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Two Goats and a Donkey Podcast!

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Homosexuality and Religion - Episode 1

Hello hello hello! Thank you for joining me for the first actual episode of Two Goats and a Donkey! I feel so blessed to be able to do this podcast and I hope people will find it as entertaining as I hope it to be! Also, I'd like to clarify, in case it wasn't obvious, when I spoke in the introductory episode about my "brilliance, my intelligence, my charm, and my wit", I was most definitely doing so tongue-in-cheek, very sarcastically. I'm hoping that was obvious, but everytime I listen to that episode now, I find myself cringing that I didn't make it more obvious! So I hope that clears things up, and also hoping I've been stressing for no reason haha! Ok, so, for today’s episode, I thought I’d cover my lifelong religious journey from Christian to Pagan to atheist to Christ-follower. It’s been quite the rollercoaster over the last several decades. Part of that rollercoaster has been trying to balance religion with my being gay. Honestly that’s caused issues with family as well, since most of my family doesn’t know that I’m gay, or more precisely, they don’t WANT to know. So as a result, I am fairly separated from my family. It can be difficult celebrating anniversaries with the hubster and having to keep quiet about them with my family, while at the same time wishing them happy anniversaries as they come along. But, it is what it is, and it will never change, so I can either be happy with my life or I can be sad about it. I will always choose joy when I have that choice!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I was raised as a Baptist once we had moved to Mississippi back in 1973. I don't remember us being particularly religious in New York, the state from which we moved, but then I turned 6 years old 10 days after we moved here, so my young memories may not cover such things. The church we started going to was a small Baptist church for the surrounding community. White only, of course, since it was rural Mississippi in the early and mid 1970's. Not that things have changed - as recently as about 15 years ago, all services and the Sunday School at that church were shut down hurriedly one Sunday morning because one of the church children had invited a Black friend to Sunday School and the church leaders were in a panic about what to do. So I'm sure you can imagine what it was like growing up gay and being in that church. I mean, gay people are the anti-Christ, right? Just ask someone like "pastor" (and I do put air quotes around that) Greg Locke. I'm sure he'd be more than happy to expound upon the evils of gay people.

So it went that I didn't realize I was gay until I was 9 years old. My older brother was gay, and he had a boyfriend with whom he lived. I didn't realize all that, I just thought they were both my brothers. They had started attending our church shortly after following us here from New York about a year after we did, but after attending for a while, the church deacons went to visit them and "strongly suggested" (air quotes) that they should not return. I didn't learn anything about all that until years later. Anyway, when I was 9, I was watching the evening news, and a news story about homosexuality came on. As I watched and listened, I realized that they were talking about the feelings I myself had been having, but I'd had no word to call those feelings, indeed I had no idea that those feelings were actually valid. I can remember vividly an incident before that newscast that had happened at school earlier that year. The teacher had lined us kids up and for some reason wanted us to put our hands on the sides of the person ahead of us in that line. The guy ahead of me was a very cute, tall guy that I would later realize I was attracted to, and when my hands gripped his sides, I could feel electrical currents flow up my arms from him. I knew him to be cute, but I just assumed it was "normal" (air quotes) to find other guys cute and that it was nothing out of the ordinary. Why, I have a memory of when we first visited Mississippi, before actually moving here, and I met one of my southern cousins for the first time, I became shy around him and took my sister into the other room to say that he was cute. I was five, and had no concept of being discreet, so I had said it loudly enough that everyone in the other room heard me and they all just laughed uproariously as if I'd just said the funniest joke. And I guess in a way I had, since I was really too young to understand all the nuances of the human experience at that time. I don't remember my sister's reaction at all. She may have laughed along with the others, or she may not have. She's several years older than me, and knew about and disapproved of gay people already by then. As I said, our brother was gay and, unlike me, she was fully aware of that. Unfortunately, my brother was, is, and always will be a total fucking asshole, and he forever tarnished the human condition of being gay for my sister.

Anyway, moving on, I was fairly active in the church, although I was really too young to comprehend exactly what I was doing, what the church was, and what it stood for. I did Sunday School and Training Union (Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings), went to church every Sunday, and generally it was just for socializing. However, once I realized the Truth about myself, and realized how people in general dealt with such things, I became very withdrawn into myself and didn't participate quite as much in anything anymore. Case in point, once I realized "what I was" (air quotes), I told my mother. Her response was for my to be ashamed of myself for saying that and never to say anything like that to her again. Later on, after I'd hidden in my room for a while, I asked her if my brother and his friend were homosexual - I didn't learn the word "gay" until much later - and she affirmed they were. The topic didn't come up again until about 3 years later, when I was 12, when my mother told me, one day at the clothesline while we were hanging out freshly-laundered clothes to dry, that she and my father would rather see me dead than to turn out homosexual like my brother. Things like that stick with you a very long time - 42 years in this case. And before my mom gets all the hate, she did mellow much in her later years, and she met and loved the man I call my hubby several years before her death.

Anyway, for years I still went to church, but not so much the extracurricular stuff, like Sunday School and Training Union, and I just couldn't deal with the fact that all around me I was hearing how Christ and God hated people like me, how we were an abomination, how we should all be put to death. This caused me to continue withdrawing from people and from life, and made me question whether I should believe in a God that hated me so damned much. Around the time I was 14, I finally decided to shed myself of Christianity and I slowly became Pagan. It started rather comically at first, because of course nature deities were nothing but Satan in disguise and evil, and well, if I were evil for loving other guys, then fuck all that and I'd just start worshipping the evil nature deities, and be a druid, and worship trees and bushes. I was such a little idiot just trying to make sense out of life and what I was. My interest in finding something to worship that didn't consider me to be evil branched out (no pun intended), and I discovered the world of Wicca. And studying about Wicca pulled me into the much wider world of general Paganism. Over the course of my teenage years, I learned more about Paganism, got into the works of Scott Cunningham and many other authors at Llewellyn Publications (not sponsored), did naked Pagan rituals under the full moon down in the pasture behind our house (not sure if I specified earlier, but we lived out in the country), and generally discovered a whole new world of people and deities that didn't consider me a sin, an abomination, something to be hated and deplored. I found love and acceptance and while I was still very withdrawn with people, I was able to articulate through the written word different things, and I had a vast network of penpals within the Wiccan and Pagan world. I even began publishing my own little Pagan journal, The Quill and Unicorn; I'd get the mockup all ready, then send it to one of my penpals, who would make copies for me, and then I'd send them out to my subscribers. It was so very exciting!

Before too long, high school came to an end, but I was still so withdrawn from life that I wasn't able to make myself go to college - or do much of anything really - for about 3 more years, when I finally got myself together enough to attend the major university in the town where I currently reside. So in the fall of 1988, I went to college, and slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, started coming out of my shell, but it would be a couple more decades before I fully came out of it. For the first couple of years, I remained quiet to most people about my sexuality, but at some point I finally said fuck it and started living my truth. Some friends vanished, but others stuck around, and yet others became new friends. And my interest in Paganism waned, but never truly disappeared, although it would be many years before I realized I had, indeed, become an atheist. I was holding on to the idea of Paganism because I so wanted to believe in something, I had the need to believe there was more to this world, to my life, than what I could see. Once the years had passed, and I finally acknowledged that I was atheist, I didn't realize I was really still deceiving myself. Yes, I was an atheist in that I didn't want to believe in an afterlife, I didn't want to believe that there was a beneficent deity out there that could love me for me. I couldn't see past the rabid crowds of Christians, those who were so very vocal in their continuing beliefs that I, and those like me, were evil, were abominations. And I rejected everything that came with those horrible crowds.

Let me interject here to say that not all Christians, of course, are like that, but the ones that are tend to be very vocal, and very loud, and very hateful, but I came to know that most Christians are not like that. And then, something wonderful happened. While I'd dated a few guys throughout the years, I never truly had anyone that cared about me. But in 2006, I met Steve, the man I call my hubby now, and he slowly opened me up to believing in God again. And in Christ. In October of 2011, I joined a large Baptist church here in town and was baptized. Now, I'd been baptized as a child, but I only did so to seem cool back then haha. Because, you know, getting baptized was the "in thing" to do. Well, this time, I truly believed when I was baptized, and I truly believed because I would take long walks with my dog and would have long conversations with God while doing that. And I started attending that church, and even going to "growth groups" within it. And I, most importantly, started reading the Bible. And of course I came across those verses in the Bible that supposedly condemn who I am, but I'd have discussions about that with the Lord and ask Him to make me understand what those passages actually meant, why He would lead me down this path to Him again only to then tell me I wasn't worthy of Him because my heart belonged to a man instead of a woman. And He let me know, in very subtle ways, that it was all nonsense, that those passages in Leviticus were intended for those who did male-male sex magic in their rituals to other gods, and that really the only other times homosexuality is "reviled" (air quotes) is in the writings of Paul, who didn't even come along until a couple decades after Christ, and Paul had his own ghosts and hangups that he was determined to put onto the population. So God led me to understand that He Himself made me as I am. And He Himself brought Steve into my life as my lifemate within His Eyes.

So, for about 30 years, those who consistently and intentionally, in many cases, misrepresent the Word of God, had me running from Him when it was just them I should have run from. But I also truly believe that God let me go through the paths I did so that I would have a greater understanding of other religions, that I would understand that Pagans are most certainly on a path that leads to Eternity, that while Christianity may only see one gate, one doorway, God Himself has many mansions, many paths, many gateways into His presence. And while I no longer physically attend church, and I do not consider myself a Christian, but a follower of Christ, I know myself to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven and that all gay people are created intentionally as they are by our Heavenly Father, and fuck anyone who says otherwise. Well thank you, friends, for following me on this rambling topic. I certainly hope I have entertained you, and hopefully also educated some of you, in my full-circle journey of going from Christian back to a Christ-follower. Have a great evening, or morning, whenever you listen to this, and I hope to entertain with my next topic of who-knows-what it will be about! Blessings, my friends!


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