Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ain’t no Foolin’ goin’ on here!  Happy April...

Ain’t no Foolin’ goin’ on here!  Happy April...:

Ain’t no Foolin’ goin’ on here!  Happy April Fools Day to you all!

10 kids, 2 dads: The world’s biggest gay family?

10 kids, 2 dads: The world’s biggest gay family?


     "Ron, if you'd like, I can probably get you a job where I work."

     "Wow!  I wasn't expecting that!  

     "Well, what do you think?"

     "Hmm!  I've thought to myself that it might be kinda nice just to have a job where I can just go, clock in, do my work, clock out and go home and continue to live in peace.   Please don't tell me stuff like this... get my hopes built up... if you're not seriously sure!  And do you think it's a good idea for friends to be working in the same place?  I mean, think about it!  We go to the same church.  We go to the same gym.  That's a lot of time we spend in the same places.  



     "It won't be a problem.  This friendship is already unfolding into something I'm glad to have.  I think it'd be great having you working nearby.  If you want me to, I'll check into it on Monday.  Can you meet me there on Monday afternoon?"

     "I can leave the school at three-thirty.  I can be there.  Honestly, if that works out, I don't know if I'll be able to thank you enough.  I'm sure mom and dad will feel relieved... excited actually."

     "It's no problem, Ron.  I'll be happy to do it!  So, what are you doing this weekend?"

     "Oh, besides church on Sunday, nothing special.  You?"

     "Same here!  Why don't we ride out to Helen and, maybe, walk a bit up Anna Ruby Falls?"

     "Wow!  It's been a long time -- about thirty years -- since the last time I went there!  In fact, used to be that that was the way I had to drive to get to the college I was attending unless I wanted to drive south towards Atlanta first and then cross over to I-75 north."

     "Where were you going?"

     "'Lee College' it was called back then."

     "Ah!  The Church of God school in Cleveland, Tennessee, right?"

     "Yup!  Since then, it's been turned into a university, 'Lee University.'  I drove through Helen and up those steep winding roads, on through Blairsville to get there.  Did the reverse to get back."

     "Does that mean you'd like to go?"


     "If it's not a good time, we can do it on another day."

     "Well, I can't just give you a short answer.  Get used to that!  So often, 'Yes' or 'No' just doesn't quite get the job done.  Know what I mean?"

     "Yea, I know.  So, what's the long answer?"



     "We just met a few hours ago at the gym!  We go to the same church.  Our parents are friends.  You can get me a job.  It all seems so unbelievable!  almost scary!"



     "What on your mind?  Take your time.  Let it out!"

     "Your saying that just makes it that much more unbelievable!" (Sigh)

      "J_____, sure I'd like to go, but"

     "But what?"

     "I'd rather drop some bombshells on you and have you hate me now than... I mean we can part company and go in peace ... I don't want drama!  God, I don't want drama!  I can try to find a different church.  Maybe I can find another gym.  I mean I'm the new guy on the block!  I left Habersham county many years ago... I didn't want embarrassment for my family....  It's been thirty years...  All I want to do is live in peace.  I don't want trouble to happen because of me.  I just want to live in peace!"


     "Alright, I'll drop a few bombs now.  Know that there are more!  I'm gay, and my family has known that all along.  I'm broke, and am probably going to file for bankruptcy soon.  I'm not loathing myself.  I'm simply telling it like it is.  I'd rather you hear it from me than through some grapevine."  


    "I didn't start going to the gym to cruise after men.  All I wanted was to go there, do my workout,"

     "Ron!  I'm gay too!"

    "and then go home to live in peace with my mom and dad.  Huh!  What!  What did you say?"

     "Ron, I'm gay too, and my parents know."


     "Ron, honestly, I had no idea that you were gay, and I haven't cared one way or the other!  It's been good enough that we go to the same gym and church.  As I said, I think the world of your parents.... As everything has been unfolding ... unbelievably unfolding ... I've been totally satisfied in thinking that a really good friendship was happening, one that I'd want to hang on to."

     "You're okay with everything I just told you?"

     "Everyone has a story, Ron!  I know yours is long and detailed.  How can you live fifty plus years and not have a story with bumps, scrapes, bruises, tears, laughter, good times and bad?  Frankly, I'd like for you to tell it to me.  All of it!  Take your time.  Take all the time you need.  I want to hear it from you.  If not now, another day... or how ever many days you need.  I'm sure I'm going to be okay with it all!  I'm sure it'll be exciting... kinda like joining you for the ride.  Every bit of it has added up and has led to here and now.  I have a story too, and I'd like to tell you all about it.  Already, I feel that you'll be okay with it.  Why?  Well, look at how everything has been unfolding already!  It's like God putting it all together.  I didn't set out for this day to turn out the way that it has.  I had no idea!  It's hard for me to not believe that... well... Ron, I don't want to lose this!  I want this!  Ron, do I have a chance with you?"


     "You're here now!  We're here now!  We know now!"

     "But, there are other bombshells!"

     "I don't care!"

     "But, I want to be sure that I am the one who tells you about them.  I'll be honest enough to concede that I'll be giving you my own spin about them.  Others who know can give you their spins.  I have no wish to hide anything nor to sugar coat any of it.  I've got over a thousand Youtube videos plus my blogs, Facebook and Tumblr telling the whole world my own spin about things."


     "I'm HIV negative.  I don't want sex with anyone until I'm married finally and for good.  I'm so tired of the games!  I've slept with other men -- each of whom told me he loved me and swore to be there until 'death do us part.'  Each was supposed to have been the last, the final, the one with whom I'd live happily ever after.  I've taken chances.  I've had about a half dozen relationships.  I don't want to totally forget about them, because I have pleasant memories from each of them.  I've talked about them on my videos, and I don't want to delete them.  Probably, I'll always reminisce about them.  Before those, I tried to fix things by getting married to a woman.  Two children were born from that marriage.  Both are now adults.  One of them was legally adopted.  The other has given birth to children of her own.  Yes, I'm a grandfather!  I've never met the grandchildren.  I've not seen the children (except on line) since 1995.  I'm getting old.  I use blood pressure, cholesterol, and erectile dysfunction medications.  I'm doing the best I can to live healthy, but I'm getting older and older.  All the past has cost me a lot.  As I said, I'm broke.  I can't say it enough... I simply want to live my life in peace!"

     "Is that all?"

     "I don't want to live in secret, but I want to live in peace.  I don't want sympathy.  I simply want to speak for myself and let others speak for themselves."

     "Ron, I'm speaking for myself, and I want a chance with YOU!  I want a chance to help build a relationship.  I don't want anything below the belt until I'm married, and if there's a chance that our relationship can grow into that, I'd sure like to give a try.  Knowing what I know now, I'm willing to try.  Ron, in spite of the fact that it seems too soon to be asking this, may I have that chance with you?"

     "The short answer is yes, but I sure do want you to think about what you're asking!."

     "What's the long answer?"

     "I'm sure there are more than one, and we'll have to figure many of them out as we go along.  I do know that I'll want our parents to know about it from us.  If the people of our church are to know, I want them to know about it from us.  If anyone is to know, I want them to know from us.  How do we go forward from here, we'll have to figure out.  I want nothing below the belt until I am married.  I don't want peace disturbed.  We've got a peaceful thing going right now.  It ain't broke.  If it ain't broke, let's not try to fix it!" 

     "So, shall we go to Helen tomorrow?"


     "You know, mom invited you to stay in the guest room.  I'm sure she has made the bed, placed extra blankets and some towels and wash cloths in the room.  You said your parents will be gone a few days, so why not just make yourself at home at our place?"

     "I'll need to pick up some clothes from my house first,"

     "Ok!  Let's go!"

Dream, Dream, Dream, Dreaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!

So here I am at fifty-five years (and a few months) old enjoying dreams that adolescents have.  

     Wouldn't it seem so cool if, after I arrived in Habersham County, Georgia, while I was at a gym just minding my own business working out in peace, a guy reached out to me and asked something like, "may I help you with those (as a spotter during some dumbbell bench pressing)?" and proceeded to lead a conversation that went something like this.

     "Didn't I see you at church?"

     "Um, I don't know.  What church are you talking about?"

     "The Torch."

     "Oh really!  Yea, I was there.  I'm sorry if I didn't meet you while there, but I'm kinda new around here."

     "No problem.  I think you were sitting next to M___ and J___ Batson."

     "Yea, they are my parents."


     "Yea!  I'm their oldest child, the prodigal son. (chuckle).  They, and the family, call me 'Scott.'  But I go by the name 'Ron' these days."

     "Hi Ron.  Nice to meet you.  My name is J___."

     "Nice to meet you, J____."

     "Ron, I've noticed you've been working out here a lot here lately."

     "Yea, I'd rather spend a few hours a day at a gym than watch TV.  I'm sorry that I've been a bit narrow minded...  focusing on getting used to this gym and, well, living in Habersham county again.  I really haven't paid much attention to who's been working out here."

     "No problem!  I'm just glad to meet someone here who goes to the same church as I do."

     "Yea, that does seem kinda awesome!  I mean, it's not something I ever thought would happen.  Hey, I hope I'm not keeping you from doing your workout!"

     "Oh no!  Mind if I workout with you?"

      "Not at all!" 

     And while working out he and I continued our conversation....

     "So, you know my mom and dad!"

     "Yea!  I think the world of them.  My dad, M___, and some of the other men in the church have worked together on some church projects -- cabinet and interior work for homes.  Your mom and my mom have worked with the church pantry and some other stuff for the church.  They seem like really nice people!"

     "Yea, I think the world of them too!  They've lived in Mt. Airy since about 1980.  Before that, they lived over in Mud Creek off of Duncan Bridge Road.  My dad retired from the Air Force in 1977, and I was just into my second year of college and trying to figure things out about my life.  I left the area in 1979.  I've returned a few times to visit since then, but it's been just recently that I've begun to live here again.  I've returned mainly to be as near my parents as possible."

     "Wow!  I'll bet there's a long story in there somewhere!"

     "Actually, there are many stories in there!  I should warn you that I can go on and on and on talking about them."

     "That's cool!  I enjoy long stories.  Seems like people, these days, only skim surfaces, just give quick answers, never really get into much conversation.  I enjoy listening and don't mind talking a bit myself.  Hey, um, you want to grab some coffee after we finish working out?"

     "Um, you said you knew my mom and dad, eh?


     "Let me give mom a quick call to see if she needs anything from the supermarket."

     "Ok!  Good idea!"

     "Hey mom!  Do you know J___ from church?" .... "Um, I don't know his last name.  Here!  Talk with him a minute!" (hands the phone to J___).

     "Hi Ms. Batson! ... I'm doing good.  I noticed Ron working out here and remembered that I'd seen him at church and.... Well, I guess I can.  Are you sure you don't mind?  Well, um, okay sure!  Thanks for the invite!   Here, I'll give you back to Ron."

     "You know who I'm talking about now?...  Oh really?  Ok, cool! After dinner, he and I can go out and grab some coffee before calling it a night.  You need anything from the supermarket? ... Ok, we'll see ya soon.  Bye!"

     "Well, it looks like mom's gonna put an extra plate on the table.  You need to go home first... call anyone?"

     "No.  I live with my parents, and they're out of town for a few days.  So, it's all good!"


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Going back to Habersham County.... full circle?

What will be different about Habersham County, Georgia?  One reason for why I left there, back in 1979, was to try to fix something.  Well, I tried, and tried, and tried.  Finally, after years and years, I concluded nothing was broke and, so, nothing needed to be fixed.  I left as a single gay man.  I'm returning as a single gay man.  

Well, there's a Walmart there now!  There are a few popular fast food restaurants -- McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Captain D's, just to name a few -- now.  The county's population is now somewhere around 20,000 (I think that's what I heard my dad say).  

My primary reason for going back is to be near my parents.  Mom wants me to "come home."  Really, I hope I am "going home."   Hopefully, I'll be able to find a job soon, find a gym where I'll enjoy working out, and simply live in peace.  

Don't misunderstand my reflections as loathing!

Admittedly, I get jealous when I see pictures of, and read stories about, gay couples who've been together for twenty, thirty, forty years and more.  "Couldn't that have happened for me?" I've thought.  

I know there's no way to re-do history, and no way to know just what would have happened if anything had been different.  But, I will not shy away from fantasizing about it.  Sometimes, doing that stirs a bit of rage inside of me.  Most of the time, however, it stirs a lot of joy. Those romantic dreams that I began having, and enjoying, so long ago still live, and I am glad that they do.  

I'll be sixty years old in less than five years.  I enjoy many pleasant memories.  I won't complain!  I won't regret!  Besides, Wow! What a ride life has been!  But, yes, I'll reflect and fantasize!  I'll dream on!

Years ago, I left Habersham County ... to try to fix something!

Years ago, 1979, I left Habersham County, Georgia.  One purpose for that was to try to fix something.  I did not want my family to suffer embarrassment about my "gay demon."  After all, my parents were there to retire and live out the rest of their lives.  I had not yet started using words like "gay," "queer," "homosexual" to refer to myself.  But, I was well aware of my dreams -- dreams that I'd been having since I was ten.  I enrolled as a Bible major at Lee College (Church of God) in Cleveland, Tennessee.  There! That should help me keep quiet, help me keep myself under control, and try to fix things!

Where Oh Where Would I Be? ... reflecting about Habersham County, Georgia

I first moved to Habersham County, Georgia in 1977.  Beautiful rural area, but, nonetheless, a poster child for "middle of nowhere." The whole county (not "city" but "COUNTY")  boasted a population of less than 5000.  You had to throw a rock really hard to hit our neighbor's house.  I was one year into college trying to figure out "what am I going to do with my life?" in a place where there was no McDonald's, no movie theater, no bowling alley, no nothing!  What a transition!  Up to then, I'd lived here and there across the USA in well populated places.  I lived the previous four years -- my high school years -- on an Air Force base where a bowling alley, a movie theater, a library, a gym, etc were all within walking distance not counting other such places in town off the base.  Habersham county was a place where there was a good chance my family was related, in some way, to every other family in the county.  Gossip traveled fast!  Just let someone see your car parked in a large empty parking lot, and everyone will know about it by noon the next day.  I was a fish out of water.  On top of that, I was gay -- a 19 year old gay -- and a 100% virgin.

Where Oh Where Would I Be? -- reflecting about Atlus, Oklahoma

I don't know where I'd be if I had felt safe and secure enough to have COME OUT (as a 15, 17, 18 year old guy) way back when I lived in Altus, Oklahoma.  For all I could tell, I was the only gay guy on earth.  I had not used the term "gay" or "homosexual" to refer to myself, but I knew what my dreams were about, and I kept them to myself.

Where Oh Where Would I Be? -- reflecting about Ladson, South Carolina

I don't know where I'd be if I had felt safe and secure enough to have COME OUT (as a young boy of 12, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 years old) way back when I lived in Ladson, South Carolina.  That place, along with Goose Creek, was a hell of it own to endure!  That was way back in 1967-1972. I had not used terms like "gay," "queer," "homosexual," in reference to myself.  I didn't even know what such terms meant.  I did know about my dreams!  Yea, I did!  I kept them to myself!

At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students

At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students:
Combing through prayer requests in a Wheaton College chapel in 2010, then-junior Benjamin Matthews decided to do something "absurdly unsafe." He posted a letter on a public forum bulletin board near students' post office boxes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Knowing Jesus" as an excuse ... probably not a good idea!

     Using "knowing Jesus" as an excuse to mishandle truth is probably not a good idea.

     I would say each one of us is on an individual journey of growth in God and all of us are on a journey together of growth in God.  Thinking about that, and all the possibilities of where each person might be on his/ her journey and where we all might be together boggles my mind.  Imagine a very tiny ball that can go in any direction at any given time.  It's way more than a linear journey.  It's more than 360 degrees.  It's this way and that way and the other way and maybe back again.  Have you ever tried connecting all the dots in your life?  Imagine trying to connect all the dots in someone else's life!  Now, multiply that by two, three, ten, fifty...!  Chances are, I would bet, none of us has the same exact pathway behind us!  

     How dare we judge the spiritual progress of people!  How dare we interfere!  How dare we insist that their's must be like ours!  How dare we help add difficulty to their lives!

I might be one of those people in your life who...!

     Warning! In case you haven't notice, I might be one of those people in your life who does / says stupid stuff... LOTS OF IT! If that imposes an unwanted burden upon your shoulders, write me off and be done with it. I'm living on until I absolutely can't anymore!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Blame the Bible for it!

Don't Blame It On The Bible ....

I prayed this to God every night when I was about thirteen.

     For months while I was thirteen I prayed a prayer every night to God.  Sometimes I prayed myself to sleep while doing that.  I was still enjoying the dreams I had frequently (both day and night) since I was about ten years old -- romantic dreams in which I was one of the main characters.  The other character was always a guy my age.  I said "I enjoyed" the dreams.  That's right!  I enjoyed them!  Me falling in love with another guy felt awesome!  In my prayers to God, I went over a check list of things that would need to be changed.  It's not like I thought I was instructing God about anything.  I just wanted to be sure I prayed thoughtfully and had covered all relevant grounds.  All my past report cards would have to be changed.  My medical records would have to be changed.  "Ronald Scott Batson" would exist no more in the past nor in the present and future.  Every night, without fail, for months on end I prayed, "God, turn me into a girl and get it over with, so that I could marry a man."  It just made sense to me to pray that.

     I knew nothing about "homosexuality."  The word "homosexuality" didn't register in my mind, but I had heard it spoken and had seen it a few times.  The first time I heard it was at a church youth camp in Lake City, South Carolina.  Sitting in class, I heard a man, dressed in a suit and tie and having a very somber look on his face, say something about "homosexuality" as if it were something bad.  Everything he said flew over my head.  All I took away from the lesson was that it was something bad.  I saw the word "homosexuality" in a magazine-looking publication put out by David Wilkerson, but, again, it just didn't mean anything to me.  It, however, was surrounded by article headlines about drugs, alcohol, teenage trouble making, and such, so it must have been a bad thing.  I spent a bit of time looking for "homosexual" and "homosexuality" in our family set of Britannica encyclopedias.  That was way back around 1971.  I didn't understand the stuff I tried to read in the encyclopedia.  I didn't find much anyway.  I began hearing (or maybe I was just more alert to) words like "queer," fag," and "faggot," and I sorta connected the dots between them and "homosexual," but, really, I didn't know what a "homosexual" was.  I didn't know what "homosexuality" was.  The encyclopedias were the only sources of information, as vague as it all seemed to me, that were neutral about the matter.  All the others had only "bad" things to say.

     Well, I certainly didn't want to go to hell.  Honestly, I didn't!  I loved God with all my heart.  I loved going to church to learn more, to sing more, to worship more, and be around others who wanted the same.  I didn't want to be bad.      

     If God could turn a rib bone into a woman, a straw stick into a snake, water into wine,  and make a whole world out of nothing, then certainly fulfilling this prayer amounted to a small task, and it seemed like the right thing to do.  

     Finally, I set a date for when I wanted my request to be fulfilled.  I can't remember the specific date, but I do remember that it was a summer date, because I wanted to enjoy my new life a bit before school started.  On the morning of that day, as I was waking up, I said to myself, "I'm a girl."  Disappointment came fast.  But, I didn't get mad at God.  I just started wondering. 

I remember dreams I enjoyed when I was ten years old.

I remember dreams I had when I was ten years old.  I dreamed them often.  They were romantic -- full of hugging, kissing, hand holding, frolicking, looking at each other in the eyes, and "I love you" -- not sexual (I knew nothing about sex then).  The two main characters in them were always guys.  I was one of them.

I still have such dreams (forty-five years later), but they've evolved through the years to contain more intimacy.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

...a troubling thing about some Christians is this.

     I think one troubling thing about some Christians is this.  So many of them (almost right off the bat) seem to believe they are experts about the Bible, Theology, Spirituality, all things Biblical, etc... before they truly have become experts.  Additionally, they are zealously told to go zealously... preach... teach... and lead from the beginning.

     Then what? 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

One problem with which many Christians must deal....

     One problem with which many Christians must deal if they wish to promote honesty is admitting that they've not known enough to have pressed judgmental claims they've made.  Now that they've made them, there's no way to undo any damages that have been set in motion.  They're going to have to change their ways if credibility is important to them.  If they keep on doing the same old same old, they're going to look more foolish everyday and not in any good sense of which any NT writer wrote.