Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rejection & Failure

It’s a message that’s been haunting me for some time now. People keep bringing it up: they didn’t get the part, their work was turned down for publishing, they didn’t get the job they wanted or the person their heart was after. Who’s a stranger to rejection? Rejection stems from a fear of failure. I’ve been speaking to a friend about this who is also a writer and struggles with rejection as well. I’ve been rejected many times. My music and songwriting has been rejected along with my photography, writing, painting and commercial art. I’ve submitted my writing to a slew of publishing houses, agents and even magazines. “Not my cup of tea”, or “this isn’t our thing”. Discouragement and fear set in, but for some reason, I didn’t give up. It not only has to do with successors in life- it holds many facets of trials in life, especially relationships with people.

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

I read Word For The Day for Thursday’s Dec. 27th's issue:

Get Over it!

“Consider Moses, the lawgiver and liberator to whom God gave the Ten Commandments. His name is still known all over the earth 4,000 years after his death. But remember, this same Moses was a murderer. He was listed in Egypt as a public enemy number one. He was a fugitive from justice who fled to the wilderness where he lived for 40 years as a shepherd. Yet with the chisel of adversity God was shaping Moses to stand in Pharaoh’s majestic palace and announce, “Let my people go!” A nation was born because this man refused to stop struggling to achieve his divine destiny.
Don’t be paralyzed by your past. If God used Moses, He’ll use you. Everyone goes through adversity. The phrase to remember when things go wrong is, “Get over it!” Have you been hurt? Get over it! Have you been betrayed? Get over it! Have you failed? Get over it! Paul writes, “In every thing give thanks.” In reversal, give thanks. In heartache, give thanks. In poverty and in prosperity, give thanks. God is greater than the criticism you’re getting. He’s greater than the giants you’re facing. He’s greater than the mountain you’re climbing. He’s greater than the burdens you’re carrying. Look at the Bible record of men and women who chose to focus on the silver lining, not the dark cloud. These people didn’t curse the darkness, they shone a light and scattered it. They chose the right attitude, an attitude of faith. Come on, stop hiding from success because you’re afraid to fail. Failure means you’re a learner, not a loser. Stop fearing risk! Take God’s hand, step out and fulfill His purpose for your life.”

This message struck me odd, as I was trying to find answers to all my frustrations and failures. I prayed and meditated on my problems: my struggles with life’s circumstances, heartaches and failed attempts to get where I wanted to be. I kept asking God to take my fear away and miraculously, little by little, I’m doing things that I thought I’d never do. My anxiety seems to be subsiding and I feel like a completely different person because of this changed attitude of mine toward life itself. With the lack of fear, I’m not afraid to “fail” anymore. It’s more of a challenge to go get it, or at least try to. It’s more of working harder to get from point A. to point B. It’s a matter of faith and not luck. It’s exactly where God wants you to be: in faith and love and to know that God is with you every step of the way. He’ll never let you down. Even in our darkest times, there’s always a glimmer of hope; a rainbow after the storm. When we think things can’t get any worse---think of how worse off we can really be.

My sister Dawn once told me what her pastor said when I was really discouraged, “If we change the way we look at things – the world changes around us.”

I’m putting my rose colored glasses on and stepping out in faith. I hope you’ll join me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dysfuntional Christmas

(Actual photo of dad's lobsters.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be spending time with the family this Christmas, however, there are a few quirks that need adjusting on many levels when it comes to the whole “Christmas festivities”, which happens to fall on Christmas Eve for us. The entire family rounds up at my parents’ house at 7pm. Every single year, my father makes the feast of 7 fishes, because it’s basically the Italian tradition. During the course of a decade, one by one, each family member has begun to start the process of developing some type of allergy to shellfish. My father, being the retired owner of a fish market down on South Street Seaport in New York---he wouldn’t have Christmas any other way. Fish was it. That was the permanent menu from now on. We don’t know any other way.

The first sister to develop a shellfish allergy had the worst reaction of all. She literally blew up like a tick and her throat closed up. She had to be sent to the emergency room. Now, because of my father’s demands, she brings a backpack full of Benedryl for the occasion. Then, another sister of mine started to get an all over body rash from eating lobster. She insists it’s not the shellfish and keeps on eating as she turns a bright shade of red- much like a lobster. Then I have another sister who is in the clear----she can eat any fish, shell or no shell. Me? I used to eat shellfish, however, I’m limited to only clams and mussels. If I eat shrimp or lobster, I develop these huge blood blisters inside my mouth. Nobody believed me, especially my mother.

“Ohhhh it’s all in your head!” she said, as she kept piling my plate with more shrimp.
“Ma! I can hardly even talk because they’re so many of them!”
“You’ve been eating this all your life Debbie! You’re not allergic to shellfish.”
she insisted.

Then, without hesitation, in front of my family, I opened my mouth and showed them what was brewing. One of my sisters looked and then almost vomited and passed out from the sight. She couldn’t believe what was happening. Mom feared the look on my father’s face, as this meant that Christmas Eve might include a turkey or roasted duck of some sort from now on. How can their daughters be breaking the Italian tradition? The whole ‘it’s all in your head’ bit was a ploy to keep the feast of 7 fishes going.

Madelene, my partner, had an experience of her own. While sitting on the couch trying to dissect her huge monstrosity of a lobster, my sister Cathy looks up at her and says, “You do know that’s a huge sea roach, right?” Madelene looked at her—gazed at her in shock, then slowly, placed her overflowing plate of…sea roach onto my mother's gigantic coffee table. Even though Madelene’s not allergic to any shellfish, she no longer touches it.

So now, 4 people are pegged with being allergic to shellfish. This of course, being 4 out of 6 in my family—not including their boyfriends or husbands. My parents, being adamant about serving shellfish every year still goes on, because there are other people besides our family that attend our dysfunctional function. Cathy, my sister started bringing pans of penne ala vodka thank God. The appetizers beforehand usually include an antipasto, some pigs in a blanket for the kids (and me), as well as tons of chips and cheeses. We fill up on that junk and guzzle plenty of martinis. God bless my friend Tamar, who celebrates Hanukah and brings over the gefilte fish! That stuff I can eat! She prepares it so nicely and I end up eating everything that she brings. I just might convert to Judaism. (That reminds me Tamar, are you coming this year?)
The picture from left to right: Madelene, Tamar and my mother.

And yet, there’s another problem I have always witnessed when I was still living at home upstairs from my parents’ house: the timing and preparation of their Christmas festivities. Now not for nothing, but if you’re going cook dinner for a bunch of Italian vultures, I understand if you need to cook the bulk of it a day before. My parents? They start cooking----well, I think today is the day they started! Nobody in my family believed me when I said I smelled shrimp being boiled, lobster being thrown into the pot and clams being baked at 2am----4 days before Christmas Eve!

“Oh you’re crazy Deb!” my sisters will say. Crazy? I live here! Are you kidding? I’m witnessing this with my very own nose, eyes and ears and for the love of God, no one believes me! So, with amusement, I sit on the couch and watch my sisters consume some of the fermented goodies going down their intestinal tracks, expecting a call a day later saying, “I don’t know why I’m so sick!" But, I’m a good sister, because I make sure that the martinis are strong enough to handle any bacteria that they gorged themselves with.

I hope you and your family enjoy this Christmas holiday. As we say, it’s not the present giving, the food or the spirits---it’s the celebration of Jesus, even if most of us are spending it in the ER.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Love: Is It Based On Race, Gender Or Religion?

Lately, I’ve been rummaging around in message boards and tinkering with the minds of many people. I brought up the whole homosexuality vs. religion debate of course, and bumped into the same wall about the interpretation of the bible. Why do many people equate homosexuality with sex only? When speaking about a heterosexual couple, people tend to think, oh well isn’t that lovely, these two will get married eventually, have kids and live a happy life. But, when speaking about a gay couple, people usually gravitate to the concepts of a sexual nature only.

I had a discussion with one woman on this message board who asked me what I thought about the passages in Romans, where it speaks about how people burned with passion and lust towards each other of the same sex. She gave me these scriptures:

Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.

Romans 1:27 And in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Romans 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

I explained my views about how this doesn’t say anything about a loving relationship between two people of the same sex; it speaks volumes about sex only. I wanted her to point out where the bible says, other than Leviticus (the old law), that homosexuality between two people of the same sex in a loving relationship/union is a sin. All she could pull out of her hat were the scriptures listed in Romans. These were days of orgies and people having various and numerous sex partners. Lust is not love. This speaks about promiscuity.

I’ll admit, there are perverted homosexuals out there, but there are also perverted heterosexuals out there. Why are gays and lesbians all categorized up into this bulk package of perversion? Why don’t they view heterosexuals as “perverts” when having numerous sex partners? Some do of course, but I speak about those who live by the rule of “religion” and cast down judgments on every single person.

Ironically enough, a gentleman (who will remain anonymous), who is half black and half white (mixed cultures), explained to me the best he could that it would be very difficult if my partner and I had children, due to other people not approving of it. I asked him with all due respect, was it easy for his kids to grow up in school, being that they were half black and half white? The difficulty shouldn’t be in shame-----it stems from the intolerance, small-mindedness of people who live shallow and empty lives. Kids are cruel. They say things that they eventually regret when they’re older. They’ll pick on you if you’re wearing something they don’t like. It never ends. It’s just the process of growing up and seeing different people. It’s called “life”. Some people never change. They continue on with their prejudices and hatred towards one another.

I bet everyone has a story of their own when they were younger. How many of you can say you were made fun of while being in grade school? Were you picked on about something? Did someone tell you negative things about yourself? Did you ever run home crying because some kid made fun of you?
It's a shame when children are brought up in a hateful mindset and intolerance for one another. Love has no knowledge of color, race, gender or religion in my opinion.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Should Fundamentalist Christians Have Children?

The other night while watching television with my girlfriend, I saw a documentary on the Yates massacre that happened back in 2002. Andrea Yates killed all 5 of her small children. Yates had the perfect life, until her husband Rusty got her more into a cult-like state and told her that they didn’t need so many materialistic things. So, they moved from a house into a trailer, and from a trailer into a bus. Andrea never said anything. She obeyed her husband, because that’s what the bible tells us to do. She became a complete zombie diagnosed with a mental problem, but, it wasn’t so much as a mental problem as it was her being brainwashed by her radical religious husband.

Andrea was a normal woman when she married Rusty. She took care of her children and was a fun-loving mother who had a head on her shoulders. Little by little, the process of her husband’s brainwashing took effect and she started to literally deteriorate before everyone’s eyes, including her family.

In an article on the CNN website, it tells more…

HOUSTON, Texas (CourtTV) -- Shortly after Andrea Yates methodically drowned her five children in the bathtub, she told an investigator that she did it because she was such a bad mother she had doomed her young to eternal damnation.

“The only way to save them, she said, was to kill them.

Yates' attorneys are now trying to save the former nurse and Texas housewife from a life in prison. (Watch opening statements -- 1:50)

For a second time to a new jury, they are putting forth a case that Yates is not guilty of murdering her children because she was insane on June 20, 2001, the day she drowned them.

"There was no question she was psychotic, not depressed, but absolutely psychotic," defense attorney George Parnham told jurors Monday during his opening statement. Yates had a history of mental illness, Parnham said.

Records show Yates had twice attempted suicide, was diagnosed with recurrent postpartum depression, and had been hospitalized several times for psychiatric care.

When first asked by detectives why she killed her children, Parnham told jurors Yates was unable to "connect the dots" and she had no answer.

But she was put on medication for 24 hours, Parnham said, and she began to tell a doctor -- who is expected to testify for the defense -- the reasons for her unspeakable actions.

Mark of the beast

"She talks about a prophecy," Parnham said.

"These children of hers needed to die in order to be saved," he added, "because Andrea Yates was such a bad mother that she was causing these children to deteriorate and be doomed to the fires of eternal damnation."

Parnham said that Yates believed she had the sign of the devil, 666, burned on her scalp, and she begged therapists to look at her head. What they found, Parnham said, was not the sign of the beast, but scabbing from where Yates had tried to pick away the numbers she thought were there.

Defense experts are expected to testify that "knowing that something is illegal does not mean that you know something is wrong," Parham said.

But prosecutors say Yates understood what she was doing when she pinned each child to the bottom of the tub until they were dead. She knew what she was doing when she laid their lifeless bodies side by side in the bed she shared with her husband and called 911.

"It was wrong," Assistant District Attorney Kaylynn Williford said during opening statements.

Yates knew right from wrong that morning, prosecutors say, and therefore, by Texas law, should not be found legally insane.

Yates calm in court

Yates, 41, sat quietly at the defense table staring at her hands as Williford described how she called her children one by one into the bathroom to kill them.

She started with Paul, 3, then Luke, 2, John, 5, Mary, 6 months, and ended with Noah, 7. She later told investigators the boy asked, "What's wrong with Mary?" when he saw his baby sister floating face-down in water tainted by urine and feces.

Williford told jurors that all the children showed bruises and signs that they had struggled, even the infant girl.

Yates' ex-husband Russell "Rusty" Yates appeared in court Monday with his mother.

Andrea Yates' own mother was also in court, but sat at the other end of the row and did not speak to her former son-in law. As witnesses for the defense, they were ordered by the judge to leave the courtroom and will not be allowed back until they testify.

Rusty Yates, a NASA engineer, told that he remarried earlier this year but says he still speaks with his wife and is very supportive of her defense.

Andrea Yates was found guilty on March 12, 2002, of the capital murder of three of her five children by a jury that deliberated just under four hours. Prosecutors did not bring charges for the deaths of Paul and Luke. (Full coverageexternal link)

Conviction overturned

But Yates' conviction was overturned by an appeals court because a prosecution witness, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, testified about an episode of "Law and Order" in which a woman is acquitted of drowning her children by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors suggested to the first jury that the episode gave Yates the idea of how to get away with murder. After the verdict was reached, attorneys discovered that no such episode existed.

Her conviction was overturned in January 2005. Jurors in Yates' first trial rejected the death penalty, saving her from a potential death sentence in the second trial.

If she is found guilty, she faces life in prison. If jurors find her not guilty by reason of insanity, Yates will be sent to a psychiatric hospital and her case will be monitored by the court, which will determine when she could be released.

Jurors also listened Monday to Yates' 911 phone call, placed minutes after she drowned her last child. During the brief recorded conversation, Yates sounds calm, asks for an officer to come to the house, and tells the dispatcher that, no, her husband is not home.

But Yates' breathing is heavy, and she sounds disoriented when the operator repeatedly asks her why she needs police. "I just need them to be here," Yates finally replies. "You sure you're alone?" the operator asks. "No, my kids are here," Yates replies.”

So in order for Andrea Yates to “save her children”, she had to kill them---breaking one of the Ten Commandments. This is why I truly believe that a lot of organized religions, such as being a fundamental Christian is harmful, not only to society, but to themselves as well. How far will they go? How far did Andrea go? She killed her own 5 children, which tells me if she can kill those beautiful kids, she can kill anyone for the sake of anything in the name of religion. She claimed that they weren't developing correctly, due to her absence of being in the mental hospital and that they were destined to spend eternity in hell if she let them live.

How scary is that? And most fundamentalists believe that homosexuals shouldn't have kids. Something to think about...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Repent of Your Sins!

It made sense for a long time: love the sinner, but hate the sin. I understand it and I know what it means, but sometimes, something just doesn’t settle right within my heart about that statement. It’s like me saying, ‘love the preacher, but hate his/her sermon.’ It means you just don’t believe in what the preacher is preaching. Is it simply not liking their character? Doesn’t the preach go hand-in-hand with the person’s character? Or are we listening to something that’s been told over and over like a broken record?

There are two categories I’m going to put “sin” in: human nature type of sin and evil sin. There’s a distinct difference between the two. Human nature sin is where all of our weaknesses fail to make us perfect, ie: Christ. We keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. We can correct them of course, just like quitting smoking, but there are other sins waiting around the corner for us. It’s called “life”. Life happens and we fall into the pit of human nature sin. Just because we gave up one doesn’t mean we’re no longer sinners.

Evil sin: a desire to hurt, harm or injure someone or something. It’s the type of sin that you would see in a horror flick---an intentional desire to destroy. The over analyzing typical hypocritical fundamentalist will never understand the difference between the two. To them, we’re rotten to the core. We’re disgusting human beings with no soul; no purpose other than to sin and wait for Satan to open up the fiery pits of hell for us. Who are they fooling? If they can’t admit to their own shortcomings, are they denying that they’re even human at all? To be perfect is to be Jesus Himself. We can strive to be more like Jesus, however, we’re burdened with sin---whichever type(s) fall upon us. Human nature sin is what we were born with; a cross or two or three to bear.

The one awful thing that follows behind human nature sin and the battle between debates of the fundamentalist Christian types is the guilt. Guilt can destroy anybody if they let it. Who seeks to destroy and kill? …Satan. Who seeks to take all of our joy away? …Satan. And who’s the one fallen angel that seems to know all of our weaknesses? …Satan. The weakness of listening to a judgmental Christian can put us under the spell of the devil’s evil deed. If you feel constant guilt: the devil has won. There’s two types of guilt associated with the struggling Christian though: the guilt that derives from Satan and the guilt that convicts us. Big difference. The conviction type of guilt shows us the right thing to do. For example: you hurt somebody’s feeling or said something awful to them. Guilt strikes you and the conviction that follows is apologizing. Simple. The guilt that the devil tries to torture you with is the guilt that’s associated with human nature sin---not evil sin.

“Throw the first stone”, almost sounds like a cliché now. How true is that statement though? How many people can sit there and accuse you of sin, when in fact, they’re paddling in the same boat with you? What makes another sin worse than another? If you think about it, fundamentalists and hardcore bible thumping intolerant Christians seem to focus on one particular sin and run with it. They never lose focus on that one sin. I wonder why? Is it that they’re struggling with the very sin themselves? Or is it that they need to feel superior over other people in order to feel important? Whenever I come across one of these judgmental Christians, it’s not done out of love. I have been advised by certain Christians where as they told me what they believed and then gave me the “choice” to do what I will with it. Jesus gave us “choice”---and we’re supposed to be more like Him. So why can’t people give us the choice? Why are they choosing to slam us with ugly words and make us feel awful about ourselves? There’s an underlying reason for it all. In my opinion, it’s repressed feelings for living a life of “perfection”---to what they think they have. The truth is, they don’t have it at all. After the day is done, they’re the same people just like you and me.

Take for instance somebody telling another person to repent of their sins. They repent. Then what happens? They sin again and again and again and again. Repenting continuously is a good thing: it means to admit to your shortcomings. We all have our shortcomings and weaknesses. Why not fess up to it? Isn’t this why Jesus died on the cross for us?


I sin again and again and again…

Repent of all your sins!

Repression comes into play and I sin again and again and again and again and even more.

When will it stop?

It does stop once we realize that Jesus' death happened for a reason... Will they ever be convinced?

Friday, December 14, 2007

People Suck

Have you ever been used by somebody you cared about--not even necessarily relationship-wise, but used in the terms of them taking advantage of your good nature? We’re supposed to give without expectations and expect nothing more than a ‘thank you’ or some sort of appreciation. But what if that appreciation isn’t reciprocated or acknowledged? It shouldn’t matter, right? But, deep down inside, we feel this horrible twinge of sadness, because we've done so much for this person and we didn’t even get an acknowledgment. What’s an acknowledgement? Maybe it’s just a “thank you”. Or maybe, it’s some sort of gesture to indicate that it was needed; a sigh of relief.

I was really hurt by a friend today. I feel bitter. I feel used. I feel all these negative things that I want to get out of my system. I hate feeling this way. I want to understand “why”, but sometimes, there are people out there that are brought up differently, or they don’t have it in their hearts to realize what they’re doing to others.

So, right now, I feel like I’m done trying to give give give to this one person who needed help. I’m tapped out. I’m tapped out of sympathy, compassion and understanding right now. I really feel bad and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It’s going to be hard to let somebody “in” again.

Have you ever experienced being used before? Even if it was just for your time and patience---just listening to them when they cried over the phone about their debts, their heartaches or other problems they may have been having. Did you ever find yourself giving them gifts just to cheer them up or writing them a little friendly note just to let them know how special they are and then get slapped right back in the face again?

I don’t understand people sometimes. Maybe you can enlighten me… I feel like I’m being intolerant. Yes---intolerant to other people’s behaviors. Is it me?

Maybe you can help me see it differently...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

She's Gay! Throw Her Out of Church!

Is it called “promoting sin” or reassuring everyone that our sins have been taken away by Christ? You decide. If everything were out in the open while being inside a church, how many people would hide their heads? When the light falls upon those who sin…everyone gets the spotlight---everyone. Not one person is exempt.

“Throw him out of our church! He’s gay! He’s a sinner!”
“Throw her out of the church! She’s a divorcee remarried to her new husband while her ex is still alive! She’s a sinner!”
“Throw that family out of church! They had a seafood dinner last night and that’s detestable in God’s eyes!” They’re sinners!
“Throw that kid out of our church! He had an impure thought about the girl he walks to school with! He’s a sinner!”
“Throw that man out of our church! He shaved his beard! He’s a sinner!”
“Throw her out of church! She’s told a white lie! She told her friend that her hair looked great, when in fact, it was just awful! She’s a sinner!
“Throw her out! She’s a gossip! She told her friend about the lady in church who had an affair with her co-worker! She’s a sinner! Wait---they’re all sinners!”

If we all focused on what’s thought to be a sin, then everybody would be kicked out of the church (proverbially speaking of course).

“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ-and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.” ~Galatians 2:15-16

“Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter.” ~Romans 14:1-5
I wonder, who has the right to really judge somebody else?
This is a post dedicated to Gary. He's been back and forth debating with me over on this post...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Homosexuality: The Common Denominator?

A lot of people say it doesn’t matter. They say they don’t care and ‘to each their own’, but the truth is, they do care, or at least they’re curious about it. There seems to be a major fascination with the unknown, and sometimes, there’s a bigger fascination with something that’s known all to well to them. When hit between the eyes with the question that tugs on their own sexuality, they pull away and say it doesn’t matter, or deny anything that has any involvement with them. There’s a saying that whenever somebody hates something about a particular person, it usually has a lot to do with whatever they hate about themselves. Do you find this to be true? I hate stubbornness in a person. The reason for that is because I’m stubborn myself. I don’t want to be beaten at my own game. (Probably a bad example), but you get my idea.

Repressed feelings can only be washed up ashore in a negative light. It comes off as defensive, combative and usually holds a sword of pain. Instead of avoiding what they hate, they draw towards it more; they focus on the very thing they detest. They mock and degrade whoever holds the one thing that the offender possesses: homosexuality. There are some people who are very comfortable in their own skin who aren’t afraid to touch upon issues regarding homosexuality. That’s another story. But when people who bash gays and lesbians for their orientation, it goes beyond the normal type of mocking. It hits upon the very issue that they struggle with themselves.

Religion. People brought up in certain faiths are sometimes raised with the mindset that homosexuality is a bad thing – it’s detestable to God. Even if a believer does hold this as truth, if he/she is not gay, they won’t focus totally on the issue. There are many other “issues” to tend to other than homosexuality. But, when you get somebody of religious standards bashing and mocking the homosexual community, it most likely has everything to do with their insecurity with their own sexuality. They’re not ‘trying to be more like Jesus’----they’re literally judging one another and throwing stones at everyone who seems to possess their similar qualities.

I had a person email me and ask me which church she should go to, since she’s gay and is also a believer in the trinity. I gave her a few options for the New York City area, and advised her to focus on God only while worshipping, and focus less on the people who are in there. She was scared of being judged by others. I suggested that she didn’t resort to other “lenient” religions, (which will remain nameless for now), and start with new age or other beliefs that may lead her astray from Christ. These “Christians” that she dealt with in the past judged her, ridiculed her and made her feel like less of a person. Reminder: Jesus would have never done that to someone.

Do you think religious homophobes, the ones who focus so much on homosexuality, are the ones that are repressing their own ‘cross to bear’?

Or, do you think that these people are genuinely trying to help homosexuals from a future of fire and brimstone?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hell On Earth?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m living it: hell on earth. Other times, I feel like God’s on my side. Some say that hell is a compilation of depression, anxiety, anger, pride, lust and pain. Doesn’t that fit the description of life here on earth? We all go through depressive states, anxiety of different forms, and other things that we can all relate to. There are people who believe that life here on earth is hell. Of course this goes against what I believe in, however, I feel that evil is much more prominent than 'good' here on earth. There are many people who insist that there can’t possibly be a God with all these bad things happening in our world. I can see their why they think that, but I also know what I feel to be true.

Enslavement to sin: human nature and human desires. How do we manage to be perfect? Perfection is only seen in Christ, Jesus. We can’t possibly live up to His perfection, however they do tell us that we can try to be more like him the best we can. How do we know when we’re doing “enough”? Whose idea on “enough”…is enough? Who can judge what is “enough”? Each person holds their own cross to bear; their own favorite deadly sin. Pick one, pick two, pick all seven of them if you want. Aren’t there more sins then just the seven deadly ones? The Ten Commandments are to be kept and followed too. Then you have all of the ‘in between’ types of sins. The 'gray area' sins. So many sins, so little time here on earth.

If we were baptized from the original sin and believe that Christ died for all of our past and present sins, then aren’t we forgiven for everything? If we don’t have “evil intentions” with an evil heart, then are we even sinning at all if it’s all out of human nature? I sometimes write about how some people take for granted the death of Jesus and what it stood for. For instance, if we fully believe that Jesus died up on the cross, then why do some Christians feel that the old law still exists? It was abolished when Christ died up on the cross, as it says so in the bible.

Back to my main question: are we choosing to live in a temporary hell, just because some Christians make other people feel guilty about being human? Or do you feel that our human nature- our animalistic instincts, even if we love God, will still validate our ticket into eternal damnation?

Monday, December 03, 2007

One of the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

Have you ever wondered if you’ve changed over the years? Have you ever looked back on your life and realized you’ve made some major adjustments? Even in relationships, sometimes the two people change. Sometimes, only one person changes. Or, can we even say that any one of them have changed at all? Whether you prefer to call it growth or you prefer to call it a few steps back, if the two people aren’t looking in the same direction in life, the relationship usually falls apart. How can two people stay together if they take different paths? That one fork in the road can totally devastate the relationship. Maybe later, the two roads join together, and you can continue holding hands again, and other times, those two roads never meet again.

In my opinion, “pride” is one of the biggest things that destroys relationships of any kind. When pride gets in the way of forgiveness and compassion, it becomes cold, almost spiritless and indifferent. They say it takes a big person to say they’re sorry, however, I think it takes a bigger person to actually forgive—but to forgive genuinely. Complete forgiveness has no room for pride. Its ingredients consists of this: love, compassion, warmth, forgetting offenses and wrongdoings, overcoming anger and the ability to seek out the benefit of the doubt in people.

Pride, being one of the seven deadly sins, seems to hold a positive word in many cases. To be proud – in any circumstance, always stems from “you”…or better yet, “me”. “I’m so proud of my son! Look at his grades!” To be proud means the parent is proud, due to his possible upbringing because of “the parent”---not the son. Pride looks inside the person who’s speaking. “I’m so happy for my son! Look at his grades!” That implies to me, that the parent is genuinely happy for their son, instead of looking at their own selves, giving them a pat on the back. Again, as I’ve said in another post, I detest the word pride when it’s used for the gay and lesbian community. “Gay Pride!” It just doesn’t sit well with me, because it’s as though they’re putting it in everyone’s faces . “Straight Pride!” If heterosexuals ran around with picket signs saying this, I’m sure the gay community would be upset.

Getting back to relationships: pride hurts the union. Having self-respect is much different than pride. Now here’s a twist: I’m thinking about ridding all the people in my life who have way too much pride. Does that mean that my own pride has surfaced? Or does it mean that I want a simple life where I only invite humble people into my world? Does this make me a bad person to draw away from those who feel that they’re pride isn’t a bad thing- that they view as ‘self-respect’? I always give people second chances, but when those second chances become 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 chances, and then I give up, will God still say to me, forgive him 77 times! It says so in the bible.
"Jesus, I have a question for you. How many times should I forgive someone when he sins against me? Up to seven times?
Jesus: "Peter, I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times."

So, I’m questioning my own ability to forgive pride. It’s complicated, because I see pride being cold and unforgiving. I don’t feel I’m cold and unforgiving, but I have come to a breaking point where my body, soul and spirit are telling me, enough is enough!

When you give up on a person because of their pride, have you simply gained pride yourself in return?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Congratulations Tamar!

Yesterday brought good news. My friend Tamar, who is a talented writer, finished her first book. She was so kind to send me an excerpt of it. As all of my close friends and family know, I write, but it takes a lot for me to read a book—or should I say finish one. I get disinterested really fast. This excerpt that she sent over to me was so interesting, that I couldn’t stop reading it. When it finished, I craved more. It stopped there? Then what? What happened? Wait! You can’t leave me hanging! When you can’t put a book down, you know it’s good. I’m so happy for her and thrilled that her passion for writing (among many other talents she has), came to fruition. After writing a book, even before it hits the publishers---it’s a huge accomplishment. You can visit her blog here.

So, first of all, I’d like to say happy belated birthday, Tamar! I’ll be first in line waiting to get my book signed! Now get your butt over to my place and let's celebrate!!!

Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...