Posts Tagged ‘Church’

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Don’t Just Pray For The “Bobbys” of The World, Love Them

Life is too short, especially for teenagers and young adults that think life is not worth living.

It’s especially vile when those kids kill themselves because of people’s distorted view that God is a hater.

Bobby Griffith

When he was 16-years-old, Bobby Griffith was so tormented that he confided to his brother and best friend, Ed, that he was gay.  When the pressure of that secret became too much to keep,  Ed told his mother, Mary, that his little brother was gay.

Mary And Bobby Griffith

Being a devout Christian, who feared God, Mary felt that Bobby would lead a miserable life and that God would condemn her son to hell and she would not see him in the afterlife.  Her repeated efforts for Bobby to “pray away” the gay, her constant spouting of Bible verses, and talks about damnation were too much.

On a summer night in 1983, at the age of 20, Bobby jumped off an overpass in Portland, Oregon, and was struck and killed by a semi-trailer.

Bobby 2

Sadly, there are too many Bobbys in this world who are told or that believe that their life is not worth living if they’re gay.

Society is slowly moving forward and letting the Bobbys know that their life has meaning.  We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

I just finished reading “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son” by journalist Leroy F. Aarons, who worked closely with Mary Griffith and her family to form the story of Bobby’s life and his being gay.

He also used Bobby’s diary entries and there’s no denying that Bobby’s self-worth was low because he thought God hated him.

Prayer For Bobby book cover

In the months following Bobby’s death, Mary looked hard for answers as to whether her son was in heaven or hell.  Her church, the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, in Walnut Creek, California, made her think it was hell and that she’d never see her son again.

However, after meeting with Reverend Larry Whitsell at the Metropolitan Community Church in Concord, California, Mary started thinking differently about Bobby, his homosexuality, heaven and hell.

Mary Griffith

Years after Bobby’s suicide, Mary became a leading activist to show schools, churches, and society that every gay person should be given the chance to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

Mary wanted others, especially parents, to learn from her mistake — her fatal mistake of allowing her son to feel unloved and unworthy of her love and God’s love.

sigourney-weaver-prayers-for-bobby

In 2009, the book became an Emmy and Golden Globes-nominated movie on Lifetime.  “Prayers For Bobby” starred Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley.

It was my second favorite movie of 2010, the year I saw it.

pflag_header

If you suspect that your child is gay or that a loved one is gay and you don’t know how to deal with it, check out P-FLAG National, the group formerly known as Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays, just like Mary did.

It changed her life and in return, her determination has saved countless other gay kids from becoming another Bobby, a victim of suicide.

Here’s the link to PFLAG:

http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2

Mary Griffith 2

Show love and compassion and don’t let your son, daughter, or loved one become the next Bobby!  And, don’t find this acceptance when it’s too late like Mary Griffith.

In memory of  Bobby Griffith, here is one of his favorite songs (“Shake It Up” from 1982) from his favorite band, The Cars, in the year leading up to his death.

Anthony

Happy Birthday! Let’s Have Cake!

It’s a very special birthday for me today.  It’s not my actual birthday.  That’s in October.

My blog turns two years old today!  Happy Birthday!

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

I want to thank each and every one of you that took minutes of your day to read my thoughts regardless of the subject.  And, I also want to thank you for sharing your views on my blog whether you agreed or disagreed with me on the topic.  I love to write and share my thoughts and if it gets people to think, that’s even better.

Here are a few interesting numbers.  I can’t believe that in the two years, the blog was viewed roughly 227,500 times.  If I had continued to blog daily over the past year since I started my new job and schedule, it would have easily surpassed a quarter of a million hits in the two years!  That’s incredible.

The most viewed blog day was last Saturday with details on the weekend snowstorm and this week’s Arctic cold outbreak (2,328 views).

Some of the more popular blogs that I’ve written (in number of views) were about Adele’s weight and eating disorders, John Travolta coming out of the closet, Magic Mike, the Erie, Illinois school board’s decision to ban a book about alternative families (gay), my leaving WQAD, and then getting hired at CBS4 in the Quad Cities.

The most viewed blog over the two years (25,052 views) was about 50 Cent.

50

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/super-bowl-bet-50-cent-ill-pay-you-a-dollar-to-keep-it-to-yourself/

But, here are some of my favorite blogs I’ve shared with you.

“THERE IS A HEAVEN & I’LL BE GOING THERE ONE DAY”

february-3-2012-daddy-a-abba

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/there-is-a-heaven-ill-be-going-there-one-day/

“I WAS THE CHOSEN ONE”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/i-was-the-chosen-one/

“ABBA: MY BEST FRIEND”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/abba-my-best-friend/

“DO WE REALLY NEED TO TELL ADELE SHE’S “TOO FAT”?”

adele out

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/do-we-really-need-to-tell-adele-shes-too-fat/

“THE BOOK OF REVELATION SCARED ME AWAY FROM CHURCH”

lake_of_fire

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“OUR EATING HABITS ARE KILLING US”

72ozSteaklarger

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“HAVE YOUR RECEPTION HERE UNLESS YOU’RE GAY”

uclublogo

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/have-your-reception-here-unless-youre-gay/

“EVENTUALLY, ALL DYNASTIES FALL”

Robertson

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/eventually-all-dynasties-fall/

As we head into the third year, I hope you come along with me to see what I might be writing about next.

You can also use the search at the top of blog page to look for topics that might interest you to see if I blogged about it.

Again, thank you.

Anthony

The Book of Revelation Scared Me Away From Church

This a weather computer model and a Bible.  The two are nothing alike, yet they have so much in common.  Both tell many stories and both are full of contradictions.

One meteorologist will look at the computer models and see one scenario and make a forecast and another meteorologist will analyze the same information and could devise a totally different forecast.  One person reading the Bible will take those words to mean one thing while another person reading those exact same words will come to a different conclusion of what it means.

The way a meteorologist analyzes a weather computer models could mean the difference between a snowstorm or sunny skies.  Christians reading the Bible could deduce that if you live your life one way, you’re living God’s way and you’ll go to heaven.  Another Bible-reading person will say that if you’re living that same way of life, you could be a sinner and you’ll go to hell.  Some even say that’s a gray area and if you ask God for forgiveness, it could change your travel plans once you die.

Shocking as it may be, I attended the First Assembly God Church in Mayfield, Kentucky, although forcibly in my pre-teen years.  I still pray to God every night.  However, I now choose to analyze weather models instead of reading the Bible.  Actually, I don’t even own a Bible and for the record, I looked at one the other day at the dollar store, but the print was too small!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  I’ve always known that I was gay from the time I was a little boy.  That had nothing to do with me not wanting to go to church.  What scared me away was my church’s obsession with the Book of Revelation.  Maybe it was a 1970s thing to preach and obsess over fire and brimstone or maybe my mother just chose an unlucky church with that stance?

Those Sundays and Wednesdays in church didn’t just scare the hell out of me, it scared me away from church and organized religion.  It was frightening to hear about God’s anger with the world and not God’s love.

**If you’ve read this far, read each of the following words in the next paragraph in its entirety and do not take out context, please.**

I believe that every person on Earth of every faith has a right to a relationship with God however they see fit.  If that means going to church, do so.  If that means reading the Bible at home, enjoy.  However, as an adult, I will never have a relationship with God through a church.  When we see religion and the Bible used to discriminate and hate and call it God’s words, that is sad.  When we see suicide bombers and  people killing others in the name of religion, no thank you.   I have a wonderful one-on-one relationship with God.  He’s gotten me through some dark times in my life and he’s blessed me with so much.  I don’t need to be in a “house of God” to maintain that relationship with him.

Hopefully, I made my stance about organized religion, churches, and the Bible clear so I don’t alienate and insult people that I call my friends.  Now, I want to get to the point of this blog.  It’s the Book of Revelation and how I put it behind me 30+ years ago and now it’s coming back to me through entertainment.  However, this time, it doesn’t scare me.  It fascinates me.

I’m sure you heard about the controversy in 2006 when Madonna sang “Live To Tell” “nailed” to a mirrored cross on the “Confessions Tour”.

It was incredible, but it didn’t remind me of scary childhood memories of church.

However, when I saw Britney Spears in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last summer (wearing a Madonna t-shirt –the religious icon, not the pop music icon), her closing number jolted me back to my childhood and the Book of Revelation.

When performing the finale “Till The World Ends”, Britney comes down as an angel in the midst of fireworks.  It reminded me of  the seven angels mentioned in Revelation.

However, I really didn’t become intrigued and newly educated on the Book of Revelation until two weeks ago when season six of “Dexter” arrived.  It was all about the final book of the Bible and the end of the world!

If you haven’t seen season six of “Dexter” yet, I mention the plot line in a generic fashion with visuals and video, so stop reading now.  And, I’ll give you the last line of my blog so you know where all of this leads:  “Children and young adults should be taught the difference between right and wrong, but not by making God seem like an evil or scary person through the Book of Revelation.  For that, we have Halloween.”

The antagonists in “Dexter” season six, are the Doomsday Killers (DDK).  They thought it was their job to bring on the “End of Days”, or the end of the world.  And, they had to do by making seven sacrifices.

Even with the spoiler alert, I won’t go into much detail except for the fact that the “Seven Sacrifices” included the Seven-Headed Serpent, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse, the Angel of Death, the Whore of Babylon, the Bowls of Wrath, Wormwood, the Lake of Fire, and the Lamb.

This is how the Four Horses of the Apocalypse murder was depicted.

While the following art images from “Dexter” are fictionalized, the premise was lifted from directly from the Bible.  It encouraged me to go online and look closer at the Book of Revelation and it made me realize that my decision to leave church when I did was the correct one.

Children and young adults should be taught the difference between right and wrong, but not by making God seem like an evil or scary person through the Book of Revelation.  For that, we have Halloween.

Anthony