Aunt J (ie; God + Gram and Gramps) vs. Gays

You will need to refer back to a previous blog titled, “The Gayest Valentine’s Day Ever!! Literally” for better context.

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Dear Whitney,

I haven’t heard from you so I am getting concerned.

You continue to be in my prayers daily. You are such a pretty and talented girl, Whitney.

Because I love you, your life is important to me, as well as it is most important to God, Grandma and Grandpa.

I have been studying the book of Romans and wanted to share Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. I have memorized that scripture and with Jesus’ help apply it to my own life.

I love you,

Aunt J

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Hi Aunt J,

I have not responded, because I don’t even know where to start. Obviously, I never “came out” to you, because I knew that you would not approve, and honestly I was afraid of losing you, and of losing Dad, and unfortunately it would seem as though I have already lost you both. Just like that.

My sexuality would actually be enough to make you no longer consider me a part of your family, and I think that that is absolutely disgraceful, to tell you the truth. I am still the same person. I still have the same heart. My sexuality does not change one thing about the person that I am, nor the person that God created me to be.

Dad told me that you have already looked into disinheriting me, and I just want you to know that I couldn’t care LESS about your money. What I care about is to be loved. To be loved by the people who God entrusted to be my family. What I care about is being loved for who I am, regardless of (what you would consider) my faults. I love all of my family, regardless of their faults, because there is not one of us who is without fault.

There are so many things that I can say, but the only thing that I really want to say to you is this:

If you are going to say that you love me, then you need to love me for who I am. Your “love” should not be conditional on who you would prefer me to be. I love you, Aunt J. I love you even though we disagree on this issue. I love you even though we would be likely to disagree on every single issue that I can possibly think of. You are my family, and I will always love you because I am extremely loyal to my friends and family. I love you because I do believe that Grandma and Grandpa would want for us to love and to be loving to each other. If you are going to say that you love me, then you need to love me in the way that God instructed us to love one another:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I would love to have a close relationship with you, Aunt J, but the only way that that will ever be possible is if we can simply agree to disagree. I am not trying to change your mind on this issue, because I know that that is not possible, just as I know that it is not possible for you to change my mind either. I am in a loving, committed relationship with an extremely loving and compassionate woman, and I will be marrying her sometime in the near future.

Dad and I are working on rebuilding our relationship, and I would love it if you and I could do the same. But I am not interested in arguing about this topic, and if that is all that you continue to be interested in then it will be impossible for us to move forward.

The ball is in your court.

Love,

Whitney

P.S – The reason that I got fired up enough (and brave enough) to write to you tonight, is because of the recent scandal involving World Vision. The following is what I recently posted on my Facebook page regarding this issue:

There are some “Christians” who are actually proud of themselves for withdrawing their sponsorship to dying children, because they feel so strongly that gay Christians should not be allowed to work for World Vision. Really people? REALLY?? Do you REALLY think that this is what God would want you to do? Do you really think that a loving God would desire for innocent children punished for these petty theological disagreements? COME ON PEOPLE!! WAKE UP AND LOOK AT HOW SHAMEFUL AND DISGRACEFUL YOUR MORAL HIGH-GROUND LOOKS TO A STARVING CHILD! This makes me so sick to my stomach that I can hardly stand it.

I posted a link to the following article as well:

When Evangelicals Turn Against Children to Spite Me

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My Dear Whitney,

I can’t begin to tell you how saddened I am.

You have not lost either your Dad or me. You have unfortunately turned your back on us. I do not think you consider us to be a part of your family and, yes, that is disgraceful. God did not create you to be Gay. He created you to love Him and the truths in his word and with his help to live by them.

You have changed, Whitney. The Whitney I knew never would have done anything to hurt Grandma or Grandpa who loved you and did so much for you. If they were here today they would do everything they could to help you reject a lifestyle that God calls an abomination.

You need to re-read 1 Cor. 13:4-8. The Gay lifestyle is not kind and it does dishonor others and it is easily angered and it does not rejoice in the truth. It does fail!.

Because I love you Whitney and believe in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I must always do as He teaches “Love that which is God, Abhor that which is evil.” The Gay lifestyle is evil.

Yes, it is important that we always love each other and keep in touch. I too do not want to argue. We need only to look to God’s word. Please read Romans 1:26-27 and I Cor. 6:9-11. Our thinking must always be based on what He thinks by the teachings in His word.

Right now your Dad, Uncle R and I are broken hearted but we will always continue to pray that you will turn away from a lifestyle that is not pleasing to God.

The ball is in your court.

Always look to Jesus.

I Love you,

Aunt J

——————-

Aunt J,

Please do not contact me again until you can be loving. I do not deserve to be treated in this way, and I will not tolerate it.

I do not accept you speaking on behalf of Grandma and Grandpa. You speak for yourself and no one else. I had a close relationship between Grandma and Grandpa that you know nothing about. They loved me with their whole hearts and nothing would, or ever will change that.

And you also DO NOT speak for God. I have a relationship with God that you know nothing about.

So from now on, if and when you speak to me, remember that you are speaking for YOURSELF and NO ONE else.

– Whitney

A Naked Accident.

Excerpt from Anna McPartlin‘s brilliant novel entitled:  “Pack Up the Moon”:

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I tried the door.  It was locked.

“Anne!”  I called out.

“Em!” a small voice called out from behind the door.

“Anne, let me in!”

“I can’t!” she cried.

“Why not?” I asked, looking at the two others behind me.

“I’ve pulled my back out!  I can’t move.”

I pushed at the door.

“Stop!” she cried out, “I’m naked!”

“Jesus,” mumbled the caretaker.  I guess he was expecting a quiet night and a naked, injured woman certainly wasn’t on his “to do” list.

“Calm down, love.  We have the caretaker.  He’ll take care of the door,” Doreen said while gesturing to the caretaker.

“Doreen?” Anne whined.

“Yes, it’s me, love.  Everything will be fine.”

“I’m naked,” Anne reminded us.

“It will be fine.  I’ll cover his — what’s your name?”  She looked at the caretaker.

“Jim.”

“I’ll cover Jim’s eyes when he removes the door.”

Jim looked nervous.  I could hear Anne mumbling something about God.  Jim disappeared to find his tools.  Doreen and I kept Anne talking.  It appears that she hadn’t eaten all day and the likelihood was that she had fainted in the shower.  One minute she was standing under hot water, the next she woke up on the floor unable to move.  I tried to calm her, but she wasn’t having any of it and I could understand:  an accident is bad enough; a naked accident was like pouring salt into the wound.

Doreen remained upbeat.  “Sure it isn’t something you can tell your grandkids?”  She was smiling at me, sure that her words would bring comfort, but I knew better and when Anne started to cry so did she.

Jim returned and began unscrewing the hinges.

“Why don’t you just kick it down,” I asked.

“You want me to kick down a solid mahogany door?”  His voice was laced with the smallest hint of sarcasm.

“Well, yeah,” I replied.

Anne screamed that he was not to kick down the door.  She did not need a door landing on top of her or indeed a handyman on top of a door landing on her.  Doreen reminded her to be calm.  With only one hinge to go I insisted on taking over.  He complied a little too willingly and I wondered if he was gay.  With the last hinge removed, I alerted my naked friend that I was about to enter.

Wait!” she screamed.

We all stood motionless.

“Jim?” she called out.

“Yeah?” he said hesitantly.

“You can go now.  Thanks for your help,” she said from the floor.

“Right then,” he smiled and almost ran out the door.

Doreen sighed.  “Men.  Bloody useless.”

I pulled the door over and saw poor Anne arse up and facedown.

“You could park a bike,” Doreen laughed.

She was right.  I had expected Anne to be lying flat, not bent over and on her knees.  It was a bloody awkward position and I wondered how she’d managed it.

“Yes, thank you, Doreen,” Anne noted, not amused.

I covered her with a bath towel and then followed Doreen’s instructions and we lifted her to her feet.  She was still bent forward and Doreen worried that it was a slipped disc.

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You’ll have to find the book to read the rest!  It’s been a long time since a book has made me laugh hysterically.  I can’t believe that they haven’t turned this into a movie yet!  It’s like Bridget Jones Diary meets Nicolas Sparks, with more than a little hilarious raunchiness added in.  What more can you ask for in a good read??

Jesus’ Greatest Hits.

images-4I had the craziest dream last night.  In my dream, Jesus was giving a sermon…on a cruise ship.

Jesus was standing on a stage that appeared to be decorated for a Vegas Lounge Act, with bright fluorescent lights and chandeliers.  He was all decked out in His neutral colored robes and brown Birkenstocks, and the audience appeared to be a bunch of hippies from the 70’s (myself included) who chose to sit on the floor and hold hands during Jesus’ speech.images-5

While I don’t recall much of Jesus’ sermon, I do remember that He introduced a Game Show round, where the winner would receive a special blessing, or a miracle healing of his/her choice.  The Game Show required us to split into groups of 4, and in our group we had to choose a leader who would perform on-stage all of the songs that we could recall from Jesus’ rock albums.

That’s right.  Jesus had recorded 4 albums during His time on earth.

The group that could accurately perform the most Jesus songs would be the winner.  The performer would be the actual Grand Prize winner, but the rest of the group would win Runners-up prizes as well.  The Runners-up would receive a lifetime supply of loaves and fish courtesy of Walmart.

Lucky for my group, I was a huge fan of Jesus music, so I was chosen as the leader and I performed my little heart out on the Vegas Lounge Act stage.  Turns out that Jesus had been disguised as Keith Green during His rock music career, and so Keith Green’s music was what I performed.  “You Put This Love in my Heart“,   “My Eyes are Dry“, and “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful” were just a few of the songs that I could recall.  The rest of the groups did not realize that they were supposed to perform Keith Green’s Greatest Hits, and they were instead performing Queen and ABBA songs, so obviously our team won by a landslide!

images-2While I would love to say that I chose a completely unselfish blessing or healing from Jesus for my Grand Prize, I instead jumped off of the back of the cruise ship so that I could entice Jesus to jump in and rescue me.  Truthfully, I just wanted to witness Him walking on water.

It was worth it though, because everybody thought that it was freakin’ awesome to see Jesus walking on water!

The whole thing made me incredibly popular, and Jesus gave me a high-five, and somewhere along the way I ended up with the most adorable Persian kitten that just looked like a white ball of fluff with giant blue eyes.

images-1All in all, it was a pretty cool dream.

A Night on the Town.

IMG_0726The following is a blow by blow tale of a recent night out with my Skagit Valley Family.

5pm  –  At Corner Tavern in Bow, WA drinking beer out of mason jars with:  Rea, Mom, Mom’s new love interest Lyle, Auntie Verna and Uncle Robert. 

Of course the majority of the time, since we were in a group where we were outnumbered by folks who are aged 70 or above, they were all discussing their health impairments and comparing health insurance companies.

After Lyle excused himself to use the bathroom…

Mom:   “Did you see Lyle’s dimples?”

Me:   “Yes.”

Mom:  “They’re like Viagra!”

That’s my Mom after 1 drink.

Uncle Robert:  “Oh god, at my age I’d need Viagra, plus 6 toothpicks to hold it up!”

That’s Uncle Robert after 2 drinks.

Waiting for Cousin Eric and Cousin Venise to join us. Looks to be a pretty fun night.

Later on…

Cousin Venise:  “Oh Rea, we could tell you so many stories about Fartney…”

Rea laughed:  “Fartney huh?”

Me:  “Oh yeah, I had lots of nicknames.  Pretty much anything bad or disgusting would get an N-E-Y added to the end of it.”

Cousin Venise:  “Fart-ney, Shit-ney, Wipey, Whippy-Wipey…”

Cousin Eric:  “And of course we had to combine her first and last name to make, Butt-ney.”

Rea:  “Of course.”

Cousin Venise:  “Remember when we used to lock her out of the house until she’d say a cuss word?”

Me:  “You guys were so mean!”

Cousin Venise:  “We’d tell her to ‘say dammit’ and she’d cry and cry…”

Me:  “Yeah because I knew that Jesus could hear me!”

Cousin Venise:  “We’d try to get her to say pretty much any swear word that we could think of and she wouldn’t!”

Me:  “And then Auntie Verna would get home from work and beat your asses for being so mean to me!”

Cousin Eric:  “Oh man, Mom (Auntie Verna) would get so mad at us all the time!  Farting was a big no-no.  If we farted in the car, Mom would make us get out of the car and run the rest of the way home.”

Me:  “You guys should have all tried out for track.  You had to have been the most well-trained runners in the county!”

Rea:  “Oh man, if we did any of those things our mom would’ve just plain killed us!  I’m the youngest and my brother and sisters would pick on me, but they knew that they could only do so much before I’d tattle on them.”

Cousin Venise:  “Oh my god, Shitney was the WORST tattle-tale!”

Me:  “I had to be!  I may not be alive today if you guys weren’t so afraid of Auntie Verna!”

Cousin Eric:  “So Rea, let me get this straight, you mean to tell me that you’re the youngest in your family and no one ever farted on your head until someone yelled ‘stop!  She’s had enough!!’…?”

Rea:   “Oh no!  I came from a modest family in the South. We excused ourselves to the bathroom for such things.”

Cousin Venise:  “You’re so lucky that you never had to worry about brain damage!”

On the way home from the Conway Tavern, Rea and I stopped at Costco to pick up one of my prescriptions…

Me:  “If I went through the line at Costco with a 50 gallon tub of gummy vitamins, 2 litres of Miralax, and an enormous bottle of diet pills, do you think anyone would be concerned?”

Rea:   “First of all, I should ask you…how many beers did you have tonight?”

Me:   “Quite a few. You’d think I’d be drunker than I am right now…”

Rea:  “I think you’re feeling pretty good about now.”

Me:  “Yeah, i feel pretty awesome.  Why can’t I ever run into anyone at the Burlington Costco when I’m this awesome?”

Rea:  “That’s another question that you’ll have to ask Jesus someday.”

As the night continued…

Rea totally just tattled on me to my Mom.  Twice!!

Rea hollered from the living room:  “Margaret!!”

Mom hollered back from her bedroom:  “What?!”

Rea:  “Whitney just flipped me off!”

Mom:  “Oh I know. Isn’t she just so rude?!”

Five minutes later, both Rea and Mom still on separate sides of the house…

Rea:  “Margaret!!”

Mom:  “What?!”

Rea:   “Whitney just mooned me!!”

Mom:  “Oh god, Whitney, did I not raise you right?!”

Me:   “Mom, aren’t you even going to ask Rea what she did to deserve getting flipped off and mooned?”

Mom:   “No. I’m sure she’s being a complete Angel because I’m always a sweet, little Angel when you’re so vulgar to me…”

Me:  “Yeah right!!”

Jesus and Shakespeare.

imagesI overheard the following conversation between a little boy (around 4 or 5 years old) and his grandpa at Old Navy today:

Little Boy:  “Hey Grandpa! Grandpa! Hey Grandpa! Guess what?!”

Grandpa:  “What?”

Little Boy:  “Did you know that Jesus was born before William Shakespeare?”

Grandpa:  “Oh really? I guess I hadn’t really thought of that…”

Little Boy appeared shocked:  “You mean, you really didn’t know that, Grandpa?! I thought you went to church!”

Tell Your Story.

timthumb.phpSo God straight up blew my mind the other night.  Here’s what happened…

I attended the Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference 2013 in Portland, OR.  You may be thinking, “sure Whitney went to a Writer’s Conference, so she’s a writer, so what?”  Well see, this wasn’t just any writer’s conference, this was a Christian-based writer’s conference.  Let me help you connect the dots here…

I am a lesbian and I intentionally put myself into a situation where I would be surrounded by folks who likely would not understand or agree with my lifestyle, and I have not been in a situation like that (on purpose) for more than a decade.

I am not exactly sure what drew me to this conference.  All I know is that I was staring blankly at my computer one afternoon, and one of Rea’s good Christian friends, a girl that I hadn’t even met in real life, posted a link saying that she was attending some kind of writing thing-a-ma-jig.  The next thing I knew, I sent this Facebook friend a message asking her if I could tag along.

There was a part of me that thought that I either wouldn’t hear back from her or she would write back and say, “Who are you and why are you stalking me?”  Lucky for me, Alyssa is a true Portlander and doesn’t own her own vehicle, so even though she barely knew me from Adam she responded enthusiastically, “YES!  I would LOVE that!!” which can be translated in Portland-ese as:  “Please tell me that you have a car because I could use a lift.

It wasn’t until after I invited myself that I actually looked at the website and familiarized myself with what I was signing up for.

Oh God.  Christians.  Kill me now.

But it was too late, so I tried to rationalize why this would be good for me.

1)  I will learn how to be a better writer.

2)  I’ve been saying that I need to get involved in writing groups, and go to seminars, etc.

3)  It’ll be good to see what those Wascally Wabbits, excuse me, I meant to say Conservative Christians, are up to nowadays.

When I picked Alyssa up on Friday night I told her that I needed her to be my safe place.  She looked at me like, “are you thinking that you’re going to get stoned for sporting a faux hawk?” and then she smiled graciously and told me that she had my back.  Alyssa is one of those cool, funky, nice Christians who believes that Jesus loves every kind of Sinner; even the Gays.  Had it not been for Alyssa needing a ride, I probably would have skipped the Friday night event altogether because after reading the itinerary it just looked like all it was going to be was a time of worship and a few speakers encouraging us to write about God and stuff.

I was right.

Those who have known me for any length of time, know that God and Christianity defined me for the first twenty-three years of my life.  I was involved in church and youth group and I eventually became a full-time missionary.  It was during my time as a missionary that I began to question my sexuality, and since Homosexuality and Christianity aren’t the best of buddies, my time in ministry did not end well.

Eventually I felt that I had to choose between loving God and loving another woman, and after an excruciatingly painful internal struggle that nearly became the death of me, I ultimately chose to pursue my first same-sex relationship.  I stopped reading the Bible.  I stopped praying.  I did not fit in at church, and I did not fit in with the totally “Out and Proud” gay scene either.  I was just me; spiritually lost and emotionally alone for more than a decade.

For the past year I have found myself reconnecting with my Spiritual roots.  I have been in a relationship with someone who has a very strong faith background, and she has inspired me greatly.  I have started to read the Bible.  I have started to pray.  I have started to seek God for direction in my life.  I have been going to church.  Rea and I have found a church, Lake Oswego United Church of Christ, that loves and appreciates us regardless of our backgrounds or sexual orientation.  Rev. Jennie Ott and her congregation have invited us in with open arms and allowed us an opportunity to rediscover our faith in a completely non-judmental and non-threatening environment and we love them for it.

All of this to say that Friday, April 5th 2013, was not the first time that I have had an encounter with God; it was merely a surprising and unexpected setting for me  to feel loved and accepted by God.

So there I was, bright red faux-hawk, men’s suit vest, combat boots and all, in a room full of the most wholesome looking Christians that I’ve ever seen; eyes closed and arms raised in worship to God.

Oh boy, here we go.

That scene brought back a lot of memories for me having been brought up in an Assemblies of God, Pentecostal church, but not all of those memories were bad.  I missed this.  As much as I wanted to remind myself that I was an outsider in that room, there was a huge part of me that wanted to be embraced and accepted by that crowd of passionate, Jesus-loving people.  I had experienced great loss when I left my former life as a missionary to venture out into the wilderness alone.

My mind became flooded with memories and questions and longing and ideas for saving the world and whatnot.  I had to resist the urge to grab the microphone from the worship leader and shout, “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!”  (I’m sure that Alyssa especially would appreciate that I decidedly did not attend the event in a drunken or chemically altered state, although that may have turned into a far more interesting story.)  Instead I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to “just relax and stop thinking so much”.

So that’s what I did.  I appreciated the time of worship, and the first two speakers.  I especially appreciated break-time that included coffee and cookies.  And then came the final speaker of the night:  William P. Young, author of “The Shack”.

Paul Young is a very humble and unassuming man; he is short, stocky, grey-haired, balding and simply regular in every way.  The first thing he admitted to is that he is an “accidental author”.  He originally wrote the book for his children in an effort to paint a picture for them of who he believes God to be.  So when his wife and children read the book and felt touched by it, he believed that the purpose of his writing had already been fulfilled.  He had never even intended to publish the book, but through a series of events that can only be explained as a miraculous work of God, “The Shack” has become one of the best-selling Christian fiction novels of all time.

Paul Young remarked that many people had asked him if he believed that God had “used him, like a tool” to write the book.  He confessed that he had been abused and molested from his early childhood into his teenage years, and therefore he was not a fan of “being used”.  He went on to explain that God does not seek to have a relationship with tools because tools are inanimate objects.  God seeks to have a relationship with His people, and then He entrusts them the tools that they need in order to better serve Him.  In that way Paul Young believed that God, in His love, had blessed him with the words and given him the freedom to express his spirituality in a way that many ordinary people, like himself, could understand it.

Paul Young said much more than just that, but I was unable to hear him for a majority of his speech because I was having a silent conversation with God.

God:  “I have given you a story to tell.”

Me:  “What story is that exactly?”

God:  “Your story.”

This revelation was shocking to me, considering that I fully expected that if God were going to speak to me in a Conservative Christian setting, the first thing that He would say is that I need to repent of my sinful lifestyle and follow Him.  But that is not what He said.  Instead I felt a complete sense of peace in that I am exactly where He wants me to be; I am, right here and now, on the absolute right path.  Writing is the tool that God has blessed me with, and now He has asked me to share my story.

Yeah, kinda HUGE.

I am still processing all that I feel that God was doing in my heart over the weekend, but for now I will conclude with this:

The Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference was flat-out amazing and I recommend it to all of my fellow writing comrades.  The workshops were very practical and informative and I left with a much greater understanding of what kinds of steps that I will need to take in order to pursue a career as a professional writer.

It was also refreshing to realize that (at least the group that I encountered over the weekend) Conservative Christians have become much more open-minded, loving and accepting than they were ten years ago, and that is a step in the right direction as far as I am concerned.

Of course there was a moment when I outright asked one of the speakers (privately) if he was a homosexual because I couldn’t possibly go through a two-day event without thoroughly embarrassing myself, but that is another story entirely…

Kenny Loggins.

480539_10151512338075862_275772961_nMe: “Mom, did you see the thing I posted about Kenny Loggins the other day?”

Mom: “What thing?”

Me: “It was a picture of Jesus, but it looked just like Kenny Loggins…”

Mom: “Well, I saw that you posted a picture of Jesus, but I didn’t know about the Kenny Loggins part. I just thought that you were making fun of Jesus and I was worried that maybe I didn’t raise you right…”