Monday, February 19, 2007

A Moment To Catch My Breath

Since I haven't posted all that much in the past several weeks and so much has been going on, I figured i'd take this holiday (President's Day) off work to catch my breath and write you an update with some snapshots into what's been going on in my world. There are some new photos in the filmloop so feel free to check them out!

I've had people ask me about how things are going with Catalyst. Unfortunately, i've been on hiatus with it because i've been preoccuppied with so many other things. I'm still excited about the vision and the work in the community that i want to do. It's just that there are some preliminary things that I want to do before actively and visibly doing things in the community. Those preliminary things will require a good chunk of dedicated time. That's not something that I have an abundance of since I've been doing so many other things with family, friends, work, and romance . . . .

I've had some fun times with my family the past two months. At the end of January, my brother and sister-in-law had a reaffirmation wedding ceremony. They were married 10 years ago in South Korea because my brother was in the Air Force and so they never had a ceremony with all of the friends and family. I had the honor of being a groomsman, reading a Scripture verse during the ceremony, and giving the blessing at the reception. Last week, my family got together again for my mom's birthday. Then, this past weekend, we got together again for my niece's birthday. I don't show photos of my family online but you can see a couple pics of me looking spiffy in a tuxedo! =)

During the Super Bowl weekend, I hung out with some of my good buds. We spent time hanging out in the jacuzzi, playing Settlers of Catan, watching a movie, going hiking in the San Bernardino mountains and going out to eat. Fun times and beautiful mountains!

I'm excited for an upcoming speech contest with Toastmasters. Some time in March I'll be competing in our local club contest. The winner continues to advance through several levels that ultimately reach the international conference. I don't imagine i'd get that far but i'll certainly do my best! I've been working towards my Certified Toastmaster (aka Competent Communicator) distinction too. I gave my fifth of ten speeches in January and i'll be giving my sixth one this next weekend.

Work has been crazy busy with significant levels of drama and office politics. There's alot going on. Whatever. Good news though, back in December, I submitted a request to have my job position reclassified since the work that I actually do more accurately fits in with a position that pays alot more. After several months, they finally approved it! This means my salary will be more! Unfortunately, they didn't give me retroactive pay. =( But i'm still thankful to God for His provision! Me and my co-workers also unionized so we're about to enter into bargaining negotiations for a contract. I hope that goes well.

I've resumed my workouts with my personal fitness trainer at the gym. In 2005, I had him for six months and lost about 32 pounds. I've since gained much back and i'm pretty insecure about my body image. I've got the trainer for the next five months so hopefully in June, i'll be looking hot! Hehe.... I've also decided that i'm going to run and finish the 2008 Los Angeles marathon. I'm not a trained distance runner. However, over the next year, i'm hoping to get in shape and train for it properly. Some other friends of mine will be doing it too. My buddy is actually running this year's marathon on March 4th so i'll be there to support him. I'm figuring that training for a goal like being able to run a marathon will get me fit and healthy and the hotness will be a bi-product of it - as opposed to me constantly going to the gym out of a sense of insecurity. I think i can do it though!

I've been developing some good friendships with people from GCN. Some are at a distance and some are local. I'm happy about some of them relocating to Southern California and even here in Long Beach in the next few weeks! I'm hoping to continue encouraging a sense of community among local GCN people. We've had a few gatherings recently and there are more planned in the coming future. I'm thinking about starting a group - not really a Bible study, but more like a Christ oriented group that discusses things practically and walks with each other through things. We'll see how it develops. Unfortunately, i've been a poor friend with some of my other good friends and I haven't stayed connected with them as much as I know I should be. I'm so sorry!!!!

Remember that book that I was excited about? It was Jason Illian's "Undressed". I was going to post my comments about the book and some other friends were going to read it too. LOL, sadly, i must report that I haven't been able to get past the first chapter. I was excited about it in the beginning. And after reading the excerpts inititally I thought it'd be really interesting and really different. Maybe it is as a whole, but after reading the first chapter, I just kept getting frustrated. It's not that I disagree with anything he's written (so far), it's just that either i've heard it all before or i've had the thought myself ages ago and i've moved on with my life past the idea. I dunno, i guess i was just hoping for something fresh and refreshing. I know other people are liking it. Actually Jayson tells me that he got as far as the fourth chapter before he started disliking it. But in the first chapter, i'm reading the kinds of things that I taught to the youth group kids years ago. So on numerous occasions, i found myself saying out loud, "well, duh!" Anyway, I don't disagree with what he says. It's just that to me, it's not that original. I know, i'm being super critical of it and judging it based solely on a single chapter - but hey, that's what you get if your first chapter doesn't keep someone's attention! (That's gonna bite me in the a$ some day when it comes time for me to publish my own books.)

Maybe i'm just at a point in my life where I'm done with academics. I'm done with reading about dating. I'm done with reading about church and church models. I'm done with reading about theology and perspectives. I'm done with reading about Jesus. I want to experience Jesus. I want to live out my faith. I want to explore what it looks like to be the church - to be a gay Christian - to be in love. I want to engage the conversation about practical things. I'm so done with cheesy churchian catch-phrases and paradigms. I'm not afraid of making mistakes so long as i'm learning from the journey along the way. Jesus is still my Teacher regardless of whether or not people judge me for not attending the traditional classroom.

Last but certainly not least, and on a related subject, I wanted to tell you about a guy i've been getting to know. I like him. He makes me smile. And he lives on the other side of the country! Hehe, i know, it's not like i was looking for a long distance kind of a thing. Does anyone? It's just that . . . . sometimes, things just happen. I'm fond of him. He knows that. And we're just taking things one step at a time. It's not like I know what i'm doing here (and you know how I feel about learning about this kinda stuff from a book). I'm just following my heart and I'll see where it takes me. We've been talking for just about two months now. This past weekend, he came to visit and we met for the first time. It was so wonderful to spend time together! (He slept at a different location than I). So the past several days, we saw lots of Southern California! There's a few photos of us in the filmloop. He is sooo cute and I enjoy his brown eyes and his smile. Every once in a while, he'll have this particular look on his face that makes me melt! And he thinks i'm gorgeous? *grin* - even as I am now before my personal training is done!

I'm still discerning how much about him i'd like to share with you on this blog - i'll explore that with him. My family got to meet him and they like him and tried to make him feel welcome. I mentioned his arrival to a couple people at work and they were supportive. More and more, i'm journeying through what it looks like to be comfortable being me - gay and Christian in every context.

The journey is a fun adventure! I just have to remember to take a moment to catch my breath.


Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you and your special guy. Hope it all works out for you.

Anonymous said...

You and "the dude" are great together. Here's to much happiness and mystery and growth in your relationship, whatever direction it goes.

Yay for running a marathon. Someday I'll get to that goal too!

Once again, I'm embarrassed to see myself in your blog pics. But honored to have seen you and to have you as a friend.

Anonymous said...

Eric-I have to admit that I was a little mad that you did not tell me first about the marathon....seriously:) Totally kidding, maybe I will come and do that one too...

I like this post a lot..and I did not get mad at the Jason book until the middle of it, when I realized that it was going to well just not what I thought it was..

Anyway, love ya

Becky O

Steve said...

Maybe i'm just at a point in my life where I'm done with academics. I'm done with reading about dating. I'm done with reading about church and church models. I'm done with reading about theology and perspectives. I'm done with reading about Jesus. I want to experience Jesus.

Me too, Eric.

Living Christian life is almost impossible for me to do solo. Thank God for the interaction I've found with folks on the net, and in the rooms of recovery since I've moved to northwest Ohio. They have been a blessing and a bridge for my spiritual life.

But by the same token, I'm also done with being the outsider in church. I'm done with church closets, and I'm just not ready to be the "token gay guy who teaches everyone how wonderful gay Christians can be." It's just tough to find a gay-friendly church where I am, in about as blue-collar a town as I could find (Toledo, Ohio). It seems so hard to find gay community here, sometimes.

I have to remember that these transitions take time - and energy. And much as I'd like to have it differently, I have just so much time and energy, and I have to direct that where I can best serve God, my family, and my community the best.

I watched your filmloop - so many great pictures! So many great people! I developed a real un-Christian case of envy seeing all the GCN folks, and wishing I'd been able to go to the conference in Seattle. Not to mention "the dude," as Matt called him. /sigh/ /beats back hideous envy attack/

You are a blessing and an inspiration, Eric. Keep on keepin' on