Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

fullsizeoutput_575There are times when I still think Barbara, my wife of forty-five years, is in the room. I almost say something to her, but when I look around she’s not there. Then the loss and the pain of it washes over me anew. After many years of her presence, five years of her absence has not erased the emptiness that arrived expectantly but undesired on September 27, 2012 when she died after being ill for over two years. Michael Piazza, pastor of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City wrote in a recent post in reference to the loss of his husband, “My experience has been that the adage ‘time heals all wounds’ is probably a lie.”

Barbara and I began dating in the last year of graduate school, were engaged by graduation, and married a year later. Over the years, we lived in three U.S. states and four countries on two (more…)

Here is a reflection on the state of our peaceful, progressive city of Saint Louis after a


Peaceful protesters tduring the second day of demonstrations.
Lawrence Bryant / Reuters a caption

month since a judge found Jason Stockley, a white former police officer, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man. Immediately after the verdict was announced (on Friday, September 14, 2017), people began to protest in the streets in anger against the decision. (more…)

“Being Christian and Gay” is a topic I am addressing in a series of posts on this blog. I am Christian. I am gay.

There is a dichotomy of passion and reason in current responses to the gay-Christian debate. Both of these fundamental responses—passion and reason—ebb and flow to a degree; but passion, which often is blind, usually usurps reason, which comes only after passion is quieted. It is my hope that my experience will shed some light on living a Christian life as a gay man. (more…)

Vive le Hand-holding!

Posted: December 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

img_1265Last night, just before drifting to sleep, I made the following note:

“I have a longing to touch and be touched, a desire for reciprocity, an act of mutuality. I have written in my journal about holding hands. As I reflect on hand-holding, I see it as a metaphor for something much deeper and more profound. I’m not thinking of something demonstratively sexual, though sexuality is a factor. What I’m talking about is something deeper and more spiritual.”

Reflecting on those late-night notes, I feel the need for illumination. After all, a thought at 11:00 p..m. looks different at 7:00 the next morning. So, I’ll expound upon hand-holding a little more.

Actually, I’m not talking about hand-holding per se. The spiritual side of hand-holding goes beyond intentional flesh to flesh touching. Holding hands is a deeper acknowledgment of the existence of another person then what’s experienced in a simple greeeting.

“Hi, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. How are you?”

“I’m find, and you”?

Holding hands has moved past such a greeting and has gone to a deeper level of mutual acknowledgement of existence. It’s like eye contact that goes deeper and lasts longer than casual acknowledgment of presence. It’s like saying “I see you, I really see you, and I want to know you more deeply,” but saying it with physical touch—”I like you being near me; your presence in my life is really important, so much so that I don’t want to let you go until I know you more deeply.”

This spiritual depth experienced in the lingering touch of hand-holding is not just one person declaring such deep personal feelings and desires to another person. Rather, there is a profound mutuality in hand-holding, an act of equal importance to both people. It ushers them into being vulnerable to each other. This reciprocity—an exchange of feelings, desires, respect, acceptance, and trust—is bound up in this touch of bare flesh on bare flesh. It demonstrates peace and trust and forgiveness each to the other. It declares that there is openness between the two people whose hands are clasped. It’s each acknowledging to the other that “I want to know you, and I want you to want to know me.”

To want to hold hands with someone is a desire to reach out to them in a deeper level than spoken language. If the reach for a hand is met with an extended hand, a deeper conversation of mutual touch has been engaged. This is true when considering hand-holding between lovers or with friends.

The language of hand-holding is not reserved for youth, although it is a significant experience of youths discovering each other’s deeeper realities. It is a natural language of human interaction regardless of age. As spoken language holds the potential for mutual understanding of the head and heart, so hand-holding grasps the potential for communication of the soul.

Vive le hand-holding!

I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment if your so inclined. 

The beginning of…

Posted: November 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

(You might want to read yesterday’s post titled “The day after…” if you haven’t already read it, before reading “The beginning of…” )

“The beginning of…” is one of several phrases we use when on the threshold of momentous change. That phrase often, though not always, embodies hope. Where there is hope there is life. Without hope the quality of—and often the desire for—life diminishes. Hope gives life vitality. Within the Christian context, hope is inextricably connected to faith. In a letter titled “Hebrews” in Christian scripture, the author writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

The New York Times described that hope as glee for some people and grief for others. There are many things people hope for in the beginning of the new president’s tenure. It is apparent that many people hope for change. The President Elect has promised to fulfill that hope. I hope for other things. Yet before I can hope, before I can experience the joy of life, I grieve for the loss of a once hoped for future, a grief many people share with me.

Grief cannot be rushed. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ seminal work On Death and Dying (1969) identifies five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—through which one passes anytime they experience loss. All five stages are experienced when one grieves even though one may move through one or more stages quickly.

Some of us who are experiencing loss in this election cycle may need more time than others to grieve. If you are not feeling loss but rather are elated, please give space and time to us who grieve. We must move through the process, don’t rush us.

I admit I first dealt with denial, a feeling that it couldn’t happen, surely something is going to reverse the election. I’m now still angry that the country I once loved now feeels like one that doesn’t want me and people like me or even people like the worshipping friends with whom I sang hymns and offered prayers last Sunday. America was once my country, but now I feel that at least half of it says that Hispanics, transsexuals, African-Americans, gays, disadvantaged, and marginalized people are not wanted. I echo Jeff Chu’s words: “Join me in my tears if you want. I’d really like that.”

Some of you reading this will want to be quick with words about “God is still on his throne,” or “not everyone believes everything the President Elect has said.” If that is true, why did you vote for him, or why did he say those things? This isn’t a game in which we say things we don’t believe to garner votes from people who don’t believe them. By so doing many people have been hurt. (Take notice of the spontaneous public marches and rallys last night.)

As I deal with my grief and lament my loss, I see a glimmer of hope through my tears. I hope…
…that the disquiet injected into the campaign will moderate,
…that grief and loss some people experience will not be ridiculed or spoken of lightly by those who glee,
…that cooler heads will prevail,
…that hurt and anger will transition into reparative action,
…that America will move forward into the greatness of a bright future,
…that there will be a day when America will not pine for an unrecoverable yesteryear, and
…that there will be the day when American will be future oriented once again.

All of this is complicated so don’t throw out cliches willy-nilly. Such words generally don’t help the people they are targeted toward. A greeting-card philosophy may be appreciated but not so helpful. What helps is when someone who voted for the President Elect sits down beside someone who voted for the other major candidate, puts an arm around them, and enters into their pain. When that happens there’s hope—there’s life.

One more quote from Jeff Chu: “The failure to love your neighbor comes in a multitude of forms. It’s complicated, yet so devastatingly simple.”

As a Christ follower, I know there’s hope in Jesus. So I’ll work through my grief. Be patient with me—or offer a tear with me. In the meantime, look for hope wherever you can find it—for in hope there is life.

The day after…

Posted: November 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

The day after…. How often do we use that phrase. When we encounter momentous events in our lives, those experiences that have the potential to dramatically change life in all its various manifestations, The phrase the day after… often becomes part of the legacy of the event. And so it is with the presidential election of 2016.

I woke up this morning the day after the election. I had slept in because, last night, I had stayed up late waiting for the complete counting of votes in states where the race was close. I came fully awake quickly. We now have a President Trump in waiting, or so I heard on NPR. Although I had stayed up late, I had retired before the announcement was made and a candidate had conceded.

On this “the day after,” I admit to feelings of despair, of fear. How did we get to this place where we, the American people, elected (not by a popular vote, which the president elect did not receive, but by the archaic electoral college process) a president who has demonstrated…
…misogyny (women are sex objects to be used),
…bigotry that treads on religious freedom (ban all Muslims),
…unkindness toward strangers and foreigners in our midst (a position antithetical to Christian scriptural teachings of gracious hospitality),
…a limited vocabulary compensated for by using crass, course, language
…a desire to protect us—with a wall, by withdrawing from decades old alliances and treaties, and by crushing foreign states with our power,
…a personality of a self-centered power grabber (rather than being meek and humble, which is a life-principle highly valued in the teachings of all world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, to name four),
…an attitude like a schoolyard bully, steps over—perhaps, more often, on—minorities, gays, immigrants, and other marginalized populations, and
…a lack of integrity by failing to give the electorate a path—including specific actions and resources to actualize them—toward realizing the broad visions he has promised for healthcare for all people, providing living wages for all people, withdrawing from the world and building hedges of protection. How will he turn brush strokes into details? (Example: Based on his rhetoric of creating many jobs and raising wages, he has yet to provide specific real-life examples where increased wealth of large corporations and wealthy people will result in someone(s) who is(are) out of work becoming self-sufficient in a job(s) that provides a wage that is life sustaining.).

This will be our leader. We will look up to him to guide our country in a progressive posture of growth and development. He will represent us in international relationships. He is the model of a leader our children will emulate.

He will be our President!

This is The day after… and, it is The beginning of…. Therein is hope—yes, even in our President Elect’s four-year term of office. Let’s talk about hope—tomorrow.

Election Day

Posted: November 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


This is Election Day, an end to a circus that has monopolized mind and body through the strenuous months of campaign rhetoric and bombastic television commercials. I haven’t a clue to the outcome. There is a general feeling that whoever achieves victory in the presidential race will be fighting an uphill battle during their tenure regardless of the results of the congressional campaigns.

To mark this day, James and Gabe envited Betsy and me to breakfast. I’m waiting for them in the condominium community room. After we eat, we will go as a group to vote. Election Day for James is like Christmas. Like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning, his excitement has been building over the months leading up to today. During the election season, he gathered friends in the community room to watch the debates with him. He hangs on every word of political pundits, not as the sole source of information on ballot choices, but to discover how other people view his choices, which have come through much personal research. He knows who he will vote for. It’s the strategy of politics that intrigues him like a game of chess. He is energized by politics. I think he pines for the day when he was part of the process.

We voted—James, Gabe, Betsy and myself. Though the line was about 20-25 minutes long, waiting with friends made it fun. It was indeed good to see people voting. Most people we saw were pleasant, even with smiles. I saw or greeted several other friends and acquaintances during the process—Bob, who owns the Washington Ave. Post Grocery and Coffee Bar; Jarred, who is president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and lives in my condominium, The Annex; Patrick, my neighbor in the condo next to mine; Lisa, who recently moved away from The Annex; and others I know by sight and greet but whose names do not have enough velcro to stick in my head. Being part of the democratic process is indeed a privilege—regardless of which squares you colored in on your ballot.

After voting, I left them at the polling place before they were through voting and ready to leave. I told Gabe I had a 10 o’clock appointment and walked on to the Downtown Barbershop for my bi-weekly haircut. As I walked along, gratefulness for my country welled up within me. Though America may have flaws, it’s a grand and glorious experiment in democracy, the land of the free and the brave—and may it ever be.

It is not unusual for me to experience sudden emotion at unexpected moments. The emotion can be prompted by thoughts as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to take me away; by something I see during my walks through the city, or on TV, or in printed media; or perhaps by a random thought that does not have a particular source nor is attributed to anything specific but just appears.

Yet all of these powerful emotional moments—not to be confused with either depression or euphoria—are often rooted in a response to a pleasant or satisfying memory or in a feeling of a desired state either being achieved or an intense yearing for that achievement. These breast-filling emotions that bring both pleasure and tears are good feelings.

What I am talking about is not something that is unhealthy or to be considered pathological. Rather it is an embracing of feelings that are real. They are my feelings; I own them. And I search for meaning within them that enriches my life.

I say they are not pathological because these emotional moments—and the time spent seeking understanding of, in, and throuh them—do not consume every aspect of my life. They are not an everpresent part of my waking hours. And though they do put me to sleep at times, I do not search for them as a quest for an aphrodisiac for peaceful sleep.

These moments arrive unexpectedly. I do not search for them; they come to me as oneimg_2204 did when I squatted on my haunches by the Mississippi River to better hear the wash from the barge that just passed lap against the cobblestone wharf. A memory from Vung Tao, Vietnam washed over me. I could almost hear the waves from the South China Sea crash against the rocks a stone’s throw away from the small tourist cabin as my son was conceived. My wife Barbara and I were in Vietnam developing a ministry to students and, on this ocassion, were gathered with other mission personnel on an annual retreat.

Emotion swept over me as I squated by the Mississippi river. While the gift of a son, and the joy and pride and admiration I have in him 45 years later, was bundled with the waves against the rocky shore. The ripples—from the passing tugboat and barges it pushed—making a sound on the cobblestones, though diminutive compared to the crashing waves at Vung Tau, became the catalyst for unexpected chest-filling emotion that brought tears. I stood up, walked on down the river toward Eads Bridge with a thankful heart for emotions.

I could describe other unexpected washes of emotion that give significance to a life lived. However, exciting ones are those unexpected emotional moments that suddenly envelope me when the life I have yet to live, a desired state yet to be achieved, becomes vividly experienced through thought or vision. That might raise an eyebrow; I’m 76 years old. But as I see it, that’s what it means to be alive. Being alive is having a desired state yet to be achieved. My freedom from plying a trade or responding in ministry fashion to needs around me affords time for reflection. But such reflection on past experience issues into future desires, which include filling time with meaning, discovering richness in diverse friendships, and finding companionship with one of similar heart and mind.

Unexpected though pleasant emotions give meaning to the past, bring beauty to the moment and expectancy for tomorrow.

Life Portrait

Posted: August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

This post was written on Monday, August 22.

My portrait on the 76th anniversary of my birth is a new one, never before seen or described. Today is the day after my my birthday and I feel no older than I did the day before my birthday. Birthdays are signposts on a journey. They are not the journey.

We have other signposts we plant along our life’s road-trip—days we were graduated from various educational institutions, moments of spiritual epiphanies, and significant moments along relationship roads to name a few. Some of these mark a past moment engendering present reflection. Others mark annual progress which we call anniversaries. Reflective in nature, these annual mile-markers also look toward the future. They are markers—not prescriptions but descriptions. They do not define us as much as provide bits and pieces to aid in describing who we are.

We are much more than descriptions of a moment in time. My graduation from a school—elementary school, high school, college, university, graduate school—describes an accomplishment I’ve made but does not define me; I am much more than a high school or university graduate, or holder of a graduate degree. I have had moments of spiritual ecstasies and encounters with the Spirit of God, but I am more than a spiritual being. I was a principle partner in a wedding that began a marriage lasting 45 years, but I am more than a wedding day or the acknowledgement of it in annual celebrations that lasted until Barbara’s death in 2012. Earlier this month, August 13, 2016, to be exact, I recognized the third year anniversary of the day I began the process of bringing the world into my truth as a gay man; I am more than that descriptor. Yesterday, I marked the 76th year of my life on earth, but that day was a description and not a definition; I am more than a seventy-six-year-old man.

Markers in life help us take account of where we’ve been and map a road for the future, but we are much more than any one of our markers. I venture to say that we are more than the combination of all of the markers—the anniversaries we celebrate and the events the celebrations commemorate—along life’s road. I am more than a university graduate with multiple degrees who is a gay man, has experienced the life-giving grace of God through Jesus the Christ, was married for 45 years to Barbara, and has celebrated 76 years as a human being. There are many more markers along the road I’ve walked that I could add, but no matter how many I add I will still be describing who I am, not defining. The definition of David Wigger is far more than the descriptors.

I am still exploring the depth within and finding things about myself I never knew existed. I don’t want this “fleshing out” of who I am to stop. Some of these discoveries are filled with joy and excitement about new strengths and the flexing of dormant mental, spiritual, and emotional muscles.

Sometimes the discovery of something about myself I had not known before is tinged with fear and takes me to the edge where I feel vulnerable. There are discoveries about myself that are unpleasant. That unpleasantness is opportunity for growth. Growth doesn’t take place in comfort but in discomfort. So whether new discoveries about myself are pleasant and welcoming or fearful and disarming, they are all good.

I look forward to new experiences when I can plant another marker on my pilgrimage. Perhaps this new marker will be of such import that it becomes an annual celebration, an anniversary like a irthday. Whatever it becomes, it will add another descriptor to further fill in my portrait, which is yet unfinished, but always emerging.

Should I present a definition of David Wigger it would begin with “A creature of God that God made in his image…”

Living in the Deep Places

Posted: August 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
I wrote about deep places when I first described myself on this blog as a gay man a year ago (August 6, 2015) in a post titled Deep Places . To continue the theme of deep places a year later, I believe we experience life more fully by living more deeply.

When I began the journey of entering into the fuller truth of who I am, part of that reality, which I had heretofore pushed aside, was that I am gay. This did not mean a change from who I was, rather it was a fuller picture of who I am. In the afore mentioned post, I brought that dimension of myself into public view to add to everything else people already knew about me. Therefore, I’m no different than I was, just more fully known. That truth came out of the deep places in my life.

I am discovering that I am returning to those deep, sacred places more often after having opened them to the public. They are no longer secret, though no less deep and sacred. The door once opened cannot be closed. I have discovered that living with a door open to the deep places in my life has brought freedom greater than any thing I have ever experienced.

Concomitant with opening this once dark and fearful space to the light of public scrutiny was a public affirmation of Truth (Jesus the Christ) in my life. My daily walk with Jesus has been more conversational while at the same time multidimensional, from casual to formal—Friend, Saviour, Lord, of the godhead One, Confidant.

I have discovered that having once opened the door to the deep places in my life, I am unable to return to daily living without meaningfully incorporating that space. The deep places follow me. I cannot ignore bringing conversations into those deep places while shallowness and superficiality become an effort to sustain.

The deep places in my life were once a basement filled with dusty floors and cobwebbed corners due to the absence of life. I opened the door wide last year, swept the floor, cleaned the walls, and invited you and many other people to enter. I now find myself walking into that space daily. It has become a peaceful place even though there are still nooks and crannies, rooms behind doors yet to be cleaned. I find that, as a result of making my life transparent in this one area, my sexuality, I am able to live more vulnerably in other many areas. I am growing daily and becoming more cognitively and spiritually engaged with reality. Life has a forward energy that is breeding a vibrant self-esteem, which produces confidence and eagerness about engagement.

I don’t hold on to my feelings, my fears of what people think, and other anxieties—my own perceptions of life and the way I had lived. It’s a radical change from the life of anxiety and fear that truth, which I had kept hidden, would escape and people would know the real me. Truth cannot now escape because it has been set free.

We develop models for our lives in forms that make sense to us. I had built my life on the model of a home. Various places in our homes are designed for certain functions of living. We have space that is personal and private (bedrooms), there areas for entertainment where we invite guests (living rooms, family rooms, patios, great rooms, etc.), and there are areas that are storage areas (dusty, cobwebbed basement closets). That was the model I had for my life. I had personal space and I had areas of my life into which I invited people. Then there was the basement closet, which was closed and locked and I kept the key with me, secure at all times.

That basement closet,  that deep place in my life, has now been opened. By opening it, I have discovered that it is no longer as deep as it once was. Not only does the open door allow light to enter, I have also found a window that had been obscured to block out curious eyes from observing what I did in my deep places. Upon opening the window, fresh winds blow through the once closed up, locked space, and light sweeps across it to meet the light from the open door.

Just because the deep place is now open—and even has a window—does not imply that it is shallow. This place inside me is still deeply spiritual, deeply challenging, and deeply personal. Yes, it’s personal space into which I have invited people to come and sit awhile.

If you would like to engage in conversation about deep places, please leave a comment by clicking the lasso at the top. If you would like to connect with me off the blog, go to the Let’s Talk page. I look forward to our conversations.