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Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

—This blog is dedicated to the newlyweds, Rob and Rick.  Thanks for letting me publish this blog.—

So, as I mentioned in my last blog, I was at a wedding in New York.  My buddy, Rob got married to his long time partner, Rick.  It was my first gay wedding.  I thought about hiding that fact till the end of the blog and even giving the blog a different title.  I would have started the blog talking about my friend’s wedding, describing all the details of the ceremony, and then ending with, oh by the way, the wedding had two grooms.  I had it all mapped out, and of course it was brilliant.  However, I have decided to go a different direction.  I don’t want to bury the headline, but lead off with it, and talk about issue head on.

As it was my first gay wedding, I wondered what would be different about it.  For example, will one groom wait at the front of the church, while the other one walked down the aisle?  If so, would the music begin and everyone stand up as the groom entered the church?  Would it be at a church? Would both grooms look alike, or would one stand out as different?  What would the pronouncement be?  Man and man?  Husband and husband?  Or just married?  What would the official and law binding statement be? (I did not learn the answer to this question until the next day)  And what would the reception be like?  I assumed there would be dancing.  I wouldn’t think two gay men could get married without dancing.  Regardless of your opinion about this subject, THAT would be wrong.  Would there be any flamboyantly gay men there?  Would there be at least one black gay guy?  Hopefully his name would be Longinus or DeVon, spelled DEE-VAWN.  And would I be disappointed if there weren’t at least one flamboyant gay person there?  Would there be a first dance?  And who gives away the groom?  Yes, I had a lot of questions, and every single one of them was answered.  First, a little background:

I met Rob in graduate school at the University of Kansas.  I knew him before he came out as a homosexual.  I was even aware of a few dates he went on with women.  I later learned that he was still in his “discovery” phase of knowing himself.  I would not say that I knew him well, during this phase.  Quite frankly, I don’t feel we truly became friends until he came out to me.  We were having lunch together, and he told met that he needed to tell me a story.  I don’t remember the story, not even a little bit, but I do remember that in order for the story to make sense, Rob had to be gay.  I also remember asking him why did he decide to tell me that he was gay.  And his response was, that fact was crucial to the story.  I said OK.  In my opinion, that was the first day of our friendship.  Since then, we have travelled across country together, we have camped together, we have roomed together at conferences, and we have made an effort to spend time together almost every year.  Leah and I have visited him and Rick in New York and it is an honor and a joy to be his friend.  So, last year, when he described his proposal to Rick and the upcoming wedding, there was no doubt in my mind that I (and if possible, Leah) would be there.  Unfortunately, Leah could not make it.  I am sure we will visit them later, as I am a much bigger fan of New York than I have ever been (more on this later).

Prior to leaving for the wedding, Leah had an interaction with a friend that surprised me.  Her friend made it clear that she was clearly against gay marriage.  She is religious, and knew that we are Christians and assumed that we would not attend the wedding.  Leah of course informed her that I was, and she would too if we could have worked it out.  Apparently, it turned into a heated discussion.  So much so they had to talk it out the next day to make sure that their friendship was not destroyed.  Luckily, it had not been.  But they clearly had run into the first topic where they must agree to disagree.  This concept of God and gay marriage fascinates me and lead to my biggest surprise about my friend’s wedding.

The wedding was surprisingly traditional.  It was held in a beautiful church.  The Episcopal priest did an excellent job.  Rob and Rick walked in together with their mothers.  That was the burning question on my mind at the start of the service.  Rick had purple shoes, which was really the only unique difference between the two.  I will say the shoes were fabulous.  I loved them.  Hymns were sung, prayers were given, and we received a short homily (sermon).  God was clearly invited to bless this union.  And this fascinated me.  Would anyone have been surprised if God was left out of this service?  You would not have to search long to find people who believe in God working very hard to prevent such unions.  It is a subject of great political debate.  Many people have held signs, protested, and fought to make it illegal for gay couples to get married legally.  And in most cases, the argument has been God’s decree that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.  And yet, there I was, watching a man and a man get married, legally, with what I can only assume was no accident, a traditional, God-invited wedding.  Two people who could have actively rejected God and all He had to offer, actually inviting him to be present.

The subject of God even came up in the car as we drove to the reception.  It made me wonder if God was discussed in other cars as well.  It also made me wonder, what was a more positive message of God’s love, this wedding with two grooms, or the protests and opposition preached in churches across the land against gay marriage?

The mayor was at the wedding, which I thought was odd.  Later, I discovered that it was he that pronounced them legally married in the state of New York.  I think this had more to do with the church, but I am not exactly sure.  I meant to ask, but never got around to it.  (After Rob read this blog, he offered to tell me, but I have not talked with him other than texts prior to publishing this blog.  Sorry, it will have to remain a mystery to my readers until I call Rob) Possibly the Episcopal Church has not resolved their guidelines for gay marriage considering the new state law.  Oh, by the way, I am almost forgot; the mayor was wearing a kilt.  The church was called the Episcopal Church of St. Mary in the Highlands, which made me wonder if the whole town had major connections to the Church of England.  It does.  I also wondered if the mayor was wearing a kilt traditionally, i.e., going commando.  What I could say about a kilt, going commando and a gay wedding is just too much, so I will stop here.

After the service, we headed to the reception location.  It was at a very nice old house/inn.  Appetizers were ready immediately, which was nice, but almost too much food.  I had to monitor myself, as I would not have been hungry for dinner.  Also, the two best words in any wedding, “open bar”.  Dinner was nice, and it was fun to see friends that I have not seen since getting my PhD.  Also, there was a lot of dancing.  And of course, the required playing of “It’s Raining Men”.  Quite frankly, I would have been disappointed if I did not hear this song.  the funny thing is, this is the only song that guys did not jump on the dance floor first.  As a matter of fact, no one moved until a bunch of women jumped on to the dance floor and started dancing.  It was almost if the gay men in the audience felt that they did not want to be a stereotype.  I think it would be like me going to a buffet and avoiding the fried chicken until last.  It’s not that I don’t love fried chicken, I just don’t want to appear to be a stereotype.  And I certainly would not put watermelon and fried chicken on my plate at the same time.

There was only one flamboyantly gay person at the wedding, at least in my opinion.  He reminded me of Cam on Modern family or Nathan Lane’s character in The Birdcage.  No black gay guys (sad clown) and I don’t know if anyone was named Longinus.  The dancing was great, and quite frankly, the most dramatic dancer was the DJ.  An odd fellow, who was having a lot of fun, perhaps too much fun.  He clearly was dancing to the beat in his own head.  It brought me joy.

No throwing of bouquet or garter.  The group was divided into single men and women and the grooms threw books.  Not the best idea.  One woman got smacked in the head with a book.  I thought it was funny, but I also thought, this is why the traditional throwing of the book will never take off.

All in all, a great wedding.  I wish the best of luck to Rick and Rob.  I love you guys and may God Bless your marriage.  People may have a problem with this last statement, but that is their problem, not yours.  I also learned a very important lesson:  When I think about how people discuss homosexuals in politics and religion, it makes me understand why so many people are against the church.  After the wedding, it got me thinking, maybe a lot of people are rejecting God’s people and not God.

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I spent a little bit of time exploring upstate New York.  Not really exploring as much as taking the long way back to the airport.  Here is what I learned:  New York is GORGEOUS!  I mean BEAUTIFUL.  I have been to New York several times, but never out of the city.  I had no idea.  This may be the most beautiful state I have ever seen.  This may be the biggest secret in the United States.  And I just told you.  I’m just sayin …

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So, yesterday I played golf with a friend of mine.  In the golf cart was an advertisement for the Martini Lounge.  The last time I had a martini was at a bar in Chicago where transvestite sang for entertainment.  I told him I was not a fan of martinis, nor transvestites, but not for the reasons you might think.  Martinis, mainly because they are pretentious, and transvestites because they wear too much makeup.  I hate makeup.  It is why I hate clowns, Shakespearian actors, Halloween, and anyone who works for or shops at Mary Kay.

The conversation continued into a more controversial area and that is homosexuality as a sin and laws that have been proposed to prevent certain lifestyles, such as gay marriage.  I realize that this is a hot topic for many of my readers.  Hell, it is a hot topic for many Americans, but I do not want to discuss whether or not homosexuality is correct or not.  Quite frankly, I don’t care, but I am interested in the concept of what I will call “The inequality of sin”.

If you are a Christian, or a believer and follower of the Bible, you are aware there are a number of commandments on how one should live.  The Bible is considered by many as the Word of God and when one does not live by the Bible’s commandments, and therefore God’s Word he is committing a sin.  The Bible also clearly states that “… all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23.  And this is a point that my friend made.  “Everybody sins.” He said.  I said, “You are right, but the problem is we do not treat sins equally.”  Whether you believe in God or not, whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, or Jewish, I bet you do not treat sins equally.

If homosexuality is a sin, then so is sex before marriage, living with someone you are not married to, wanting what is not yours, such as your neighbor’s wife, adultery, and my favorite, divorce.  We don’t view people living lifestyles in these “minor” categories as major issues.  And we certainly wouldn’t dream of proposing legislation to regulate divorce or living arrangements.  It is kind of hypocritical, isn’t it?  But this is an issue for everyone.  Regardless of your beliefs, my guess is you too have your pet sins.  Here is an example: If a man is convicted of being a pedophile, serves his time and is released, where does he live?  In your town?  My town? The neighboring town? An island?  Even if he reforms, never commits that crime again, he is forever labeled and will find it difficult to receive forgiveness anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE.  Would I be OK with a pedophile living near me and my family?  Hell no.  But I am aware of my areas of hypocrisy, are you aware of yours?

My church starts a series called “Everybody” next week.  I am looking forward to it.  I believe the church should be more inclusive than it currently is.  If you have ever read the Bible, you will know that people absolutely loved hanging with Jesus.  You also know that he hung out with people who were CLEAR sinners.  People hated him, in part, because of the people he was associated.  Think about it.  The Christian church just 2000 years ago was a handful of people, and now has a membership of millions … millions.  The church was the place to be.  When was the last time you heard of the church as the place to be? Jesus was the man.  I believe if you met Jesus you would like him.  You would want to hang out with him.  Jesus was clearly a cool dude.  He was your bud, your pal, the kind of guy you could throw up in the back of his car and not get mad.  Where is His church?  I want to belong to a church that loves EVERYBODY and people feel welcome within its doors.  I want EVERYBODY to know that they are loved.  Does it mean you must agree with everybody, no but it does mean that we all have issues and we all have fallen short.

I don’t care who you are, you don’t treat sin equally, but if you did, you might not look at that particular person with such disdain and realize, we all got problems.  I don’t agree with everyone the same, but I want to love everyone the same.  I am not there yet, but I strive to be.  How about you?
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Whenever I go to the grocery store and walk through the detergent aisle I think it smells fragrant.  I walk and smell the perfumes and fragrances and have the same thought every time:  This would be a great place to fart.

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