Posts Tagged With: being poor

Are You Crucifying Christianity?

I grew up going to church anytime the doors were open. After high school I even considered becoming a minister as my profession. Being reared in a middle-class home and maintaining a middle-class lifestyle in my single income home after university made it easier for me to hold to the values and principles I had grown up with. After admitting to myself I was gay, being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, losing my health, job, lifestyle and health insurance… I became one of “those people” – I am POOR! This is my new “coming out”, admitting I am poor. I tried and struggled for a while to hold  on to my lifestyle but was not Vegas Stylesuccessful. I had to watch as a new owner drove off in my BMW convertible and I was a witness as it faded on the road’s horizon. Soon after this event, I left Las Vegas (where I lived at the time) and I began feeling scared by the idea as an “adult” I was dependent on others for help with even basic needs.

Along with the change in location, came a change in the way I saw the world. My attitude changed. I got over: being a conservative, being a devout Christian and a Republican as I felt the challenges of my new life choking me. I can’t fully embrace the Democrats because they are not doing any better either. The more I learned from studying the Bible, the more I felt distanced from the God of the Bible. The Bible as a moral guide for my life just felt wrong. As I see Republicans fight to protect the wealthy and try to take money from social programs for the poor, the more they reveal to me that they are hypocrites that only talk about church and Jesus for their campaigns (again the Democrats are not much better, they just do not court the religious vote as much as the Republicans do). The more I learned about Jesus, the more I began to realize that most who profess to be Christian should be called Biblican not Christian. A Biblican is one who uses the Bible to justify their disdain and prejudices for others while dismissing the main points of Christ’s message – love and help one another. So now I introduce a new name I added to my vocabulary – Republibiblicans. Republibiblicans use the Biblicans to to sir up votes as they frighten people of the very things they should support and embrace – if they were true Christians.

Now, how do these things come together for me? With my background and education in marketing, I saw to it that I continued to “market” myself as something I wasn’t. I soon realized I was a Clean Handshypocrite and there are few things I hate more than hypocrites. I was presenting myself one way to the world while living quite differently. My facebook marketed myself as “healthy”, “happy” and living an adventurous life. I needed to be more honest with my family, friends, and even the few people who read my blog – MY LIFE IS A CHALLENGE! As a gay man, I urge other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to come “out”; I now want to be an advocate for people living challenging lives to “come out” and become a voice for CHANGE! As the LGBT community has learned, when people KNOW who we are, they are more comfortable embracing us as “people” they can love and accept in their lives! Being poor is no more contagious than being gay is!

Since I am no longer a person of “faith”, why am I concerned with how conservatives, Christians and Republicans are marketing themselves? Because some of “these people”… I love and care about and they are better than what these groups are standing up for and standing against! I want to encourage someone I know that is a “conservative Christian” to see that he/she is not helping his/her claim to be Christian with a post like the “PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS” photo! The photo also makes me wonder… who measures the Department of Agriculture’s “pleasure” to do anything and what evidence do they have the DoA is “pleased”?! Jesus (the Christ part of being a Christian) taught: RepublibiblicanFEED the poor, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (a “comment” Christ made about taxes), do not be like the Pharisees that wear their religion as a badge of honor! Where is the Christian outrage for what Congress is trying to do to the poor?  Isn’t the food stamp program exactly the kind of “program” Jesus would support? Would Jesus also encourage people to do even MORE to HELP these people? I am not sure who to credit with saying, “get off your cross, we need the wood”, but I do hope I am able to BUILD and do more for society than just mock poor people, because I am one of them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say, I may be poor – living only my social security disability and I do have Medicare, but I am not homeless and do not receive food stamps or welfare. That is not why I am defending the ones that need food stamps, I am defending them because it is the right thing to do! My “lifestyle” is maintained with a below US poverty level income – nothing glamorous or leisurely about my live. ALL of my worldly possessions can fit in 2 checked bags and 1 carry-on. I have been hungry, I have needed to skip meals because of a lack of food and/or money, but I have never really known HUNGER. I would rather go down fighting with people who can empathize with my situation than to help enable the ignorance so many have of what life may be REALLY like for many poor people and highlight the apathy someone must posses to ignore their NEEDS – basic needs like food, health, and shelter. And yes… my “personal” marketing campaign still includes more highlights of the “good”, simple pleasures in life than my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and finances. No longer is my “personal” marketing campaign a denial of the pain, suffering and challenges I face in life… these challenges are more difficult to express sometimes.

When I posted on facebook my feelings about this situation, I was told,”Judge not lest you be judged.” But that is exactly why I feel I need Joel Osteen Houseto SAY something, I would be judged for my silence! I cannot escape judgement of others but thank goodness and thanks to people like this, I do not fear “judgement” from their God! And OBVIOUSLY their leaders are not worried about being judged either with MULTI-million dollar homes! As I stated earlier, I have read and studied the Bible and hope never to be called a Biblican or a Joel Osteenian! But if I were called a Christian because my life reflects Jesus’ very solid ideals and sound social teachings, I would not mind at all. Just as I would not mind being called a Gandhian, Martin Luther Kingian or any variation of the name of someone who stood up for social justice! I am simply making sure my hands are clean, Mr. Marley! Maybe after a post like this… I SHOULD consider the ministry again? Maybe you can support my “MINISTRY” by using the paypal links on my page? OH MY God… I am as bad as “THEM”!! lol

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A Prince Without a Kingdom!

As a child, I loved “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood”.  My favorite part was when he visited the “land of make-believe”.  At this very young age of watching and enjoying “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, I was being sexually molested by a young man in our neighborhood and to cope – I created my own “Land of Make Believe”.  We lived on Johnston Chapel Road in a community named Johnston Chapel that was accessed by exiting at Johnston’s Station exit from the interstate.  So being a “Johnston” was key to my fantasy world and in my mind “The Johnston’s” were royalty.  My land of make-believe was based partially on reality, but much was IMAGINARY.  Initially it may have been a way to cope with the trauma in my life, but soon it became home, comfortable and real to me.  In my world…. I was royalty – I was a Prince!

Pioneer televangelist Oral Roberts’ openly gay, gay rights activist, grandson Randy Roberts Potts was interviewed in the February issue of Details magazine (link at bottom of article).  I saw so many parallels with one major exception… he was royalty on the Oral Roberts University campus or “compound” as it was called by some and it wasn’t just in his mind!  He has been able to parlay his experience into not only an inspiring story, but also a “cause”.  He is traveling the U.S. with “The Gay Agenda”, simple performance art based on the realities of typical day-to-day lives of many gay men.

Randy Roberts Potts inspires me….. but what can I do with this inspiration?  I have survived childhood sexual molestation, I live daily with Multiple Sclerosis, I write with intent to advocate for the poor / disenfranchised / marginalized in our society; but that is as far as it seems to go.  I have tried to summon support to get heard by elected officials (only to be ignored).  So what am I NOT doing to convert ALL this inspiration into action?  How do I get feet under my words?  I am inspired to do……????  What next, what do I do?  Write more about it in this blog that has not earned me 1 dime?

So this brings me to the heart of my frustration – lack of money!  Money may not be able to buy happiness… but it sure can help accomplish a lot of other good things.  I see Cadillac Escalades at churches and think…. couldn’t they have settled for a Chevy Tahoe and done more good for fellow man with the difference in money?  I do not know how to inspire without funds to do something!!  lol  I do not even have a car, but even if I have access to a car – I don’t have gas money!! lol  No wonder the rich just keep getting richer…. the poor have no money to advocate for themselves!  I get inspired, I get frustrated not being able to but that inspiration into action, I get depressed and look for inspiration and then the cycle starts all over again!

I know the problem is me!  I have been “inspired” to learn Spanish for almost 5 years now and still have a very limited knowledge of Spanish!  lol  In a post late December, I highlighted a young man, Johnny Robinson, that reached out to help another young gay man struggling.  He was inspired, took action and reached out.  His inspiring youtube video has been viewed more than 400,000 times by people all over the world.  But sadly, he reported on his facebook page recently that a young man in his own school committed suicide due to issues with being gay and bullied.  How can we (the willing to help) do more to help others?  I was proud watching Johnny’s video when he says, “I used to feel helpless.” “But then…” (he grins) “I stood up for myself”  I see confidence and sincerity.  He even goes on to offer his e-mail.  

What more can we do?  How can we help these young men and women find that even if they cannot stand up for themselves – there are some of us willing to stand WITH them?  Randy Roberts Potts is like me… a Prince without a kingdom and here is Johnny Robinson (homecoming) KING of his kingdom.  Yet there are some that will not ask us to help in spite of our offers.  The displaced gay royalty wants ALL of you to know …. you are STRONG and when you feel helpless…. there is help.  If not us – The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ or 866-488-7386).  So, how do I find MY kingdom, get past my excuses and start my own “Gay Agenda”? I start by asking for your help, asking you to let me help us all find our inner strength!

http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201202/preacher-oral-roberts-grandson-randy-roberts-potts-the-gay-agenda

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 Bikes With Banana Seats

Stingray Bike with Banana Seat!

As a kid, there is usually one Christmas that stands out from all the others.  For me and my sisters – it has to be the Christmas we all got new bicycles.  We did not get just any bikes, we received banana seat bikes.  We grew up typical lower middle class, for all three kids to get new bikes at one Christmas was a BIG deal!!

Red Banana Seat Bike

One advantage we had growing up was that we had no concept of money.  Dad worked hard and my mom was a 70s stay-at-home Mom.  We lived in rural Mississippi.  We had no idea what asking for 3 bikes meant financially, Santa made them with elves for free.  Hearing about Dad’s depression era tales & adventures of walking to school 10 miles in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways, then picking cotton until bedtime; we thought we were rich by contrast.  As a kid I did not question why it snowed in the south during the depression and no longer snowed here or even how it was uphill both ways.  I got the point, he grew up in tough times.

To keep us in our world of innocence, Mom & Dad made sure we always had great Christmases.  Earlier that same year Dad had even had Christmas in July getting himself a new truck (actually a truck that was new to him).  As we rode our bikes at Christmas, we did not notice the absence of Dad’s new truck.  Actually it was not until I was an upper teen that I learned that my Dad sold his new truck, bought an older one to use the money to buy us the bikes we wanted.

As kids, we never knew how close we were to being poor.  Many of my bad financial decisions in life may be a result of that protection from reality when I was young.  Mom and Dad never complained or discussed money in front of us and Christmas was a time they did whatever they needed to make it the best time of year for us.

If you notice on the photos…there are no gear shifts.  The banana seat bikes had on 2 gears – right leg and left leg.  A few months later Dad even upgraded my bike to have the higher back rail.  I am sure it had a much cooler name than high back rail.  My thin swimmers build body was not a result of swimming, it was the result of pedaling that bike up and down every hill within probably 3 miles of the house many, many times.

Knowing now how Dad sacrificed so much for us makes those memories even more exceptional. Mom and Dad made all Christmases special, but it will be hard to top the Christmas with 3 banana seat bikes.

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