Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Two World Collision

[Note: Scroll down within this post to see Dolly Parton's "Travelin' Thru" lyrics from TransAmerica along with the YouTube video.]

This is it! Sound the party favors!!! The day has arrived!

Happy Birthday Two World Collision!!!!

A year of journeying, exploring, questioning, seeking, reading and listening - i've taken 525, 600 steps forward and I'm at a better place than I was one year ago. I've traveled through along this road that not only leads to God, but follows God.

And here I am. At peace with my faith and sexuality. I am a gay Christian . . . .

It has been one year since my very first Two World Collision post entitled "Torn Between The Two". It's been a refreshing year of exploring the questions that I posed in that first blog post. Almost six months into writing this blog, I took an assessment of my previous years in "525,600 Minutes". Then at the New Year I began the four part "Sankofa" series discussing significant phases of my testimony. And of course, there's the milestone posts along the way that are listed in the right side column of this blog.

Now, it's been five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes of this journey and it has been absolutely exciting! I've explored the spectrum of perspectives regarding the issue of whether or not a person can be both gay and Christian. I've been in continuous dialogue and prayer with the Lord. I've searched the Scriptures and have realized the foreign gospel that I accepted from the mainstream. I've spoken to many gay Christians and have seen the fruit of the Spirit in them - the same evidence of God that I recognize in me.

I began this journey thinking that I would come "full circle" - that I would resolve for myself and own my beliefs about homosexuality (as I understood it at the time) to be a sin. My hope was to be confident enough to speak against it. However, God had a different journey for me to tread. It wasn't for me to come "full circle" in my old paradigm - as if God would tell me what I wanted to hear, that it was a sin. Instead, my journey was for me to come to "completion" in a new paradigm - to accept and hear what God would tell me, that God loves me. It was that simple. And I realized that all of those "Clobber passages" that refer to "homosexuality" - actually referring to a particular context and culture - aren't at all talking about me! Because at the end of the day, I have NEVER refused to glorify God and give thanks to Him. And so Romans 1:21-32 neither describes me nor applies to me.

I am a Christ-centered gay man who is striving to live a lifestyle of faith by loving God, loving others and inspiring others to do the same.

After one year of this journey, that statement best describes me and my identity.

And as is fitting for God's perfect timing, He is faithful to give good gifts. And what a blog birthday gift it is!

Do you remember all the anxiety that I was talking about in "The Not So Fun Part of Living By Faith"? It's tough trying to do something you are passionate about when it doesn't pay the bills because, well let's face it, the bills still need to be paid - regardless of how intangibly rewarding it is. I love being able to build relationships in the community and work towards the vision of Catalyst. But I've gotta tell ya - the stress was mounting and the faith I clung to that God would provide for me (just as He always has!) was being tested big time.

And in typical God fashion, He comes just in the nick of time - at the ninth inning - the calvary comes to deliver its provision as promised.

I got a job.

But the job itself isn't the blog birthday gift. One of the most exciting things (and relevant to this blog) about this whole job situation is that for the first time there is no closet-hiding, no pretending to be straight, nor even a coming-out experience to fellow co-workers or the boss. I interviewed as the person I am, unapologetically, without deliberately hiding or disclosing the simple truth that I am gay. I didn't have to say, "i'm gay" as if it mattered at all. At the same time, I didn't have to shy away from talking about the fact that I've resolved the apparent tension between my faith and my sexuality. (The discussion came up because my resume indicates my work with Catalyst - and during the interview they checked out the Web site which also led to this blog!). They liked me anyway. They accepted me anyway. They hired me anyway.

So the blog birthday gift was that for the first time, I came in . . . "out". Today is our blog birthday. And today is the first day at this new job where I can be comfortable enough to be all of me. We start fresh. And as they get to know me more, they get to know the real me more.

As a blog birthday gift for all of you who journey along with me - each with your own stories to tell - all of us relating in both similar and different ways - here is a tribute to our journey, an anthem to our struggle that says, "let the questions guide the journey":

"Travelin' Thru" by Dolly Parton
For the movie TransAmerica

Read and follow along with the lyrics (thanks to Scott-O-Rama):

"Well I can’t tell you where I’m going, I’m not sure of where I’ve been
But I know I must keep travelin’ till my road comes to an end
I’m out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it
I’m a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit

Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I’m just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home
Where that is no one can tell me, am I doomed to ever roam
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ on

Questions I have many, answers but a few
But we’re here to learn, the spirit burns, to know the greater truth
We’ve all been crucified and they nailed Jesus to the tree
And when I’m born again, you’re gonna see a change in me

God made me for a reason and nothing is in vain
Redemption comes in many shapes with many kinds of pain
Oh sweet Jesus if you’re listening, keep me ever close to you
As I’m stumblin’, tumblin’, wonderin’, as I’m travelin’ thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru

Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on
But holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone
When everything is broken, we can mend it if we try
We can make a world of difference, if we want to we can fly

Goodbye little children, goodnight you handsome men
Farewell to all you ladies and to all who knew me when
And I hope I’ll see you down the road, you meant more than I knew
As I was travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, travelin’ thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’
Drifting like a floating boat and roaming like the wind
Oh give me some direction lord, let me lean on you
As I’m travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru
Like the poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I’m just a weary pilgrim trying to find my own way home
Oh sweet Jesus if you’re out there, keep me ever close to you
As I’m travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, as I’m travelin’ thru"


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, TWC!!!

So...ummmm...I'm here with my styrofoam plate and plastic fork, covertly scanning the room in search of some cake.


Eugene said...

Congrats on one year in the blogosphere! It has indeed been quite a journey.

Mark said...

Congrats on the job! Hope your journey continues to be encouraging and hopeful.


Anonymous said...

Happy B-Day!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday...from Steve and Warren, a couple of Christian guys from Minnesota.

Our Best Wishes

Peterson Toscano said...

many happy returns of the day! it is wonderful seeing your earliest posts and how you have grown stronger and clearer in your voice.

JJ said...

Hey Eric!

Wow, a year. Well, Happy Birthday! May this new year be even better and more profound than than before!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a difference a year makes! Its been a blessing tracking with you this year Eric and I look forward to many post yet to come. Blessings!


Eric said...

aww, thanks everyone! you are all so awesome!

Daddy Cool said...

Congratulations! How terrific

Anonymous said...

I'm SO sorry I'm late on this!

Happy Blog Birthday!!! I remember your first posts, and it's such a joy to see how far you've come :)

Congrats on the job!! SQUEE!! ;)