Saturday, June 09, 2012

Why would I follow this?

Sorry to have been away from posting for so long.  Life gets busy, and Facebook gets in the way, too.

Today, I got this comment message. Sadly, it's "anonymous", but perhaps a response here may be helpful.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Still there. Home soon": 
Hi. I was going to follow you, but read on your bio that you are a christian. For the life of me, I cant understand (on any spiritual level), why you would follow this faith? With so much more spiritual (kindly) leanings, why? I have nothing against you at all, but I would like an answer from a Gay person. It feels to me like there has to be a strong submissiveness in you? I mean you only kindness. I hope you understand. 
 First let me say I am grateful for your kindness and understand your dilemma. But, trust me honey.  I'm as gay as it gets.  I'm happy to chat.  I'm not what you seem to think.

The public face of Christianity in this country (maybe in the world) is of those who make the most noise, get on TV more, make headlines.  The loudest voices are the ranting, brain-dead, fundamentalist.  The Roman Catholic Church with its sad patriarchy and rigid theology makes the press, too.

That's not all there is.  Many times, I wonder if some of those noisy, condemning, rigid, judgmental asses even believe in the same God I do. But there I go being the rigid, judgmental one.  Hmmmn.  It ain't easy.

I, too, sometimes fear calling myself a "Christian" because of the comment (and judgment) such a claim elicits.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "I'm a Jesus-Follower."

But, dear anonymous, please know that being Christian does not mean being stupidly submissive to a rigid set of rules and judgments.  It doesn't mean that to me, or for me, or in me. In fact, it's quite the opposite.  It is a call to use my mind, to struggle with the Holy One of Being in deep relationship, and to live a life of acceptance, love, peace, and justice.  I can't do those things without that relationship.

I do not feel smugly superior or have some "product" that I want to sell you or think you "need." I will say (and I think I hear it from you) that as human beings we are spiritual journeyers.  And, I don't place judgments on what spiritual journey you may be on.

I don't know that I can or need to justify to you why I am Christian.  It's not (for me) something to "convince you" to accept or a debate to "win."  I believe true Christianity is very kind, gentle, challenging, frustrating, joyful, and life-giving.  I can sure understand how that may be very difficult to see in the public face that is put forth by so many who call themselves Christian.

It's not about submission, but surrender.  It's not about rigid religion but relationship with the Holy.  It's not about judgment, but justice.  It's not about loathing, but love.  Well, that's as alliterative as I can handle.  Most spiritual journeys are about those things.  But any of them can get really f#$%d up.

Let's talk more.  Don't dismiss me out of hand.  My email's in the profile.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Still there. Home soon

I'm still in South Africa and been blogging about my trip.  It's been quite a journey.  Spiritual and otherwise.

While I won't say it on the other blog, I can say it here:  There are some really woofy men in South Africa!  I've not gotten to know any personally, but I can observe and rejoice in the wonders of Creation!

On an outing today, to a beachside town, while admiring, a little "woof" escaped my lips.  One of the brothers with me just said, "down boy.  Behave yourself."  Good to have understanding monks.

Cheers, all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I'm there

I made it.  I'm in South Africa!
You may want to check out my goings on here:  Wild Sabbatical

The new blog is open to the world while The Mind of a Bear continues to be anonymous.  Help me out with this and don't cross-reference things. Though all are welcome to read and comment.  Though it may be boring.

Cheers all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


On Friday, I leave for six weeks in South Africa.  Imagine.  I can't.
I'll be staying on the outskirts of Grahamstown.
Because of the strangeness of my job, I get to do things like this.  There is even a special fund that is paying for this.  This is grace.  I am grateful.  It will save my life.

Today has been another flurry of activity getting things ready.
Shots at the health dept. (which I should have done 3 weeks ago).
Some footwear for me (not easy to find what you want in a size 14D).
Contact and chats with some friends.
And then . . . . . something I have long wanted, but been too inhibited to do.
I got my ear pierced.  Just one - the right one.

Now, if you've read this blog, you may remember several years back, I had another piercing, but in a place nobody could see (unless invited, so to speak).  {Sadly, it is no longer in place; and still missed.}

But the ear, ah, that's a public piercing.  It makes a different kind of statement.

I am "on sabbatical" till the end of March.  When I go back to my usual place of employment, I hope to have the courage to keep it in.  There will be pressure to take it out.  But, for two months, at least, I can play.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sacred Dance

Here is a post from Richard Rohr.  His writings have been teaching me a lot, of late.  Not your typical friar, he.  Unexpected, perhaps.  I am, too, I think.
The original is here.

I am seeking to move more deeply into my Sacred Dance.

Richard's Daily Meditations 


Bill Plotkin speaks of the first half of life as doing our “survival dance.” The second half of life can then become our “sacred dance.” Most of us never get beyond our survival dance to ask the deep concerns of the soul (we are too busy “saving” our souls, whatever that means!) to do our sacred dance. Money, status symbols, group identity, and security are of limited value, but to the soul they are a distraction, and finally they become the very problem itself.
However, don’t misunderstand me—and I say this as strongly as I can—you’ve got to go through this first half of life and its concerns. Every level of growth builds on the previous ones. The principle is this: transcendence means including the previous stages. Then you can see the limited—but real—value of the early stages. But you will no longer put too much energy into just looking good, making money, feeling secure at all costs, and making sure you are right and others are wrong. That’s what it means to grow up, and Christians need to grow up just like everybody else.
Starter Prayer:
Help me grow up by going down.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Grateful, whiny, hard

Next Friday, 3 February, I fly to South Africa.  For six weeks.  I can't believe that.  Amazing.  Not much touring around or such as that.

Time spent being quiet, being still, just being.  At least that's the very minimal plan so far in place.

Tonight, after a very long day, and some very tough news, I've been a bit whiny.

Grateful, I am.  Very grateful.

Of course, I'd also like to tell you about the incredibly sexy, hunky roofer I was watching, while I ate lunch.  As I walked out of the eating place, he spoke to me.  Ooooh.  Had he been watching my watching?  We chatted.  that's all.  But I had to adjust my britches a bit.

What a day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


You might not think it like me, and if you knew me well, you might really wonder about such.  But it's true.  Yes.  I am.

I am going on Sabbatical for the months of February and March 2012.  The thing that may seem odd is indeed odd.  At least it feels so to me.  Who would ever have thought that I would do such a thing?  Such a thing as this, I mean.  It's not what you'd expect if you knew me.

But then, if you really know me, maybe it isn't so odd.  In all these years, I wouldn't have thought myself capable of such.

In early February, I fly to South Africa for six weeks in a monastery.  See, I told you it was odd.  I'm not planning on becoming a monk. (Goodness! What a thought.)  It's a monastery connected with the religious non-profit where I serve.  It's not a cloistered order, so I won't be "locked up" or anything.  I will do some service, some prayer, a bit of contemplation, and rest.

I know what you're thinking.  "Why does this guy get a sabbatical and I don't?"  Well, it's complicated, I suppose.  But this line of work can be taxing in ways that no other line of work can be.  Not many, anyway.  And, I don't get to go to conferences in luxurious places or even business travel.  And, I work just about every f&%$~"g weekend and holiday.  Plus some other odd hours.  It isn't about the time spent in work as much as the intensity and nature of it.  It requires not much physical labor, but an inordinate amount of emotional labor.

I'm awed, excited, honored, and terrified.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Turning of the Year

Happy New Year.
Moving in to the new year with much on my plate, I keep waiting for the "semester break."    That's the time when all the tests are done, papers handed in, etc., and so forth.  It's all done.  And you can just relax.  (Of course, my last semester break was precisely 30 years ago in my last year of graduate school.)

Then something new starts.  From the beginning.  Not so life.  It keeps going and thing don't just "end."  They just get extended or put-off, or they just keep going.  Why have I not caught on to this pattern?

Anyway, the journey continues.

Here's wishing all blessings, new discoveries, liveliness, goodness, gratitude, and joy in the big '12!