Posted by: spiritthrive | August 21, 2014

I Spent Twelve Years in a Halfway House

I spent twelve years in a halfway house. But let’s back up a bit…

I grew up in the most Republican county in Texas.

Now that’s saying something! It was a small town of 10,000 about 45 minutes outside Houston (we measured distance by how long it took to get somewhere).

Although small, our school district boundaries stretched 20 miles in some directions, a strategy that—with only one high school—made the high school football team quite competitive. This was another important value: electing Republicans and winning football games.

And then there was Jesus.

Yes, the same Jesus of “in Jesus’ name we pray” when we’d ask God to let our football team win.

Just as there was no questioning politics or the importance of football, there was no questioning the absolute and inerrant authority of the King James Bible.

A joke goes, “If the King James Bible was good enough for the Apostle Paul, then it’s good enough for me!” I found it troubling that, while most laughed when this was stated, I’m not certain many of them knew why it was humorous.

After a few false starts at college right out of high school, I was now 25, married, and no college degree.

My wife and I moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas, the school we had both dreamed of attending since junior high school.

Austin, Texas! What an island solace of openness, exploration and cultivated reason surrounded by an ocean of dogmatic, incurious rednecks!

Although I served as an assistant minister (of music) during the five years it took me to finish undergraduate school, I found myself increasingly at odds with the teachings of my conservative church.

For example, the City of Austin had a ballot measure to extend benefits to same sex partners (keep in mind, this was circa 1990) and when I voiced to the other staff (“This seems like something Jesus would support—you know, how he healed and fed the crowd before preaching”) I thought I would be tarred and feathered on the spot.

Twelve years after moving to Austin, I accepted an opportunity to work for IBM Global Services and moved to the greater Boulder area.

Today, seventeen years later, knowing more than ever that I have identified my tribe, I intend to spend the rest of my life here.

I am forever grateful for the twelve years I spent in the halfway house of Austin, a gentle and safe environment that allowed me safe transition from a dark, foreign place into the shining, brilliant light of home.

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