The Spiritual Side of Me
I grew up in a Southern Baptist home. Church was a weekly ritual just like going to school or work. I didn't think anything of it except that it's what I am supposed to do. Growing up in a home of believers has its merits. It teaches and molds you to think in a way that is respectful of others and God(higher power for those other religious types).
I rather enjoyed church going when I was young. As I got older, though, I began to feel more like the rebel against authority. Not that I was a bad kid or did anything to be labeled as one, I just questioned authority. I "suppose" most of us go through this at some point or another. So, when I was 18 and my parents said I did not have to go to church anymore. I stopped going. That was proably the best thing for me because years later I realized I wanted God to be in my life and a focus to be mindful of.
So, there I was, 18 and the smartest in the world. I knew everything. Didn't we all??? I started to think about the more pagan things in life. Drinking, sex, drugs...you know. Now when I graduated high school, I went on to junior college to get my degree in Electronics Technology. I did and had fun along the way. I never did any hard drugs...still haven't to this day. I did drink some on occasion with my best friend at that time. Yeah I got sick a couple times but for the most part, I knew when to stop. That was about it for me and the "vices" of life.
It was about 10 years before I realized that I was missing God in my life. In 1985 I went to this Gay church. Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection(MCCR) here in Houston. I just went to visit and check it out. Well, needless to say I was SHOCKED when I got there. I saw 2 guys holding hands. I couldn't even think, I was just in shock! Needless to say, I didn't go back for a long time. When did I go back? Not until after I had visited some other churches that were open to Gays. Those were pretty boring. Very strict in their practices and services. Not for me. I had enough of the Baptist religion, I didn't need more. So, I went back to MCCR again in September of 1986. This time, I kept going back. I kept going back until I got so comfortable that I could never think of leaving. I became a member in February of 1987.
I was a regular churchgoer at that point and after several years decided I wanted to do more. I volunteered to work the Audio/Visual department that provided sound and lights for the services. They trained me on the mixer board, mic setup and all that stuff. I did that for about a year or so and the director wanted to move on. Hence, I volunteered to take it over. I led the department for 3 years and during that time bought several pieces of new and used equipment. I was instrumental in getting the board to approve the purchase of a Soundcraft Spirit Studio 16 channel mixing console. This was a $5,000 mixer that I managed to get for $3,200. It greatly improved the sound quality of the services. Oh wait, I'm tooting my own horn aren't I?
Okay, after working the A/V department for several years, I became burned out and disgusted because I never got any recognition for the work I did to propel the A/V group to new heights. I put in countless hours of dedicated time to make improvements, train people and run the equipment for EVERY service when no one else would. Did I get any gratitude for it? No. So, I quit the A/V department and church. Let's just say I took a spiritual sabatical. Actually, I left cuz I was mad at them for not priming my ego. Yep, looking back, it was for all the wrong reasons that I left.
After about a year, I couldn't stand being away from church so I went back MCCR, now called Resurrection MCC. I was no longer a member because I didn't show up for a year. I wrote a very inspiring letter to the board asking to have my status changed back to active member in good standing. They all agreed and let me become a member again. Since then, I have not missed many Sundays of church. Even when I am out of town I generally try to find another MCC church to attend. MCC really is a place of inspiration. The people are so kind and helpful there. Every MCC I have attended they are all the same too.
I would encourage anyone that feels like Gays are not called by God, to attend an MCC church and talk about how you feel with someone. It doesn't even have to be a member of the clergy although I would recommend talking to one if you feel so led. YOUR spiritual life depends on you being in touch with God and feeling that God loves you. Don't let the bombardment of the fundamentalist right wing religions sway your thinking otherwise. God loves us ALL no matter what our lifestyle!
I am now embarking on a more spiritual journey to develop my connection to other souls in my life. I would recommend highly the book, "Embraced by the Light" by Betty Eadie which, is a true story of her near-death experience. It is truly a mind opening experience to read it.
I also interpret the services in American Sign Language.
Since, I have this gift God gave me, I decided I need to use it for His