It was June 2015, Trump had just come down the escalator to declare his candidacy for president of the United States, and the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) had just redefined the definition of marriage. Homosexuals were promoted and elevated to that of a Hetero relationship. EVERYONE was emotional!
All over social media in particular, I saw nothing but extreme disappointment in what the SCOTUS had done and others vigorously supporting it stating it was about time. People angry about what the then candidate for president had said about Mexicans and others claiming his words were taken out of context. I watched two pastors argue staunchly about what the Bible says about marriage, one spelling it out in bold letters as he read to the gay pastor stating those words have evolved and we can’t take things seriously otherwise we’d still be condoning slavery. Attack, defend, recounter said attack with new argument and just as equal passion and re-attack, defend, repeat. It was the first time I’d truly seen both sides of something and grasped it with both hands.
Up until that point I’d always been the movie guy. Had moved to LA almost a decade prior, went to film school, and stuck it out through the recession because “I’m living my passion and you never give up”. So thinking about other things was a distraction. I’m embarrassed to look back and see how long it took me to break that immature worldview (just on the other side of 30). But I see why I was frustrated in all other areas of my life, particularly my love life. I never believed or stood for anything. “Just make it in Hollywood” first, get my career in order and then everything else will follow. My father tried to warn me. That I was putting my job before God and family, but I refused to see things that way. Make movies, have sex, enjoy everything else life has to offer as a result, in that order.
Well, why aren’t you having sex? Why is it so hard to connect with a woman? You’ve heard a lot of this before in the dating classes or “pick up” as you don’t want to refer to it as. To stand for something, have interests, be confident in what you believe, that’s what attracts women. At the time, as a young, twenty something, I just took that as continue following your passion for movies and to be apart of the wonderful world of film, the creation thereof. Getting out and traveling as I had just started to do. But never lose focus of your love for film. And with all things considered, to this day, my closest friends think of me as the movie buff first and foremost.
But what else? Why don’t you have an opinion about this gay marriage decision that was just announced?! Or about that racist BIGOT running for office?! SAY SOMETHING!! See? THAT’S why you’ll never have sex! THAT’S why you’ll never connect with a woman. Because even if you do, as you have all this time ’til now, it’s never stuck, never felt like this could truly lead to something. You’re too focused on the wrong things, sex, women, Hollywood fame. Even if you were to obtain this, Hollywood would chew you up and spit you out. A failed movie project, a woman who breaks your heart, divorces and takes you for everything, no money, nothing to show for the last 15 years, all because you thought with the wrong head. Used and abused, not feeling truly appreciated and respected as a man and a person.
BECAUSE YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING!!
“What do you think about the gay marriage decision?! Give me a thorough explanation! … No that’s not good enough, WHY??!! … Try again! WHY!!” Me challenging myself as I read the fights on Facebook.
“Now tell me your thoughts on Trump! You better convince me that you’re worthy of being respected in conversation, let alone sex! … TRY AGAIN!!”
As I witness the tearing of relationships and the bitter hatred being spewed back and forth, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where I fit in. I had no real opinion. I truly realized how much of a follower I had been.
I was raised with traditional, conservative, protestant values. Two parents who drilled in Christian principles all throughout my childhood. We weren’t ideologues, but whatever it was it better line up with the Bible. So my parents leaned right on the issues. But I never really thought about any of this, or viewed things through a political lens, just a religious one. In stumbling across this mind boggling fight, I sadly soon realized that a religious lens isn’t everything. And later that Holiday season, my family would realize it too as we discovered our different political views, all under the umbrella of being “Christians”.
So I really didn’t know what to think. It was the first time I put down the movies and allowed other things to take place in my mind. At this point, all I wanted was an answer to the gay marriage debate. I knew what the Bible says, I’d heard it my whole life. I’d now seen those arguments ripped up and thrown out the window now with the SCOTUS decision. I needed something that made sense in not just a religious overview, but bridged the gap to win over skeptics like me. Be that in support of Christianity or not. Though deep down, subconsciously, I knew I still was and leaned towards the Christian view. Through countless hours of streaming YouTube while at my desk at work, I stumbled across apologetics.
I saw Christians debating Atheists about the big questions of life. Philosophy and theology and science and the like, I finally started to get answers. All starting with the gay marriage debate. Abortion, morality, objectivity, the origins of America, slavery in the Bible or not, feminism, the male female dynamic, war, drug legalization, immigration, liberty, freedom, … My brain was thirsty for knowledge! One video led to the next. One article led to the next book. I seriously questioned if film was the route for me anymore. I watched hours of news every night, read books continuously, as if I put myself through school in self taught manner.
Looking back, I don’t view this as time wasted. It was a necessary period of “finding myself”. Confidently sharing this on a date, we both realized it was my “come to Jesus” moment. A date where in calm surprise, I realized the first true connection with REAL possibility in awhile, if ever. Now knowing that things are back on track with a life to look forward to sharing with another. And I can truly say I now have a place in this world with solid footing to share my opinion on the matter, confidently. Truly taking in the teachings of the Bible as a true source of knowledge and wisdom, not just because Mom & Dad drilled in the habit long ago, but because I truly believe it myself. To understand the balance of power and authority in all relationships, and easing into the flow of humanity, knowing the footsteps I leave behind in the marathon.
For the first time, ever, now, I am at peace. I know my fate is in God’s hands. I know what I stand for. And with all of the challenges along the way, I know not to panic and be afraid. For I’m more than just a movie guy. We can work it out together and navigate a way through the shouting.