My response to This Modest Mom

A blog by the name of This Modest Mom recently published a post about canceling a $6,000 vacation to Disney World over a same-sex moment in the upcoming live-action version of Beauty and The Beast. After she received hundreds of responses that she deemed “hate mail,” she wrote a response defending her views as being neither homophobic or unreasonable. I was unable to post a response on her blog due to a server error, so I wanted to share it here in the hopes that she might run across it one day.

​Perhaps the reason people are singling out your anti-LGBT comments is because you made a point to focus on that issue in your last post. It’s in the title for goodness sake!

As someone who grew up Pentecostal, I would venture you are of the same background based on your appearance. I am also gay. I understand how strongly most Pentecostal people feel about homosexuality, but your “boycott” of Disney feels more like a convenient way of getting attention than a personal conviction.

After all, if you use Google, Facebook, or WordPress, you are utilizing companies that strongly support LGBT causes. Heck, the company that makes the phone you use most likely spends vast amounts of time and money promoting equality. It seems a bit hypocritical to pick and choose which companies you refuse to do business with, especially when your trip to Disney was an unnecessary vacation that would have cost you several thousand dollars.

While I am sure you are a nice person who is simply trying to do the “right” thing, I hope that one day you will wake up and realize just how wrong you are. You are on the wrong side of history, and you ignore the most basic tenets of Christianity while attempting to live a Christian life. It’s all about love, really, and if you can’t love and accept those who are different, then I don’t know how much you truly know about Christ.

They do exist

I would rather have Putin as President than Obama.

I never voted for Obama, and I certainly wasn’t going to vote for Hillary.

Donald Trump says the things we all wish we could say.

Gay marriage doesn’t make sense, because two men or two women can’t reproduce. If we only had gay marriage the human race would die off.

These things were said to my face earlier this week by a Trump voter – a man who used to identify as a Democrat.

The people in my area are so happy a white man is going to be President again they don’t care if he destroys their healthcare, embodies the seven deadly sins, or grabs women by the pussy.

#MindBlown

Different

Although you were several years my senior
There was an awkward kinship between us
An unspoken acknowledgement
Both swimming against the tide
Of social constructs around masculinity and gender

Once, while being being chastised for having long hair
And being called “effeminate”
I used you as an example
Of a Christian who seemed both gay and femme
I was sternly corrected with
“He’s just different”

Several years later
After I had come to terms with my own sexuality
I ran into you at a local gay bar
We shook hands
Both seemingly relieved that the pretenses
Were no longer necessary

I heard things about you through
The Gospel Grapevine
Religious tongue-waggers
With nothing better to do than
Ridicule those who are different

About your failed attempts at relationships
How you ultimately joined the Catholic faith
And devoted yourself to it
Much like a priest shelters himself inside the Church
To hide from his perverse inclinations
You probably felt you had a sickness
That you needed to protect yourself from

But you should have known that you
Like everyone else
Were fearfully and wonderfully made
And deserving of God’s love and acceptance
Whether or not God’s children ever gave you either

I heard you passed away the other day
And the thing that bothers me so much
The one question that nags at me is
Were you ever truly happy with yourself?

I hope so…

Carolyn

We unexpectedly lost one of our beautiful friends yesterday evening. We first met Carolyn in 2006, and she quickly became a fixture in our lives – frequently accompanying us to movies, restaurants, and even on the occasional road trip.

Some people don’t understand why we enjoy hanging out with elderly people, but if they had spent just a few moments with Carolyn they would have quickly discovered what a delightful person she was.

She was probably the least judgmental person I have ever known. She rarely had an unkind word to say about anyone – but if she did they were most assuredly deserving of it. It was simply her nature to see the good in people.

Carolyn was rarely anxious about the little things that so many of us stress over. She would wave away concerns over her leaking patio roof or who was going to be president, but she always cared enough to ask about the health of my family members or which plants I had purchased on a recent trip to the local nursery.

Carolyn could be extremely humorous without even trying. She is the only person I have ever known who treated a wig like a hat. She would haphazardly throw it on before leaving the house, and then hang it on the hat stand when she arrived at her sister Betty’s for a game of dominoes.

And speaking of dominoes, that was one game she was always happy to play regardless of how badly she felt, and she thoroughly enjoyed rebuking her sister for swapping out pieces when no one was watching.

Riding in the car while Carolyn was driving was its own kind of amusement. I will never forget how she said she liked to drive especially fast around the curve on Buckner because it made her feel “elegant.” When coming up behind a car at a stop light, she would wait until the very last second to slam on the brakes, leaving us passengers screaming like we were at a theme park.

She loved frozen yogurt – especially the Cake Batter flavor.

She read constantly.

She loved plants and gardening.

She was kind, and generous, and loving.

A French poet once said, “A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone.” Carolyn is gone, and we have certainly experienced a loss, but I also recognize what a blessing it was to have known her and to have been able to call her my friend.

I will miss her terribly.

Hate replaces hope

I kept hoping someone would pinch me and wake up me from the horrible nightmare last night. It just didn’t seem like real life.

Honey and I finally gave up on the dire-looking election results and went to bed with heavy hearts. I tried to go to sleep, but just kept lying there imagining all the terrible scenarios that could happen under a Trump presidency. Adrenalin coursed through my veins as I considered his mental instability and his coming access to nuclear weapons.

I awoke in the early morning hours to check my phone, hoping for a miracle, only to be terribly disappointed. Donald Trump was officially president-elect.

How could America choose this man? Isn’t good always supposed to triumph over evil?

I have been hearing chatter from Christians for months about how terrible Hillary Clinton is, all the while excusing Donald Trump’s reprehensible behavior because he is a “baby Christian.” That is complete bullshit.

Isn’t good always supposed to triumph over evil?

Donald Trump embodies everything that is wrong about this country. Greed, pride, sexism, misogyny, racism, adultery, sexual assault, and dishonesty all while pretending to be a follower of Christ. Nothing about him reflects the beliefs of Jesus.

Hillary Clinton is a life-long Methodist who subscribes to the mantra of her faith, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

She has spent her life helping the poor and sick, working for more access to childcare and healthcare, and promoting education and equality for people from all walks of life.

She isn’t without her flaws (are any of us?), but she has stood the test of time and proven that she will never back down when the going gets tough.

All of this is why I am so blown away when Christians say Donald Trump is the better choice.

If abortion is your main issue with Clinton, then remember that Donald Trump was pro-choice until he started running for president.

If gay marriage and equality is your main issue with Clinton, then remember that Donald Trump was for gay civil unions before he started running for president. He was even seen waving a gay pride flag onstage a few weeks ago, and he claims no other candidate would be as good for the gay community as he will be.

I really don’t care about either candidates religious views, but I DO care about idiots who make their voting selections based on a very narrow view of which candidate most fits with their religious ideology – as if that should somehow supersede every other important issue (like climate change, war, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and helping the economy). There is much more at stake in this country than whether your candidate matches your religious beliefs. Anyway, ever heard of separation of church and state?

I can’t help but feel completely depressed over the election results. It feels like everything President Obama accomplished over the past 8 years will be wiped clean, and that the country will revert back 50 years. Women’s rights will be decimated. People of color will feel less safe in our country. The LGBT community can only live in fear of when our gains will be reversed.

Obama gave us hope; Trump gives us hate.

Christmas time’s a comin’

It’s that time of year again when we put up the Christmas trees, drag out the ornaments and lights, and begin creating shopping lists for our friends and families. Unfortunately, the temperature being 70+ degrees most days has not been conducive to getting me in the holiday spirit.

It has been unseasonably warm and dry over the past few months. The trees decided it was too much effort to show off their autumn colors, so they just let their leaves turn brown and blow away in the wind. The grass is almost completely dead, and the mower (and me) were completely covered in dust the last time I mowed.

I have planted several more things in the yard thinking the seasonal rains would make it easier on me with keeping things watered, but no such luck. I am packing watering cans to various spots in the yard almost every evening.

I’m sure it will be freezing cold and raining before long, and then I will be complaining about all of that, so I try to just enjoy it as much as possible.

The warmer weather is nice in ways. Heating bills are basically nonexistent, and I don’t have to wait for the frost to clear off the windshield of my truck every morning before work. It’s nice to see some of my trees and shrubs still growing, too.

But I am still not ready to put up those dang trees or start shopping!

Viva Las Vegas

The first day of October, Honey and I loaded up the car and headed for Las Vegas. This was the first trip that far west for either of us, and we decided to drive and enjoy the scenery along the way.

The first leg of our trip was to Oklahoma City, but we were up early the next morning to head for our friend’s home in Albuquerque. We arrived early enough Sunday afternoon to enjoy dinner with him and a couple of his family members. The view from his apartment complex was insane. The International Balloon Fiesta was being held that weekend and we were hoping to see the launch of the hot air balloons the next morning, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate.

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We headed for the Grand Canyon the next day, and although we were dismayed at the nearly 80-mile trek down a two-lane road to reach the park, we were completely blown away by the view from the canyon’s edge. It was incredible, and there is simply no way to describe it or capture it with a camera. You simply must visit in person to grasp the immensity and beauty of it.

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We headed back the interstate and made our way to Vegas, arriving at our hotel (the Bellagio) just before dark. We were both completely exhausted. The crowded streets that were nearly impossible to navigate, cigarette smoke was everywhere, and we were hungry and irritable. We couldn’t figure out where to eat, so we decided to return to our hotel for the enormous buffet. After standing in line for 20 minutes and paying $90 for 2 plates of mediocre food, we both decided we hated Vegas.

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The view from our room was fantastic though, and we could see the fountains erupting every few minutes.

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Things seemed much better after a good night’s sleep, so we got back in the car Tuesday morning and went to visit the Hoover Dam. Talk about amazing! We ventured onto the bridge that crosses the river via a pedestrian walkway that has interstate traffic zooming by just a couple of feet away. That, combined with the vertigo, made for a very harrowing experience, but the view was breathtaking.

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After crossing the top of the dam by car, we were blown away by how low the water level was compared to the clearly visible water mark on the cliff walls behind the dam.

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We had tickets to see Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay at 9:30pm on Tuesday evening. We arrived a little early and checked out the MJ store attached to the venue. There were also displays of some of Michael’s clothing – including his glitter socks and loafers.

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Given the time and day of the week, I had low expectations for how many people would be at the show, but, man, was I ever wrong! The earlier show had sold out, and ours was completely packed. It was phenomenal in every way. The sound, lighting, dancing, costumes, and attention to detail was some of the best I have ever seen in a live performance, and it was the ultimate tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time.

By our third day in Vegas, we were starting to get familiar with our surroundings and finding decent places to eat. We might have even started liking the place a little.

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The catalyst for the trip was seeing Celine Dion, so I was beyond excited that the time for the concert was quickly approaching. We spent the afternoon walking around, shopping for souvenirs, and even wasted a few dollars on gambling just because we felt like it was kind of appropriate given our location.

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It wasn’t long before we were in line to see Celine, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Our seats were fantastic, and she sounded even better than I had imagined. She talked quite a bit and was her usual goofy self, but the best part was when several audience members rushed the stage (myself included) for her performances of “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Purple Rain.” She loved the attention, and even told us to stay put while she did a dance routine by the drummer.

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Celine’s spine-tingling performance of “My Heart Will Go On” had her standing inside a ring of falling water. Truly majestic.

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I recorded this short video from our hotel room window on our last night in Vegas. It really captures some of the excitement of the Strip.

We started home Thursday morning, and the leg of the trip between Las Vegas and Denver turned out to be the most beautiful. Utah is probably the most lovely state I have ever been through. As a tree lover, I didn’t know how I would feel about the desert landscape, but it is just amazing. You can see so far that you lose your perception of distance, and there are far more mountains than I expected.

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We began our trek through the Rocky Mountains later that evening. The temperature dropped to around 30 degrees, and it was even snowing/sleeting in the higher elevations. We arrived in Denver around sundown.

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Friday, we drove from Denver to Kansas City, and after a quick stop at the Truman home on Saturday morning, we drove home.

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It was a very long trip, and I don’t ever want to drive that far again, but it was really enjoyable and something I hope to remember for the rest of my life.

Length of Vacation: 8 days
Miles Driven: 3,500+
Hours of Driving: 50+
States Visited: Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois