Friday, June 12, 2009

new posts on my main site

check out the new posts over at my current blog:

if you haven't updated your RSS feeds to my new blog, please do so!


Friday, February 27, 2009

several new posts on my new site

if you haven't migrated over to my new site, please update your links, blogrolls, and RSS feeds to my new blog site:

several new and fun posts up...and i'm keeping up with it!!

see you there...


Friday, February 20, 2009

new blog site...

hey folks...i have migrated my blog to my own website.

come visit me at


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

attitude really is everything...or at least something really important

one of the many wise things that my mother taught me growing up is the adage "attitude is everything." it frequently was accompanied by the encouragement, "act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic" to which i mostly rolled my eyes. there have been several times in my life where i have been put in difficult, frustrating, and/or stressful situations where the awareness of my attitude really has allowed me to not lose my mind at those moments. let's take an example from last week:

not having much extra fundage this holiday season, i kept putting off doing my Christmas shopping as i figured out who i could buy for, and who would have to settle for my love and friendship. finally i went to the mall on tuesday night. i left my house at 8:30 hoping that by going late i would avoid some of the insanity. i went into knowing it might be crazy and just said, "alex, be patient and you'll be fine." i got to mission valley mall, parked in the first place i saw (no point in driving around for hours trying to find the closest spot), and ventured into the mall. it was busy but not overwhelming. i stopped in aeropostale to get a gift card for my roomie and saw the checkout line stretching out the door. i took a deep breath, looked around the store, and one of the employees said, "come back in like 45 minutes and the line will be gone...we're open 'til 11." i had other stops to make so i journeyed on. went to sports chalet, target, and best buy and never waited more than 3-4 minutes in line. upon my arrival back at aeropostale i discovered that indeed the line was very minimal. i made my purchase and headed back to my car. i could have gotten frustrated with parking lot stupidity, lines, and rude people stepping on my toes and cutting in line, but why? deep breaths and a smile can make a huge difference.

i've tried to continue with that perspective, but driving lately has been making that difficult. i typically have a lot of patience, but i have found myself lacking it more frequently lately. i find myself yelling at other drivers, catching myself, and taking a deep breath. my grandmother had a magnet on her refrigerator (still there today) that says, "grant me patience, o Lord, but hurry." how true is that?! we're willing to acknowledge our need for it and ask, but we don't want to wait! one of my new year's resolutions will be to be more aware of and focus on my attitude. i won't always succeed, but hopefully making an effort will not only make a difference in my relationships but in my own sanity as well... ~aroll

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a new civil rights movement…part 2

so i know that i said in my next post in this series that i would discuss the separation of church &'s coming, but something has been pressing my heart more lately. we as a church, and me as an individual, have talked about the need to put a face to this fight/movement/"issue." this movement is about human beings - not religion, not faith, not legislation. it is about people made in the image of God, children of God equal and loved in His eyes...just not apparently in the eyes of a majority of His followers.

john smulo posted about our billboard and emailed me a note of encouragement. this led to him asking if i would do an interview. the entire interview can be viewed here, but i wanted to post a relevant part of it:

John: In one of our emails you said something that you wished people would stop talking about this as an “issue”, and instead see that they are actual people that are impacted here. Can you expand what you mean by this?

Alex: There was a very real sense for me, and several members of our community, that the Prop 8 campaign was very “us vs. them.” The gay agenda is out to corrupt children, destroy the church, break up families....which is all false. When we first got a postcard at our offices about The Call at Qualcomm, our volunteer coordinator (straight, 19 yo female) immediately wanted to be there with a group of people wearing shirts that said, “I am the face of those you hate.” She felt the need to put a face to this fight. If they say we are out to destroy families and corrupt children, what about the countless straight families who brought their kids to the candlelight vigil? What about the young girl standing on the sidewalk during an equal rights march with a sign that says, “I love my two mommies”? This “issue” within the church does have scholarship and texts to understand...but it is also real human beings made in the image of God earnestly seeking to live a life more like Christ. And outside of the church it is real human beings with the created need for companionship who are wanting to COMMIT to one another in devoted love, and that is something that should be celebrated. Beyond that, I could spend a few pages talking about the need for the separation of church and state and legislating morality (see my blog for more thoughts on that).

From my experience, many conservative Christians do not have relationships with gay & lesbian men and women, or they do and don’t know that their friends are gay. When someone close to them comes out, they are forced to deal with real life, not just words and arguments. Look at the story in Acts of the Church in Antioch...the Gentiles who were choosing to follow Jesus were being asked to subscribe to Jewish laws and customs, but Paul presented the fact that without living under that law they were still showing signs and fruit of the Spirit. The Council of Jerusalem could not argue with the living proof of God’s presence in their lives. When you begin to deal with people instead of an “issue” it does get messy, but you have the opportunity to learn from their experience and witness the presence of God in their lives...or in the context outside of the church you see couples that have been together 20+ years who simply want to have their commitment recognized and be afforded the same rights as straight couples, rights as basic as hospital visitation. Throughout Scripture we see how God constantly sought to redeem people not an institution. Jesus was about people not about religion.

i challenge all of us to remember that we, on both sides of this "issue," are dealing with real live human beings - with brains, lives, emotions, experiences...if you are reading this and don't know someone directly affected by this movement (which i would honestly find hard to believe), then check out this link and see the faces of many - gay and straight - who are simply asking to be treated as an a human being. ~aroll

Friday, December 19, 2008

germany in the movies...

something random occurred to me as i was watching previews before a movie the other night...there are currently 3 movies out or soon released dealing with various aspects of nazi germany in and after world war two. "the boy in the striped pajamas," "the reader" (releasing jan. 9), and "valkyrie" (releasing Christmas day). i have only seen the first movie i listed and thought it was very well done. i was not prepared for the ending at all, but the story of the film was beautiful. it shows in great detail the affect on families that the war had as a young german boy befriends a jewish boy being held in a concentration camp his own father oversees. "the reader" appears to do something similar as it chronicles the life and relationship of a woman who became a soldier and a young man who read to her as part of a secretive affair. he re-encounters her 8 years later as a law student observing her as a defendant in a war crimes trial. finally, "valkyrie" portrays one of a dozen or so attempts to assassinate hitler.

as someone who studied history in college, i have always been leery of people taking movies of historical events as solid true history. some films have done a great job at documenting the events that took place, others take considerable artistic license. at any rate, it seems lately that hollywood has taken an interest in telling stories that before have possibly gone unnoticed. hollywood is in the business of entertaining and telling stories. but what prompts three different studios to make these films at the same time? maybe i'm just searching for significance where there isn't any, but is there something to this? are we as human beings no longer content settling for one version of a story? maybe our culture as a whole is realizing the true value in exploring all peoples stories, for when we learn the story of the other the distance between us diminishes.

hmmm, should i link this to my civil rights posts? ~aroll

Friday, December 12, 2008

a new civil rights movement…part 1

in june of 1969, people began to stand up for the rights of gay and lesbian men and women following the raid on the bar at the stonewall inn in new york city. ever since, baby steps have been taken to recognize members of the lgbt community for exactly what they are – human beings no different than any other person on this planet. it’s interesting to me that in the same time period when tens of thousands of people fought for equality for people of color – a battle that was long overdue and vital to the continuation of society – another group of people fighting for equality battled in silence without gaining much ground. please do not hear this as comparing the plight of the african-american community to that of the lgbt community. that will always be The civil rights movement (capital “T”), but nonetheless this is “A” civil rights movement. but 40 years later, people are still fighting to be considered equal. this is not an “issue” but is about human beings.

many people, especially in the conservative church world, have to continued to advocate exclusion, judgment, and condemnation of the lgbt community. in spite of their efforts, progress has been made. one of the most significant steps forward came when the state of massachusetts legalized gay marriage. several years later, may of 2008 to be exact, the california supreme court overturned prop 22 (a ban on gay marriage) as unconstitutional which then launched the creation of proposition 8. in the midst of the battle over prop 8, connecticut even legalized gay marriage. then on november 4, 2008 the fight for equal rights for the lgbt community suffered an emotional blow: not only did prop 8 pass in california, but arizona and florida both passed constitutional amendments further defined the right of marriage away from the lgbt community, and arkansas passed a ban on adoption by gay couples. in one day, rights were taken away from a group of people who had been given rights, and rights were distanced from others even further.

throughout history, the church has been a voice of fighting for the rights of others: john wesley & william wilberforce in the fight to end slavery; William booth and the salvation army fighting poor working conditions for women & children in match factories; dr. martin luther king, jr. and the battle to end segregation. and now the church is leading the charge to deny a group of human beings equal rights under the law…the law. in the justification of “loving the sinner and hating the sin,” many within the conservative church compare homosexuality to rape, murder, adultery, etc. those “sins” are acted on other people against their will...people are entitled to their convictions, but voting yes on prop 8 acted those convictions on a group of people against their will. the right to live as the men and women God created them to be is not acting on anyone against his or her will. government’s role is not to legislate morality; it is to protect the rights and well-being of its citizens – all citizens, especially the rights of the minority.

my next post in this thread will be on the separation of church and state…

journeying in life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus…~aroll