Thursday, December 28, 2017

I just thought of the fact that Early Quakers were radical because they decided to live like they believed the disciples of Jesus lived. Would I be willing to live such a radical way of life? The answer is probably not, I'm not sure I'm up for that type of radical life. But I'm willing to serve. And perhaps that's the best I can do as a friend and follower of Jesus right now. Just be willing to serve. And maybe over time, I can be transformed in heart and mind to such an extent as to become more and more like the Valiant Sixty, or John Woolman or Bayard Rustin. But for now, Lord, make me a servant.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Spiritual Discipline is hard.

Quaker Spirituality can be tough, because, in modern times, it relies on your own personal spiritual discipline and less on communal liturgical practice to ground you. To be faithful to the Quaker path, I have to embrace a disciplined life. I have not, however, been a very disciplined person in my life. So accepting such a rigorous form of Christianity is difficult for me. But I'm trying to embrace it because I have a number of goals that I'd like to accomplish. Namely, I'd like to live a fulfilled and happy life, and I can't reach that goal if I'm not a disciplined person.

My future happiness and worthiness to serve consist of so many steps. And their are many obstacles, internal and external, in my life that makes it more difficult. The smallness of the fellowship of which I'm a part, the dimmed nature of the light of Christ in my heart and the hearts of my fellow Quakers, the constant barrage of the theological notions of  my family and friends, my inner desire not to offend them or anyone else by more thoroughly and robustly practicing and defending my faith, to despairing at times over what God actually wants of me and other LGBT Christians in this world.

It's hard to be spiritually disciplined when facing so many obstacles to faith.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sex as sacrificial giving.

Is their such a thing as sexual immorality? I think the record of Scripture is pretty clear that the answer to that question is yes, but what constitutes sexual immorality changes over time in Scripture and outside of it. So it is important to come up with a sexual ethic and hold ourselves to it so as to avoid sexual immorality. So what would it look like for a Christian to live his/her life in a sexually moral way? One way I think we can think of sex in a sexually moral way is to think about sex as a gift that we give to someone we love, instead of a commodity or product that we consume. Our Christian discipline as sexual beings is to give our bodies up as gifts to people to whom we've committed ourselves in some fundamental way. I think a Christian judges sex not by prowess or initial capability or compatibility, but by a willingness to learn about  the other person in bed and being willing to do our best to give of our bodies in a way that pleases our partner. To be living sacrifices ,one to another, as we spiritually are to God.


I need to exercise a lot right now. I'm overweight and I'm worried about the implications for my life. So I'm committing myself to a no fast food, no meat diet starting immediately. I'm going to cook a pot of rice and a pot of lentils and add spinach to both. Only small amounts of salt of course. I love sweet things so that's going to be hard to give up. But I need to take drastic action on behalf of my health.

I need to lose 60 pounds. I plan to lose 10 pounds a month for 6 months starting today, December 14, 2017. I want to do this for lots of reasons. My health first. I'm predisposed to high blood pressure and diabetes, and I have anxiety and stress a lot. I don't want to die young or suffer severely when I get older. So it's critical as I'm almost 30, to start eating well. Secondly, I'm in an impossible love situation. If I want the guys, I've got to look good. Losing weight and being healthy are essential to not only feeling good about myself but looking attractive to others, And at this point in my life, that's important.
3rd, I'm trying to be a faithful Christian, and to do that we have to be a faithful steward of the body God has gifted to us. That means eating healthfully and well, not forcing junk food into my body, getting a good nights rest, and drinking water.

It's an ambitious project, a lot to take on; but I want this bad, and I'm determined to see it through. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Not feeling great. Tired of messing up, tired of wasting time, tired of addiction to things I don't need.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Journeying with Quakerism and the need for foundations.

I've decided to give Quakerism another chance. This decision has not been an easy one to come to. If you look through the archives of this blog, you'll find this is the second time I've written these words. It seems that whenever I feel adrift, I reconsider whether to give this sorry denomination a chance. But there is something in my heart and mind that tells me this faith may be redeemable.

One of the things that frustrates me about Quakers is the lack of an authoritative tradition to work with. I don't believe traditions are to be swallowed hook line and sinker, or that we should understand things exactly as religious people of old understood them. But I do believe that it's essential for a religion to have a core set of creeds and beliefs that believers can live in dialogue with. And I don't think that S.P. I. C. E. is enough to ground Quakers or distinguish them from secular liberal society.

 I guess I'll have to develop my own Quaker theology and start spreading it. But developing a theology is no small task. So, I'm going to take the theological literature about Quakers that I currently have and read them alongside the biblical text. As I read, I'm going to reflect on what I think is a theology for friends that has life and a future.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On Debt.

When I graduated from high school in 2008, I was already in debt. At that moment, I should have put my foot down and come back to Ohio and insisted we as a family pay off the debts I owed before going any further. It might have taken a year or two, but it would have been paid off. If I'd gone to CSU afterwards, I would have earned my bachelor's degree by now. Might be finishing up my graduate degree.

I write statements like these, but would the above scenario have been a good thing for me to do? What would I have lost in the process?

Right now, I'm at another crossroads in my life. For the first time since I was forced to move back to Cleveland in August 2011, I have a job that can pay me well enough to give me a chance to put a dent in all the debt that I owe. My plan is to pay my debt back regularly for 2 years, then cut a deal. If my Mom helps out, I'll have paid enough by then.

My future will suddenly take on a new sheen. What was once seen as impossible will become suddenly possible again. The end or reduction of debt for me means being allowed to participate in my world again, being able to work for something other than surviving and paying off debts.

So, on this day, which happens to be Thanksgiving Day, I praise God for his presence and love, for his handiwork in all of creation, and for the promise of freedom from all debt. May it be realized in my life. Amen.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Back to square 1. Or is it square 3?

I've been thinking a lot lately about going back to the turning point and choosing another path. This blog is great for this line of thought because it records precisely where the recent big change in my life happened: 2014.

As I've looked back through the record this blog provides, I'm shocked at how much change was crammed in to one year. I went to a Quaker seminary, joined a monthly meeting, became disillusioned with Quakerism, and joined the Episcopal Church. I began the year disappointed by Will, waited for change, and gave up on the possibility of being with him. I met Corban, fell in love, then committed my life to him. I found out my father had a secret family and met them for the first time. I drank wine for the first time in my first Holy Eucharist.

So much happened so fast....

In light of recent events, I'm wondering if I made the right decisions? I think they were the right decisions at the time, but were they? I don't know.

I'm reconsidering Quakerism and Will right now, and I'm not sure if either, both, or neither is the right path forward right now, but I'm willing to consider the possibility.

2 weeks ago, I was confronted with the end of 2 parts of my life which were very dear to me. A relationship which defined my future path, and a potential move that looked like a solution to the challenges I've faced for almost a decade. But now that those paths forward have ended, I get to reassess my situation from where I was 3 years ago.

I'm financially better off and more mentally prepared to do what's needed then I ever was before.  And mu expenses are low and soon will be even lower. So I'm going to try to view my present circumstances as God opening a door for me, providing a way in the wilderness.

The Lord is my keeper, the Lord is the shade at my right hand......

So, I won't be afraid to search for the Light which, coming into the world, gives light to every man. Or at least, I won't let fear deter me from the search.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thinking about my "introversion" and "anxiety".

I've always considered myself to be very emotionally "sensitive". Being anxious and introverted has been part of my  entire conscious existence. I get anxiety so bad that my mind goes blank when I'm doing routine work or chores. I walk around with frequent pain in my chest from anxiety.
But, except for a brief period when I was 4 or 5, I've never considered myself a person suffering from Mental Illness. I've just assumed that most people feel sad or anxious most of the time. 

I talked to my Mom about this, and her response was generally consistent with the upbringing she had. Unless you're unable to function, feelings of depression and anxiety are solved by serving God correctly and praying regularly and constantly. I'm sure that helps, but that response didn't feel like she takes mild forms of mental and emotional distress seriously. I'll try to listen to her advice, but I think I might need therapy. We'll see.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bipolar Disorder facts.

WTF: Working on The Faith

Life has been....weird lately. In March, I got the idea that my boyfriend and I should move to New York State because they have free college there now. I make plans to go, and spend the next 8 months preparing to leave, only to find out that I can't go. Oh, and my boyfriend broke up with me. And I'm planning to join a new Parish because of the previous sentence...

Every plan has fallen apart in the last 2 weeks. Everything I thought was going to happen, didn't. I find myself in a weird place, seriously wondering what it is I'm even trying to do in my life.

I, of course, immediately started drafting new plans. I find that making extensive new plans, even if I'm stuck in the same place I was before, is comforting in a way. It makes me feel like I'm making some sort of progress. But at times the illusion is soooo thin.

I guess that in moments like these, I should call on Jesus and ask him for direction, discernment, and help. So I will.

And I'm still in love with Will Schlichter and would literally take him back without hesitation if he wanted me to. Which he doesn't. Isn't that the craziest; waiting for someone who probably is not even considering you? But I guess that's going to be my life for the next 5 years, sitting Shiva, waiting for the resurrection of a damn near impossible relationship.

But you know what? I'll do that. I'm going to work hard, get in shape, try to be a good friend and neighbor, love and serve Jesus and the Episcopal Church, and wait for Will Schlichter to say yes.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Will Schlichter

I'm thinking about Will again. You never really get over your first love, do you? Not completely anyway. I wonder if he's  happy? If he's safe? If he's free in body and soul, if never fully free in mind? I think if I knew he was in love and being loved, it would be easier to let him go completely. But as long as he lives a life that sees his queerness as disease, it's  hard for me to leave him to the providence of God.