Monday, November 21, 2016

Those Of Us That Don't Seem To Agree With Anyone



Those Of Us That Don't Seem To Agree With Anyone



Here are some thoughts from an ancient guru that lives on the top of Mt. Everest:



There are those who see the glass as half empty, and those who see it half full

There are those who believe the earth is flat and those who believe it is round


Then, there are a few of us who don't seem to agree with anyone

We see the glass as completely full (half full of air and half full of liquid) - the glass is always full of some kind of mass unless it’s in a total vacuum

But, what about the earth being neither flat nor round?


I believe the earth is bumpy!




What’s the sound of one hand clapping? It sounds like a sarcastic applause, but worse! It’s one hand clapping on an old flabby bare belly


Liberals seem to uphold new ideas to replace the old ones with that no longer work for a changing world

Conservatives seem to uphold traditional ideas above new ones




Why don't we just sit them down and find out about all the new ideas that work, and the old ideas that still apply, and find a lot of stuff to agree on? 





Then, the ancient guru looked at me and said:

The reason why people sin so much is that there are too many of them

What does that mean? So many sins listed? Or, maybe the guru just needs to find wifi up there so he can tweet this stuff and reply to comments

I’m climbing down this mountain



I prefer places that have a little more atmosphere…

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What the Trump?


What the Trump? How the fuck did this happen? Who saw this coming?

I hang around mostly liberals, and although I'm the one who's supposed to be mentally ill, I feel more sane than most of them this month. It's not fair. I'm supposed to be the crazy one. I do think I have some ideas and perspectives that people should consider. I keep hearing "why?" - I asked this question Winter of 2016 and came up with this public prediction in an article I published:


Bernie Supporter Predicts Trump Winning the Election

Here's me (non-stop) talking about further explanations of why this happened:

Ex-Fundamentalist Reveals The Connection Between Trump and the Bible




Here's a little something I made for my more conservative republican peeps that follow one of my blogs:



Here's another attempt at some creative activism on social media - this was my profile picture for a while:



There were several things that made me feel that Trump was going to win. I met a homeless Trump supporter. I've met minorities, veterans, even gays that were supporting his campaign. The following clip that I found on facebook that was posted over a year before the election was what first caught my attention. When someone wins the Religious Right, they get millions of votes. The following video reminds me of the kinds of preachers I used to work with. If this was fifteen years earlier, when I was one of them, I actually would have supported Mr. Trump. That's how I was back then. That's how most of these people function. Check this out, it's bizarre:




Do I have a right to ego trip because I saw this coming when none of my peers did? Grin. Let's understand the Far Right. Hopefully, I'll help bring some understanding, and that my background as a preacher can help me give some alternative ideas because of some of the weird shit I've done in my life.

Please friends, don't lose hope

Me, poking fun in Rural Southwestern Washington State
-Jason

Welcome to “Prodigal Mystic”

Welcome to “Prodigal Mystic” 


This post contains the Big Disclaimer. Everything before 2014 was written when I identified as a Born Again Christian. Although I was openly gay for the last six years of my Christian path, I still held on to a lot of bible-based beliefs. If you read my earlier posts, you might also see how my views begin to change over the years. BEWARE: everything posted after 2014 is written from a Post-Christian perspective. If you’re wondering what I am now, I identify as Devout Unaffiliated. I’m currently devoted to being unaffiliated to any particular faith. It sucks sometimes, and it’s awesome, and it’s also very me!

So if you’re a follower of my blog for the first six years, please forgive me for talking about sex, cussing, being weird, getting stoned and writing at 5AM like I do often; and I’m making peace with myself about some of my bad behaviors and personality traits that some people can’t handle including what I call “rapid speech”, or what many would call just plain ranting, therefore I am demonstrating this trait in one of my super-long sentences that I like to do sometimes as a “literary effect” which is a fun way for me to justify filling the air with tons of words.

Basically, I’m trying to show as much of the real me as I can, within reason. I’ve actually been writing about mysticism for nearly three years now, after taking a twenty year break. That’s why I call myself a "prodigal”. A “prodigal son” is a common church term used to call someone who has left the church for a long time and comes back. I’m back to being a bohemian. 

Columbia Slough, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram




Check this out:

From the perspective of a west coast, progressive lefty, I “backslid” away from my liberal family values, closed my mind, and sinned against logic and tolerance. Then, after two long decades of indulging in bibles, churches, hymns, and all those potlucks, I’ve finally came to myself, repented of my “sins”, and came back to the father’s house. With my story, everything is turned around. The “father’s house” for me is being true to myself, relying more on fact than faith, taking care of myself better, and avoiding things that are proven to be harmful. When it comes to sin, I gradually spent ten years reintroducing things back into my life that I didn’t allow myself when I was a Christian. 

If I do talk about God, I don’t use some of that weird-fundy-grammar anymore capitalizing words like “Him” and “The” just to make God seem more important. I like my old writings. Those beliefs were a big part of my life, and I’m not ashamed of my background, nor am I shutting out entirely anything from that world. Christians rock. Especially the hard-core one’s like I was. They are a badass group of intense people who changed my life. They accepted me when nobody else would. It was the best and worst thing in my life.

Columbia Slough Trail and Sewage Plant, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram



For over a year, people have told me I need to publish a personal blog, and that it needs a good name. I tried naming it, “Both Sides Now” after that Joni Mitchell song (that I’ve loved since I was a kid) but that title is used by other political moderates. I have a few popular non-personal blogs already, including several Facebook pages. One of them has about 5K followers, but it has enough NSFW stuff that it kinda doesn’t count. I did a Live Journal blog and got harassed and fatly accused. It was horrible, and I hope it does’t happen again. I found that gays can be just about as mean to Christians as Christians can be to gays. So here it is - my weird life. Downloading my racing mind into words. Putting my ever changing opinions and strange experiences out there for the world to judge. If you read enough of my writing, you will find contradictions, un-facts, and outright nonsense. Read with caution.

If you ever wondered what it’s like to be a mentally ill stoned insomniac, this will be a lot of fun for you! I always hope to bring perspectives on topics that maybe you haven’t considered. I love “Progressives.” I also love Born Again Christians. I doubt any of them will read my stuff. It will probably sadden them. That’s one of the reasons why I have years of blog entries that I never published. Well, here goes. Yeah, I’m freaking out. A lot of people are offended about who and what I am and what I represent. On the other hand, I bet you’ll find a few things to relate to. You’ll find things that can help you understand some very misunderstood kinds of people. If nobody reads this, at least this blogging is therapeutic for me, and part of my healing process. This is an act of saying, “I’m not ashamed to be who I am.” Maybe this also is a symbolic gesture of me breaking out of lives I’ve lived giving my power away to anyone that made me feel accepted? I hope this is empowering for me. I hope nothing written here won’t get someone to twist it around, quote me out of context, and be used to humiliate me. I’m not famous anyway.

Columbia Slough Trail, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram



I started digging around some of my writings. This particular unpublished post was written November 12th, 2015 and edited a year later. This was my first draft to come up with a description of my new blog that I wanted to publish. I had no intention of using my old prayer blog as the same web page. I actually wanted to start over and hide my identity. The following paragraphs time traveled a year into the future:


The Prodigal Mystic

The spiritual re-re-awakening of a middle aged, gay, mentally ill, pot smoking, creative, chubby chaser. Personal journals of wellness, healing, and totally freaking out. I should also mention that I went through a "straight camp."

If you can even relate four out of six things listed here, consider following this blog. Five, read this blog. If you can relate to all six, you are (probably) literally me, and in fact you are writing this description.

Hidden within these writings are tidbits of wisdom and insight. Sometimes I'm just full of shit, and playing pranks on you that make me sound like I'm a total idiot. For instance: I'm glad my cat is a girl, because all cats are females. LOL. Other times I just amuse myself, because heck, who reads blogs anyway?

I was talking to a couple of people, around my age, who I tried to summarize my life. I told them I like to consider myself a "prodigal mystic." I then said that it sounded like a good idea for a blog. But who ever reads blogs? This particular woman looked at me as if everyone reads people's blogs. I wonder if some bloggers are totally full of shit. For me to prove that my stories are true, I might have to reveal my identity. I just don't want to. I'm sharing some spiritual stuff that I don't think I exhibit the kind of character that matches with my spiritual experiences. I think I can be such a jerk, and the last thing I want to do is to be another hypocrite. Sometimes I feel like I could slip back into the very same arrogant impostors that I try to stay from.


Columbia Slough Trail, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram


There was a long season in my life, that when I learned that a particular person was a practicing Christian, I felt trust and safety. Now, quite the contrary. I am grateful though, that I've gotten deep into the minds and hearts of people from polar opposites of the spectrum. I've gotten to see the sincerity, the love and the logic of both sides. I've believed them. I've tried to see the best in them. Yet, when I was one of them, I too wanted to subtly, and even bluntly, dehumanize others. Now that I am a liberal again, I see my camp doing the same thing.


Raised in the holistic community of west coast 1980's far leftist culture, I took refuge in bible based Christianity. Identifying as a Born Again Christian for nearly two decades of my adult life, I find I am somehow returning to who I was as a teenager. Well, except for the fact that I'm almost exclusively into dudes. And, oh yeah, I've been getting pretty consistent mental health care since I was 33. Back then, I had the emotional intelligence of a six year old, one of the many reasons why I'm glad I could completely stayed away from pot for nearly twenty years. 

Those are not all the reasons why my life is probably much weirder than yours. I dig fat guys. Seriously. Twice my size is nice, from my perspective. I've eroticized chubby men since I was in middle school. When it came time for me to explore my sexuality, I had every reason to, and the opportunities, yet never took them. Not until my 30's. I was raised around gay men. Waiters, hairdressers. Gay, gay, stereotypical gay. Even though I later in my teens, I met a few gay men that were hippie dudes like I was. But never any gay men that had a Santa fetish. The only chubby chaser I knew was a guy that I played some live acoustic music with who had a very large girlfriend. I still saw him as less a man for some reason. Coming out would have been easy. But being ashamed of what and who I loved? I couldn't even accept that about myself, so being seen with a big man would be something I would have never faced in my life.

Fast forward to 2006. After graduating from an actual “straight camp,” I fell in love with an enormous southern gentleman. Fast forward several weeks after that. We went out one night, to a gay cowboy bar. There were a lot of hot, rugged men in charming suits and ten gallon hats. My clumsy old bear of a man, stumbled out on the dance floor with me, looking quite embarrassed, yet he was just as much in love with me as I was with him. He grew a snowy white beard for me. He measured as tall as six foot six. He said he weighed about 365 pounds. He was over twenty years older than me. He was stunning. The chemistry was red hot. We passed by all of these studs, with my hand proudly holding onto his. It was an honor and a great privilege to find a man like this. He was quite close to perfect for me. His smoking habit made him age another ten years. I didn't care. Funny, I looked half his age. In fact, it didn't even dawn on me that anyone would think this was unusual.

This is the way I see things, and there's nothing wrong with my perspective. The way I am wired, is to see weight as erotic, powerful, different, charming, mysterious, adorable, lovable, cuddly, caring, empathetic, sensitive, intense, indulgent, passionate and just downright sexy. I also relate to them in a few areas. Past abuse is typically common. Rejection is always common in fat people. There, I said it. Sorry if I offended anyone, or maybe the contrary. I've idolized them. Another thing to add to this is the fact that I've been as heavy as 250 pounds in my 30's. I was quite overweight twice in my childhood. I loose weight very easily, and it makes some people upset. I've got a set of machine parts that make up who I am that don't operate together well. Also, the kinds of things I like to do with men, are rare that men of the age and bodily girth that I prefer, can't and even refuse to do certain things in bed. TMI. My bad. It's my life. My sex life included.

With all that being said, I feel like my sex life didn't really start until my forties. Technically my thirties if you don't count a few girlfriends in my late teens. So far, I've been fortunate to not catch anything deadly from my romps. I'm starting to really enjoy sex. 

Columbia Slough, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram






I used to watch America's Got Talent for a few seasons. The more I watched, I would wonder what I would do if I had to sum up all of my talents in under just a few minutes. The thing was, I couldn't think of one thing I do that's talented enough to win a major competition. I'm so spread out. I don't have any particular discipline, genre, medium or even style to define me as anything. I happen to like labels. The younger generation seems to really hate labels, and honestly, I don't blame them. Yet, I've been around just enough, that when I spend nearly two bucks on a tin can full of food, I want to know what's in it. That's why I like labels. I want to know how people identify themselves. I want to make labels in my head for certain people in my life that might be safe or that might be toxic. I want to label myself so I can bring visibility to every weird thing that I am. That's the only way I know how to make weird things normal. But why am I anonymous? Some readers know me personally. That's cool. I hope some people who don't like me will read this. That also would be cool. Not sure why though…

Cartlandia, 2015
(Actually, I decided to not keep my identity a secret. Who gives a fuck. I’m not a preacher anymore. I’m not even a professional writer. I’m afraid that some things will come back to bite me later - like when famous people tweet stupid sounding things without getting them proofread or reviewed. I’m afraid, I admit it. Yet, writing these with the intention of being anonymous should bring a brutal honesty to my writing. I’ll try to edit out any parts where I rant about other people. That could really hurt others and that’s the last thing I want to do.)



It's after 5:30 AM and I basically have a lifetime of experiences to write down. I don't think I can summarize them by 6AM. There's something knocking on the side of my house. Sounds like someone's living in my wall. That's also pretty cool. I'm glad it probably is just the windy rain we are getting on this dark, cold November morning. Those freight trains in the distant remind me of the house I grew up in across town. I love the Pacific Northwest. 

(Another journal entry I wrote that morning was when I had recently started my meditation practice)




Things in my life that have improved since practicing mindfulness meditation:

Mood swings, less
More productive
Less severe anxiety attacks
No major panic attacks for weeks
Less back pain, and able to do a lot more physically
Able to take deep breaths

Columbia Slough, Portland, Oregon (c) 2015 Jason T. Ingram


So, there you have it! My introduction in just 2,555 words… 


Hugs From Oregon
Jason at the nude beach, October, 2015

Saturday, June 7, 2014

12 YEARS A FUNDIE - Surviving Anti-Gay Religious Programs 


 June 28th 2014 - Oregon, USA




Multimedia presentation featuring stories, videos, art, live music, and discussions.

Saturday, June 28th

Location:  Kairos UCC 
                 4790 SE Logus Road - Milwaukie, OR 97222

Cost: Free

This is a "counter event" to the Restored Hope Network Conference that same weekend - an alternative perspective to what they call the "ex-gay" movement.

Since Exodus International shut down in 2013, "Restored Hope" seems to be the major conservative ex-gay group and very few people know it was founded right here in the Portland area; Milwaukie, Oregon.

Please join us this June to hear controversial perspectives and responses from many whom claim to be "successful former homosexuals".

Jason T. Ingram, a Portland native, has been traveling the US for six years, presenting his stories of religious abuse brought on by the ex-gay movement. Ingram came out as gay/bi in 2006 after finishing an anti-gay residential program in 2005, as well as other ex-gay programs.

4:00 PM - Doors Open - Art Exhibit

4:30 PM - Reception and Potluck

6:00 PM - Presentation

7:15 PM - Questions and Answers


https://sites.google.com/site/trilemmafilms/Identity-Thieves/showings---locations---news/12yearsafundie-survivinganti-gayreligiousprograms-june27th-oregon

https://www.facebook.com/events/541072619341071/


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=711806822191086&set=a.164184256953348.28586.164161133622327&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204063777939780&set=gm.575981302516869&type=1&theater

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Faith and Mental Health: An LGBT Perspective


If you are near the Portland, Oregon area...



Faith and Mental Health: 
An LGBT Perspective 

Even if you do not have a mental illness, you can still benefit from the resources in this discussion because chances are, someone close to you has these needs

Jason T. Ingram has an extensive background in church work as well as being a certified Peer Support Specialist with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Multnomah)

MCC is a gay welcoming and affirming LGBT friendly denomination (lesbian, gay, bi and transgender)

Meeting will be a part of the Wednesday evening study hosted by Gentle Shepherd MCC gathering at First Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 1220 NE 68th St. Vancouver, WA

Please enter through the glass double doors on the lower level and find the MCC room

A light dinner potluck will be served at 6:30 followed by a brief worship time with contemporary songs led by Jason

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Overwhelming Evidence


Overwhelming Evidence

Some think that prayer, and various outcomes related to prayers, are merely coincidences; and that the real reason why people pray is to only find comfort and hope. If atheists are correct, and if there really is no God, I would still pray if it was my only connection to find hope in a hopeless world. Also, if I die to find that there is no God, and I entirely cease to exist; my consciousness won't be around to be disappointed! So, I score whether there is a God or not! However, that is not why I believe. It's actually pretty scientific for me: my life has overwhelming evidence of the existence of God. Do I keep a list? No. I can't imagine a list of answered prayers that is profound enough to convince any nonbeliever to believe. I don't think that's how most seekers work. The trick is to find it out for yourself. If you peeked at some of someone's list, your mind is amazing at coming to conclusions that can talk yourself out of believing. It's human nature. 

I hang out mostly with non-church people in the gay community and meet a lot of atheists. Most of them became that way as a reaction to abuse from anti-gay churches. Most ex-gay survivors like me tend to have the most abuse, and grow to despise all forms of Christianity, even the LGBT affirming groups. I have learned to to argue, because most of the time only healing and forgiveness can open their hearts. This is where I turn to intercessory prayer. I also am learning to see the value in this kind of life and try to accept others the best I can even if we don't agree about the existence of God.

I do journal a lot and sometimes I write down answered prayers, but I use it for my own resource. All over the Bible, especially the psalms, it is mentioned to remember what God has done. Aside from strengthening your faith, this also prompts a spirit of thanksgiving and praise, which are important aspects of prayer. Sometimes sharing your stories about what God has done for you can help others believe as well as reinforce the faith of other believers.
I thought this cult magazine was funny to glance at: "Good News... Turmoil!"
No wonder why so many people think I'm phony with stuff like this all over...

Update on my life this year


Personal Stuff...

Life has been good lately. I am starting some new journeys in my life, one of them being that I am seeking help to heal from trauma, most of it brought on by anti-gay stuff I did in churches most of my adult life. It's hard to go to a worship service without getting anxious, especially if I know that it is an anti-gay type church. I am still having a more difficult time writing my stories about the "ex-gay" stuff I was in, it's so painful. Turning forty this year has been an opportunity to grow, calling this year my, "year of wellness" and self care. I'm not working as much, but trying to focus on things that are blocking any personal success. I'm also more outspoken about the fact I have a bi side, maybe I'm a 5 on the Kinsey scale - but not enough to hold on to a long term relationship with a lady. Single again, and not really looking, which is a good thing for me. Took the summer off working with churches but back doing church music and maybe some teaching again.

I wonder if it's safe to assume that most of my readers are seeking information about prayer because they want a more spirit-centered life. My life right now, although as a Christian it feels strange to admit, is more of a logic-centered life. Reason being, I have acted way too "spiritual" while making a lot of bad decisions; for instance, going through five years of anti-gay programs that did not work but only made me worse. I still had this mentality that God is speaking to me through everything, and I was having a hard time distinguishing from dreams, what I thought were omens, various preachers, bible passages that seem to stand out and other things that catch my attention.

One of my favorite comedy shows, My Name Is Earl, had a great quote in an episode where a tornado kept blowing this bible into the hands of a character who thought it was a sign from God. Another character responded:

"Natural disasters are stressful times in which people ascribe heightened meaning to random events of physics"

Some of us who are more prone to be impulsive, intuitive and creative need to follow wisdom instead of focusing on trying to be overly spiritual in decision making. I don't want to be one of those saints who always say things like "God told me..." then most of the time have it not be God talking at all.

However, there are most of us people of faith who could really use some spiritual direction. That's where prayer comes in. Quality, informed, intentional, sincere prayer.


Jason singing a piece from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at an Oregon Bears fundraiser - thanks to Ice Wolf Photography