Chances are that you’ve stopped by this blog after reading the two (wow!) articles in The Leaf-Chronicle about my upcoming guest lecture and book signing at Austin Peay State University. If not, I invite you to stop by there first! The articles are available online for a week.
First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to see what all I have to say about matters of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I want to especially thank Stacy Smith Segovia for her patience and professionalism in dealing with this neurotic gay Christian author!
Hopefully, in these pages you will see a consistent message in my writings. Yes, I’m an activist, and I believe passionately in matters of equality for ALL people. However, my overall intent is to “take the high road” in all matters. Yes, I’m gay. Yes, I’m Christian. There are plenty of people who would deny me these things, but these facts remain.
I’d like to point out that the LC articles was originally planned to run on Saturday, April 7th, then moved to Sunday, April 8th. This was initially announced in a post from last week. The editorial staff then elected to move the piece to run today instead. As a result, several friends of mine have been very adamant in their opinion that it should not have been “censored” just because it was Easter weekend.
When I learned that the articles would run on Easter Sunday, I had mixed reaction. It was exciting to think that a message of complete reconciliation and equality would have gone out on the day of the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. It was pure anxiety for me, though, because I knew that many people who read the story would have a very difficult time getting past the word “gay.” The fact that they were reading such a report on Easter Sunday would only make matters even worse.
Let me be completely honest, here. I didn’t get a wink of sleep on Saturday night. I knew that if the article did indeed run on Easter Sunday, a mushroom cloud would go up, and the point would get completely lost in the brouhaha. I went outside to check the paper box at 2am and then again at 4am. I finally closed my eyes for a few hours and woke up again around 8. Naturally, the paper was in its place.
However, once I flipped through all those coupons that I never use and got to the Living section, there was no article about yours truly. Instead, it was a wire piece about “movie trailer voiceover guy” Don LaFontaine. The headline described him as “the voice of God.” Not sure who that is? The next time you see a preview to a movie and hear a bold, gravelly voice say something like, “In a world where…” oh yes, you remember that Geico ad. Yeah. Him.
As you might imagine, I was upset. I was disappointed. I was angry. All that tossing and turning was for nothing! But after some careful thought, I realized fully why I was so sleepless the night before. It wasn’t because the article was coming out… it was because I knew that if my story were printed on Easter Sunday, it would send a different message than I wanted to initially. It wouldn’t matter if the articles themselves were perfect… it would be “Leaf-Chronicle prints a story about a faggot preacher who has a book out.” Instead of an olive branch, it would have been a bombshell.
Sure it would have been nice to know ahead of time so I didn’t waste time telling all of my friends to pick up the Sunday paper and look for an article about my book. Yes, I felt a bit foolish. In the end, I’ll gladly swallow my pride in the hopes that a spirit of reconciliation will begin to go forth, rather than just more controversy for the sake of selling newspapers.
Sure, some of my friends were completely incensed at the last-minute switch. They tossed around words like “censorship” and the like. Christine Piesyk, a former newspaper editor, insisted that she would have put the article on the front page, over the fold, to incite some much-needed dialogue in a “stagnated” area. Piesyk, a self-described “Yankee liberal” was “disgusted” when she couldn’t find the article about my book in Sunday’s paper. Sure, she has a valid point. I think she understands my position as well.
I think this is the spirit of reconciliation. Even my friends disagree with me on my positions, and yet they remain friends. We can converse, have sharp disagreements, and even shouting matches, but we remain friends. That’s the beauty of humility.
There are plenty who read my articles who disagree with me on nearly everything. I’m okay with that. I contend one thing: the dialogue must continue. We may not agree on matters of sexual orientation and Christianity, but articles like the one that ran in today’s The Leaf-Chronicle help to incite that conversation, no matter how lively or spirited it gets. And yes, it will be heated from time to time.
I look forward to that conversation. What’s more, I look forward to seeing the impact of a simple message of reconciliation and hope. If even one person is able to come to terms with their own sexual orientation, or that of a family member or loved one, then it’s all worth it.
Thank you, dear friend, for stopping by. I invite you to read on through these articles and learn more what it’s like to “skip to the tune of a piccolo in an entirely different band.” The sidebar on the right of this window provides a number of “best of” articles that offer a good cross section of popular articles, plus the “Christianity and Sexuality” articles that seem to get a lot of attention. In fact, they’re abbreviated versions of several chapters of my book.
Well, enough blathering. It’s time for me to shut up and let you read!