Posts Tagged With: empathy

Doing Your Job Is NOT Persecution

For a good part of my life, I identified as a Christian and at one point I was even pursuing the ministry as my Bible Mixvocation. Today, I identify as Agnostic at best (leaning toward Atheist). How did I make such an astonishing transition? The biggest change was I began to empathize rather than feel victimized. What propagated the change? I admitted who I was not only to myself, but publicly – I am a gay man. It took me YEARS to accept myself and eventually learned not to feel shame about being who I am. Recent “religious freedom” laws are only good for reinforcing the “IDEA” that Christians are losing freedoms or are being persecuted – which is irrational and asinine (using it now I wish it were spelled ASSinine).

The most frequent excuse I would get when inviting someone to church back in the day was – there are Tattoo Sintoo many hypocrites. I was brainwashed by my years in the church and could easily counter that excuse by explaining all the good the church and Christians do. Once my perspective changed, I was amazed I was so blind. I tried reading and studying the Bible more and that just convinced me more the excuses I had heard were valid. The  hypocrites had their justification because the Bible can support most any prejudice. There are few things “Christians” hate more than when someone can use the Bible against what they are doing and saying. I have written before that more “Christians” should be called “Biblicans” because the hatred and intolerance they feel can be  justified using the Bible and there is NOTHING Christ like in their behavior – based on HIS teachings. The saddest thing to me is how they are blind to their hypocrisy.

The "thing" is... Atheists don't need proof of nothing! lol

The “thing” is… Atheists don’t need proof there is nothing! lol

I want to understand WHY Christians in the United States feel they need these religious freedom laws? As I see it… the freedom they want is to force others (the general public including gays) to be bound by their religious beliefs. Why would others (especially gays) having equality be a threat they need freedom from? What right have they lost or need protection from? Oh, the right to discriminate against gays; to make sex and contraception subjected to their views. Hobby Lobby is who I blame for all this shit! Providing contraception to employees should not be based on religious beliefs of the company. If the employees were forced to receive contraception, then it would be different!

Paranoid Much?

Paranoid Much?

The paranoid idea that religious freedoms are under attack is fueled by the likes of Fox News constantly having “news” (or rant) pieces about things like “The War on Christmas” that help bolster their ratings! Have they not been inside a WalMart in September? Christmas is in full bloom in the US for at least four months! Saying a non-offensive greeting like Happy Holidays is a threat? They need to go overseas to understand war on Christians. There are persecuted Christians in other countries. Like the boy that cried wolf… I have grown numb to their ideas of persecution.

It could also be fear of having to do their job for someone they USE religion as an excuse to justify their prejudice, Gay Cakediscrimination, or even hatred. All this bullshit about bakeries being FORCED to make cakes for gay weddings is RIDICULOUS! Christ taught “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” ~Matthew 5:41 A blog by Jessica Kantrowitz (http://tenthousandplaces.org/2015/04/01/bake-for-them-two/) explains this better and in a more pleasant tone than I can. Memories Pizza in Indiana received more than $850,000 from sympathetic “religious” folks for closing 8 days after standing up to a hypothetical situation that gays would force them to cater and serve pizza at a wedding. They felt persecuted for publicly stating they would discriminate against gays.

Gay pizza party... maybe. Gay wedding.... NO!  lol

Gay pizza party… maybe. Gay wedding…. NO! lol

While I respect Memories Pizza’s rights to believe what they want, it is that they made a fortune given by others that are also paranoid, scared, and frightened by unrealistic hypothetical situations that would not happen. #1 – it would be very unlikely that Gays would ever serve pizza at a wedding. #2 – anyone getting married (gay or straight) asks not forces people to make cakes, take photos, or even plan their wedding. Who wants hate cake, an unhappy photographer or an unenthusiastic wedding planner?

A GOOD reason for a gofund me! http://www.gofundme.com/pizza4equality

A GOOD reason for a gofund me! http://www.gofundme.com/pizza4equality

Bill Maher has asked why moderate Muslims have not been as vocal against the likes of ISIS. I ask why aren’t moderate Christians more vocal? I know there are moderates and extremist in any and all religions and beliefs. But the problem I have is when the extremist are ALLOWED to be the LOUDEST voices, the moderate and reasonable are complacent with what happens in the name of their religion or beliefs! I only wish I could be louder for gays, reasonable people and the nonreligious; but when others join in… we will be louder than a gofundme for hypothetical and unreasonable prejudices!

Why are Christians so BLESSED?

Why are Christians so BLESSED?

Jesus even taught,“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matt 5:10). If the LGBT community HAD equal rights, there would be no need for gays or objecting Christians to stand up for their rights… we would be equal and Christians in the US would no longer feel so hypothetically persecuted!

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Categories: Life, Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This Guy I Know

Helping Others

There is this guy I know who I admire and respect. This guy wants and tries to help others, to do and be good. This guy feels there are valuable life lessons that can be learned through his experiences in life. Lessons that people can learn from without HAVING to experience the tough situations personally as he has. He lives with blinders and forgets all that is good about himself because he sees little change with many of the people he encounters. I should mention – this guy I know has lost his religion and he lost it because of religious people!

This guy I know has family that loves him and that he loves, but it is a conditional love. He sees a not only deeply religious people of faith, but he also sees people who are deeply helping religionmisguided. Like many “Christians”, they read the Bible to find reinforcement for their prejudices and hatred.  They NEVER see the contradictions of the Bible.  This guy I know sees them use the Bible to justify and rationalize how they can “Stand Their Ground” for their beliefs while showing contempt for others beliefs. They find it difficult to live with things it says like “love thy enemy” (because as a gay man… I AM the enemy), “turn the other cheek” or to quote Jesus, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 

I would rather be a pet if I could be happy!

I would rather be a pet if I could be happy!

This is the first  and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:37-39). But it is often translated as, love the Lord as YOU see Him and only how He is seen through YOUR eyes and anyone that sees God differently than you is a THREAT to your faith and their lifestyle condemns not only them, but also you if you are tolerant of it and they are not worth respect and love: love your neighbor as yourself (your own children are exempt – they are not a neighbor) only if he/she believes the same as you and otherwise it is ok to dismiss them and their “sinful lifestyles” because as a Christian you have to stand for what you believe in (or you’ll fall for anything – or some other catchy country music lyric). Oh yeah, I almost forgot…  AND eat Chick-fil-a as evidence that your Christianity is real.

This guy I know WORRIES! He has never actually known hunger, but worries – will he have enough money for food to hungry-childlast the month? During the last week of the month before payday… he does have to be creative sometimes. This guy I know tells me he has never felt true hunger but one reason his money is sometimes short, on payday he shares! Each month one friends gets treated to dinner out. Each month he buys rice and beans that he gives to a lady that helps care for homeless orphans and street kids. This guy I know, he DOES more Christ-like things than most Christians. He also exercises a faith few Christians could do by hoping (having faith) that he will have enough food to eat after doing a kind deed for a friend and even some poor strangers – orphans and children! I think Jesus would like that about this guy I know.

This guy I know lives with a pain from a disability that few could endure for a one day, much-less DAILY! But this physical helpingpain is nothing compared to the pain in his soul that comes from seeing injustice and the casual acceptance of these injustices. This guy sees selfish people fight to prevent others from having health care because in someway allowing health care for the poor may slightly affect them and how can they share something like healthcare… with poor people no less? This guy, if given the magic to do so, would cure cancer, AIDS or even heart disease because as inconvenient as his Multiple Sclerosis may be, people “die WITH MS not FROM MS” and he would rather help others that more urgently NEEDS help than he does. Didn’t Jesus say something about helping healing the sick?

This guy knows that suicide is now the leading cause of death from “injury”, beating out even car crashes. But helping gays trevor projectpeople still accept their “Biblican” ways to justify a blind eye as to how their callus attitudes toward others affects others. Teen bullying is epidemic. Being different is unacceptable and frightening to many. At 45, this guy I know is often brought to tears reading about a gay teen that has taken his/her life because it is more appropriate for family and friends to stand their ground and make these people feel worthless than to show kindness or to attempt to understand. There are bigger problems in the world than does this guy’s Mom love him, but for a teenager… rejection from a parent stings more than to an adult! For both teen and adult it HURTS!

If standing up for your beliefs hurts others… I think you should question your beliefs! I think Jesus would helping conditionalhelping soldierhave peacekeepers versus soldiers. When did Jesus advocate for militarization? Would He really? The attitude of “I condemn your lifestyle not you” is simply a lie! When I say “I am gay”, I am not using gay as a verb or adjective… I use it as a noun.  I AM a GAY. If you cannot not love the gay part of me and being gay is WHO I AM… then your love is not UNconditional! This guy feels a loneliness because he now knows he has to sever ties with his family for him to feel self worth again. But this guy knows he is not alone there are thousands of others whose family cannot accept that they are gay and we do know – “it gets better”!  

Maybe this guy I know can now begin to remove the blinders and see what is admirable within himself and find respect for himself again, not letting so called Christians rob him of his integrity because they use their religion to make him feel like less of a person. Even Bible Saysthough he takes no pleasure in calling out faults of those that claim to love him. This guy’s mother feels that even meeting or being friendly with her son’s boyfriend is surrendering her faith, giving up her beliefs! She does not see the fallacy of this thought just like she can not rationally interpret scripture. Being gay is worthy of condemnation and is an abomination, but she loves shrimp, wears jeans sometimes, eats bacon enough she should have concern for he salvation and owns some poly/cotton blends, yet she fails to see those things for the abominations the Bible says they are. This guy sees it as hypocrisy – USE the Bible to justify the things in life you do not like so you can feel a just and righteous foundation for your bigotry! But most of all, this guy I know is confident that the God he believes in and even Jesus, someone he feels Christians misrepresent, would not even care that this guy I know is gay.

HelpingOthersThis guy I know uses writing as his therapy and has had over 33.000 people read his blog. Many have interacted with encouraging words but yet NONE have hit his paypal donate button.  This guy is happy others enjoy and are encouraged by his words, but he would FEEL more encouragement if ANYONE helped support his efforts financially!  😉 If you click on MY paypal link… I will be sure “this guy I know” gets the money! lol This is the only way “this guy” feels he can reach out for help!  As much as he likes to help others… he is taking a break to take care of himself for a while. I need to find this guy so I can tell him I love, admire and respect him!  

Below, Jillian Jensen sings Jessie J’s “Who You Are”… This guy asks himself often this very question and he relates to her pain!

I stare at my reflection in the mirror:
“Why am I doing this to myself?”
Losing my mind on a tiny error,
I nearly left the real me on the shelf.
No, no, no, no, no…Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!
(who you are [x11])
Brushing my hair, do I look perfect?
I forgot what to do to fit the mold, yeah!
The more I try the less it’s working, yeah
‘Cause everything inside me screams
No, no, no, no, no…Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
But tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
There’s nothing wrong with who you are!Yes, no’s, egos, fake shows, like WHOA!
Just go, and leave me alone!
Real talk, real life, good love, goodnight,
With a smile, that’s my home!
That’s my home, no…No, no, no, no, no…
Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay…
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!
Yeah yeah yeah

 helping trevor project

helping trevor-project

helping gay teens

I could never hear this too much!  But it is too much to ask!

I could never hear this too much! But it is too much to ask!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/suicide-leading-cause-death-us_n_1909772.html

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This, That & the Other – Really Don’t Matter!

This, That & the Other

Desperation and necessity makes my decisions for me – who or what makes your decisions?  Americans (for the most part) always feel the freedom to make whatever decision is best.  But for some of us…. we lack the freedom.   Actually we have the freedom, but not the money to back the decisions we want to make.  I know people who have choices and I envy them.  They complain about this, that and the other.  If they saw things from a different perspective, I think this world would change.  I have a friend here in Bogotá that gets upset (like I do) about the lack of common courtesy used by Bogotanos in public ( in private, it would be very difficult to find friendlier people).  I told him “you may not be able to change the world, but you can change YOUR world”.  Smile, say hello, be nice and he has noticed what I said is true, he is changing his world – in general people are more polite than at first.  He made a good decision and has changed his world and I do feel changing the world is possible – one step at a time!

Desperation helps make nontraditional decisions.  But is the a decision-making process you are familiar with?  I am too familiar with this process.  Two years ago, I found myself one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance.  I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and 2 years with no insurance made me desperate to find a solution.  I tried and exhausted all possible solutions I knew to try.  I even found living only on social security, I made $14 a month too much for Medicaid.  That close but still to far!  After all traditional alternatives were explored, I tried being creative.  After my private insurance quit paying my private disability I had begun to explore places to live on limited a limited income and Colombia was high on the list.  Soon I found they had a government option health care system that even as a resident I could participate in.  Desperate for insurance I made the move to Colombia, South America.

Necessity also makes bad decisions for us.  Some decisions are made and made too late even when necessary.  A friend from junior high school was on disability due to cancer and had a 2 year waiting period for Medicare (same as me) and he had used his COBRA time during the approval stage of getting on disability.  The cancer returned during this waiting period.  There was a front page story about his situation in the local paper and still, he found no help.  I chose to share my stories.  Necessity left him seeking help even from having his story shared with strangers to no avail.  Healthcare reform came too late for him. Charles Aaron Jackson III, 43, died November 21, 2009 at his residence in Osyka.  I often tried to remind myself – it could always be worse.  I hate my friend was one that had it worse. I shared the struggle and when I reached out, it was too late.  Cancer got him before Medicare did.  Insurance was necessary but the decision was out of his control.

This – I often see “this” is little to complain about.  As I complained to a friend about what I felt was a desperate situation, I saw a homeless man walking up the street and picking trough a garbage bag.  My problem is a big problem, but it could always be bigger.  I am not homeless or dying from cancer.  I need that homeless man and the memory of my childhood friend to remind me to keep things in perspective.  I am so lucky, I will NEVER be homeless, my family let me sleep on their floor until they find me a bed.  Even with little medical assistance I will ALWAYS have help getting out of the tub because when my legs are too tired to stand in the shower, they are also too weak to get me out of the tub and again, my family (even elderly parents) help me out of the tub.  More than once, I have NEEDED a cocktail and I have friends that will buy me a drink (lol) even when I am broke – I will ALWAYS have great friends because they care more about helping a friend than hoarding their money.

That – “that” is not my problem.  In the last few years, I have had so many problems I NEVER thought I would have.  As with the healthcare debate, I saw it from a different perspective being one of the uninsured.  Why do we have to find ourselves in a situation before we empathize.  President Obama was faulted for wanting empathetic Supreme Court Justices.  I like that a judge can empathize.  To understand law, I think a judge should empathize with the writers of the Constitution to understand how the law should be applied and also to empathize with the people who the laws are applicable to.  Only a politician would think empathy to be a bad thing!!

& the other – It is not me so why should I worry?  I was told that I gave up my right to share an opinion about healthcare reform because I had “chosen” to leave the country (actually a cousin told me that – distant cousin).  Her complaint was she worked hard for her money and did not want to be paying for others insurance.  I have been so surprised that there is a price for life and health and there is a point people think it is too much to help.  I have alienated myself from religion because of attitudes from Christians like this.  I am happy she can find comfort in her faith because it repels me from sharing her faith.  Maybe she even prayed for Aaron, but thank God she did not have to pay more taxes to save his life.

So let’s try keeping in mind desperation and necessity hinder decision-making.  We will be desperate at times, but knowing we are not the most desperate can help keep this, that & the other in perspective.  We will feel things are a necessity at times, but keeping in mind people are doing without necessities ALL of the time makes this that & the other less important.  This, that & the other are things we need to keep in perspective, empathize with others about and also know how our actions reflect to others our priorities.   In desperate times we should know it is a necessity that “this, that & the other” are kept in true perspective.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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