It has been one year since I left NC and moved to my new/old home state of OR. I was actually born in Brooklyn, NY and raised from ages 4-12 in Maplewood, NJ, but teenage years were in Portland and Beaverton.
After 25 years in Chapel Hill, it is good to be back in OR. Though I miss friends and family, the land, the culture, of NC, I do not miss the politics and the sense of "stickiness" in my life. I felt stuck and unable to grow any further. My sense of well-being was not advancing but slowing down mightily.
Oregon has been a place where I have thrived because of family, friends, the work I do, the people I work with, and the surrounding culture, both land and the arts.
Thankful, I am, for the good people of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. While I am still the only out gay Presbyterian pastor in the state of OR, it is not so lonely here with great people, and a good group of gay men I hang out with from time to time.
For the longest time, I thought I was the only gay person in my mom's or dad's family tree. None of my cousins on my mom's side of the family tree-Ferguson-were out and gay. They were either hiding or they are conservative and heterosexual for the most part. On my dad's side of the family, he had no sisters and brothers, so that was that.
I just discovered today that my mom's brother's daughter's (my cousin's) son is gay. Out and gay. Fiercely so.
There are two (2) of us in this crazy tree.
It is biological, after all.
Neither of my kids are gay.
But a second cousin IS gay.
Of course, no one talked about it openly. My second cousin was told by his mom, my first cousin, that I'm gay. She, my first cousin, has never talked to me about being gay. Heck: none of my cousins or aunts or uncles on my mom's side of the family have talked to me about being gay or if I'm gay or happy being gay or...you get the point.
Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina, United States
I am a dad, who happens to be gay, with two amazing young adult children who have taught me, my partner, and their mom what grace, faith, hope, and love are all about. I am also an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA), involved in congregational life, sometimes preaching here and there, and an oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. I taught at Duke Divinity School at Duke University for over a decade, and I currently teach at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. I teach Ethics, World Religions, and English. And I am the Director of a religious non-profit, "School of the Pilgrim" (www.schoolofthepilgrim.com), in which I take people on actual pilgrimages to break out of the religion of rush hour in order to find their inner spiritual path. I am also glad to work with and be an advocate with people living with disabilities in faith communities, who teach me more about life in all its wonders and quirks. Enjoy the blog! And for more information about the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, go to www.onbeingagayparent.com. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, and phone is 919-444-9111