Glass followed the Stone Age as an evolutionary corrective, introducing into human relations a new sense of fragility that fostered compassion…The anatomical illusion that had seemed so real slowly disappeared and-like so much we no longer need but can’t give up-became vestigial. But from time to time, for reasons that can’t always be understood, it surfaces again, suggesting that the age of Glass, like the Age of Silence, never entirely ended. – Nicole Krauss

Forty-Four. People > Ideas.

Back in October I spent a few days at home with many of the people who have contributed to my personal and spiritual formation in the most fundamental  of ways. I am talking about  the people who appreciated and befriended me amidst the awkwardness born of my gender ambiguity in the 4th grade, the people who loved me through my angsty adolescence, the  people who first communicated the whole gospel message to me with both conviction and intellectual honesty, the people who designed my paradigm for true friendship, the people who introduced me to the kind of music you can hear with your heart …and not just your ears…And yes, the people who now though supporting me, do not share the same theological conclusions about my orientation.

As this was my first trip home since officially coming out and beginning my career with Planting Peace/The Equality House the questions of Christian ethics, faith, and sexuality were a centerpiece in many of theses conversations. Despite the fatigue born of discussing the debate, working through all the different aspects of such a discourse,  and the divisiveness associated with it all in general…I was overwhelmed by this single thought;

that is that people, if we let them, can pleasantly defy the logical conclusions of what their ideas suggest about them.

You see, it has been my long-held assumption that all of those holding a non-affirming position on gay relationships within the Church  inevitably have to exclude those with the opposing perspective from fellowship and from the consolations of biblical community at large. It has been my long-held assumption that my shift in theology puts me under their scrutiny, their criticism, and their judgment…And it has been my long-held assumption that those with a non-affirming position on gay relationships believe it within their jurisdiction to suggest both privately and publicly that I am no longer following Christ. Granted, there are PLENTY of those holding a non-affirming position who do fit into these assumptions the point I am trying to make is that not all of them do…

What seems to be happening, amongst my friends at least, is an increasing awareness of our (ALL of our) theological limitations. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to at length about these issues have expressed a profound interest in being able to be wrong, wanting to learn more and desiring a stronger understanding of the painful and confusing experiences associated with being a person who identifies as both gay and Christian. As my prejudices are being shattered, I listen to Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In The Mirror’ on repeat, and I reflect on a concept a friend of mine refers to as “mutually transforming relationships” I feel encouraged to keep asking deeper, harder questions, and to never settle for my own understanding of Truth. In agreeing to disagree I think we have the potential to pull one another closer to the center of biblical tension and to do so in both love and respect.

This is civil discourse.

This is life-giving admonishment.

This is focusing on the majors instead of the minors.

Maybe this is bad for ‘activism’ but I think there is something to be said about pursuing/maintaining relationships with people who hold a different conviction than us instead of reducing our all conversations to tasks of conversion.

Forty-Two. Happy Birthday.

I AM 

always telling you to write poems because your brain holds a pen like it was born that way.

Like it was made to spin to wind and run and dispel so many of the mysteries that have destroyed and created quandary, confusion, blindness, and sight. 

Your brain holds a pen like bluebirds have nests and foxes have dens always chirping and preaching that the running of orphans and black sheep can cease; that their drifting can end and that because of the son of man’s tramped and torn life we will have a home, we will find that home and that it doesn’t matter where we came from or who we have been.

i am

always telling you to write poems because your words are far from cheap.

And every time you put your thoughts down your two cents roll out and make the first payment towards a disheveled child’s future, a lost sojourner’ way, a promise that hope is so much more than a 4 letter idea to imagine or make up

because you actually believe it

you actually live it

because it has cost you your whole life and somehow managed to give you back everything more than you or i or any ever spoke, or claim & named.

i am

always telling you to write poems because i know that every person you ever meet is the best story that you have ever read- and when you turn the pages its never because you are seeking to finish so much as simply looking, searching, digging, and reaching for the beginning.

The beginning of that tattered and frayed blood red chord of redemption that runs standard through everyone’s – EVERYONE’S God awful, God beautiful life –

tragedy turned comedy

comedy turned epic

epic turned timeless, priceless classic;

Turned ashes to ashes and dust to dust, naked we came and naked we will damn leave

And not because its sexy not because its enchanting but because and ONLY BECAUSE that is IT-

That is The Story, the one story that we all get with one pen, that same pen that I said looked so right held tight in your white-knuckled fist dearly pressed against your skull because it never forgets and we both know that it sure as hell never erases but its been washed,

hallelujah

its been sanctified by the tears of grief that maybe you yourself can’t cry but I know you’re moved by which bled out the Savior’s burning eyes the night the world kissed that divine Palestinian skin with the same filthy lips that made prophets come apart- the same filthy lips that for the joy set before Him , He came and buried His perfection into this fragmented crust so that we could know the light from the dark

so that even when no one could get it right you… could still give life

when you would just write.

I AM

telling you to write poems, love

and not to worry if they sound okay or if they make sense or whatever that bullshit reason was that you don’t write poems

because your brain holds a pen-

Your were born so your brain would hold this pen.

Forty. The Museum.

“Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” -(J.D. Salinger)

If my life were a museum I’d never charge admission.

I’ve never thought that preserving the past was something you should tax,  ascribe a cost, withhold or mask.

I’d have a whole floor dedicated to that bedroom I shared with my brother and sister, ratty beanie babies, and that raccoon puppet my dad used to tell his stories before bedtime

laughing until we couldn’t breath, laughing until sleep stole our minds.

If my life were a museum I’d show off all the good stuff and the ugly things too.

I’ve never thought that preserving the past was something you should water down, paint rosy red, or reduce to completely blue.

The halls would replay moving pictures of days like the the one when my mom called out the neighborhood mean lady for all her bullying noise and the one I caught my first wave without my dad’s push and he told me I was no less than any of those dirty little grom boys.

If my life were a museum I’d have certain lights that always stay dim.

I’ve never thought that preserving the past was something you should glorify, enhance, say was okay when it was not okay, or relegate you to play pretend.

You would see displays of shame and fear, cancer x-rays, and music from the Scene.

 You’d touch journal page after journal page that screamed ‘not enough’ and smelled like Thanksgivings in the hospital  year 12 through 14.

If my life were a museum you’d believe that after survival there is life.

I’ve never thought that preserving the past was only for melancholy, honoring the dead, and featuring florescent lights.

You’d find rooms trimmed in silver where I am sitting across from Sarah at Pepito’s describing a Jesus who had come after me, Lila peeing the Red Power Suit, and a grieving child beginning to make sense of the faith, who has been blind but then begun to see.

I’d have a painting of Mrs.Pearson’s 9th grade class room because that’s where I fell in my first book love.

A 3D model of a closet stuffed with confusion, a box of secret love notes, Chrysalis crosses, and orange flavored gum.

I’d have a maze of internal psyche conflict, faith crisis, and a window into those Carolina mountains. You’d feel like you were home, you’d feel like you were lost, and 8 copies of Blue Like Jazz later you wouldn’t feel so alone.

I’d show off all the bottles of wine we weren’t supposed to be drinking in Bible college, that tear stained carpet of my favorite prayer tower, and all the ‘start’-overs’ and ‘do betters’ I thought would fix me.

I’d have a place for all my mom’s weird hats, a piece of every shoe Taylor lost in the first two years we were friends, a postcard from Salvation Mountain, and all the weird notes Rachael used to give me with pizza and salt shaker stickers and more.

If my life were a museum you would have to know that the best was yet to come.

I’ve never thought that preserving the past was something that limited change, ceased the present, stunted the future, or something you have to wait until you’re in your years of last.