Monday, September 27, 2010

A Man of God

I taught the priesthood lesson yesterday at church.  I was given a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled Continue in Patience as the basis for my lesson.  It's an easy topic to address - nothing controversial or uncomfortable for a struggling with ssa - gay - homo-queer - mormon dude like me. 

I tried to offer a different spin on the topic.  I related the story of Steven Slater (the JetBlue flight attendant who go angry with a difficult passenger and ended up exiting the plane via the emergency escape chute) as an example of someone whose anger was understandable - even justified - but who, perhaps, could have exercised a bit more patience.  I talked about how we've all encountered people like the woman passenger in question - people who think the rules are for everyone else - people whose time is more important than ours so they cut us off in lines and/or traffic.  I then used that as a jumping point to discuss how we can learn to exercise more patience when dealing with difficult people.

I felt the lesson went well.  A visitor to the quorum even came up to me after and thanked me for the lesson.  During the closing prayer, the person praying expressed gratitude for the lesson given by a 'man of god' - he referred to me as a man of god.  Although I felt good about the lesson - I felt uncomfortable being referred to as a man of god.

Now, to be sure, when I give a lesson and/or talk in church, I choose my words very carefully.  I don't say anything I'm not comfortable saying - I only say things I sincerely believe.  But, I don't think of myself as a man of god.  Heck, I'm struggling with what do I really believe anymore - do I even believe in God? I'm not as certain as I once was.  So, I feel a little guilty for maintaining a facade that some, evidently, interpret as being godly.  If they only knew of the internal struggle waging inside of me.  Shouldn't a man of god be absolutely certain in his faith?

It just makes me wonder if I've become so adept at maintaining a TBM (True Believing Mormon) facade at church that I do it without even thinking.  A rather disturbing thought as I don't want to wear a facade - I just want people to see me as I am, the real me.

* * *

On a completely different topic, I'm really liking Mondo Guerra in this season's Project Runway; and, I think he could win this season.  I like Christopher Collins too (not just because he's the cutest of the bunch), he could be the dark horse contestant.  Mondo seems a bit odd (he definitely marches to his own drum); but, he's so nice and likable - you just want to give him a big hug.  It's always fun to see what outfit he's going to wear next.

I was glad to see Ivy Higa go last week; and, I'm hoping Gretchen Jones gets ax'd soon - but I think Gretchen will make it into the final 3.  Gretchen is just so manipulating and conniving and unlikeable.

My wife and I are also enjoying the new show Top Chef Just Desserts - it's kinda like a cross between Top Chef and Project Runway - a gay Top Chef.  Although, I did feel a tad be uncomfortable when Seth Caro had his meltdown and started crying for his mommy.  I mean seriously, I know there is a lot of stress - but you're 34 years old, get a grip on yourself.


A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Chedner had the same exact things to say about this weeks episode. He's also rooting for Mondo. He also loves Valerie's one-liners even though she's not the greatest designer.

Ned said...

I also led the "Continue in Patience" discussion in my HP group this Sunday. Kind of makes me wonder how many other gay Priesthood holders were in our shoes this weekend. Also, I thought these Teaching for Our Times topics were decided on the Stake level, but with you teaching the same in Texas, I'm guessing it is yet another example of church-wide correlation. Do you know what the deal is?

Incidentally my unexpressed take on continuing in patience is that it took the continued presence and persistence of both patient and impatient blacks and their advocates before the General Authorities of President Kimball's era would seriously consider asking our Father in Heaven if the time had come for a revelation about blacks and the priesthood.

In our time and place, I similarly believe that it will take the continued presence and persistence of a combination of patient and impatient committed gay couples, gay singles and their advocates before our current or some future Prophet and General Authorites will seriously consider asking our Father in Heaven if same-sex attraction is among those "other circumstances" mentioned in the Proclamation on the Family that "may necessitate individual adaptation" and that although "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God (and entirely appropriate for the majority of society which is heterosexual) other arrangements for those who have been blessed with same-sex attraction are also fully acceptable.

And speaking of that TFOT, I think I'll eat some marshmallows with my breakfast tomorrow morning. ;D

Beck said...

I think a "man of God" is one who chooses his words carefully so as to speak what he sincerely believes...

I think a "man of God" is one who's sincerity touches the spirits of other men to be better, to feel, to be humble, to be taught...

I think a "man of God" is one who is no stranger to trial, and continues in patience...

I think a "man of God" is one who questions what he doesn't know, in search of more wisdom and increased understanding, building upon that foundation of faith that he does have. And because it is a foundation of faith and not sure knowledge, that faith more than not is not "absolutely certain"...

I think you're a "man of God"!

Abelard Enigma said...

GMB: What can I say - two great minds with but a single thought :)

I like Valerie too - but I don't think she's going to last too much longer. She's just not quite as good as some of the others.

Ned: Joseph Smith only received answers when he went into the woods and ask a question. I don't think our church leaders are asking the right questions yet, perhaps because they think they already know the answers. They may be in for a big surprise.

Hmmm, I too thought these 4th Sunday topics were picked by the stake. I didn't teach in August because of stake conference; but, our July topic was pornography - was that the topic in your stake as well in July?

This church wide curriculum kinda bothers me in a way. It's like we're trying to force fit everyone into the same mold - there is no room for individuality. One size fits all often results in unimaginative, unoriginal, and mundane

Speaking of the marshmallow story - someone in my quorum offered an interesting perspective. It may have been a lack of trust rather than impatience for the children who didn't wait - trust that they really would get two marshmallows if they waited. It's nearly impossible to patiently wait for a future reward if you don't have some degree of trust in the future reward.

Beck: Thank you. I still don't feel very man-of-god-like, but I really do appreciate the different perspective.

Chedner said...

Curses! GMB beat me to my comment.

But, yes, (read super gayly) yay for Project Runway Season 8!!

Jack said...

Despite your own doubts, take a little comfort knowing your lesson might have given those who heard it a boost for the week.

And yes, How great is TCJD! That jackass Seth might have uttered the most quotable line from TV in a long time,“The red hots are for my mommy!” I had to rewind it 3 times I was laughing so hard! Had Padma been there she would have been appalled.