Saturday, May 07, 2005

Black - White or Grey ?? where do you stand

"In a universe of only black and white, people somehow manage to live their lives in the grey."
-Anonymous... well sort of.

The link above is from a blog I happen to read on occasion. I love to read Christian boys, trying to define what their "missons" in life are in regards to living a Christ filled life and how they manage to interact with others. So I am going to address his quote here, instead of leaving a comment on his blog.

Growing up, I was told that everything was either Black or White. You could not have both, and you surely had to choose between right and wrong. Being [straight] - or shall we say - living a [straight] life you choose what path you are going to take. You like girls, you get married and you have children - or you stay single for life - or you become a priest. You lived a good life, you lived by the letter of the law, as a [law] abilding citizen and you do right by your family.

In my home everything was [black] and [white] my family was white, there was no [black] allowed in my home, not even [brown]. There was a racial prejudice in my home. There was also a [gay] - [straight] rule in my house. [white] was straight -- [black] was gay, ie [WRONG].

At an early age i had decided that i was going to be [GREY]. I did walk on the [dark] side. I had [blackness] in my life. I did not live the [black] and [white] rule. I found that that rule was too restrictive, exclusionary and wrong, in my opinion. In my life I had to come to terms with my God, because if God was loving and forgiving, it was the people on the [fringe] who were the renegades. The ones who pushed the envelope. I was always on the fringe. Later on in my life that [grey] area became [pink]. This decision drove a division stake into my family that was never reconciled.

My father used to tell me that i could not have it both ways, that I was living a [wrong] life, that i was a [mistake] and [should never have been born]. For him, it was [black] and [white]. He did not beleive that homosexuals were people not did they deserve anything but [consternation]. Later on I moved away and started to define my life. And man did that take a long time. Years and years. Lots of mistakes, Lots of lessons learned. I have a bevy of a [mistake] list.

Being Gay in a Christian world was difficult because in my world God loved those on the fringe, because we sought God out of necessity and desire, not because we were told to. I wanted to attend church and worship God and I did !! For the [straight] Christian, at that time, there was only [black] and [white], I was neither. The one good thing about this decision was this [ The church I belonged to never sent me away or asked me to leave].

I began to live on the fringe. In a racially, homophobic and totally heterosexual family, I had to find a balance, because I had friends who lived in the [grey] - [black] - [pink] sides of life. And to my family that was unacceptible. I had to get out and make my way into the world. and I did.

When I was diagnosed with AiDS in 1994, they told me i was going to die, that i had 18 months to live, I had another [coming out experience], and there I had another [Epiphany], I had to learn to live, and live I did, in the [grey] world because i was not living in the normal [black and white] world. People would not touch me or shake my hand. GOD did NOT abandon me.

People moved away from me in public, my friends and family all walked away, my boyfriend left me and i was alone. Men with Aids were being fired from work, being left by lovers and family and friends, they were being thrown out on the streets, it was totally disgusting. We who lived found a way of life in the [GREY] area. And we made it work. And some of us lived, I lived.

It was that fast and stark. I was not [alive] as in well, and i was not [black] as in dead. So where was I, I was in the grey area. I had to make it work and in the [grey] area, was where i learned to survive, because i did not fit into the [black and white] restrictions and guidelines of the "christian" world.

Over the years I have to say that I learned what it was I stood for. What I believed, what I professed. And here is my sermon on living in the world.

Judge not, lest you be judged...

I am a Christian. I am part of a community. And the community I belong to right now, is filled with people who live in the [grey] spectrum of life. The grey area to me is that area where there is compromise. Where people can expand in ways that people who live in the [black] and [white] world cannot. [grey] tells me that i can [think outside the box]. And i live that way now, i do believe that living outside the box, is better than living in a strict, [by the book] life. Living with HIV is a task of learning to live [Outside the Box]. The [grey] area.

You see the bible is [NOT] a history book, [NOR] is it a science manual. The bible was written by some [known] authors and some books and chapters were [attributed] to certain people. It was written to a specific group of people - during a specific time, dealing with specific issues.

Now, with that said, you can live by the teachings of [Christ] or you can live by the book. I do believe that [Jesus] lived on the fringe. He did not spend a whole lot of time sitting in churches in Jerusalem and the areas he traveled in preaching sermons to the people. I do believe that he spoke to those who needed to hear him. He spent the majority of the time preaching in the fields, on the fringes of society. He even spoke out against the rulers and religious.

He spoke to the the sick and the sinner, the prostitute and the tax collector. He preached in the [field] where he did his best work. Jesus loved [everyone]. I do believe that there were no lables to [who or what] kind of person he could love. Now, it is my [interpretation] and solely my [interpretation] that love was an open gesture and an open emotion, one that did not carry with it the kind of [labels] we place on it today. Women WERE and ARE a part of his ministry.

Something Christianty STILL will not acknowledge. The Catholic Church will never admit to the feminine influence that was part of early Christianity.

That is what I believe.

In my life, i have cultivated my Christianity, in the sense that [grey] is the way. I do not follow the hardline Christian right wing, nor am I a leftist. If one lives the life of Christ, [he] or [she] will love thy neightbor as thy self and would do unto others as they would do unto you. In those terms, I live a Christian life I am charitable and forgiving. I [LIVE] my faith actively and progressively. I live a [forward thinking] Christian life. If i started living in [judgement] and [condemnation] I would be as bad as those people in [Christianity] who cannot see past their [KJV] rendition of the [proper] Christian faith.

But what is the [proper Christian faith?] how do we live that faith out in todays world where the new [black and white] is [GREY]. There are so many people who, I believe are pushed out to the fringe and told that they are [unacceptible] in God's eyes and subject to HIS judgement and damnation and only worthy of the fires of [hell]. This is where I preach my message of inclusion and love. Because I believe that is whee Jesus stands on the [fringe]. He is the bridge that says [come and be part of] not live and die by the sword and the word.

Show me One [man ] or [woman] who has had a recent conversation with the [Almighty]! That person does not exist. People may have been inspired in some fashion and they speak the voice of God, that God has told them who to [judge] and who to [condemn] and you see, there begins the division. I have lived in a world that is so bent on division. I have lived in a world that thrives on the necessity of [LABLES]. What is it about lables that make you so much [better] than the rest of us.

This is a lesson I have learned in my life. From the day I realized that I was different, i had to find my way into the world, defined by that label, because i was different. That [label] did more damage to friends family and more to the point [to me], than I could have ever imagined. For my family, I was no longer [white] as in RIGHT. I was living in the [black] which was WRONG.

Over the last 17 years, i have learned that living in the [GREY] was a more appropriate and acceptible place to be. And it took me years to define what that [grey] area would be. You see even though I live [Outside the Box] there are rules and guidelines I do follow. I [Pay It Forward]! Whenever I can.

In the years since I had my [coming out] experience, and there have been MANY [coming out] experiences i have had to redefine my life and lifestyle. The Real Live Preacher spoke about his latest coming out experience in his latest post over on his blog [ --->] over there on the blog list.

I sent him a message on it, telling him that with every [coming out] experience carries with it its own [Epiphany]. With each epiphany we come to a realization that we have indeed changed and that change cuts another facet on the [life, i call a diamond]. We are all diamonds in the rough as young people, and we are forever being cut by the [Master Jeweler]. Each time we reach a new understanding of ourselves, the diamond gets another facet cut, and we are forever changed by that cut, and the diamond shines in a new way.

Every time that diamond leaves the cutting wheel, that [black] and [white] area we used to live in is changed and adapted to the person we are continually becomming. There is a time when each of us comes to a crossroads. And if we [CAVE] to the norms of society and the rules of the [christian] who says that its either [my way or the highway] who are you? You become a sheep, you follow the pack, you become [like them]. Here is where we must decide WHO we are going to become. Would we be open to difference and diversity - or would we be restricted to the ordinary [Sameness] and [heterosexist] visions of the world?

I have read recently on other blogs, about preachers who have given the [my way or the high way] sermons. Last night I read on the breaking up of the Episcopal churches over the Gay Bishop issue. I have read that John Kerry has spoken AGAINST the Gay Marriage issue, and has pissed off alot of people. I have read that gay catholics are being refused the sacraments in church for their lifestyles. I have read that christian churches are becoming rifts of those who are forced to follow out of fear and expulsion from their congregations if they do not [tow the party lines]. Is this [black and white] or is this just plain [WRONG?]

There is so much talk about [black and white] that is sickens me. The world is becomming a place where diversity is becomming main stream. Where the colors of the rainbow are represented in more cities around the world, and including the United States. YET, so many [Christians] want to throw up the gates to separate those who would not be [white] as in strict bible toting, [kjv preaching], God fearing peoples.

We need to move into the way of the world and stop retreating back into the safety of [sameness and judgement]. The world is no longer a [black and white] world. The world I live in is diverse, and comes in the colors of the rainbow. There are, i believe many men and women who live in the [grey] area. Life cannot not be just [black and white] it is not [my way or the highway], and if we remain in that [strict black and white] world we are missing the message. We are putting restrictions on the [journey of life]. We are in a sense, changing a road that is wide and unknown to a highway that is straight and has guidelines and guardrails. If we put restrictions and signposts up and we arrogantly plot the roadmap of life, instead of following the journey as it may come, we will limit our ability to learn and to adapt to the changes and differences of diversity.

There is something wild and unknown in living in the [GREY] area. There is something really challenging in getting up in the morning and living in my day, and not knowing what will come beyond the next hill. If everything was / is black and white, how boring that was. How mundane it is and can be. Jesus, I don't want to have the master map in my hand !! YIKES ! what a waste of a journey that would be. That is like travleing I-95 from North to South and South to North every day of my life. I know that road, every turn, twist, bend and bridge.

I would rather walk my [Grey] [Unknown] [ desert ] path, because you never know who I will meet along the way, what i will learn on the path, and where I will see God on a daily basis.

I don't for one minute believe that God is Black and White. For me He cannot be [black] or [white] because thee are too many people I know in my life and i know exist around the world, who live in the [grey] and are perfectly happy. Everyone has some concept of God, or a higher power. It may not be God, and for some it isn't. There are as many concepts of a higher power as there are people on the earth.

How could we be so arrogant to believe that God is either [black] and [white]. And why as people of the United States - do you believe in such arrogance. Who gave you the keys to the kingdom and made you the "God Speakers" of the world? That is another reason I left the United States, because I could not follow in the ways of the {Right}. This is my challenge to any American who sits in their comfy chairs and on the cushy sofas watching CNN and MSNBC 24 hours a day.

COME - PACK UP YOUR HOME AND YOUR FAMILY. Move to a foreign country and see the United States for what it is [from outside your homes and outside your borders of safety and military readiness]. Come watch the United States live their lives for at least 1 calendar year. I guarantee you that your vision will change. And your [black and white ] vision of the sacred and arrogant United States of America will forever be altered. You will learn how nice it is to live in the [GREY] world. Because that's the way it is.

So are you ready to explore the grey world now, or do you want to remain in the [black and white], [my way or the highway], and [God sayeth this...] way of life?

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