In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why We Need a Community

Tonight, J and I hung out at one of our favorite bars in town. However, this night was different than other nights. The bar is closing in one week. I'll be out of town for the closing party, so this evening had to suffice as my last hurrah for the establishment.

I'm not a frequent bar-goer, but this place was somewhat special. It's a gay bar (shocker). I got into going on Sunday evenings when they would play showtunes (how stereotypical can I be?). I would go and get one drink and sit for a couple of hours, listening to the music, or watching the screens to see these songs that I knew very well.

There doesn't seem to be any good reason for the bar's closing, at least none that I've seen. The customer base was good. It was only open for seven years, and was chosen as the best gay bar in several publications. So what happened? I'm not sure.

I've gushed quite a bit in this post about how much I appreciate my circle of friends. Many of my friends never went to this bar with me. Only a select few shared the same passion for showtune night (J definitely shares that passion). I'm surprised that I'm the type of person who feels like he's going to miss a bar. I mean, come on, it's a BAR. But it was my favorite bar.

Now, for those of you who don't drink, or who wonder why a bar would be special, I have some thoughts that might bring you back into the loop. We need a place where we feel we belong. It's not always the type of place where "everybody knows your name". Rather, it's a place where you feel safe. The only time I've felt truly safe is with my dear friends and family. We need to find those places and those people who can make us feel like we belong there. Without it, we have nowhere to ground ourselves.

Belonging is an important part of identity. The Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg has helped to develop a Circle of Courage. One of the major components of this circle is belonging. If we don't belong, then we can't ever develop into full people. Of course, we need to grow beyond just belonging to a certain place. But belonging is where it can all begin.

I've always been interested in identity development as a theological phenomenon. The Circle of Courage makes a lot of sense to me. It gives us an idea of why a place is so special. I mean, I'm sure I can find another place to go with my friends. But will I belong there? I'm not sure.

So long, Boom!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Almost Singing the Blues

I haven't written much in a while. I don't have a good reason for that right now. I just haven't felt like writing much. To be perfectly honest, I don't feel like doing much right now. I'm still unmotivated to accomplish anything.

I've been thinking about it, and I have a few self-observations:

1. I seem to be most motivated when I'm looking forward to something. I've spent the last spring and summer looking forward to something. Now that fall has started, I don't really have that much to look forward to. Sure, there my schedule has some major events coming up, but they are nothing that has me really motivated.

2. I'm coming off of a wonderful summer. I am still missing the schedule/freedom/opportunity I had this summer. Right now, I feel like I have less freedom at work (we have a new program that has me meeting with students almost every day of the week). I feel like I'm on my own with The Naming Project (motivation for everyone seems pretty low right now). I'm also feeling burned out from some of my other projects.

3. This lack of motivation, especially with TNP, is frustrating because things seem to be coming together right now. We just got a string of more publicity in some local and national outlets. People might be hearing the buzz. What if they come and find that we aren't doing all we/they want.

4. (this one could be - and might be - a post all its own) My other half and I have been discussing what to do when he finishes his degree. I have had ambitions to continue graduate school for a while. It is still quite a distance in the future, at least a couple of years. I don't like not knowing when it's going to happen - or if it's going to happen.

5. I always seem to get a little down in the fall, but usually that happens in November (after we change our clocks). This may be the same thing, only earlier, or it could be more the other factors above.

6. One source of stress, over-commitment, seems to be getting a little better. I've lost one responsibility, and another seems to be dropping away soon. I'm hoping that cutting down on the number of commitments I have will help some of the stress.

So, that's where I'm at right now. I'm still figuring out what this means, or what I should do. I hate feeling this way, and I want to emphasize the positive in my life (there is quite a bit). I guess I should just sing the blues.