2017 Is Going To Be Amazing

I truly believe 2017 is going to be amazing. Up to this point, 2015 was a year of coming out of the church closet and the excitement, adrenaline, highs, and lows of discovering life truly unhindered. In 2015 I cast off the last grave clothes of legalism adopted from many culturally conditioned religious ideals that are unnecessary and unattainable. No more. 2016 took things a bit further and was definitely a settling in period. 2017 looks to be quite an exciting, even liberating, year. I feel it in my bones.

2015-16 was also doing the best I could to not trade in one form of legalism for another more “progressive” kind. Legalism is legalism. Done with it in whatever flavor it tries to manifest in.

I don’t mind being called conservative in some things and progressive in others if it helps bring clarity to the topic at hand. But, those individual points are not the full context from which to live a full and healthy life. It’s not fair or life-giving to expect myself or others to conform to any of those individual beliefs with high relational consequences one way or another.

2016 also was also a year of healthy assertiveness and catalytic moments. After joining the local HRC Orlando/Central Florida steering committee, experiencing the Pulse tragedy from a local perspective, enduring the horrible election cycle and results, there were many “crystallizing” moments in my faith and passion. I am gay, the LGBT+ community is my family, Christ is my Lord …and I am not ashamed or timid about any of that.

Now, to be sure, I don’t want to be an ass about any of that! That said, no need to be quiet, and plenty to chime in on so that’s what I will do. I want to get the rough draft of my book done by the end of this month. I will be interviewing for two different documentaries, and my goal is to blog 3-5 times a week! I also might have an opportunity to speak at a gay Christian conference this summer (still in the very beginning of that discussion so we will see if that happens.)

Speaking up… I’mma do it y’all!

All of that said, I am learning a lot of really humbling things as of late as well. Being true to self is not only celebrating the good and free, it’s also accepting the consequences, and working out, how past decisions are impacting current views and relationships. It’s so weird to realize how afraid and fearful I was/am of interpersonal intimacy and issues of love.

Yet another big adventure I am currently taking!

I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a great year. It’s not just a hope but an inner peace and resolve. No doubt it will be like the rest of life with highs and lows, but something in me rejoices with the thought that 2017 is going to be amazing.

Thank you for reading and for friends and supporters who allow me to be a part of your lives. To love and be loved is all we can do or ask for really. In this, I am a rich and blessed man indeed! Happy 2017!

Quote for the graphic came from a book called “Love Is All You Need.”

Consider Jesus’ “Lifestyle,” Not My Alleged Gay One, This Christmas

I had a loved one invite me over for Christmas. I offered to introduce them to Dan, the guy I have been dating since mid-November. They kindly declined the offer ending with the, “I’m still working on adjusting to your lifestyle” statement. On that note, it would be easy to get argumentative, but this loved one and I didn’t argue. Instead, they decided to do other things, and I will do my thing with Dan and friends. But, there is one “thing” that transcends all of this. More on that in a minute.

To be sure, I can empathize with how easy it would be to see it, the “lifestyle” label, as dismissive and insulting when it is applied to those of us who are LGBT. Reducing us to the highly charged stigmatized cultural catch-all “lifestyle” word is problematic. At best, it short-circuits in-depth dialog. At worst, it reinforces negative stereotypes that could lead to unhealthy behavior and unnecessary relational hardship and conflict.

However, even coming from that perspective, I didn’t feel mad or upset at all with this loved one. Instead of focussing on the word “lifestyle” I am choosing to concentrate on the words “I’m still working on adjusting to…” <–That is exciting to me and is light years from where we have been in the past.

But as I was thinking about my loved one’s beliefs and the realities of my life, I believe the Spirit reminded me that one of the miracles of Christmas is that this holiday transcends all of that. In truth, if there is a “lifestyle” to be mindful of this Christmas Sunday, it would be the life of Christ. A life marked by:

  • Humility: The Eternal Creator of everything reduced Himself to human form, a crying poopy baby in a manger and lived 33 years in this wacky, weird world.  He is one of us.
  • Simplicity: When it came to resources, Jesus lived a life mainly of function and acts of service. He taught intentional contentment, personal responsibility and celebrated gratefulness. He didn’t earn a bunch of initials after His name or brag about being a Prophet, Pastor or Preacher. He had no need for an expensive marketing plan with strategic 1-3-5 year goals. He lived simply, taught simply, led simply… and revolutionized the earth for eternity.
  • Compassion and Love: Jesus literally fed thousands without turning away any culturally defined “Sinner” in the name of “religious freedom or conscience.” He stood up to the religious extremists seeking to murder in the name of godliness. He called out and confronted religious bullies trying to disenfranchise and oppress others through unnecessary burdens being passed off as the will of God. Jesus prayed for people, taught people, wept for entire cities, suffered through humiliation and the Atonement to rise from the dead; all out of His core of love and compassion.
  • Selflessness: Our Creator could have made a world of simple instinctual creatures or robots to serve and entertain Him. Instead, He divested of Himself by allowing us to bear His Image, to reflect back to Him, or not, free will and relationship. He’s not in this for what He can get from us. He is in this for what He did for us. We are the gleam in His eye, the beat of His heart, the catch in His Breath. I don’t believe God has ever needed or wanted to look in a mirror. His gaze is only toward you/us and His creation. He looks on us with joyous infinite love, not pity or anger. I truly believe this.
  • Sacrifice: God knew His wayward creation needed to be reconciled, but knew we would never find The Way on our own. While other paths are for others to explain and consider, I believe He brought me Home to Himself through Christ’s sacrifice and atonement in the starkest and ultimate of ways. He did this all for the hope of us choosing to look away from ourselves, our mirrors, and to Him with a spiritually energized heart and responsive love lighting up our own eyes.

Now, after reading the above bullet points… do you even remember what I started writing about at the beginning of this post? Maybe. Or perhaps, if you are like me, the start of this post is necessary to face and process but should not distract from the main point of Christmas for those of us who are Christ followers.

Christmas is a time to examine, reflect and meditate on the beauty of Christ’s life, not have to defend our own.

So yes, my loved one and I are going to do different things this Christmas because I am gay and want to spend time with a great dude named Dan. But for those of us who seek to love, treasure, and appreciate the Life of our Creator, it will be a wonderful Christmas.

Christmas Card 2016 – I Would Like To Send You One!

Yay Christmas!

I am a little late this year but I would like to send you a Christmas Card! It’s become an annual tradition where I send out one of my cards, with my own design on the front, to whoever wants one. SO, if you would like a funky trippy Christmas card, please sign up below. It is free. However, if you would consider becoming a Patreon Patron (for as little as $1 a month) that would help. But, again, not required!

If you signed up last year, go ahead and sign up again to make sure I have your address on this year’s list (especially if you have moved.) The cutoff for this year’s sign-up will be this Friday, December 16th. I want to get them in the mail Monday :).

I love doing this every Christmas and can’t wait to get these in the mail. Sign up below!

UPDATE: The sign-up period for the card has closed in order to get them in the mail on time. If I have any left I would be glad to send you one if you don’t mind getting it late. Contact me if so.

Thankful for the Most Amazing Miracle of All… You

randythomas-blogThis Thanksgiving, while meditating on all that I have to be grateful for, I keep getting stuck on the word “miracle.” One definition of “miracle” is:

.. an extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

  • Genuine Friendship is miraculous.
  • Selflessness, Sacrifice, Humility … all miracles.
  • Compassion, Passion, Service … miracle, miracle, miracle.
  • Love is miraculous.

As a Christ follower, I believe we are “made in the Image of God.” Some people believe that to be in our physical appearance and religiously taught gender attributes. I am not sure about how much those might play into it or not. What I clearly see in our faith’s scriptures, and in my personal relationship with our Creator, is that our Creator definitely wants us to know Him and to know that we are known by Him. He wants us to love Him and to allow ourselves to be loved by Him.

To know and be known, to love and be loved. That’s the Divine Image we bear. It’s a transcendent state of being that miraculously facilitates the greatest of Jesus’ teachings, which is to love God with our whole being and to love others as ourselves.

In this world, to have even a glimpse of this heart-wired relational and loving dynamic is to witness a miracle.

In that spirit, this Thanksgiving, when I consider all that I have to be grateful for, I think of you. You are known and loved; “miracle” is the only perfect word for what I see in who you are.

You are miraculous.

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Whiskey Chocolate Pecan Pie (Recipe)

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These are the three pies I made today for friends and stuff. I posted photos of the first one social media and I already started getting messages and comments for the recipe (do every year cause this is like pie angels would eat). I figure this blog would be a good easy to remember place to keep the recipe if needed in the future and to share with others.

So the super easy recipe is below and I have added some thoughts. I originally got the recipe from Jim Burroway right before the holiday season three years ago. Jim rocks.

Enjoy!

Whiskey Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe

  • Pastry for 9-inch One-Crust Pie (use any recipe you fancy schmancy pants or buy a frozen pie shell like me.)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans. (I personally like the halves :))
  • 1 package (6 oz) chocolate chips (You can leave them out but then you would have to change the name of this recipe and that would suck.)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (or margarine, but that’s sick and only the Borg collective would do something so disgusting.)
  • 1 cup corn syrup.
  • 2 tablespoons of whiskey — MORE or less… but don’t go crazy. Jack Daniels is the sweet nectar of my people but you can use whatever whiskey you want. You could also use Bourbon too. I think that is how this recipe originated come to think of it.
  • 3 large eggs

First, do a shot of Jack Daniels just to make sure it hasn’t spoiled on the shelf.

Then, heat oven to 375 deg, prepare pastry as necessary per instructions on the package.

Next, mix up some Jack & Coke in a nice glass with a moderate amount of ice. You will need the sustenance for the hard five minutes of mixing you are about to endure…

Now, beat the sugar, margarine, corn syrup, whiskey, salt and eggs in a medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pastry-lined pie oven safe baking thing.

If you are like me, after having that initial shot, and IF you have finished your cocktail at this point, you will probably need to take a nap. If that is the case, make sure to set a loud timer for the next part…

Bake 40-50 minutes or until the center is set.

And then enjoy

Welcome To My Dream Blog Home!

welcome-to-randythomas-blogBack in the early ’00’s I can remember sitting on the living room floor, on a laptop that weighed about the same as a small Volvo, playing around with an early version of blogging software. I told my roommate at the time that I wanted a blog domain name that ended with .BLOG. Specifically, I wanted RandyThomas.Blog

Well, .BLOG Url’s became available at 10 am EST this morning. I bought this one at 10:07 am. The template was installed before noon.

I was a little excited.

This may also be the simplest blog/website I have ever built. I love it! Simple theme, simple plugins on the backend… just easy. I hope those who read this blog will find it to be easy and functional as well. Some more details will fill in as the posts start flowing, but what you see is what you get (so far ;))

This blogging change comes at a fortunate time. Now that I am just shy of two years of being out of the closet, many things have settled in and I have found my voice and passion. On the other hand, plenty of “new” is in the works as well. Meaning there will be plenty to blog about personally and with what’s going on in the world. I will stay with my usual topics concerning faith, LGBTQ issues, current affairs, Ask-It Basket Questions… all that.

My now old blog Randy.Today will serve as an archive. Those posts won’t be pulled into here but they won’t disappear either. That blog represents an amazing and transformative time in my life. I might pull that into this one at some point in the future but my inclination is to let it live on as an archive.

Well, anyway, welcome to my new online dream home. Feel free to become my roommates. Plenty of room around here :).

Much love,

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