Sunday, 4 December 2016

Respecting "the journey"

I treat this blog as a place to publicly process my ideas as I keep growing and moving through the maze of life {insert other appropriate clichés here}.

Because of this, I get labelled and boxed with monotonous regularity, and in some ways that's fair enough. We can't be expected to read between the lines or know the entire background and "paradigm" behind everyone's journey.

The thing is, although I present stuff that undermines religion and especially Christianity on a regular basis, I fully realise that this is MY journey.

I challenge and provoke, question the status quo, present new or alternative ideas, use critical thinking and rational thought (to the best of my ability) in my quest to understand the greater mysteries of life.

But I also realise that its taken me many years to get to this point, and I simply can't expect anyone else to suddenly accept that my ideas should be theirs.

There have been many people I've encountered over the years who presented ideas that were way beyond my paradigms, and I thought they were deceived, deluded and lost souls. But their words were seeds that took root until, when the conditions were right, started to shoot.

In hindsight, I'm incredibly grateful for those challenges, and often confrontations - they helped prise open the door of dogma.

I often feel I cross the line when challenging people and presenting highly provocative stuff. But when I think about the unique and subjective journeys that we are all on, I know that even if someone is offended now (and it's never my heart to offend), I've hopefully planted a seed that will start to grow some day.

I really do respect everyone's unique road through life. I have to! I had to grow at my own pace, absorb new stuff only as I was capable, be open to new ideas only as I saw the failing of old ones.

I guess I'm really trying to say that we have to respect the unique journey each of us is on, and yet not be afraid to lovingly confront and challenge with the goal of bringing truth and love to humanity, that we will continue to mature as a species and one day come to true unity in love.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Let's Talk About Anal Sex

I talk to a lot of people about being gay, especially christians. Once you cut through all the religious doctrinal rubbish you usually end up with "the yuck factor".

This is the dreaded anal sex - yes, in the end this is what it comes down to far too many people. There's even a new group that call themselves "g0ys", (who despite some good intentions suffer from ignorance of the full nature of sexuality and gender, and engage in active bigotry towards LGBT people) and are pro homosexuality but anti anal sex as well as anything that suggests the slightest hint of breaking out of gender stereotyping.


But what IS the deal here? The most recent U.S. data from a national representative sample comes from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which was conducted on over 12,000 men and women aged 15 to 44. Results show that 34 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex at least once *. This is certainly an eyebrow raiser because we aren't talking about gay people here!

Other stats say around 90% of gay men practice it, some less, but generally at least 80%. Other stats on straight women say about 11 to 15% regularly practice anal sex. Whatever the figures, it's not just a small minority.

Is it safe? Is it yuckie? Is it pleasurable? Why do we even care?

As with ANY form of sexual contact it has it's risks. There are links to anal cancer etc, but what most people don't realise is that the research assumes that all gay guys engage in rough, unprotected sex every night of the week with a different partner - something that far too many accept as a stereotype. The truth is that it's as safe as you make it. If you clean yourself first, all good. Clean up after, all good - basic stuff really.

Yuckie? I can see why people think that because that's the hole where the crap comes out. Of course the semen comes out of the whole where the urine comes out, but we don't think about that. Again, it's all a matter of what we've been conditioned to thin rather than any reality.

Pleasurable? Most guys find it great, not all, but most. This is because it directly stimulates the prostate gland. It gets a nice stimulating massage during the whole process and it can be pretty good. Some guys don't like it and that's fine. No one is forcing anyone else to like it (well, they shouldn't). Many women like it as well. It's just one of those sexual experiences that you either like or don't.

Do we even care? This is the crunch! Why the hell do we care what other people do in their bedrooms? How does it affect YOU? If your gay neighbours are having anal sex, exactly how does that affect your life? If you are spouting religious reasons, really, what do we care what your interpretations of some ancient tribal writings say? I know it's very important to many people, but if that's your views, then you are actively involved in killing people. Religious views are the primary cause of mental illness that directly causes chronic depression and suicide - at alarming rates.

So if your opinions come down to gay people having anal sex, perhaps you should give it a go yourself!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Is Love a Discipline? - Pt 3

So, is love a discipline or isn't it?

So far I've proposed that it isn't (Part 1, Part 2) . However there are aspects of our self worth that create the free flow of love that do require discipline.

Loving ourselves doesn't come from doing nothing, we have to work at it. But that work isn't striving and beating ourselves up. It's a gentle, honest and determined work. It's a work that requires us to be painfully honest with ourselves on one hand, and incredibly gentle on the other.

We must stop and look closely at how we feel about ourselves - question our actions and reactions - our habits - the things we say to ourselves - what we think when we look in the mirror and so on. We must look at what has hurt us, abused us, broken us, to create these reactions and self image. It can be really painful indeed, especially where abuse is involved.

Then we "let go" and simply accept those things as who we are with no judgement. Yep, as ridiculous as it sounds, after being honest and recognising our lack of love, we simply accept it and stop struggling. When we have suffered abuse and trauma, this can be very scary and "triggering", but that's ok. We are allowed to feel the emotions of these things, but with the intention of "letting go", in the sense that we become the observer, rather than the participant. This requires the discipline of non-judgement, a gentle and respectful process, and often needs the help of trusted friends or compassionate counsellors.

Only then can we begin the important task of "re-programming" our minds, requiring the next step in  discipline. We've spent years soaking up all the crap that creates a bad self image and allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by it all, so we have to reverse that process, and that takes some determination.

We all know that pretentious stuff about positive self talk, well guess what, it works! BUT, it only works when we have been honest and done all the ground work I've mentioned. The two sides go hand in hand - non-judgemental observation and acceptance of our past and the paradigm that has created, and the re-programming of our minds to the truth of our worth.

Positive self talk isn't some fluffy bullshit. It can be painful, and seem like you are going against everything your mind and even your body is telling you. But remember, you are actually reversing the brainwashing of a lifetime of pain and lies, so it WILL go against all you feel.

The basic idea is telling yourself all the time and in every way we can think of, that we are perfect, beautiful, awesome, loved, accepted, needed etc. We take the time to think of all the things we'd like to be and actually declare that we ARE those things. We look in the mirror and say (no matter how hard it is) "I love you!". Find people who love you exactly as you are, who feed your heart. Immerse yourself in positive books and media - anything that affirms your real value as a beautiful, loving creation.

This is discipline, and it can be bloody hard work! But the one thing it isn't, is trying to love others by doing "loving" things. It's not sacrificing our own desires for the needs of others. It's not putting god first, others second and ourselves last. It's not trying to be loving. But it IS disciplining ourselves to undo the lies that we have been told and have taken deep into our hearts.

You ARE love incarnate - live loved!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Is love a discipline? - Pt 2

I had some people ask for some practical application of my last post "Is love a discipline?"
(although I'm not sure if this will qualify, lol)

The idea that self love is the only source of true love for everyone else can be a tricky one to get our heads around, especially when we have no real experience of self love outside of the context of the christian paradigm/belief system.

Many have never even considered the issue and just plod through life trying to "do" love, hoping that it will get easier as the learn self sacrifice.... and there in lies the first part of the problem! Self sacrifice is not going to make us more loving, never has and never will. It does, however, create an attitude self neglect, repression, a minimisation of our own natural talents and beauty, and often a form of self abasement that amounts to being a doormat, and all too often, forms of metal illness.

Christians are told that the correct process to be pleasing to god is put god first, others second, and ourselves last. We must sacrifice ourselves as Jesus apparently did - to carry our cross in the worship of God and service to others.

The second part of the problem is we are taught to "channel" god, to the point where we are nothing more than a means of god pouring out his love to mankind. The theological reasons for this are complex and sound reasonable given the premise that we are broken and incapable of doing anything good without the indwelling of god's spirit.

All this creates the paradigm that our own ability to love is flawed from the ground up, and that only god has this ability.

With all that in mind, back to the original topic - how do we apply the idea that self love is actually the single most important thing all humans need to not only thrive as an individual, but also as a "species"?

Of course, it's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. Some people have a spiritual experience that helps shorten the process - some sort of cathartic event that reveals our beauty and "oneness". For most of us it requires us to do a bit of inner searching and be brave enough to accept who we are right at this moment, with no thought of needing to change, or not being good enough etc.

It takes time, and of course, doesn't exclude the need to "do" loving actions for others as we grow. But the whole point is that we need to turn the destructive discipline into a natural flow of genuine affection, compassion and empathy from our core.

For example, I used to occasionally lose the plot and get angry out of frustration. People would annoy me (often those closest to me, sadly) because they couldn't understand me or I couldn't successfully communicate what I was feeling or needing. As I let go of the religious aspects of love and began to nurture myself things began to change. I recognised that I couldn't change by trying, so I just accepted that I was suffering - with NO judgement. I allowed myself to recognise I was just like everyone else and that was absolutely ok. I could then love people even if they didn't "get" me. I saw their struggle to understand with empathy and accepted and loved them totally in that, just as I now accepted and loved myself.

The key? NO SELF JUDGEMENT!

I stuffed up? - not a problem. Fix up the mess and treat yourself like the loved children we really are.
For example, our toddler wets the bed, but we don't berate them and demand they repent and try harder. We love them and say "never mind", clean up and show them that they are loved and wonderful. Its proven beyond doubt that if you scold a child for bed-wetting, it makes toilet training much harder. The worse the shame and punishment, the harder the toilet training becomes. This is true of all childhood behaviours (yes, I know many of you are thinking we have to be strong with kids and use discipline etc, but that's a whole other topic).

This is how we need to treat ourselves in every area. We don't judge ourselves - we don't need to!! Just like a loving parent, we embrace all we are, knowing that love will bring self confidence and the innate ability to prosper as a human, and share that love to everyone else.

This is a huge subject, and something I've spent the last few years getting a handle on. I've hardly scratched the surface here, and yet the whole thing is so incredibly simple. The problem is our indoctrination by religious paradigms.

More to come....

Live loved!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Is love a discipline?

One christian tenet that is commonly touted is the whole idea of love being a discipline - something we have to work on - to actively "deny ourselves" and exercise Godly love despite our feelings.

I always battled with this. I could never figure out why love had to be so hard, even though the excuse provided by traditional doctrine is that we are born "fallen" so everything we do that has value is going to be resisted by our "fallen" nature. It just didn't gel.

As I began my journey out of traditional christianity, I began to see people who genuinely felt "emotional" love towards everyone. It's the kind of love that isn't a discipline or a consciously focused exercise on applying scriptural doctrines, or trying to "channel" God in some way. For these people, they just felt simple and unconditional love for every person.

How could this be? So I read and observed, and discovered it isn't just super spiritual gurus who have obtained "enlightenment" of some sort, but was often simple, average people.

I've discovered the one common factor is self love!

I'm not talking about anything narcissistic in the slightest. I'm talking about a full acceptance of our own worth as neither better or less than any other human being. It's a complete acceptance and love of self as we are at this moment, no guilt, no shame, no regrets. It's a full embracing of our core being as an expression of love. It doesn't matter what religion or doctrines you may believe, apart from the basic fact that we are all beautiful and created in love.

This alone creates an inner peace that is far beyond any religion or spiritual discipline. If we have to strive to be loving, then we have missed the point entirely. And I can personally attest to it! Over the last 5 years I've grown to love myself "warts and all" in such a way that I feel equal to everyone else. Love to others becomes an expression of my love for myself. I don't have to "fake it till I make it". In fact, when I don't feel love for someone I'm getting to the point where I stop and look at what is being reflected in my own lack of self love.

Yes, it's something we grow into as we peel away the layers of self loathing in all its blatant and subtle forms. We have to abandon any belief that says we are broken and needy and require an external "saviour" because that shifts the focus and responsibility to that "thing" rather than embracing our true value on it's own merit.

If you don't experience natural, emotional based love that feels like empathy and affection for others, then the solution isn't "trying" harder, it's loving yourself more, and that only comes by unconditional acceptance of all that we are right now, and then allowing that internal love to gently strip away anything that isn't a product of love. No striving or effort to repent and renounce sins, no berating ourselves or struggling to be better - we are enough as we are, and all the we hate about ourselves is just a product of our "journey" so far, and we can change the direction of that journey by embracing self love.

Sounds too good to be true? Yep, we've been told a lot of lies for a long time. We ARE beautiful, all of us, right now. It's how we are "created". We truly are "one".

Live loved!


Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Unchanging God

One of the great tenets of Christianity is the "unchanging god" - the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - his character is solid and is never indecisive, always full of love, mercy and justice. We can count on him because he is always constant, in every way.

The truth though, is a bitter pill to swallow, a pill that most christians refuse to acknowledge.

For those christians who see god as totally loving and full of grace, they have had to shed the idea of the "monster god" of the Old Testament, and to do that, there's a large problem. 

To make god really as good as we say, we have to cherry pick the bible. God should be good of course, and we know that, however fundamentalists and traditional christians are trapped in the idea that you have to adhere to the entire bible, which is impossible, so you end up like the Jews - creating a god in your own image, and a nasty one at that.
 

Even the new testament has a lot of the old nasty god in it, which we have to tiptoe around to make a much better religion than the bible presents.
 
In reality, the christianity that most sane people like is one we have constructed out of morals and ethics far superior to those of biblical times.


However we don't see it that way. We use the term "doctrines" to describe the new beliefs that we stitch together from these cherry picked scriptures. I spent years doing this myself, and could justify it all with "scholarly exegesis".

I think this is actually a good thing, as we outgrow the primitive tribalistic god of the bible, but lets just call it for what it is - we are creating/modifying god into our own image - an image that reflects our evolving spiritual understanding, morals and love. 

The day will come when we see the bible for what it really is rather than worship it as a god actually speaking to us. Perhaps the only hold that traditional christianity will have over people is the fear of the unknown - what happens when we die. This is the last bastion of fear that we can be threatened with, and the last thing we need to come to terms with before shedding the old and walking in real love and unity as the beautiful creatures we really are.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Meme Me

Memes everywhere - silly, ugly, bigoted, ignorant, wise, profound, cats, you name it.

It seems our world is slowly being reduced into simple bite size chunks of information. This can be a great way to attract our attention and provoke us to read, research and ruminate, in order to grow and become better humans. On the other hand, it does little to expand our knowledge and broaden our perspectives, as most people either give it a quick glance, instantly decide if it agrees with their current paradigm and perhaps click the appropriate emoticon.

I've resisted the urge to create my own for this reason. It's too easy to be taken out of context and for people to put their own spin on it. However, that's exactly what we all do with just about everything we are exposed to - we see it through OUR eyes and interpret it through OUR paradigm.

It's only when we take the time and are really willing to hear and see, exercising empathy and a willingness to be open to change and growth, that the barrage of memes can be of any real use. Sure, they can help as little reminders to things we already know and agree with, but not when it comes to something that needs to be assessed and processed before passing any judgement on.

We see political, religious, philosophical and social memes, and quickly judge based on the rhetoric that we are already embracing, rather than looking at the deeper story, the context, trying to put aside our biases. But the meme is not designed for that. It's designed to be a fast and often aggressive tool to fire up emotions, divide and polarise.

I am constantly finding myself pausing to reflect on the endless meme stream, making an effort not to judge and allow myself to be swayed by unfounded claims, unchecked "facts', fear-mongering and hate speech. It's not easy!

I now usually post memes with the intention that they will be pondered and perhaps used to inspire further research. I always hope that people will realise that one tiny meme does NOT constitute the entirety of my intelligence, wisdom, experience or biases and react accordingly.

Except for cats. There's always cats.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Sup Jim?

I've been posting some confronting stuff lately and getting flack for my attitudes - so here's the story... 

I've slowly been leaving the fold of christianity, and in the process, posting heaps of stuff online (Facebook mostly) about the journey. I get very provocative, poking holes in doctrines and theologies as I continue to process, and get lots of "hate mail" because of it.

I make fun of stuff, I present radical views, controversial ideas, even some pretty offensive stuff. I stir up the pot of religion, no matter what's in there or who gets offended by the smell.

I've been accused of being arrogant, rude, judgemental, (and heretical of course) and I can't deny any of that. Sometimes I look at my comments and think "Jim, you really stuffed that up!". But hey, I'm human, fallible, growing and learning to "live loved". I am who I am, and I'm accountable, open, honest and strive for complete integrity in every area of my life. You can correct me and challenge me, and I'll always listen. And I've even admitted to being wrong and apologising (at least once I'm sure).

But what the heck am I on about? Be assured that nothing I say should be taken as personal offence (yes, I've been pretty hacked off with individuals who should know better, lol). I know all too well that each of us believes what we believe because of very real personal experience. No one picks up a belief system because it just seemed like a good idea at the time (well, hopefully).

So here's my biggest dilemma in terms of christianity (and religion in general). Do I simply say "believe whatever you want, it's all good". Or maybe "believe whatever you want, but if it affects other's negatively, then you should be aware of that and examine what you believe closely". Or perhaps I should present the whole underlying psychology and spirituality of christian theology as nothing more than a construct that meets deep human needs, being neither good or bad in itself, as long as we are aware of that fact. Maybe I should be brutal and stuff the consequences. Or maybe I should just quietly post pictures of dinner and cat memes.

The problem is I see the validity of each point of view. The thing that influences me the most, of course, is my own experience with the abuse that I and countless others, have experienced because of our sexuality. But that isn't the whole story by any means. Aside from that, millions
 of us have simply seen a far bigger picture than the one christianity paints. A picture that can't be "unseen" and that makes the christian world very small.

As many of you know, I loath dogma in any form and see it as one of the most destructive elements of human thought and behaviour. Even the philosophies and science I explore for bigger and better answers are always open to change.

I will not fit into any box anyone tries to label me with. And I hope for the day when all of us refuse to join a system of dogma that is in any way exclusive, denying our intrinsic oneness and unique individuality.

If you don't like what I say, then fair enough. But don't be surprised if I challenge you, and possibly be offensive in the process. If you can't handle having your beliefs questioned then they aren't worthy of your acceptance in the first place.

Life is tough and we all look for comfort, safety, security, love and acceptance - but this should never be at the cost of reason, logic, integrity and honesty in everything. We are worth more than that. We are love incarnate, but a species who, over countless generations, have lost sight of that, and have ended up creating endless religions to understand what went wrong and how to fix it. It's time to grow up!

And believe it or not, I do love you all - even you fundies who get up my nose!!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Infinite Paradox

Religion keeps it tidy
The questions
The future
The reasons
The past
The passions
The problems
Tidy
Answered

Life is infinitely bigger
The questions
The future
The reasons
The past
The passions
The problems
Messy
Unanswered
Gloriously paradoxical
Beyond comprehension

And in the centre of the paradox
Peace
Simplicity
Love

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bless me Jesus!

(I'm "testing the water" with this article - still tossing around the deeper implications and refining. It's almost part of my "theory of everything" lol, although any sane person knows that may never happen)

I was reading an article about Usain Bolt and his deep christian faith. It reminded me of so many other celebrity christians who give all the credit to Jesus for their achievements and praise God for his blessings when they achieve a victory in their chosen field.

I'm not discrediting Usain's faith as such, or any other christian who believes the same way. But I'm looking at the mechanics, as it were, of this faith and blessings business.

Every religious belief system has some aspect of this idea built into it - the idea that God "blesses" us we we give him thanks/praise, and that we should thank him when good things happen. Its a mentality of gratefulness, thankfulness and joy in what we have or achieve. Its waking every day to thoughts of gratitude etc, whether they be directed to the christian god or any other god. All the self help movements, "new age" philosophies, eastern religions etc, embrace the same idea in some form.

Why? Because it works!

It really does work! When we look for the positive, and live with that underlying "attitude of gratitude" (sorry for the platitude), we invariably live life better, fuller, more joyfully, and with more peace. It's just how we are wired.

So lets just put this fair and square where it belongs. It's nothing to do with God. He's not blessing us and answering prayers, he's not guiding us, or looking for our praises, or asking for our obedience in return for a better life. When we adopt an eastern philosophy or new age methodology, it's not the spirit or energy or vibrations or whatever, it's just the simple, practical way our brains are wired. Sure, maybe there is something about energy and consciousness and some deep god thing, but there zero proof for that - it's all just good ideas based on a few hints and theories - nothing more. And to say otherwise is simply proclaiming your beliefs as a religious dogma, rather than one possible way of applying universal principles.

Yeah, say it - I'm a party pooper - a killjoy! I'm on a mission to take the wind out of your most precious beliefs in the hope that we can see spirituality for what it is, remove all the vestiges of religious dogma, and work together in a way that makes us all better, loving people.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

I'm Angry

I'm struggling with anger.

If you are familiar with my journey, it may come as no surprise.

Here's some of what I'm angry about:
  1. Having to hide who I really was all my life - conform to a heterosexual norm
  2. Having to use every ounce of emotional energy I had to appear "normal" at the cost of everything else in my life
  3. The journey through christianity in the hope that it would "cure" me
  4. Investing 45 years of my life into a belief system that brought nothing but shame and guilt
  5. Realising that same belief system is nothing more than a man made set of doctrines
  6. Realising I've been manipulated and controlled by a religious system that did the exact opposite of what it claimed - and being completely blind to it all my life
  7. Deprived of ever having experienced a real mutually loving romantic relationship for 45 years
  8. Seeing the same belief system cause untold pain and suffering in millions of others
And that's not the half of it!


I thought over the last 5 years I've been sorting it all out pretty well, and on a intellectual level I certainly have. Even emotionally I've processed a lot of stuff. But lately I've discovered the anger is deeper than I thought. It's that incessant feeling of "I've been ripped off all my life and it's too late to do anything about it".

Of course I know all the valuable lessons I've learned, all the clichés, platitudes and truisms, and intellectually I can reassure myself that it was worth it all. But I've unconsciously tried to suppress the anger - and even thought it was done and dusted and I could move on to a better life.

Nooo, I was deceived! As I research more about religion and its impact on not only LGBT people but humanity in general, I feel an anger, and a repulsion towards christianity (and ALL religions) in a way that's hard to describe.

Sure, I know there are millions of good loving people who bring their own love into a doctrinally bankrupt belief system and turn it around for good. But I'm still angry at the whole thing. I never want to set foot in a church again.

Yes, my understanding of spirituality is now so much bigger and all embracing and loving than I ever would have thought possible.

But I'm still angry - deep down angry. And I think that's ok. If I suppress it I'm really doing the same thing religion always wanted me to do. If I explode with it all, I risk damaging others. So I'm learning to express it, being aware that others could get hurt, but also aware that in sharing my hurt and anger, others will realise that they too have lived lives of abuse and deception that need to be opened up and drained like an infected wound.

Being "real" is something very few of us are good at. It's scary - to ourselves and everyone else. But I'm beginning to think that the world will be a far better place when we all understand what being real actually is, and we can do it "safely". (and that's a whole other blog).


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

5 Years On

It was 5 years ago today that Min died.


For those who haven't read my book or aren't familiar with the story, my wife, Melinda, died of cancer, nearly two years after her diagnosis. It left my son and I deeply affected in many ways.

Today we finally took her ashes to her favourite beach. It's taken a while for both of us to feel comfortable enough to do this. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but of course the memories all come back and I could see my son suppressing his feelings as only 22 year old guys can!

So in a sense I'm finally free from that part of my life - that whole era where religion reigned supreme. Where we struggled to make sense of our christian paradigms. Where we never spoke of the "elephant in the room" of our sexuality - at least not in any sort of reality. We were both victims of ex-gay therapy and the delusions of religion.

We both battled with our faith over those 2 years, as we sought greater anointings, deeper relationship with God, greater faith in Jesus and God's desire to heal. We fought hard and faithfully.

In the end Min just resigned to the fact that she really had no idea how this God thing worked, and I began my journey of deconstruction.

But meanwhile, life goes on. I believe her consciousness has passed on to a different realm of awareness. I have no idea what that looks like, apart from a few smatterings of stories we get from NDEs, and even then we have no real idea. But every soul has this sense that we are bigger than this flesh we inhabit.


Monday, 4 July 2016

Relationships With No Agenda

This is a great comment on love relationships. So simple and yet deeply profound, and more difficult to live than we would care to believe.
Full article here...

http://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-priebe/2016/06/you-have-to-love-people-without-an-agenda/

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The danger of the "grace" movement

If you are a christian you have probably heard of the Grace Movement.

Of course, as with all doctrines, there are different versions, but we'll stick with the basic concept -  that Jesus died for our sins once and for all. This might not sound like a big deal, but the implications are that sin is no longer an issue, we are always "saved" and are free to live in a state of constant love and approval by God.

As an ex-fundamentalist I found the idea the only thing that made any sense. There were far too many holes in christian logic and reasoning, and the mentality of most christians I found to be one of wilful ignorance based on fear.

The Grace "revelation" (based on the writings of Paul) revealed a gospel of love - real love. Not the ridiculous conditional excuse for love that the church has pedalled for so long. I was presented with a God that made sense, one that really did care for ALL humanity.

The problem with this doctrine however is it requires us to rethink parts of the bible and how we interpret them. This has caused division and cries of heresy (of course) as people immediately forget the struggles of guys like Luther.

In the end, traditional christians can't handle the new doctrines because they are too good. They make a mockery of centuries of self sacrifice in an effort to be holy. It destroys the need for obedience to "the law". It negates the desperate cries for annointings and favour from God. In general, it creates havoc with nearly all traditional doctrines other than the basic idea that Jesus died for our sins. Beyond that, everything is up for grabs!

The big danger however, is that the grace movement leads us straight out the door of christianity forever! And that, my friends, is as it should be!

Christianity became superfluous, simply because apparently Jesus fixed up everything for everyone for all time, so nothing to bother about! From there it was an easy step to seeing that it was all ridiculous - centuries of manipulating a religion to make it work. And work it did!! It hit a niche spot in our psyche that cried for acceptance from a higher power, to find meaning and purpose. It worked like magic as it supplied a scapegoat saviour who fixed up everything for us as long as we obeyed the rules.

At that point, the entire structure crumbled for me. The emperor really had no clothes. We were all walking naked down the street, with those who had the eyes to see, laughing at our gullibility.

Sooo yeah, as I often say, I understand the needs that Christianity meets in so many, but for many of us it becomes redundant - just another religion that provides one perspective on the issues of life. Sure, you can pull gems of wisdom from the bible, and many christian "mystics" have helped us see greater truths that keep the ball rolling.

But its time to grow up. Not in an arrogant way that says I'm right/better and you're wrong/stupid. But in the simple fact that we are far bigger and better than any one religion, and its time for us to look beyond the narrow confines of ALL religions and begin the real journey of life and love.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Masculine vs feminine

(This is a repost from my Silent Gays blog)

One of the most confusing and misunderstood areas about sexuality and gender are the core concepts of masculinity and femininity. Even amongst LGBT people there is often confusion!

The general stereotype says you are either an effeminate gay or butch lesbian, and the other stuff is just too hard to understand.

One of the confusing issues is how we relate the body (physical gender) with the psyche (the mental aspects). Masculinity and femininity are fluid concepts that are not confined to one particular body. We all know guys who exhibit feminine qualities to some degree and women who show some masculinity.


We could define the typical masculine psyche as tough, decisive, pursuing achievement and status, self reliant, aggressive etc. The feminine could be defined as gentle, thoughtful, caring, nurturing, sensitive etc (Wikipedia gives a very thorough breakdown of masculinity and femininity).

So for LGBT people there is a heck of a lot of stereotyping in all this, especially as far as the heteronormative understanding is involved. Traditionally gay guys are supposed to be very effeminate and lesbians are supposed to be butch. Of course the reality is nothing of the sort, but obviously it’s easier to differentiate an effeminate guy from the crowd and assume he’s gay, and the same with macho women- they stand out.


The problem is that its a continuum (sliding scale) – everyone on this planet has a mix of the masculine/feminine psyche, irrespective of their sexual attraction or gender identity!

So just because you may be attracted to the same sex doesn’t mean you are obliged to behave a certain way. There are gay guys who are really macho – fitting the classic masculine psyche, and there are lesbian women who are 100% feminine. You would never know they are “same sex attracted” from how they appear or act.

Even transgender people can be somewhere on the masculine/feminine continuum. For example, a guy could identify as a female in terms of gender, but still have a high degree of masculinity, and the inverse with a woman. Basically I’m saying everyone is different.

This can become a problem when, for example, a young guy “comes out’, but due to his exposure to the stereotypes he assumes that being gay means going to gay bars, watching drag shows and acting feminine. This can be hugely damaging and cause a lot of deep conflict for a guy, who may simply want to live an average male life with an average male partner. Sadly, even the pressure from within the LGBT community itself can be a problem.

We need to let go of every stereotype! We are ALL somewhere on the continuum of sexual attraction, gender identity, gender expression, and even physical gender attributes (Intersex)! There simply isn’t the “gay or straight” box that people get locked into.

We still have a lot to learn, and we need the freedom to find where we fit in. That freedom needs to be from society as a whole and just as importantly, from within the LGBT community itself. Fortunately times are changing, and fast! Let’s give each other the freedom to be our true selves.

Monday, 13 June 2016

What the F#$%* is love?

The more I observe, the more I realise that despite everyone talking about love, there's not that much consensus on what it actually is and how we do it.

There's a lot of commercial and media hype around it of course - always has been. But that's just about the "feeling", sex etc. We all kinda know that (hopefully).

When we sit down and have deeper conversations (or full on abuse sessions on Facebook, lol) it seems that all is ok until we have to apply it to real life. That's where the shit hits the fan so to speak.

So where do we start?

I guess the "golden rule" - Treat everyone as you want to be treated - is the most universal concept of love that every religion holds central (ignoring the fact that they also have many ways to get around it). It's a wonderful truth that we can't ignore, it hits at the heart of our humanity. Think about how you want to be treated in any given situation, and simply reverse the roles. It's easy to comprehend, profound in its impact, and is a blow to our ego in it's worst moments. This makes it far harder than we often care to admit.

Christianity has it nicely nailed in the (apparent) writings of Paul:
1 Cor 13: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour 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.
.....faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.

We read this and get to about verse 5 and think cool yeah, I got that.. but then there's "keeps no records of wrongs", "never dishonours", "always protects, trusts, etc". This all starts to look like a hippy new age conspiracy. We tend to think of it as a nice ideal but rather impractical.

But how do WE want to be treated in ANY situation? Say we do something really wrong, stuff up big time, even to the point of damaging someone else's life. We are stuck, possibly in shame or grief, or maybe in denial. Our lives have stopped at that point (to greater or lesser degrees) not knowing how to move on. We want to be forgiven, we need someone, somehow to say, "that was horrific! - now how can I help you clean up the mess and move forward?" And we want them to help us with no judgement, just to accept that we blew it big time and now need to do whatever we can to grow, to avoid it again, to make amends - whatever is needed.

Love says, "OK lets apply this both ways - to everyone around us". Living like this requires patience, kindness, lack of envy and pride, no dis-honouring and always cool headed, not keeping records of crap, protecting, trusting, hoping, preserving".

I get angry when I see harm caused to so many in so many ways. I get angry at the really stupid and "evil" things people do. I get angry at bigotry in any form. I lash out at people, wanting them to be punished for their actions. I get angry with me! We so easily let the emotion take over the need. Of course, we must not live in denial of the emotions, we have to work with them, through them, shaping them and growing out of them.

We are all victims and perpetrators throughout our lives in some way or another. The problem becomes living the love we need to overcome being either!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Rape, Life, Love - part 2

As expected, I had some negative responses from my last blog

Even this response only scratches the surface of the issue. I hope that at least I'm inspiring thought and a challenge to actually live our ideals.

Some people challenged me (rightly so) on my idealism, lack of practical application, not understanding love and promoting "wishy washy lets just love and everything will be ok" philosophy. So understanding love is rather important!

Everyone thinks they know basically what love is all about. I used to have it nicely defined, especially from my christian background, but now I see it as something foundational to the nature of all that "is", far bigger and more impacting than we ever imagined. It's not just an option, but utterly essential to the survival and future growth of humanity.

Many people have some point at which they say something is unforgivable, particularly with abuse and rape. This is a very valid position to hold when we consider the long term implications that many have suffered - the devastation on so many lives and families. Exercising any form of love beyond immediate self care is often inconceivable.

But here's the bigger picture.

Do we want humanity to grow? Do we want to see people with that need to abuse even becoming an issue in the first place? Do we want to the world to be a "nicer" place? Rhetorical questions I'm sure! But how do we do that? By making the gigantic, emotionally taxing, intellectually challenging step of understanding the nature of love and actually living it.

Punishment does not work - ever - for anything. Thousands of years of history show this. Yes it will stop people out of fear, but it never changes the heart. You catch someone who abuses, lock them up as punishment, declare them evil scum, and hope they throw away the key. It solves the immediate problem of getting that person out of society so they can't re-offend, but does nothing for the victim or the abuser.

The victim may get a certain sense of justice, but it's not the thing that brings healing. It certainly doesn't heal the abuser, after all, abuse is about power and control, and locking them up only frustrates and represses that need, potentially making them even worse. Again, this works on one level because they are out of the way in prison, but if they get out, they re-offend, just as needy for power and control as ever.


Working with the abuser in love, with love, for love, means setting strong boundaries and creating a safe environment for others and themselves. It means confronting them with the consequences of the actions. It means working with them through their own need for control, their lack of self respect/self love, their insecurities that drive them to abuse. It means looking at everything that drives them to become abusive.

Punishment is the most negative and damaging things humans can do to each other. But think carefully about that before you react. When you have been punished for something what did you learn? You learnt fear. You stopped what you were doing, but it didn't make you a better person. It brought a redirection of behaviour through fear and more often than not repressed the cause of the behaviour you were punished for. For many it just means they put more effort into not being caught! This is at the core of punitive justice in every form at every level of our lives.

So, you do something wrong, and instead of being punished, you are shown the effects and consequences of what you did. You are made aware of the ongoing implications and damage to others etc. You are embraced and not shamed for your actions but gently and firmly held responsible for them. You are shown respect and dignity for your humanity. You are loved, without conditions, drawn into a level of empathy that heals.

Yes, for many that will be a long hard and frustrating journey, and it may seem inconceivable that we should take that much effort for many abusers. The justice system, the prison system, the mental health system and social work system simply isn't set up to do this. They aren't trained or resourced to even consider this. They have to work within the parameters that are dictated by society/government etc. So yeah, I'm talking about an ideal in the current social systems we have.

What do we do? The only thing we can - we change ourselves!

We look at our own hearts, we look at how much we love ourselves, our own sense of self worth, and begin there. We dig deep with compassion and empathy towards ourselves until we find peace within us that needs no outside support.

Then we do the same for those around us. We begin to "live loved". We can't change the world by tomorrow, but we CAN change ourselves, starting now.

So back to the original post...
Do you want change or "justice"?
Do you want freedom or revenge?
Do you want to to see the world grow in love and life?
or continue in judgement, bitterness and cynicism?

No one ever "deserves" fear and hate.

And for the victims? Asking them to work through the process of forgiveness is a very big ask indeed, and yet, it's the only thing that will bring them life again. My heart aches every time I hear of the suffering of abuse victims, and I will do all I can to love and support anyone, but deep down we know that real life can only comes from that place when love is allowed to bring forgiveness.

But like I said, this hardly scratches the surface. We must stand together, in love, for love, to change this world!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Rape, life, love


We label people by their worst acts.

We declare a person to BE a Rapist
[this doesn't just apply to rape of course - you can add any other labels here]

When a line is crossed, within whatever social/moral/ethical standards we define, a person becomes the label. Their entire value as a human is reduced to the label.

Rape.

Now here's where I'm treading on thin ice.

Firstly, I think any form of violation towards a person, be it physical, emotional, whatever, is wrong. It comes from a place of uncontrolled ego, lack of respect, compassion and empathy etc, but mostly a lack of love. Whatever the reason it's unjustifiable.

But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about how we define someone who has committed that sort of violation. We no longer accept them as someone who has done something really bad, but are willing to love them through it and help them confront the issue and the root causes. They have become the act - someone who has raped becomes a "rapist". They are no longer a complex human full of hurt, pain, desire, emotions, all shaped by a lifetime of experiences, upbringing, social context etc. They have simply become a rapist (or paedophile etc), no longer a person of any worth or value, they are now exclusively defined by their crime. They have become an object of hatred - a focal point of evil.

With all the respect, compassion and empathy due to victims of abuse/violation in any form, to take away someone's intrinsic humanity and replace it with a label that becomes a life sentence - a slow death fuelled by other people's need for revenge, justice, retribution, disgust and hatred - makes us no better than the abuser.

I'm also not talking about the impact on the victim, or the need to perhaps remove an abuser from society to keep others safe. This is all about perception and the value of every single life, no matter who they are or what they've done.

Do you know why forgiveness and love are constantly regarded as the most powerful things we can bring to this world? Because they are the only things that bring real change. You want to change a rapist? Love them, after all, the only reason they rape is because they don't understand love. If we demonstrate love in deep practical and powerful ways we will see it bring change. If we demonstrate revenge, hatred, and remove a person's humanity, we bring death. Unfortunately, many victims actually want that, and I can genuinely understand that! I know many victims who have deep lifelong scars from abuse. But that still doesn't change the fact that love brings life, and every single human being deserves life.

Stop the labels
Stop spreading hate
It takes effort, a lot of effort, to live loved. It's the "narrow road".
It takes no effort to condemn someone to death.
It takes a lot of effort to exercise concern, empathy.
It takes no effort to judge and demand retribution.

Again, to ALL victims of abuse of any form - I get it, I really do, the affect is devastating and deep. But what are we going to do about it? How are we going to bring life to EVERYONE out of pain of abuse - not just the victim.

"Live loved" = not just an empty platitude!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Dear bigoted, fundamentalist, homophobic christians...

Now that I have your attention, allow me to elaborate.

Have you ever noticed that if you pull someone up for something negative (especially online), most of the time they assume you're are making a derogatory comment about their value as a human being. They instantly think you are being personally slanderous.

If I say to someone that their comment is bigoted, most assume that I'm calling them a bigot, in the sense that I've just described their entire worth in one word. And yet all I'm saying is the comment or attitude that they have displayed in a particular context is bigoted.

There is also the whole issue of generalisations. I could say that most fundamentalist christians are close minded and refuse to listen to anything outside their set of dogmas. Once again, generalisations are exactly that - general statements that aren't meant to imply any personal defamation to an individual. It's simply a statement that describes a common mindset.

What I'm trying to say is that any particular mindset or opinion you may have about something  doesn't define your entire character or value as a human being. It may be an opinion that really sucks and needs to be challenged, but it still isn't who you are.

I have friends who I constantly have digs at for their particular views on something, but that doesn't devalue their humanity - their worth, the years of life experience, pain and suffering, joys, heartaches - all the things that make them humans like you and me!

Let's try to stop taking offence so easily and actually listen to people. If someone calls you a right wing conservative fundamentalist homophobic misogynist racist, it simply means they have reacted to that particular part of your life paradigm. It's what they've seen presented in a conversation or comment, a post or meme. And yes, often people get carried away and really do think your entire worth is contained in one viewpoint, but try to remember that they don't know you - they don't know everything that has made you who you are right now. They are reacting to that part of you that has been presented to them.

When you respond to people, be careful to clarify that it's the comment that may be the problem, NOT them as equal and fallible humans. The comment only represents a small part of their life paradigm. Instead of saying "you are a bigot", make it clear that "your comment was bigoted". Notice the difference? It's huge! And make sure that they understand the difference too!

It's all about love really - empathy and respect. And no, I don't always get it right myself, and lose my cool, but I'm also quick (hopefully) to apologise when I realise what I've done.

Living loved is what it's all about, and remember, you can always politely just "walk" away.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Is Christianity "evil"?

Define "evil" Jim...
There are lots of definitions we could probably agree with, but I choose something simple:

Evil is the lack of, or non-application of love.

So, why do I think ALL religion is evil?

For that I'd have to define love, and again, to keep it simple:

Love is the unconditional acceptance of a person's unique worth (including our own), without judgement or conditions.

ALL religions fail on the definition of love. Many blatantly, such as fundamentalist Islam and Christianity. But many on a far more subtle level, such as the rest of christianity. I'll stick to Christianity because it's the religion I'm very well versed in.

By it's very nature - it's foundational doctrines that define the essence of christian beliefs - Christianity is judgemental and conditional. Consider the following:
  • Everyone is unacceptable to God from birth (yes some are changing their theology around this)
  • God cannot accept anyone without them having "faith" in Jesus
  • Non-christians are rejected by God
  • When you become a christian you must change to be acceptable to God (this is still implied even in the most liberal doctrines)
  • Christians can extend loving actions and attitudes to un-saved people, but they are still excluded from God simply by being human.
  • Christians are told to judge others, to separate themselves from the ungodly (this is changing in more liberal circles)
  • They "love" others with the sole purpose of getting them "saved"
I could go on.

This is not love. In fact it's the opposite, it's evil. Even by the bible's own definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, most christians don't have a clue what love really is.

I know there are many of my christian friends who do genuinely feel empathy and compassion without judgement for a lot of people, but when I think of myself and so many others, we always had an agenda. We didn't love people simply because they were human beings worthy of love. That agenda was deeply ingrained and coloured every thought and action.

Christianity is starting to evolve thank God (irony intended). Many are recognising this glaring paradox and adjusting their theology and doctrines. But that in itself raises bigger questions about the foundations of the faith in the first place.

So back to my premise...

Christians aren't evil people, but the foundational doctrines and theology are! The bible is not a book of love, despite the odd gem. It's a book of conditions and control, of subtle and blatant abuse, of ancient cultural bigotry and primitive uneducated mindsets, lacking the combined wisdom of 2000 years of moral/social/philosophical evolution.

We are now, as a species, far more moral than the God of the bible. Christianity keeps trying to pull us back to that ancient mindset, creating the exact opposite of what this world needs to grow.

But I understand the attraction of Christianity. I really do! I'm not dissing the people, I'm encouraging us to open our eyes to the lies we are deceiving ourselves with. Perhaps we need to see that our beliefs may have served a primitive bunch of Jews, but that they are utterly irrelevant now, to the point of being destructive and yes, evil.

Having said all that, I'm not saying Christians are evil people. But I am saying their whole foundation for love is screwed.



Monday, 2 May 2016

Self worth and Jesus

A central tenet of christian doctrine is the belief that we are intrinsically bad/evil and that only through Jesus can any sense of self worth be attained.

This is strengthened by persistent teachings that say things like "all of Him, none of me", "I can do nothing without Jesus", "I'm just a worthless sinner saved by grace" and countless other expression all based on various interpretation of scripture.

Self worth however, is exactly that - the worth of our "selves". What is our core identity (our essence/spirit/heart - all that we are) actually worth?

Is it doomed, from the moment of our conception, to be thwarted in every attempt at living loved, with honesty and compassion, to be a source of light and love to all around us?

Is our self worth a thing to be despised and utterly rejected, to be replaced in some magical way by the "worthiness" of another, which alone will make us acceptable to our God?

I know there are many doctrines that explain the indwelling of Christ and how he makes us one with him as our spirits are remade in his likeness etc. There are thousands of books written and sermons preached on this.

But all avoid the most fundamental issue - that however we hide it in nice and loving sounding doctrines - our deepest self, the "me" that we were created with that makes up all that we are - is worthless crap until Jesus takes over our hearts and makes us like him.

In a way, this works. Simply because if we accept that we are totally corrupted and screwed up, as is evident by the way we think and live, then believing that a "perfect being" can live inside us and solve this problem by us sacrificing every thought and desire we have to that being, then yeah, we will change, especially as we believe that being is loving and gracious and only wants the best for us.

But at a deeper level this is the ultimate abuse of humanity. It destroys our hearts and souls in a way that is so subtle that we actually think its healthy.

What if the real problem is simply that our own self worth is damaged by the lies we are taught from birth?

What if the examples of constant lovelessness as we grow reinforce the idea that we are so flawed that our only hope is by abandoning the little we have and allowing another being to live vicariously through us?

But what if the flame of our self worth were to be encouraged, brought to life and allowed to be everything it was created to be, simply for its own value?

What if we actually believed that we are beautiful, lovingly made, infinitely valuable, just because we are human? Imagine billions of people honouring each other's unique worth, respecting each other out of their own unique self-worth, living from a place of perfect and complete self love - a love that can do nothing other than embrace the love that we are all made of.

What if the religion we try to use to feel worth something, is doing the exact opposite and is slowly and thoroughly killing us off as individuals and as a species?

Yes, I know many people have been "saved" from lives of misery and abuse through christianity. But what if its nothing more than a cover up - a poor substitute for real life and living powerfully and wholly ourselves, full of love and life?

Personally, I've found this to be the case. By accepting who I am at the core of my being and allowing myself to unconditionally love that "me", I have become more loving, more patient, more compassionate, more filled with peace and joy, and far more capable of giving love to others than any amount of self-sacrifice to Christ could ever bring. Pride and arrogance fall away, rather than grow - the exact opposite of what Christianity told me would happen!

Live loved!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Our lovingly evil god

The last few years have seen me become more and more ruthless with my attacks on Christianity.

Many people say I've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Others think I've just become bitter and hopefully, one day I'll see that my bad experiences have taken me this way, and that God really is as loving as many believe. Some understand the depth of what I've battled with, some say I'm just deceived and have become a tool of the "enemy".

I've posted many blogs about this, so I thought it was time for one more, lol.

The "grace" message that so many now preach was a huge step for me. The idea that God indeed absolutely and unconditionally loves everyone was mind-blowing. The doctrines of the "finished work of Jesus and the cross" finally made so much make sense.

...sort of...

The problem however was the brain teasing, mind twisting doctrinal re-arranging we have to do to get the bible to make any real sense. The proponents of Grace can back their doctrines with solid scriptures, but like it or not, it's at the cost of others.

I still, in all honesty, couldn't reconcile the character of God, as represented throughout the entire bible, as being a truly loving God. I studied and read so many books. I prayed and meditated on it, even did 2 years bible college. But ultimately I had to admit that the God of the bible is an asshole. In fact, far worse than that. To accept that the bible gives us the entire picture of a never changing, omniscient, omni-everything God forces us to accept the horrors that he inflicted as well as the supposed good. The God of the Old Testament was a monster - no better than the gods of the surrounding heathen nations, and probably more arrogant and exclusive.

The god of the New Testament seems a lot more loving and forgiving, but it doesn't take much to see that no matter how good we spin the doctrines, he's still an asshole.

He's exclusive, demanding and judgemental, unless we choose to love him. It's that simple. And yes, I know every argument and doctrine in the book for both sides. I've been doing this for over 40 years and believe me, I've yet to hear anything new that would convince me otherwise. Every single comment I get when I say stuff like this, I could have written myself! I just get never ending clichés and more scripture quoting, or insane circular logic - you name it!

The problem however is that so many genuine loving and passionate people fail to see the glaring absurdities - like I did for most of my life!

Sure we can believe whatever we want, not a problem. But what is the fruit of our beliefs? What is the basis of our beliefs? Are we believing something that is actually far more damaging than we could possibly imagine, and yet only see it as good and loving? Are we blind to the centuries of horror this religion has caused? Or are we happy to just say we are the generation that finally understands it all?

The god of the bible is horrific, as are the gods of so many other religions, most of them in fact - simply because we love to create gods in our own image - we just can't help ourselves!

I know I'll get the usual responses from this, but that's ok. If just one person stops to really ponder what the hell they actually believe and why, then this world could become a better place. So believe in whatever god you want - but do so with the most integrity and honesty you can possibly muster, and above all, don't be an asshole like the god of religion.

(I'll be writing more about the deeply damaging aspects of christianity and religion in general, and much of it will be in my next book - which is taking far too long to get into!)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

What if?

What if time was not time - not event upon event?
What if sequence is illusion - and illusion is bent?
What if now is then and then is now?
What if I am, and was, is the same somehow?

What if we just dream the now?
What if everything is nothing, or an endless Tao?

I have a world in my head
Full of love and dread
It seizes the day
But I stay in my bed

My world and yours
We agree by default
A manifold illusion
In our great gestalt

What if past, now and then were one?
What if all was simply the kingdom come?
What if we, in this life confined
Were truly immortal, love divine?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

I was a chronic liar

Lying.

We hate liars. We are taught from day one that its absolutely wrong to lie, and when we catch people lying it destroys trust and credibility.

But we all tell little lies every so often. We twist the truth a little, tell "white lies", you know the story. It's even justifiable if the truth could do more damage than a careful lie!

But I lied all my life. I lied about who I was. I lied to myself every day. I lied to my family and friends. I lied to everyone.

I felt like I had no choice, but it ate me up from the inside out. "Coming out" as gay was inconceivable. Confiding in friends wasn't even an option - even those who I had some sort of "same sex" relationship with wouldn't talk about it. We just "did it". We had to lie.

Lying is so incredibly destructive. Obviously to those around us, but even more so to ourselves. It causes us to slowly build a false reality, a dual reality. It splits us, creating cognitive dissonance. It begins the process of mental illness and for some this can end in death.

I lied to my wife (both of them). I lied to my family. It was the only thing I could do to survive. But it nearly killed me.

This is why personal integrity is so important to me now. I ached to be "integral" all my life. You can't imagine what a relief it is to have nothing to hide any more!

When I say I'm free, I really mean I'm finally living whole and with integrity. I am who I am, open and transparent. Perhaps too open sometimes, but I don't care. It's such a massive relief to tell the world that I no longer have anything to hide. I'm not lying to you any more! No more skeletons in the closet. No more fear. No more self hatred.

I'm free! Yeah, it's all relative, and I know there are still many parts of my identity and "being" I don't understand. I'm still influenced by the deep scars of the lies, and my emotions betray that far too often. But I'm free of the need to lie - about anything actually.

Life is good!!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Achievement abuse

The pressure to "achieve" is relentless.

I don't just mean, get a good job or whatever. I mean to make something of your life -  to become a "useful/normal" member of society. We are told to get over our crap - sure, take time to work through it, so long as you actually "get better" - there's only so much "compassion" we are allowed to receive before it's time to move on and get back into the system.

In christian circles especially, this is a type of subtle but powerful abuse. Yep, that's right - abuse!

We use a combination of capitalism and the "protestant work ethic" backed by the twisted dogma of religion that demands we fit in to a mould - that we all look and behave the same, allowing just enough diversity so it appears we are tolerant.

This covers every aspect of life! Our personal goals and ambitions, our work ethic, relationships, mental health, finances, politics... All are neatly framed by expectations to conform, but most importantly, to "succeed".

Our ability to conform has become the measure of our success.

We are given all the help we need as long as we can measure the results of that help in terms of becoming "functional" members of society. And for christians, that means "functional" members of church. We measure relationship with God (our validity as a christian) by how much we have achieved. This includes our level of "obedience to God", our "ministry", our "service", having the perfect family, good finances (prospering) and a great smile that shows how we have "overcome".

But what if those measures of success are totally arbitrary? What if they are actually destroying us - destroying who we really are - our true identity? What if the pressure they put on us is slowly killing us?

What if there were no expectations to be anything other than who we are, and encouraged to simply find love in ourselves and everyone else?

All cultures have inflicted this on its people in some form. Christianity excels at it, especially as it bases it all on being pleasing to God. It makes God out to be the one who wants us to achieve the right (righteous) results, and excuses this abuse of our core identity and self worth by claiming it's the way God decrees it.

We are not broken. We are not miserable sinners desperately needing some external magic God to save us. We don't need to fit any mould. We are all completely unique, and when we are given the freedom to be just that, we'll all function together in ways we never imagined!

Friday, 4 March 2016

"It's Life Jim" vs Xlibris :'(

I've been hesitant to share what happened with the publishing of my book (It's Life Jim...) because, well, just because I feel like an idiot really.

I chose to use Xlibris to publish, as they are a division of Penguin and Random House. They are well established companies, been around for a long time, and thought I couldn't go wrong.

I was wrong.

They offered an amazing selection of services to promote/market my book, all at premium prices. I was prepared to spend the money though, because I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I scraped together $4000 through donations and my own savings, for a range of services. They then offered me the deal of the century - New York Times literary section, book review, advert and radio interview for another $4000!

Too good to turn down, and a friend offered to lend me the money. But it turned out that the real price was $16,000 (four monthly payments of $4000), and the sales rep had neglected to inform me of this minor detail. Long story short. it took 6 months - yes 6 months!! - to finally sort out the mess, meanwhile we had missed the opportunity of a lifetime to promote my book through all the international media attention I received from a nasty piece of hate mail (thank you Logan Robertson).

Instead of taking a refund of the $4K, I foolishly reinvested it into another service they offered, thinking I could recoup the losses. But no... after getting a place in 4 major book-shows through the US, they informed me that to get real results I needed to be at the shows to personally promote it, and they weren't going to cover the airfares, lol.

So I got screwed over big time. Even the basic services, I've since found out, I could get for a fraction of the price if I'd researched more. I was stupid - sucked in by hype.

Sales trickled along - enough to help promote Silent Gays and keep me alive - but nothing like enough to actively promote the book, and pay back loans.

So there you have it. Go on, say it... "Jim, you're a sucker". Yes, its true!


Thursday, 18 February 2016

I Love To Be Loved

The simplicity of love!

To-Love-And-Be-Loved...It's not hard, or complicated. We have turned it into some crazy spiritual/religious/moral/ethical maze of conditions and exemptions. We have dissected it into oblivion and robbed it of power and declared it unachievable on any practical level.

But I love to be loved!

I know what love is when I receive it. It's the most empowering and life giving thing I could ever hope to have. When I do something good for others, no matter how "selfless" it may be, deep down it makes me feel good - I'm experiencing love, even if it's my own love!

We don't need to be told what love is. It's written in every heart, it's who we are at the core. Yes, even the worst of the worst know what love is, even if they have never experienced it or expressed it. All evil is simply a deficit of love.

It's OK to love to be loved. In fact, it's the very thing that gives us real life. Love yourself, let yourself be loved, soak it up for all your worth.

Live Loved!





So, you know how people are
When it's all gone much too far
The way their minds are made
Still, there's something you should know
That I could not let show
That fear of letting go

And in this moment, I need to be needed
With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Yes, I love to be loved

I cry the way that babies cry
The way they can't deny
The way they feel
Words, they climb all over you
'Til they uncover you
From where you hide

And in this moment, I need to be needed
When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear,
I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Oh I love to be loved

This old familiar craving
I've been here before, this way of behaving
Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
Let it pass let it go let it leave
From the deepest place I grieve
This time I believe

And I let go [x2]
I can let go of it
Though it takes all the strength in me
And all the world can see
I'm losing such a central part of me
I can let go of it
You know I mean it
You know that I mean it
I recognize how much I've lost
But I cannot face the cost
'Cause I love to be loved

Yes I love to be loved
I love to be loved
[x3]

I love to be loved
I love to be loved
Yes I love to be loved

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Anti-dogma

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.[1] It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself. (Wikipedia)

Some people think I'm "anti-christian" these days. I'm a heretic for sure, but not anti-christian as such. My views were probably best summed up here.

I've been having more interactions with traditional/fundamentalist christians lately (not sure why really!) and dogma is the thing that stands out the most. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so damaging. I mean, sure, believe whatever you want - it's your right as a human being! But the moment your beliefs become dogma, you've stepped over to the dark side.

Christian dogma simply says I'm right and you're wrong - end of story. Embrace my dogma and you'll be ok for ever. You can be one of us, blessed and loved by God.

But it's not just christians.

Just about every belief system has it's own form of dogma, and dare I include atheism in that?

Nothing outside the realm of our physical senses can be termed irrefutable truth. Nothing. It's all philosophy, beliefs, ponderings, assumptions etc. Many ideas can sound pretty darn good and be backed by "science" to some degree, but they are still subjective and "intangible".

Science itself is basically the art of translating the unknown or inconceivable into something our physical senses can understand - something we can go "yeah, can't argue with that!" But again, even science can get it wrong and build theories based on incorrect premises.

So anyway - dogma. It sucks. It kills. It isolates. It divides. It's the antithesis of love. Believe whatever you want, but the moment you turn it into dogma, you lose, and bring death to all around you.

No one is right or wrong, but we are free to create belief systems that bring life and love - real unconditional love, with no agendas.

Love is all that matters - and you don't need a dogmatic belief system to live loved in all it's fullness!


Friday, 29 January 2016

You mean I'm really OK??

I've really been into helping people see that they are OK, at the core of their being. They aren't broken.

I love seeing that spark as they realise they have value, that they actually matter and can bring so much to those around them, and even the rest of the world!

But I'm realising I don't quite live it myself - not as much as I would encourage others to do! Sure, I'm happier and more confident than I've ever been, but I'm seeing that my self hatred is deeper than I thought.

I didn't fit in as a kid. Then I realised I was gay - culturally forbidden in the 60s and 70s conservative middle class. Then I got religion, and the self loathing got even worse. My whole life was one of failure - not living up to my own or other's expectations. The image I had of myself affected every aspect of my life. I lived in fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Now, I have come out of that to the degree where I feel free and integral for the first time in my life, but I still don't value my abilities. I still think I'll fail - that people will somehow see that I'm a scrambled mess, and I'm of no real value.

I still walk into a room full of people and deep down assume that they are all "better" than me - more "adult" - more "together".

So here I am, trying to make Silent Gays and my book a going concern, when deep down, there's still that sense of fraud and failure.

I'm not sharing this for pity. Its simply that in seeing this for what it is, I realised that so many of us feel the same. If we've hidden who we really are out of fear and shame, then it will affect every area of our lives!

I passionately want to help the world be a better place, to provide hope and love. We all need to help each other to be all that we can - to recognise the affects of the past and to support and encourage each other.

We CAN do this - We are not our past - We are not who we were.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Jesus who????

Now for the big one!


Over the years, I've heard various alternative ideas about the historical Jesus. The only people who think that the Jesus of the bible is an historically accurate record these days are either fundamentalists or those who have never really thought about it.

Having said that, most people just assume it's close enough not to worry about, and any discrepancies don't undermine the message anyway.

There's a lot of scholarly work now from people like Reza Aslan, that thoroughly researches the culture, sociology, religions and just about every other factor you can think of, to build a picture of the "real" Jesus.

But for some time, there's also been research that says he never even existed! What I'd read of this wasn't particularly credible and had that conspiracy theory edge to it.

This guy however, is rather challenging and, I must confess, pretty thorough and very scholarly. I'm going to read his book and dig deeper.




So if this is true, where does it leave us?

It clearly puts Christianity into the realm of a mythical cult, which, none the less, has a lot of value in terms of spirituality, morality etc.

It would certainly change the entire landscape of christendom, and probably bring the complete demise of traditional church. But then again, there is too much vested interest in a religion with 2000 years worth of traditions for many people.

We may never know "the" truth about Jesus, but I'm glad some objective research is finally coming out.