Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Reviews

I've been neglecting my reviews of gay-themed books lately! It's definitely not all I read, but let me just briefly mention some of the gay-themed stuff I've read lately.  Click on the links for more info about each book.

First is Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez.  Alex Sanchez has written alot of YA gay fiction, and is one of my favorite authors.  This book is about a gay teen and his questioning girl friend (not girlfriend!) who meet a bi boy and his lesbian friend. Questioning and growth ensue.  Four out of five stars.

Next is No Going Back by Jonathan Langford.  I really liked this one.  It's about a gay teen Mormon boy, and how his parents, friends, ward, and school friends deal with him being gay.  Well written, and I look forward to more from this author.  Five out of five stars.  Get the ebook here for a really good price, and read a good review of it here.

Next up is In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson.  The author is the Bishop of a rural Episcopal congregation in New Hampshire. And he's gay.  I hoped for more from this book.  I wanted to know more about his personal story and how his sexuality and spirituality affect each other.  Or how LGBT Christians can get more out of the church.  It was good, but it was more just a collection of his sermons.  Two out of five stars.

Love Drugged by James Klise came recommended by my friend D3.  It's pretty much a gay fantasy (not in a sexual way though, perv!) in that a struggling teen discovers a pill that a mad scientist invented to eradicate homosexuality, and he decides to take it. Complications ensue. Three out of five stars.

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan could also be considered a fantasy. It's not a typical struggle/coming-out story like much gay YA lit is; the main teen boy just happens to be gay and is already out and mostly happy (yay for happy gay teens!).  He and his family take another boy into their home, who may or may not be gay...and may or may not be a vampire.  The first boy's twin sister is the third point in the love triangle.  Sounds corny, but it's funny as heck. Four out of five stars.

We can't forget Gay Mormons?: Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same-Gender Attraction by my awesome roomie Brent Kerby.  The title says it all. A must-read.  Five out of five stars.  Get a hard copy or ebook here.

Last but not least is Kevin Keller. Remember Archie Comics from back in the day? They're still around, and have introduced a gay character! He was first introduced in Veronica #202, and now has his own 4-issue series (just the first is out so far).  Hopefully he will be popular enough to be a regular character. The high point in the first issue was a Stand-By-Me-reminiscent barf-o-rama after a pie eating contest. Can't get better than that, and it shows that gay kids are perfectly normal! See what AfterElton says about it here, here, and here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


There, I said it. I know that makes me a bad gay, but I really don't like it.  I don't like holidays in general though, so it's not because of any internalized homophobia or anything.  It just reminds me of who I am (a guy with few friends and fewer close ones), who I'm not (a hot twink, a happily partnered guy, someone who everyone wants to be around), and who I don't want to become (a lonely old guy, an old queen, someone who has no one).  I'll be skipping it this year.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review: The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (with answers) by Mark Mittelberg

As a progressive Christian, this book grabbed my attention and I hoped to gain some insight into difficult questions that people ask about Christianity. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. I read the first chapter ("What makes you so sure that God exists at all?") and agreed with the conclusion that of course God exists, but disagreed with much of Mittelberg's supporting evidence, which used circular reasoning and other faulty arguments. For example, he states that apart from God there can be no objective moral standards, but we clearly live in a world that has objective moral standards, so there has to be a divine moral lawgiver. Why do moral standards necessarily come from God though? Or: one of the ways we can know that God is real and active in our world is that he's real and active in our lives. What?

So I turned to Chapter 7 ("Why do you condemn homosexuality when it's clear that God made gays and that he loves all people the same?") Mittelberg takes a step in the right direction by saying we shouldn't condemn gay people, that we should seek to understand them, etc. But his answer to the question is essentially "love the sinner but hate the sin" or "we condemn gay people because the Bible says we should." He especially turned me off when he essentially said "notice I haven't used any scriptures to condemn homosexuality because they can be used to make people feel bad" but then goes on to outline them all. Ugh. I had hoped for something more progressive here.

I figured I would give the book one more chance. So I read Chapter 5 ("How could a good God allow so much evil, pain, and suffering?) The answer was basically "that's just how it is and we have to live with it", and gave the standard answers I hear at church every Sunday -- pain can deepen our character, it gives a spiritual and eternal perspective, he uses pain to protect us from ourselves (what?!), etc. real answers here for a non-Christian asking the question, let alone a Christian sincerely struggling with the issue.

I read the summaries of the rest of the chapters, but disappointingly it was more of the same. Mittelberg is a good and engaging writer, and (from my perspective) comes from a loving, caring, but conservative and traditional approach. For a more hopeful approach, I would recommend "A New Kind of Christianity" by Brian D. McLaren.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update and crushes

Well, I haven't blogged for awhile (obviously).  I guess that's probably because things have been going pretty well, and since a lot of the time I use my blog to vent, I haven't needed to write anything.  I don't know that my life is any better than it has been in the past, but lately there are definitely more good and neutral days than bad days. I have 3 awesome roommates and we get along well. And spring is almost here!

I kind of want to write about crushes.  As usual with my blog, this will likely be fairly disorganized since I'm just kind of putting my thoughts on paper (well, computer) as they come.  Lately I've been crushing on guys more...I think this is probably a good thing, since it probably means I'm over Mr. Doofus Face who stole my heart and kept it hidden away for awhile (hahaha sorry sir, since I know you sometimes read this blog).  The thing is....I've decided I hate crushes.  It's kind of fun when I first start getting to know a person and start sort of liking them, but after that comes the overthinking and insecurity and awkwardness and trying not to be overbearing.  And ultimately, the rejection.  I had one crush where I liked the way it was going...I was confident about it and didn't project any negativity, as far as I know.  And I was successful in not getting emotionally attached to the guy. But then the guy got distant and clue why. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes I really hate trying to meet people. Trying to find my Prince Charming (for me) is like looking for a needle in a haystack, even though it seems so easy for other people. But if I give up and stop looking to avoid the rejection and negative feelings I'll never find what I'm looking for. And I'm highly pessimistic that he'll just fall into my lap, hence the need for being proactive.

I'm crushing on a new guy that I've been talking to for about a week.  We seem to have alot in common, although there are some big differences also.  I enjoy talking to him and my introvertedness hasn't been a barrier, which I take to be a good sign.  But now I'm starting the negative phase, second guessing myself, overthinking things way too much (am I texting him too much? or not enough? why would he even want to consider giving me a chance? is it just all in my head that there's a possibility there? he hasn't texted me today, what did i do wrong? i'm way too old anyway. etc, etc.)  There are a couple of other guys that I would also really like to get to know (one just to be friends with, the other friends also but with the potential for more) , but for some reason they intimidate me.  I've only interacted with them briefly on facebook (friends in common, comments on posts, that kind of thing). I've texted a bit with one of them, and I've tried to engage the other one a bit more with limited success. I'm sure I'll have the chance to meet them in a social situation at some point (and I actually don't think I'll have a problem doing that) but it just bugs me that I feel intimidated by them. Stupid social anxiety.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Do I Do With a Flaky Friend (Who I Also Love)

<Note:  I've saved this post to write out when I'm in a good mood so it doesn't come across as whiny or complainy. Lately I hate drama more than usual so I don't want to be the cause of it, and I don't want to be high-maintenance either. So it's a serious post, but not in the "woe is me" kind of way.>

So I have this friend. We've known each other for about 2 1/2 years, I think...or is it longer than that? Honest disclosure: I was in love with him for awhile but the feelings weren't reciprocated.  It caused me alot of pain but I decided his friendship was worth it, so like a masochist I decided to maintain the friendship. I value my friendships alot, and will usually do everything I can to keep them. I don't usually let myself just "drift away" for no reason.

I still love this friend alot. Not in a romantic way anymore; I've turned it into more of a best friend/brother type of love. He has a boyfriend now and they seem very happy together, so I don't harbor any secret hopes of him falling for me.  I'm human though, so I do get a bit jealous sometimes...I wish it was me he was spending time with, or going on road trips with, or introducing to his family (even just as a friend). 

So, to get to the point, he's pretty flaky lately. Yeah, he's busy, yeah he has a boyfriend, but he cancels plans with me, he doesn't talk to me unless I talk to him first, etc. And since I love him like a brother, it hurts.  I've grieved and moved on from the loss of a possible relationship with him, so that doesn't hurt anymore.  What does hurt, though, is that I feel like we're not that close anymore.  We've drifted apart. I suppose that's natural, since he has a boyfriend and that relationship is usually more important than a friendship. But since I see him as a brother I still want to be part of his life, know what he's feeling, know what he's doing. Maybe I expect too much, though. There are pretty big signs that he doesn't see me as his brother the way I see him.  E.g. cancelling lunch plans on Christmas Eve when I was going to give him his gift (I still haven't seen him to give it to him). Not rescheduling the plans. Not telling me about his birthday or a trip he went on (I learned about it from Facebook).  Maybe these are petty things that shouldn't bother me. But it would never cross my mind to NOT let my best friends know that I'm going on a trip, or to wish them Happy Christmas, or make them a part of my birthday. Since my friend isn't doing that, it makes me realize I'm really not a part of his life anymore.

So what to do? I've started putting distance between him and me. I don't text him that much anymore, and I haven't invited him to hang out for awhile (even though I've wanted to).  I've stopped sharing things with him that I would usually tell a best friend, and I'm (trying) to make him into a "regular" friend...a friend that I catch up with every once in a while but don't see or talk to regularly.  Doing this won't get me what I want though...I want my best friend back (without me having to make all the effort).  But I don't control his feelings, and the only thing I can control is how I act toward him.  Do I keep being the longsuffering, ever-supportive friend who is there no matter what? Even though it hurts? Or do I do what people tell me is best for me in the long run...let him go, and find someone that can be a better friend? Honestly, I'm starting to give hurts less, and I'm just too tired to try to save it. 

But I love him and I'll miss him.

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