God’s Grace

There are moments in life we actually stop and listen.  There are times we really hear the message.  In those moments, it’s rare, but in those moments, it’s possible to feel something in a way we never have before.  I don’t have those moments as much I’d like to. 

But tonight I did.

I’ve spent the last few months amazed at some of the things I’ve read from friends on Facebook.  People I never really got the chance to truly know.  For one reason or another, while we might have spent years in the same school or in the same fraternity, we never really got to be authentic.  We never truly had the opportunity to get beyond the superficial. 

Yeah, I think a lot of it had to do with my sexuality.  And most of those walls, I built myself.  I was always afraid of being myself, of living authentically.  I was always avoiding who I was, in one way or another.

That was years ago, and I’m not the same person I used to be.  Today I’m rather comfortable with myself and my life. 

And along the way, I’ve reconnected with some amazing friends.  Some I never really knew and some I was too scared to know.

While many of the barriers I built have come down, I still have many questions.

Or at least I did.

While I never really struggled with my relationship with God, I had trouble explaining it to many of my friends.  They couldn’t understand how I could even begin to think my life was acceptable.  We talked and we debated and we researched.  Never reaching a definitive conclusion.

I reached my peace through prayer.  So many people base everything they know on the Bible.  And I appreciate that foundation.  But the Bible, alone, is not enough for me.  I’ve always needed more, I’ve always needed a personal relationship with God.  And through that relationship, I found my peace.

God so mighty and strong to create us, give His Son, and offer us eternal life is as alive today as the days of the Bible.  God spoke clearly in Biblical days and He speaks clearly now.  When I asked people how they knew God didn’t approve, they constantly came back with, “The Bible says…” 

Not one person came back with “God told me….”

I don’t base my beliefs on the Bible alone.  I base them on God alone. 

And while the Bible is God’s Word, I hear God tell me how we cannot base everything we know and believe on the book alone.  We must live with God and let God live through us.

God can speak to us today just as He did in the Bible.

And tonight, God spoke to me.

Getting back in touch with an old friend who recently asked “How do you reconcile your life with your love for the Lord?”

I struggled to find the right answer.

How could people I thought would never accept my life, suddenly become friends again?  Looking passed so much?

God gave me the answer tonight.

I overheard this conversation tonight between a young father and his little girl…

They were just down from me looking at the same choice of coffee table books.  The dad was steadily searching for something to do with maps of the middle east and the little girl was simply sitting, turning page after life-size page of a book with pictures of the ocean. 

I was contemplating purchasing a book about Bora Bora for an upcoming vacation.  Oddly enough, the little girl was looking at a picture of the Pacific Ocean, not too far from where I’m planning to vacation.  I smiled and told her I was “going there in a few months.”

Her eyes got really big and she smiled.

The dad interjected that the vacation would be nice.  Endless sun, beaches, and the great big ocean. 

The little girl said “the ocean’s really big…” and nodded convincingly.

Yeah, I thought about it, the ocean is really big.

I told her “I don’t think I’ll even be able to see the end of the ocean, it just keeps on going!”

She smiled and laughed.

Her dad said the ocean was the largest thing on Earth, it had no end. 

I kept making small talk and said I couldn’t think of anything else that had no limits like the ocean.  It just goes on and on.

The little girl smiled and without missing a beat, that little girl let God speak to me. 

Out of a young lady who couldn’t have been more than four years old, I heard the answer to my questions.  How could friends see passed so much?  How could I reconcile my life with God’s love?

In a wonderful moment tonight I talked about how the oceans go on forever and they at times look as if they’ll never end.   And in a few short words, this little girl and God explained me to how so many things are possible.

I said “I can’t think of anything else that has no limits like the ocean.  It just goes on and on.”

And without hesitation and the warmest smile she responded.

“God’s Grace.”

Two words.  A smile.  And a moment that was so much more than what it was.

“God’s Grace.”

Her dad explained they’d just heard the message tonight at church.  And she was still talking about it.  She wasn’t questioning it, but rather, it’s like she was explaining it.  To her it made such perfect sense.  There’s nothing bigger than God’s Grace; it never ends.

We aren’t meant to understand everything.  And in times where comprehension is too much, where we can’t reconcile it all, we have God’s Grace. 

The limits of God’s Grace, I pray we’ll never know.

How do I reconcile my life?  How do we as people see passed so much?  How do we tear down barriers?  Begin to be authentic?  How do we do all of this?

God’s Grace.

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Whitney Houston “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” track leaks on internet

Update: Whitney’s people seem to have gotten to the links.  This link, the YouTube link and even Mr. Hilton’s link are all disabled.

 

The newest Whitney Houston track, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” by legendary song writer Dianne Warren was leaked to the internet on Thursday, July 2.
The track is from her September 1, 2009 CD, “I Look to You.”
Without doubt, this is the Whitney most remember and love. Some will argue her voice isn’t the same, or that she isn’t quite where she once was, etc. Regardless, she’s still the best out there. And her voice has changed just a bit: more mature, more real, more ’emotional’, if you will.
Congratulations to her, and to her team, she’s well on her way to making music history, again.
Listen her new song for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.
Whitney Houston, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength

Internet Pornography… Can’t we agree???

I was talking to someone who works for me today and I asked a very serious question. Why can’t we do a better job regulating internet pornography? EVERYONE I know, which is thousands of people, agrees we should have better defined and better inforced internet regulations. EVERYONE agrees it is much too simple for young people to gain access to pornography on the internet.

So if we all agree, why isn’t our government doing a better job of crafting legislation which will protect our young people?
Seriously, think about it. We don’t agree at all, as a country, when it comes to health care. We didn’t agree on a President. And we’re all divided over gay marriage. And inspite of our inability to agree: we’re going to see a new health care plan in the next 2 years, we elected a president, and gay men and women are forming families (which is their right.) We don’t agree on these things, but we’re moving forward.
And on a matter which we agree, we aren’t moving forward.
WHY!!!!! (No it’s not a question, it’s an exclamation.)
Is it too much trouble to write your senator? Your congressman? Your congresswoman? Seriously?
I am appalled at our lack of attention, as a people to this matter.
I believe those that chose, should have the right.
But I do not believe it should be so readily available.

(I’ll step down off of my soap box, but I will not let this go!)

First Full Day in LA

Arrived in LA yesterday and already remember why the big city and I were such good friends: the diversity of experience. Already I’ve seen and talked to my more diverse people in a 12 hour span than I did in 12 weeks in other parts of the country. From the elderly black man who explained the Lesbian connection to the Aztecs to the lady who explained how the trains is full of “loons who will talk to anyone.” (She is herself a professed loon and loves it!!!)

I miss it. I miss it a lot.

The hustle and bustle of it all. The randomness of the order. Or the order to the randomnes… I don’t know which. The conversation at one table to my right about a start up company and the one to the left about seeing Janet Jackson at the mall.

Life is so many experiences.

Today will be fun.

More later.

Back to normal???

Well it’s been an unbelievable past week. Life threw me a few curve balls….
My uncle Walter passed away. (My prayers and thoughts with Aunt Violet and my cousins.)
George Wolfe passed away. (My prayers and thoughts with Sarah and her family.)
We lost power for days (thanks to the ice storm.)

It’s been crazy. I hope life is getting back to normal.

Homosexuality and Church… Why can’t I find one? (A church, not a homosexual)

It seems quite obvious finding somewhere to worship is going to be difficult. Being a homosexual, I struggle to find a place that provides the right mix. Everywhere I look is either much too conservative (basically letting me know I’ve “chosen” a fast track to hell and condemnation) or it’s either too liberal (I’m not a free love advocate, nor do I think leather pants or sequins are church appropriate attire).
Isn’t there a place somewhere in between? I cannot attend a church where fellow worshippers would decline to have dinner with me and my partner based on our being homosexuals. I can agree to disagree. I doubt I would find their lives sinless if I chose to judge them. I do my best not to judge others, it isn’t my place. I wouldn’t decline fellowship based on my personal beliefs.
I think church is more about the broad idea, and agreeing on basic principles. I don’t need to find others who believe ever detail the same as I do. What is special and rare is to find fellow worshippers who can “let go, let God”. When you find someone that challenges you, intensifies your faith, and supports your journey, that is rare.
I miss it.
I miss the times I’ve had that connection and wish I had someone to pray with, to read the bible, talk about it, learn about it. But I will not lie about myself, or my life. I honestly believe I can learn, teach, and share and my life not become the subject of focus. Why does it have to?
I miss the friends along the years I felt I did have a connection in this sense.
And I’m glad many of them are popping back into my life via Facebook. (Hello, Heather and Shannon.)
I just pray over next few weeks I find an answer.