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Some Tender Moments With the Gay Community

Some Tender Moments With the Gay Community

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Published by Happy Booker
Although I am already a published author, I have chosen to share this excerpt with you, as opposed to another book, as I am now 77 and I choose not to put myself through the rigors of "book marketing." Yet, I don't want this bit of work to "die with me" for my desire has always been to "make a difference." My heart has always gone out to the parents and grandparents of gay children. Previously, I co-authored a book titled "Granny and the Gay Guy" and am pleased to tell you that it truly affected the lives of many. I hope you enjoy this portion of my half-finished book...you have given me great pleasure should you choose to read what I have shared. Thank you...Char Potterbaum
Although I am already a published author, I have chosen to share this excerpt with you, as opposed to another book, as I am now 77 and I choose not to put myself through the rigors of "book marketing." Yet, I don't want this bit of work to "die with me" for my desire has always been to "make a difference." My heart has always gone out to the parents and grandparents of gay children. Previously, I co-authored a book titled "Granny and the Gay Guy" and am pleased to tell you that it truly affected the lives of many. I hope you enjoy this portion of my half-finished book...you have given me great pleasure should you choose to read what I have shared. Thank you...Char Potterbaum

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Published by: Happy Booker on Aug 22, 2009
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07/02/2014

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Some Tender Moments with the Gay Community
 By Charlene Potterbaum
I recently co-authored a book with Jim Pauley, Jr. The title of our book is
Granny and the Gay Guy.
When I first mentioned this “working title” to Jim,I did so somewhat in fear and trembling, as I knew his taking a stance as a“gay guy” might be more than he was willing to risk, publicly. He thoughtabout the title for a moment, and smiled as he said, “Terrific! Which one doYOU want to be?”That pretty much sets the tone of our book, and quickly, we were off and running as people seemed to like our message—well, excepting thosefew who preferred believing in the “letter of the law” instead of hearing thewhole verse that says “the letter kills, but it is the Spirit that gives life.” Iquietly observed that many of these same people who were so vicioustoward the gay community had had multiple marriages, affairs, weredivorced, had addictions, gossiped, cheated on income taxes, werecontrolling, but were all very religious.Wanting to follow my heart, I desired to reach out to the homosexualcommunity as I deeply loved another member of our family who is a lesbian.I watched her down through the years as I sensed her rich spirituality andwas always warmed by the way I could touch the depths of her soul, as her eyes never wavered from mine when we talked. We dedicated our book toher, because of her sweet spirit and refusal to hate, even when she wasostracized from so many family activities she would have enjoyed, if the barriers hadn’t been put up. By barriers, I mean comments like “Of courseyou can come! Just don’t bring—that—that —other 
woman
with you. Wecan’t have the children thinking that this is an acceptable life-style.” (Likegenuine love is harmful?)I learned so much about my own being, as we had this adventuretogether. I found out that homophobia can’t be eradicated quickly. It has to be eased out gently, one day at a time, and, as it diminishes, love and mercyfills the place it occupied. I am talking about a solid, godly love—not onlyfor the homosexuals and the lesbians, but for myself, as well.While signing books in Saugatuck, Michigan, a delightful resort areathat has been made quaint and beautiful by the great number of homosexualswho reside there, I made the acquaintance of some wonderful people. Three,especially, made a great impact on me. I want to share their stories, because,as Philip Gulley said in his wonderful book,
 If Grace is True
 — 
 
“I was raised to believe homosexuals were sexual perverts and childmolesters. They were the worst of sinners and doomed for hell. I acceptedthis belief uncritically and, since I knew no homosexuals, found that belief easy to sustain...until I realized I’d known one and didn’t even know it.Kevin was one of my close friends...we went to college together, shared adeep passion for God, and both ultimately entered the ministry....Kevin datedgirls, talked about girls, and dreamed of marriage.“You can imagine my shock when he came to me one day andconfessed his fear that he was gay...I watched him struggle for fifteenyears...he went from “fighting the thorn in his flesh” to “not acting on hissinful desires” to “accepting how God had made him” to “seeking another man to share his life with.”“He was not the only one struggling and changing...Kevin wasn’t asexual pervert, or a child molester. He wasn’t the worst of sinners. I knew hedeeply loved God and others...I couldn’t imagine Kevin being damned tohell for loving someone, even if that someone was another man.“One day we had lunch together. Kevin nervously announced he’dmet someone. I responded, ‘I’m so glad.’...As he talked, I realized twothings: he was in love, and he was happier than I had ever seen him. In thatmoment, God made it clear to me that my beliefs would have to change.“I wish I could tell you that words appeared on the wall of thatrestaurant saying ‘Thus saith the Lord—I accept my homosexual children.’”Instead, God spent fifteen years chiseling away at my stone beliefs andsoftening the hardened clay of my heart.”I am so grateful to Philip Gulley for sharing those words. It aptlydescribes what I have been going through for all those years as I observedthe family’s reacting to my dear relative.Why some people seem to touch that special place in your heart morequickly than others is a mystery I will never understand; but a gay mannamed Bill did that for me. I would have claimed him as a son, and been proud to do so. He seemed warmed that a “straight” would care to relate toone of his kind, and he felt safe in telling me his “story.”Bill said, “I knew in the second grade that there was something‘different’ about me, but I also knew it was not something I could ask about.I found out what it was called when we had an assignment to look up wordsin the dictionary—along about the third grade, I think. Well, you know how,once you get your nose in the dictionary, you kind of read all the words in
 
scanning distance? Well, I saw it. And then I knew...that that was what Iwas.”You will never be able to convince me that a second or third grader makes this “choice” to be a homosexual. It is something inborn, genetic andmysterious beyond measure, and to quote Peggy Campolo, wife of the well-known evangelical, Tony Campolo—“The truth is, while we may be gettingcloser to understanding why some people are straight and others are gay, atthis point in time there is no definitive answer. I am tired of hearing theguesses of various people and groups set forth as fact. Christians shouldsimply say, as does Dr James Forbes of New York City’s great RiversideChurch, ‘God has many children, and some of them are straight.’”I also met a “pair” of homosexuals, who had been together for over thirty years. They said, “We used to have to be so careful...our jobs were onthe line, and we had to keep our partnership such a secret. Things are a biteasier for us now, but there is still a long way to go....”And one of this “pair” asked me, “Char, how does your husband feelabout you running around the country with a gay guy?” I giggled, as I said,“Well, in as much as he scolded me for not sharing a room with Jim, to savea few bucks—I’d say he is okay with it!” And we both had a good laughover that, but I said, “Besides, I sure wouldn’t want Jim to see me when Ifirst wake up...with this new hair-do, I look just like a chrysanthemum!” Mynew friend leaned over close to me and touched my arm as he giggled,“Char, I know just what you mean—why, every morning when I wake up—I peek in the mirror and I look—just like a
 pansy!
How I love their forthrightness and humor! While we were signing books in Dallas, they invited us to also come to a bowling event they werehaving on that Sunday afternoon—which they affectionately referred to as“The Fruit Bowl”—(and the subtitle read: “We can’t even bowl straight!”)However, I’d like to insert a comment made by my son several yearsago. This was long before I’d even thought of writing a book with a gay guy.My son was telling me about a recent Trade Show and having made someacquaintances with a couple of gay guys.He said, “Mom, they are wonderful people and such awesomedecorators, and you know what, Mom? I used to think they had a choice, butnow I am not so sure. I don’t think anyone would take the abuse they have totake, if they had a choice.”I wanted that comment to come prior to my next story, so that you canthink about it while this drama seeps into your heart. Just before we foldedup from a full day of book signing we met a nice young man—the partner of the owner of the Shoppe where we were signing. Before he came to meet

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