9.6 – intermitto

After the summer experience of 1990, I needed an intermission. That was awful, and weird, and glorious, maybe.  The jury was still out on the reality of it.

The fall semester at Northeast Louisiana University was a welcome experience at a college where I could be anonymous.  As I said in renovo, once a guy learns he can be invisible, he also often learns to enjoy it.

I found classes here that I could not find at LC, and I was just barely smart enough to get pre-approval from my LC advisor, to make sure the credits would transfer to the Baptist College.  Dr. Howell approved one course that truly surprised me: Sociology 430 – Occult Religions – all about everything from Witchcraft to Santeria to Demonology and beyond.  I chose this to fill in my knowledge on what had happened during the summer, and then I chose British History to prepare me for what was to come.  I also took a black history class to fill out the substantial parts of American history that the regular history classes didn’t cover. (sad that it was not all one class – American History)

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My “Slavery to freedom” class was taught by a black man, Occult was taught by a Wiccan, British History was taught by a pompous jackass, and I had a french class taught by a french lady, and a criminal justice class taught by a lawyer.  Wonderful!  Education could, indeed, be interesting. Not that it wasn’t at LC…

That fall semester went by enjoyably and quickly.  My brother and I were living in my parents’ home, while they were sometimes home and sometimes away on his jobs redesigning power plants and paper mills.  Aside from the classes, and planning and packing for London, one thing stood out that semester.

I was sitting alone at a table at the Monroe public library, studying some magazines and journals for a paper due soon.  The library was mostly empty except for one guy across the wide floor.  For reasons unknown at that moment he saunters over and sits at my table.  I ignored him then, just as I would now.

“do you mind if I sit here?”

“you already are..” I said.

what feels like three days pass, and he continues: “got a girlfriend?”

“no.”

half an hour of awkwardness, and then I feel a foot going up my calf under the table.

I didn’t want to be offensive then and I don’t now.  I wasn’t, and I am not, accustomed to romantic(?) advances, from anybody of any persuasion. I calmly picked up my literature, put it away, and walked out to my big, black 4wd chevy blazer with 33 inch tires.  I was hoping the red-neck-mobile might give him a hint. But it did not; looking back now I gather that he, having heard no negative response, thought that I was silently leading him somewhere.  I say this because he got in his car and followed me from the public library all the way to the NLU campus.  For you non-Monroe-ites, that was the longest 1.2 miles I’ve ever driven.  I pulled into the parking lot for my criminal justice class and probably due to the number of cop cars there for the same class, he kept going. I went into a criminal justice class but I cannot remember what was taught because I was again trying to figure out why people assumed me to be gay.  The last time someone of the LGBTQ persuasion specifically approached me was when I was a small child at a bus stop. (tumidus) He was just an old guy who thought I was cute, but that was unwelcome just as much.  I guess this was a young guy who thought I was cute? Was it because I tucked my shirt in? Because I was reading? Because my hair was combed and I was thin? I’m overwhelmingly attractive? Don’t think so. No clue.  I wasn’t. I’m not.

Now I’ve stepped into a sensitive issue.  I’m not a fan of these labels, but the “conservatives” say homosexuality is a sin that will send you to hell (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10) or at least render your town burnt up with fire and brimstone, (Gen 19:24) and the “liberals” say that it is not even a sin at all.  As I read the Bible, homosexuality is listed in the above referenced passages in the New Testament as sinful, along with adultery, lying, drunkenness, profanity, partying, coveting and stealing.  I don’t believe I know anyone who hasn’t fallen into this list at some point.  So while I cannot honestly, from my humble perspective, say that my gay friends are sinless, I can’t find any of their critics who can claim to be sinless either, – whether currently, historically, or even habitually. And I therefore don’t understand why the “conservatives” pick on this sin rather than the coveting of the neighbors’ bmw, or getting buzzed on some Jack and Coke, or telling the secretary we’re not in the office to avoid a phone call, or using profane language.  And who even defines profane language? Society? If so, no one can avoid the millions of words that have been placed in the dictionary of profane or offensive in the last several years! Carlin’s seven words have seemingly become society’s 27,000.  On one hand people don’t have parades and such taking pride in the other activities, but on the other hand they don’t particularly hide them or repent from them either.  A lot of people seem to actually take a level of “pride” in their pet sins. Whew! All that from a foot touching my leg.

Truthfully, the passages quoted above are listing things from which Christ can redeem us.  He doesn’t wait to redeem people once they stop sinning – that would be redemption based on our actions: by works, not grace.  He redeems us in the midst of our sin, and most of us continue right along with our sinning. Yes, He directs us to repent, and we should confess and turn away from our sins, but show me the Christian who claims he has turned away from all his sins, and I’ll show you a Christian who just tumbled head over heels into the “liar” part of 1 Timothy 1:10.

All this to say, as much as men should not treat women – or other men –  as simply sex objects (I got an inkling of a taste of the fear that can go with that), sex should not be our identities, and Christians should not withhold love, compassion and adult respect from others because their sins are different from ours.  If someone’s behavior renders them an enemy, I should love them all the more. If not, what’s the barrier?

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If I’m wrong here, please set me straight in the comments. (sorry – pun intended)

Regarding the bigger story, the intermission was over.  I was on my way to London, as the Persian Gulf was heating up and looking warrish.

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