Chester-le-Street – summer storms

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My story

I became a Christian when I was 13. It through a friend at school who had invited me to a lunchtime club run by the biology teacher. She had set up a Christian club and I became part of it.

I wasn’t made to go church as a child but my parents weren’t that bothered when I said I wanted my own bible and started to go to church each week. It seemed a normal thing to do and felt I was part of something good.

I felt that I mattered and that was the key to understanding why I got so involved. I felt I could be myself. The joker who made people laugh. I was desperate to learn new things. I got involved in a local church youth club and soon after became friends with some people who I would consider my best friends today.

Soon I became interested in drama and music. Desperate to learn the piano and guitar although my parents refused to get me lessons when I had asked.

Underlying all of this was my sexuality. I know from my teenage years who and what I was. I didn’t go through years and years of trying to discover if I was gay or not. I was gay at that was it.

So after a while came the clash of religion and my sexuality. I would often sit and hear preachers saying that being gay was wrong. I spent time repressing these sexual urges trying to numb them or ignore them thinking that they might fade away.

I spent some time studying for theological training and often heard within this college that homosexuality was caused by a particularly nasty demon and the only what to get rid of this was to go through an exorcism.

You can only imagine what this did to myself esteem as well as growing up in the 80s when the fear of AIDS lurked around and was always mentioned when someone came out. If you were gay you had AIDS.

I had been prayed for many times but my sexuality didn’t go away. I wasn’t interested in girls in that way at all. I tried to see what it was like to have a girlfriend but it didn’t work out.

After spending years in the closet it was only till the age of 23 did I decide to tell my friends about it. They said “they knew anyway” which didn’t really help the internal torment I had suffered for ten years. I just didn’t know how they would react. I was okay with who I was but would they be?

So the ruling last Friday for people of any gender to be able to marry in the USA was a great step towards equality. It doesn’t necessarily mean that tolerance and understand will follow as well. As often has been said there is still a lot of work to do.

I left Christianity behind in the 90s and it was one of the best things I ever did. I no longer had to repress thoughts and feel I was restricted to rules and regulations.

Birthday 

To be honest I have never liked birthdays. Ever since I can remember they were always a disappointment growing up. Things happened at parties which I wish hadn’t. It’s all left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

Never been a fan of big parties in fact in all I have only had two parties where a lot of people have been invited. The rest of them I have preferred to spend time on my own. A few years ago I sat in my garden and polished off a rather nice bottle of champagne. It was total bliss.

 
So it probably won’t come to as surprise to tell you I spent mostly today sitting in a second hand book shop in Alnwick.

A pleasant place where I could gather my thoughts, browse the shelves and relax. I know what EVERYONE is thinking. Where are the strippers? This is boring! I won’t make any apologies but I have had my time with strippers and that’s called my 20s. I enjoyed that but it’s now settling down. I don’t see it as boring as see it as a chance for me to get out and do the things I want to do.

I have never had a group of friends badgering me to go out to nightclubs or places I cannot stand. If I don’t want to go somewhere I tell them. If I cannot be bothered to go out they won’t get offended they just accept it.

What’s the point in doing what others want you to do? Just be happy and do what you want to. I said this is what I am and I am happy with it.

Before I left I had a nice coffee and a piece of carrot cake. Really nice. If you want to know where the place was it was Barter Books in Alnwick, England. Near where the filmed Harry Potter you know … Okay you can shut up now.

Differences 

shawn-mendes

Like a lot of bands that start off Shawn is sixteen years old. He’s a nice lad with considerable talent. A lot of artists and musicians are out there looking for what break. They want to perform and make a living out of doing what they enjoy.

I used to play in a band and still occasionally play the two instruments I taught myself to play. Loved playing the guitar and it was great time.

So what’s the worry? The one thing I have noticed rather strangely that seems to be very current and I think has been fulled by the Internet and social media. All the people that were in the audience were teenage girls.

So I was asking myself is there an artist that is female and you only see teenage boys in the audience. I couldn’t think of anyone. If you know anyone let me know. So why is this?

Why is it that groups of females will collectively go and see teenage bands or individuals?  The One Direction phenomena has been testament to this. Girls bordering on the psychopathic just to get glimpse of one of them.

When Zayn left the band social media went into meltdown and videos of devasted girls mourning the loss of something ending in the same way as if someone had passed away.

We treat these girls with the fickleness that they show their idols when they eventually grow up and look at back their behaviour with embarrasment. To them now it is their world everything they know and want is before them. They can interact with their star. For a chance of a reply is to touch the hem of the garment. Somehow a miraculous connection has occurred and their life is radically changed.

I certainly think this has been magnified by social media such Twitter, Instagram and others. You can be kept informed of the persons whereabouts and what they doing within a second.

The differences between boys and girls in their teenage years couldn’t be more different. I am curious to why girls behave in this way. Please feel free to comment if you have and ideas

Charleston Shooting

Emanuel-African-Methodist-Episcopal-Church

I am shocked and appalled at this mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a peaceful place of worship where people had congregated for a Bible study during the week. They had accepted the killer to sit in with them as part of this. They didn’t turn him away because he was a stranger or because he was the only white person there they accepted him in.

From 1988-1991 I spent three years at a residential black led Theological college. At the time I was a religious person. I was accept in as part of the community even though I was the only white person in my class. Not once did anyone ask me why I was here or mention my race. It was one part of my life I cherish with great affection as it was a time of growing up and experiencing new things.

It has been implied that the shooting wasn’t racially motivated even though he was a white supremacist. It’s even been implied by the christian right that it is an attack on them and their right to bare arms. They are saying that this proves that they need more guns in america. Surprisingly the question has been asked why did any of the church people have guns on them to protect themselves. Any rational and normal person who isn’t crazy would realise that they were in a church praying and didn’t think that bringing a gun to worship god was part of that.

The commentary from christians should be all violence on anyone is wrong. It isn’t biblical at all to think that you should be carrying a gun around with you just in case someone might want to shoot you. The christian community should be unanimous in condemning such violence and particularly if it as racially motivated crime.

My garden June 2015 (2)

I got some of the way into the garden then the weather change. As British weather always seems to do. It went cold and rainy. That’s a good thing as there is a lot of dead dry grass that needs to be raked from this lawn to allow the new shoots to grow. If I didn’t it would just look rather poorly and unloved. The only thing about raking out the dead grass is that it leaves the lawn looking very patchy.

It’s suppose to go back to sunny days this week and hopefully I will be able to crack on and get things presentable for my birthdays next week. On my 40th I sat in the garden and enjoyed a bottle of champagne. No party or silliness. Just myself, the garden and a bottle of bubbly. This is what intend to do for birthday. Forty five! I never even thought I would get to thirty never mind this age. But I do love being this old. It means you have lived but you still potentially have a lot more to give.

My garden June 2015

It may look romantic but it’s a mess. For most reasons people know I haven’t been able to spend quality time in my garden. In fact anytime in my garden. So grass has grown tall and the brambles have taken over the pond and the shed. Plus the ivy that once was a single strand that my mother gave me makes the day of the triffids seem like topiary.

I have been doing some research and checking out local garden centres and nurseries the quality and price vary quite a lot.

I have started strimming and tidying. I am trying to keep my neighbours happy though. Two doors along the new neighbour is ripping his house apart to the diggers and heavy machinery start at 9am and it would be unfair of me to make noise at any other time. Usually this street is very quiet. Nothing but the birds singing and the sound of the ball hitting the cricket bat.