Tonight I walked into Second Story and I heard, over the strains of a Ciara song, “Young man, did someone make that for you?” I looked over to see her gesturing to the general scarf area and I replied, “Yes my grandma did!” She introduced herself as Miss Terry and said she recognized it because she herself crochets. We chatted for a few minutes longer, remarking that yes, this was a good playlist and yes, these were some amazing early 00’s videos, and definitely Brandy should be getting more work. She looks great! After a while Miss Terry grabbed my arm and looked into my eyes and said “Listen, I can’t pretend to know what your relationship with your grandma is like and I won’t. But family is family. These two girls with me are my nieces. I had a hand in raising them since they were six months old, and they dragged me off my couch tonight. The next time you see your grandma you get her off her feet, you bring her some food, and you let her know you appreciate her loving you into the person you are today.” She tightened her grip on my arm and Whitney’s “My Love Is Your Love” came on the speakers. “Family makes mistakes; family isn’t perfect, but family is a verb. People ARE family to you. Tell your grandma some random lady in a bar told you to appreciate her.” Then we kissed on the cheek and parted.
Oh I didn’t go to Baylor, but that’s what the article was about. I went to Union, a Southern Baptist school that’s way more conservative than Baylor. As to “why I chose” it? That answer’s complicated, and kind of gets me going in “Why did I waste that part of my life”-lines of thinking that aren’t helpful.
18 year-old me was very much a product of the megachurch environment I grew up in. My parents both held divinity degrees (but only my dad was allowed to minister; cool doctrine, church!). I was a church youth group leader, Student Body President of my Christian high school, a cheerleader at the same Christian high school (lol), etc. I was a Young Republican and a True Love Waits virginity pledge signer. 18 year-old me thought that I was going into the ministry at the end of college, and also that going to a “secular” university was in no way an option. Early in my college search I even tried applying to another college in Tennessee that was still Christian by heritage, but way more progressive than Union. My parents flatly told me they’d no longer support me from that point on if I did. Union was “God’s best plan” for me, and I’d eventually realize that.
I told myself it was going to be OK. College was where I was going to “get fixed.” I was going to figure my feelings out before I graduated, and I’d certainly find my wife by then. After graduation I’d take my place in the cozy Evangelical Christian culture I grew up in; I’d have some kids, lead some Bible studies, eat way too much at pot luck dinners, start a sizable mock-turtleneck collection, oh and also work tirelessly my whole life to silence the deafening shouts of “You’re a liar” coming from deep inside myself. Easy! Thankfully enough I did “get fixed” before I graduated, but not how I had envisioned it Freshman year.
I saw this link posted earlier, celebrating the news that Baylor is replacing the ban in its student handbook on “homosexual acts” with “deviate sexual intercourse,” as if that’s progress. Slow clap, I’m sure. Haha, it’s still a ban on same-sex stuff. Also hetero-sex. All sex. Banned. It’s news days like these that make it tough not to be a little angry at my own alma mater’s campus culture. Sorry, I meant “a lot of angry.”
I’ve spent a good bit of my day off reading up on ways in which being gay at a Christian college is changing, and mostly not changing. Here’s the short of it: it still stinks.
A few times while I was attending my Southern Baptist alma mater, the campus was visited by the Soulforce, a group of LGBTQ people who were formerly students at Christian colleges. They travel to different Christian colleges and protest “racism, ableism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy" through nonviolent means. Basically a real threat to the Evangelical Christian way of life.
We’d always know a SoulForce visit was imminent because little flyers would show up in our student mailboxes, letting us know what to do in the case of emergency—what to do if a homosexual protestor SPOKE TO YOU. I’m having trouble recalling the exact advice, but I think it was “self-immolate and take your place at the right hand of Jerry Falwell.” I could be mistaken.
Fix it. Change it. Burn it down.
Oh and if you have a second, feel free to sign your support for Danielle Powell, who was expelled for being in a same-sex relationship. Now the Christian college that expelled her is demanding she repay the scholarship money for the last semester of school; $6,000. God bless!
If we go through life without working through things, without having to try, we get complacent; we get soft. I think it’s important for young people to present themselves with challenges to work through. It’s important to struggle through and to win.
For example, this afternoon I made some mid-day spicy quesadillas and some iced coffee with the old brew from this morning and said, “Alright stomach, try and deal with that now!”
I have so many questions about this video of Selena Gomez crying at her show, apparently because she was “banned” from social media during her show. WHO DID THE BANNING? I don’t think Instagram and Twitter actually banned her; does she mean like, her parents banned her? Was it her team? Like her manager was like, “Hey S, how about during this sold out stadium show at Barclays you maybe lay off the phone, for um, just a second. No likes, no Favs for uh, I dunno… how many songs do you have again? Probably like an hour, tops.”
Let's Play A Game! Dumb Rita Ora Quote or Dumb Britney Spears Quote?
Can you guess which chanteuse burped out which of these brain turds?
1. “Yes, I have loads of gay friends! My best friend, Kyle, actually dresses me on a day-to-day. He is my stylist as well. He’s gay. He’s like really gay—like all-the-way gay. He should have been a girl!”
2. “A lot of my hairstylists and my beauty team that I work with are gay so I hang out with gays a lot, and I just think they’re adorable and hilarious.”