I am a man of Faith Just for my convenience, I will refer to my God as “He” in this piece. However, in truth, I don’t know whether God is male or female, tall or short or what complexion has. My God is full of love, joy and enjoys a great joke as well as any of us. Because of my being raised in the Christian tradition, I use the teachings of Christ as my guide to living. I have found Christ’s teachings to be simple and easy to understand. In fact, when I hear someone offer to interpret his meaning, I have learned that really means they are going to put their personal twist on it. I don’t rely on religion to provide guidance to me anymore. I see too many examples where religions have pursued their own self-interest, wealth and power while turning their backs on the poor and suffering.
My God is perfection and creates perfection. His creations are all races, all ethnicities, all sexual orientation and none of them are rejects. Sometimes his creations are born with illnesses and birth defects but my faith tells me they are still perfect in His plan. He gives us gifts and our challenges are understanding how to best get joy and purpose from these gifts.
When I was young and began to understand that being gay was one of my gifts, my religion told me to reject the gift. If I accepted God’s gift, I would be a pariah to my church and society. Religion failed me. Legal slavery in this country meant that men, women and children were transported here against their wills. Religion failed them. Six million Jews were murdered in Europe during World War II. Religion failed them. There are children along the Texas border separated from their mothers and forced to live in cages. Religion failed them. Around the world, children who were to be protected by Catholic institutions were instead physically and sexually abused. Religion failed them.
God gave me free will; a conscience and I know the difference between right and wrong. With these tools and the tenets I follow, I am a strong man of Faith, a good husband/family man and a responsible citizen of the world. I have listened for the voices of religious leaders expressing outrage for the immoral treatment of men and women seeking asylum in this country and have heard crickets. The people keeping this injustice in the news are men and women of good will who are following their own consciences. To me, these are God’s people and the sources of my inspiration. While religions see the horrors of the treatment being perpetuated, they have to measure their response to preserve their political power and wealth. Maybe one day, religions will return to be living embodiments of Christ’s teachings. Until then, we can admire their beautiful buildings and palaces while hoping they saved a little for the poor and the disenfranchised.
I worked for a Colonel in the Air Force while assigned to a base in Germany. He was a man I admired and respected. He was a newlywed whose wife’s name was Gus (short for Augustina). Gus became one of the top ten people to influence my life. We became casual friends and were in the same social circle. There was a time in Germany when I was facing the darkest crisis of my life. I was afraid I was losing the love of my life through no fault of either of us. We both worked for the same Colonel. I was dying inside but had no one to talk to and no release for the pain. One day I found myself at the Colonel’s house in the middle of the day while the Colonel was at work. When Gus answered the door I couldn’t speak, all I could do was weep. Gus hustled me into the house without a word and sat me on a sofa holding me tightly while I continued to sob. When I was finally able to speak, my story tumbled out while she only occasionally made comforting comments. When I finished, I realized by confiding in her I had outed myself which could have consequences. I told her I hoped she didn’t think less of me for outburst and, while I understood she had to tell the Colonel, I felt I might end up being discharged from the military. She laughed and told me she was sure she’d tell him one day, but it would be in a way and at a time that no harm would come to me. She told me what a decent man he was which I knew was true. I told her I hoped she didn’t think less of me because I was gay. She laughed again and told me it might surprise me but she and God were very good friends. She said she and God were talking one day and she admitted she was being judgmental. She said God gently told her it was his job, not hers, to judge people. However, he told her, when he took a day off, he would let her do all the judging she wanted. She told me that since that little chat, God had never taken a day off. Shortly after, the cause of my pain was removed and I am still with the man I was so fearful of losing. He is still the love of my life and that love is as strong as ever. The compassion and kindness Gus showed me helped make me the man I am today.
Note: The purpose of this blog is to put a smile on your face. I have wanted to include tales of Faith but had to put my own beliefs in writing first.