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Showing posts from 2015

Reflections on Ip Man 3

What a great movie to end the year with. I forgot how much I liked the character Ip Man until I watched the third instalment today.
So understated, so humble, so devotedto his wife. All qualities I’d like to emulate.
I cried at the scene where his wife told him that she missed listening to him practice on the wooden man. This was after he told her that his only regret was not being a better husband to her after she declared that she’d been very happy with him for spending so much time with her (since she contracted cancer and was given very little time to live). The martial arts master even took up dancing to accompany his wife and skipped an important duel.
And even after winning a particularly gruelling fight, he counselled his opponent, “What ultimately matters are our loved ones (and not winning fights).”
After watching the show, I felt like I had to do what he espoused. To spend time loving my friends and family. After all, that’s all that matters.
Made me quite reflective after wat…

A hymn by John Newton

I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

I hoped that in some favoured hour
At once He'd answer my request,
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

"Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried,
"Wilt thou pursue Thy worm to death?"
" 'Tis in this way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith.

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'st seek thy all in me."

Untitled

It’s 3:15am and I’m awake and typing away because I figured I would be better off churning out a blogpost instead of crying myself to sleep and risking having swollen peepers tomorrow morning.
Why the misery?
Holy matrimony.
Bright and early this morning, I attended my dear friend’s wedding at my church and began thinking about my crush all through the service. Thoughts of her evolved into how if I were ever to have a same-sex marriage (which I wouldn’t), there probably wouldn’t be as many friends and family around to celebrate as compared to if I were to have a regular heterosexual marriage.
Then, I started thinking about how, even if I were to have a celibate same-sex relationship, how it would be met by opposition by many Christian leaders and friends. If I could find someone willing to be my partner in the very first place. I think that would be the greatest obstacle of all.
Whirring round and round the thoughts came and went, making me ever more depressed.
It would be nothing short of…

Theme song of my life

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My feelings currently

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Q&A: 8 questions with a trans Christian (who's been to seminary)

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So I recently got connected with Austen on Twitter and thought I'd feature him here on my blog so all you loyal readers can get educated on what it means to be trans and Christian.
Here we go!


1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, my name is Austen, and I'm many things--a brother, a son, a boyfriend, a lifelong student, a lover of herbal tea--but lately my two definitive qualities have been my faith and my gender identity. I'm transgender, and I'm also a Christian, and even though some people think those two labels don't mix, I find that my faith journey and my experience as a trans man are intricately connected. I graduated from seminary with a Master's degree in Biblical Studies about two years ago (specializing in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament), and for the past year I've been using much of what I learned to create YouTube videos on being trans and Christian.

2) How and at what age did you meet Jesus?
I was raised Christian, and my parents took me and m…

Q&A: Growing up gay in a Christian household

Benjamin* is a gay Christian who agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity. 

1. What was your introduction to Christianity like?

I come from a Christian household and grew up in Sunday school. In secondary school, I was exposed to philosophy and started reading up on other religions. This was an important point in my life. Some people might use the term “backsliding” to describe me at that point. But after some exploration, Christianity made the most sense to me. Faith to me isn’t just intellectual, it is an emotional experience as well.

2. At what age did you realise you were gay?
Naturally at around 10 - 13. There was no eureka moment, it was a gradual process.

3. How did you deal with it?
I was tormented by it. Being Christian. It was arduous. But I’m much more comfortable with myself right now and am still a Christian.

4. How did you decide to come out to your parents?
(As this was a rather sensitive question, Benjamin declined to answer this question.)

5. How do you integrat…

Second empat perkataan

I am crying. Reading. Weeping. Relinquishing, I am grieving. 
Right now, calmer; writing, typing.  Breathing slowly, tears stop, thinking. 
How strange to be reading, weeping; Brené Brown's book simply stunning. 
Now I'm sleepy, headed to bed Lying down now, what's left unsaid?

My first empat perkataan

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Transgender Day of Remembrance at FCC

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So I attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) Special Service at Free Community Church yesterday. To my knowledge, it is the only church in Singapore that observed TDOR and I went in the hope of gaining a better understanding of my trans brothers and sisters in Christ, and just to learn more about the experience of being trans in general.

The service started by us singing a couple of songs, and then Pastor Miak led us to observe a minute of silence for the 90 trans people that were killed worldwide. Seemed like the bulk of them were living in America and Brazil.

Then they collected an offering and showed a video on the life of an intersex person living in Hong Kong. At this point in time I was feeling rather confused because an intersex person is very much different from a trans person and there wasn't much of an explanation for that video. Nevertheless, it proved to be interesting and I just assumed they just wanted to raise awareness of those born intersex.

(On a sepa…

Romans 1, Psalm 37, and a blog post

Been reading Romans 1 quite a bit as I spent time with God and I felt Him urge me to read it. As a result, I feel like I'm gravitating toward Side B more than ever before.

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Today at church, I felt very strongly that God was telling me to stay in this church, in this spiritual family I was planted in regardless of whatever happened and whoever wanted to push me out.

All this as the preacher (Phil Pringle) was talking about Psalm 37:3-5 which is reproduced below:

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

Which is great advice. Thank you Lord. But it made me wonder if I was imagining things or if it was truly the voice of God. Which you will find is a running theme in my blog. Anyway, I'm prepared, so I'll try to stay rooted in thi…

Coming full circle

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I first heard Vicky Beeching speak this January and it seems appropriate that after going through a whirlwind of a year where I've felt disordered, had a crisis of faith, developed a new crush (which has since largely died down), that I would come back and listen to Vicky Beeching speak again at a keynote at The Reformation Project conference held recently at Kansas.

I listened to the one hour talk last night when I had a bout of insomnia and was encouraged and inspired once again.

She shared her life story yet again, and then talked about Tribes, Trauma and Trust and that's what I'd like to dwell upon here.

1. Tribes

Vicky mentioned that for many of us, we might have been pushed out of our church family or ministry but that there is a new tribe forming that are for us and with us - LGBT+ Christians and their allies.

We all yearn to belong and it is difficult when one's tribe rejects you.

I know that first hand. And yet, it is not the end of the world. There are people…

Beef lovers, chicken lovers and vegetarians

On Planet E, there were some beef lovers and chicken lovers.
The chicken lovers were in the majority and they sure enjoyed their chicken. They had quite a variety of them - organic, kampong, free-range, factory-farmed and so on. Prepared in a variety of ways, the chicken lovers had them grilled, barbecued, fried, steamed, stewed, stir-fried and more. They loved their chicken and made sure everyone knew it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all featured chicken. Chicken was advertised in media of every sort - newspapers, magazines, on billboards and even in irritating embedded ads in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Then there were a minority who were beef lovers. Like the chicken lovers, they had them grilled, barbecued, fried, steamed, stewed, stir-fried and more. They loved the taste of beef and couldn’t get enough of it. Some of them, for religious reasons, ate chicken instead. They were beef lovers but could not bear to eat the meat of a cow. So instead, they consumed chicken. But they’d …

Perhaps

Had cell group meeting today and had so many thoughts. I'll just randomly ramble on one of them...

As Pauline mentioned how as a young Christian she'd be struck be certain verses and would meditate on them, I found myself coming back to 4 words in Romans 1, The Message translation.
"All lust, no love."
When I read that a couple of months ago, I pondered upon it for a long while before texting a couple of my friends this:
"What is lust?"
And had a variety of responses, some of which were rather thought-provoking (that shall be a blog post for another day).
Perhaps the people Paul were referring to were consumed with lust. Perhaps their problem wasn't sex with people of the same gender, but that it was devoid of love. That may sound a bit far out for some conservative Christians, but I think it's a very valid interpretation.
And so I wondered...

If

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“You are good, you are good, you are good, and your mercy is forever.”
When we got to the chorus, my heart stopped.
If God is good, why did He create me gay?
I could no longer sing. How could God be good? Yet He is. But I am gay. The questions in my mind bounced back and forth. It got to a point where conflict within me threatened to tear me apart - all this as the song was being sung. Thank goodness it ended soon after.
Still, the question remained.
I tried to pay attention to the cell group message that was being preached, and focused on interacting with the new person beside me to distract myself.
Right after cell group ended, I took a picture of the lyrics with my phone, and texted about half a dozen people (and texted even more people later):



Then I continued interacting and eating with my fellow cell members after that. I think I deserve an Oscar. Or have serious dissociation issues. No one asked me if I was alright, so I must have seemed fine. But I sure wasn’t. There was a major hur…

Counselling at Oogachaga

I'd been thinking about popping by Oogachaga for a spot of counselling for the inner conflict I have between my faith and my sexuality for some time now. One day, on a whim, I decided to call them up to make an appointment.

I was told to email someone, which I did, and was then directed to fill up a form after which a date was then set and a bank transfer of $60 was made.

Feeling a little down yesterday (it's probably hormonal), I trudged my way to Chinatown after gulping down a flat white so that I would be properly awake for the session.

Located near the exit of Chinatown MRT, I found the office rather easily and was ushered into Ginger Room which was nicely furnished and warmly lit. I was 10 minutes early and as I waited for the counsellor, I prayed a bit.

R. came in, was nice and polite and asked me what I was here for. I started off saying that "my psychologist noted that she noticed 'a conflict between my sexual orientation and my religious beliefs' " a…

Jumbled thoughts from a mixed up mind

So this will be a mish-mash of thoughts about my current crush. You have been warned, it will be a topsy-turvy account of the stream of consciousness that’s plagued me lately.
My crush, my crush, my crush. Do you like me? Your dazzling smile completely besotted me that afternoon when you chanced upon me quite by accident. I replay that image in my mind again and again, looping it indefinitely.
This sounds like an awful gushing of a 16-year-old. But I shall continue.
Could it be? That God you’ve given the clearance? Am I hearing right? Perhaps I am wrong. I need some confirmation. But it doesn’t seem the wisest thing to put out a fleece, or even two. Could it be that You are with me? After all, You’re for us and not against us?
Is she the one? Perhaps she is intersex and just presenting as female? Or perhaps it’s my overactive imagination at work as I’m reading Megan DeFranza’s latest (Sex Difference in Christian Theology - Male, Female, and Intersex and the Image of God). If she’s interse…

It is well by Bethel Music - an excerpt

Through it all, through it all,My eyes are on You.  Through it all, through it all, It is well. 
So let go my soul and trust in Him, The waves and wind still know His name. 
It is well with my soul.  It is well with my soul.

IndigNation Queer Shorts

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So I attended my first ever LGBT film festival today. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a film festival, but that’s what I’m calling it, because they screened 4 films and the mood was kinda festive. Haha. In any case, it was BRILLIANT!
I got to know about the event one day while idly browsing through my Peatix app and signed up in 3 seconds flat. I didn’t take a very close look at what they were showing to be honest, just the title “Queer Shorts” was enough to make me buy the tickets.
And so did more than a hundred people it seems.
This private screening was so popular that when I told a friend who might be interested about it, it was already fully sold out. 
That’s a good start.
Well, here are the films shown and my feelings about each one of them. 

1. A Straight Journey: Days and Nights in their Kingdom / 从黑夜到白天:为同性恋拍照时,我们聊了些什么
This was basically a documentary being LGB in China. It was eye-opening and kinda what you’d expect, I mean, coming from conservative China and all that. Having said that, yo…

Minority of a minority of a minority

I am gay, Christian, and celibate. And that is probably not going to change very much in the near future. Each successive label places me in an ever smaller subset which can be both liberating and suffocating. I once wrote a rather awful sonnet creatively titled, “Minority of a minority of a minority” chronicling my experience back in 2013.
A good friend tried to matchmake me with a mutual friend yesterday and the dissonance I felt was rather stark. It’s not only because the guy wasn’t quite my type (I think I’m gay with hints of bisexuality), but because she couldn’t appreciate how much my life has changed in the past 5 years. Not that it’s any fault of hers, I never shared my blog with her, what with me blogging here semi-anonymously for fear of repercussions where my job would be placed into jeopardy if I come out because I’m living in conservative Singapore.
Well, she had good intentions, and I don’t blame her, so for my sake, and for hers, I thought I’d just list down how much eac…

A conversation with my vocal coach

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Because I am tone-deaf, I signed up with a singing school to address the problem a couple of years back. I’ve got an excellent vocal coach who has helped me to sing more and more on pitch. We sometimes talk and have such an intense conversation that we forget about singing and just yak on and on and on. Today was such a day and I thought I ought to share it with you because it contained so many insights and revelations it must be divine. I shall put headers for each section so that I’ll try to stay on topic.

On matchmaking and marriage
It all began when she tried to matchmake me with someone we both knew. I didn’t want to shatter her hopes that the guy isn’t my type so I just humoured her by listening to her theory of how people get together and end up getting married. She made quite a lot of sense and it isn’t anything new.
First people become acquaintances, and then friends. Then you hang out together with a large group of friends, getting to know the person more and more. Slowly you …