Mid-Winter Happenings

Posted in Mental Health, Purpose with tags , , , on February 1, 2015 by Phil Martin

Mid-Winter Happenings

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Feb. 1 2015

First of all, I’m sorry. I haven’t posted something new since early November. I was busy working through the holidays and still getting used to this post-college life. A lot has happened in the past two months.

Since I mentioned my post-college life, let me talk about that.

If you’ve been following me, you might remember how distraught I said I felt back about seven to eight months ago. I graduated college with a degree for a career I was no longer pursuing. I had also felt brokenhearted; a love interest from my 2013 summer in Colorado patronized and insulted me over a purely innocent card I sent her (like the ones I sent to 10 other people), and a guy I have been jealous of had been for months dating some other girl I had unrequited feelings for two years prior. Also, I had also hated that I moved back to my loathsome childhood home in southern Ohio and that I was working a job unrelated to my college education. At the start of things, I felt like a total failure — not just in my college career but in my relationships with others, my pursuit for life success, and my relationship with God.

Well, due to time and events, my sentiments have changed. After much reflection around the holidays, I found myself more hopeful for the future and thankful for the present. I guess God is helping to be content with what I have now today, even though I still do struggle with yesterday’s pain. I’m still attending the second church I visited in September. Since my second week, I’ve been attending a small group where we fellowship and discuss the week’s message. (I brought this up in an earlier post.) I’ve also been more content with work. I still volunteer at my local hospital as well. Plus, although I still feel lonely, unattractive, and hopeless for a future love life most of the time, I am still content with the benefits of my singleness. Somehow watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Hulu Plus, listening to smooth jazz on Spotify and by CD in the car, journaling daily notes to God, talking to Him on my commute to work, and writing on my story strips away some of the barrenness and rejection from others I feel in my soul.

Now that I’ve mentioned writing, I can share about my novel.

I have finished a complete rough draft of the chapter titled “Flashback of Arlan”. The chapter is a first of a two-part series of flashbacks of the two main characters. Eleanor relives Arlan’s past.  Her friend Ashlynn can foresee future events also can recall retrospective visions of other people’s past that are so vivid it feels real but is like a dream. Ashlynn is the one who projects Eleanor’s conscious into Arlan’s mind. To Eleanor it’s literally like she’s in his body. In his shoes, she explores sources for his obsession over her but also discovers painful memories that explains his discomfort for his body image.

The first of the series is about Eleanor reliving sad memories of Arlan, her admirer, from his childhood and adolescence. The next chapter I will write will be titled “Flashbacks of Eleanor”. Now, it will be Arlan’s turn to relive his love interest’s past. Like him, Eleanor too finds discomfort for her body image. While realizing her discomfort with herself, he also sees her painful memories. Again, Ashlynn is the one who will link the two characters together.

I wish I could describe more deeply than that, but’s all I can share. I would probably overfill this post and also give away too much.

Aside from post-college life and my story writing, something very big and good has happened for me. I just accepted into a graduate social work program. Along with striving for a master’s degree in something I feel more passionate about, I will also go on track towards testing for social work license to practice anywhere in Ohio. With a master’s of social work degree and license, I can go on and start helping people like how my church counselor did for me at BG. My ultimate goal is to be advocate, supporter, and healer for people like my counselor was for me. I guess my new dream job is to become a school or mental health counselor for my age group struggling with a variety of issues. I’d like to specifically help those with body image issues, identity and ethnic identity crises, and anxiety and pain to help prevent suicides and lesson life-debilitating problems. In this exciting new career aspiration, my hope and prayer is that God can use my past experiences so that He can work through my work.

Unfortunately, my acceptance into grad school brings up some new real concerns.

First, I’ve more frequently asked the following question: Am I doing this on a whim? I keep wondering if this is where I should go — if this is the calling I’ve been feeling for nearly two years now — or if I’m basing this whole motivation for social work off of some honeymoon effect from my counseling sessions. I still haven’t figured it out, but I keep praying a lot about it. For the record, a radio ad for Mt. Vernon Nazerine U.’s BSW program played when I cut on the radio on my way to visit Ohio State in September. My thoughts have been that God may have given me clarity liked I asked him for. It also helps that I strongly care about social justice in this nation and in this world. Also spurring me on, has been my hurt and pain since my childhood. So, maybe my new career aspiration isn’t so capricious at all.

My next major is for my relationships and social life. To be frank, I seem like a loser. Through middle school and college, I felt out because I never found my niche with a cohesive group of people similar to me. I mean, I must be a loser because a group of self-proclaimed nerds in college rejected me. I had a girl in high school lie about her Arabian horse dying so she could avoid going with me to prom, where she had planned to ditch me. I haven’t found many other people who enjoy listening to smooth jazz or are into Star Trek like I am. I’m the guy who spilled hot coffee on my hand and below the dispenser at church when I visited BG a few weeks ago. (Of course, I would be the clumsy one.) I’m the guy who is attracted to mostly white girls but also get hurt because those girls prefer someone who looks like Ashton Kutcher or Benedict Cumberbatch. My point is that I feel like a loser, and I’m afraid things will not change when I start grad school in August. To ad to this concern, I’m very afraid about even considering attending their campus’ church that is similar to the one in BG. I am tired of feeling left out and hurt by people in the Body of Christ who say they are Christians but fail to love or treat me the same — with honor, respect, appreciation, and grace —as themselves or their other friends.


Four albums are on my must-get list for my smooth jazz collection: By Richard Elliot – Metro Blue (2005), Ricochet (2003), and Chill Factor (1998). By Marion Meadows – Soul Traveler (2015)

I already own In the Zone (2011) and Crush (2001) by Elliot. “Panamera” is my favorite track on In the Zone, and I like “If I Kissed You” on Crush for Johnathan Butler’s smooth vocals.

Soul Traveler is seems to be Meadow’s homage to his Native American heritage. That’s what I have gathered as I see tracks with titles like “Mother Earth” and “Dream Catcher”. Over the years I have enjoyed Meadows for his soprano sax playing. I have mp3 tracks from his 2009 record Secrets, which seems to have been an unpopular release (It is available on Amazon but not on Spotify or Meadows’ topic page on YouTube). I also first heard Meadows on a car ride to Indianapolis sometime around 2003. My dad owns Meadows’ Body Rhythms; this album looks to be another unpopular release.

I’m now in the middle of Season 7, the final one, of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I’ve been watching episodes on Hulu Plus since November. I appreciate the show’s story writing (which is slow in the first season) and its rich character development. I’ve enjoyed Avery Brook’s acting for his character Benjamin Sisko, the only black represented as a captain in all the Star Trek TV series. I also like Garak, the mysterious Caradassian outcast and former operative in Cardassia’s Obsidian Order. Dr. Julian Bashir has been very interesting. I appreciate his professionalism for his medical practice and his friendships with Chief Miles O’Brien and Lt. Jadzia Dax.

I’m routing for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. I used to be a Colts fan, so you must understand my deep dislike for the New England Patriots. I predict the score to be 34-20, Seattle. I hoping the ‘hawks crack 40 points though.

The New Normal

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2014 by Phil Martin

The New Normal

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Nov. 9, 2014

Today, for my first post in November, I share about my first visit as an alum at BG.

I sit here at my desk writing that I did enjoy my weekend up in BG. From Friday evening through Saturday evening, I enjoyed some much long awaited time with friends and other people I appreciate who remain at my college ministry. My campus ministry had celebrated its 30-year anniversary. Because of all the activities and my work schedule, I could not see everyone whom I wanted to see. I also could not stay for the Sunday morning service because of time. Still, my visit was great, and I am content.

I snapped a lot of photos during my walks at Wintergarden Park, like this one roughly a year ago.

I snapped a lot of photos during my walks at Wintergarden Park, like this one roughly a year ago.

One thing I enjoyed the most was my time spent with my former roommates out at Colorado two summers ago. We got to hear about what God has been doing in each other’s lives and how we were growing. It sounded like both of us found each other’s stories over the past five months really encouraging for the other.

Another thing I enjoyed was peace.

Over the past five months, I had the time working through bitterness I had towards people in my final two years of college. My grievances with this handful of people is why I feel ashamed about leaving my college ministry on bad terms. Throughout the summer to this point in time, I have been expressing and processing through all the emotions. Forgiveness has been a process for me. I have had really good, peaceful days. Then, of course, I’ve had really low and bad days. My process started out especially difficult when I became incensed by one out of eleven people who reacted unfavorably to an innocent card of appreciation I sent them. Man, that felt like a dagger to my heart after the other stuff I dealt with the person’s friends.

Okay… So, after processing the emotions, I found peace upon my return to BG. A month earlier, I had prepared how I would react to some of the people who hurt me had they approached me. Whether they were friendly or not, I wanted to make a point of showing mercy upon these people by responding in a friendly and neutral manner.

As I prepared for these possible interactions, I kept meditating on Romans chapter 12. Paul writes to never “repay evil with evil” but to “do what is honorable in the sight of all.”

Have you ever had those times when you wanted to chew someone out? Curse someone out? Tear someone down with your words because you feel ‘I am right and they are wrong’? Many times in my young adulthood, I have felt that. I’m not ashamed to share that I’ve even given in to those feelings and even let someone have it with my words. I struggle with that from time to time when I am dealing with hurt feelings of the past.

Well, keeping Paul’s strong admonishment in mind over the past two months has been helpful for me seeking to be merciful to people who had hurt me in some way. I wasn’t sure if I would see these people or they would seek me out. I just wanted to be “honorable” to them by doing what is “honorable in the sight of all.” I thought of people who love me. Would my parents, my sister, my counselor, my close Christian friends at BG… my new friends at my new home church? Would they say I did an honorable thing if I was nasty and bitter — if I sought revenge with my words? Then, I thought about Jesus. He definitely wouldn’t think so. Even He was respectable to the Pharisees when he called them vipers (because the Pharisees knew better and had blinded themselves by religion and pride). More importantly, Jesus has shown and will continue to show mercy on me whenever I hurt him by sin and struggles I succumb to in life. With that mindset, I wanted to show the same mercy of Christ on people who hurt me.

Fortunately for all, I did not even see any of the people I was hurt by at my short stay in BG. Therefore, I had no anxiety about possibly interacting those people. I did see the person who I inadvertently upset over an innocent card. However, our presence around each other was non-eventful; five months ago, that person requested that we no longer communicate in any form. So, I did not seek them out and respected their staunch boundary, even though I was happy to greet others around us.

Now that I’m back home, I’ve returned to the new normal. My new normal has included working a full-time job, volunteering twice a month in the hospital, being a part of a new church family, managing my own budget, and being myself as I continue to live with my parents. Part of my new normal has included the rigorous task of forgiving. It’s a process. The process has been easier now that I no longer see certain people from college and, thus, who no longer affect my life in any way. Grief has also come as a piece of my new normalcy in this half year removed from graduating. I miss certain things about college, like helping out on production team with my college ministry (as I did as a guest yesterday). I have grieved the girl I had a crush on three years ago, even after knowing she will never return my feelings. (I just miss seeing her beautiful face, her smile and hair.) I miss the campus itself on cool and crisp autumn days. I miss Wintergarden Park in BG, which became my quiet time fortress for myself and God. So, now the grieving process continues. After visiting BG, I now I am definitely going to have to journal about my emotions this week.

Still, I am doing well.

A New Family

Posted in Friends with tags , , , , on October 23, 2014 by Phil Martin

A New Home

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Oct. 23, 2014

On the twenty-third day of the month of my twenty-third birthday this year, I share with you about my new church family.

I share about my new church home because I haven’t yet closed the deal after my politically enraged rant about the previous church I visited.

My journey to my church home started with a flyer — yes, a flyer. The week after I stopped going to the church that disappointed me with its dated preaching and biased and offensive remarks on political figures and African American churches, I received a flyer in the mail from another church. I felt like God had responded to my prayers and thoughts during that particular week, which was filled with anxiety. The flyer invited me to attend this other church as it was celebrating its five-year anniversary in early September. Believing that God responded to me when I needed it the most, I visited the church.

As soon as the worship set began, on the morning of September 14, I started feeling good about the church. The band sang and played Hillsong tunes, worship that I had come familiar with at my college ministry in BG. People in the congregation clapped and raised their hands high, which felt refreshing compared to what seemed like a stiff, rehearsed and spiritless worship at the previous church I had visited. At my new church home, I felt that the worship time has been very inviting to the Spirit of God.

Another thing I have felt good about in my new church is its reputation of being the “Crazy Love” church. As the pastor has said on numerous occasions, the church is all about loving all people, especially the hurt and broken, like Jesus has for all. One funny thing my pastor said while reflecting on the church’s birth five years ago was that doubters said “there’s no way you can have a church where a Democrat and a Republican can sit beside each other,” but, fortunately, the church seems to embrace everyone regardless of their vote. Probably the most significant thing about the church’s “Crazy Love” reputation is its long-term mission to reach out to the un-churched, which the church said accounts for 70 percent of Chillicothe, Ohio. Now, that appears to be godly vision to me. Responding to this vision, several visitors have given their life to Christ during the six weeks I have attended. I think God is really moving here! Yay!

Along with the church’s mission to love everyone in Chillicothe and the surrounding area, the presence of young and emerging adults makes me feel like God has me in a good place right now. Most of the worship band are younger adults. In fact, I’m attending a small group who are all around my age, which brings me to my next paragraph.

The final thing I love about the church I’m apart of now are the small groups. I got plugged into a small group during my second week, and I feel blessed about this big thing in my life. For me, connecting to others around me is a big need. Because I suffered from loneliness from middle school and parts of college, having community is a must in my life. I also need community in my life so that I can better understand relationship with others so I can better enjoy relationships without problems. Because of my loneliness, I have had problems with girls I felt attracted to (of whom did not respond to me well) and I always have had attachment issues with all people I meet as time and changes alter my relationships. Although most of the people in my small group are married or just got married and I’m single, I feel blessed. I want to learn about godly marriage from them, and I’m also happy that I can still relate with them because we are similar in age and share similar life issues. Last week, I was so blessed because my small group prayed for community in my life after I shared about my loneliness. I felt encouraged because, other than my counselor in college, this was the first time anyone has ever prayed about my loneliness. (If I could cry tears of joy now, it would so appropriate.) It also seems that I also encouraged my small group by attending on my own, without a significant other or my parents there holding my hand. It seems that my initiative and my pursuit of community with other Christians encouraged my small group.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by Phil Martin


A teaser from an untitled work

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Oct. 14, 2014, Phillip’s Birthday

It’s been a while since I shared a teaser about the novel I’ve spent nearly two years writing mostly by pen and paper. Actually, I believe it’s been 20 days since I last sat on my bed and wrote several hundred words. Loneliness, busyness, sadness, and lack of motivation in my life lately have been the reasons for my three week hiatus from my novel. Luckily, I felt extremely motivated to share this teaser.

It is through strong and precise memories of dates and bad events that sometimes have caused my pain to feel more intense over time. That is why I have had issues managing my anger, a secondary emotion, towards those events and similar pains. I don’t always remember bad things. Some people have thought I am creepy for holding onto bad memories, especially for recording dates, but I don’t always remember bad things that happen to me. Oftentimes, I can recall something that made me laugh, like if my grandpa or mom said something funny. Sometimes I even remember certain plays from football games that didn’t have playoff implications for both NFL opponents. Also, I like to remember bad memories because I want the pain to drive me towards bringing justice to my life in other ways, such as my pursuit to enter grad school to become a licensed social worker. I also remember the pain of bad memories because I want to use the markers as a reference to see what I have learned or how much I have grown as I progress over time.

Memories of hurt and pain will serve my two main characters in a different way. Keep in mind that I just conceived this idea two nights ago at work! Arlan and Eleanor share a struggle; both are insecure with their body images. One doesn’t like their skin tone while the other one doesn’t believe they are pretty enough because of their frame and build and an ugly purple “splotch,” or birthmark on her face. In my novel, these two humans are trapped in another realm of existence. A prophesy reveals that the Arlan and Eleanor are destined to become companions so that they may share a purpose of restoring order and fighting evil with five other guardians who have powers just like the two. It is by flashbacks that these two young adults will better understand each other and end up sharing a bond with each other that eventually flourishes into a healthy romantic relationship.

The flashbacks begin as Arlan trains apart from Eleanor to manage his anger and deal with a “demon spirit,” if you will, that makes him more angry and has affected his physical appearance in a pleasant but deceiving way. He made a mistake that jeopardized her well-being and left him transfigured into a beautiful tall man with light skin and long dark hair.

While Arlan is banished from Eleanor and their talented five friends, Eleanor is left wondering why Arlan had always been obsessed with her. Before he left, she asked him, “Why are obsessed with me? Why do stare at me so intently? And, why do you watch my even little move?” She went on to say, “I don’t even know what I did to make you feel attracted to me like that.” Her question becomes a focal point of meditation Arlan uses to realize his discomfort with himself.

Eleanor finds help from her friend Ashlynn. Ashlynn, a beautiful blind young woman with curly blonde hair, can foresee the future through visions. Ash, also has a gift to see flashbacks of precise memories of other people and project them into other people’s minds through dreams and visions. It is by Ash’s abilities that Eleanor looks back through Arlan’s adolescence to understand his discomfort with his body image that she better understands his obsession with her. The death of Ruth, a beloved childhood friend of Arlan, at the beginning of my novel also becomes key to this part of the story.

Arlan also gains permission from Eleanor, who he thought was still dying, to live through her flashbacks. By Ashlynn’s abilities, Arlan learns about Eleanor’s discomfort of her body. He relives her flashbacks and sees how girls in high school used to tease Eleanor because she didn’t have a “model-type” figure to attract herself to certain young men or accolades. He sees that she was also bullied. He also learns of a failed relationship with another young man at the end of high school and through two years of college. Arlan also learns that Eleanor has struggled with her own obsession through the same time span.

Before I close, I need to note two things. First, Arlan’s flashbacks are based off of my own experiences from high school and how I have become self-aware of my own discomfort with my body image and my preoccupations. Secondly, the character of Eleanor is based off a young woman I met in college (which I have no form of association with), but Eleanor’s memories in my story are based of artistic license and assumptions I conceived from my own creativity.

In the end, I really hope I can find some time to finish the novel, refine it, and type it all out. The flashbacks and romantic developments between Eleanor and Arlan are only part of a sub-major story arc in my novel. The seven guardians, counting Arlan and Eleanor with their friends, have special abilities that are superhuman. The gaurdians’ abilities emerge as a strength out of the body image insecurity that they thought made them weak but makes them stronger. And, if you’re curious, Arlan can make himself vanish into invisibly, and Eleanor becomes a semi-solid being who can shape-shift into any living creature or person.

I Loathe the Thirteenth

Posted in Mental Health with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2014 by Phil Martin

I Loathe the Thirteenth

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Oct. 13, 2014

As the title reads, I loathe the Thirteenth of October. Much like other dates that harbor hurtful memories for me — like June 26, 2010 and March 29, 2012 — the eve of my birthday really bothers me now.

Go back with me on October 13, 2012, and you might understand my pain.

This was in the middle of my junior year of college, a very tumultuous and emotional eight months of life for me. A year before, my dad hinted about possibly making a trip to visit me at college three hours from home, a distance that is reasonable to deal with around a weekend. However, much like my sophomore year, my parents failed to visit me because of stupid excuses.

Farmland along the south side of the Ross County bike path west of my home. Taken by me on a walk Oct. 8, 2014.

Farmland along the south side of the Ross County bike path west of my home. Taken by me on a walk Oct. 8, 2014.

It gets more hurtful for me here. On Oct. 13, 2012, BGSU was celebrating its Family Weekend. So, hundreds of parents and family members would travel tens to hundreds of miles to see their loved ones in college. My campus ministry hosted a cookout and tailgate party for students and their visiting families. Here’s where it gets sad here. I ended up going to the tailgate party because the roommates in my six-person dorm suite either left home that weekend or were out with their families. This day is also when my extreme loneliness and emptiness became the most intense with me. So, to stave off the loneliness, I visited the tailgate party, but it was so awkward for me there. I ate a small lunch with my (arguably, only true) friend from college and his dad who came up from Columbus to visit that weekend. That was so awkward because my friend’s dad asked me where my parents were at, and I also looked around and saw myself lonely and out of place among the students and families with their smiling faces. I forget if I went to the football game afterwards or not, but it doesn’t matter to me today. The only significance about this two-year anniversary is the pain I suffered that day, like the many other lonely days of my adolescence and young adulthood.

Sadly, the story continues on the following day. My twenty-first birthday, Oct. 14, 2012, fell on a Sunday. Therefore, my campus ministry also hosted a special service for visiting families. Once again, I felt lonely and empty among the multitude of students and their families, with me jealous and hurting, wishing that my parents were there to meet my church peers, participate in the service, and see what all God was doing through the ministry. Another thing that tore me down was sitting behind the one guy I became jealous of that school year, as I said in an earlier post. He introduced his parents from Toledo to his friends and the one girl I had a crush on, who did not return my feelings . (She never told me flat out whether she liked or disliked me or not, but her shunning her face from me and her disturbed face whenever I looked or kindly waved at her tells us a lot about her feelings, or the lack of them, for me.) What makes this part of my memory so profoundly worse today is that the guy I have been jealous of seems to be dating this girl now. So, now I feel like a failure and that I am LESS than this guy who has always seemed intriguing to me and influential to others.

Another part of this depressing anniversary focuses on a $50 debit gift card. The gift card, my parents sent me through the mail. I believe it arrived to my dorm by the following week. I forget if my parents sent me any other gifts, and I didn’t care because I decided not to use the gift card. I was so disgusted with my parents and the loneliness they helped cause me, I hated them and the gift card so much. Rather than sending the gift card back home, I gave the gift card to a colleague, a guy who I will never consider worthy to call a friend. I regret giving this guy the gift card, not just because I was out of an easy $50. I couldn’t believe I gave this card to him. I could never wholly trust the guy; it seemed he and his intriguing friend kept secrets from me about the girl I had crushed on and they seemed to tell her my deep feelings for her that I shared to them. Also, three months later, in January, the guy I gave the card to began treating me subhuman. He began ignoring me; he refused to acknowledge me or greet me at church, and he quit responding to my text messages. Eventually, he said he wanted to “separate [himself] from me,” which made me feel like crap or some patient with an infectious and terminal disease because the girl and his friends ostracized me as well. Later on, the guy and two of his friends would do something egregious to hurt me. Their act was made without mercy, respect and honor. I am not sharing details of that fateful event, but I can say I continue to feel the sting of it today, which, as you have read, is strung to this anniversary.

In the end, I loathe the Thirteenth of October because two years ago I suffered intense loneliness. It also seems that through the following weeks and months, I felt absent of love, support, and community from the people I dearly wanted to connect with. I realize I’m not the only person in this world who has suffered from social isolation and such loneliness. I just want people to become aware of the pain that people like myself go through and not continue to ignore the underlying hurt by only simply reading what we express on the surface among the public.

Politically Enraged

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by Phil Martin

Politically Enraged

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Sept. 18, 2014

I stopped going to the first church I began visiting in August. My issue is that the church appeared to be too politically engaged. Personally, I am politically enraged with any church that believes the way you vote determines how Christ-like you are.

I grew offended when the lead pastor began knocking on President Obama.

On my fourth visit, the pastor requested the congregation to pray for President Obama because the pastor didn’t “believe he is a Christian.” Interesting. Now praying for leaders and those in authority over us is biblical (Read I Timothy 2:2). However, I felt critical that the pastor made it a point to voice his thoughts on Mr. President’s salvation. The lead pastor, myself, and no one in the church knows whether Mr. Obama for certain is a Christian or not. His salvation is between himself and God, not for any other man, who does not know him, to merely speculate because he is different than many past presidents.

On my final visit to this particular church, the lead pastor passively attacked President Obama once more. The lead pastor said that Mr. President hasn’t done any thing to fight for religious freedom in America. First, America was not founded on Christian values or to preserve religious freedom for Christians. The Bill of Rights of the United States legislates religious freedom for Americans to practice any religion they please or to have the freedom not to practice religion without grievances from the government. Secondly, I was the utmost appalled by the lead pastor’s ignorance because of other more important issues. Let’s see: Human trafficking is a worldwide problem, from Amsterdam to Russia to the great Far East, where women and children are sold and enslaved. There’s the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Millions of other native Africans battle HIV / AIDs and hunger annually. Millions of Americans suffer from homelessness and joblessness. Those are just a few major issues each of us could spare more time praying that God would make better of. Surely, the lead pastor would request for prayer on such greater worldly issues than worrying over whether President Obama is leading biblically or not. Surely. Surely not.

Oh, but the lead pastor’s ignorance towards the Black Church and his negative comments on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the deal breaker for me. For context, the lead pastor taught about how Christians should abide by laws (as Apostle Paul encourages us to do in Romans chapter 13) but to not abide by laws that are unlawful against the Christian code of ethics. The lead pastor intended to use Jim Crow laws (laws that promoted racism and discrimination in the 1960s Southern U.S.) as an example of unlawful laws.

Instead of explaining this point, the lead pastor read a letter written by Dr. King. King wrote the letter to other pastors while he was held in a Birmingham, Alabama, jail. Before the lead pastor read the letter, he made two very off comments.

First, he said he didn’t agree with Dr. King on many issues, except the letter. Interesting. I wonder what the pastor’s beef with Dr. King is. Most people, of all races I have seen, seem to appreciate, or least tolerate, Dr. King’s efforts of pushing for the end of racial discrimination and promoting diversity.

The second comment the lead pastor made was directed towards black churches. The pastor said he felt the Black Church needed a lot of help today. He then said, “Thank God for the black pastors that are left remain standing.” Of all the off comments the lead pastor made, this was the most egregious and threatening to me. His feelings of the church seemed to insinuate that the lead pastor, and many others who think like him, feel black churches are corrupt, ignorant, and straddling down the wrong path. If my projections of the pastor’s feelings are right, the pastor is ignorant. All churches are made up of people. People are imperfect and full of flaws. Therefore, all churches, no matter of what dominant race, are going to have flaws. So, the pastor’s concerns about the Black Church, while valid, felt like a focused and conspicuous attack against a group of people that are just different from him. (I wonder if the pastor has ever stepped foot into a church filled with predominantly black people.)

To end this post, I leave you with an explanation of my fiery commentary. Some people choose not to speak up when they feel wronged or when an act of ignorance has occurred. Well, frankly, I’m not those people. I don’t tolerate crap or ignorance. Really, ignorance is no excuse. The year of this post is 2014. We in America have come a long way to educate ourselves of the past and to grow from the mistakes of our forefathers. Therefore, there is no excuse for myself to tolerate racism or racially charged micro-insults and micro-assaults. Not in the world. Not in the Church. With all of this said, I leave to a new church praying that the lead pastor of the other church and his congregation would open their eyes and have a better understanding of how people who are different see the world and see God.

Proud to be Different

Posted in Clothing, Purpose with tags , on September 13, 2014 by Phil Martin

Proud to be Different

By Phillip Martin

Phil’s Portfolio

Sept. 13, 2014

This post will be full of praise. I feel like I have found a temporary place of belonging, which happens to be my job.

I didn’t have much to admire about the good-for-now job I accepted in July. The new job was not my first choice after graduating college and considering a new career path. However, the thing I admire most about my job is its culture of diversity.

At work there are people of several different races and religions. We have people with different types of clothes, skin tones, and hairstyles. Of course, working near Columbus helps to make this diversity possible. Nevertheless, I actually feel proud to be different as a result. I feel happy to come to work each day, knowing I am comfortable among different types of people. I feel like I’m among friends, even though I do not get a chance to talk to most of my co-workers. I seem to fit right in seamlessly, which is very fitting for working at a warehouse for several clothing lines.

Honestly, I have felt so blessed over the past month for the diversity at work. I feel like God has blessed me with this job so I might, for once, feel comfortable with myself. Throughout my young adult life, especially being a minority among a majority of white peers, I’ve felt uncomfortable with myself. Many times, I felt like someone on the outside looking in. I have felt socially isolated at times because it felt like many people could not clearly relate with my life experiences. Most of the time I have felt ugly and undesirable because of my physical appearance. I am the guy who always wanted pale skin and long dark straight hair to feel beautiful and happy, like the attractive Bill Kaulitz of the past. To crush me even more, romantic pursuit has always been hard for me. A few young women in the past have said said they did not want to be a part of my life because they said “God has us on two different paths” or because “we are different” (whatever that is supposed to mean other than our most obvious difference). As you might read through this, I have not enjoyed the typical social life like others around me. But, that’s okay. My story must have a purpose since God has allowed it. After all the sadness of being different, I really do believe working at this job is by God working in my life and giving me what I need to thrive. (I guess He really has heard my complaints and cries about living in rural Southern Ohio after all.)

Because I have found a sense of belonging, I am not ashamed to wear my new red jogger pants occasionally. Ta da! I close this short post with a photo of the joggers:



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 335 other followers

%d bloggers like this: